Information for Prospective Umpires:
Do I need any experience with baseball or umpiring to be a Sherwood Park Umpire?
The answer is definitely not. Many of our new umpires each year have never set foot on a diamond in their life. Of course if you do have prior baseball experience of any sort, it will be most beneficial to you but is not required to succeed as an umpire.
How old do I have to be to umpire baseball?
You should be over 12 years old if you would like to umpire. However, if you are close to being 12 and interested, please contact me. One of the best parts about umpiring are meeting and becoming friends with people of all ages. There are umpires in the program that are anywhere from 12 to 60 yrs old. All ages are welcome and there are great opportunities for all!
Is this a good first job for me?
This is an excellent first job for anybody looking for some extra spending money while having a great time participating in baseball and working outdoors.
When and where would I work?
All games are held in the evening on weekdays and occasionally during the day on weekends. Most games start at approximately 7:00PM and are over by approximately 8:30PM. The season usually starts in the first week of May and goes until the end of June. For those interested there are opportunities available in July and August but are optional. All required games are held in Sherwood Park, most frequently at the diamonds behind Sherwood Heights Junior High School, Strathcona Athletic Park (Bev Facey), Cloverbar Junior High and other locations throughout Sherwood Park. There are usually opportunities that arise in Edmonton and surrounding areas but are optional.
How do I become an umpire?
Sometime in mid-April, a weekend clinic is held in Sherwood Park (and other areas if you can't attend that weekend). The clinic runs from approximately 8am to 4pm each day. This clinic will teach you everything you need to know to start umpiring from how to dress, put your equipment on, positioning, rules, mechanics, game management etc. There is a cost, see posting, for level 1 and level 2. However, one half of this cost will be reimbursed at the end of the year if you umpire 15 or more games in Sherwood Park over the course of the season. Pre-Registration is required and can be found at the following link https://www.spmba.ca/umpire-registration/ After attending the clinic you will be contacted and asked what your approximate availability is for May and June and be informed of a meeting date usually in the last week of April. An email will be sent in the month with your schedule and you will have plenty of notice and sufficient time to find a replacement if you are unavailable for any of your games. You will also receive all your equipment at this meeting. The season usually starts around May 1st weather permitting.
What about equipment and clothing?
All equipment except clothing is supplied with a fully-refundable deposit required of $100.00 and a rental fee of $50.00. Many first year umpires go to Wal-Mart, Winners, Salvation Army etc. and buy a dark navy golf-shirt and grey slacks at a very low cost. This is completely acceptable as we understand that a large up-front cost is not reasonable. All that is asked is that there are no jeans, sweats, shorts, t-shirts etc. worn as image and professionalism are very important in umpiring. We are proud to say that the Sherwood Park Umpire program provides their umpires with the best equipment package in the province and that are safety record is second to none because of this.
What levels will I be umpiring?
You will be umpiring any level that both you and SPMBA are comfortable with you umpiring. We will never place you in a situation that will be over your head or uncomfortable with. Often, younger umpires have the opportunity to do some different levels near the end of the season if they have progressed to the point that they think they are ready and comfortable. We are very fair with all assignments and will always try to accommodate requests to work different levels, team or with certain partners etc.
Will I be yelled at, abused by coaches players etc. like they do in the big leagues?
The control of these actions is our number one priority and we do not tolerate any of it. Almost all of the coaches you will encounter understand that the umpires as well as their own players are both learning and that many mistakes will happen and that they have to accept that. We promote a very fun and enjoyable atmosphere which is why most first year umpires come back for many more years after the first. This will never be a problem and if by the off chance something happens it will be dealt with immediately.
What commitment is required to umpire?
Since this is a job and a large number of people depend on the umpire to have a game, commitment is required. However, this is by no means unreasonable as it only means to show up on time for all your games and do the best you can or find an adequate replacement for a game that you are scheduled for.
How much do I get paid?
Each level has a different pay level and these can be found on the Fee Schedule. These rates are revised each year and are compared to other associations to remain above or competitive with all other Alberta associations. Payment is made by cheque every two weeks at the Log Cabin.
What are the long-term opportunities in umpiring?
After going to your first clinic you will be a Level 1 umpire. The year after that you can go back to the same clinic and write a Level 2 exam to gain that level. After that you may go to Edmonton or Calgary to a level 3 clinic and receive that level. When you turn 18, you may go to the Provincial clinic and gain a level 4 certification. Once you reach level 3 and even often level 2, you will be offered provincial play-down games and provincial championship assignments to follow. Once you reach level 4, you can then umpire at Western Canadian and National Championships. Many other opportunities such as Alberta Summer Games, Canada Summer Games and other prestigious competitions are well within reach.
If I play baseball or another sport in the summer can I still umpire?
Definitely yes! Many of our umpires play another sport or have another weekly activity that we just schedule around. Occasionally, we have umpires that play rep or high level sports and also umpire. What usually happens in that situation is that we do not schedule them into a regular rotation rather we have them on an alternate list that we call whenever other games come up as there are many that do throughout the season. If you are unsure whether or not it could work, please contact us and we would be more that willing to discuss it with you.
Are there opportunities for female umpires?
Yes, there are great opportunities for female umpires. Because of the lack of females in umpiring, the opportunities are endless. Each year our program has both male and female umpires.
OK, I want to umpire! What do I do next?
Please contact us by email or phone. We can then register you for the clinic and answer any more questions that you may have.
I am still unsure or have some more questions, What do I do next?
Please contact us by email or phone and we will answer any questions you may have or even put you in contact with a past umpire who may be able to share their experiences with you.