Calling the shots can be a tough job. But that hasn’t stopped the 70 umpires of Thornhill Baseball. Especially not the record-breaking, 36 umpires who are geared up to wear the blue for the first time.
Every year Thornhill Baseball is thrilled to welcome several rookie umpires, most of whom are just 13 years old. The organization strives to grow the game of baseball in every aspect they can and being able to develop the skills of great umpires is something they are excited to do.
Your first job is an exciting milestone, and being an umpire is a great way to achieve it. But even if it isn’t your first job it can still be quite a great experience.
For Howard Binstock, umpiring was a way to stay in the game past his 30-year coaching career. He brings a new perspective to the rookie umpire experience with his years of baseball wisdom, “Because I started umpiring late in my life and having the experience of coaching baseball at all levels, I was able to transition the understanding of the game together with how to communicate to players, coaches and parents.”
This year, Ben Rogers is an umpire for the first time and brings a more traditional point of view to the first-year umpire experience. With this being his first real job, he’s taken it to be a great learning experience. “I have learned a lot about baseball and I enjoy going to the games and umpiring younger house league and select kids.”
Thornhill Baseball Club’s Head of Officiating, Daniel Birnberg, has been an umpire for 9 years. Reflecting on his decision to become an umpire, he can’t help but be fond of where he started. “I remember the first game I umpired. It was at Duncan Park and I was nervous. I was also a bit embarrassed, but that was because my dad was sitting in a lawn chair behind the fence at home plate with his huge Nikon camera.”
Birnberg credits his umpiring career with his self-confidence, level-headedness, and appreciation for the intricacies of the game. Despite all of his experience and confidence, he can admit that to this day, he still gets jitters before calling a big game.
He admits being an umpire wasn’t a path he was driven to out of passion, but rather more selfish reasons. “When I was 13, I really wanted an iPod Touch and ‘The Bank of Mom and Dad’ wasn’t handing out any loans.” So, he decided to give umpiring a shot.
Veteran umpire Daniel Goldstein got into umpiring to follow the footsteps of an older cousin and to expand the role of baseball in his life. Now in his ninth year as an umpire, he has made many memories behind the plate. Most notably was his time spent in Israel in 2017 when he was given the honor of wearing the blue during the gold medal game between Canada and the USA. “That was a very exciting tournament to be a part of and it was also my first time in Israel, so I was very grateful to be able to be a part of the whole tournament”
Thornhill Baseball is very proud to offer the opportunity to a large community to become an umpire and mark a milestone in the lives of many. The Club hopes umpiring will teach their young umpires time management, commitment and self-confidence to help them in the long-run. Thornhill’s mission is to grow baseball in the Thornhill area so they can’t help but be thrilled to develop strong umpires to help baseball thrive.
By Kayla Sue