By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- Christmas came early for Regina, Sask., native Stu Scheurwater when he received a call from Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre and Matt McKendry, senior director umpire operations, notifying the 34-year-old that he’s been hired full-time as a major league umpire.
“It’s a phone call I’ve been waiting for my entire life,” said Scheurwater of receiving the news. “It’s a huge relief knowing that I’ve worked my entire life to achieve this goal, and now it’s finally here.
“To know I’ve finally made it, and that my career is set, is very good feeling.”
Scheurwater made his big league debut in April 2014 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and has since worked over 250 big league games. He is the first full-time Canadian major league umpire since Montréal’s Jim McKean who worked primarily in the American League from 1973 to 2001.
“(I’m) definitely proud to be Canadian and doing something that I’m very passionate about,” continued Scheurwater who still makes his home in Regina during the offseason. “I started in umpiring in the Baseball Canada program so I owe a lot to those experiences.”
Prior to his professional career that began in 2006, Scheurwater was a member of Baseball Canada’s National Umpiring program and worked the Baseball Canada Cup in 2005 (Medicine Hat) and the 21U National Championship in 2006 in Guelph.
“That program (National Umpiring Program) has got me to where I am today,” explained Scheurwater. “It’s a program that I care about and enjoy helping with whenever I can.”
Earlier this month, Scheurwater accompanied friend and longtime Baseball Canada umpire Trevor Grieve to Prince Edward Island to conduct a clinic for elite umpires in the province. He’s also an instructor at the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School in Daytona Beach, Fla., the same school that he came through.
“I like to help (young umpires) as much as I can,” said Scheurwater. “I really enjoy teaching and encouraging people that are passionate about umpiring.”
For now, Scheurwater will focus on getting ready for the grind of a big league season and preparing for life as a full-time big league umpire.
“Stepping on a big league field everyday is a privilege that I’m extremely grateful for,” added Scheurwater. “I feel very fortunate that all the hard work has paid off.”