A representative from the Georgia High School Association said the state of Georgia is need of umpires and officials for the upcoming baseball and softball seasons.
Frank Craig of the Central Georgia Baseball Association is in charge of recruiting umpires for GHSA baseball and softball, and he says that a combination of low numbers of good, dedicated umpires, and the addition of a pitch counter being added to baseball for the 2017 season constitutes for the need – a need that Craig calls the largest he’s seen in over 30 years.
“I remember the last time we felt the need to put out word to recruit umpires, it was in 1980,” he said. “We put out the word for umpires in Henry County, and the next day we had over 80 people in Stockbridge come out and say they wanted to help out.
Craig, who oversees umpire recruiting efforts in Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Jasper, Butts and Spalding counties, is getting the word out about the shortage in hopes of a similar response this time.
The GHSA will conduct a meeting on Sunday December 18 at Heritage Park in McDonough to discuss further the plan to add umpires. And although the emphasis is on adding the pitch counters to baseball officiating, Craig stresses the need for softball umpires also.
“We need them pretty much just as bad for both sports,” he said. “We won’t turn good, dedicated people away.”
Craig said that training will be provided by the GHSA, as well as information on how to obtain equipment and what areas the umpires may work in. But more than anything, Craig said he’s looking for people who are committed to doing the work.
“If you’re just looking to make a quick buck, or to just do something to pass the time, this may not be the thing for you,” he said. “We’re looking for some guys, preferably, who may want to start down this road as a career path. We definitely want dedicated people who are going to be series about doing the work.”
For anyone who may want to contact Craig for more information, he can be reached by phone at (770) 856-5054, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.