Umpire Chris Parker prepares to make the "out" call on a play at third base during the 2017 Class B baseball state championship game in Bangor. The Eastern Maine Baseball Umpires Association is offering a virtual class for those who would like to become baseball umpires. Credit: Pete Warner / BDN

The Eastern Maine Baseball Umpires Association is getting ready for the 2021 high school baseball season and is accepting registrations for its new umpiring school.

Classes will be done virtually and offered each Thursday night for six weeks beginning Thursday, Feb. 25. Classes are designed for persons interested in umpiring baseball at the middle school and high school levels.

The cost is $25, which covers student books and first-year membership dues.

The lead instructor for the school is Troy Lare, a member of the Eastern Maine Baseball Umpires Association executive board, a high school umpire trainer and a veteran high school, college, Cape Cod League and American Legion umpire.

While the web-based umpiring school is new for the association, the recruitment of umpires is an annual ritual. It is one that may be of added importance this year as the officiating ranks in nearly all Maine high school sports have decreased in numbers since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our group is around 50 umpires or so,” Lare said. “The problem, in all sports, is that we tend to have more getting done than we have getting involved.”

Lare estimated that approximately 50 percent of the officials that go through training last more than five years.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...