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Hall Makes the Right Call at QCC and LLWS

August 2021
  • From left: Mike Debelak, Torrance, CA; David Cofield, San Antonio, TX; Ricci Hall, Spencer, MA; Brian Henry, Toccoa, GA.
    From left: Mike Debelak, Torrance, CA; David Cofield, San Antonio, TX; Ricci Hall, Spencer, MA, and Brian Henry, Toccoa, GA.
  • From left: 2021 LLWS umpires David Cofield, Mike Debelak, Brian Henry and Ricci Hall.
    From left: 2021 LLWS umpires David Cofield, Mike Debelak, Brian Henry and Ricci Hall.

For millions of people across the globe, the Little League World Series is an annual event that is unlike any other. It is a proverbial “Field of Dreams” for players, viewers and umpires alike.

Ricci Hall, professor of Paramedicine and coordinator of QCC’s Paramedicine program, understands the thrill and mystic of the Little League World Series in a way most people will never experience– as an umpire. He was chosen as one of the umpires to work the 2021 Little League Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. So just how does a college professor and a paramedic become a World Series umpire? Not easily!

The Wyvern Guardian recently caught up with Mr. Hall who gave us the inside scoop.

How long have you been an umpire?

I began umpiring at 16, so this is my 30th year umpiring baseball.

What got you interested in being an umpire?

I had a unique passion for officiating. Additionally, Steve Palermo (a long-time American League umpire) was from my hometown of Oxford. I think that always interested me too. One day I went to my brother's baseball game and they did not have an umpire. So, I worked the game. I was hooked and have been doing games ever since.

Was this the first time you were an umpire in the Little League World Series?

I did the Little League World Series in 2017, but it is very rare to work the Series more than once. Typically, it was a one-time opportunity since so many volunteers apply to do it every year.

However, since the experience was going to be pared down this year, the umpires who were chosen decided to defer to next year. With that, Little League decided to call upon 12 umpires who were recent veterans of the series and who were uniquely qualified to come back and work the 2021 Series. In that way, this year has been a very unique umpiring experience. I have had the chance to work with some of the very best umpires Little League has to offer in the entire country. It has been a real honor and a joy to work with all of them.

How does umpiring in the Little League World Series differ from other games you have umpired?

The Little League World Series is a high-profile endeavor. The games are carried on national TV (ESPN or ABC) and the viewership is extremely high. In that way, the pressure of working these games is higher than a typical Little League game. In addition, the very best teams in the country (and usually the world) come here. You want to be the very best you can for these players. The pace of the game is fast...there is great defense, and the competition is fierce. It is the apogee of our Little League experience.

You are a professor of Paramedicine and a paramedic, in addition to being an umpire. How do you balance it all?

During the season, I work two or three nights a week volunteering to umpire at my local league in Oxford. For the past two years, I have had the chance to teach my 16-year-old nephew, Brady, how to umpire and we work games together. He is really good and a quick learner. We get to spend time together and learn important life skills like interacting with people from all walks of life and being around a game we love.

In the hustle and bustle of being a paramedic and professor of paramedicine, umpiring baseball games is a great outlet for me. It is mind clearing and joyous; an opportunity to "get away" from the daily stressors and just enjoy the pastime.

How long have you been working at QCC? What brought you to the College?

I began teaching at QCC in January 2021, so I am still very new. I found out about my predecessor, Cheryl Finn's retirement when she sent me a text. After talking with her and Dean Pat Schmohl, I thought it was the right fit. I have been very happy with my choice and have found everyone at QCC to be so welcoming, patient, kind, and supportive in my new role.

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by helping people improve their lives. I enjoy helping people become better at things, and I find myself becoming a better person in that journey too. I have a passion for education and passing along the love of our work and the ways we perfect our craft. Like paramedicine, umpiring is something one is always working on perfecting, and since there are always improvements to make, it's a process of continuous teaching and learning from others.

What would you like people to know about you?

I want people to know how thankful I am for all the people in my life who have helped me along the way. Most importantly, my parents, Ricci and Paula Hall, who celebrate 49 years of marriage this month. Without their support and the life they unselfishly gave me and my brother, Tom, I would not be where I am today. And to all the wonderful mentors and supporters I have had along the way, I cannot thank them enough.