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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Thu Mar 03, 2005, 05:53pm
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A local 12U team has invited me to attend one of the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournaments in late July with their team. CDP is located very near the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown... hence the name. Apparently, the registration process requires each team to bring one umpire with them.

Their website (www.cooperstowndreamspark.com) looks pretty appealing and inviting. Long way from Texas and will cost me one week of vacation from the job, but out of pocket costs will be quite minimal.

Just curious if any of you guys have been there, and if so, what are your thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old Thu Mar 03, 2005, 09:06pm
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Haven't been there, but it seems like a great opportunity and you should take advantage of it. To be asked is pretty prestigious and to turn it down might be misconstrued. It just sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity for us lower level guys to have a crack at. I presume you will have a chance to officiate there, see different styles at work, and meet some pretty interesting people.

Go for it.
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Old Thu Mar 03, 2005, 09:59pm
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Hmmm,

Let me get this straight:

You pay to travel to the site,

You pay to eat (remember they don't allow you to even bring a Mig MAc through the gates,

You work for free,

AND the owners of the Park make a profit.

OfficialTony wrote:

"To be asked is pretty prestigious and to turn it down might be misconstrued."

Yeah, people might think you're pretty smart!

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Old Thu Mar 03, 2005, 10:12pm
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I've been, about 3 or 4 years ago. It's good quality small diamond baseball, up to a dozen guys bunking in the same cabin for a week, babysitter-type food for breakfast, lunch and dinner (think - chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese), a free ticket to the Hall of Fame, two or three games a day to umpire, lots of free souveneirs - caps, shirts, pullover, pins, etc., and usually you leave having made a good number of new friends that you're likely to keep in touch with via email for quite some time.

The worst part of the whole thing was the community shower (think - HAIR everywhere), but other than a few horrors like that, it was better than a breakeven experience. And although I enjoyed myself, I haven't been chomping at the bit to do it again.
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Old Thu Mar 03, 2005, 10:24pm
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Tim C,
Thanks for your input, but I was specifically asking for thoughts and opinions from those who may have been there before. It is obvious by the condescending tone of your response that you have neither been there nor have you bothered to visit their website.

All meals and lodging are paid for by the teams. The team that invited me has even offered to pay my airfare. To accept this invitation to go and "work for free" is not a sign of ignorance. I certainly consider it an honor to have been offered this opportunity by the team.

In my original post, I was simply asking for opinions of those that have had the opportunity to experience something that sounds like a lot of fun and seems like a great opportunity to see new sights and learn new things.

Hang on to that attitude of yours buddy.... I'm sure there is a team out there that would love to invite you along as well.


Dave H,
Thank you very much for your thoughts. That is the kind of info I was looking for.


[Edited by PatF on Mar 3rd, 2005 at 10:28 PM]
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:38am
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Location: Bedford, TX
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I've been invited to go as well and I'm looking forward to it. The team is paying my airfare and giving me $200.00 spending money. Not going to cost me a dime. Everyone I talk to says its a great experience.


Mike
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 07:16am
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CDP is alot of fun and you will meet so many new people! We went last summer and plan on going next year. We are getting as many guys from our bunk house as possible!

Certainly if you can get the team to pay your travel and some expense money, it is well worth it! You'll enjoy it!

It is fun being around the kids and seeing their excitement!

Those who run it are in it to make money. And they make plenty, but we all do what we do to earn a buck!
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 09:20am
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Excuse Me!

PatF:

You have no idea how much research I have done on this issue.

1) I couldn't possibly care less if I was ever invited to do ANY small diamond game.

2) I have the responsibility to tell the truth that has been documented by MANY that have attended.

3) I did not mention the "good old boys" that arrive early and "restrict" others from being able to bunk in "THEIR" area . . .

4) I did not comment on the fact that the "one" person that every umpire has listed as the "best guy there from the ownership" is no longer there.

5) I am condesending to any umpire that allows himself to be used by a "for profit" company.

PatF, this is not a new argument -- these same issues have been coming up on the interent for the last eight years.

I WILL ALWAYS say what I want. Live with it.
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Old Sat Mar 05, 2005, 04:19pm
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I certainly didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. I love watching young athletes play the game for the love of the game and not for money - like the pros. I also love watching ( and being a part of ) the umpires who do it for the love of the game and not for money - like the pros. I certainly understand the disdain that some people have for the little guys becuse they don't enjoy that. There are a great many of us who do enjoy the sport for being a sport and not a business. If your love is not for the small diamond or for doing it because it promotes youth athletics, that's OK. But please don't begrudge us small guys our pleasures like small diamond ball or paying to be a part of a Cooperstown Dream game. It does sound like some people look down on those of us who don't get the Big Show stuff because we can't - or choose the Small Show Stuff. I don't mind that because I don't ever expect to be part of the Big Show. It's a place I choose not to go. Honestly, I'm probably too old and not good enough to get there anyway. I can live with that. Even with others looking down on me because of it.
Having said that, I still respect everyone's right to their opinion -and my right to disagre.

Thanks.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old Sat Mar 05, 2005, 06:37pm
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Tim C is right. Somebody is making money at CDP (I look around the park and think "$500 for every kid here" - less expenses of course)- and the umpires work games for free (though you are supplied with a couple shirts, a jacket, a hat, a T-shirt, pins to trade, a ticket to the Baseball HOF and the transportation system, and FREE camp-type food).

But not everything is about money. When you go to a clinic where you work live games, somebody is making money - and the umpires work for free. What you get out of CDP and clinics is not money - but intangibles - like networking, observing other umpires work, help with your game from a fresh set of eyes.

