The following is a message from Kaira Ostrosser, Baseball Ontario's Programs Coordinator:
We hope your off-season planning is going well. Despite the current weather, the baseball season will be upon us in no time!
There are several umpire development items and initiatives we wanted to make you aware of, as outlined below.
Many of you have expressed an urgent need for new adult umpires in your local areas. In response to this recruitment need, we are once again offering our Accelerated Umpire Clinic. This program will allow adults with previous baseball backgrounds, or with officiating experience in other sports, to become fully certified as a Level 2.3 before the beginning of this season. Click here for details and to download a flyer.
We need your help to make this program a success. Please share the information with any adult (18 or older) you know that would be a good candidate for the Accelerated Program. Also, share the link and flyer with your local executive members, coaches, etc. and ask all of them to send it to anyone they know who might potentially be interested. The more potential candidates we can all collectively reach out to, the more we will be able to effectively address our need for adult umpires across the province. Please note that the registration deadline is Feb 15, so your immediate attention to this is appreciated!
Level 1 and 2 Clinics
Our plan for 2022 certification was to implement a hybrid delivery model combining online rules modules and in-person indoor gym training. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing uncertainty around indoor gathering and specific doubt as to the availability of booking facilities, we have had to make the decision to once again cancel our in-person umpire clinics. Level 1 and 2 certification will be similar to the past two years, with a series of online modules. This year, we will also be adding supplemental rules and positioning information to the ONDeck app to support the online modules and the development of your newer umpires.
Please continue to apply to host your clinic through www.baseballontario.com/umpires
Local On-Field Umpire Training Support
We recognize that this will now be 3 consecutive years with no in-person umpire training, and we know this is far from ideal. As such, many local organizations may wish to plan outdoor umpire training sessions once the season gets underway. We would like to support you in these initiatives.
Submit this form if you would like to apply for a Baseball Ontario Umpire Clinician to support you in running one or more outdoor Umpire Training Sessions this season. The structure of these events will not be mandated, but is to be planned by local UIC's according to your needs. For example:
· it may be full or part day
· you may run multiple events by umpire level, or have all your umpires come to one event
· it may be mandatory for your umpires, or you can make it optional
· it could involve live games, have players/teams available for simulated games, or be strictly drill based
Requests for Clinician support will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis pending Clinician availability. The event must be held outdoors, follow Baseball Ontario COVID protocols in effect at the time of the event, and at least one local representative must be in attendance and involved in running the event with the Clinician for the full duration of the event.
If approved, you will be assigned a Baseball Ontario Clinician. You can then work with that Clinician to determine a date for your event.
Umpire Recruitment and Retention
We know that the past 2 years have created significant challenges for you in recruiting new umpires, and retaining your existing umpires. We are working to create some print and electronic resources to support your local recruitment efforts, and those will be available in the coming weeks. We also want to let you know that we will be reaching out to umpires who were certified in 2019 or 2020 but were no longer certified in 2021, in an effort to encourage the to return to umpiring this season. We will be waiving any penalties (such as reduction of level or outstanding fees due) that would normally apply, as a limited time offer allowing these umpires to retain or advance their last previously held umpiring level. If there are any umpires locally who didn’t certify in 2021 that you think should know about this opportunity, please reach out to them directly.
As well, we always consider status exemption requests from umpires seeking to return after longer absences. If you know of any former umpires in your area who may not have umpired in a few years, they could potentially be a good source of adding to your current umpire numbers. Encourage those former umpires to apply for a status exemption, potentially allowing them to return at their previously held level, by sending an email to [email protected]
We plan to continue our monthly sessions with Umpires-in-Chief throughout the season, beginning in April. As in past years, this program will be a monthly opportunity for you to connect with the Umpires Committee and your colleagues, share strategies, and develop best practices. More details will be sent to you as the season approaches. If you have any suggestions for content or specific areas in which you need support, please let us know at [email protected]
Thanks for your continued umpire leadership, and we look forward to working with you in the 2022 season.
As always, if you need any help, please feel free to reach out.
Baseball Ontario's Programs Coordinator