It Is a Full Count for Thaddeus Collins

Umpire Thad Collins assists a player at a game at the Field of Dreams.

Thad [Thaddeus] Collins, one of the four umpires working the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association (PPBA) this spring, has a unique perspective.

He played for seven years in the PPBA, starting with Pintos, then Mustangs, Broncos and finally a year on Pony.  Since his father, Joe Collins, was on the board and head of the Cardinals, Collins and younger brother Charlie were always on Cardinal teams.

After his stint running bases at the Field of Dreams, Collins attended Loyola, where he played water polo team for two years. He was on the swim team four years and graduated in 2019.

Baseball might have been behind him, but while attending the University of California at Santa Cruz, a fortuitous route took him by a sign. Collins was riding his bike to physical therapy and went past the ballfields.

“I noticed a sign saying the season was starting soon,” Collins said, and added, “I needed to make some extra money and my parents suggested I try umping.” Being part of a youth baseball league seemed like a great way to combine his love of working with kids, and being part of a sport, while making money.

He applied, and in 2021, was on Santa Cruz’s Little League Baseball fields. He said that working with kids is “a lot of fun and joyful, and I also love baseball.”

Many families might know Collins from St. Matthew’s Day Camp, where he has worked as a camp counselor for several summers.

His first game behind the plate at Palisades Rec Center was on March 13.

Collins was asked about the differences between batting and calling a game. “I think the largest difference between hitting and being behind the plate umping is focus.

“As a hitter, I was concentrating solely on the ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand. I would try to gauge how fast or slow the pitch is as well as where it will end up,” he said. “As an umpire, you have to focus on whether it’s a ball or a strike. But you also focus on the baserunners, if there are any, and the types of situations that could arise on each pitch.

“A good player will also be aware of the situations but it’s an umpire’s job to make sure everything that does happen, happens properly and according to the rules of PONY baseball,” Collins said.

He received his film and digital media degree in December from UC Santa Cruz, and has moved back to the Palisades. With older brother Emmett, he has written a feature-length screenplay The Golden Valley, which they have submitted to a handful of festivals.

“I’ve always admired the art of storytelling and have always had a desire to be creative,” Collins said. “One day, we decided we should just try and write a movie, and we discovered a passion.”

While he’s waiting for a show-business break, Collins said. “Right now, umping the upcoming season will be my main job.

“My focus will be on PPBA and giving back to the community that I grew up in and love dearly,” he said.

He was asked if he ever considered umping high school ball. “So far, I’ve only umped in Santa Cruz. I’m going to need some more experience before I could be comfortable umping a high school game.”

Thad Collins is an umpire for the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association this year.

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One Response to It Is a Full Count for Thaddeus Collins

  1. Charlie Collins says:

    Great article, Sue! It’s wonderful to see a former PPBA student giving back to his community. Thad’s intimate knowledge of the strike zone, honed through numerous strikeouts during his playing days, makes him an ideal candidate to lead the PPBA. It’s evident that the organization is in capable hands this year!

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