Baseball is growing in popularity in Central Alberta, and along with its rise has come the growing need for umpires for the many ball games set to take place in diamonds in the area this coming season.
President Morgan Greenwood of the Eckville Minor Baseball Club, encouraged any aspiring umpires to attend any of the upcoming clinics hosted by Baseball Alberta in Central Alberta.
Clinics are divided into a series of levels, for the kinds of umpiring skills the teach. Greenwood noted that, for example, Level 1 entails basic umpiring skills “for town ball, like what Eckville plays,” while the higher levels are geared toward games by older teams, like those in the AA and AAA divisions.
“Basically, [attending an umpire clinic] allows you to be able to ump a better calibre of ball,” said Greenwood, who noted that he is trying to arrange to attend one of the clinics going on in Red Deer this weekend, on April 22 and 23.
While Sylvan Lake hosted clinics last weekend, those looking how to learn the basics of being an ump will need to go to the Collicutt Centre this weekend, where clinics on Saturday and Sunday will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vice President Amy Brown said that anyone interested ought to attend the umpire clinics, since many local teams playing this year are facing “a bit of a pickle,” with a stubborn lack of local umpires.
She said there is a continual need, specifically in Eckville, for umpires.
“We actually don’t have any umpires in Eckville,” said Brown. “Our problem is more how difficult is to get people to go to the clinics. It seems hard to convince people that umpiring is something they want to do.”
Brown said the clinics are a day-long programs, in which participants are thoroughly educated and versed in all the aspects of being an umpire.
“They go all over the rules, and scenarios that a person might encounter in an in-game situation,” she said.
Brown emphasized that “this is important, because baseball has been making a comeback. It’s one of those situations where we have more teams this year than we have had in the past,” which which creates a greater, growing demand for more umpires than what they’ve dealt with in the past.
For more information on umpire clinics, and when and where they will take place, contact the Eckville Minor Baseball Club, or Baseball Alberta at 780 427 8943.