For Pete's Sake

Umpire who infuriated Royals fans Sunday saved a woman’s life in Pittsburgh

Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane.
Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane. The Associated Press

In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a game, right?

Sure, a lot of Royals fans were upset with umpire John Tumpane because of his strike zone in Sunday’s loss to the Blue Jays. Royals pitcher Peter Moylan was particularly incensed and was ejected after he was taken out of the game.

Tumpane may have been public enemy No. 1 in Kansas City, but he’s a hero today.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tumpane saved a woman who was on the wrong side of the railing of a bridge. That story says he had just finished a run at about 3 p.m. Wednesday and was near PNC Park when he saw the woman climb on the railing over the Allegheny River.

That story said that Tumpane talked briefly with the woman, who told him: “No one wants to help me. Just let me go.”

Instead, Tumpane grabbed her.

At one point, Tumpane said, another man took hold of the woman’s arm, but Tumpane locked his arms behind her back and she was dangling from the bridge for a time.

“I just was thinking, ‘God, this has got to be a good ending and not a bad ending,’ and just held on for dear life,” Tumpane told reporters in a video on the Post-Gazette’s site.

“I got another guy walking across the bridge, he said, ‘How can I help?’ I said, ‘If you could help grab her ankles under, on the bottom rail.’ He was kind of able to pin her ankles there until the police came and the police boat came below us and there was actually a helicopter above.”

Eventually, the police were able to get a life preserver on her and handcuffed a hand to the bridge, Tumpane said in the video. They were able to get the woman off the bridge and she was taken to the hospital, the Post-Gazette reported.

“You never know what somebody’s day looks like,” Tumpane told the Post-Gazette. “It’s a nice day, everyone’s out for a walk, and somebody’s not having the same day you’re having. I was just glad to help.

“She said, ‘You don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘I care.’ She said, ‘I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.’ I said, ‘You’re going to be all right.’ ”

You can read more details about the life-saving efforts here.

This is the video that the Post-Gazette shared:

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff