The more I know, the more I don’t know – you know?

I had my 1st 4 games of 2017 this weekend. It was great to be out there again – but a bit unsettling as well. I try to learn and improve every year. I go to as many clinics and learning opportunities as possible. But sometimes I feel as is that only shows me how far I have to go – that knowing the right way to do things only highlights how far I have to go to get there.


Beginner/Basics Umpire Clinics in New Jersey

Ray Mosso of All County Assigning will be hosting two umpire clinics in the upcoming weeks. The 1st clinic is designed for new umpires or those who have never been to a clinic and want to get some help with the basics. The 2nd will focus on big field 2 man mechanics and is ideal for umpires who have had no formal 2 man instruction and want to make the move to the big field, or simply become better partners. Both meetings are a good opportunity to meet an assignor and start getting games.

All clinics at Morristown Beard School 70 Whippany Road, Morristown 07960 Time: 3:00-5:00. cost $25 each session.

Clinic 1- March 26 Sunday
For the Newer Umpires –  anyone with less than 3 years umpiring should attend.  Small diamond, one person mechanics for both baseball and softball. Will cover equipment, uniforms, pre-game plate meeting, dealing with coaches, strike zone, timing, hustle. will touch on some rules and safety issues.

Clinic 2- April 2nd
Big diamond two man mechanics.The proper mechanics for two umpire games.   Will cover basic mechanics and coverages and balks. It is essential for both umpires to be on the same page in the 2 man system, and this is a good opportunity to get an introduction to the system that is taught in High School and other clinics across the state.


To reserve your spot email


No Cowboy – but that’s OK

So I attended the New York State Baseball Umpires Association 2017 clinic yesterday. The featured instructor – Cowboy Joe West – was unable to attend due to union business in Chicago. While that was a little disappointing, the major and minor league and local guys (and gal) that were there were enthusiastic and clearly enjoyed sharing their skills and experience. Rob Drake and Lance Barrett from MLB shared tips and stories from their major league experiences. Drake is a real character and Lance, while a bit more reserved, has the presence that you would expect from a guy that has made it to the top of his profession. I found Rob Drake’s explanations of the workings of replay review particularly interesting. The MiLB umpires – Chris Segal (who is also a major league call-up), Dan Merzal (a personal favorite of mine) and Jen Pawol (who has a chance to be the first female to make it to MLB) obviously enjoy teaching and sharing, and the local NY State guys (who’s names I do not know), were enthusiastic teachers as well. While there was not the intense feedback and detailed personal instruction that I always look for in a clinic, this was a fun experience with a few worthwhile takeaways. Drop step double play footwork, and a slightly different way of taking a steal at second from the B position are elements that I hope I can incorporate into my game in the spring. I enjoyed the time spent with Rich Verost and Kevin Kane, a couple of very good umpire and buddies, and met a bunch of nice guys from Binghamton and throughout the state. All in all, it was a nice way to spend a couple of days – and who’da thunk I’d avoid the snow by being in Binghamton NY?


’nuff said


Back to blogging in 2017!

New year and new resolutions. I had an apple today and went to the gym – recommitting to the AmateurUmpire blog is also on the list. Next week I will be attending the 2017 NY State Umpire Clinic hosted by the New York State Umpires Association. Anticipated MLB clinicians include Joe West, Ted Barrett and Lance Barrett with a handful of MiLB guys, including Chris Segal. I’ll be riding up with a couple of good umpires and friends, and look forward to some good insight from the cream of the umpiring crop. With the season right around the corner, it’s a good time to start to get back into the mindset. And it will certainly give me something to blog about


So I came across this on Umpire-Empire today, and it looked like such a good idea that I’m ordering a copy. You can never have too many rule books, right? Here’s how one of the authors describes RulesGraphics:

Idea was to take all pertinent information about a rule (rule book language, sample plays, key points, pictures – which by the way were done by a professional artist and are awesome) and put them all on one page. Then we organize the pages in an easy to follow manner.

Think Infographics but for baseball rules.

Sounds good to me. Check it out at

An umpire blogger who is NOT taking the winter off…

I have really slacked off on my blogging, as I do, I guess, every winter. I received a copy of Jim Evans’ Maximizing The Two Umpire System for Christmas and had planned on using that to jump start my writing. I will still do so but,  for today, wanted to share a blog that I have been reading the past few days: johnperrettaproumpireschool2015.

I came across this on umpire-empire (ump-emp) and it’s great reading. John is blogging about his current on-going experience at The Umpire School in Vero Beach, FL on  day by day basis. It’s only Day 3, so it’s a good time to jump on board and follow the 4 week program.

Thanks very much John – good luck and enjoy the experience!

Stay on the catcher’s right hip

Here’s another great training video from NJSAB. I always remember that I have to stay on ONE of the catcher’s hips. 2015 POE – remember which hip!

Video of me

I worked an evaluation  game a couple of weeks ago and, in addition to valuable in-game feedback from a D-1 umpire, received this edited, custom video. The guys at NJSAB do a great job of providing on going education for their members. I’m at my best between 22:00 and 24:00

Rooting for the Royals!

The last time I paid any attention to the Kansas City Royals, Chris Chambliss was barreling his way around the bases, Freddie Patek (or was it Cookie Rojas?) was crying in the dugout, George Brett was seething about something, and the Yankees were winning the series. About the time the Royals finally won one, my obsession with baseball was turning into merely fanaticism.  Over the next looong bunch of years, I became a casual fan at best.  Giving my Met-fan friends a hard time and listening to Mike and The Dog kept me connected, but I probably didn’t watch a complete baseball game for a full 20 year stretch.  Since I started umpiring a few years back,  I’ve re-discovered my enjoyment of the game. I love having the best seat in the house for over 100 games a year, but still don’t stay with a pro game for more than a batter or two. I honestly couldn’t tell you who won last year’s World Series.  But now, after all of these years – here come the Kansas City Royals!

In the 2013 draft, Livingston’s own Frank Schwindel was drafted out of St. John’s by the Royals. He’s played the last two years in Idaho Falls, Lexington, KY and Wilmington, DE, moving up to AA at the end of this season. I know Frank’s family, and it’s been exciting to follow his progress. But, most of all – it gives me a horse in the race!

Let’s go Royals! When’s the 1st game?