Women umpires rare in British Columbia

Parksville hopeful would be one of a very select crew of female umps

George Smith

George Smith

Contacted in Richmond, BC Baseball Umpires Association secretary and long-time instructor George Smith shed some light on umps in this province.

“I don’t have the exact numbers right now but last year we had 1,346 registered umpires, and of those 34 were female (three of those National Level 4).

Worth noting is that the majority of those 34 female umps work women’s softball.

“Baseball doesn’t attract women as much,” said Smith, then pointed out “that said, we’ve got national women umpires. We’re one of the few provinces that have a women’s umpiring program, and we have three national level women umpires in baseball.”

Kelly Hunter out of Kelowna, he said for example, has done Olympic softball, and is a nationally rated ump that also worked the 2010 Women’s Baseball World Cup held in Venezuela.

So while the majority of umps remain male, “we don’t see too much difference between the two,” he said, adding “I do a lot of the training as well, and through the clinics I’ve done I can tell you there’s some really good ones out there — just like there’s some really good male umpires, there’s some really good females as well, and from what I’ve seen, there’s an equal acceptance from the teams for males and female umpires — it doesn’t seem to be an issue.”

The BCBUA’s vice president he points out is Rhonda Pauls who is a national level umpire as well.