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View Full Version : Becoming an umpire?



TeamSelig
04-21-2008, 04:22 PM
What is the process of this? I was thinking of doing a little umpiring this summer for some extra money on the side. I'm not sure how to get started though.

George Anderson
04-21-2008, 04:29 PM
Find a good association that you can work for. Look for one that not only will assign you games but also teach you how to umpire or at the very least assign you with a veteran partner who can teach you the ropes.

Also focus on getting the calls right and worry about knowing the rule book later. Its more important to get the calls right then to focus on ridiculous rule scenarios that MIGHT happen once every five years or so.

RedlegJake
04-22-2008, 08:29 PM
George is right on. Plus, in my area, the leagues hold clinics for umps - there's always a need. Most of the time they'll pair you with a guy who's been doing it for awhile but not always. It's a fun way to earn some extra money - leagues here are paying about 30 bucks a game for softball, and anywhere from 25 to 75 for baseball.

HumnHilghtFreel
04-22-2008, 08:43 PM
I'm actually thinking of doing something like this myself, I think it could be a fun way to make some extra money over the summer.

I'm going to have to work on a really emphatic strike call.

TeamSelig
04-22-2008, 08:43 PM
I'm still having a hard time finding exactly what I need. I've looked for associations, but I don't see one in my area.

TeamSelig
04-22-2008, 09:00 PM
Do I go here? http://www.baberuthleague.org/side-indexes/natumpireassn.html I don't want to sign up and pay for this if it won't work in my town. Also, do you have to purchase your own gear to be an umpire or is it typically provided?

*BaseClogger*
04-22-2008, 09:26 PM
Do I go here? http://www.baberuthleague.org/side-indexes/natumpireassn.html I don't want to sign up and pay for this if it won't work in my town. Also, do you have to purchase your own gear to be an umpire or is it typically provided?

For me it's provided, but I only umpire for the city league. If you are really serious about umpiring, you are gonna want to buy your own gear...

TeamSelig
04-22-2008, 09:40 PM
I'm not. Just a hobby / quick & easy summer cash flow

WMR
04-22-2008, 09:46 PM
I had to purchsae my own gear when I got into umping. I don't know any associations that provide umps with equipment and every ump that I've ever worked with owned his own stuff.

I got into it through a teacher at my high school who was in charge of all the umpires for Fayette County.

WMR
04-22-2008, 09:46 PM
You should be able to get in touch with one of the league coordinators who can tell you who assigns all of their umpires. That's the person you want to talk to.

Razor Shines
04-22-2008, 09:57 PM
Do I go here? http://www.baberuthleague.org/side-indexes/natumpireassn.html I don't want to sign up and pay for this if it won't work in my town. Also, do you have to purchase your own gear to be an umpire or is it typically provided?

There aren't little leagues around where you live? That's the way I started. If you don't know someone involved in the league then it will require you to go to the league and start asking around for the chief umpire. Since you've never umpired you'll probably start out on t-ball games. It'll be less money than the older kids games, but it will get you experience. If you do find a league to let you umpire one way to become a favorite of the chief umpire (other than being good) is to be available as much as possible and be willing to fill in on very short notice.

As far as your gear. I'd wait to find out what you're doing before you go out and purchase equipment. If you're just doing t-ball, just get yourself a decent pair of grey pants and black shoes. Eventually you'll want your own gear though.

Once you start umpiring the most important thing that I have learned is to stay calm. Be in charge, but be calm. You're going to make bad calls, parents will yell at you, coaches will yell at you, people will lose their cool, but losing yours will not help. Especially at the lower levels.

George Anderson has more experience than me so he may have more helpful advice in finding an association and what not. I'm just going from my experience.

