Umpires are needed for softball games throughout all of Southeast Manitoba.
Softball Manitoba covers softball for the whole southeast region, and they are low on umpires.
Craig Brandt, an umpire with Softball Manitoba says it would be great to have some more umpires in Steinbach and other southeast communities.
"Then we don't have to go and cancel or reschedule a bunch of games. It's good to have umpires out there so the girls can play.”
He says softball season can be extremely busy for their umpires.
“We're on the field as often as we want to be. Some of us are on the field for all of May, June, and July. It's a busy season.”
Brandt says the responsibilities that come with being an umpire are fairly basic.
“We're out there to call balls, strikes, outs, safes, fair and foul. Yeah, there's other rules and stuff and details, but when we have that down, we can cover 95 percent of the game just by that.”
He says that sometimes games get cancelled if they can’t find an umpire to work the game, so this it’s a pretty big deal.
"We hate to do it. We try to cover what we can, do what we can, and hopefully, we can at least reschedule some games,” he says. “But in the worst-case scenario, they either end up cancelling or have games without umpires altogether.”
He says a game without an umpire doesn’t work very well.
“Sometimes parents will have to jump in and they're uncomfortable with it.”
He says getting more umpires is all about trying to get the game to grow.
"I can understand, the players are frustrated if there isn't somebody to make the game happen, and then they don't want to play anymore,” he says. “And that's sad that the game could potentially fade off if we don't have enough umpires out there to make the game happen.”
Umpires are needed all across Manitoba as well. For more information visit their website www.softball.mb.ca.
“We run a two-day clinic. The first day, we go through the theory and different things and we write your test, but we kind of do it together to make sure everybody is able to pass through it.”
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Then on the second day, they go through some more practical drills like showing you where you need to be on the field.
Brandt says the environment during a softball game can be tense, as it’s a very competitive space, so one thing that’s been implemented over the last number of years to protect umpires is a Zero Tolerance Policy.
“Most of these parents, coaches, players have to go through some stuff to make sure that they understand that we're just there to do a job. And we're not there to be the bad guy, but we're there to make the right call.”
He says thanks to that policy, the environments become a lot better.
"Not to say that it's not intense when you get to some higher levels, but on the local ball with the younger players, it's all about having fun. And a lot of coaches and players and parents understand that.”
One cool thing the association has implemented this year is that if you ump three games, they will pay your registration fee back to you.
“And if you give us three games, that's three more games we don't have to worry about rescheduling or cancelling because now there's somebody behind the plate that's trying this out.”
He says whether you’re young or old it doesn’t matter.
"We look for anybody kind of 13 plus that's willing to come out there and give it a shot.”
Brandt notes they don’t make you umpire a level older than you anymore, and keep kids doing younger ages groups than what they are.
“We want to set people up for success, we try to mentor people as well,” he says. “Like we have the Storm tournament that happens at the beginning of June, for instance. We try to just bring a bunch of junior umpires so that we can watch because we're all at the same tournament, and then we can talk in between games and we can set people up that way.”