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How To Be The Best Umpire

Updated on July 27, 2017
Dan W Miller profile image

The Vanilla Godzilla was raised and lived in Simi Valley/Thousand Oaks CA. Veteran. Divorced 1996, kids, grandkids. In Phoenix since 2000

Tips from what to wear, what to think, how to act in certain situations and most of all, how to survive the game when the crowd is yelling, "Kill the umpire!"

I've used indentations in the dirt, marks on the ball and chalk lines as proof. Don't call what LOOKS to be the call. Only call what you can see. If you didn't or can't see it, call time and talk in private.
I've used indentations in the dirt, marks on the ball and chalk lines as proof. Don't call what LOOKS to be the call. Only call what you can see. If you didn't or can't see it, call time and talk in private. | Source
Smile because you know you're always right. (Or at least act like it!)
Smile because you know you're always right. (Or at least act like it!)
I talk to everyone at the game if they'll let me. One reason is because I'm a baseball nut
I talk to everyone at the game if they'll let me. One reason is because I'm a baseball nut | Source

BACKGROUND

At 38 years old, my buddy had convinced me to umpire in the same Men's Open league that I had retired from. But I'd never even given umpiring a second thought. So my pal suggested that I "just watch what he did" and emulate him as I took the field to be the base ump in my very first game.

The second game of the doubleheader was to be my first game behind the plate. A rarity happened in that game and over 17 years later it's what my reputation has been staked to ever since. I have exceeded over 1,000 consecutive games umpired without ejecting a single person be they coach, player or fan since my second game I ever umpired in 1998! I guess I possess some "mad negotiating skills" and I've NEVER made a wrong call (wink.) Yes, that helps tremendously, too. Many coaches and players are well aware of my consecutive streak.

Most of the games I've umpired have been in Scottsdale where everyone is used to being the boss or owning their own business. So they might think THEY are right. Wrong. This is MY OFFICE and you'd better act accordingly and by MY RULES. Period.

Many of my games have been at the Little League level but with one twist. Their father could very well be a Major League ballplayer. There are so many that live out here in the off season. From Joe Garagiola to Randy Johnson to Luis Gonzalez. Some of the best competition in the universe (at their own level) takes place in the leagues I umpire in. I've umpired the MLB stars' kids. Also, I've umpired five no-hitters from behind the plate. Now some of those "kids" are grown men playing Major League baseball today! I've umpired girl's fast pitch softball (never slow pitch,) Men's Semi-Pro baseball and Mexican League games where I was the only "Gringo" present on the field.


ESTABLISH YOUR STRIKE ZONE

My strike zone is liberal but not ridiculous and it IS a strike. Little kids get a break because I'll add ONLY a baseball measurement to the strike zone all around. It's not much, but it's always appropriate and the game moves along a lot faster. Being an ex-semi professional pitcher, I like to call "the black." I always hoped the guy behind the plate would call MY pitches on the black strikes. Because... they ARE strikes! Did you know the black is NOT part of the plate? It SHOULD be. So I call it.

Players who know me, KNOW they'd better get up there and swing if it looks close. Makes games go quickly and less relying on me to keep calling very close pitches. You'd think of all the games I've umpired I'd have at least ONE 1-0 game. Nope. 2-0, 2-1 yes. But everyone is swinging the bat because I'll "punch you out" (uh, call you out on strikes.).

My strike zone is an egg standing on it's large side. High strikes are tight, low strikes are rewarded. "Checked swing" strikes actually don't take much. No, it's not some idiot's made up rule that says "his/her wrists broke" or the bat has to clear the plate. It's WHAT YOU THINK the "intention" of the batter is. In other words, was the batter "meaning" to swing. Hard to tell. But watch instant replays on TV. It's so subtle. (tip:) Watch the batter's facial reaction and body language too. You can see they might "let on" with an expression. Take that into account too.

