The beginning of Greg Ramos’ umpiring career was born in the alleys of East Chicago, where the then 10-year-old took it upon himself to officiate neighborhood Wiffle ball games.
Thirty years later, the Munster resident umpires for Little Leagues across the Midwest, and has been named a 2013 Little League Softball World Series umpire.
“I’m most looking forward to just going there and meeting new people, doing a job and representing Northwest Indiana,” Ramos said. “I’m just looking forward to the whole thing.”
Portland, Ore., will host the Little League Softball World Series from Aug. 8 through 14. It features teams from around the globe, and several games will be broadcast on ESPN. Only about 10 umpires from across the United States are selected to work the tournament each year.
“Some tournaments are hard to fill (with umpires),” Ramos said, “but this World Series gets quite a large number of applicants, so it really is a huge honor.”
Ramos has officiated 19 state tournaments under the Little League baseball and softball umbrella, in addition to the 2000 Junior League Baseball World Series, and three IHSAA softball state championships. He is also a part of the Central Region Training Staff, which trains volunteer umpires from across the Midwest.
He attributes much of his passion for officiating softball and baseball to the influence of his grandfather, Armando Roche.
"A big part of getting into athletics probably came from my grandfather who played professional baseball in Latin America and Major League Baseball with the Washington Senators in 1945,” Ramos said. "His unquestionable knowledge of the game, I think, made me want to know more about baseball — which eventually led me to softball."
Ramos’ career as an official covers a hefty chunk of the sporting spectrum — he has officiated baseball and softball, in addition to volleyball, football and basketball. However, Little League softball and baseball have always been "number one" for him. Ramos doesn’t get a paycheck for officiating Little League sports — he umpires solely as a volunteer.
“I just have a loyalty to (Little League),” he said. “I was raised as a Little League umpire, and I’ve had some great people teaching me along the way. The friendships and the people I meet really keep me coming back.”