Sports

Hey, ump! Snoqualmie Valley teen among the men in blue

Taking the field as a junior varsity game begins, Mount Si High School junior Taylor Mitchell is in his second season as an umpire with the Northwest Baseball Umpires Association. He enjoys his one-of-a-kind vantage point on the sport. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Taking the field as a junior varsity game begins, Mount Si High School junior Taylor Mitchell is in his second season as an umpire with the Northwest Baseball Umpires Association. He enjoys his one-of-a-kind vantage point on the sport.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Many local kids are finding success in the sport of baseball, whether it be on Mount Si High School teams, Little League clubs, or summer squads. But for one local teen, he is finding success in the sport in a different way: as an arbiter.

Mount Si junior Taylor Mitchell is in his second season this spring as an umpire for the Northwest Baseball Umpires Association. This association handles high school and summer club baseball officiating all over the Puget Sound area, including games involving Mount Si and other local teams. For Mitchell, who plays football and basketball during the offseason, it’s a great gig. “It’s really fun,” Mitchell said. “I umpire baseball because it’s one of my favorite sports. It’s fun to watch it.”

Mitchell, who has been umpiring games for the last several years, got his big break by networking with other umpires. “When I umpired Little League, some other umpires told me about umpiring in the Northwest Baseball Umpires Association, so that led me to (the) NBUA and (I) went through training two years ago and became an umpire (with the NBUA),” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is one of the youngest umpires in the association, and works a few games a week, usually making around $50 an appearance. He can be assigned to work games all over the area, but his primary locations are the Valley and other areas on the Eastside. He works high school games in the spring, then will work select games in the summer, in such leagues as the Pony League or Sandy Koufax.

His friends seem to be in awe of what he does. “They usually think it’s pretty cool that I get to do it for my job, because it’s a fun job,” Mitchell said.

One thing which umpires have to deal with pretty much any game they work is the criticism and, sometimes, verbal abuse which is heaved their way by players, coaches, and fans. Mitchell has learned to deal with it effectively. “Well, I usually ignore the parents, what they have to say, but if the coach ever has a question about anything, I’ll usually ask them and talk to them,” he said.

When the Valley Record caught up with him for this story, it was after a game April 15 at Mount Si High School, involving the Wildcat junior varsity team. Working this game felt a bit strange for Mitchell. “It’s a little weird,” he said.

There is training available, and while their main session happened in January, there may be opportunities in the future for you if you are interested in becoming an umpire. For more information, visit the umpires’ website at www.NBUA.com and click on “New Umpires".

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