Chris Conroy has umpired a lot of baseball games in his time as a Major League Baseball umpire. This week, the Williamstown native earned his way into one of MLB's marquee events.
Conroy, 42, was named as part of the crew that will be working this summer's All-Star Game. Conroy will be in Miami for the July 11 game at Marlins Park. Conroy said he will man third base in what is known as the Mid-Summer Classic.
Conroy, reached in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he and his crew were working the Pirates-Colorado Rockies series, said he was in St. Louis last weekend when Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, called.
"Sunday morning, my cell phone starts ringing. I look at it, and the caller ID says Joe Torre," Conroy said. "I'm like, I start thinking in my mind, I don't think I've messed anything up bad enough on the field that would require a call from Joe Torre. My next thought was, I know this is sort of around the time that the All-Star Game selections are made and the guys get notified.
"Before I picked it up, I'm hoping that it's this and not something else that I can't think of at the moment. It obviously being the All-Star phone call, which was just fantastic."
Conroy, who has been a full-time MLB umpire since 2013, has been in the center ring before. In 2015, he worked the 2015 American League Wild Card game between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The year before, he worked the American League Division Series games as a replay official in New York.
Conroy said hearing Torre's voice giving him the news brought a smile to his face.
"He congratulated me," Conroy said. "He said he was happy for me, and said I was having a good season so far. He said 'Go call your family. Go call your friends, and enjoy it.' It was a couple of minute phone call because he was calling some other guys.
"But it was a great phone call."
Conroy had umpired 267 games from 2010-13 when he swung between the majors and Triple A, before being appointed as a full-time umpire in 2013. He began umpiring in the New York-Penn League back in 2000, a resume point he shares with current crew member Ed Hickox.
Again this year, Conroy is a member of Jerry Meals' crew, along with Ron Kulpa. Hickox, who has 12 years of MLB experience, replaced Paul Nauert on the crew.
Conroy said the call from Torre is "always a surprise."
"I was sort of thinking that I might have a shot either this year or next year," Conroy said. "I know that every year, they try to get a couple of guys the All-Star Game, get them their first one. Looking back over the past few years, the guys that have gotten it for the first time, as you eliminate those guys, you're now getting to the group of guys that I was hired with.
"By a process of elimination, I was thinking that it could possibly be coming for me this year or next year."
Conroy said that going to Miami is always a treat, because his sister Mary Beth Conroy lives there. She is an Episcopal priest and is a rector and runs a school in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables.
Going to the game will give Conroy's wife Becky and twin daughters Maeve and Meiris a chance to hit the beach, visit with their family and watch their husband and father work the game.
"It's one of MLB's showcase events," he said. "There's a lot of talent out on that field, player-wise. It's going to be special.
"I can't wait."
Reach sports writer Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.