Glenburn’s Cody Lally saw a void and helped fill it. As an aspiring baseball player nearing the end of his Little League playing days, he observed many of the games in his area was lacking a key component: umpires. He noticed a parent might fill in to provide some semblance of order to the proceedings. He hated the sight of seeing someone coming out of the stands calling the games from behind the pitcher’s mound. From that point forward, Lally traded in the bat and glove to be an arbiter of balls and strikes, fair or foul, safe or out.
Today you’ll find Lally hard at work umpiring games at many levels. He still maintains ties with his roots, volunteering to call games at all different age levels of the Little League program. As he has gained experience, his assignments have grown in magnitude. He has since worked district championship level contests at the Senior League level. The stakes are high with the winner advancing to the Senior League World Series. Over the past two years he has been able to be paid for his craft moving up through the middle school and high school junior varsity ranks.
Part of what makes Cody noteworthy as an umpire is you tend not to notice him when he’s working a game. He’s not the kind of umpire to make the game about himself, grandstanding by making that big call at a key moment. He takes no pleasure in tossing someone if they should look at him cross eyed. That’s not to say Lally’s not in control of the happenings on the field. Rather than be combative he uses his outgoing personality to bring a certain comfort level to the players and coaches participating.
If he is the home plate umpire, he tries to maintain a good relationship with the catchers. Often he’ll be asked by a catcher “Where was that pitch?” He’ll often reply with something along the lines of “just a little outside, he has a good curve ball but that one just didn’t break enough.”
Emotions can get heated on the field at times. Lally, still an athlete himself, gets it. He competes on the football and hockey teams as a student at John Bapst. In the face of controversy, he’ll let the player or coach have their say. In such situations knowing the rule book is key. Of course, judgement calls are bound to happen but many conflicts are resolved simply by pointing out a rule the player or coach may not be aware of. Many arguments begin with a player or coach unhappy about their play on the field. They are often more frustrated with their performance than the umpire personally. Lally realizes this and has learned to let certain things go.
For the oldest son of Dennis and Stacey Lally, preparation for game day starts well before the contest. He usually likes to arrive at the field at least thirty minutes before the first pitch. He claims to be superstitious in getting dressed prior to taking the field. He applies Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner to shine his shoes then dresses in a certain order. If he has the plate, Cody makes sure to do a thorough pregame meeting with his partner(s) to cover elements such as rotations, coverage on fly balls, and other situations which may arise.
As you can tell by his preparation, Cody Lally is conscientious about his craft. He is always seeking to grow professionally and takes to heart feedback from experienced umpires. He greatly appreciates the resources he has to rely on in the greater Bangor area. Some of the mentors he mentioned were Chris Parker, who serves as Umpire in Chief for Maine District Three Little League, and also assigns games for the Eastern Maine Baseball Umpires Association. Troy Lare and Rob Curtis have also taken Cody under their wings in their roles as Assistant Umpire in Chiefs for the district.
When Cody’s umpiring season ends in July, the avid New York Yankees fan has the opportunity to interact with umpires from all over the world at the Senior League World Series. Lally has attended the World Series each summer since 2007. In 2012 he began serving on the umpire support staff. He helps to ensure transportation is arranged from the airport to the hotel and makes sure they can get to and from the stadium for their games. He is also there to provide baseballs, water, and anything else the umpires might need during the week. He has been joined by his younger brother Drew since 2014.
Currently, Cody is saving funds to attend the five week Wendelstedt School for Umpires in Daytona Beach, Florida in a few years. If he performs well at the school, it could mean a future for him as a professional umpire.
Whatever path Cody Lally chooses for himself will land him success. The attributes that make him a strong up and coming umpire, such as his professionalism, strong people skills, and preparation, will carry him far in life. For now, those in our area should consider themselves fortunate to have a young man of his caliber working their games.