Six Golden Rules for Umpires
After years of umpiring at different levels of baseball, I would like to give some advice to newer officials.
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Golden Rules of Umpiring
I have been umpiring at different levels of baseball for 12 years.
I have met many coaches and worked with many umpires over this time. Here are a
few things that seem to be widely recognized as important to being a good and
Rules- As an umpire you need to have a complete grasp of all baseball
rules and how to apply them. This includes local league rules. You are the
authority governing the field of play, its actions and its participants. To be
able to make calls in a second, knowledge of the rules needs to be second
nature. There will also be occasions when you may have to explain a certain
rule to a coach or manager. Being able to cite the specific rule and the exact
wording will go a long way toward your credibility.
Be In Position- This
comes down to hustle. There is no excuse to become a spectator of the game. You
are most likely the only one on the field getting paid to be there. So do your
job right. Coaches and players will respect your calls much more if you are on
top of the play and in position rather than across the diamond.
Professional- It is very easy to get caught up in the emotion of a close or
important game. Don’t. It isn’t wise to start embellishing calls like Leslie
Nielsen in The Naked Gun. This type of display is never good. The game is about
the players. Also, the last thing you want as an official is your integrity
questioned by someone who may think you are “rooting” for one of the teams.
Assertive- Use your voice. Make the call loud enough for everyone on the
field and in the dugouts to hear. Certain calls have immediate bearing on the
game such as an infield fly, strike three and ball four. Also, it shows you are
confident in your decisions, which makes you less likely to be questioned.
Equipment- Safe and comfortable equipment is very important. Read reviews
of different equipment and always check the specs so you are buying a piece of
gear that fits right and is under warranty. Being uncomfortable or getting hurt
because of shoddy gear will make you want to call everything a strike and
everyone out just to get the game over with.
Constantly- There are more rules in baseball than football, hockey and
basketball combined. There are also many instances that you will only encounter
once every couple of years. It is always a good idea to refresh your memory.
Read over the rulebook before each season and test yourself. There may be a few
things you didn’t know.