The Umpire Code of Ethics – OR How To Be a Great Human



I just finished having the honor of being the Deputy UIC for an ASA National Championship. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my umpiring career so far. I got to watch – and help – a bunch of 24 umpires grow into CHAMPIONSHIP umpires (I still get goosebumps thinking about it – and I think Mike Katz has video of me in a dunk tank!).

What struck me most is that by the end of the week I felt proud for each of these umpires not only because they were great umpires, but also because they were GREAT HUMANS! Which got me thinking about what makes a great umpire and a great human. And so of course I opened up my Umpire Rule Book and Manual!

If you open your 2014 Umpire Manual to page 221 you’ll see a half-page list titled “Code of Ethics for Umpires.” Have you read it? Do you follow the code?

“Code of Ethics” is just a fancy title for knowing what’s right and what’s wrong. And acting accordingly.

What’s “Right” as an umpire:

  • Honor your commitments – when you give an assignor your availability, and they schedule you, you need to do those games. The umpire manual says to honor your commitments “regardless of possible inconvenience or financial basis.”
  • Continue to learn – study the rules, watch other good umpires, and work to improve at all times.
  • Be fair and unbiased – make decisions on the field based on your honest judgment of the plays and their outcomes, and not to favor or dis-favor any team for any reason.
  • Be mentally and physically able – do what you can to prepare both mentally and physically to provide your best self to the teams, players and leagues.

What’s “Wrong” as an umpire:

  • Acting arrogant, cocky, or rude – you must work to be dignified, confident, firm yet approachable. Remember we are out there to give the teams and players a fair and fun experience.
  • Embarrassing your fellow umpires – you must work to always conduct yourself professionally with your fellow umpires – don’t throw them under the bus or show them up on the field. Remember you are a team out there.
  • Dressing unprofessionally – you must work to wear the right uniform for each game. Not wearing the uniform, or wearing the wrong uniform, shows a lack of respect not only for you, the teams and players, but for ASA and our Association as well. Imagine a US Army soldier showing up to battle in the wrong uniform – what would that say about the USA?

Seems like the “Umpire Code of Ethics” is a pretty good starting point for “Life’s Code of Ethics” – it all comes down to being the best human being you can be. So how are YOU being the BEST HUMAN you can be – on the field and off?

Kayleen Dunson
Seattle ASA Umpire In Chief

Taking Advantage of Training

A big shout out to all the Blues who have taken advantage of opportunities to improve their skills through camps and clinics this spring. These events have included but are not exclusive to the Jack Reynolds 3 man evaluation weekend, Slow Pitch Advanced Camp and the SMSUA 3 umpire training sessions.

Slow pitch advanced camp was a great success with the following SMSUA umpires in attendance. Graig Bolton, Russ Cantonwine, Tim Coffey, Kayleen Dunson, Max Escalante, Bill Foreman (won his registration fee at last year’s Banquet!), Josh Francis, Kris Mack, Lou McCaffery, Rich Schultz, Kerry Steichen, CJ Webb, and Sean Wells. Any umpires with questions on slow pitch umpiring I’m sure that any of these umpires will be happy to answer them.

Did you know that we have all kinds of training information on the website as well? You can log in then go to the training and mechanics page to view great presentations on two umpire mechanics, three umpire mechanics, angles/distances, line up  management and much more. Plus! If there is something you want access to that is not on there please let us know and we will do our best to get the information to you.

2014 slow pitch camp


Take 3 Steps!

take 3 steps

It’s a simple challenge: TAKE THREE STEPS into the infield when you are working behind the plate. PERIOD.  Umpires – this isn’t hard, but too many of us aren’t doing it – and our customers are noticing.
The number one gripe I hear from every league is:
“The umpires NEVER move out from behind home plate.”
Umpires: We need to change this. So here is your challenge: TAKE THREE STEPS. Take at least three steps INTO THE INFIELD to make calls at first, second and third base.
SLOW PITCH and JV HIGH SCHOOL UMPIRES  – you are working 1-umpire mechanics. You have to make calls at ALL THE BASES. The absolute WORST place to make a call at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd base is behind home plate. It’s BAD, NO GOOD, DON’T EVER STAND THERE (unless there is a runner at third coming home).
This is serious business. Getting out from behind home plate should be standard procedure for all umpires so I’ve developed a plan to help us all remember how to do this.

Umpires, Your UIC is full of warm fuzzy “thank yous” to give out. She’s happiest when she’s bragging about how absolutely wonderful you are and how she had absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

But she also cares enough about the leagues we serve and the quality of umpires we put out there to make a serious commitment to quality when it’s needed. It’s needed now. Please.TAKE THREE STEPS into the infield to make your calls.

