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Matt Whipple

What is your name?

My name is Matt Whipple

How old are you?

I am 27 years old.

Where are you from?

I am very lucky to call Fredericton my home.

Tell us briefly how you got into umpiring / what level are you currently.

I like to think I was born into it. Growing up, my dad was umpiring at a high level and I would often tag along to tournaments and hang out with the umpiring crew. I have been very fortunate to learn from those people and jumped at the opportunity to join the umpiring ranks in my teens. Currently I am a level 4 umpire with Softball Canada.

Do you have any unique pre-game rituals?

In 2018 my partner and I got pretty good at juggling and we would spend our pregame doing that. We also played a lot of cards and listened to music in the locker room. Now I keep it pretty relaxed and spend most of my pre-game chatting with my partner.

Are you currently involved in softball in other capacities other than umpiring (coaching, playing, administrating etc.)?

I am currently in an administration role with Fredericton Fastpitch Association, and help coach the Learn to Play Program as well. I also returned to the diamond as a player in 2019 and have been enjoying that as well.

What is one thing you would tell a young person who is thinking of starting as an umpire?

I would tell them that it is the best summer job they will ever have. Not only do you get paid to be at the ballfield, you meet some incredible people and learn a lot about the game. It will open so many doors and is a great way to make yourself a better player or coach.

What is your favorite thing about the game of softball?

The people. I love the game, but it is the people that keep me coming back each year.

What is your favorite place softball/baseball has taken you?

Growing up a Red Sox fan, I wish I could say Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers, but it is a Yankees affiliate that takes the crown of my favorite place. Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island was one of the coolest stadiums I’ve gotten to work in during my umpiring career. I remember standing behind Homeplate and being in awe of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty beyond the centerfield fence. It is considered one of the best views in Minor League Baseball for good reason, and I always looked forward to those Staten Island dates on my schedule.

How have you been handling/keeping busy during the COVID-19 situation?

We were fortunate to have softball being played in the province this summer, so that helped keep me busy. Since September I’ve spent most of my time doing schoolwork and getting ready for next summer.

What is your favorite career highlight to date?

In 2014 I was lucky to be selected to umpire at the U16 Boys Canadian Championship at Prospect Street Park in Fredericton. We had a great crew which made for a fun week on and off the field. It was also really cool to get to work at home and share that week with the people that had helped me develop as an umpire.

What are your future aspirations (personal or career)?

I look forward to graduating soon and hope to be a teacher in the future. As far as my umpiring career goes, my on-field work has been put on the backburner for a while now. I do hope to stay involved off the field by giving young umpires the same level of support that was given to me.