Start scheduling those summer umpires!
Practices have not started. Some teams have not yet even been formed. Some fields are still slumbering under the snow. Most of your baseball players are still wearing shorts and dribbling the bouncing ball. Donâ€™t let the rhythmic beat of the bouncing basketball lull you to sleep, however. Itâ€™s time to start scheduling your summer umpires!
Many organizations, such as McLean County PONY Baseball, if not yet having the game slots filled, do have their pool of umpires ready. Independent teams, however, are typically left to fend for themselves, when it comes to lining up the umpires for their summer schedule. Donâ€™t get left high and dry because youâ€™ve waited too long.
While many young or less experienced umpires enter the summer umpiring pool (typically high school and college students), probably 50% of the umpires who call the spring high school games either drastically reduce their schedule or forgo a summer schedule altogether. Experienced umpires like Joe Powell are few and far between. That is, those umpires who call a full schedule in the spring, summer, and fall.
If you want to ensure that you get at least one seasoned umpire for each of your games, youâ€™ve got to start early. Typically we see the requests start coming in for travel teams as early as mid-January, with many more coming in February. The biggest group of travel teams are in the 13 year-old category. These teams typically start their games in April. These are especially difficult to schedule for, as the high school schedule is in full swing at that point. If you have a 13 year-old team and youâ€™re waiting until late February or March, be prepared to get far less experienced umpires.
If this is your first time around, you may be wondering just how you go about securing umpires for your games. Well, there are many different methods. One is to use a free service from the Bloomington-Normal Officials Association. Go to BNOA.ORG for more information on how to use their online board to post games.
Another method for scheduling umpires is to use an assignor like John Figura. For a small fee, an assignor will take care all aspects of umpire scheduling, leaving you free to work on other organizational issues for your team.
Something else that other teams do when it comes to scheduling umpires is to depend on an umpire acquaintance to help them out. If you know an umpire whoâ€™s been around a while, then quite often he can help you line up umpires to help fill those open slots.
No matter what direction you choose, just donâ€™t procrastinate. If you havenâ€™t yet made plans to fill those umpire openings for your summer team, get on it soon!