Peak Performer

By Hannah Wallace Photography by Ted Mase April 1, 2011

Good Call

Baseball background? I started playing when I was four years old. I played through college and after college, including four years of semi-pro ball in Cooperstown, N.Y. I didn’t have the foot speed, so I never got drafted. I’d gone to umpiring school, but I became a police officer instead.

Advanced training? This winter, I went to the five-week Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in Kissimmee. It was intense. I thought I knew a lot about umpiring, and I found out I knew nothing. There’s a certain position for your feet behind the catcher; you have to stay in a certain position all the way through the pitch, you have to be precise with your angles—everything is regimented.

The last couple weeks instructors would set up situations and pick on you, basically. They’d get arguments going. If you ejected someone, you had to fill out a report, and it had to be completely accurate or they’d tear you apart. It was kind of paramilitary. Being an umpire requires a lot of discipline.

Games? Right now I’m doing high school games and working with the Central Sarasota Little League. This summer I’m going to Marietta, Ga., and umpiring the Perfect Game Tournaments.

Physical demands? There’s a lot of sprinting and quick movement. I work in a two-man system, and there are situations you could be running 200 or 300 feet.

Every pitch that’s thrown, you’re in the squat position, so you’re doing at least a couple hundred squats a game. I run at least four times a week, in addition to lifting weights.

Goals? To get into high-level college ball. It would be a lot of traveling, but fortunately my schedule is flexible with my business.

Motivation? I just love baseball.

Advice? Have thick skin and know the rulebook inside and out. If you’re right, an argument will be over quickly. If you’re wrong…well, that’s where the thick skin comes in.

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