The Decline of Umpiring

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Jan 31, 2011
425
28
Too many coaches and parents berating TEEN umps at the rec level. Ridiculous.
My middle DD played ball her entire life including a few years in college. She umped a few rec games one summer to make a few bucks. She was a catcher, so behind the plate was natural for her. Afterwards, she would come home with the craziest stories and we would have a good laugh. But, the tone was that of ignorant parents trying to intimidate her and second guess calls. One call was infield fly rule. She called it in a game (properly) and the SS dropped the ball. LOL. Of course, that doesn't matter, the batter's out. For those that didn't know the rule, they took it as an opportunity to take shots at her. The coaches could have stepped in. After all she was only 18 years old. That was pre-Covid & has no desire to umpire anymore. I don't blame her.
 
May 10, 2021
87
18
And, how is that? We are talking about TB and rec umpires, not NCAA D1 umps.
I will say I did make $320 on a Saturday at a USSSSA tournament in Michigan. I worked 8 games./$40 per game 75 minute time limit.
Not bad for mostly 3-4 inning games. All with 2 umpires.....

LOL......my wife was laughing so hard because I could barely move the next day and my fingers cramped. Maybe the guys in shape could do this every weekend but not me.

I will take the varsity DH for $130 in the Spring.
 
May 10, 2021
87
18
My middle DD played ball her entire life including a few years in college. She umped a few rec games one summer to make a few bucks. She was a catcher, so behind the plate was natural for her. Afterwards, she would come home with the craziest stories and we would have a good laugh. But, the tone was that of ignorant parents trying to intimidate her and second guess calls. One call was infield fly rule. She called it in a game (properly) and the SS dropped the ball. LOL. Of course, that doesn't matter, the batter's out. For those that didn't know the rule, they took it as an opportunity to take shots at her. The coaches could have stepped in. After all she was only 18 years old. That was pre-Covid & has no desire to umpire anymore. I don't blame her.
Yes I have seen this WAY too much at the LL/Rec level.
 

marriard

Not lost - just no idea where I am
Oct 2, 2011
4,003
113
Florida
I have written WAY too much about this on this site in the past....but in summary....
  • No training or ongoing training. Absolutely NONE. I did TWO HOURS last year before HS started - and I think I ended up teaching half of it. They wanted me to travel 6 hours and spend $2,500 to do some college-level umpire training - what local umpire is going to do that?
  • Even when there is an occasional training - it wont include much rules training either because it is mainly spent trying to teach mechanics... (and you wonder why you see umpires making stuff up or calling the 'myths of the game')
  • No investment by the sanctions/TDs/UIC/etc,etc....
  • No real recruiting
  • No mentoring (because the mentors have to do games)
  • Physically demanding
  • WAY more games are being played - this weekend there were 150+ fields of travel being played in Florida that I know of. You really need 600+ umpires to cover that - an absolute bare minimum of 450.
  • WAY more games per umpire - if you think anyone is as good in game 6 of the day as they were in game 1; you are fooling yourself. I see guys out there doing 8+ games/day - that is INSANE to let them do that even if they want to.
  • Costs a lot to get started - and a lot to continue in replacement gear (much more than any of the other of the 10 sports I have officiated)
  • No safe place to gain experience (rec is dead - you start in travel with teams of players who have 'invested')
  • Travel is now year round, so no opportunity for a 16U player to umpire - no rec, and they are playing every weekend - and they practice a lot. When would they do it?
  • Now let's add in a bunch of people who can turn angry at a second's notice.
So no training, no support, thrown to the wolves, overworked and people ready to be angry everywhere (and without the experience or training to know how to handle it).... That is a tough gig for a new umpire. Not surprising that many don't last very long.

I heard new umpires described as like newly licensed driver... they can PROBABLY handle driving as long as nothing weird happens... if something happens they can't handle it and they crash. They don't have the experience or skills to do so.

