The Northwoods League summer baseball circuit, which includes a member team in Waterloo, isn’t just for college baseball players trying to sharpen their skills. Eric Underwood is a 26-year-old umpire who came to the league from California. Like the batters and pitchers on the field, Underwood has big league dreams. He says he wasn’t much of a player, but says it’s a completely different game now that he views it through the eyes of an official.The former music teacher says calling baseball games everyday in the Northwoods League will help him as he tries to climb higher in organized baseball. He says it’s the first time he’s lived out of a suitcase and says it’s a grind. He says the hardest part of the job is all the driving around. Underwood began his career as a volunteer Little League umpire. He says Waterloo’s fans are some of the most attentive he’s seen in the Northwoods League. He says everyone knows what’s going on , on the field. He says some cities people are just out for entertainment and aren’t really as involved. The league selected Underwood to umpire behind the plate during the mid-season all-star game. Underwood will find out by mid-August if he’ll have a chance to move into affiliated professional baseball yet this season.
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