There was an empty feeling at the ball park this year.

The greatest part of being at the NCBA World Series is getting know, work with, and socialize with the NCBA group and umpires. Over the seven years that I've been associated with the WS I've been very fortunate to know and hang out with some guys that I guess mean more to me than I knew.

There were some old friends at the 2023 NCBA DII WS and it was great seeing and working with them and they always treat me well. But there was an empty, sad feeling as I stood on the field taking photos. People that have always been on the field with me were not there.

I miss Toby Walker the most. Toby passed unexpectedly months ago. When I heard the news I was shocked and very sad. But sadness returned when I was on the field and he was not there for us to chat.

Another ump I really like and respect, Ryan Hastings, wasn't at the DII WS this year. Although Ryan will be here at the DI WS, he wasn't here for DII. Ryan and Toby have always been a part of my experience at every WS.

And then there's Christian Smith. Christian is the person that enabled me to become part of the NCBA WS group and he has become a friend, a good friend. Due to other commitments Christian is unable to attend a WS this year. A highlight of any game for me is when Christian is around, especially of the field. We have some nice chats and some laughs. I will definitely miss that this year.

Again, I did really enjoy the gang at the DII and soon I will be around the DI crew. which are a great group of guys. But I suspect there will still be a sense of emptiness when I look for Toby and he's not there. I know that he will be watching and making every call.

Until next time, be safe, be good and enjoy the good people in your life as you won't know what they mean to you until they're gone.