Scott Kennedy is a dreamer.
You have to be if you aspire to be an umpire in major league baseball. The numbers at that level are so few (68) and the candidates so many (hundreds).
The climb is, by baseball's design, a minimum 10-year process.
Kennedy, a 1990 graduate of Frankfort High, has been at the grind of minor league umpiring for nearly seven years.
He's one of the most respected umpires in Double A baseball at this point. But as recently as 14 months ago even Kennedy wondered if the goal was worth dealing with all the time on the road and the million-dollar bonus babies that dot minor league baseball rosters.
"It's a more realistic goal now than it was two or three years ago," Kennedy said recently in a phone interview from Orlando, Fla. "Two years ago I would have said you could take this job and have it. Now I'm only a phone call or two away."
Kennedy referred to a crisis point near the end of the 2001 season when he was called up from Class A baseball to the Class AA Eastern League.
"That last month of the 2001 season when I moved to AA, I went from a two-umpire system to a three-umpire system," Kennedy said. "In my first series in AA I got evaluated, and I was two to three steps slow. I wasn't recognizing where I was supposed to be. So I had my evaluation, and I came in dead last."
Kennedy has a solid support group to lean on in the umpiring business, led by two other long-time umpires in his own family - his father Russ and brother Jack.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.