The Umpire Leadership Team (ULT) continues to meet twice a month during the offseason in preparation for the upcoming season. The ULT examines existing PHBA rules along with changes to Major League Baseball and USA Softball rules which may impact PHBA. The team encourages Blue Crew discussion about the rules, reviewing current tough plays and playing “you make the call” via the messaging app Slack. Additionally, some of the veteran members continue umpiring travel team games and tournaments.

Eleven members from the Blue Crew, including six ULT, were fortunate to attend a free umpire clinic in December hosted by the renowned Wendelstedt Umpire School and the Umps Care Charities. The clinic was coordinated and taught by professional umpires who officiate collegiate levels up through the major leagues including three umpires from the active MLB roster. The curriculum included an intense 8-hour day of instruction which began in 31-degree frost and heavy tule fog to start the day.

The umpires were put through similar training drills used by the ULT to train our own Blue Crew along with advanced mechanics used by professional crews. Why does this matter for PHBA? Continually reinforcing the fundamentals and adapting to new techniques help our League provide the best training and officiating possible at every level of play.

Ultimately, our goal is to develop a confident, skilled umpire officiating crew for our kids. Even though we’re an all-volunteer league, we have high standards for our Crew and our offseason activities help keep us sharp year round.