After a lengthy successful career as a player and coach in baseball and fastball, Chris Lynch switched to umpiring 13 years ago.
Turns out he’s also respected as a member of the Blue Crew. Lynch has been named winner of the 2014 Kelly Roste Memorial Trophy, awarded by the Vernon Umpires Association for dedication and determination. Lynch has been the group’s president and umpire in chief the past three years.
The trophy, presented in memory of Roste, a popular fastball player and umpire who died in a December, 1998 car accident, has gone to the likes of Heather Savitsky, Keith Louis, Gary Roste (Kelly’s father), Dennis Einarson, Ann Holmes, Rob Ferroux and Jim Sanderson.
“I knew Kelly,” said Lynch, 59. “He was just getting into fastball and he was a good athlete and a good kid. Like Heather last year, I didn’t see it (award) coming. I brought it up at the AGM and they told me it was already looked after.”
Association treasurer Wendy Filbrandt says Lynch was an easy choice.
“He obviously loves ball no matter if it is fastball, slo-pitch or hardball,” said Filbrandt. “He is a diehard of the game and has spent many hours coaching, volunteering and umpiring.”
Born in Vancouver, Lynch began playing baseball at age eight in Kitsilano before switching to fastball at 18. He saw action at shortstop, third base and catcher,
He coached his daughters, Lindsay and Melissa, both pitchers, all through minor fastball, taking them to a few provincials and B.C. Summer Games, where both girls bagged bronze medals. Lindsay played fastball in Vancouver from 2006-11, winning a Western Canada gold medal once and silver twice.
He made numerous road trips, taking a Vernon Midget A team to the final four of the 64-team Spokane Shootout one summer.
A Kitsilano grad and huge Red Sox fan, Lynch worked the provincial men’s C slo-pitch championships in Vernon last summer. He uses the same mind-set he would umpiring fastball.
“You’re still dealing with adults. I’m not as quick on the trigger as I used to be. If they argue a call, I say to them, ‘If this is the worst thing in your day…’ That works sometimes.
“For me, watching a ball game behind a shield is strange, but it’s still enjoyable.”
A postal employee for 37 years, he is semi-retired, cutting grass three early mornings a week at Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club. His better half has always been his biggest fan.
“My wife (Bev) has been a fastball parent and been very supportive. She was a fixture in the stands.”