The gesture was easy to miss, but it meant a lot to those who saw it back in Kansas.
Major League Baseball umpire Todd Tichenor put his hand on his heart during the first pitch of Monday’s Subway Series between the New York Yankees and the Mets at Yankee Stadium.
Scott Hardin of Wichita said the gesture was intentional: Tichenor was honoring Shane Stimatze, who died over the weekend in what appeared to be an accident at his home in Stafford County, according to the Hutchinson News.
“A good friend of his told me he was going to do it,” Hardin said. “It was just a tribute to him (Stimatze), to a good guy who worked as an official in games around here and in western Kansas.”
Stimatze was a basketball official in high school games in the Wichita area and junior-college games in the Jayhawk Conference, Hardin said.
Hardin posted a clip of the moment on his Facebook page:
I looked at other videos from the game, and Tichenor never put his hand on his chest before a pitch, so it certainly was done with intent.
Tichenor lives in Holcomb, Kan., and has been working full time in the major leagues since 2012. He was the right-field umpire for the 2014 AL Wild Card Game.