Remember, it's not where the ball ends up. It's where it crossed or didn't cross the plate. Balls can bounce in the dirt and still be a called strike because it's the curvature of the path included with the velocity of the approaching ball and how it relates to YOUR strike zone as it travels past the zone to be called. (Say what?) THERE is where you shall make the call from. But one thing above most tips given in this tutorial is if you make "THAT" call in the first inning, you'd better make THAT same call in the ninth inning. You establish your strike zone in the first inning AND THEN STICK TO IT all game.


STUDY THE PLAYERS

I love to get a catcher that can "frame the pitch." In other words the good catcher will twist their mitt, receive the ball a certain way, even kind of "cheat" a bit to make the pitch appear to be a strike even if it's just a smidgen off the strike zone, I will "reward" the experienced "backstop" who can "act out" a strike. I will even teach the very young catcher during the course of the game just how to frame pitches.

I've umpired high school games of Arizona Diamondback's and former ASU catcher Tuffy Gosewich who would try to frame nearly every pitch and I'd remind him to don't push his luck because then I wouldn't "play our game." He was fun too because while warming up his pitcher before the first batter even approached the plate one game he noticed, "Oh! It's YOU. Here's your strike zone, Blue." Then he proceeded to yank obvious balls into the strike zone.

Laughing, I said my strike zone wasn't THAT liberal. But he knew me and was aware I'd reward framed pitches because he'd make them APPEAR to be strikes when they might have been off by a few inches. SWING THE BAT. It's what you're here for, batter. To play baseball. Not strolling in the park.

Another "act" by the catcher is one who holds the pitch a bit longer than usual because what they are conveying to Mr. Umpire is, "Look. Here's even a longer look at that pitch. I'm holding it here to show you that I think it's a strike." And whoever thinks that every strike in the zone is the same, they are stupid to baseball umpiring. That first strike is a huge zone (we're talking maybe half the size of a baseball more.) Three balls and no strikes is "enormous." Two and oh a bit tighter. The second called strike is a good strike and that third strike to catch the batter looking pretty much as be darn near perfect.


UNWRITTEN RULES

What's a "make up pitch?" Occasionally I might regret I had called a pitch so close one way or another. A very strange anomaly (an oddity, peculiarity, quirk, rarity) occurs in baseball more often than not. Watch as the very next pitch will be nearly exactly where that close call just was and here is THE ONLY TIME you can use "the make up call." Call it the other way. It could have gone either way, no one questions you and experienced players know exactly what just occurred and everyone can move on without a complaint from both sides. (note:) You cannot do this on base calls.

This is one of those things in baseball one just CAN'T explain. Like the fielder who makes a great play in the field to end an inning just might very well be the lead-off batter the next half inning. Think of the odds. Nine or ten bat, one has to make a great fielding play to end the inning and then lead off the immediate next half inning. It happens a lot more often than you would think.


USE BASEBALL EXPRESSIONS

Incidentally, you may use my word "INTENT" to describe a batter, a runner, a checked swing, an infielder's tag or a collision of runner and infielder. It makes coaches stop to pause and reflect upon the thought process of those just involved in a play. I laugh because I'm actually saying I can read player's minds. How absurd but it works when describing a play. Also, NO WHERE in the rule book is the word intent used. I utilize it to great success and it makes you appear to be (somewhat) literate.

If my "lingo" during this tutorial is a bit too closely geared for an experienced "baseball person," I do apologize. But I'm sure you will be able to follow along quite well and maybe even pick up on some chatter, squawk, um vocabulary, shall we say. Like, an umpire does not appreciate listening to "chirping" directed towards him from the bench when his calls are made. That means someone is griping about your calls just audible enough for you to hear but not obvious enough as to whom is actually doing it. I'll give a very long look, with hands on hips in the general direction right up until the next pitch will be delivered. It usually ceases right then.


