The Milwaukee Brewers accomplished a rare feat yesterday – they won. And, they did so in record-breaking fashion by going 17 innings at Miller Park to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 on a walk-off homer by Martin Maldonado.

While fans know the names of such key players as Brewer’s Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez, and might even have heard of Arizona’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia – I want to introduce you to four names of men without whom yesterday’s game never would have happened.

Ryan Blakney, Hunter Wendelstedt, Bob Davidson, Ben May – These are the “men in blue.”

These umpires “played” a 17-inning game without the chance to sit down when their “side” batted; without the opportunity to easily slip away for a restroom break; without the option of being replaced late in the game as fatigue might have set in.

No one remembers the umpires. Perhaps if a blown call dramatically changes the outcome of an important game (see Don Denkinger 1985 World Series).

But yesterday’s crew deserves a “shout out” for going the distance.

Ryan Blakney stood behind home plate for a game that lasted almost six hours. He worked in front of more than 32,000 fans at the game and a television audience that had the benefit of instant replay to monitor his work.

Imagine what his workday must have been like. He called balls and strikes for 528 pitches. That means he had to bend over and focus on about 90 pitches an hour for almost six straight hours.

At Vistelar, we train contact professionals, including referees and umpires, in the art of “Verbal Defense and Influence.” We train them how to be cool under pressure and to treat others with dignity by showing them respect.

At the heart of our lessons is the idea that one should respond to conflict when it occurs and not react. Nowhere is this challenge greater than in the heat of a major league sporting event with thousands of people sitting on the sidelines watching while players are expecting perfection on every pitch called.

Were mistakes made by the umpire crew yesterday at Miller Park during the 17-inning marathon? I’d assume some were made. But, it appears that the “Men In Blue” committed no major errors – and says a lot about the team nobody ever cheers for.

Nice job Ryan – Hunter – Bob – Ben – It seems to me that someone needed to call you out for a great day “at the office.”