Monday, 26 October 2015

A Brief History of Baseball Umpires Featuring Barry Dufrene

A baseball umpire – also known as an ump – is the individual responsible for officiating baseball games. The function includes duties such as signaling the start and finish of each game, enforcing the game and grounds rules, handling disciplinary actions, and making judgement on plays. Barry Dufrene, for example, is a seasoned umpire who has officiated on both the high school and collegiate levels of the sport.

In the beginning years of baseball – in the mid-1800s – games were officiated by a single umpire. However, since the beginning of 1901 games have been divided among an umpiring crew consisting of several different umpires.

The umpire stationed at home plate is considered umpire in chief and thus is in charge of the entire game. The umpire in chief mainly focuses on calls involving the batter and baserunners near home plate. The term umpire in chief is often confused with that of crew chief when the two are in fact different. The crew chief is typically the most experienced umpire and therefore serves as a middle man between the umpiring crew and the league itself. The crew chief also has a supervisory role over the entire crew – assigning responsibilities with extra emphasis on maintaining unity.

While an umpire’s call on a play used to be final, the MLB now allows managers to challenge, overturn, and even officially protest those in which they feel the umpire has made an error.

Barry Dufrene was an umpire from 1996 until 2007 and even umpired for the American Legion’s regional and state tournaments in 2005.