INTERACTION IS THE KEY

Talking with other humans in attendance during your umpiring "gig" will be at least 49% as far as matters of importance when doing the job correctly. The remaining 51% will be devoted to the proper way to dress, call, prepare, position, act and survive. With my knowledge and expertise, everyone in attendance and on the field will love you by game's end. Especially the winning team, of course. But MAKE THE RIGHT CALL EVERY TIME. Period.


PREGAME PREPARATION

First of all, you must be in good health. Be ready to tote around 10 pounds of equipment for the next two to three hours (at least four to five hours for two games) in the summertime. Be plenty hydrated. Bring a snack (especially if it's a doubleheader) and lots of cold water or sports drink. Don't rely on a snack bar being at the ballpark. Usually they will only want to serve you AFTER the game but many times for free. Perk! I'd suggest make friends with the snack bar people or a team Mom as soon as possible if you want a free hot dog and coke after the game.

Most times your umpiring boss or scheduler has set up two games for you to umpire on a Saturday. I have done up to five games in one day and the highest temperature I have umpired in is 120 degrees. Most leagues schedule games in the spring but where I live in Arizona, a spring day could be well over 100 degrees!

You'd better know the rules of baseball (and/or fast pitch softball) VERY well. You're supposed to know them. Also, every league can have their own rules woven into the usual rules, so ask your boss or person who's assigning you these games to give you a heads up beforehand.
Walk onto the field AT LEAST 15 minutes before game time. Arrive early if you are assigned the plate because it will take you 10-15 minutes to suit up.


PROPER EQUIPMENT

Look at a Major League umpire. See how he's dressed? Dress as close to that as possible and I mean even a number sewn or ironed onto your sleeve, too. Make sure you have a REAL umpire's hat, proper shirts (this includes undershirt. Not white. Get a dark blue, black or red. Coordinate.)

Don't wear your Buck Rogers decoder watch. In fact, don't wear a watch or bling of any kind at all. Most likely you WILL have to keep track of time because so many league games are on a time limit. Keep it in your pocket. Also synchronize your watch with a scorekeeper's or coach's time ALWAYS as a back up. Bring sunglasses and not a pair of white or pink surfer Oakley's but a "I mean business" pair. Along about half way through the game ask both scorekeepers what do they have for a score. I have found discrepancies in agreement many times. Hold THEM accountable for accuracy then you won't have to worry and can devote all of your attention to the play in front of you.

DON'T wear your hat backwards. A MLB ump doesn't, so you don't either. For umpiring the bases, get a long billed hat and for behind the plate, get the short billed "plate hat." No "do rags" or hankies worn underneath your cap and get a haircut. I don't see any pony tailed umpires in the majors, do you?

I should explain the reason WHY I try to look so PROFESSIONAL when I umpire. If you look like you know what you are doing, the least likely chance anyone is going to question your authority. You're telling people what to do so look like you've done this before and not like a slob or a rookie. A very thick, shiny black belt around a pair of well kept light grey slacks shall be worn. DO NOT wear white socks. You'll look like Michael Jackson out there doing the Moonwalk. Black socks always.

There are proper shoes to be worn behind the plate. Usually steel toed reinforced specially made for a plate umpire. You can find these in catalogs and sporting goods stores. Nothing like taking a Men's League foul tip from a pitch thrown between 80-90 mph, caroming off at the same speed directly on to your toe. On the bases you may be able to get away with a black pair of athletic shoes with black shoe laces with tread on the bottom.

Now, let's assume you are behind the plate. Get the correct mask, the proper chest protector, a cup, two small (specially made for umpires) lightweight shin guards that cover the top of your foot and the sides of your ankles. If it's cold, a pair of matching thin black gloves may be worn but make sure it's not the pair you used when you were playing on your Flexible Flyer sled in the snow at Grandma's house. You know, the bright red pair she knitted for you.

Make sure you have an official ball bag to hang from your belt. I always use two and because why? That's what a MLB ump would wear on his belt. Inside one bag should be a "plate broom." You will need to bend over and dust off that plate SEVERAL times during the game. Again, you'd better be in shape.

