In addition to attending games, tournaments, and baseball events throughout Rhode Island, I love hearing from the Rhode Island Baseball Community. I receive emails about upcoming charity tournaments or rivalry games. I get messages on social media with video highlights from a recent game or a photo gallery of a player’s first base hit. And more recently, I got a text message from a fan saluting an outstanding member of the Rhode Island Baseball Community, an extraordinary umpire, a coach, a mentor for youth baseball, along with several photos. Here is an excerpt from that text:
“Can we get a post for umpire appreciation. He is loved by many. Very thorough, energetic, and personable. He is by far one of the best out there.” The subject of the text, Alfred Travieso.
I reached out to Alfred via social media and mentioned the fan saluting him. I asked him if he wanted to share his story and Alfred enthusiastically agreed. Great guy, I can see why fans and families speak so highly of him. Here is more about Alfred Travieso, his New York City roots, how he spends his Rhode Island baseball days, and what baseball means to him.
RIBBE: Can you share where you coached and for what teams and age levels?
Alfred: Assistant Coach CLCF (Cranston’s League for Cranston’s Future) 8U-13U, Rhode Island Rays AAU (9U-14), Bain Middle School in Cranston, RI and Apponaug Girls Softball (for my daughter).
RIBBE: Tell me about your start in baseball – youth baseball, where you played?
Alfred: 1976 For Aurora C.A. of Federal Hill Little League, South Providence/Washington Park Hawks, RI Cardinals Men’s League, Enterprise Hardware (Softball) and Cardinals in Miami, FL..
RIBBE: Recently, a local baseball parent told me that you were one of the best umpires in Rhode Island. How does that compliment hit you?
Alfred: Believe it or not, I get that a lot! I am just me, I try to look the part, be as fair as I could be, 90% of the time I am by myself doing a game and I always tell the coaches before game that if I or they have a questions on a call, we get together and talk about it and go on the honor system and if we can’t agree then I will make the best call. I have always tried to be the best in everything I do, got that from my parents.
Alfred: My Parents were my mentors, weird but growing up and playing little league my dad worked every day and night and really couldn’t go to many games. I remember seeing him in the stands and then gone. My mom did not drive or really speak English and battled cancer. I use to walk to the field by myself and remember running home when it was getting dark. I felt a little sad at a young age seeing other kids parents yelling and screaming for them, but I was alright with that. My dad taught me to work hard, be nice to everybody because being nice was free!
RIBBE: How did you get into coaching?
Alfred: I first got asked to coach in 1992 with Elmwood Little League, they had enough kids that did not make a team and with some last minute signups had enough kids to add a team. No parent or coach wanted to step up and was asked by a friend if I would want to do it, I said why not. I remember we were the “bad news bears” and most of the kids did not want to be there. Parents would actually drop them off and asked me what time the game was done so then could pick them up. I felt like a baby sitting service. I made the most and best out of it for the kids. I remember some kids wanted me to adopt them?!?
Alfred: As a parent I would take my son Andrew and daughter Haley to his and her team practices and noticed pretty much on every team that the head coach was alone or with one other assistant coach, then just got asked if I was going to be there waiting anyway if I wanted to help out and I jumped at the chance.
RIBBE: On average, how many games do you work on a Saturday or Sunday?
Alfred: Could be six or more, every week is different. I am used to getting a last minute call that an umpire is needed.
RIBBE: How do you defuse emotional parents who think your strike zone is too small?
Alfred: I ignore them the best I can, if they start getting loud I usually stop play, ask them to please calm down, these are just kids, and I do not seeing anyone here being signed by the Red Sox anytime soon. Or I have used ‘how they could see the pitch from the bleacher on either side first or third base, with people sitting in front of them and them holding a red solo cup?’ They usually back off by then. Just let them (the kids) have fun.
RIBBE: One of the comments made was that you are helpful to the youth players. Do you think it is an umpire’s duty to move a kid up in the batter’s box or tell the pitcher to get the ball up if he/she is struggling on the mound?
Alfred: I see a lot of great umpires advising youth players and personally am all for it. I do a lot of games and the range is younger kids 8/9 up to men’s leagues. The young kids do need help sometimes at the plate when I hear coaches at third telling them to move in or move back and the kid just stands their with a bat on shoulder. We are there to umpire but to me also to help the younger kids. I am there to do a game and usually do not have a time limit. At the same time have fun myself and make it enjoyable to the spectators.
RIBBE: I know you are a New Yorker so what is your favorite Red Sox vs Yankees memory or moment?
Alfred: Bucky Dent hitting homerun in 1978 in a tie breaker game against the Boston Red Sox. Reggie Jackson hitting three home runs in a row in the 1977 World Series.
My style – have fun, play hard and at the end, just go home.
What an awesome baseball talent and personality!!! Alfred, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and tell your incredible baseball story, which continues to be written every game you umpire. Thank you for helping the youth baseball community and for your service behind the plate, out at first base, or trailing the play over to third base. You are very much appreciated for your work and I thank you for all you do for the Rhode Island Baseball Community.
For more photos and to see Alfred Travieso’s journey around Rhode Island Baseball Fields and his selfies with coaches photo gallery, head over to Alfred’s Facebook page – Alfred Travieso.