By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
OVER the past few months, the Bahamas Baseball Association has been able to get all of the splinter organisations back under one umbrella.
Last week, they concentrated on getting their umpires ready to officiate the games.
Martin 'Pork' Burrows, the BBA's chief umpire, hosted a week-long clinic, the first in Grand Bahama from Monday to Wednesday where they had about 10 candidates in attendance.
Burrows was accompanied by facilitators Radael Uribe, the chief umpire/overseer for professional baseball in the Dominican Republic and Daniel Perez, the chief umpire for local baseball in the DR.
The trio returned to New Providence where they concluded the clinic with sessions at Freedom Farm and the Junior Baseball League of Nassau.
In attendance were about 30 candidates from Freedom Farm, JBLN and the Community Baseball as well as some persons who are not affiliated with any of the organisations.
"The purpose of the clinic is to ensure that the umpires are certified to be able to call in our national championships," Burrows said. "They need to be certified. Also, we want to prepare them in the event that we need officials to travel with our national teams whenever they travel.
"In order for any official to travel with the national team, they have to be certified."
Burrows expressed his gratitude to the BBA and the Bahamas Olympic Committee for their assistance in getting the officials to come to the Bahamas to conduct the clinic.
With the clinic over and done with, Burrows said from time to time, the BBA will be holding refresher courses for the umpires to keep abreast of the new rules and regulations of the sport.
At the same time, Burrows said he will be forming an umpire association that will enable umpires to officiate in the local high school games and the league play. "We will be using these games to evaluate the progress that our umpires make," Burrows said.
"We want to make sure that they continue to practice the things that they were taught in the clinic.
"It's a first phase, but we intend to work with this crop of umpires to develop the future of the sport, especially with the new stadium coming on stream."
Burrows said he was pleased with the turnout and the participation of the candidates in Grand Bahama and New Providence.
He's now planning on taking a clinic to Eleuthera and Abaco. "From that, my next step will be to go into the schools and see if I can get some more umpires to do the clinic and officiate at the games," Burrows said.
"We want to have as many umpires as we can get because baseball is going to need them with all of the plans that the Bahamas Baseball Association has ahead for the sport," he added.