Have a "clicker" or an official count keeper. Put it in your left hand because you will need your right hand to gesture, catch baseballs thrown at you and to rub the sore spot where the foul tip will inevitably nail you right where your equipment does not cover you. Happens every time.


PAIN IS PART OF THE GAME

DO NOT hold up the game because you have "an owie." Act like it didn't even hit you. I don't care if tears are streaming down your cheeks from behind the mask.
This is where a good catcher will KNOW just what that's like. He'll feel your pain and suddenly call time out to speak to his pitcher... about nothing. He's giving you a few moments to "shake it off." Hence, when it happens to your catcher, dust off the plate, inspect the baseball, waste a few minutes and ask quietly if he's alright. Then the game can continue.

Make no mistake about it, you'd better get on good terms with that catcher in front of you because if he doesn't like you, he may just decide to not catch the ball and let you be the backstop. I've also had some on going arguments with the catcher in front of me and no one in the park is even aware of it because no one can see your mouths move with your masks on while both of you are inches from the other's ear.


PREGAME PROCEDURES

Meet all of the coaches from each side during pregame and have a meeting at home plate to discuss any ground rules or "idiosyncrasies" of each ball park. Is there a hole in the fence? Is there a two base rule if it hits the cows grazing in the far left field grass? WHATEVER it may be, all shall agree what to do if it happens BEFORE the first pitch is thrown. Meet each team's scorekeeper and maybe even assign them to keep track of time.

I always tell my coaches that whatever problems may arise, let's discuss it quietly like adults and I'm sure between us, we can come to a mutual conclusion of what to do. But it's going to be MY DECISION ultimately.

If I'm wrong (and it IS ENTIRELY possible but not likely) and one coach or player sees it differently, well let's pow wow. I might not have been able to see their angle. But again, I'M making the decision. Don't trust their's. Of course in over 1,000 games in 16 years, I STILL have NEVER been wrong ONCE. Just incredible, eh? Yup, I know.

The game is about to begin. You've "rubbed up" all the baseballs to get the shine and slickness off new baseballs or softballs. Now this is where your personality comes into play. There are two types of umpires. That's right, I said only two. There is THE DOMINATOR or the BLEND IN.


BE SURE AND BE CONFIDENT

The Blend In umpire is audible enough, does what he has to to do with minimal amount of movements or extra speaking. A game will be played and you might never know he's out there. But I doubt it.

Then there is The Dominator. This is my approach to umpiring. My thought is that I want the fan in the second deck of the stadium to know what call I just made. In fact, I'm probably the loudest umpire many will ever encounter. In doing so, I feel, I am letting everyone in the stadium know just who's in charge and loud enough to where there is no question as to what the call was. Fans, players, coaches and all in attendance just LOVE IT. Besides, it would be rather weird to have the tallest guy on the field sound like a wimp. I'm large. I'm in charge. Care to question my authority? That's what I thought. Now go sit down.

I have had many people tell me after the game that when they heard me bellow out my first order ("PLAY!" Not "play ball" which sounds too nice to me) that they KNEW right then and there they had A REAL UMPIRE.

I have also found that I encounter far less confrontations and questioning of my calls when people are slightly intimidated (and yet I am one of the most amiable, talkative, approachable umpires many people will EVER experience.) But I am "DAMN sure of myself" is what I am trying to convey to everyone out there. Hey, I just want things done via "The Frank Sinatra Method" - MY WAY.

Never use your thumb. Every actor portraying an umpire on TV calls OUT by sweeping his thumb. NO REAL UMPIRE EVER DOES THAT. If he does, he's an amateur. You either pump your right fist or bend at the elbow. That's all. I have been known to point with my left index finger at what I just saw (a tag or a dropped ball) and pump an "out" call with the right fist. ALWAYS AND ONLY THE RIGHT FIST.

