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What Does It Take to Be an Umpire?



Sometimes, just before a game starts, you may hear that statement. Once in a while, a scheduled umpire can't make it due to traffic, missed ferry, or some scheduling mishap.

Many people think they are not "qualified" right off from the start, and for some of the upper levels of play - acting as a single umpire for a game - they may be correct.  But anyone, with a little bit of training, can be an umpire at any level.

The fact is that there is no game without somebody agreeing to act in the role of umpire to call “balls”, “strikes”, “fair”, “foul”, “safes”, and ”outs”.

And most importantly without an umpire (by Little League rule) there is no game.


Bainbridge Island Little League (BILL) originates it umpires from a base of volunteers.


Each baseball team (AA and up) is required to provide at least two umpire volunteers each season.  Teams are assigned plate umpire and base umpire for each game.


Umpires are the sole representatives on Little League on the field.  In addition to applying the rules in an unbiased manner, the umpire is responsible for:

§  Starting and ending the game

§  Helping to provide a safe playing environment

§  Ensuring the timely progression of the game


In addition to being great fun and a change to get out on the field with the kids, umpires:

§  Are the only authorized parties on the field, other than the teams themselves.

§  Are responsible for helping ensure a safe and fair game.

§  Have the best view in the house.


Umpire crews are often a combination of new and experienced umpires.  There are various way to learn to become an umpire.

§  Team up with an experienced umpire.

§  Read the rules -- contact the Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) for a copy of the Little League Rule Book and an Umpire Guide.  There are also various on-line umpire resources (visit 

§  Attending a training session:   

§  District 2 (to which BILL belongs) hosts a day long Spring Umpire Training Clinic around the second Saturday in March at Olympic College in Bremerton. 

§  Attend a local BILL umpire training class (See the BILL calendar on the homepage for the latest schedule).

§  Contact the UIC for more information: [email protected]


All (AA and above) games require a plate umpire for the game to be played (a second base umpire is strongly recommended as there is lots to see).

Click here to connect to the UMPIRE SCHEDULING CALENDAR


BILL provides umpires with protective equipment and jerseys for game day use:

·         face mask,

·         chest protector,

·         shin guards.

·         Umpire jersey

Umpires wear the following:

·         Grey or dark pants; Black belt

·         Black shoes (preferably not cleats); black socks

·         Umpire cap*

·         Ball bag (containing an indicator and plate brush)*

·         Personal protective gear

Note: Many umpires purchase some of their own equipment.  Based on the number of games umpired (10 or 15), BILL will reimburse up to $50 or $100 each your receipts.  


For more information, please review BILL’s umpire program, as approved by the Board of Directors.


If you are interested in Umpiring, please reach out to the Umpire-in-Chief ([email protected]), the volunteer coordinator, or your manager, and we’ll get you starting on your way.  


Bainbridge Island Little League
P.O. BOX 10911 
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Washington 98110

Email: [email protected]

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