9/30/2014

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Sports

Valley man calling strikes on his way to the Big Leagues!

Valley man calling strikes on his way to the Big Leagues!
He'll never play professional baseball.

But, he'll be the difference in deciding many games.

Making the call, Matthew Snodgrass, the yakima native's been umping high school games in the valley for more than half a dozen years. Whether it's on the bases or behind home plate this is where Matthew feels right at home.

Matthew Snodgrass "I just love being on the field. The smells, the sights and sounds. Everything about it. I just love baseball. I hope some day I can get to the ultimate goal."

To the big show, umpiring major league games. Matthew has to take some major steps before he lives the big league dream. Deciding this is what he'd love to do for a living, the former Ike and college football guy packed up for Florida to attend a professional umpire school. While some of his collegues struck out, Matthew in class, hit a home run.

Matthew Snodgrass "At my school 165 of us 25 got selected to go to the pro umpire corp, the evaluation course. So, you got to be good. Pretty good, ya."

To excel in an incredibly competitive business, you gotta pay your dues. Mathew started his pro career last year calling college summer league games, similar to the level of what the Pippins will bring to Yakima County Stadium. And, towards the end of the season a call up to pro rookie ball. A big invite this year. Mathew is in Arizona for extended spring training, umping lower level minor league baseball....and, just like the players he'll be evaluated and learn his assignment for this season in the minor leagues.

Mathew Snodgrass "I'm so excited. Just to be able to work baseball at a professional level was just unbelieveable. Talent level of the players above and beyond everything I've ever expected. The game's very fast. Very electric. It's fun. Not a bad gig huh? No, not at all. Get paid to watch baseball, that's for sure."
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