Monday, April 19, 2010


One of my favorite aspects of umpiring is the camaraderie. During my son’s high school game the other day, four umpires (just us dads sitting in the stands as fans) began a “what would you do” discussion that continued into the week, creating a very long email string. It really helps keep you sharp.

For those that are not umpires at the youth level, I’ll let you in on a secret: We’re not all experts when it comes to the rulebook. Have you ever read the real, unabridged baseball rulebook? It’s packed with information, written in an odd type of legalese and it sometimes contradicts itself. We read it, we know it but we don’t know it all, completely.

I believe that since we know so much about the rulebook, we understand how much we don’t know – if that makes sense. In my experience I can tell you that we know it better than many of the coaches out there. I say that with a bit of humility because when I coached, I thought I knew the rulebook. That’s why we talk to one another...often.

We do more than our fair share of research. We peruse websites, take online tests and read the rulebook for fun…for fun! In our small group, we actually have access to a MLB umpire who has encouraged us to email him with questions. He’s a great guy that instructs at an annual camp we attend and loves the game.

My umpiring relationships remind me of something I learned in college. You can study all you want but study groups can really help. It’s such a benefit for a fellow umpire to arrive and say, “I had a situation yesterday…”

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