Kayleen Dunson
Seattle ASA Umpire In Chief

2013 Message From “Wild Bill”


Commitment, Loyalty, Integrity and Passion

“Wild Bill” Silves :  Umpire in Chief Region 15

Region 15 Umpires


Well, it’s the end of the year and what a year it has been for the umpires in region 15. This year I have looked at a lot of E Val’s. You stepped up and did a great job! A lot of young umpires got a chance to go to their first national and did the job. Thank You, it shows we have a lot of good umpires in Region 15 and they have been trained right. To the staff of all the associations, great job this year. Now we have to find more young umpires that will be better than the last ones. We were lucky to send over 150 umpires to National tournaments from Argentina to Oregon and California to Virginia and Mississippi. We sent umpires to World tournaments from Argentina and 2 of our Elite slow pitch umpires to the Canadian National slow pitch championship. We had umpires working nationals that were 15 years old and 67 years young at the same tournament and both did a great job. We had one umpire get ISF certified. And he was the only one in the U.S. We were on both coasts umpiring. We have new friends all over the U.S. I hope all of you had a great time.

 We worked League games, State tournaments, & National Qualifiers. A lot of you Umpires worked Special Olympic and Wounded Warrior games for nothing but the good feeling you got! Thank You! That’s what makes ASA special.  I do think Region 15 is one of the best regions in ASA and I am lucky to be part of it.

 Now rest up in the off season because next year will be better. We have the Region Clinic in Spokane in March.( info to be coming) Something new here for the Slow Pitch people, Region 15 is putting the final touches  on the National Slow Pitch Camp that will be in Oregon, I think June 6/7/8, we should have something out in the next two weeks. We are cutting the cost to about $200.00 and are hoping for 30 umpires from around the country. With so many places for slow pitch umpires to go to we need better training and we want Region 15 to lead the way. Don Alexander said they will do it first class. Let’s talk to our umpires and show the slow pitch people we have something special here.  I will be going to our National Council meeting in OKC in Nov. Maybe no rule changes this year, let’s hope. 

Wild Bill Region 15 UIC


New ASA Mechanics Presentations

Your Regional UIC at work (Wild Bill Silves)

Hey all blues

We have uploaded the most current presentations on mechanics from ASA to the training section of the website. Please log on and take a look at them to make sure that we all are up to date.

Thanks for all your hard work!

Thank You Veterans!

Thank you to all who serve, your families, and loved ones. We are eternally grateful for your service; past, present, and future.

Welcome to our new UIC!


It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Kayleen Dunson as Seattle Tacoma ASA Umpire-In-Chief effective September 4, 2012. Kayleen has not only proven herself as an outstanding umpire on the field but equally as important off the field as well. Kayleen has umpired in five ASA National Championships, attended two National Umpire Schools and an ASA advanced camp. She has served on the SMSUA Board since 2005 with the last two years as vice president. Her passion for the game and desire to train all umpires makes her an exciting choice for all of us. Please join me in congratulating Kayleen.

Kayleen replaces Lori Bish who has done an outstanding job over the last three years. Lori has provided many opportunities for umpires to attend national tournaments and has strengthened our exchange program. Please join me in thanking Lori for her time and job well done over the last three years.

Mike Rabin
Seattle Tacoma Commissioner 

Please join us in congratulating Kayleen and sending out a huge thank you to Lori!


Who decides when it’s safe to play.

Please check the rainout line prior to your game, our assigners will update it as soon as any decisions have been made.

Slow Pitch Leagues

The city parks will decide prior to game time if the fields will be open or closed.  The umpire has the responsibility to determine if the field conditions are safe before and during the game, and can end the game when they feel it is no longer safe to play.  Once a field is deemed unplayable all remaining games on that field are also cancelled.


School Games

The home team coach determines if the field conditions are safe before the game starts. Once the game begins that responsibility shifts to the plate umpire. If you re playing a double header, the umpires determine if it is safe to start the second game.


College Games

The specified on site administrator determines if the field conditions are safe prior to the start of the game. Once the game begins that responsibility shifts to the plate umpire. If playing a double header, the plate umpire from the first game determines if the field is playable prior to the start of the second game.


JO Games

When working tournament games the tournament director determines field conditions to start the tournament and throughout the day. The umpires on individual fields decide during games if their fields are playable.


Please make your decisions to continue playing for the safety of the players. If you do call a game please let the assigners know as soon as you can.



Free training programs for all members

Whether you’ve been umpiring for 30 years or 30 minutes, SMSUA offers top-notch training. We promise to work with all of our umpires to prepare them to reach the highest level they want to work.

We have lots of umpires who are happy working the recreational and young ages. And we have some umpires who have worked the highest levels (college world series, Olympics, and International).

Whatever your umpiring goals, our training program will help you meet them.

If you are just joining the umpire family, click here to learn about our free training for new umpires.

We look forward to seeing you on the field soon!

Introducing the New SMSUA Website

Your SMSUA Board is pleased to announce the birth of the new website. In the short off-season, several Board members worked to re-design the website to add more information members were asking for, make it more user friendly, and create a “member’s only” section.

A very warm and deserved “THANK YOU” to Erin Peterson who spearheaded the project and made so much happen with very limited funds.

We hope you find this tool benefits you. If you want something you don’t see, please email us and tell us what you want. We can’t guarantee we’ll get to everything right away, but we’re here to make this a “go-to” tool that members value. So let us know.

To log in as a member, go here and follow the instructions.

If you have difficulty accessing anything, please email Erin.

We’re excited to offer this. Let us know what you think.