|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Wednesday, 14 July 2010 08:00|
When 52-year-old Arizona Little League District 10 umpire and Prescott Valley resident Mike Kincaid found out he was selected to go to Williamsport, Pa., and be a part of an umpiring crew in the 2010 Little League World Series, he couldn’t hold back the tears.
“I was in the middle of the street just balling,” Kincaid said with a smile. “One of my neighbors came up to me and said, ‘Buddy, what’s wrong, everything OK?’ and I just told him don’t worry about it, I’ll tell you later.”
Eventually, Kincaid showed his neighbor along with many others close to him the official letter, giving proof he was going to the most prestigious amateur baseball tournament in the world.
An umpire for almost five years in District 10, which includes towns like Sedona, Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Williams and Dewey-Humboldt, Kincaid was selected by the Little League World Series Committee and will join 17 other umpires from all over the world come Friday, Aug. 20, when the tournament is scheduled to get under way.
There are 10 umpires selected from the United States and eight from other countries around the world, making it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Kincaid.
Kincaid worked a Western Regional back in 2002, a requirement that must be fulfilled before getting selected to work in the Little League World Series, making it eight years he had to wait before getting that letter.
“I’ve become what I used to despise,” Kincaid said with a loud laugh and an even bigger smile.
Kincaid went on to explain umpires weren’t always his favorite people but when someone challenged him to try it one day, he couldn’t resist.
“Someone told me, ‘All right big boy, you try it,’ and I did because if you double-dog dare me to do something, I usually will,” Kincaid continued, again letting out a big laugh.
Kincaid grew up in Oxnard, Calif., a mere three miles from the ocean, before moving to Prescott Valley in 2006. He coached baseball at Saint Bonaventure High School for 14 years and has been an umpire for 26 years.
A football player in high school, Kincaid loved the sport of baseball as well and after he got married to Joanne and the couple had four kids, his children began to become involved in Little League.
Eric, Melony, Michelle and Nathan for the most part are all grown up now, but Kincaid and his wife still remain involved in Little League.
During the last two weeks, Kincaid has been heavily involved in the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament, umpiring behind home plate and other positions on the field during that time. When the tournament wraps up by this weekend, Kincaid will take a break before packing his bags and heading to Williamsport.
A bricklayer for over 30 years, Kincaid is as tough as they come behind the plate, something he needs to be when wearing the blue.
“It started out years ago when I would just put on the blues in the summertime just to try it. I moved up pretty rapidly, and began to do camps and clinics to make myself a better umpire,” Kincaid said.
Kincaid has worked not only Little League, but several high school games as well including many 3A conference state playoff games in Arizona. He even got the chance to work at Chase Field in Phoenix when Mingus Union High School played Red Mountain High School back in April.
Enjoying the semi-retired life, Kincaid and his wife are free to travel whenever and wherever which is something they’ve always dreamed of.
“It’s kind of nice to just pack up and go, then come back whenever we feel like it,” Kincaid said.
When those close to him, or even those who have coached while he umpired, see him on ESPN next month calling balls and strikes while wearing the blue proudly, it will be a surreal experience that many, including Kincaid and his family, won’t soon forget.
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