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Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) State tournament time for high school baseball is almost here.
And as the prep for seeding picks up, so will the need for game day resources.
One of the most important is now a dying breed.
Umpires are stretched thin.
As fans, we may love to hate umps, but their jobs might be more challenging than you think.
Taken for granted. Misunderstood.
The most hated guys on the diamond.
Call them what you want, but ultimately they make the call.
“There’s a lot of criticism towards umpires and it’s a tough job. I wouldn't do it,” says Braden Stottsman, Twin Falls High School catcher.
It’s a fine line by which he makes his calls.
“You’re making calls that everyone sees, as opposed to football, where the action is so clear; there's bodies all over the place. Baseball it's right in front of you, so if you miss a call, everyone knows about it,” points out Nick Ruland, 103.1 The Zone.
But the Magic Valley is in a drought.
The thirst for umpires is real.
"It isn't an easy profession, and sometimes you can get criticized out loud in front of the public..." says Gary Krumm, District 4 Commissioner.
"And you're talking a local sport; everyone knows who you are," Ruland adds.
"Being an umpire, you learn to accept the criticism along with the glory. You're not out there to do anything other than the objection of the game,” explains former umpire Gary Quesnell.
To add to the complexity of their job, each ump has their own strike zone, putting an individual stamp on their play calling and adding a little personality to the game.
It's an art form.
One of fitness and flair.
Spend a couple innings in their cleats, and you'll see their job isn’t a walk in the park.