UmpTalk #7: Five Shades of Gray

Unlike the sweaty novel 50 Shades of Gray your spouse probably reads, we’re going to talk about the truly seedy side of umpiring this week – the unwritten shades of gray in baseball.

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We talk this week about those rules that, no matter how well defined, seem to evoke different interpretations in every umpire you ask.

The Five Shades of Gray: Continue reading UmpTalk #7: Five Shades of Gray

UmpTalk #6: Clifton Glidewell, JuCo, Former Minor League Pitcher

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GlidewellContinuing our interview series with a man who has had a very full baseball career and still growing by beginning a relatively new one in the Umpiring ranks.

Clifton Glidewell is a Junior College umpire in the Kansas City area, but also was a standout pitcher during a D-I career and a time in the Dodgers organization.  He has also served as pitching coach at the High School and Junior College level.

You can send comments or feedback about this or any episode of our show to feedback@umptalk.com

Music used with permission – Matt Wessel “You’re Out! (Ode to the Umpire)

UmpTalk #5: Nine Cold Weather Umpiring Tips

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It’s cold outside! Due to climate and the way high school and college schedules fall, baseball starts earlier and earlier. Since many of us cannot travel to warmer climates like Texas, the SouthWest or Florida to umpire in the late winter and early spring, we have to get games where we can.  And that means games starting in early to mid-February or stretching the season into October and November.

(A full set of links to cold weather gear can be found at umptalk.com/cold)

Sometimes, those fields are frozen. Sometimes there’s snow and other precipitation falling. And it’s important to make sure you prepare.  Here are nine tips for umpiring games in cold weather. Bundle up!!

  1. Check with AD or Head Coach on what temperature a game will be cancelled at and call ahead. Sometimes a field will clear and games will be played – especially when teams are traveling.
  2. Dress in layers
  3. Jackets
    • You can look like a boss and wear a plate coat – but since nobody wears plate coats anymore…
    • Layers is the key here. Not sensible to buy a winter umpire jacket unless you really need it, so you can buy a nice ump jacket a size up and then wear a sweatshirt underneath it. Trick is that you need to fit it all in your pants so don’t wear anything too bulky. Multiple thin layers is key.
  4. Functional gloves (not heavy snow shoveling gloves, but not super thin gloves)
    • Important to find those without logos, but that also have some tack. Some have recommended football receivers gloves, but I don’t like mine with any logos
  5. Wraparound head mask, thin, that will fit under a ballcap
    • These are super nice for the coldest games. It’s so important to trap that heat that’s released from your head. This covers your ears and your head and also neck. Plus it’s thin enough to use under your base had
  6. Hand warmers
    • Watch putting hands in pockets, but it’s clearly allowable when the weather is cold
  7. Tights – heavy ones
    • Don’t wear long johns – they soak up moisture, find a under-armor style – better yet, they now have some cold-weather spandex style pants – bonus points if you can find one made for an athletic cup
  8. Socks – if you can get it done, 2 pairs of socks, but they need to be comfortable
    • Stay moving.  don’t fall into trap of just being stationary. Get out there and move around a bit.

Things not to wear (since I’ve seen it) – Scarves, Logo’d jackets and warmup pullovers, tooks and stocking caps, wear your game cap on the field.  Full on hunters orange overalls.

Think warm and take heart… it’ll be spring soon!!

Umptalk #4: Greg Harmon–NCAA D-I Umpire, Topeka, KS Area

Greg Harmon is a D-I official for NCAA’s Big 12 and Big 10 Conferences.  He is based in the Topeka area and last year worked the NCAA Sectionals an important step to the College World Series. Greg has also worked the NCAA D-II World Series and umpires in the Missouri Valley, Summit Conference and MIAA.

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Greg talks about the importance of professionalism, handling situations and dealing with working multiple leagues. Continue reading Umptalk #4: Greg Harmon–NCAA D-I Umpire, Topeka, KS Area

UmpTalk #3: Five Umpiring Nevers

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Sweet Lou getting in the grill of an umpire. Maybe he failed an umpiring never?
Sweet Lou getting in the grill of an umpire. Maybe he failed an umpiring never?

Umpiring is all about getting in position, doing the right thing, making the right call – but there are certain “Nevers” in umpiring that are important to learn as well.  This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but a great start to further conversation.

Podcast 3 Show Notes: Continue reading UmpTalk #3: Five Umpiring Nevers

Umptalk #2: Jon Browar – MIAA Umpire Supervisor

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Jon Browar Supervisor of Umpires for MIAANew to umpiring? Veteran? Looking to break into college ball? Looking to advance to the highest levels of college ball? You’ll get no greater expert at all of these than the Supervisor of Umpires for the MIAA Conference (NCAA D-II) and also the Umpire Supervisor for the Jayhawk Junior College Conference, Jon Browar.  Continue reading Umptalk #2: Jon Browar – MIAA Umpire Supervisor

UmpTalk #1: Eight Tips for new umpires

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Welcome to the field of umpiring. New UmpiresSo, you’ve been drafted out of the stands to be an umpire, or you are looking to step on the field for the first time as a part-time gig.  Welcome to Umpiring!!

We’re going to have lots of advice for you on this website, but first, we need to ease you in slowly.  Here are 8 tips that all new umpires must know.

Podcast 1 Show Notes

Continue reading UmpTalk #1: Eight Tips for new umpires