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!!
- 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.
- Dress in layers
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Hand warmers
- Watch putting hands in pockets, but it’s clearly allowable when the weather is cold
- 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
- 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!!