SAN DIEGO --
Marines from 1st Marine Division visited Tony Gwynn Stadium at San Diego State University Mar. 16 to learn the fundamentals of major league umpiring during a daylong umpire clinic sponsored by Major League Baseball.
The event was designed to give Marines who play or follow the national pastime a chance to learn from the best umpires in the game and, possibly, open up opportunities to get behind the plate.
“I was at an umpire camp that Major League Baseball offers, and the more they talked, the more I realized they are looking for Marines,” said Maj. Mike Gervasoni, the deputy inspector general at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, and an organizer of the event.
“It was clear to me that the characteristics and attributes that they look for in a major league umpires are the exact same things a Marine has.”
Volunteering as an umpire is a way for qualified Marines to supplement their income, added Gervasoni, from Oakland, Calif.
“Young Marines and older Marines are always looking for a way to make some extra money,” said Gervasoni.
“Things like this are an opportunity to help the community and make a little extra money, so it’s a win-win situation.”
The one-day clinic was free to any Marine who wanted to participate. Along with instruction, each Marine received a free hat, t-shirt, umpiring manual and a boxed lunch.
“Major League Baseball decided to show their appreciation for the armed forces, so they came up with the idea of offering a one-day clinic here in San Diego,” said Larry Young, an umpire supervisor with MLB and a 25-year veteran behind the plate.
According to Young, the skills needed to succeed as an umpire at any level are the traits Marines display every day in uniform.
“(The Marines) have the ability to take orders,” said Young, from Chicago. “The guys I worked with this
morning were quick learners. They listen, they do what they’re asked to do and they’re aggressive, so a Marine turning into an umpire is pretty natural.”
For Marines who’ve dreamed of baseball stardom, but never got the chance, umpiring is a way to stay on the playing field, no matter what level.
“It could be a possible profession for a lot of the guys once they get out of the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Chase A. Sims, an intelligence analyst with 1st Marine Regiment.
According to Sims, the clinic also gives the Marines a broader view of the intricacies of baseball and a fuller understanding of the mechanics of each play.
“(The clinic) gives (the players) a little more experience with the ins-and-out of baseball,” said Sims. “Most people out here playing don’t take into consideration the umpires and how much work goes into it. It gives them a better appreciation for the umpires.”