It is the time of year that most professional baseball players are gearing up for a new season that will officially begin in just a few short days. One Mercer County man has been gearing up for the professional baseball season but in a different way.
Matthew Sims, 21, recently received his certification as a Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire.
Sims, who graduated from Mercer County in 2012, completed his six-week certification from the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School in Daytona Beach, Fla., in February.
“I went to the Wendelstedt umpiring school for about five or six weeks and they certified me to umpire from the high school level all the way to the professional level,” said Sims.
After coming home from Daytona Beach, he only had a few weeks to relax before he headed back down south.
“From March 1 through the ninth, I went back down to Cocoa Beach, Fla., where we utilized all the things we learned at the Wendelstedt school. It is basically like a spring training for umpires,” said Sims.
The former State Runner-Up for the Mercer County Titans baseball team has completed all of his training, so now he must prepare for the transformation from umpiring local little league and middle school games to calling collegiate and professional level games.
“I have been umpiring since I was about 13-years-old, but the highest level I have really done is junior varsity, so this will be a new challenge. My dad used to be over the umpires at Anderson-Dean, which initially sparked my interest in it, but my passion for sports and baseball has inspired me to continue down this path,” said Sims, who was on Mercer County’s 2011 baseball team that made it all the way to the state championship.