Just once in your baseball experience, learn to umpire. Go to a local umpire board and tell them that you want to umpire for the season. They’ll schedule you with an upcoming class of others similar in interest and limited experience, and off you go.
You’ll learn the two umpire system, umpire equipment, the rules of the game - tailored to the amateur rules of the leagues that you’ll cover, and other need-to-know stuff.
Usually these classes are held in the winter months, in a hall, classroom, municipal or town meeting room, and so forth. You’ll get material to study and exams will be scheduled along the way to see if you’re retaining what’s being taught. You’ll also develop a deep respect for this part of the game and you’ll appreciate a totally new outlook about the men and women who are the official representative of baseball.
After a season or two, I guarantee you that you’ll think twice before hammering the guys & gals who call fair and foul, safe and out, balls and strikes.
I coached with a first base coach who was about as obnoxious as they come, especially to umpires. No matter what happened, by who, when and why, there was always a negative remark coming out of this guys mouth. He got called for jury duty and was gone for about two weeks. Upon returning, it was like we had a different man on our club. He was reserved, he was polite, he was anything but what he was before he left. Why? Well, during his jury duty, he was elected Jury Foreman. As it turned out, he had a room full of people just like himself to deal with. A reality check to be sure.
I can say this is very true. I play high school baseball but I also umpire too. As a player focused when playing, there are still lots of times when playing when I think, “that was outside, why did he call that a strike” or when I am pitching, “this guy is calling the smallest strike zone”, but because I have been in their shoes, I am able to shrug off calls more often. It also gives me more knowledge of the game. I can in between innings if I disagree with a call or a way the umpire is calling the game, I can talk to them and I am able to reason with them in a whole different way because I have the knowledge they have. On top of this, umpiring is fun and pays well. I love the game of baseball so to me, it is one of the best part jobs I could have and it pays great. For me I made more money as a 14 year old umpiring then some of my friends who were 16,17,and 18 with part time jobs. Where I umpire, my pay goes like this:
7 and 8 year olds (1 hour, 30 min) $20 per game
9 and 10 year olds (1 hour, 45 min) $25 per game
11 and 12 year olds (1 hour, 45 min) $35 per game
13 and 14 year olds (2 hours) $40 per game
Then once I have worked a certain number of years and completed a list of requirements I can apply to move up to Junior Umpire Status which makes $45 per game regardless of age and then Senior Umpire status which makes $55 per game regardless of age.
Overall, it’s fun, it teaches you many things, it pays, it’s great.
Any teenager or college student (or someone who is retired even) looking for a part time job, I HIGHLY recommend becoming an umpire.
For anyone wondering next spring will become my second year as an umpire and I will be 15 then.
I became an umpire because I thought I could do a good job at it. I was already familiar with the rules to a fair extent, but the game really speeds up for you as an umpire. It makes coaching seem like the game is slowing down for you.
At the youth levels, it’s also a way to make some quick cash, especially if you get a reputation for being on time, professional, and accurate.
Funny thing about umpires, they can take a lot of abuse… even beyond reason some times.
There’s a park within walking distance from my home, and I sometimes open a lawn chair and make myself comfortable and watch a ball game. At one particular game the home plate umpire was taking a lot of second-guessing from a woman under a weeping willow, not that far from the backstop fence. Inning after inning this poor guy got a few snickers, giggles, and a assortment of “Ahhhh come on…” from the lady.
A bunt on a full count that went foul ended one inning. The ball landed near me, so I picked it up, and without a catcher near the plate, I walked over and tossed the ball to the plate ump. As I tossed the ball, I couldn’t help but remark… “Man, that woman is pounding the daylights out you… gotta have a thick skin for this job.” The plate ump just shrugged his shoulders and quietly muttered to me … " That’s the Mrs." Enough said.