Visiting umpires raised standards

The Cayman Islands Little League is
making all sorts of news lately.

From being the sight of a
professional baseball team to being victims of foolhardy driving antics there
is plenty to see these days at the Field of Dreams facility.

The latest happening is 15 locals
were instructed in how to umpire little league ball games.

Last week two umpires from the US little league circuit held an umpire clinic
at the George Town
grounds. The clinic was held over four days and wrapped up on Sunday.

The main instructors were Leo
Ehrisman, a district administrator for the Baltimore little league and Mike Forrest,
chief umpire for the same league.

During the clinic (which is fully
accredited by the US
little league) classroom and on-field instruction was given for both softball
and baseball games.

The result was five people are
fully certified, according to Little League International mandates, to coach
both softball and baseball. A further 10 people can now umpire local games for
both disciplines.

All are expected to put that
training to use immediately with the ongoing co-ed softball league and the
fast-pitch softball league starting this month.

News of the clinic comes weeks
after members of the Chicago White Sox coaching staff held its annual training
camp for local youth. Dozens of local kids took part in the camp, which saw
many local officials present.

From there the Field of Dreams held
the second annual kickball fundraiser, which was affected due to a power outage
caused by a freak car accident at the facility.

Local little league President Jim
Parham, who was elected last month and was present at the White Sox camp,
talked about the importance of the umpire clinic.

“It makes us a certified little
league organization. It opens the door for us to attend the little league conference
for the Latin region in Mexico City.
That precedes the Little League World Series held every year in Williamsport.

“At the same time we can send a
team to Puerto Rico this summer to compete for
the Latin region spot in World Series.

“As the umpires progress they will
have more opportunities to go and umpire tournaments in Curacao
and so on. In that way they can represent Cayman in regional tournaments and
from there possibly umpire the Little League World Series.”

Various web sources state that
Little League International (the chief worldwide body for youth softball and
baseball) receives about 10,000 applications from umpires around the globe to referee
the World Series.

Cayman may be minnows in regard to
certified umpires but Parham believes the island can have a larger role in the
future.

“If we keep this momentum going
there is the chance in two or three years that we could host the teams in the
Latin region here.

“These days the event gets lots of
media coverage, it’s televised by ESPN and could be great exposure for us. With
the facilities and umpires in place it’s a strong possibility.”

Local little league program and facilities
director Daryn Lansdell was also upbeat about the clinic.

“Those guys did an excellent job.
It was first class instruction. It was great from our point of view. It’s just
unfortunate they couldn’t get home on time.”

Interestingly both visiting umpires
were stuck in Cayman for an additional two days beyond their expected departure
date.

The duo were slated to leave Sunday
evening but were told by American Airlines that their flight to Dulles airport
in Washington had been cancelled due to heavy snowfall.

Reports indicated that some 2.5
feet of snow hit the Maryland
area last weekend and caused neighbouring Dulles airport to shut down and stop
all incoming and outbound flights for some time.

Another snow storm was slated to
roll into the area this week. American Airlines normally flies in the morning
(7:50am) and afternoon (4:35pm) everyday out of Cayman to Dulles (with a stop
in Miami).

Both men eventually left the island
early Tuesday morning. They ended up flying to Miami
then Philadelphia and had to drive home to Baltimore.

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