Life of An Umpire


Mark Mauno

Home plate umpire Bill Van Raaphorst

Being an umpire means several things, but most importantly, it means you control the game. Going from personally not making my high school baseball team and not being able to play to controlling the game for kids my age has been a great turnaround. When I got cut from the team, I wanted to continue with baseball, so I became an umpire and did baseball camps with little kids.
During the games, especially in travel ball during the summers, you get a lot of chirping from the crowd, especially from the coaches. Even in age groups such as 10u (it happens the most in this age group), parents and coaches are always on your tail, letting you know when you’ve made a mistake. Being an umpire has taught me to appreciate umpires when I’m playing because the job itself is hard, and it is nearly impossible to perfect. Fellow umpire Ryan Hass explained that “some of the kids have attitudes and complain about every call I make.” Hass has also had experiences where he has had to throw out coaches of their respective teams. Umpiring is not an easy job, and most of us need to deal with attitudes all game.

Accompanied by the difficulty of umpiring, it pays extremely well. Personally, I have an assigner where I self-assign games through a website, where I can get games ranging anywhere from 60-80 dollars. If you break it down, that is around 40 dollars an hour, considering most games are an hour and a half or two hours. Umpire, Joey Santora, explains the pay, stating, “I get paid in cash. I like this because it is easier to get money rather than getting it bi-weekly through a check”. All umpiring pay is under the table and not taxed, which is another big part of why it is such a good job/side hustle.

Recently, there has been a massive shortage of umpires available, which is killing the business. There aren’t that many people who want to deal with the complaining of players and parents about every call they make, despite the pay of the job. This isn’t just for baseball, as all sports, such as football, soccer, and basketball, are also experiencing shortages. According to Fox Eight News in Cleveland, the issue is running through the country, and this shortage of umpires is getting games rescheduled and even canceled. They also stated that the pandemic was a big reason for the shortage of umpires as it led to an increasing difficulty in recruiting new umpires and had others leave the job.

With the shortage of umpires, many schools, including Pennridge, incorporated umpiring classes into their schedules. Incorporating these classes can encourage students to pursue umpiring and get a job in it. These courses teach students the ins and outs of officiating and help them understand all the rules of each sport. The half year course has students learn the rules, officiate and play the games, leading to them learning all the information. With this new course, the shortage of umpires will hopefully be over shortly.