An umpire serves the same function in baseball as the referee in football – they watch the game, control it and oversee the execution of all the rules by players. When an umpire spots a fault from a player, it’s up to them to issue an appropriate penalty, and apply the rules of the game in every situation. Umpires typically work in teams of four, each assigned a particular area of the field, in order to provide the best possible level of efficiency and ensure a fair game for all players.
Becoming an umpire takes some specialized education and training, most of which is related to the rules of the game. A good umpire must be well-acquainted with every section of the rulebook, and optionally know of some valid precedents of disputed rule interpretations in the past, in order to be able to make sound decisions and judge the game correctly. Umpires must also be able to work in teams well, for example when they need to get together to discuss how to proceed in a particular situation.
Umpires are traditionally compensated for their efforts very highly – the standard salary in the lower ranges goes between $40,000 – $65,000, and those who work in the professional leagues can easily see an annual salary of over $100,000. The job does put some heavy demands on those who practice it, on the other hand, and it can be very exhausting in some situations. On the other hand, the prospects for career development are very good and in most cases a good umpire can easily build a solid career.