News Detail


Jan, 2022

Volunteer Family Umpire Program


Welcome to the family of umpiring!

I started umpiring in 2000. In 2004, my son started umpiring with me at age 12. After 2 years, I got him District 6 certified to do All-Stars and State tournaments. Over the years, we have umpired all levels of state Little League tournaments from Majors up thru Seniors and Softball.

After high school, he joined the Navy serving 7 years. He would come home on leave in early summer and umpiring would always be on our schedule. Collage came next and summer breaks and you guessed it, umpiring games with me. With all the distractions we have in our busy lives, this is one thing that we do together.

People in Little League recognized us as the father / son umpire crew, and we are proud to do it together.

This program is for Father / Son, Father / Daughter, Mother / Son, and Mother / Daughter umpiring crews to bond together and have fun umpiring in Little League Baseball and Softball.


  1. Have Fun.
  2. Enjoy the game from the best seat in the house.
  3. Build Relationships – Family, Players and Coaches.
  4. Improve your understanding of the game from a different perspective.
  5. Keep advancing to the next levels of umpiring. Minors – Majors – 50/70 – Juniors – Seniors and all levels of Softball. Western Region School, Arizona State Tournaments, Western Region Tournaments and Little League World Series.


A Little League background check is required and submitted to your local league.

Minimum participation age is league age 12


  • Maintain Honesty and the Integrity of the game.
  • Ensure equipment meets the rules and is used and worn correctly.
  • Control time and the flow of the game.
  • Ensure the rules are applied correctly as situations occur.
  • Communicate clearly to League representatives, Players, Managers and Coach’s and other Volunteers – Scorekeepers and Pitch Counters.

Umpire Uniform and Equipment

Walking onto the field properly dressed and equipped as an umpire is the first step in having and earning the respect you as an umpire deserves. Even as a volunteer, look professional from your hat to your shoes.

  • Hats should be navy blue or black. Youth umpires are encouraged on the bases to wear their team hat. Hats should never be worn backwards. A 6-stich or seam hat is normal size for the base umpire and a 4 stich or seam hat is for the plate umpire. The 4-stich hat makes removing your mask much easier.
  • Shirts – Partners should wear the same color umpire shirt. Umpire shirts come in many colors. I have 3 feet of closet just for the shirts I have accumulated over 20 years of umpiring. In Arizona where we umpire into July, lightweight shirts are the only way to go. We don’t get cold enough for heavyweight shirts. When your chosen shirt has colored stirpes on the collar, your undershirt should match the outer stripe color. Most all shirts are sized for plate gear to fit underneath. Shirts are to always be tucked in. Once your certified as a District 6 Umpire allowing you to advance to the next level past regular play, you will be given Arizona District 6 patches for your shirts (you will be given as many as you need even if you purchase more shirts later). Doing Allstars and later State tournaments working with other umpires is a lot of fun and the level of play gets better.
  • Belts should be black (start with what you have). Width should be 1 ¾” especially to support ball bags. 1 to 2 sizes longer are best to allow for 2 shirts to be tucked in and multiple ball bags.
  • Pants – Umpire pants are typically heather grey. Black can be work but show the field dirt and dust more. I use combo plate / base pants. They allow room for shin guards and cup. Some have an adjustable waist to allow for growth and all umpire pants will require the legs to be hemmed to length (same as your regular jeans).
  • Sox – Use black sox. I wear knee-hi soccer sox. Your shin guards and straps can rub your skin so be prepared.
  • Shoes – Black or mostly black for the bases. Youth umpires may wear their cleats. Base shoes should be comfortable and laced up tight for quick starts, stops and pivoting for plays and achieving the proper angle. Plate shoes are pricy. Steel toe shoes or boots will give you the protection for your feet. For me they are worth the investment. If planning to do many (5+ years) seasons, they will be worth the investment. Don’t loose a toe nail thinking your sneakers will protect you.
  • Face Mask – You don’t need a $200.00 super ultralight mask or a $15.00 heavy weight. My Wilson face mask has lasted me 20 years and gives me all the protection I need. No bends from foul balls and with seasonal washing, the pads (not leather) are great. Hockey style masks give you better protection but are hotter in the Arizona summer.
  • Dangling Throat Protector’s are a must and very inexpensive. I use the short model.
  • Chest Protector – Many levels of protection are available. From the thinner catchers style to the hard shell pro level. As you advance to umpiring higher levels of play, advance your level of protection.
  • Cup or Plate – I wear my cup always on the plate and the bases (bases it’s not required). Both male and female plate umpires need to wear the proper protection. It’s much easier to be in the proper position to call the game mentally and physically.
  • Shin Guards – All baseball shin guards will work. Umpire shin guards have added flaps to protect your ankles and a flap to protect the top of your foot. Some even extend up to give you more protection above the knee when crouching.
  • Indicators – NOT clickers are what you and your partner use to keep track of outs and pitch count. Some even track innings.

Field Decorum

You are in charge and responsible for everything inside the fences. The Board Member on Duty is responsible for what happens outside the fences.

Don’t let things get out of hand. Sometimes a coach won’t like your strike zone, Let him know away from the dugout that both teams will have the same strike zone. Your pitchers should through the ball there. I don’t want too here about it again. Easy communication early can stop a bad situation later.

When a spectator is giving you a hard time, let the scorekeeper know to get you the Board Member on Duty between the innings. Go away from the spectators and let them know what is going on and let them take care of it. Let them be the bad guy, not you.


Before the season starts, 2 clinics will take place. LL rules clinic and umpire mechanics clinic.

These may be combined into 1 as time or availability presents itself.

Rules Clinic will cover the newest rule changes and the most common rules you will use in most games and some rules not commonly used and how to easily explain the rule when a manager asks’

Umpire clinic will cover equipment, field umpire positioning for a 2-person crew and plate mechanics. The proper way to make a call both body position and being vocal. Plate mechanics will cover calling balls and strikes, being in the proper position to see the pitches over the plate. Make line calls and outfield calls. Beginning and ending the game. Equipment checks before the game.

Closing Remarks

Umpiring with my son over 18 years has been a bonding experience that not many have. In today’s world of computers, teaching and learning leadership skills and being responsible for your actions with honesty and integrity are lifelong lessons.

Have fun and enjoy your umpiring experiences and you will have a great season.

Program Director

Greg Burton

District 6 Chief Umpire


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