UmpTalk #17: Lance Schoenwald, Pro Umpire Camp

484814_445566532186016_189476148_nLance Schoenwald was a 2004 graduate of the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires and began a career in professional baseball.  But he didn’t stop there. He is now working to help others reach those professional ranks with the Pro Umpire Camp in Shreveport, LA.

We spoke with Lance about his umpiring career, what is important for umpires at the next level as well as finding ways to help those umpires around you.

Lance’s camp has a lengthy list of alums in Independent Baseball, Minor League Baseball as well as high levels of College Baseball.  Lance’s focus is on preparing umpires for the next level of umpiring and help with placement in six different leagues.

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Editors Note: I apologize for the sound quality of this episode and I managed to cut off the first 3 minutes of the interview. Lance, I’ll happily have you back on the podcast at a later date to do more of our talk at a higher quality level!

UmpTalk #16: “Must” Stuff You Need In Your Umpire Equipment Bag

This won’t be the sexiest podcast, but someday, it might just save you.  This episode is a list of hard-learned lessons about the right items you need to have in your umpire equipment bag.

Fill this bag with all the right umpire equipment this season.

They were learned the hard way – by not having these things and needing them.

First, let’s define “umpire bag” because umpires usually have a bag for gear that they change out of, drag to the dressing room and they also have a secondary bag (for me, it’s a tupperware bin) with a lot of these other items. Both of these bags are extremely important and should be stocked and checked regularly.

Thanks to many of the our Facebook followers for helping us complete this list!

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If we’ve missed anything, please let us know in the comments so we can help future umpires make sure they’re well prepared!!

**Items in ALL CAPS are SHOW STOPPERS!! Try umpiring without these.

  1. Shoe cleaning kit and equipment. (We’re going to have a whole show about shoe and equipment cleaning coming up soon!) But at minimum you should have two dish towels, a shoe brush and a bag to put your shoes in (in case they’re muddy)
  2. Sunflower Seeds / Gum / Power Bar (check with your location to see if seeds are allowed. They are less and less nowadays)
  3. Sunglasses/Sunglasses Case/Eyeglasses cleaner
  4. Extras!!!!!!!
    1. Indicator
    2. Pair of Socks
    3. EXTRA BELT!!
    4. Plate Brush
    5. Ballbags (different colors also)
  5. Bugspray (if keeping in your bag, put it in a ziploc bag in case of leakage)
  6. Febreeze (ziploc also!)
  7. Extra medication / Ben Gay / IBUPROFEN (totally different ziploc bag)
  9. Pens/Pencil/Lineup Card Protector
  10. Padlock
  11. Toiletry bag with baby wipes, deodorant
  12. Rubbing Mud
  13. Sunscreen
  14. Athletic Tape / Small First Aid Kit
  15. Small notepad or journal
  16. Chapstick
  17. Gold Bond (you know who you are)
  18. Small Sewing Kit
  19. And finally, and we think this was made in jest – but then again maybe not – pepper spray!

What did we miss? Sound off in the comments or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Thanks again for listening!!

Oh, and here’s how to sew on a button:

Umptalk #15: Billy Haze, D-I NCAA Umpire and Operator, Black & Blue Umpire Camps

Billy Haze, D-I UmpireBilly Haze was inches away from a dream and then walked away. Only to have the pull of baseball bring him back into the game.  Billy was an aspiring AAA Minor League Umpire, but didn’t get the MLB call up.  After some time off, he returned to the game and is now at the top of the D-I NCAA baseball umpires profession as well as helping others take their first steps in umpiring with the Black and Blue Umpire Academy.

BBUCBilly Haze and Michael Bilinci join us from the Black and Blue Umpire Camp to talk on Episode 15 about daily life as an NCAA umpire, who should attend the BBUC camps and the intangibles assigners look for when trying to find folks for the next level.

The Black & Blue Umpire Camps can be found on YouTube, Facebook as well as their website.

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Show Notes:

BBUC Umpire Camp – Main Website

BBUC YouTube Channel

BBUC Facebook Page

A cool video they show at the start of camp

Umptalk #14: Gil Imber of Close Call Sports

In the era of sabermetrics and advanced statistics, the SABR revolution finds itself seeping into umpiring.  One of the leaders in this avenue is the website That website is run by Gil Imber and we talk with him on Episode 14 of the UmpTalk Podcast.



Close Call Sports is a website that tracks umpire ejections but also allows the community to analyze close calls in not just baseball but all sports.

The site works to analyze controversial events objectively, but also introduces a big element of fun as well. It is a great website to visit for umpires, baseball fans and wanna-be rulebook lawyers.  The centerpiece to the website is an “Umpire Fantasy League” which tracks ejections of umpires, assigns scores to those ejections and allows players to get points according to how their “umpire team” does. The league also awards points for correct applications of rules as well as case studies.

We talk with Gil about how the website started and his own umpiring background as well as some of the more controversial posts on his website.

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Show Notes:

Close Call Sports Website

UmpTalk #13: Seven Tips To Getting Back Into Game Shape

3248811693_0b482130b8_oFor those of us who don’t work a winter sport like football or basketball, the time is now to put down the remote, get off of the couch and get into game shape.  The season is just around the corner.

