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05/03/07 11:20 AM ET
Umpire clinic to take place in NC
By Christie Cowles / MLB.com
A free one-day umpiring clinic will take place in Cary, NC on Saturday, June 16 at the USA Baseball National Training Center at Thomas Brooks Park. The clinic is for umpires of all levels and those interested in learning more about umpiring. Participants will have a chance to learn from instructors with umpiring experience at the Major League, Minor League, college, high school and sandlot levels. The clinic is being hosted by the Town of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources department and USA Baseball, with umpiring personnel supplied by Major League Baseball and the Amateur Baseball Umpires' Association. "It's probably going to be the most senior staff on any camp ever organized in North Carolina," MLB Umpire Supervisor and MLB Umpire Camps Coordinator Rich Rieker said. Clinic registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and instruction will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, with a 30-minute lunch break. The concession stand on site will be open for lunch. Participants are not required to wear an umpire uniform; however, they are asked to bring plate equipment. "We'll divide [the participants] up by experience and we'll give them one full day of great training," Rieker said. "We'll take people with experience, we'll take seasoned veterans, we'll take first-timers," he said. "We think we have an obligation to train umpires and we're continuing through that by offering this clinic with the ABUA." The clinic will include sessions on plate and cage work, base work, the two-umpire system, baseball rules and tips on conditioning, nutrition, equipment and safety. The participants will learn proper positioning on the plate, the strike zone, how to call balls and strikes, field positioning and reaction to plays. "I think that everybody that attends is going to come out of there learning more about umpiring, learning more about what it takes to call a good game of balls and strikes, and how to handle the situations," Rieker said. The umpire clinic is the first event being held at the National Training Center. The grand opening for the Center will take place a few days after the clinic. "It's USA Baseball and the town of Cary showing the integrity of umpiring in the game," said Rieker. "It goes to show the importance of it, that the first thing being held [at the new facility] is an umpire training course." MLB umpiring staff that will serve as instructors at the clinic include: Rieker, MLB Umpire Supervisor Rich Garcia, Supervisor and MLBUC Curriculum Coordinator Cris Jones, MLB Umpire Evaluator and college baseball umpire Dave Buck and MLB Director of Medical Services Mark Letendre. Minor League umpires (Triple-A) Damien Beal, Jamie Roebuck and Brian Reilly also will assist with instruction at the clinic. College baseball umpires Bryant Woodall and David Prichett will take part in the clinic as well. Former Minor League and collegiate umpire and West Coast Conference supervisor Tom Hiler, ABUA Chairman, NCAA Regional Advisor and Director of Umpires for International Baseball Dick Runchey, ABUA President and Chair of NFHS Baseball Rules Committee Kyle McNeely and ABUA Vice President and NCAA Regional Advisor Ron Sebastian also will be present at the clinic. "This is for a local area, but [also] a bigger picture, because [the National Training Center] is going to be really our amateur training facility for the United States [team]," said Rieker. "By having this in that home, it illustrates the cooperation between USA Baseball, MLB and the ABUA, and the town of Cary."
Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.