After 10 seasons behind home plate, Kort Wheeler has been selected to be an umpire at the 2015 NYSPHSAA Boys Baseball Championships June 12-14 in Binghamton, NY.
Mr. Wheeler, a social studies teacher and volleyball coach at Liberty Middle/High School, has been working toward this goal for years, and says he is proud to represent Sullivan County and Section IX in the tournament.
Two umpires from the Sullivan County Baseball Umpires Association are eligible to be selected for a championship assignment every four years.
Each year, hundreds of umpires from the 34 chapters in New York State are considered. The process for selection to work a championship game begins with the ratings from an athletic coaches. Then, Sullivan County BOCES chooses the best candidate based on his/her accuracy of calls, and knowledge of the rules.
The job of a baseball umpire requires quick thinking, common sense, and confidence. When the ball is in play, the umpire sees the action, assesses the situation and makes the call — all in a matter of seconds. A successful umpire has a thorough knowledge of the rulebook, is even-tempered, and is mentally strong enough to handle situations under stressful conditions.
Without game officials, it is the athletes and the sport program that suffers, recalls Mr. Wheeler. He said that when he was a young athlete, he remembers the importance of the role of an umpire to ensure fair play.
“I want to do right by the players,” he said. “The student athletes put so much into their season and they deserve the best. I am honored that they feel I can provide that for them.”
The second umpire who was selected to attend the championships is Ed Musa, a local accountant and graduate of Liberty High School.