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MAY 2024                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 11

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"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

– Helen Keller

   American author

I play squash four times a week. And no, it's not "old man" squash, despite my age (I'm 65). It's competitive, it's hard, and it's intensive. When I'm done an hour of squash, I'm soaking wet with sweat.

OK, let me interject here just to beg you to bear with me, because no, you haven't opened the wrong file by mistake. Despite appearances, this article isn't about squash, nor is it about physical activity.

It's about umpiring, which you will see if you can just hang on for a couple more minutes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I am meeting or exceeding my requirements for physical activity with my squash. Their website tells me that should I wish to delay age-related health problems, I need at least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running.

I would argue that an hour to 1.5 hours of squash four times a week would at least meet those requirements.

Yet I know, honestly, it's not enough. I am nowhere fit or in shape or ready to run a marathon.

Quite simply, I need more despite what the CDCP says.

Now here's where the umpiring part comes in.

If you're an umpire with any experience at all, you know the minimum requirements of the position.

For example, in the two-umpire system, you know that if you're the base umpire and there's a runner on first, on a base hit it's the plate umpire's job to make the call at third base should R1 decide to go there.

Great. Good for you. Now here's a question: What if the plate umpire forgets to cover third and there is indeed an actual play there?

Are you going to stay in your B position and focus on the batter/runner because that's your job, darn it, and you're going to continue to do your job?

That way you can point to the plate umpire when everyone yells at you "What's the call?" and you can say "That's his call, not mine."

I sincerely hope not. Despite what most people think, there are three teams in every baseball game. There are the two baseball teams, and then there is the team of umpires. Yes, the two of you are a team. And you don't leave your teammates twisting in the wind. You pick them up, support them, help them.

So when you see that your partner forgets his job, without hesitating or complaining, you do what you can to help out.

That includes taking the heat when you have to make that call at third from the B position because your partner didn't

Umpiring: More than minimum required

move from behind home plate.

I tell kids every year one of the great things about the two-umpire system is that it is incredibly simple. Whatever play your partner doesn't make a call on, is yours.

That means, but is not limited to, everything your partner is supposed to call but doesn't.

But of course there's much more to it than that. Because



you're a team, it's up to you to know more than the basic rules, and more than the basic positioning.

Look at it this way: If you were a baseball player on a team, you'd want your teammates to be able to depend on you, right?

You want to be the guy who knows how to field his position, but you can also fill in for guys who maybe forget their role once a ball is in play.

If you're up to bat, you'd want to know how to do what's required in that situation. Maybe right now a bunt is called for, or you need to go the other way, or take a couple pitches so the runner has a chance to steal.

You'd want to do whatever it takes to help your teammates, wouldn't you?

That's the frame of mind you should take with you to the ballfield when you're umpiring, as well.

Whatever it takes.

Don't rely on your partner to be the "rules guy," or for him to have to tell you where you're supposed to position yourself on the field.

Be ready to step up when your partner needs help, and don't be a drag that requires your partner to always step in to help you out of a jam, whether it's because of your poor decision-making, lousy angle, lack of rules knowledge or whatever.

I was once supervising a game where the plate umpire got in an argument with a coach. It got heated, but ended without an ejection.

However, when the plate umpire turned to go back into position, the coach made an obscene gesture behind his back. The umpire immediately ejected him.

Well, how did he do that if his back was turned to the coach?

Ah. I said "the umpire" ejected him. The base umpire. His partner.

The base umpire saw what was going on and instead of thinking to himself "That's my partner's issue, I won't get involved," he stepped in and had his partner's back.

That's the kind of umpire I want to work with. The one who will watch your back and take care of issues because they need to get taken care of, not the guy who just minds his own business and lets you mind yours.

He steps in and helps out where needed, like a good teammate should.

Do more than the minimum. Always. In everything you do.

Yes, I need to find more exercise other than squash, and you need to do what it takes to show your partner you're a team out there.

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“If you do the bare minimum, expect bare minimum results. You want to be great, work to be great. Nothing just happens.”
J.J. Watt

NFL player


Page 2


There's a lot going on at Umpire Mentors

The book Umpire Mentors was launched in February 2022.

It took two years to go from idea to printed book.

To get 100 world-class umpire mentors in the book, the author had to contact more than 1,700 high-level umpires. Some never responded, some never completed their work, some liked to answer the questions with one-sentence answers, despite prodding multiple times.

And there was a lot to learn about the book publishing industry.

It's one thing to write a book. It's a completely different animal to publish a book.

Just over two years after the book went to print, the Umpire Mentors Workbook was published, in April 2024.

If you're interested, it took a little over a year to put together. There was a lot of data to be compiled.

For example, how many of the contributors to the book think the most important thing about being consistent calling balls and strikes is being in the slot?

Well, to find out, there are 100 contributors. So we had to go through the entire book, compiling everyone's answer, to find that answer. And there are 10 questions, so that

means every page of the book had to be gone over 1,000 times just to compile the data on their answers. (By the way, the answer to the question, "How many of the contributors to the book think the most important thing about calling balls and strikes is being in the slot?" is 20). And in another by the way, no, none of the contributors think it's that simple - just get in the slot and you'll have a more consistent strike zone. But to find out more, well, you'll just have to read the book.
There was much to do the first year after Umpire Mentors was published.

Sure, there were podcasts to go on, interviews to be held, stuff like that. But we also had to learn about marketing, social media, web page design, advertising, ad design, and much more. It's daunting, and it's mind-blowing. And let's not forget this newsletter, 

GOOD CALL! was created more than a year ago, and there are more than 20 blogs on the website (haven't read them yet? Go to

But that's all behind us now. Let's look ahead.

In the near future, at least two more Umpire Mentors-themed books will be published.

What are they about? Well, let's keep some mystery around them for now. But I can say this - they will continue the Umpire Mentors' mandate of being helpful to all umpires, no matter what level.

One of them, due to necessity, will be a print book only, while the other will be available both as an e-book and in print.

Although it's just an educated estimate right now, you should be able to expect the first one, the print-only book, in less than a year from now, probably in late 2024 or early 2025.

The other one will take quite a bit more time.

Also in the very near future, look for some Umpire Mentors merchandise. That's all we'll say about that for now.

But now it's your turn. We'd like to hear from you. Send a note to and let us know what topic we should be writing about in another book, or what kind of Umpire Mentors merchandise you'd like to see.

Or it can be about anything.

Drop us a line and let us know what you're thinking. As long as it's umpire-related.

Special offer for


UMPIRE MENTORS, the best book for umpires since the rule book, is now 25% off for GOOD CALL! subscribers only (if you're reading this, you're probably a GOOD CALL! subscriber).
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