That guy who calls your kids’ Tee-ball games? He might be in the majors some day. The Rocktown Weekly out of Harrisonburg, VA interviewed a minor-league ump and found that these guys have big league aspirations. But you don’t just apply to MLB, an official has to work his way up just like any other prospect.
Here’s how it worked for Minor League ump Tom Honec:
Honec heeded the call and headed to Jim Evans’ Academy of Professional Umpiring in Kissimmee, Fla., for a five-week training course. Every morning, a hundred ump-wannabes packed into a classroom to study the rulebook. Then they headed out under the hot Florida sun for on-field demonstrations, situations and positions.
Both schools — the other is Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires in Ormond Beach, Fla. — send 20 potential umps to a one-week evaluation course in Cocoa Beach, Fla. The Minor Leagues offered jobs to 15 of those.
Honec, “one of the lucky 15,” went pro last spring as a rookie league umpire, and moved up to short A in July.
The article does not reveal when the ritual blinding takes place, but we think it’s safe to assume that a true prospect couldn’t get past AA with full sight.