International honours for one of our best
30 March 2015
Australian Baseball Alumni member and top domestic umpire Trent Thomas has been selected by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) to officiate in the upcoming U18 World Baseball Cup to be held in Osaka later this year.
This is another huge honour for Trent, who began his umpiring career back in 1993 when his local club in Wollongong needed to have a person accredited as an umpire. Trent volunteered to attend an Umpires' Seminar and he has not looked back since.
“The course was conducted by Gerard Tancred and Wal Smith,” Trent told Australian Baseball Alumni last week. “I started umpiring in the local league immediately and progressed to the New South Wales State League that same year. My father really encouraged me to pursue this side of the sport and I am certainly glad I followed his advice."
Trent Thomas continues to umpire locally in the Wollongong League and the NSW State league. He is a regular fixture in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and he has been involved in both versions of the ABL as well as the short-lived International Baseball League of Australia.
Starting umpiring in the original ABL in 1996, Trent has amassed around 130 appearances in the newly formed Australian Baseball League since its resurrection. Not only that, Trent has been involved in numerous overseas tournaments including the Asia Series (2012 and 2013), the U16 IBAF tournament in 2011, the U18 IBAF series in 2008, the Australia versus Japan Series in 2007 and various other events since 2002.
One of the highlights for Trent, though, was being appointed to work alongside MLB Umpires when the Australian team played both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney twelve months ago.
“I was fortunate to be selected to work with those MLB umpires. It was such a great experience and one I will not forget,” he said.
“Some of my finest memories of umpiring have been when I’ve been able to share the experience with a close friend. Such as the time when I was umpiring the Australia versus Japan series at Fukuoka Stadium in Japan, listening to the Australian national anthem and sharing the field with good friend Paul Hyham who was umpiring the same game.”
Another highlight for Trent was when he was able to officiate in a game with his mentor and Australian umpiring legend Geoff Robertson at the Micronesia Games in 2002.
“I think that was the only time I got to work with Robbo and I can’t remember working a game in Australia with him,” he said. “It is a great experience to work with one of your mentors”.
“Officiating a sport can sometimes be the best place to view sport and actually enjoy the game being played.”
His umpiring has taken Trent around the world as he hones and applies his skills. However, despite the opportunities that are available to committed persons like himself, the recruitment and retention of umpires is becoming more difficult in Australia each year.
“I certainly sense that recruiting and retaining people in officiating roles at all levels of the game is becoming harder,” Trent Thomas said. “People don’t see why they should go out and do something they have an enjoyment or even a love of only to be subjected to inappropriate comments often of a personal nature.”
“Hopefully a change is coming and we can attract more umpires to the role in the near future,” he said.
Australian Baseball Alumni congratulates Trent Thomas on this latest appointment and we wish him all the very best for his future as an official within the sport.