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Young Umpires working way up through Northwoods League

The long road trips and intense schedule in the Northwoods League doesn’t just drain the players as the umpires have an intense schedule. This season the league has allowed  16 up and coming umpires to work their slate of games. It is a long road as the umpires have a tough schedule of 76 games in 81 days, including the playoffs. The umpires get $3,750 for the year which comes out to $43.94 per game which is actually below the rate that high school umpires receive. The idea is that these umpires will use the experience umpiring in one of the top summer leagues in the country to eventually be asked to join the minor leagues the next season as a member of an umpire crew. 

You can check out a very interesting article about two of the umpires in the Northwoods League by clicking here.

  • Dave

    These umpires are awful. Take it from one who has seen many, many Northwoods games this year. I haven’t seen a single one that could even umpire a Little League game well. It is downright embarassing. These players deserve much better than this. There is no way that any of them are even remotely ready for minor league games. They should be getting experience at Little League, Babe Ruth and high school before even attempting anything like this. I realize these kids are cheap for the Northwoods league which is probably why they are used. The umpires are a blemish on an otherwise excellent league.

  • Friend-to-blue

    Great comment, Dave. How are the players, coaches and, for that matter, the fans? Do the players ever make an error or base running mistake and get put out? Does a coach ever mis-judge a fielder’s throw and send a runner to 3rd just to get him thrown out? Do you fans have any concept of the real rules (not the folklore rules like “the hands are part of the bat” — which they are not — but the real rules) and can they — you — apply them instantly in the heat of the moment while still hustling over to get into position for the following play? How often do MLB umpires get together to get a rule right or to confer on a play? And … who do these guys go to, while little-knowledge fans are screaming abuse and two rude managers are acting like spoiled children? Walk a mile in their shoes, Dave, and go out there and work your ass off pursuing a dream while eating left-over concession stand food. Spend the entire time on the field with hot gear on, doing over 250 squats to call pitches, while players (who sit for 1/2 of the game) and fans (who sit for the entire game when they aren’t going to get more food or to the restroom) complain about the heat, Sun, rain, cold, etc… Then get up, drive to a different town, shine your shoes, discuss rules and pre-game with your partner — and do it again — for 44 bucks. You want better umpires, Dave? Start a reward program and select a couple of these guys to win a scholarship to Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, if they haven’t already been on their own dime. This won’t happen, of course, because guys like you would prefer to hurl vitriol at a couple of guys who put out their best effort in incredibly difficult circumstances and strive to get every play correct. They report what they see to their best judgement. Fans see what they want to see and then criticize when a call didn’t go “their way” even if the call was correct. Here, Dave … You can borrow a pair of spare umpiring shoes I have and start your mile-long trek — anytime.

    • Dave

      You missed my point which I admittedly didn’t make very well. It’s not about whether anyone involved makes mistakes. Of course they do. It’s a matter of how many mistakes are being made and why. My gripe is with the league and others that put these kids (the umpires) in a situation to fail. A college level baseball game is not a place to start learning how to be an umpire. The game is faster and more complex than they are ready to handle. If your dream is to be a major league umpire that is fantastic. I wish you the best. This is not the right level to start at fresh out of umpire school. Start by working some youth, high school and legion games to get some experience with different situations where things aren’t moving as fast and less complex situations come up. I understand these leagues are development leagues for players and umpires, but the players aren’t fresh out of baseball school. They’ve been playing for 15+ years. The umpires used shouldn’t be fresh out of school either.

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