In response to Cav:
1) I also umpired both softball and baseball my first year out. I would say after this year, figure out which one you like best and drop the other one. Your first year, you won't be that good at either of them, and that's OK, but you'll figure out what you do like.
2) Great advice. I got LOTS of games when I first started by just having all my gear and uniforms with me daily. I might get a late-morning email that somebody had gotten sick and needed a replacement, and having that availability helped me get my foot in the door.
3) Also good advice. Here's some more RE equipment.
- Don't skimp on protective gear. In order of importance (in my humble opinion):
(a) Get at least a decent cup. I love the Nutty Buddy, but it is a little different and some don't like it. Shock Doctor makes some good ones, too.
(b) Shin guards have a LOT of difference between the good ones and the bad ones, without a whole lot of dollars separating the two. I haven't heard anybody regretting buying the Force 3 shin guards.
(c) Uniform - some parts of this will be dictated to you. But get professional-looking uniforms as soon as you can. You'll see a lot more success when you look the part.
(d) Plate shoes - if you're *really* in a money crunch, you can get by with steel-toed tennis shoes for a bit, but I wouldn't even recommend that unless you have to. Take those early game fees and upgrade to good shoes.
(e) Chest protector - I put this lower, because if you're just getting started, you're not going to see the really high-speed pitches, and pretty much anything will do. You'll learn what you do and don't like. You can even get a decent hard-shell (e.g. Champro or Schutt) for <$100. Or scour the buy-sell-trade section here.
(f) Mask - I put this last because, again, you won't be seeing any of the really fast stuff yet. You WILL want to upgrade at some point, but you can do that when you start moving to higher levels. I still have my first mask I bought which I use for youth tournaments (it's much lighter than the one I have for high school) or loan it out to newer umpires.
- Ask around your area. A lot of umpires have older/loaner equipment and uniforms they will let new guys use (or sometimes even take!) until they start getting some checks in.
- And the best advice I have for a new umpire: keep checking this site. Lots of interesting discussions and advice from people who have been where you are and know all the "gotchas"