"I get worked up, but I love baseball:" Oak Creek man one of 115 to umpire in Little League World Series

OAK CREEK (WITI) -- It was the call of a lifetime for an Oak Creek man. It's a call that only 115 people in the country receive. In July, Steven Kurkowski will be a part of the Little League World Series!

When he moved to Oak Creek nearly two decades ago, there was already a sign that Kurkowski was in the right place.

"I'm driving around and these lights are on. We got our house there and I go, I am five minutes from a baseball complex! I find out that it's Little League. I went 'oh man it's great because my kids were one and three at the time. My oldest played six years here, and my youngest played two years here," Kurkowski said.

The Little League baseball complex in Oak Creek quickly became a home away from home for Kurkowski.

"When his kids were in the league he called me every morning saying he stopped and picked up trash here," Mark Riha, the president of Oak Creek Little League said.

Riha has known Kurkowski through his entire tenure.

"Baseball's important to him," Riha said.

You could say the game has spoken to him since he was a child.

"I'm a kid at heart when it comes to baseball. I grew up in Detroit with Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey on the radio, and Al Kaline and Bill Freehan and Denny McClain. You know, the last 30 game winners in the majors. I love baseball," Kurkowski said.

It is that love that brought him back to the game after he ended his career as a deputy U.S. Marshal.

For the past 10 years, Kurkowski has been strapping on the shin guards, putting on the chest protector and donning the recognizable uniform of an umpire.

"When I retired a couple of years ago, I did 172 games. They just call us Blue. That's our nickname out here. I just love coming out here and mentoring these little kids that are playing ball and to the youth umpires -- it's just a phenomenal sport," Kurkowski said.

"That they have a mentor like Steve, to give them guidance and show them how it's done, I think it means a lot to these guys. You can see it in their eyes when they work with Steve," Riha said.

His dedication has earned Kurkowski a rare honor.

"I'm the only one from Wisconsin that's going to the Big League World Series," Kurkowski said.

Kurkowski has been selected to umpire in the Big League World Series in July.

"I'm almost speechless how to describe the fact that there's 115 umpires from around the country that get to go do these every year and I just get to be a part of it with some of the best baseball players from all over the world at the high school level," Kurkowski said.

However, he wouldn't have this opportunity if it weren't for one very special person.

"You know, my wife, God bless her. She lets me do this. I do high school ball and Little League and um, I get worked up. But I love baseball," Kurkowski said.

That's why this is probably just the beginning for Kurkowski's days in blue.

"I'm 56. I would like to think that I might be umpiring when I'm 80-85. I don't know if I'll be able to run out to the bases. But I'm out here as long as God lets me be an umpire. I will always enjoy the game," Kurkowski said.

Kurkowski is also an alderman in Oak Creek, and his district just happens to include the Little League complex.

He says he's even had to attend a council meeting while wearing his umpire uniform because he came straight from a game.

Kurkowski also works at Miller Park during the Milwaukee Brewers season.