After over a decade of service umpiring Little League Baseball in the Dover area and for Camden-Wyoming District I, Ed Moran was chosen to umpire the Big League World Series in Easley, South Carolina.
The Dover Post sat down with Moran to discuss his time behind the plate over the years and how he was able to earn the honor of umpiring at the Big League World Series.
Moran first got his start umpiring as a part-time gig, working where he was needed over the years. While serving our country in the United States Marine Corps he was approached with an opportunity to volunteer on a full-time basis.
“I had umpired on and off over the years, but stepped in completely in 1999 while serving in the United States Marine Corps. My boss at the time, CWO4 Steve Ward, was part of the local officials association and he knew that the group was looking for baseball umpires and approached me about volunteering my time,” said Moran. “After some conversations with my wife, and working out some details with Steve, I joined the Jacksonville Coastal Plains Officials Association and began training. I have had some great mentors over the years to keep me on task and would just like to say, “Thank you” to each of them.”
After agreeing to become part of an umpiring crew, Moran began some extensive training to help improve his craft. Along the way, Moran learned a lot and was guided by his mentor Mike Chrostek who helped develop Moran into the umpire he is today.
After years of training, Moran was given advice by his peers that he could potentially umpire on a bigger stage, something that had never crossed his mind.
“Every umpire, just as players, dream of making it to the highest level of their craft. Initially, I can honestly say it was never a goal, but within the last 4-5 years it has become more relevant,” said Moran. “I have had umpires much more experienced than I, and that I look up to, tell me that my skill set would make me very competitive in the selection process. Last year (July 2012) I finally listened and took the advice of Mr. George Luff (2012 Little League World Series Umpire) and began the development of my package. “
“The process begins with training,” said Moran. “Early in my career I had a mentor, Mike Chrostek, tell me, ‘You can look the part and get through the first three innings of any game, but your training gets you through the remainder.’ I took that quite serious and went to as many schools and clinics as possible. To this day, I continue to search for training and feedback on every game I work. It started with local clinics taught by senior umpires and worked my way up to advanced schools (Gerry Davis Umpire School) to learn as much as I could. “
Moran stated that to earn a spot umpiring at the level of the Big League World Series, a candidate must work District tournaments, State Tournaments and eventually Regional Tournaments where their performance is reviewed for recommendations. Once Moran was qualified, his District Administrator had to nominate him for an umpiring spot through a written package submitted to the Regional Head Quarters before a nomination is made at the highest levels.
Now that Moran has been given such a respected opportunity in his craft, he was able to share what he’s learned behind the plate over the years. While umpiring may seem easy to some who have also played the game, Moran offered a different opinion on how he see things now as an umpire compared to what he saw as a player growing up.
“I have learned there are two sides to baseball. As a player, manager, and coach you live the ‘operational side’, which plays the game for the excitement, the life lessons and the roar of the crowd. On this side, you understand a portion of the rules that effect you as a player such as balls and strikes, fair and foul, safe and out,” said Moran. “You live in the confines of those simplistic factors to become successful as a team and taught that baseball is a game that requires effort but should be fun. Then you have the officials, who are the ‘judicial side’, which are required to play the game but not always looked at in a favorable light.”
“It takes a different kind of person to assume the responsibility of an official in any sport, but what most people do not realize is that it takes just as much, if not more effort to become a good official. Granted there are only nine rules to the game of baseball, but it is the sheer number of sub-rules that people do not know that makes this job a challenge,” Moran said. “Every year the rules are modified in some form and it takes dedication and study to stay on top of the game as an official, especially if you work different forms of the game (High School, Little League and Travel Ball). The ironic part is that while both sides are often in opposing corners, when they work in harmony, it makes the game even better from both perspectives.”
Now, having been rewarded with an opportunity that most umpires and officials never have come their way, Moran is going to enjoy his time in South Carolina, alongside his family. Moran credits his family for supporting him along the way, saying without them this accolade may not have been possible.
“I am truly blessed and thank God to have a family that enjoys sports as much as I do. My wife, Joanne, has supported my umpiring career from the first day and has unselfishly accepted the time I spend away from the family to pursue the activity I enjoy. My boys were more excited than I was the day we found out,” said Moran. “Our plan is to enjoy the experience together and be thankful for the opportunity we have been blessed with. It is a real honor to be representing Camden-Wyoming Little League, Delaware District One and the State of Delaware with this assignment and we plan to have fun, work within the rules, and come home victorious. “