Umpire Professionalism

In umpire professionalism we explore how umpires should conduct themselves on the baseball diamond. 

What does it mean to be a professional as a definition of the word?  It signifies that you take each game assigned seriously and that you prepare yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. You should prepare yourself to do the best and be the best you can be.  That is what is meant by umpire professionalism. The following statements should be adapted to every level of baseball umpiring from Little League to the Major Leagues.  


1. It means you should study and know the rules as to be the walking talking rule book on the field.  So when you see something you can interpret it.

2. It means that your uniform is clean and that your are physically able to perform on the ball field.

3. All participants of the game will be treated with respect and that you will be courteous in all situations.




1. Contact your assigner and touch base on the game. (many umpire associations us The Arbiter check online to confirm your assignment)

2. Be in decent physical shape.

3. Study the rules and talk to other umpires if you have questions.

4. Attend training clinics and learn about mechanics, and the applications of the rules. Just knowing the rules is not enough they must be administered within the spirit of the game. If you want to die as a umpire don’t continue to learn continuing education is essential.

5. Always work on better ways of learning new things. Learn from experienced umpires watch them and learn what traits have made them successful.  Also learn umpires less than admirable traits.  Select traits of good umpires that will work in your umpire professionalism career. 

6. Listen to all more experienced umpires but do not use all they do because it may not fit your personality and also some of them actually will be speaking incorrectly about how to umpire.

7. There is just as much bad information about any task as there is good  and correct information. An example would be stances for balls and strikes. There are some real bad stance and some real bad reasons for them. There are fundamentals that every umpire should use and it is good for every umpire. It is up to you to learn what is good information and what is not so good. 

8. If you have an assignment complete the assignment. Sometimes it can be hard to replace an umpire assignment. Umpire professionalism is completing your assignments or have a very good reason for not being able to complete an assignment.   

 9. It is very professional to call your partner before a game and make sure you are on the same page.  Decide who is working the plate or the bases, a time to meet and place if your traveling together. Have a pre-game conference about mechanics and positioning.



1. Always be on time for a game. The first pitch should be thrown at the starting time of the game.

2. Never arrive at game time.  Allow yourself plenty of time to be comfortable when the first pitch is thrown. You owe the managers, coaches, and players that respect.

3. If you are working solo or alone make sure you get there and have your equipment on and be ready to go.

4. Be sure you have all your safety equipment on shin guards, protective cup, chest protector, safety or plate shoes, and carry your mask in your left hand.

5. Never bring your child or dog and expect someone to watch them while you umpire.

6. Conduct a pre-game conference at least 10 minutes before the game. Go over any rule changes or depending on the league any league specific rules.

7. There is a way a pre-game conference should be conducted. No players should be on the field during the pre-game meeting at home plate. If pitchers need to be warmed up the bullpen is the place.

8. If you take line up cards make sure they are correct. If there are errors correct them. This may keep you out of trouble later. Count the number of players ask if there is a Designated Hitter (DH). If used the line up card are the official line up for the game.

9. Again if using line up cards keep track of any changes and announce them to the opposite team. Do not go over to the dugout just call out the changes. “Smith batting for Jones” etc. Stay at home plate if you need to meet a coach half way.

10. Don’t enter the dugout for baseballs.  They should be brought to you. You are not responsible for foul balls or balls the catcher misses that go to the backstop. Advise the home team to keep ball prepared for use as to speed up the game. After the game any balls you have in your possession return to the home team. On deck hitters need to be instructed to get foul balls that get past the catcher be careful of live balls in play. 

11. Intelligently hustle during the entire game. This means you will hustle when it is needed and this means to be stopped when a play is going to occur on catches and play at the bases.  You should be not moving when making a call.

12. Never work more game in a day than your body will allow. You should not be in this for the money or for a part-time job. You should be an umpire because you love the game and what to give back to do some good for others and yourself. If you are in umpiring for the correct reasons you will be successful.

13. Have a goal of doing what is best for you and then for the players in the game. Treat every game with importance you owe that to the players and coaches. Your mind set should be that you will do your best. This is umpire professionalism and how you build a successful career. “DO IT ONE GAME AT A TIME” always be improving.



 1. Safety shoes for working the plate are essential.  Be sure to uses shoes that have a steel toe and instep protection. Shine your shoes each and every game.

2. Own a good set of shin guards to protect your legs.

3. A quality chest protector must be worn and it should cover up to your neck. Your chest protector should be cleaned often because of sweating and the odor it can give off.

4. Have a light weight protective mask with a wire frame preferably for good vision.  Practice taking your mask on and off which you should do to see other plays correctly.

5. Do we need to say for you to wear a protective cup. Not to would be insane. It is advised that you wear a cup on the bases also.


1. Always use a sized hat it appears more professional. If your association uses a logo it is essential you use one. For example in American Legion Baseball it is required to use the American Legion Logo.

2. Use an undershirt that is navy blue or red and one that absorbs perspiration.

3. Different leagues require different color shirts know the color and style shirts that are to be used. If there are different colors for example navy and light blue talk to your partner/s and make sure you have the same colors for the game.

4. It is recommended that you wear an ankle length under garment with a cup pocket.

5. Heather gray pants – preferable wider leg width for the plate. Make sure they are tailored to your correct length. Please note that pant colors are evolving and change make sure you are suited to match your partner/s.


1. Ball and strike indicator – which is used in the left hand only, plate umpire always has one and is optional for the base or field umpires. Make sure your partner/s know you are using an indicator or not. A good suggestion without a professional scoreboard operators-both or all umpire should carry and use an indicator. If a base umpire does use one, he should only use it in his pocket and seldom have it in his hand during a play. Change it between pitches and cut grooves in the dials to know when you are back to 0.

2. Use a plate brush to be kept in the breast or rear pocket or ball bag.

3. Two black or navy or gray ball bags. (some use only one). If you might have more than four baseballs in a game, you should consider two ball bags. Rotate baseballs equally so at the end of the game they have all been used approximately the same amount of time. It is a good idea not to change late in the game to a brand new baseball so if you rotate them there is no question especially when it becomes a little dark outside.

4. Have a pencil or pen to record lineup card changes.

5. A small black and flat lineup card folder is good to have kept in your shirt pocket, rear pocket and/or ball bag.