Monday, January 25, 2010

Time To Start Getting Ready

As I sit here in a hotel room in Cedar City, UT looking out at snow on the ground, it is hard for me to mentally get ready for the upcoming college baseball season.  But alas, I am afraid it is time.

I am 50 now, and it is MUCH more difficult for me to get ready for the first game each year.  The muscles and bones aren't 25 any more.  So I have to start much earlier to get ready. 

My season opens Feb. 19 in Little Rock, AR at the University of Arkansas/Little Rock.  A three day round robin format that will allow me to get my feet wet before my conference season begins towards the end of March. 

I WILL be sore after this weekend.  No way to avoid it.  HOW sore will be the thing I hope to contain.

I have already started a stretching regiment that I stretch for 20 minutes a day every day.  Hopefully this will be one thing that will help to eliminate some of the pain I will feel after that first weekend.

The other thing that I have started working on is that excess 20 pounds I have put on since I last umpired in August.  Starting to eat less and shed that weight before the season begins is a priority for two reasons...(1) I will feel better at 230 than I do at 250.  and (2) I don't want to have to buy any new uniforms this year.  I already have fat uniforms and uniforms that I can wear at my good weight...I just am cheap and don't want to buy any more fat uniforms.  But that's just me.

The other thing that I will do--and YOU should absolutely do as well--is find a place to go look at some pitches.  I do this every year at the University of Indianapolis.  I put on the gear and try to go see as many as 100 pitches a day for at least three days before I go out there for real.

If you don't do this, then you are cheating your profession.  You should make every effort to NOT go out on the field for the first time having not seen a pitch.  You should be game ready on day one.  Don't go in having to guess on day one.  The teams you are working for deserve better than that.

I understand that a lot of guys work basketball as well and it makes it more difficult to fit any sort of pre-season prep into your already busy schedule.  But make that effort.  It is important because we are all professionals.

The season is right around the corner and at least for me, the time has come for preparation .  You may not start as early as I do, so only you can know for yourself when you should start.

Have fun getting ready for 2010.  It is going to be a great year.

What do YOU do to get ready for the season?  Post your comment below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm Not Paying

Ok...So I have gotten tons of calls wanting to know what had me so ticked off after the meeting last weekend in Atlanta.  Honestly, there were SEVERAL things that made my blood pressure go up like a coach from the bench telling me to "Bear Down".

The big one though was this $100 fee from the NCAA.

Ok, let's just get one thing straight.  I have always been a big proponent of putting the BEST umpires on the field for the post season.  The games mean more, and I don't think it is a time to bring someone along just because it is "his turn."

That being said, this whole thing of paying for the playoffs has me totally PISSED!!!

They can call it what they want to...and you as an umpire can believe what they tell you...but the bottom line is if you don't pay the money you aren't considered for the playoffs.

However, they present it in such a way that it doesn't really make it clear whether or not it includes conference tournaments.  It doesn't.

In other words, if you are NOT in line for a regional or a super regional...paying the money is a total waste.  PERIOD.

I don't begrudge anyone for paying the money...if you are in the rotation for regionals by all means pay.  I'll trade $100 for the big paycheck you will earn for regionals.

But if you think you are going to pay the NCAA $100...and it is going to give you an inside track, then I have a hypnosis treatment that will make you get EVERY single pitch correct in EVERY single plate job you work for the rest of your life.

And if you think the NCAA is going to actually use that money they collect to improve the program for two of my hypnosis treatments.

If you haven't gone to your meeting yet...listen carefully how they present it that you REALLY need to pay the fee.  They are very vague about what you get...they even run a lovely young lady up there to talk about the process--all hoping for one thing--that you don't start bitching about WHY.

I'm not going to a regional...(in fact, after starting this blog I am pretty sure I will never EVER be considered).  So I am not paying the money.  For what??  A spiral-bound rule book and a $20 gift certificate to Honig's??  No thanks.  I have a rule book.  And I already get a discount from my CBUA membership.

Has anyone even stopped to think about how many new spots have come up for the regionals in the past few years??  I didn't think so.  And your $100 isn't going to get you any closer.

