the hospital is extremely important to the 120 people that I help serve.
When I was 14, I played in a summer league. One night the chief umpire asked me if I would like to try umpiring. There was a Little League tournament coming up and he needed more umpires than he had.
Umpires, like players, are expected to show constant improvement each season and at each level. Inconsistent plate work and the inability to handle situations are probably the two biggest problems that minor league umpires face.
The Florida State League was considered the top A-league back then. You played in the spring training parks of major league teams, traveled throughout some great cities in Florida, and the pay was the best in A-ball.
My dad was a carpenter and I would work with him during the summer and umpire on the nights I wasn't playing.
Most plays that are missed by the umpire are caused by the umpire not reading those cues early enough and making the proper adjustments.
Minor league umpires are evaluated in their respective leagues each year and rated numerically. This enables umpires to know where they stand and helps them make prudent career decisions.
Managers have very tough jobs. I always respected their job but demanded respect in return.
Looking back on those games, I probably hustled out of position as much as I hustled into position since I really never had any real training. I was working on instincts alone.
I set very high standards for myself and worked every game with the same energy and enthusiasm as if it were the seventh game of a World Series.
I reached the point where I actually enjoyed the umpiring more than playing.
I personally developed the Academy training program. All our training is based on solid educational principles. We present the material in four training formats lecture, demonstration, drill, and implementation.
I learned a valuable life lesson that summer. You should find something in life that you really enjoy and seriously consider making that your life's work.
I had a great first year and Mr. MacDonald was my biggest supporter. He gave me the encouragement I needed that first year to get my career started on a positive note.
I attribute my success to my mental approach to the game. I have always been a serious student of umpiring. I enjoy studying rules, situations, and positioning.
Back in those days, you didn't have to go to an umpire school to be hired in pro ball. League presidents could hire whomever they wanted.
If you don't think every day is a great day try going without one.
I have looked back on situations and thought that I could have handled a few differently and probably better.
I had worked very hard to become the best I could be in Austin but never thought I would be able to get into the pro game so quickly.
No one respects the umpire's job more than I do but, if I were a manager, I would probably be ejected three or four times a season fighting for my team.
As a whole, the managers today are different in temperament. Most have very good communication skills and are more understanding of the umpire's job. That doesn't mean they are better managers. It just means that I perceive today's managers a bit differently.
I literally paid my way through the University of Texas with my umpiring.
Our students learn more in 30 days than one could learn in 30 years without our training. To really maximize your potential as an umpire, you need to get a solid foundation as soon as you can.
There is quite a bit of turnover in the minor leagues and explains why there are a substantial number of jobs available each year.
Professional managers, coaches, and players have a right to question an umpire's decision if they do it in a professional manner. When they become personal, profane, or violent, they have crossed the line and must be dealt with accordingly.