04/25/2022 3:49 PM -
Prior to the season opener on May 26th, the Lethbridge Bulls will be honoring the life and legacy of Mitch Ball, a well-respected Southern Alberta umpire who passed away last year after a battle with COVID-19.
There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe the positive impact Mitch had on people around him. He was so cheerful, gentle, kind, humble and a bit of a prankster.
Off the field, Mitch was a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a role model. His family meant the world to him, they were his number one priority even with all the time Mitch spent on the diamond. They were often at the receiving end of his pranks, his fishing partners at Payne Lake and tasked with dealing with his massive Christmas spirit.
Over the years, Mitch and his family called several communities' home. Whether it was Rocky Mountain House, Raymond, Pincher Creek, Lethbridge or Coaldale, Mitch would always find a way to make a positive impact in the communities he called home.
On the diamond, Mitch umpired at so many levels. He was a fixture on crews in the Western Canadian Baseball League, Canadian College Baseball Conference and many other leagues across Southern Alberta. Players and coaches knew that if Mitch was working your game, you were getting the absolute best. Mitch was a mentor to many young umpires over the years, he would make time to drop by diamonds and watch young umpires to give advice. He instructed many umpiring clinics introducing many people to umpiring, just make sure you were paying attention and you didn’t end up wearing the Mickey Glove!
Mitch was not the type of person to brag, but the achievements he made as an umpire were very impressive. In 2002, Mitch umpired the championship game behind the plate at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. In 2008, Mitch represented Canada at the International Baseball Federation World Junior Championship in Edmonton and the 2009 IBAF World Cup in Europe. He umpired the Pan Am Games in 2015 and Tournament 12 in 2016. Also in 2016, the Lethbridge Sport Council recognized Mitch for his years of officiating excellence.
Mitch was a good person on the diamond, but he was an even better person off of it.