A Visit With Prospect League Umpire Pat Weber
Before a recent game at Clemens Field in Hannibal, I had a chance to visit with Westchester, Illinois native, and 2015 Prospect League Umpire, Pat Weber.
How did you come to be in the Prospect League this summer?
I went to one of the professional umpire schools, it’s called The Umpire School, they just re-branded. Unfortunately, I did not get taken as a minor league umpire and I was offered a job through (Prospect League Umpire Supervisor) Lance Schoenwald and the Professional Umpire Camp.
What sort of things do they cover in the umpire schools?
Everything you can think of. They cover the two man umpire system and they go through the entire rule book—every situation. I mean there’s a lot of things you might not ever see in a baseball career, but you’ll see it in umpire school.
I noticed watching two man crews in this league and in the minors, you guys get to put in a lot of running on some nights.
Yeah, with two people there’s a lot to cover, a lot of responsibility. You know, it’s not like the majors where they’ve got someone at every base. So, we pride ourselves on getting the best angle we can. Sometimes you can’t get as close as you want, but angle is the important thing.
Weber says projecting confidence is huge.
The big thing is to be confident because if you’re not confident, if you think you’re wrong or you look like you think you’re wrong then the manager is going to believe you’re wrong or the fans or players or what have you will believe you're wrong.
Do you hear the crowd or pay attention to what you hear from the crowd?
One of the quickest things you learn in officiating is that no matter what call you make, someone is not going to like it. So, for the most part you tune it out. But there’s always some fans that say funny things and it makes you laugh sometimes.
Have you seen anything this summer that you haven’t seen before?
Yeah, actually just this weekend we had an intentionally dropped ball in our game which doesn’t happen very often but we got it and we called it and it was all right.
I assume you’ve spent a lot of time on the road this summer.
Yeah, I left the last weekend of May and I won’t get home until the first or second weekend of August.
What’s the attraction to go into officiating?
I always watched the umpires and referees watching games as a kid and I always enjoyed it. Now that I don’t play anymore, it’s a way to stay involved in the game.
In addition to umpiring baseball, Weber has also worked football, basketball and soccer.