Baseball Umpires’ Learning Blog

Our Place to Share the Game

The Forgotten All Star Team

Many of you are now involved in state championship games at the high school level or in conference championships at the college level. If you are working those games involving the best teams from the area, then you are part of the very special third team out there, the forgotten all star team of umpires. I just want to take a moment to congratulate you and help you realize the significance of your being assigned those playoff games.

Throughout the season you kept your assignments, even though It may have been at some personal cost; you displayed excellent rule knowledge; you executed mechanics almost flawlessly; you communicated effectively and often with your partners; you effectively facilitated the game for players and coaches, and you demonstrated a desire to be the best umpire out there. I know that for a fact, because otherwise your assignor would have replaced you with someone else. Look around you and see which of your peers are missing from the cadre of post-season officials from your umpire association.

You have just a little bit more of that special stuff that separates the exceptional umpires from the great umpires, just as the teams whose games you are officiating have that little extra bit of talent, hustle, and desire that separates them from the other teams in their division. The difference between the two teams whose game you are officiating and  your umpire team is that they have the media and the student body behind them to do their cheerleading. Your team, the forgotten all-star team of top umpires, has only yourselves to applaud your performance over the season, a performance so good that it catapulted you into the playoff arena. Take a minute and pat yourself on the back for a good job well done,

If, this year, you find yourself on the outside looking in on the cadre of umpires from your association who were selected for post-season assignments, and you are feeling a bit miffed about your exclusion from that august body, now is a good time to take stock of things. What are the areas of umpiring in which you could show some improvement next year so that your assignor will put you into the post-season pool? More importantly, what is the game plan you will employ to be sure you make those improvements? What gets measured, gets tended to, and what gets tended to, gets better. Be proactive; take charge of your umpiring behavior, and do what you need to do to show your assignor you deserve to be part of the forgotten all star team.

Finally, to those of you already at the top of your game, to those of you who are representing your association in post-season play, to those of you to whom the game means so much that you make significant sacrifices during the year to get the nod for post-season play I offer my congratulations. By your skill and dedication, you are making it possible for the teams in the championship hunt to have world class officiating calling their games. You are the third team out there, and in reality, it is good that you are forgotten by the players, coaches and fans, because that means you did your job so well they didn’t even know you were out there. Enjoy!

June 13, 2008 - Posted by | Association Improvements, Commentary, Knotty Problems, Mechanics, Rules


  1. Nothing better than to hear the phone ring and check the caller id and see it’s the assigner, or to get the e-mail saying you’ve got one more assignment when post season baseball rolls around.
    Your first post season assignment is something you’ll always remember, 7 years later and I can almost give you play by play of the game.
    Post season baseball isn’t all fun and games. With it comes the added pressure of knowing that at the end of the game one team’s season will end. The pressure to get every call right is intense. Add the fact that you may be dealing with coaches players and fans that you’ve work for before makes it all the more nerve racking.
    Post season baseball is also a sad time of year, it marks the end of the road for another year. Friends that you only see for a few weeks a year during the season are gone again.

    Comment by Rob | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. Rob, your post brings to mind a quote from Bart Giamatti, former Commissioner of Baseball, where he writes in Green Fields of the Mind,

    “It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”

    His reference is to the time after the October classic, the end of the Major League World Series, However, for some of the players whose games we officiate in the post season, especially those who reach the state championship of their division, this is as close to the World Series that they’ll ever come. What an honor it is to be selected as a member of the umpire crew for that game.

    Comment by Steve Johnson | June 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. It doesn’t have to be just in High School or College! Many of us work all summer long, either in Legion, a wood bat league or even Little League. We all have a chance to improve our skills. We all have a chance to become an ‘all-star’ umpire. It takes lots of hard work and a devotion to the profession.
    I remember my first post season high school assignment – like Rob says – you remember the entire game. I also remember round 2 this year – we had a rookie on third base. We teased him, because he forget to breath, he got tangled up with the third basement – we just went to him and told him to relax – listen to the stadium music in between innings, you know what he relaxed and did a great job.
    Remember – we have the best spot in the stadium to watch a game – have fun, relax and work as a team.

    Comment by Troy | June 16, 2008 | Reply

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