Umpire strikes out speech impediment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Umpire strikes out speech impediment

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PASCO, WA- Bill Wagner has been an umpire for 18 years. Along with being an umpire, he's a father to four, a husband and a writer. Locally, he's the Assigning Secretary for the Tri-Cities Umpire Association. His skills have taken him to the west side, Montana, Idaho and even Las Vegas to call softball games. 

When we talked to Bill he told us, "I just decided a long time ago, I wanted to be good at something whatever that something was". He's found out that something is being an umpire. When he was 27, he tells us, "I saw an ad in the giant nickel one day and they were looking for umpires. So I called and showed up". 

18 years later, he still loves it. There's something that makes Bill stand out among the rest, "I mean it isn't a mystery to anybody who knows me that i do stutter". 

For Bill, he doesn't want that to define him, "I just try not to be known as the umpire that stutters, rather being a person who does something who happens to stutter"

We met up with him at a double header this week. One of the coaches was once a high school player who can remember Bill back when they competed. Keondra Simpson, now a volunteer with the Columbia Basin College softball team, tells us "pretty much any of the ball parks he'll be at, college ball, high school ball, competitive just walk through, 'Hey Billy!' and he always has something to talk to you about.

Over the years, while she's grown and continued on with her softball career she says Bill is always, "very compassionate guy always willing to do anything he can". His stuttering doesn't even play a role in his relationship with players and coaches.

Bill agrees, if you ask him about his stuttering," it doesn't slow me down, at all, not one bit".

You might wonder if it affects him on the field. Well, according to him and the others on the field, it doesn't, "it's a function of confidence, it doesn't come off right now, on the field I don't have a problem never have a problem" Bill tells us. 

It's his compassion that shines through all that he does and according to him, he's not just an umpire,"I'm a support system for high school girls to get to college and girls in college to understand what they're doing and why they're doing it. It's just a perspective thing ".