Our end-of-year membership drive was a success! Slate Plus has a bunch of new members, and Seth Stevenson arrived at umpire school last night. He’ll be posting updates for members every few days.
Greetings, Slate Plus readers. You’ve made my wildest, most irrelevant dreams come true! I write to you from the Wendelstedt School for Umpires in rainy Daytona Beach, Florida.
At last night’s kickoff gathering, we met our staff instructors—professional umps employed at every level of the game, from Arizona rookie league all the way up to The Show. We were directed to stand and shout out our names—our first bit of assertiveness training. We also discussed minor league baseball ordinances regarding facial hair (none allowed), tobacco (also nope), and tattoos (keep ’em out of sight).
Most exciting: We got gear! I'm now the proud owner of a Wendelstedt ump hat, a Smitty Official’s Apparel ump windbreaker, a Cliff Keen ump polo, and Fechheimer pleated ump pants. I’ve also got my clicker, my mask, and a brush for cleaning off the plate. Oh, and my athletic cup. It’s like they say—don’t dress for the job you have (Slate writer), dress for the job you want (fearsome baseball arbiter whose testicles are safe).