Baseball/softball umpires association formed

BBA secretary general Teddy Sweeting makes some comments as BBA president Sam Rodgers, LUA secretary general Ainsworth Beckford and LUA president Martin Burrows looks on.

BBA secretary general Teddy Sweeting makes some comments as BBA president Sam Rodgers, LUA secretary general Ainsworth Beckford and LUA president Martin Burrows looks on.

As of Friday, January 6, 2023


#Senior Sports Reporter

#On the heels of the newly constructed Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium comes the newly formed Local Umpires Association-Academy.

#The LUA-A, headed by Martin ‘Pork’ Burrows, and endorsed by the Bahamas Baseball Association, was introduced to members of the various baseball leagues during a meeting at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium on Wednesday night. Burrows, who along with secretary general Ainsworth Beckford outlined their plans for the new body, said the formation of the association was long overdue.

#It’s also expected to include softball, but no members of the Bahamas Softball Federation were present.

#“It’s long overdue for our baseball and softball umpires to come together,” said Burrows, who will be assisted by Andrew Burrows with Anthony ‘Rakes’ Bowe as a senior consultant.

#“We’re a small country and we only have a handful of umpires, so when JBLN reached out to me to take over their umpires, I was happy to do so.

#“This gave me the opportunity to look at the formation of the LUA-A to bring all of our umpires under one umbrella so that we could call all the leagues, whether it be softball or baseball.

#“We will put a standard to it, and we will make sure that they are well-trained and properly uniformed, so they look professional, especially when they go out in the new stadium to officiate.”

#With the new stadium opened in December to accommodate the COPABE’s 4th Caribbean Cup, Burrows said it’s important to ensure that there is a competent group of umpires ready to officiate in any future tournaments that will be staged at the stadium, rather than having to bring in the international umpires to do so. “It’s a long overdue venture. We have to start somewhere,” Burrows said.

#“I was very impressed with the turnout. We had representation from all of the baseball leagues in New Providence and we even had persons representing Grand Bahama via Zoom.

#“So, I think we’re moving into the right direction and the sky is the limit.”

#During the meeting, Burrows revealed that a training session for local umpires will begin at 6pm on Wednesday in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Compex and will run every week until COPABE comes to town and puts on an international certification clinic.

#Additionally, he noted that there will be a college recruitment clinic in March in West Palm Beach, Florida.

#It’s one of the international tournaments that Burrows has been certified to officiate in, along with a few other Bahamians, including Burrows, Beckford and Oscar Smith from Grand Bahama.

#BBA president Sam Rodgers, who participated in the meeting along with his secretary general Teddy Sweeting, said it’s very promising to see that the umpire’s association is up and running. “I think it will be better for baseball and softball in the country, but I can only speak for baseball,” Rodgers said. “This is something that we were trying to get underway for a long time. When I came into office, I wanted to get the umpires together so that whenever we have our games, we will have properly trained umpires on the field and not parents or fans calling the games.

#“I can tell you that when there was a league playing, they had someone behind the plate umpiring behind the mound. I said at this stage in the game, it’s unacceptable. So, I’m very elated to see this movement started and to see all of the leagues behind this move because baseball is moving in the country, and we need to get our umpires ready to go along with the movement.”

#Beckford, whose responsibility is to make sure that all of the paperwork is done, and meetings are coordinated, said he’s pleased to know that the LUA-A are finally up and running.

#“We have a group or a body that will make the association to the point where umpires finally get the respect that they deserve,” he said. “We got abused verbally because some people don’t know the rules.

#“But once we are all properly trained, they will have much more respect for us. So, we want to thank Martin Burrows and Andrew Burrows for the humongous job they are doing to get baseball and softball umpiring to a level where we are respected.”

#Clarence McKenzie, who is the commissioner for Freedom Farm, said it’s about time that there is a collaboration of umpires at all levels in the country.

#“This is what is needed. The stadium is built and so we need to get our level of officiating up to a standard,” he said. “So, it’s happy to see the level of interaction between all of the bodies involved in baseball. We welcome it.”

#Even women are involved in the movement.

#According to former player/manager Hyacinth Farrington, who is a certified softball umpire, it’s something she is eager to participate in.

#“I pray and hope that this association will move forward, and everything comes to fruition. This is a new year, and everything looks promising,” she said. “I hope that everyone takes it serious and let’s get on with officiating the game.”

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