Take an extra second to verbally make your call. It gives you time to think and re-think. The play happens, instinct tells you to make the call immediately. Don't do it. Count, one, two, now call it. It will keep you from making the wrong call OUT LOUD to everyone.

Safe calls can be theatrical (way out like a bird in flight) or half way, with fists closed or flat palms down. Obvious safe calls can be very minimal. Obvious out calls are made several seconds after the play is over, usually with just a bend at the elbow, a fist in the air and appear bored.


SOUND OFF!

Now this is important. The closer the play, the louder I am on the call. Again, no questions asked, because "that ump seems pretty sure of himself." Clearly yell, "Safe" when the player is safe. On an obvious out, I say, "Out." But when it's close, I will yell about as loud as I can a "growl" that carries more authority than saying, "out." It kind of sounds like, "HEEYEEEEEHOO!" It gets my point across.

My strike call (a "taken" strike. Never call a strike on a swing) is loud and sounds somewhat like, "STEEEEEEK!" A ball is called in a very low, quiet tone and I've even said where the pitch was ("low" or "outside") or sometimes a quiet, "no." Very close to being a strike? I might state a bit louder and stretch it out with a, "Nooooooo." To which the crowd goes, "Oooooh!"

I try to announce "the count" at least every third pitch. "One and twooooo." Or "Three and oooooh." A second strike that is swung at and missed will elicit a quick and quiet, "two!" from me. Announce outloud the count when there are two strikes. Foul balls that are close to being fair are yelled loud and clear. If it's VERY close to being fair, I yell VERY loudly.

Any "tricky" foul balls, such as in front of the plate or a silent tip of the bat on the ball, I will say foul three times in a row quite loudly and dramatically so there is NO question with arms crossing above your head.

Any time outs called by me I will say, "MY TIME!" Any by a player or coach must be relayed to me first and are yelled LOUDLY. Again, just like, "play ball" sounds too wimpy to me, "time out" does to me also. So I bellow out, "TIIIIIIIIIME!" while thrusting my hands skyward in a 60 degree angle with palms out. I also walk a step or two away to establish whatever happens, I didn't see it but it's not going to count anyway. It's nearly the same gesture for a foul ball except both hands start at face level and wave outward in the same ending pose. I like to keep staring at the spot. Also, you can see a footprint or ball print in the dirt and when challenged can point out to anyone questioning your call that there is your evidence.


YOUR SIGNATURE

Here's where an umpire shows his personality again on a called strike three. There are "Pullers" and there are "Punchers." I do both. Make this call quite audible, you "Blend Ins." Can't stand a wimpy strike three. You could be questioned because this is a big area of judgement and establishing that you are the boss even though the batter might not agree. I rarely do get a debate. Probably too afraid to "ask me" because I just shattered someone's car windshield with my called strike three decibel level.

My call for a caught looking at strike three can shatter windows. A "Puncher" will thrust his right arm out to the side and make a punching gesture. A "Puller" will thrust the left arm out while his right arm cocks back into a beginning of a punch by your right ear. I do both. I punch hard with the left after I've indicated the strike with my right arm to the side and then pull back real hard in a sharp karate fashion with my fists. All this is done off to the side so as not to disturb or knock out the catcher. My call is quite emphatic, shall we say. Just be firm is the main thing. Afterward, I even walk a step or two away so I won't have to hear the batter (who might) make a verbal display of disagreement. If I'm not there, he has no one to argue with so he might as well go sit down.

Always begin play by extending your right arm (usually at the pitcher) with your hand flat pointing as if to shake a very tall person's hand. I like to add a quiet, "play" also. This is done after a foul, after a timeout, a new ball is put in play or the start of an inning.


HANDLING AN ARGUMENT

Since we are on the subject of the audible part of umpiring, let's address our next subject which is a part of Americana as the image of the Statue of Liberty. The baseball argument, the rhubarb, the disagreement between umpire and player, umpire and coach and/or umpire and fan will happen in some game at some point.

