From Pine View Farm

(Inarticulate Guttural Yell)! 2

My brother is an umpire.

I’ve seen him in action. He’s actually pretty damned good, as much as it pains me to say that.

(Full disclosure: I got suckered into umpiring once, first base. Never again. Give me a training class in front of a bunch of hostile railroad conductors who have just come off 90-day disciplinary suspensions any day of the week and twice on Sundays.)

It’s not his day job. He’s one of the persons who umpire Little League and Babe Ruth and High School games, for no or for only token pay, so kids get to play the game. He’s been doing it for almost 30 years.

He doesn’t do it because he enjoys the abuse from coaches and parents and fans. He doesn’t do it because he likes ejecting the occasional obnoxious player or parent or coach from the park (something he doesn’t hesitate to do, with an autocratic streak he didn’t show when I, pulling three years’ rank, was Wild Bill to his Jingles).

He umpires because he loves baseball.

He sent me this link. Welcome to umpiring (oh, yeah, he’s got some great stories about the parents and the coaches and the players, but they are his to tell):



  1. Bill

    November 27, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Yes, I’m an umpire. Some people would say that explains a lot. Actually, I’ve been umpiring for almost 40 years (I started when I was 16). I still work the older levels of Little League for free, but I get paid for most of the other games I do. It’s not much money when you consider the time, gas, association dues, meetings, and training time. But I don’t do it for the money. The money basically pays for my uniforms, shoes, and protective equipment. (Good equipment doesn’t come cheap, but the video is a good example why it doesn’t pay to buy cheap gear.)

    The film clip of Jim Evans that Frank posted is the real thing. (I love the baseballs in the face masks drill and the “What was it? Make a call! Let’s go! Make a call!“) Mr. Evans runs The Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring. It’s one of two schools all aspiring professional umpires must attend.

    (Breaking into professional umpiring is for those much younger than I. You start out in the Minor Leagues earning something in the neighborhood of $20,000/year. I’ve heard it said that you have a better chance of getting a seat on the Supreme Court than becoming one of the 70 umpires on the Major League roster.)

    In addition to his Academy program, Mr. Evans conducts several extended clinics (from 4 days to a week). I was fortunate enough to attend one of those clinics in mid-November. He is fascinating to listen to – a true student of the game and its rules and an excellent speaker. I could listen to him for days (actually, I did). In addition to Mr. Evans, there’s Sarge and a crew of Minor League umpires (all graduates of the Evans Academy) working as instructors. They all know their business.

    Mr. Evans is also one of the toughest and best instructors I’ve ever encountered. If you screw up, he lets you know in no uncertain terms, but then umpiring is not for those with thin skins. Then he gives you the tools to do a better job.

    As Frank wrote, I have lots of stories including a couple of scary encounters with parents during and after games. Luckily, those are few and far between. I’ve dumped (that’s umpire talk for ejected) my share of players and coaches. I’ll even admit I’ve enjoyed a couple of those. I’ll spare you the stories unless you really want to hear one or two.

  2. Opie

    November 27, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Like Christmas is for the children, baseball is for the umpires. Nobody loves the game more than they do.