The Umpire Press

English: Photo Kirk Sawyers (baseball umpire)

English: Photo Kirk Sawyers (baseball umpire) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

George McFadden Vice President of Umpire Officiating Education. Manage sales, marketing and daily operations of the Umpire Officiating Education department. Manage the business relationship with the NFHS and it’s member state organizations as well as the NCAA and all of it’s officiating initiatives. Work with NCAA staff and national officiating coordinators to develop and deliver educational and training content through officiating websites. Manage relationships with other national, regional and state governing bodies to provide technical assistance in their officiating training programs.

George talks about how  umpires are the people charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions.

The body responsible for any action related to the training, evaluation, and recommendation for promotion and retention or release of the umpires is the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp, which is an owned subsidiary of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

The umpires are evaluated eight times a season by the staff of the PBUC, and receive a ranking at mid-season and the end of each year. Based on performance during the year, an umpire may advance in classification the following season. PBUC holds an annual Evaluation Course every year in March to evaluate rookie umpires. Participants are normally the best students from the two professional umpire schools owned and operated by the same entity. The top students who pass the Evaluation Course are recommended for the first openings in the Rookie and Short-A leagues.
Any student who wants to work as an umpire must attend a professional umpire training school. The PBUC recognizes two schools for training prospective professional umpires, the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School and The Umpire School, both located in Florida. The Umpire School is owned and operated by PBUC, while Wendelstedt is independently owned by MLB Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. The classes for each school are held for five weeks in January and February. The instructors at these schools are former or present Major or Minor League umpires. Simply attending one of these schools, however, does not guarantee that the candidate will also be recommended either to the Evaluation Course or to the openings in the Rookie or Short-Season A league.

Before the umpire development program was created, the Minor League presidents would recruit umpires directly from the schools. Umpires were then “sold” from league to league by word of mouth through the various league presidents.

The umpire development program first started in 1964, when it was decided that a method of recruitment, training and development for umpires of both Major and Minor Leagues was needed. The Umpire Development Program was founded at Baseball’s 1964 Winter Meetings in Houston, and it began operating the next year. The program aimed to recruit more athletic, energetic and dedicated individuals who would also have high morals and integrity standards. In 1968, it was decided that the program needed its own umpire training course which would be held each year. The first “Umpire Specialization Course” was held in St. Petersburg, Florida the following year.

Presently, the candidates for a job in professional umpiring must meet several requirements in order to be considered. An applicant must have a High School Diploma or a G.E.D., must be athletic, and also must have 20/20 vision, no matter if they wear glasses or contact lenses.They must also have good communication skills, good reflexes and coordination, and must have trained at one of the two professional umpire schools. Wilhelmina McFadden is growing in her father’s footsteps, she is a NACC college baseball umpire and is looking to make the pros one day.

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