Kevin Winn is one of the delightful people I interview in covering Independent Baseball.
The Director of Umpires for the American Association and Can-Am League is prompt about returning calls and never asks for a thing, but more than that he is a solid interview. He has information, seems to always have his details straight and can articulate them.
I called Kevin this week in order to discuss his busy job (understatement on my part) in Thursday's Independent Baseball Insider column. I also got an education on a point to which I had not given much thought.
Why can umpiring in an Independent league be more demanding than in some affiliated minor leagues for the young balls and strikes guys coming out of the two major league-supported umpiring schools? It was a simple answer, once Winn explained. "A (young) umpire goes to the (rookie) Gulf Coast League to learn how to umpire", Winn said, in much the same manner as a recent high school graduate goes to that youthful Florida league to learn how to be a professional player. In Independent leagues such as those he supervises "the level of play is too high". The umpires just getting a start would be overmatched.