Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Professional Umpire School at Vero Beach Sports Village

Amateur umpires aspiring to a job in professional baseball now have a third option for formal training. Minor League Baseball recently announced the formation of The Umpire School, a four week all-inclusive professional baseball umpire school at the Vero Beach Sports Village (VBSV) facility in Vero Beach, Florida. The Umpire School will conduct its inaugural class in January 2012.

According to Justin Klemm, Executive Director of the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. (PBUC), "Creating this school is a natural extension of Minor League Baseball’s ongoing efforts to enhance umpire training and development." Klemm added, "PBUC Staff will be tabbed by VBSV to drive the curriculum, instruction, training and development portions of the school." MiLB Vero Beach, LLC owns and operates The Umpire School, and PBUC oversees the training and employment of umpires in the Minor League Baseball system throughout the United States and Canada. Both MiLB Vero Beach, LLC and PBUC are subsidiaries of Minor League Baseball.

The Umpire School is the only all-inclusive professional baseball umpire school and is state licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education. Students at The Umpire School pay one price for housing, dining (3 meals a day, seven days a week), and instruction, all at one location with no hidden costs. The VBSV is a 67-acre complex previously used as the spring training venue for the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers, and famously known as "Dodgertown." Minor League Baseball took over day-to-day operations in 2009 after the Dodgers relocated their spring training operations to Arizona.

While the focus of the school is to recruit, evaluate, and train umpires for the minor league system, The Umpire School is open to any umpire regardless of skill level or experience. Klemm says that students will be instructed "directly out of the PBUC Red Book, The Virtual Umpire Camp and the Official Baseball Rules. The PBUC Umpire Manual will be used to supplement our lesson plans. Our goal is to provide a professional umpire training program that optimizes the potential of each student and prepares them to meet the challenges of an umpiring profession regardless of their skill level or aspirations. We will continuously seek and implement new and improved training methods through the professional and amateur umpire community in order to maximize The Umpire School’s effectiveness."

Klemm advises professional umpire prospects "to be fully committed to the process and methods we employ to prepare our students to succeed." He says The Umpire School intends to use "situational training with the potential to implement live game experience into the curriculum."

Honor graduates from The Umpire School are sent on to the PBUC evaluation course, also held at the VBSV. There top students will compete against honor graduates from the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring and the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School for umpire jobs in minor league baseball. Klemm says there are no plans to increase the numbers of total students invited to the evaluation course. The evaluators at the PBUC evaluation course are the same instructors at The Umpire School.

Anyone interested in attending The Umpire School, a State of Florida licensed school, should log onto The Umpire School can also be reached at 877-799-UMPS (8677), or by email at

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