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Larry Donovan: MSBL World Series Umpire Evaluator Extraordinaire

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The umpires that decide to participate in the MSBL World Series in Arizona pay their own way to get here and also cover their own lodging and expenses, including food.  Yes, they get paid per game but they are here as a labor of love for the game and basically break even financially for their time.  They are not here for a big paycheck.  Larry Donovan is an umpire evaluator who works for a company out of Colorado and his duty is to observe and critique certain umpires who request his services as a way for them to become better umpires and reach their personal goals as an official.

"I worked in division one baseball for 31 years and am simply a consultant for our bigger organization.  We are here to help and improve their game,” explained Donovan.  "I’m giving something back to the sport.  People helped me a long time ago and I want to do the same. I’m trying to help umpires get some polish.” 

They are an umpire association that is attempting to help high school or college umpires to advance and get to the next level, be it division one college baseball or beyond.  In the first week of our MSBL World Series they stayed four straight days and scouted umpires throughout the day, with their previous permission, and would even discuss certain situations immediately after they happened.  They would go down to the railings on the field between innings and point out a certain aspect of the previous play right after it happened. 

"I’ll be watching these guys for six games.  They want to get better and I want to help them,” said Donovan. "I have already spoken to them about things they maybe could have done or should have done or positions they could have been in to help their effectiveness. This is all about getting these umpires to the level that they want to get to.”

Larry and his crew are observing umpires who want to be a better high school umpire or are just starting and also guys who want to advance to division one. It is all about giving them the tools it takes to get to the place they want to be.

"The guys we are watching are from Louisiana, Texas, two or three from Missouri, a couple from the east coast, they’re from all over the country,” Larry further explained.  "Dan Weichel is a guy from Colorado who runs this organization and has placed umpires all over the country, including the College World Series.  He has regional evaluators.  I am just out here with a crew helping him out.  These umpires pay their own way out here to work and get experience and do it for the love of the game.  Though they get paid per game it merely helps with their expenses.  We want to make sure they get their money’s worth. It’s a way of giving back. They ask for our help and are always receptive.  They want to get better and we’re happy to help.”

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