RedFanAlways1966
04-22-2008, 10:05 PM
I umpired one summer while in college. It was for a local little league. I had to have dark blue pants and a light blue short-sleeve button-down shirt. The equipment was provided. I'd make sure to buy a "clicker" too. Some leagues might not have these and you do not want to keep track of the count and number of outs in your head (better safe than sorry and they are inexpensive).

http://www.softball.org.uk/images/pagemaster/plastic_umpire_indicator_db89_small_.jpg

Know the infield fly rule! ;)

*BaseClogger*
04-23-2008, 12:21 AM
There aren't little leagues around where you live? That's the way I started. If you don't know someone involved in the league then it will require you to go to the league and start asking around for the chief umpire. Since you've never umpired you'll probably start out on t-ball games. It'll be less money than the older kids games, but it will get you experience. If you do find a league to let you umpire one way to become a favorite of the chief umpire (other than being good) is to be available as much as possible and be willing to fill in on very short notice.

As far as your gear. I'd wait to find out what you're doing before you go out and purchase equipment. If you're just doing t-ball, just get yourself a decent pair of grey pants and black shoes. Eventually you'll want your own gear though.

Once you start umpiring the most important thing that I have learned is to stay calm. Be in charge, but be calm. You're going to make bad calls, parents will yell at you, coaches will yell at you, people will lose their cool, but losing yours will not help. Especially at the lower levels.

George Anderson has more experience than me so he may have more helpful advice in finding an association and what not. I'm just going from my experience.

This is solid advice. Everything was the same for me, except there are no umpires for t-ball around here; you start with the pitching machine. If you have a lot of baseball experience and the umpiring coordinator is impressed by you he might start you up a little higher like little league. But like everybody else, you are going to have to work your way up. You usually don't get to do the big money travel team games yet.

Some other tips:

*Punctuality. Getting to the game at least 15 minutes before it starts shows that you are prepared.

*Always have a pre-game meeting with the coaches to lay down the ground rules. This will build respect with the coaches.

*Dress proffesional. You image is almost as important as the calls you make.

*Know the league-specific rules. Little league coaches are much less likely to scream at you over the dead ball rules than they are over league-specific rules such as 10 batters per inning.

*Take your time when you make a call. Don't rush--just make sure you get it right. Knee-jerk calls are almost always incorrect, and you'll end up regretting it.

*Be loud. If you are confident of your call coaches are less likely to call you out.

*Always get in the best position for the call. Know how to position yourself so that the coaches can't criticize you for this.

*In honor of FCB: be consistent. It's what people look for in little league umpires.

As long as you always do the little things like these right the coaches will be more forgiving if you screw up a call.

Again, all of this stuff should be taught in an umpiring clinic. Hopefully, it's not too late...

Unassisted
04-23-2008, 01:22 AM
I took umpiring classes for PE credit when I was in college. The instructor of the class hooked the class up with the local umpire's association. Learning the finer points of the rules for the exam was a blast. I even retook the softball version of the umpiring class. Once I umped a few high school JV games, I figured out quickly that I wasn't good at it and didn't enjoy it. I sold my like-new gear the next year.

George Anderson
04-23-2008, 09:31 AM
There
Once you start umpiring the most important thing that I have learned is to stay calm. Be in charge, but be calm. You're going to make bad calls, parents will yell at you, coaches will yell at you, people will lose their cool, but losing yours will not help. Especially at the lower levels.



This is the most important advice that has been given. NEVER act like the idiot parents or coaches act like. ALWAYS be calm and professional. If a coach comes out and is yelling at you, then calmly tell him the conversation is not going to happen until he calms down. If he doesn't calm down either confine him to the dugout or eject him. If a coach ever gets personnal then eject him right away. The most important thing for any umpire to ever remember is to never ever stoop to acting like the idiot coaches, players and fans.

RedlegJake
04-24-2008, 12:12 PM
Contact the local leagues, a coach can tell you who coordinates the umpries and he can tell you where you ned to goor who to see. The local Y will usually know who to contact, too, or the city parks director's office.

Some leagues provide the chest protector, mask and shin guards. You can start with those but if you do much umping you'll want your own gear that fits you and is comfortable for you. Be sure your mask has a throat protector. Loud calls are really hard after a foul tip in the larynx. - voice of experience -
The younger leagues you don't really need shin guards but as you go up the ladder they help a lot - of course if you want to be macho man and shake off a foul with your shin bone it's up to you.

