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

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

2019 WOA/WIAA Certified Official Requirements

The clinics, test and background check are now available on ArbiterSports for all WOA registered officials.  You must complete all the “2018-19 Certified Softball” requirements – the WOA Clinic, WOA-NASO Clinic, the Softball Clinic, Concussion Management (if due), the Background-Check-Consent and the Softball test. 

When you log into ArbiterSports and go to the Central Hub, right below the “Home” tab you can click on “Eligibility Center” and that will take you to the page indicating the requirements you must fulfill for the “2018-19 Certified Softball” – 6 requirements.  

Here is the link to the study guide for the softball test:

All requirements MUST be met before you are able to work any high school assignments.

Do You Have What It Takes

To Umpire the BEST?

Fifteen Blues (and a son) Plunge on Jan 1, 2015

Calling em OUT before Plunging IN

Calling em OUT before Plunging IN

It was colder outside – 32 degrees – than it was in the water – 50 degrees. The sun was bright, the air was still, and the Seattle Blues rocked the Beach for the 2nd Annual Polar Bear Plunge into Puget Sound on Alki Beach.

Check out the video here.

Malcolm Boyles, Mike Cavanaugh, Steve Choi, Charles Coburn, Kayleen Dunson, Jerry Forkner, Mike Katz, Bob Lewis, Kris Mack, Wayne McDonald, Tim Murphy, Mike Sepe (and son Derek), Sean Wells and Craig Williams held hands as they plunged together into the sound.

Wild Bill Silves heard there was a party so he showed up to watch in his bright orange mittens!

Wild Bill's Bright Orange Mittens

Wild Bill’s Bright Orange Mittens

Friendship. Family. Fun.

And a great free publicity opportunity to help recruit umpires. Thank you Jerry Forkner for bringing that beautiful American Flag (and that small bottle of “cheer”) and thank you West Seattle Blog and West Seattle Herald for your excellent coverage – with photos and video! And professional sports photographer Dale Garvey was there and he has graciously provided a link with free downloads for his amazing photos.

Check out the West Seattle Blog Articles – Pre-Dunk and Post-Dunk and the article in West Seattle Herald  here.

After the plunge there was hot cocoa (with added “cheer”), changing into warmer clothes, and a great time to just hang out with fellow umpires.

One of the dunkers texted later in the day, “I had a blast today. Seriously, you make me really enjoy not only being an umpire, but being an SMSUA umpire.”

Friendship. Family. Fun.

Here’s to more of this in 2015!

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


Plunging into 2014

Are we all crazy?

Kayleen Dunson, Malcolm Boyles, Mike Sepe, and Mike Rabin plunge into Puget Sound in full uniform to help recruit new umpires (not pictured but there, was Sean Wells).

Kayleen Dunson, Malcolm Boyles, Mike Sepe, and Mike Rabin plunge into Puget Sound in full uniform to help recruit new umpires (not pictured but there, was Sean Wells).















wellsBooyles handThe answer is “YES.”  But five of us braved the freezing temps of Puget Sound on New Year’s Day to show how much fun ASA Umpires can have! Thanks to Malcolm Boyles, Mike Rabin, Mike Sepe, Sean Wells, and Kayleen Dunson for the 2014 Polar Plunge!

This may become an ANNUAL EVENT! Think about it!

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!

Malcolm Inducted into Hall of Fame

Malcolm HOF1Congratulations to our very own Malcolm Boyles who was inducted into the Northwest Region Hall of Fame January 26, 2013  in Wilsonville, Oregon

A  big thank you to all of the SMSUA and Region 15 Umpires who attended  If you would like to send Malcolm a congratulatory note, email him at