Add to this, older umpires are retiring - a good portion of the officials locally are veterans... of Vietnam. Those guys did tours in the late 60's/early 70's. They are not young. They are tough as nails but the body only lasts so long.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,666
113
California
I have written WAY too much about this on this site in the past....but in summary....
  • No training or ongoing training. Absolutely NONE. I did TWO HOURS last year before HS started - and I think I ended up teaching half of it. They wanted me to travel 6 hours and spend $2,500 to do some college-level umpire training - what local umpire is going to do that?
  • Even when there is an occasional training - it wont include much rules training either because it is mainly spent trying to teach mechanics... (and you wonder why you see umpires making stuff up or calling the 'myths of the game')
  • No investment by the sanctions/TDs/UIC/etc,etc....
  • No real recruiting
  • No mentoring (because the mentors have to do games)
  • Physically demanding
  • WAY more games are being played - this weekend there were 150+ fields of travel being played in Florida that I know of. You really need 600+ umpires to cover that - an absolute bare minimum of 450.
  • WAY more games per umpire - if you think anyone is as good in game 6 of the day as they were in game 1; you are fooling yourself. I see guys out there doing 8+ games/day - that is INSANE to let them do that even if they want to.
  • Costs a lot to get started - and a lot to continue in replacement gear (much more than any of the other of the 10 sports I have officiated)
  • No safe place to gain experience (rec is dead - you start in travel with teams of players who have 'invested')
  • Travel is now year round, so no opportunity for a 16U player to umpire - no rec, and they are playing every weekend - and they practice a lot. When would they do it?
  • Now let's add in a bunch of people who can turn angry at a second's notice.
So no training, no support, thrown to the wolves, overworked and people ready to be angry everywhere (and without the experience or training to know how to handle it).... That is a tough gig for a new umpire. Not surprising that many don't last very long.

I heard new umpires described as like newly licensed driver... they can PROBABLY handle driving as long as nothing weird happens... if something happens they can't handle it and they crash. They don't have the experience or skills to do so.

Add to this, older umpires are retiring - a good portion of the officials locally are veterans... of Vietnam. Those guys did tours in the late 60's/early 70's. They are not young. They are tough as nails but the body only lasts so long.
Heck of a lot more reasons than just blaming the henpeckers!

Thanku for acknowledging
There are WAY more games now.

Yep i notice it to
No real recruiting.
*Let me add to that
Plenty of opportunities at every tournament across the United States to set up a booth to try and recruit more umpires!

(Never have seen one)
 
Jul 19, 2021
117
28
Good point. There is zero recruiting for umpires to my knowledge. Heck if I was interested, I wouldn't even know where to go to sign up. Do they post on Indeed? Linkedin? Nope. They might be surprised at the response if they were to post openings.
 
Apr 11, 2016
103
28
Can someone develop robotic umps? Or with live video feed, a human can call ball and strike remotely? This way, we only need one ump standing in the field, but no longer need one behind the plate to take the abuse (from the ball and from parents.) Maybe this can be my next business idea...
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,666
113
California
Can someone develop robotic umps? Or with live video feed, a human can call ball and strike remotely? This way, we only need one ump standing in the field, but no longer need one behind the plate to take the abuse (from the ball and from parents.) Maybe this can be my next business idea...
What would happen if there was consistency LOL

Hmmm batting averages may increase???🤔
 

marriard

Not lost - just no idea where I am
Oct 2, 2011
4,003
113
Florida
Can someone develop robotic umps? Or with live video feed, a human can call ball and strike remotely? This way, we only need one ump standing in the field, but no longer need one behind the plate to take the abuse (from the ball and from parents.) Maybe this can be my next business idea...

The sanctions won't pay for training umpires; they are not kicking out $30,000+ per field for an 'auto strike zone' - which is about what Trackman costs at the moment.

Right now the ones they are experimenting with in minor leagues are expensive, hard to setup (on what are perfect fields) - but pretty good. It takes a few games for players to adjust for the extreme corners - also it really doesn't adjust for height or stance. Even then they still maintain a homeplate umpire for other calls (they have a device that indicates call or strike and make the call) and to make sure it is working properly.

There are other issues for your sport with this - for example, a small 8yr old playing 10U - their strike zone is basically nonexistent according to the rule book. Not that these can't or wont be overcome - but it is going to be very, very complex.
 

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