If you've ever been to a Little League baseball or softball game, here's your chance to get a little closer to the action.
The Warren County Youth Baseball Softball Association (www.wcybsa.org) is currently training umpires for the 2013 Little League season, with both classroom and field training sessions available throughout the month of April.
Classroom sessions combine lessons on baseball and softball rules and regulations, while the field training focuses on live action with the new umpires as active participants.
Times Observer photo by Ben Oviatt
Umpires in training
Warren County Youth Baseball/Softball Association Little League umpires Kathryn Lobdell (with bat), Summer Rosendahl (crouching), Sierra Wees (back left), and Meghan Loutzenhiser pose for a photo following Wednesday night’s umpire training session at the Farm Colony Complex.
"It's very important to do the field training," said Little League board member Darin Freeborough. "That's where you'll learn to position yourself and where to stand when making a call. The better job you do, the more work you'll get."
The goal is to cover as many game situations as possible before the season begins later this month. Of course, one training session isn't nearly enough to cover everything the new umpires - many of whom are high school and college students - will see during a real game.
"You can do thousands of games and you'll still see something new every year," said local veteran umpire Billy Cummings. "You have to anticipate where the play is going to be. When it's just you, you're not going to be able to see every part of the field. You have to make the call as you see it."
The upper levels of Little League typically use both a home plate umpire and field umpire, while the younger age groups make do with one person controlling the action. The umpires with the most experience take the majority of boys' and girls' juniors games, and the rest filter down through majors and minors.
So what is the best piece of advice for the umpires in training?
"Read the rule book," said head umpire Marty Meddock. "Knowing the rules doesn't make you a good umpire, but you can't be a good umpire without knowing the rules."
All new umpires must take part in one field and one classroom training session at the Farm Colony complex in North Warren. Remaining training dates for the 2013 season are at 5 p.m. April 11 (field training), April 14 (classroom and field training), and April 21 (field training and game scheduling) at the Farm Colony Complex.