I'm a baseball fan. I love when MLB Opening Day comes and it's baseball every day through October. I also have liked seeing the name "Welke" as one of the umpires, knowing that he is from the area.  It's cool to see a hometown guy as a MLB umpire! 

According to Associated Press, Longtime Major League Baseball Umpire and Kalamazoo native Tim Welke is retiring after 33 seasons. He recently had his left knee replaced in January and will have the other knee done in June.

He made his major league start in 1983 (after a few years in the minors), calling over 4,216 games, which is only 600 games behind active leader Joe West.

Half of those games he was the crew chief and many of those included his brother Bill.

Tim Welke not only called regular season games, he had the chance to call The World Series in 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2008.  One  notable highlight for Tim is he is the last umpire to toss a manager from the World Series.  That is when he ejected then Braves manager Bobby Cox from Game 6 of the 1996 World Series.

He also tossed out a fan at a game in Atlanta in 2014 for heckling Bryce Harper in a profane manner.

Many managers, players and fellow umpires praised him for his demeanor and ability to control the game without letting emotions escalate.

He called his last game last season as the Pirates took on the Reds.

I've gone to and watched many games over my lifetime and I'm sure I've seen Tim umpire on several occasions. Here's to the league being different now with one of the greats retiring and to his brother Bill for continuing to represent Kalamazoo in the Big Leagues!

Congratulations on a great career as one of the best to ever stand behind the plate.