Game officials aren’t exactly the most popular people when it comes to sports.

Regardless of the league they work for, people in charge of making sure a sports’ rules get followed often are at the receiving end of fans and teams’ ire.

Hockey officials are under fire a lot for missing a hooking call. Football refs are constantly booed by the 60,000-plus in attendance for a bad interference call. In basketball, calling (or not calling fouls) is a point of contention. In baseball? Home plate umps’ interpretation of the strike zone and the consistency in which they call pitches.

But one umpire went from victim of fans’ angst to hero in mere minutes.

Earlier in the week, John Tumpane was scheduled to call a game between the Rays and Pirates. As he has was crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge over the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, he noticed a woman climbing over a railing.

Tumpane reacted swiftly and heroically hours before first pitch.

Flip over to Page 2 for the full account of the ordeal…

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