Monday, February 6, 2012

My Final Umpire School Evaluation Grades

The final results of busting my butt for 5 weeks. If I had interest in a professional job, I would have had a good chance of being selected to the PBUC evaluation camp in March. Either way, I'm very happy with the way things are and am looking forward to working this spring & summer season when I get home and getting even better. Good luck to all the guys going to PBUC!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Celebrities!

Today, we met another full time MLB instructor in Bob Davidson. If you're not familiar with him, he is an umpire that the media and broadcasters love to disparage. And one of his nicknames is "Balkin' Bob," due to the his balk calls. Fittingly enough, in today's warm-up formation, he had us do 3 different balk calls. Now that is a man with a great sense of humor! He was amazing and a blast to learn from today and we're lucky to have him until the end of class.

Right before lunch, we also got to meet the chief, and the founder of the school, Harry Wendelstedt. And while he is clearly not in good health, he still came out to the field to visit and talk to us. His passion for umpiring was clear, as was his caring mentality for all his students and "family." I'm very honored to have met him.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1st Photo

See this article from MLB filmed during our class. Also pic of most of our instructors from "picture day" below.

Friday, January 27, 2012

7th Inning Stretch

Sorry for the lack of updates but the last several days have been busy as heck at school.

Since the end of last week, evaluations have started. These evaluations will go for the last 2 weeks of school, with the instructors deciding on the pro potential of students and picking who the top students are in order to send to the PBUC selection camp in March. And from that camp, the top students will be offered jobs and hired into professional baseball and the minor leagues, and eventually one day, maybe even the major leagues. Hence, it's make or break time for the guys trying to earn a job, and consequently, a lot of them feel the pressure and scrutiny, which make for quick tempered and snippy classmates.

The evaluations are based on our turns in work innings in live games, rotating with a partner between plate and base work. Unfortunately, while we do have some of the local high school and college teams play for us at times, the majority of the innings at this point have been played by umpire school students. And boy, let me tell you, it's not pretty. To start, we're clearly not the most talented baseball players, or else we wouldn't be at umpire school. In addition, on every field, there's a good portion of students who are not in good enough shape or skilled enough to play the field. As a result, it winds up being the same 10 to 15 people who have to play and pitch about 26 innings of baseball a day (half the number in actual innings, but we play both top and bottom without switching). Needless to say, limited skills along with weariness and exhaustion makes for awful play and inconsistent hitting, fielding, and base running. No wonder the instructors always tell us this, if you can umpire at umpire school, you can umpire anywhere. Note though, I've had the chance to pitch a good number of innings and have done well enough to be given the same royal nickname as this individual.

And as if we didn't have enough things to worry about with instructors sitting on podiums behind the backstop observing, evaluating, and critiquing every bit of our work, sometimes, they also jump on the field. And when they do, it's just chaos unleashed, with balks, interference, missed bases,etc often all mixed in at the same time. In fact, in my inning today, I wound up with 2 major league umpires and 2 AAA/major league fill in umpires acting as pitchers and batters/runners on the field all at once. Let's just call the inning "interesting" and leave it at that.