As I said, I have thrown ONLY ONE PERSON off the field in 16 years and over 1,000 games of umpiring. He deserved it. If you are having a constant problem with someone, let the coach know about it in private and let THEM handle it. If there is an immediate, impending argument right at that moment, I always try to separate us two "combatants" from the crowd to a more private spot to discuss it and out side of ear shot.


"RABBIT EARS"

By the way, I hear most everything. I have what is known as "rabbit ears." Once, I heard someone in the stands "chirping" at me. Immediately, I recognized a familiar voice of a player's Mom say to him, "Don't EVEN mess with this umpire. He won't put up with it at all." No more chirping. I thanked her later.

Sometimes between innings I have requested a discussion with someone in foul ground away from everyone and then calmly voiced my irritation with that particular person, be they on the field or in the stands. Also an usually long stare in the general direction of a rude, loud fan after their audible displeasure at my call can usually get a point across silently thus avoiding a confrontation.

I have been known to say something slightly demeaning yet funny between innings to an obviously loud and rude patron who continues to gripe about my calls such as, "Gee, thanks for your help, but I got this!" Or, "Where have you been the first three innings? Now that your son is pitching, I could have really used your help earlier!"

Anyone within earshot will laugh and the blowhard will take my (not so) subtle clue to start showing some good sportsmanship, common decency towards his fellow human being, respect for authority and to also please shut the heck up.

Issues are amazingly resolved when hot heads are cooled off immediately or when the action stops. 9 times out of 10, the person I am having difficulty with will apologize to me after the game because, of course, I'm ALWAYS right anyway. Remember? But I can reverse my call if something is obvious that I just cannot see but only at the permission of the opposite team's coach. See? I'm STILL right because ultimately I MADE THE RIGHT CALL.


BE AMIABLE

Now, I am a stand-up comedian. Literally and professionally. Between innings I like to talk to fans, coaches, players anyone within the sound of my voice and 99% of the time about a subject I love - BASEBALL. I can get a crowd on my side by being appropriately funny, amiable and entirely approachable because we're not performing brain surgery here. It's baseball and it's supposed to be fun!

I've seen some umpires remain aloof, overtly overbearing and distant but that will not make you any friends when you make a questionable call. My motto is, "Make the right call EVERY TIME." Then there's never a problem.

I'm lucky to be far-sighted. That means I can read the writing on the center fielder's mitt. However, I need glasses to read. Also, I am almost always the tallest human being on the field at 6 foot 5 inches ("and some change") tall. It helps in an argument because I will stand just a bit closer to my disagreeing normal height human and virtually look down on them.

I also like to put my fists into my side just above my belt in a body language pose not unlike your parents when they were disgusted with you as a teen. Never cross your arms or wag a finger in someone's face.

Look sharp, professional and stand tall.

communication, communication, communication
communication, communication, communication

PROPER POSITIONING

I umpire the way I played baseball. Like Pete Rose a.k.a. "Charlie Hustle." He ran EVERYWHERE. He'd get four balls for a walk and run down to first base. I run right up to and as close as I can to each play. I admit, I am in abnormally superb shape for my age and even for most males period. I hustle up the line when I see a close play will be at first behind the running batter.

My stance behind the plate is low and I "peak" over the catcher's shoulder at the strike zone. I can squat quite low. Some umpires like to put their hands behind their back. I put mine on my knees and am able to push up off of them thus putting less strain on my knees. Don';t touch the catcher's back. How irritating it is if you do.

Does my hand occasionally get struck by a ball? VERY RARELY. Oh, and by the way, as a home plate umpire you WILL get hit by the baseball many, many times. 90% of the time it bounces harmlessly off your protective gear. But not always. Act like it never even hit you even if it hits bone. It will earn the respect of coaches, players and fans that silently says, "You can't do this as well as I can because I'm the toughest guy out here. Look. I LIKE PAIN." .What also counts as "harmlessly" is when a foul tip smashes into my face mask (sometimes knocking it completely off my face) while clacking my teeth together akin to a medium hard "sucker punch" "right in the chops."