Yep, the advice to stay calm is essential. Speak softly in a discussion even when the coach is yelling his head off. Amazing how that lowers the heat level. Tell them calmly you'll discuss the rules, but you won't allow yelling. I rarely ever reversed a judgement call, in an exceptional case once or twice I asked my fellow ump if he had a better look but mostly on judgement calls stick to your guns. Even if you suspect you got it wrong. Just do your best. If it's a rules call then, sure, I'd reverse myself after checking the rulebook. AND - I never, ever let a coach pull a rulebook -that's my job, keep one in your gear bag or hip pocket and refer to it if asked to, and if you are not absolutely sure you're right. If you let the coach bring his out on the field be ready for along game of that crap. That was part of my ground rules - I'll discuss rules/plays with one coach and one coach only - never a player; I have a rulebook don't bring yours on the field. Get personal, or curse and you're gone. No warning. Otherwise, if you are reasonable with me I'll discuss it with you. 98% of coaches won't give you too much grief - 100% of them will holler some times, though, that's part of the job. Most will let you know and then drop it. Parents are worse, but I just ignore them unless they get profane and start bothering the boys. Luckily in our area, league rules are REALLY strict about coach/parent misbehavior. I had one incident in years of coaching where I was physically threatened, others were threatened and the city police were called. In years of umpiring & coaching. But...it can and does get very tense from time to time. You have to have a pretty even temperment and a thick skin.

George Anderson
04-24-2008, 03:08 PM
I never, ever let a coach pull a rulebook .

This is to funny. Just last night for the first time ever I had a Varsity coach try to bring a rule book out on the field and show me that the opposing pitcher wasn't allowed to have a batting glove on under his mitt. I politely told him that rule books were not allowed on the field and we needed to keep playing.

This school uses another association than ours and obviously this association allows nonsense like rule books on the field and other bizarre things. It makes it so much harder dealing with teams and coaches that aren't used to our associations way of doing things.

Razor Shines
04-25-2008, 12:40 AM
This is to funny. Just last night for the first time ever I had a Varsity coach try to bring a rule book out on the field and show me that the opposing pitcher wasn't allowed to have a batting glove on under his mitt. I politely told him that rule books were not allowed on the field and we needed to keep playing.

This school uses another association than ours and obviously this association allows nonsense like rule books on the field and other bizarre things. It makes it so much harder dealing with teams and coaches that aren't used to our associations way of doing things.

That's funny. A couple years ago I ejected a coach for bringing a rule book on the field. He questioned a call (actually a judgement call, so the rule book wouldn't have done him any good) and told me he was going to get the rule book to prove I was wrong. I politely said "coach we don't play baseball with rule books, please do not bring it on the field." He told me he was getting it anyway. And I said "If you bring that rule book on the field I will eject you." "No you won't!" was the response and he brought back his rule book and I told him he was gone. I felt bad about it after, but a much more experienced umpire was on the bases with me and he assured me that I wasn't out of line.

I still think that maybe I didn't have to eject him. If hadn't threatened ejection I probably could have let him go without being ejected, but once I threatened it I didn't have a choice.

WMR
04-25-2008, 12:44 AM
I've never had a coach threaten me with bringing a rule book on the field. I admit, the idea of running one for doing so makes me chuckle.

George Anderson
04-25-2008, 09:38 AM
That's funny. A couple years ago I ejected a coach for bringing a rule book on the field. He questioned a call (actually a judgement call, so the rule book wouldn't have done him any good) and told me he was going to get the rule book to prove I was wrong. I politely said "coach we don't play baseball with rule books, please do not bring it on the field." He told me he was getting it anyway. And I said "If you bring that rule book on the field I will eject you." "No you won't!" was the response and he brought back his rule book and I told him he was gone. I felt bad about it after, but a much more experienced umpire was on the bases with me and he assured me that I wasn't out of line.

I still think that maybe I didn't have to eject him. If hadn't threatened ejection I probably could have let him go without being ejected, but once I threatened it I didn't have a choice.


No you were in the right. I wouldn't have threatened ejection, if he disobeyed you by bringing the book out when you told him not to then I would have just dumped him without a warning. I would have said "Please don't bring the rule book out" and if he did then I would say "I am sorry but you have to leave now".