Not everybody has the experience I did at CDP - but let me tell you about it. I stayed in touch with four other guys from my bunk. A few years later, one had worked a Little League Regional, one has worked his way up to NCAA baseball, one was a professional umpire in an Independent Minor League - and also a NCAA basketball referee, and one was a professional umpire in the Affiliated Minor Leagues.

Through these contacts, I have worked games in California, Virginia, and Florida. I have met at least 15 Major League Umpires, had dinner in the houses of two of them, visited a couple of major league umpire locker rooms, met at least 30 minor league umpires, and been in numerous minor league umpire locker rooms. I have been to spring training in Florida and Arizona - having dinner with the minor league crews in both places. I have had both major and minor league umpires leave me tickets to games (one was an opening day - sold out). More importantly, I have been able to get personal advice on my umpiring - sitting down with professional umpires and reviewing tapes of my games. I have been able to work numerous games with my friends and got their insight into how I can get better at umpiring.

Through my friends' help, I have improved to where I worked a HS State Semi-final this year and, the highlight of my career, subbed in the Minor Leagues. With their help (and lists like Tim's "10 things not to do"), I hope I can continue improving.

All this started with Cooperstown Dreams Park. On other visits I have made to CDP I have met two other umpires that went on to be professional umpires in the Affiliated Minor Leagues. I have also met several NCAA Division I umpires.

There is certainly a wide variety of umpires at CDP. Most are like me - an amateur that enjoys doing little kid ball because it feels different (I also enjoy doing big kid ball). The excitement of 10-12 year olds playing a game. Even their tears when things don't go right. It is a purer form of the GAME of baseball. Don't get me wrong - there is certainly a place for the BUSINESS of baseball. But what happens on the field at CDP is a GAME.

Tim also mentioned that Terry isn't employed by CDP anymore. Terry was certainly the "best guy there from the ownership." But it was his job to be the best guy (not trying to say he wouldn't have been if it wasn't his job). In 2005 there will be another Umpire Coordinator - and he may or may not be as good as Terry - we will see. It is also my understanding that Terry will be coming back to CDP to umpire one week - so obviously his leaving was not adversarial.

And Tim is right - some umpires at CDP form exclusive groups that exclude others (though I have never experienced this at CDP). But that is not CDP's fault - that is the fault of the umpires that decide to exclude others. Unfortunately, that's not unusual in a large group of people.

While I respect Tim's right to not want to go to CDP, my visits have certainly helped my career. The way I look at - I "used" CDP to help my career - if not my wallet.

Walter
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old Sat Mar 05, 2005, 07:49pm
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Hmmm,

Walter:

What a finely written retort to my position.

I usually expect that standard knee-jerk reaction from the "drink the kool-aid Little League Guys".

Your answer was refreshing and well conceived.

While I stand by my postion and my disdain for umpires giving away a valued skill at a for profit site I have gained at least 2 more ounces of respect for those who go with their eyes open and understand that all that glitters is not golden.

Thanks again for your fine post.

BTW, without going to the CDP I have pretty much accomplished all the things you mentioned you have gained. I am just lucky in different ways.

Actually one small minor correction in your post:

When an umpire goes to a clinic and works live games he does not work for free -- usually he HAS PAID TO WORK THOSE GAMES FOR FREE.



[Edited by Tim C on Mar 5th, 2005 at 11:48 PM]
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old Thu Mar 10, 2005, 07:35pm
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Are umpires required to stay in the housing provided? If not, is it considered "bad form" to stay elsewhere?

A local team is looking for an umpire to fulfill its obligation to provide one, and the housing situation is the only part that sounds unappealing to me. (yes, I might be willing to work for free for an organization making a profit on the operation)
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old Fri Mar 11, 2005, 07:27am
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got blue,
you don't have to stay in the bunkhouse, but if you choose to stay elsewhere, it may be a little costly! I was shocked to see that this is in a remote location. I believe there may be like 2 or 3 max hotels in the area and last year they were $150 a night!

It really isn't too bad, you have a lot of baseball talk in your bunkhouse. I wouldn't stay off-site for nothing!
Plus, things change, with rain and guys are wanting to switch. The guys who were offsite last year, were outcast! No one knew who they were!

Go and Plan On Making Some Great Friends and Learning As Well!
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jul 24, 2012, 03:34pm
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Cooperstown

I just came back friday the 20th of july from ctwon. Had a blast.
You sleep in barracks have your own barracks for shower etc., no coaches. etc.,you are transported to and from the games you really see some good games. The kids are great. I made some friends who I will keep in touch with and will try to hook up with hopefully there next year. I did it for free I came from Jersey so what was it a tank of gas. I represented a team form Missi. Ihad a chance to hang out with some upires from different states and they do charge to cover there expense and a little more a guy from cal. was get me there and home and he was happy another guy charge 600, ctown will provide an umpire for the team which is about 1000 so most teams will go for it. As far as food the breakfast was ok for me as I only eat fruit and ceral lunch was sandwichs and salads. for dinner I went out to eat and grab a beer or two. Also you do get shirts etc and they do clean and press your uniforms and do your other laundry. All in all it was fun,you do work though as you would expect if you can get your expenses and maybe more give a go it is a week out of your life. Hope this helps
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Old Tue Jul 24, 2012, 03:55pm
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Location: Katy, Texas
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1) welcome to the site.
2) This would have been much better alone rather than appended to a SEVEN year old thread, especially one filled with the kind of unconstructive nonsense this one was filled with.
3) Glad you had a good time, although I would have liked your post a heckuva lot more if I could read it. I know, it's 2012 and bad spelling and grammar have developed into their own art form, and I certainly don't want to be the spelling and grammar police ... but when it's to the point that more than half of the sentences are unintelligible, the entirely of the post loses its meaning.
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