But don't hold up the game because you're hurting. Nobody wants to wait for you. You're just a superficial part of the game. 'C'mon! Suck it up and let's play ball, ump! DO NOT hold up the game for anything unless you died... and even then you'd better make the call CORRECTLY and posthumously*, if needed. A base ump must learn the three positions when runners are on or not on. Number one is no one on, straddle the foul line ten feet behind the first baseman. When runners are on first AND/OR second take a position on either side of the mound behind the pitcher, obviously. (HIS right side if runner is on third.) Be prepared for the shortstop or second baseman to ask you to move slightly. Hands on thighs, bend over, get small and be prepared for a line drive.


PAIN IS PART OF THE GAME

One time, as I umpired the bases, a ball hit my cleat as I scampered to get out of the way of a 90 mph curling line drive in a Men's League game. Both teams and the crowd razzed me real good for that one. Ruling: Dead ball, batter takes first, runners advance one base. Keep track of the count. You may quietly remind The pitcher if he is getting dangerously close to a balk move the younger he/she is. Shut up in adult leagues and you can give a coach a heads up between innings, if you like.

Verbally call close fouls ONLY with proper arm signals (Arms up, 45 degrees, hands flat out.) Call all fouls and fair balls (silently) by turning your body slightly towards the action, arm out pointing then pose for a few seconds.These apply to base and plate umpiring and NEVER call, "FAIR!" People will think you said foul. Closer to the line, the louder the call and I took my queue from MLB umpire, the great Ron Luiano who would repeat it, LOUDLY, "FOUL! FOUL! FOUL!" All the while arms 45 degrees, higher up and waving over your head is appropriate. BE HEARD ON THE CLOSE ONES. This applies to base calls, strike three calls and timeouts. NO THUMBS, period.

There are other nuances that must be learned regarding who gets what call you will just have to learn by doing.This entire lesson plan has been just the bare bones basic instruction to help, at least LOOK LIKE, you know what you're doing out there.


IN PARTING

Some more valuable tips for the learning umpire:
The lower the division (or age of the players) the worst the crowd will be. Yes, that's right! Many times parents will treat a Little League game as a Major League game and just don't realize it.

Also, many people THINK they have a grasp of the game and the rules but could not even be more clueless. By the time their kid is playing high school ball, they are more relaxed, more well informed and will let the umpire do his job without audibally voicing an opinion of which they may not know a thing about... like the rules of the game!

Also, I learned some espanol. So when I umpired Mexican League games, I could interpret an overtly rude remark and make a come back in the gentleman's "primera lingua" (his language.) The shocked expression I got was priceless as "el blanco arbitrar comprendo espanol!" (The white umpire understands Spanish!)


EPILOGUE

One more thing. I love to umpire. For 2 hours I get to play God. My wife could tell me what to do all day, my kids could be manipulating me at home, my boss... well... BOSSES me around! But when I'm on that field, I tell people what, when and where to do it. Hey, I'm God! And just like God, you just can't physically touch Him and so also is the case with an umpire.

Never, ever is anyone allowed to place a hand on an umpire. Have you ever known that type of person when explaining themselves or pleading their case to someone, they lightly place their open palms on your chest in a halting manner. Not in an aggressive way. When I get someone like that in a game that DOES (unconsciously) do that to me, I politely cut my sentence short and remind them to NEVER TOUCH AN UMPIRE.

Their reaction is one of complete shock because they don't realize they are doing it AND they've just violated a sacred rule of baseball which could get them immediately ejected from the premises. And do you know what that person says to me every single time that happens?
"Oh, GOD! I'm sorry!"
I rest my case.

