Do You Have What It Takes to be an Umpire?

Nothing draws the ire of any home team better than a lousy official. Aside from a showcase of athletic competition, baseball is a colorful sport where the highlight sometimes focuses on the umpires. We just have to look at the sport’s history like Jim Joyce’s crucial call on Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game. Although Joyce continues to be one of the best umpires of the league, a single mistake has already put a mark in his name. And this is one reason why an umpire’s job is never to be underestimated. If you’d like to be part of the ump team in a major league someday, then here are just some basic skills you must possess and master.

Able to withstand heavy criticism

Similar to politicians, umpires must possess a tough belief of their decisions. Otherwise, they’d easily crumble from public scrutiny. And of course, a good umpire should be able to fend off criticism as long as he performs his job well. Unfortunately, there can never be a “perfect game” for the umpire crew. There will always be a time when you think you have the vantage point when you actually have a blind spot. If you learn to acknowledge your call mistakes and learn from them, then you’d definitely earn the respect from not only the players but also from the baseball fans. Take note however that nothing commands more respect than calling the right plays so be sure to be well-versed in the rule book. You don’t need to be a good baseball player to be a good umpire. You only need a passion for the game and an all-around knowledge of the sport.

Regular practice

Basketball players need to maintain a shooting form and rehearse it plenty of times. Baseball players need to read tendencies better by constant practice in the field. The same can be said for the strategic game of poker and other similar card games. You see, poker players can practice their craft anywhere through or by inviting their friends for practice. And similarly for poker and baseball umpires, one is able to hone thinking skills by familiarity. You would think that poker players rely on luck alone but these players have practiced several times to gain a deeper knowledge of the sport. And this should be true for veteran umpires. You become better with experience. Even umpires need practice to develop a certain hunch of the game. But of course, these hunches should be backed by evidence and correct reading of plays—a crucial skill needed to accurately determine whether a player is safe or out. Correctly reading strikes is skill mastery. And the same applies for reading bluffs in poker. And of course, the umpire crew can always go for a round of poker to develop chemistry and rapport, which is important when synchronizing their positions to get the best look at possible strikes or plays. Athletes and coaches are not the only ones who need to review the game tape.