Umpires, we love to hate them. If they get a call right we don’t care, if they get the call wrong we lose our minds. You begin to wonder if it’s their first game or if the other team is paying them. Regardless, it is important to remember that umpires are human and like all of us, make mistakes.
The truth of the matter is that umpiring is not an easy job. Either way, one of the teams will not like you by the end of the game. You have to be very quick and confident in your decisions to be an umpire. You also need a plethora of tools to perform at the highest level.
1. Thick Skin
Probably the most important attribute an umpire needs to have is thick skin. It is important to understand that wearing an umpire’s uniform comes with a target on your back. Every player, coach, and fan is looking for someone to place the blame for a poor performance or loss. Thus, the umpire gets abused by all parties, taking sole blame for anything bad that happens.
If an umpire has thick skin and is ready to put the target on their back, they’ll need an umpire’s uniform. Grey pants are the pant of choice by umpires of nearly every level. Once you throw the pants and polo/jacket on you will be referred to as “Blue” and become public enemy number one at the ball park. Although umpires nearly always wear black polo’s these days, blue used to be the color of choice for umpires, hence the nickname “Blue”. Umpires will almost exclusively be called ‘Blue’ by the lower levels, while the professional ranks will call them by their first name as they work together much more consistently. Majestic has long been the official supplier of Major League Baseball polo’s and jackets.
If an umpire is going to take on the task of calling balls and strikes behind the plate, they will want to be well protected. Solid protection will provide them with the confidence needed to stare down a fastball and hang in there to make the correct call. A quality chest protector is something every home plate umpire needs for both safety and to properly do their job. Leg guards are also needed to protect against foul balls and incompetent catchers. The most important piece of umpire equipment is a home plate umpire’s mask. An umpire’s mask can literally save their life.
A quality umpire shoe will provide both protection and performance. Contrary to popular belief, umpires don’t just stand in place an entire game. Every play they are in motion. Whether it’s dodging a foul ball down the line or running to get in proper position to make a call, umpires need shoes that allow them to maximize their athletic ability. It can be tough to find an umpire shoe that offers good protection, comfort, and performance.
Along with the main tools an umpire utilizes, there are several accessories that every umpire should incorporate in their game. An umpire’s brush is one of his most useful accessories. Without a clean home plate, calling balls and strikes becomes very difficult. Another must-have accessory for a home plate umpire is a ball bag. With foul balls constantly being launched out of play and balls getting scuffed up in the dirt, a home plate umpire needs to have an extra supply of baseballs at all time. Arguably the most important accessory an umpire can have on hand is an indicator. An umpire’s indicator allows them to keep track of the count, outs, and inning. This is especially useful when there is no scoreboard aiding them in tracking this information.
If you want to be a high quality umpire, you will need to be properly equipped. Obtaining high-quality protective gear along with performance-enhancing accessories is key when trying to be the best umpire you can be.
If you have any questions on must-have umpire equipment please contact BaseballMonkey Customer Service at (888)-771-3111.