20060915 umpire derek crabill
Minor League umpire Derek Crabill, on the home field of Connecticut's New Britain Rockcats, a AA team. Like players, umpires have to play at all four minor league levels. Unlike players, they generally spend several years in each. By the time he reaches the majors -- if he ever does -- Derek will have been umping for seven to ten years. - 


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Time once again for the Job Files. Baseball's spring training starts up this week and it's not just the players who dream of making it to the show.

DEREK CRABILL: My name's Derek Crabill. I'm an Eastern League umpire. This is my fourth year in minor league baseball, my first in AA.In the major leagues there are 68 umpires, roughly 220 of us in the minor leagues vying for those positions.

There have been several years in a row where no minor league umpire has gotten a full big league contract. On average I would say there's probably one umpire a year that gets a big league job.

The fans at the games, you know, I hear them. Most of the time I laugh because the fans don't know really what's going on down on the field. A lot of times they think there's an argument when it's the player and an umpire laughing.

The fans don't really bother me. The worst is when you know there's an evaluator sitting right behind you and you know you just missed that last pitch.