With all the emotion that came from Game 6 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, Gary Cederstrom kept his eye on the ball - literally.
The longtime Major League Baseball umpire and Minot native was behind the plate for all the action.
"It was a very exciting game," Cederstrom said.
Home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom, a Minot native, calls Game 6 of the World Series in St. Louis.
Exciting for players, coaches and fans - just another day at the ballpark for Cederstrom, who's one of four umpires that worked each game.
"You don't get caught up in the highs and lows of the game," Cederstrom said. "It was just interesting and exciting."
Cederstrom is a crew chief, which typically means he acts as a supervisor on his crew as well as being a liaison when dealing with the league office. Crew chiefs are usually decided by years of experience at the Major League level.
The Cardinals came down to their last strike in two consecutive innings before Series MVP David Freese hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 11th to force a Game 7, where the Cardinals capped off a stunning season with a 6-2 win and a world championship.
To say Cederstrom had a front-row seat would be a gross understatement.
"I was just an independent observer, and it was exciting. ... It was getting loud. The fans were quite boisterous," Cederstrom said. "You don't have a high for anything or low for anything. That's the difference between being a fan and being (an umpire)."
A veteran of 17 years in the majors, Cederstrom was back in Minot for a few days last weekend, visiting friends and family, and taking a look at his flooded house. Cederstrom's regular residence is in West Melbourne, Fla.
"I'm hoping I have a lot of friends back here; I need places to stay when I get back," Cederstrom deadpanned. "I get to see some, but not all of my five friends."
The Series was the second for Cederstrom, who also worked the 2005 games when the Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros. In addition, he worked the 2003 All-Star Game and four of the last six League Championship Games.
Cederstrom said umpire executives Peter Woodfork and Joe Torre make the decisions on who umpires the World Series.
"Their selection process I'm not privy to," Cederstrom said.
Even though he spends his summers even keel in the most emotional situations, Cederstrom said umpires should be thrilled when given the chance to work on baseball's biggest stage.
"That's like being a player, coach or manager," Cederstrom said. "You want to get to the World Series. It's an exciting thing for my family."
Cederstrom joked that he often hears players complain about road trips, and that in itself makes him laugh.
"They get to spend half their days at home," Cederstrom said. "I'm always in a hotel, always on a road trip. We put in a few more days on the road than teams do. We hear, 'We've got a 10-day road trip.' Well, we haven't been home in two and a half months. It's all relative. I've been doing it for years, so it's not like it's a shock."
Cederstrom isn't sure how many years he has left.
"It'd be nice to retire and still be able to go fishing and play golf and go hunting," Cederstrom said. "I don't want to work until I'm 70, but I'll probably work till I'm 57."