Attention Softball Umpires – USA Softball Info 2017

Jerry Fick
Umpire In Chief
3016 Ambler Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio 45241
Phone: (513)563-2755

January 6, 2017

Dear Umpire:

It is another new year and the softball season is coming soon. This is my 40th year writing this letter as your Umpire In Chief and it is quite different as I have more new information to communicate with you than ever before. There are some huge changes that will impact all of us as we enter the 2017 season. First, the Amateur Softball Association is now USA Softball and although we are the same organization our new name reflects our role as the National Governing Body of the sport as well as softball’s return to the Olympics. As such we are no longer Cincinnati ASA but now USA Softball of Cincinnati. We also have major changes with our annual clinic and weekly meetings. At the same time, we expect to continue to see growth in opportunities available to USA Softball of Cincinnati umpires, and a resulting need for new umpires.

Umpires Clinics
Our 40th annual Umpires Clinic will take on a new and improved format with two FULL DAY clinics – one for SLOW PITCH on Sunday, February 12 and one for FAST PITCH on Sunday, February 26. BOTH CLINICS WILL BE AT MID AMERICA BALLYARD AND RUN FROM 9AM TO 4PM. Mid America Ballyard is located at the corner of Blue Rock and East Miami River Road in Colerain Township – 6960 Blue Rock Road – 45247.

This new format will be more efficient and effective for all of our umpires and will allow those who work both games the opportunity for additional preseason preparation. Umpires attending the Fast Pitch clinic will receive OHSAA local meeting credit.

Our clinic program will this year feature our local staff all of whom will have just returned the USA Softball National Clinic in Oklahoma City. Our topics will include new and difficult rules, interpretations, game management and tournament procedures, with an additional emphasis on umpire mechanics and the changes being made in connection with the transition to USA Softball. Don't miss this great clinic and remember the COST IS STILL INCLUDED IN YOUR REGISTRATION FEE.

This season Commissioner David Maury will again recognize umpires who have reached milestones in years of service. We will also recognize umpires who participated in National Championship play or earned other special recognition in 2016. Remember that USA Softball offers umpires the opportunity to participate in Championship play each season. Last year our local umpires received thirty assignments to National Championships.

Mandatory Clinic Attendance
Clinic attendance is mandatory for Cincinnati umpires interested in working any USA Softball championship play, sponsored tournament, or special event. The cost of the clinic is included in your registration fee. USA Softball of Cincinnati will provide your lunch at each clinic.

One thing that has not changed for this year is your registration fee! This fee is only $55 and must be paid prior to the clinics. Fees paid after the clinics will be subject to a late charge of $10. Mail your check, payable to USA Softball of Cincinnati Umpires, to the umpire office at 3016 Ambler Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45241. Registration paperwork is included with this mailing. USA Softball of Cincinnati umpires do not need to pre-register for this clinic, however, out of town umpires should do so by mailing name, address, and all contact information to our office.

In addition to the clinic, your registration fee includes your USA Softball Rule Book, Umpire Manual, the USA Softball Comprehensive General Liability insurance coverage, Excess Medical insurance coverage, weekly rules meetings, all of our other educational programs, tests, USA Softball tournament assignments, and all the other benefits that go with being part of the world's largest organization of softball officials.

Reminder – JO Umpires – Background Checks
Effective 2015 all umpires working youth games must complete a mandatory USA Softball background check. The cost of this is paid by USA Softball of Cincinnati. The form authorizing the background check is included with this mailing and should be returned with your registration application. No assignments to youth games will be made until the registration process has been completed. This means that the background check forms have been submitted and the process finalized.

Weekly Meetings
We encourage all USA Softball umpires to attend our weekly meetings.
For Slow Pitch these meetings will be detailed in a separate email.
All SP meetings will be at On Deck Sports Bar/Mid-America Ballyard.

For Fast Pitch Umpires we will again meet in conjunction with the Blue Chip HS Umpires at Landmark Baptist Temple, 1680 Glendale Milford Rd. in Evendale. Dates are February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27. These meetings start at 7PM.

We will also have a FP Weekly Meeting (in conjunction with Blue Chip) on Sunday, April 2 – 530PM at Mid-America Ballyard. This meeting will be followed by social event for all USA Softball of Cincinnati umpires! (both Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch). More details will be provided later.

New USA Softball of Cincinnati Website
With our new name we are updating our website. Additional information will be sent to you soon. The site will be updated regularly and include all registration documents for 2017.

Information for Fast Pitch Umpires
I am pleased to inform you that Tom Hathaway will be continuing in the assigning role for 2017. During our spring clinics and meetings Tom will share with you plans for this season. USA Softball of Cincinnati and our JO Commissioner Michelle Fletcher are working on a series of championship events that will include additional events and qualifying tournaments. We are also working with Major League Baseball, the Cincinnati Reds and the Urban Youth Academy to GROW SOFTBALL in 2017. We are excited about this growth in the game. Please note the information above concerning umpires working youth games and the required background checks.

Information for Slow Pitch Umpires
Commissioner David Maury, his staff, and our Executive and Advisory Boards have all been busy working on exciting additions and enhancements to our tournament programs for 2017 season. During our clinics we will be discussing plans for the coming season.

Recruiting New Umpires
In recent years, team participation in USA Softball tournaments and events has continued its rapid growth. Our umpire program has not been able to keep up with this growth and we have reached a point where we must increase the number of umpires available for our program. Our best recruiting source is you – the current USA Softball umpire. Take a moment to recruit a relative, friend, neighbor, or co-worker and bring them to one of our meetings. Umpires bringing a new recruit to register at the clinics will receive a uniform gift. This will allow our program to grow and will keep your assigners from having to beg you to work those extra games this summer.

We are happy to have you as part of our USA Softball of Cincinnati program; our goal is to provide you with the finest training opportunities that allow you to be the best you can be. The programs available this year are outstanding and we are looking forward to having each of you participate to the greatest extent possible.

Please email me at or call me at 513-563-2755 with any questions or for information on any of the events described in this letter.


Jerry Fick

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