So You’re Thinking About Becoming a PHBA Umpire
On behalf of PHBA, the Umpire Leadership Team, and all members of the Blue Crew, I want to welcome you and your children to a new season of PHBA baseball and softball! If you’re reading this page, it means you’re considering the exciting world of umpiring. Please, READ ON!
PHBA, as an all-volunteer organization, relies exclusively on the efforts and commitments of our parent volunteers. Everything at PHBA is done by volunteer parents. Even our umpires. PHBA is able to keep its overall league fees lower than surrounding leagues because ALL our umpires are volunteers. Those umpires come from parents like yourself who want to experience the game of baseball and softball from a new vantage point. For many parents that step into the world of a PHBA umpire, they find umpiring in PHBA to be a rewarding experience. As a member of the Blue Crew, they embrace the game to such a degree a kinship and bond develops with their fellow Blue Crew members. We have a large number of our volunteer umpires return every year even after their kids stop playing in PHBA.
Each team, from Pioneer through Western, have a 16-game commitment for providing umpire coverage. While we prefer the team’s commitment be covered by one parent, we understand that personal conflicts may make that difficult and will accept two parents taking on the team’s umpiring responsibilities. Because not all games of the 4 divisions can be covered by the team umpires, the Blue Crew seeks and gets additional volunteer umpires from two other sources. The Instructional divisions and those veteran umpires who no longer have kids in the league. All 3 resources are needed to make sure the kids have the umpires they need to play their game. Umpiring not only fulfills your LAFF obligation to PHBA, but ensures the kids and teams at those levels have sufficient umpires for each and every game.
The requirements for being a PHBA umpire: a willingness to uphold the philosophies and principles of Positive Coaching as practiced by PHBA, a desire to see the game of baseball game from the best seat in the house; an enthusiasm for taking on a new challenge; a dedication to doing your best for the kids, and a commitment to honor the volunteer requirements of PHBA by providing umpire coverage during the PHBA season. What you do as an umpire makes it possible for the kids to build on their love the game and get the best possible enjoyment of the PHBA experience.
To ensure your success on the field, an Umpire Leadership Team (ULT for short) exists to oversee the umpires that will work approximately 1700 games this year. This 8-member team is responsible for the administration, management, training, and mentoring of all the volunteer umpires as well as ensuring all games are covered with knowledgeable and proficient umpires. The ULT conducts classroom clinics and a full day on-field training in February to prepare everyone for the upcoming season. For first time umpires in PHBA, these clinics are mandatory. A mentoring program also exists that works with all umpires following the field training to further hone the skills learned during the clinics. These mentors provide insight, advice, and instruction to the volunteer umpire as scrimmage games come up prior to the start of the season and once the regular season begins. You will not be alone out there. The team and I want this experience to be fun and worthwhile for those parents that step forward for this opportunity to be part of the Blue Crew.
Don't think you can fit an umpiring commitment into your schedule? Think again. Once training is completed, your umpiring workload schedule is set by you around your personal schedule and your child’s game schedule during one of our 3 Scheduling Nights. Opportunities abound from Monday through Saturday to schedule games that match your availability. This season we may even have an occasional Sunday game. All week day games start at 5:30PM and Saturday games go from 8:30AM until 10:00PM. Should you not be able to schedule your entire commitment on Scheduling Night, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the season that allows you to complete your game quota or sign up for more games.
While we do not encourage umpires to call their own child's game, we allow some latitude at the Pioneer level only. At the higher levels (American, National, Western), though, the level of competition dictates we do not have parents umpire their child’s game.
I know umpiring can seem intimidating, but PHBA adheres to the principals and philosophies of Positive Coaching. This does much to dampen overzealousness on the part of our fans in the stands. Additionally, as umpires, we have the full support of PHBA leadership as you conduct the business of umpiring. We are proud of who we are as PHBA umpires and want to ensure we put the best possible product on the field for the kids plus have fun doing it. Everything we do, we do for the kids.
Please, come join us in the PHBA Blue Crew. It’s a great way to fulfill your volunteer hours from the best seat in the house. If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail me at:
I look forward to seeing you all on the ball fields.
Ray A. Wrice