Umpire Uniform and Equipment

A very important part of a college umpire’s professionalism is his/her appearance and having the proper equipment.  Is every item of your uniform and equipment “TV ready?”  Here are some suggestions.

Uniform and Equipment annual checkup

An umpire’s uniforms and equipment need an annual check-up to assure they are in top condition, similar to the yearly check-up with your doctor.
A good time to perform a review of these items is two months before the start of the spring season. Here is a checklist you can use to conduct this annual check-up.
  • When you buy new shirts, pants, hat, ball bags, belts or jackets, find a place on one of the inside labels to write your name and the month/date you buy it.
  • Line up all your pants on your lawn during a sunny day
  • Compare all of them with the pants you most recently bought (you should be buying at least one pair of new pants every year).
  • If there are any that are faded, check the label to see when you bought them; it is time to retire them. This will also be a good indication of which brand lasts the longest.
  • Make a note to buy at least one to replace each one you retire.
  • Check the dates on your labels – if the pants are 3 years old or older it is probably time to replace them.
  • Do the same thing for your uniform shirts, hats, ball bags, belt and jacket
  • Thoroughly examine your undergarments and replace as necessary – socks, undershirts, compression shorts, and whatever other undergarments you use
  • Check every piece of your equipment – shoes, mask, check protector, cup, shin guards, indicators, brushes, lineup holder, pens, and all other equipment you use.

Equipment & Uniforms – Preseason preparation

Is your softball bag or automobile trunk of gear packed for the season ahead? If so, are items easy to locate? It can be a helpless feeling while driving to a game and knowing, or at least having a very strong feeling, that you may have forgotten to pack an essential item for the game(s) that day.
Many umpires will use two bags — one for gear and the other for clothing — that are made of a durable fabric, have wheels for pulling and zippered compartments. Make sure that each bag has a distinctive marking or a name tag to identify it.
As you prepare for the season, make sure your equipment bag and clothing bag have the following essentials.
  • Protective equipment — shin guards, mask in a protective bag, chest protector, crotch guard/cup, sunglasses, neoprene sleeves (knees, elbows, ankles, etc.).
  • Shoes — base shoes and plate shoes.
  • Accessories — belt, indicator (at least two), pencils/pens, lineup holder, base brush/plate brush, pregame notes, odor eliminator product, shoe polish/cleaner (brush, towel, polishing gloves to keep hands clean).
  • Personal items — ibuprofen/other medications, sunscreen, travel-size sewing kit, hem tape, shower items, bandages, ice bag, wrinkle release spray, hygiene items (mouth wash, tooth brush, floss, gum, mints, etc.), deck of cards (for any long rain delay).
  • Undergarments — heat gear (white/navy undershirts, socks), cold gear (dark leggings, mock or turtle neck long-sleeve shirts, wind jacket[s]/plastics, warm socks, gloves, hand warmers).
  • Uniform — heather gray and/or navy base pants and plate pants (two pair or more as needed for a tournament), plain shirts (short sleeve base and larger-sized plate shirt to fit over chest protector, and long-sleeve base and larger-sized plate shirt), plain navy jacket and/or navy jacket with powder/white shoulder piping, at least two plate and base hats (plain navy).
  • Dirty clothes bag — to keep worn items in one place.
With the essential items in place and replaced after your game(s), you will have more time for rules, mechanics and philosophy, rather than wondering if you have left something behind. Finally, prior to leaving for the game check your equipment one more time to make sure you have not forgotten something. Having to ask your partner(s) for and items your forgot to pack is embarrassing and does not set a very good first impression.