NewsCovering Kentucky


Umpires needed for high school baseball games in the Bluegrass

Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 17:32:25-04

(LEX 18) — For long-time umpire Kenton Bottoms, standing at home plate feels like home.

"The brotherhood, camaraderie, being a part of the game," he said. "And the kids, helping the kids be able to play."

Bottoms has been an umpire for 20 years and has watched thousands of young athletes run the bases. Now, he's asking others to show up, through his work as an assignor for the Central Kentucky Umpire Association.

According to Bottoms, an umpire shortage is putting high school and middle school schedules in jeopardy across central Kentucky.

"One of the major problems is trying to reschedule games," Bottoms said. "We have games, they get rained out, they try to reschedule. But we just don't have enough guys to try to do those games."

The pandemic sparked a shortage of officials in all sports, as well as increased bad behavior in the stands. Bottoms says it's a problem impacting all levels of amateur baseball, especially as older umps retire.

He's hoping more young people step up to the plate and sign up to become umpires.

"We will take anyone who loves or has an interest in the game," he said. "We can train you, we have good training programs."

For the season beginning next March, Bottoms hopes to train an additional ten umpires to cover his region in central Kentucky. He says that should be enough to keep players at bat.

"They gotta have us to have the game," he said.

There's an opportunity to check out umpiring Sunday, September 18 at Tates Creek High School in Lexington. Bottoms is hosting an open house for potential umpires from 1 to 4 p.m. It's happening at the baseball and softball fields at the high school.