Grand Rapids native turns pro as an umpire

Matt Watkoski will begin in the minor leagues
Posted at 11:00 PM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 23:00:23-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Matt Watkoski is turning pro as a baseball umpire.

The 2008 West Catholic High School graduate has gone through the Hunter Wedelstedt umpires school in Florida and was selected as one of just 30 umpires selected to work in the minor leagues.

"It's been kind of a surreal experience it really hasn't hit me yet," Watkoski said. "The whole prcoess and going through it was pretty intense and just the sense of relief and accomplishment that you get when you leave school and the job is offered to you is pretty amazing, it was a pretty great feeling.

Now he waits to see if he is selected to work extended spring training games that start the first week of April of if he waits until June to work in rookie ball.

"I think once you step out on that field for the first time the nerves will really set in," Watkoski said. "I think it will be more excitement and gratitude for all the hard work and everything that you put into it, it will just be kind of a joyous moment when you get that call and you kind of take it all in and then when once you really get out there and it is time to work I think everyting will set in and those nerves will kick in like that."