Ep 103: MLB Ump Pat Hoberg on chasing the dream of calling balls and strikes
“I told myself I was going to chase the dream until it either happens or it doesn’t.”
Listening to episode 103 is a good call. Don’t even try to argue. You are able to review this one with an instant reply though. This week, Tim sits down with Major League Baseball umpire Pat Hoberg to talk about his path from NAIA basketball player to working a wildcard game in Yankee Stadium.
Pat Hoberg grew up in Urbandale, IA. As an athlete, he played little league baseball but was a basketball guy, eventually playing at Grand View University in Des Moines. He shares that being a college athlete helped him mature and credits choosing basketball with giving him his start as an ump. Playing basketball gave him time in the offseason for a summer job. He umped as many games as he could and was recognized as having a bright future on the diamond.
Hoberg grew up paying attention to the umpires, especially Tim McClelland of West Des Moines when he watched baseball. Pat shares that as a baseball fan, he paid attention to the game, but also watched “the third team on the field.” A phone call to Tim McClelland after his sophomore year of college helped get him on the path to becoming a professional ump. McClelland encouraged him to finish college and then go to umpire school in Florida.
Look around this room, 1-2 of you will work a major league game.
Umpire school was 72 hours a week with 125 classmates. In any class, maybe 1 or 2 guys will make it to the majors. In spite of the odds, Hoberg committed himself to the process. After umpire school was the evaluation course - about 25 guys from each of the two schools make the cut and are ranked after a rigorous process. Pat was ranked 14th out of 50 and was one of 23 umps who were were given jobs that year. From his start in the Arizona Summer League, Pat progressed through the minors and continued to perform well in his evaluations and earned promotions. Hoberg debuted in the majors on Opening Day 2014. Since then, he has been part of some incredible games is working among the greatest baseball talents in the world.
Enjoy episode 103 with Pat Hoberg and be sure to check if it’s a Moonlighter behind the plate next time you want to argue balls and strikes.