While I am not the most fit, and not many of us are, I do know quite a few tricks to get OUT of exercising.  So that makes me the perfect person to lay out some accountability on all of us. Let’s get started!

Here are seven tips to getting ready for that first pitch by getting our bodies back into game shape from the long winter.

A lot of umpires have, um… “softer” frames.  This is a way to working on that early and being proactive with your season so your mechanics are crisper, your calls are more accurate and you get into less trouble!

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Here are seven tips to getting back into game shape along with notes from the episode:

  1. Start.

    • Right now. Get moving. Get to a gym. Take the dog for a walk. Put down the Pringles. Whatever you’re doing right now, the best way to begin is simply to start.
  2. Start slowly

  3. Start with a plan

    1. Track your food and your workouts
    2. Schedule your workouts in your calendar
    3. Drink plenty of water before and after workouts
      • Rehydrate is a healthy alternative to Gatorade
    4. Plan out your food before games, and carry a cooler in the car of healthy snacks.
  4. Start with a friend

    • Working out with a buddy helps with accountability
    • Feel free to add me so we can compare fitness plans
  5. Start Mixing It Up

  6. Start Something New

    • Once you get into it for a few weeks – try something new.
    • As for help! Check with the folks at the gym. They’re there to help you!
    • Consider getting an hour of personal training time
    • Take a class. Yoga isn’t just for ladies!!
  7. Start With A Salad

    • Journal your food
    • Plan out your meals
    • Great book called Eat This, Not That

Good luck with your efforts to get into shape! Sound off in the comments below. What has worked for you?

UmpTalk #12: Harold Moya, Umpire and Author

Harold Moya has enjoyed a 40 year career in baseball as a player, coach and manager. Several years ago, he decided to add “umpire” to that list as he went to Professional Umpire School and was placed in the Independent Minor Leagues.

51joTQOQWGLFollowing his experience, he decided to write a book about his journey and experiences.

Harold Moya is our guest on Episode 12 of the UmpTalk Podcast.

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Keep the conversation going at, Facebook, Twitter and now listen to us on Stitcher Radio!

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Show Notes: Link to Harold’s Book:

Blue: A Professional Umpire Strikes Back

Pecos League

UmpTalk #11: Hunter Wendelstedt, MLB Umpire and Owner, Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School

SPORTS BBA-YANKEES-TWINS 8 MSHunter Wendelstedt was going to become a teacher. However, the “family business” had a higher calling for him and he followed in his father’s footsteps. Hunter and Harry Wendelstedt became the first ever father and son duo to  umpire a MLB game together in 1998.

Hunter did end up becoming a teacher, by the way, as he is now the owner and operator of the Harry Wendelstedt School For Umpires, the family’s other business.

On Episode 11 of UmpTalk, we talk with Hunter Wendelstedt about his father who umpired over 4500 professional baseball games. We talk with him about his own 15 year MLB career. We talk about concussions and, of course, we talk about Umpire School and “Safes and Outs.” logo2 So rarely do we get an opportunity to hear from the Men in Blue (or Black, or powder blue, but thankfully, no longer red) who work at the highest levels of baseball – listen closely towards the end of the interview when Hunter talks about how he spends every 7th Inning Stretch. Pretty cool stuff. Thanks to the folks at the Wendelstedt School for helping to set up the interview. iTunes43223322222Podcast42223242222  twitter_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thumb3322facebook_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thumb332[1]Google_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thumb_thum

Show Notes:

Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School Here’s a nice video by MLB on a look inside the Wendelstedt School The incident we spoke about in 2011 where Hunter got a concussion and finished the inning.

UmpTalk #10: Eight Ways To Speed Up Your Games

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Today’s episode is aimed at those umpires whose games seem to stretch on forever. Are your time limited games only getting to the fourth inning? Are your un-time limited games going past the two hour mark regularly? Are you getting off the field after 11 at night continually?  Well, this might be the show for you.

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UmpTalk #9: Jim Evans, Former MLB Umpire

Episode 9 is an interview with former Major League Baseball umpire Jim Evans.  Jim was a veteran of the MLB Umpiring Corps for 28 years getting his start almost literally off the street and ending up working in four World Series, seven AL Championship Series and numerous All-Star Games.

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He was a crew chief and after his umpiring days were done, he put his education degree to work by creating the Jim Evans Academy of Umpiring in the early 90’s.

Jim is one of the most dynamic speakers you’ll ever hear about umpiring and we spent some time recently talking about his academy, his umpiring career and his advice on the study of the rulebook.

Show Notes:

  • The Academy of Professional Umpiring – Link
  • Professional Baseball Rules Index – Link
  • Jim’s Equipment Company Force3 Pro Gear – Link
  • New Umpire Mask (Not yet out)

UmpTalk #8: Interview With Jerry Theilen and Rulebook Training

UTesterEpisode 8 features a unique way to learn the rulebook by a unique leader of a revolutionary league. We umpire Jerry Theilen of the Hernando Sumter Umpires Association.

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Show Notes:

Jerry is the Chief of the Hernando Sumter Umpires Association, but also helps run

Hernando Sumter Umpires Association

Umpire Tester

40 Umpiring Myths

Hernando Sumter Umpires Association