'Bruh': Umpire ejects baseball PA announcer from game for use of sound drops

Chatham-Kent Barnstormers PA announcer is shown, left with arms in the air, after getting ejected from Sunday's IBL game vs. Guelph. (Chatham-Kent Barnstormers/YouTube - image credit)
Chatham-Kent Barnstormers PA announcer is shown, left with arms in the air, after getting ejected from Sunday's IBL game vs. Guelph. (Chatham-Kent Barnstormers/YouTube - image credit)

Jeff Hopman says he didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings and was inspired by Twitch and YouTube videos his kids watch.

The public address announcer works for the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers, an expansion team with the Intercounty League Baseball (IBL).

"It's just the constant change and the unexpected drops in the sound effects that make you chuckle," said Hopman.

"I just found that entertaining. I thought I would bring that to the ballpark."

He was ejected by an umpire during Sunday's lopsided loss to the Guelph Royals at Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham, Ont.

"I think it was a conglomeration of all the events over the past few days, and some of the umpires have been there for more than one game that they just got tired of my shtick," said the 47-year-old.

Jeff Hopman is the PA announcer for the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers of the Intercounty Baseball League.
Jeff Hopman is the PA announcer for the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers of the Intercounty Baseball League.

Jeff Hopman is the PA announcer for the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers of the Intercounty Baseball League. (Chatham-Kent Barnstormers/Facebook)

The IBL is an independent Canadian league consisting of nine Ontario teams.

"To be honest with you — and I don't want this to sound cocky and conceited — I don't think the IBL, which has been around for 100 years, was quite ready for what I bring to the table."

The straw that broke the camel's back and led to his ejection, according to Hopman, was when he used a sound bite that included the word "bruh" in relation to balls and strikes.

"That one was legitimately critiquing the umpire's calls."

The Chatham resident says he remains in good standing with the team and if the league isn't ready to accept that kind of in-game experience he'll dial it back.

"I'm willing to. Many people have put too much effort and money and time into the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers for me to throw it all away, just to drop a few sound clips."

WATCH | PA announcer gets ejected from IBL game in Chatham, Ont. [1:55:30]:

The Barnstormers next home game is scheduled for June 7 vs. Brantford. And Hopman says he'll be a tad hesitant when it comes to firing clips.

"Absolutely. When the commissioner talked to me indirectly through the owner, and said not to play anything that makes fun of the opposing team or the umpires."

Hopman says with a couple of weeks before the next game he's going to rebuild his sound board.

"I'm going to listen to what they have to say. And I won't poke fun at the opposing team, but I'm going to pump our team up even more."

Umpires begin to come together after the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers PA announcer was ejected from an IBL game.
Umpires begin to come together after the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers PA announcer was ejected from an IBL game.

Umpires begin to come together after the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers PA announcer was ejected from an IBL game. (Chatham-Kent Barnstormers/YouTube)

IBL director of umpires defends ejection

The director of umpires for the IBL says the ejection was justified, according to the rules in place.

Scott Costello says umpires have the authority to remove anyone who is participating in the game in any capacity.

Official baseball rules (8.01) state each umpire has authority, at their discretion, to eject any person whose duties permit their presence on the field, such as ground members, ushers, photographers, news people, broadcasting crew members, etc.

"The PA system should not be used in any form to entice the crowd against the umpires … these are considered unsportsmanlike conduct and anyone employed by the club including public address staff, grounds crew, etc. can be ejected from the game and the umpire can order for the public address system to no longer be used," said Costello in an emailed statement.

He also pointed to the ejection of a person playing Three Blind Mice over the PA system during a Florida State League game in 2012.

LISTEN | CBC checks in with a voice of the Barnstormers after their first weekend: