After the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 season, many Cheshire Youth Baseball/Cheshire Youth Softball players have been working out in anticipation of returning to action this year.
However, another integral group of participants has also put in time to prepare for the season that kicks off this weekend. Last Saturday at Cheshire Park, CYB/CYS held their annual umpire training for young adults ages 14 and up. The session ran for four hours.
“We teach them where to stand and how to make calls consistently,” said Steve Greenwood, who is running the umpires program for the 10th year. “We want to make sure that they are vocal and pay attention to the field.”
Greenwood estimates that umpires call about 120 games in the AA, AAA, and minors divisions. This year, there are seven or eight returning people and 14 new members.
“We usually have around 35 umpires, so the numbers are down this year. With the pandemic still going on, I think people are hesitant about getting into a normal routine,” stated Greenwood.
Per game, CYB/CYS pays $30 to most umpires. As an incentive, the stipend goes up to $35 for youngsters who have been participating for three to four years.
Greenwood said that safety protocols, such as cleaning equipment, have been put in place to keep youngsters safe on the field. This year, umpires will call games from behind the pitcher’s mound.
“Since it is harder to see the ball drop over the plate, I think it is a more difficult position,” explained Greenwood. “I’ve spoken with the coaches about being patient with the young umpires.”
In the 1970s, Greenwood participated in the umpires program. After coaching in CYB for eight years, Greenwood joined the Greater New Haven Umpires Association five years ago.
“I enjoy the experience,” stated Greenwood, whose son also works for GNHUA. “It keeps you around the game.”