03/13/07 2:17 PM ET
Umpire Camp registration open for 2007
By Christie Cowles / MLB.com
Registration is now open for the camp. People interested in attending the one-week session can register online. The camp participants must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma, but are not required to have any previous umpiring experience.
MLB Umpire Supervisor and Umpire Camp Coordinator Rich Rieker said the camp will be tailored for all levels of experience and scholarships will be offered again this year.
The camp participants will have a opportunity to work closely with professional umpires on a daily basis. Both Major League and Minor League umpires will return to serve as instructors during the camp.
"We had so many Major League umpires apply [to be camp instructors], that we had to actually select some, we had to tell some no...they love teaching their craft," Rieker said.
Five entities will once again join together to put on the Umpire Camps, including MLB, the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp (PBUC), which trains and evaluates umpires in the Minor League Baseball system, the World Umpires Association, and the two umpire schools in Florida -- the Jim Evans' Academy of Professional Umpiring and the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires.
Last year people came from all across the United States and from eight other countries to participate in the camp -- including Australia, Canada, Japan, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Slovakia and Sweden. MLB anticipates a diverse group this year as well.
"We have an obligation to train umpires whereever we're training players," Rieker said. "This is about the globalization of the game and exposing baseball to all areas of the world.
"There's a tremendous responsibility that if we're going to train these people how to play, and coach and manage, then we train the umpires too."People were drawn to the initial umpire camp for a variety of reasons. Many of the people who participated in last year's camp officiate in Little League, recreational and high school-level baseball.
Some of the participants were looking to improve their umpiring skills at the camp to continue officiating at those levels, and some were aiming for a professional umpiring career in the future.
Last year's participants found the camp to be a great way to learn about the umpiring profession, and they were able to learn umpiring skills from professionals that would apply no matter what level of umpiring they choose to pursue.
Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its Clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.