Local Umpire Selected for Babe Ruth World Series

Local Umpire Selected for Babe Ruth World Series

Dustin Ray umpires for a Green River Babe Ruth game for the league's opening weekend on April 20. SweetwaterNOW photo by Steph Peterson

GREEN RIVER — Green River resident Dustin Ray has been umpiring since he was a teenager, and now he will be taking his expertise to the Babe Ruth World Series for the 16-18 age division.

Ray currently serves as an assistant umpire and Umpire in Charge for Wyoming Babe Ruth, and he schedules the umpires for the Green River Babe Ruth League, as well as doing games himself.

“I have been umpiring since I was about 13. As a youth umpire, I was trying to learn from anyone I could [who was] willing to teach me the ropes,” Ray said. “I got into umpiring watching the old timers when I was in tee ball, I believe, and through the years I just kept watching the same guys year after year until I was old enough to start learning.”

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Along with the umpires he watched as a kid, Ray’s dad was also a major influence on his drive to become one himself. Not only did his dad coach him during his time with youth baseball, but he also umpired a lot for the American Legion teams.

“My dad was a big part of me wanting to do it,” he said. “He did a lot of Legion, and was always around to do games when he wasn’t coaching me through my baseball years.”

For the past two decades, Ray has been working towards earning a spot to umpire at the Babe Ruth World Series. He said that for the Babe Ruth League, this is the highest level an umpire can reach.

“It’s a long dream of umpires to make it to this tournament, it’s the highest award and level you can do,” he said. “I have actively been submitting applications and trying to get to tournaments that would get me this opportunity for about 20 years now. This year I was finally selected. When I got the email from Babe Ruth Headquarters, I was speechless, honestly.”

SweetwaterNOW photo by Steph Peterson

The first thing he did after reading the email was call his wife, Aarika, and their kids. He said they have been his biggest supporters of his dream, and of all the traveling he’s had to do to make this dream come true. His family will be going to the tournament with him, which takes place in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

“I mostly look forward to the experience of that level of tournament, and what new things I can learn to better myself as an umpire,” Ray said. “I have never been to Cape Girardeau before, and my family is going to be coming down to enjoy this tournament together as they were my biggest supporters, and I want them there to see it all unfold on the big stage.”

Along with his supporters, Ray appreciates Russel Conley, who is a big part of the Green River Babe Ruth League.

“At times I was ready to quit, thinking it just wasn’t worth the time away from the family even though I love doing it for the kids, Russ kept pushing me to keep going because one day the time was going to come,” he said.

The Babe Ruth World Series will take place in Cape Girardeau from August 8-16. In the meantime, the Green River Babe Ruth season is just kicking off and Ray will be busy fulfilling his duties locally.