* Posthumously - adjective 1.arising, occurring, or continuing after one's death: a posthumous award for bravery.



note: {Not a promotion just proof of my experience} I played in National Adult Baseball Association leagues until I was the oldest on my Open League (18 and over) ball club. I won the Ventura County N.A.B.A. North vs. South 1996 All Star game MVP and was winning pitcher (and as the oldest on the field, too.) FIND ME ON FACEBOOK @ ARIZONA UMPIRES.

https://www.facebook.com/arizonaumpires?ref=hl



Dan W. Miller a.k.a. "The Vanilla Godzilla"

"Well, that's a good argument you have there. However, you're still out." Interaction is the key to successful umpiring!
"Well, that's a good argument you have there. However, you're still out." Interaction is the key to successful umpiring! | Source

Mark Grant shows the many different ways to install your personality into your umpiring style.

The loudest and most animated of all umps, retired MLB arbitrator Dutch Rennert is the style I most closely resemble and had in mind when I developed my style.

Is this how you wish every umpire was like?

5 stars for This author/umpire

I hope you enjoyed my whimsical approach to "How To Umpire."

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  • Dan W Miller profile image
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    Dan W Miller 3 months ago from Southern California now living in Phoenix since 2000

    MARRY ME! Well, let's be friends... FIRST. My fans, parents, players even other umpires loved me.

    One of the greatest compliments I ever received (besides seeing "one of my boys" that I had umpired in Little League on a MLB diamond later and asking them, "Do you know who I am?" Which is usually met with, "Sure! You're that funny loud ump!") was when I saw an older gentleman walking stooped over at a kid's ballgame I was umpiring. When I walked down the line between innings to sip from my water bottle, he approached me and said, "Hey Dan! It sure is good to see ya!" It was the North Scottsdale Little League former president Jim McDonald. He always had great teams and I wasn't really sure if he even liked me. He said sure he did. In fact I was the only one that didn't get intimidated by him. Told him how happy I was for his son, Jimmy who was tearing the cover off the ball for Arizona State. We had a great conversation between innings until the game was over.

    As I headed out to my car when the game was over, his grandson's team and parents were all gathered 'round the pitcher's mound as he called me over.

    Jim addressed the crowd of about 50, "This, ladies and gentlemen, is Dan Miller who has been your umpire for tonight's game and he's the best umpire I've ever had. Dan, this is my son-in-law the manager of the team whom you had just umpired. You umpired him all through Little League too. He wanted to thank for all your hard work and the entire team and all the parents wanted to thank you too!" Where upon they all applauded.

    That was a good memory!

  • Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran 4 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    I knew I liked you! Baseball!!! My brother-in-law (ironically, the sweetest man on the planet) has been an umpire for about 40 years. And I've written on the subject myself. When I was a newspaper columnist, baseball was the only subject I ever wrote on more than once. It was called for!

  • Dan W Miller profile image
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    Dan W Miller 3 years ago from Southern California now living in Phoenix since 2000

    Oh, thank you so much for the read, "weez!" I sincerely believe with the combination of my intense approach when I played, being in above normal physical shape, my comedic approach, my imposing physical stature and a built in sense of convincing ways, I'm a pretty darn good umpire!

    BUT my approach WORKS FOR ME. It probably wouldn't work for someone else and one has to "incorporate" THEIR personality into THEIR approach and then it becomes easy. Like second nature.

  • weezyschannel profile image

    Lisa 3 years ago from Central USA

    I totally appreciated and understood everything that you said in this article. I have family that are umpires and I have heard a few of you say the same thing. Voted up thank you

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    You just have to break your text up into separate capsules (instead of one long one). Everywhere you have a sub-heading should be the start of a new text capsule. That way you can add a picture/image capsule to the right side of each one.

    Check out my brand of humour: "The Battle of Hansen's Gap" (http://jodah.hubpages.com/hub/The-Battle-of-Hansen...

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Very interesting hub Dan, about the pros and cos of umpiring baseball. I used to enjoy playing at school but that was the limit of my experience. Quite a nice read here. Voted up.