How big of a money maker is this for the NCAA??  Consider this.  I have found out from pretty reliable sources that over 1000 mens and 1000 womens NCAA basketball officials paid their $100 for the CHANCE at getting a post season assignment.  The CHANCE mind you.  That is over $200,000 that the NCAA collected from these people for 96 openings in the mens division and the same 96 in the womens division.

Ahhhh...the rich (NCAA) get richer.  On the backs of the people that they really don't care that much about in the first place.  Officials.

And trust me I know that there will be over 1000 baseball guys that will pony up also...SUCKERS.

There is only one word that truly describes this fleecing of the officials.  EXTORTION.

But Scott, if I don't pay the money then I can't take the test.  If I don't take the test, I can't qualify.

I don't care.  It is extortion and I refuse to be a part of it.

My thought is that the NCAA is trying to run the supervisors out of business.  Guys like Rich Fetchiet and Tony Thompson have BLED to make our jobs better.  No one at the NCAA is doing that.  I'll bet my money on Rich and Tony...(oops...I said BET didn't I?)

And baseball guys...let me throw this out there for you as food for thought.  Basketball officials make a HELL of a lot more money than we do for officiating our games.  Why do they get off paying the same money that we do when their game checks are for much more money than ours?  Just asking.

So if you want to drink the Kool-Aid and think that you are going to improve your chances of working the playoffs if you pay the money...feel free and write the check.  Call me in May to let me know how that $100 check worked out for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Well.  The answer to this question is pretty simple.  We as umpires put up with a lot of crap both on and off the field.  Coaches for the most part HATE us.  Administrators begrudgingly pay us our money because we are considered necessary evils of the game.

But the BIGGEST reason that I am starting this blog is because the leader of the NCAA umpire group said in a meeting on Saturday in Atlanta that we should be careful about posting blogs and posting messages on Twitter.  (Don't worry Mr. McArtor, I won't be writing stupid things about going out and drinking after games.) 

I have been an umpire for a long time.  I am 50 years old now, and have been an active part of the umpiring community for more than 60% of my life.

I was in professional baseball for 5 seasons (1982-86) and have worked with some great umpires in my time.  I carried current MLB Umpire Ed Hickox on my shoulders for a full season in the Florida State League in 1984.  (Just kidding Ed, you are still the BEST partner a guy could have ever asked for.) and have been fortunate enough to be around several other MLB Umpires in my time.

Mike Winters, Charlie Reliford, Brian Gorman all became professional umpires the same year I did back in 1982.  Worked a couple of spring trainings with Larry Vanover.  I worked Instructional League with Dale Scott and Tim Tschida.  I even worked with Pam Postema in that Instructional League.  (More on that another time.)

There are countless guys that I have worked with in the college game that are great umpires as well.

Being an umpire isn't for everyone.  If you want a job that people yell at you most of the day, and you are expected to start the season perfect and only get better from there...come sign up.  You guys all know this.

I love umpiring.  I love the game of baseball just as much.  There are just some things about the way the game of baseball treats umpires (and the way some UMPIRES treat other umpires) that I find distasteful.

On this blog, I will discuss a little bit of everything.

Please feel free to comment about any of my posts...The only thing I will censor is SOME of the language.  You can even post how horseshit you think I am.  (By the way, if you think I am horseshit you ARE in the majority)

Thanks for following me. And let's have some fun out there.

Well...Here Goes.

OK.  Now before I begin, I want everyone to know that I realize the only people that will read this blog are umpires.

In fact, I am going to invite all of my umpire friends to follow along.

This blog will be simple.  It will be about umpiring.  Not just the on the field stuff.  But all the crap you have to deal with as an umpire.

So you might ask...WHY?

Simple.  Gene McArtor thinks it is a bad idea.

I will say some things on this blog that some of you guys will roll your eyes at.

I will say a lot of things on this blog that will catch you shaking you head agreeing with me.

Some guys have already said, "Scott, you will torch your umpiring career with this."

I really don't think so.  And if I do, then so be it.  It was a great run.

My credentials as an umpire and my story to now is contained in the next post.

Thanks for following.