The Decline of Umpiring

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RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,666
113
California
Say Rad, how come you never umpired? Just asking.
I did! 🙂
While i was in high school for the city
Bobby Sox League.

Here's a fun story of one game with a bunch of little dinky kids.
(You know the fun age where it's just kind of cute. )
Parents on both sides of the stands were yelling and squawking.
As if it was an international final competition...LOUD

I stopped the game and brought both teams players and I all out to Centerfield. No coaches, just us.
I said to the group of kids,
How many of you like to have the parents yelling like this? They all looked at me with sad faces and a couple said no don't like it.
So I said okay this is what I will do...
will go talk with them.
I left the kids out in center field and went back behind home plate and spoke to all the parents.
said I've asked your children if they like the way you are yelling. They were unhappy about it. If you like I can go back and tell the players that you're just going to enjoy the game and we can resume. Some parents looked at me astonished that I did this but actually a few parents applauded and said we will shut up. ...And so the game began again.

True story handled by a 16 year old umpire.
Yep backbone and communication!
 

marriard

Not lost - just no idea where I am
Oct 2, 2011
4,003
113
Florida
Well, $5 is nothing, but why do you have to charge at all? Your Organization should pay you to teach a clinic. As an umpire, i 'm tired of being nickled and dimed. I pay $200 for travel league, plus 10% of every game to assignor, and school is $100 for the season. We talk about respecting umpires from parents and coaches, but I've found in the three short years of umpiring the biggest lack of respect is from the organization's that hire us.

With all this said, I'd still pay the $5, because I want to be the best i can be. but then again the TB org doesn't run clinics.

Totally agree. Why are the orgs and sanctioning bodies not stepping up? The occasional "don't be mean to officials' post on FB is not cutting it.

One State Director told me he is paying the umpires assoc; therefore they should be the ones investing, not him.
One told me that if they invest, then he is 'as much doing it for everyone else, so why me?" - i.e. they will train them and then they will umpire elsewhere as well.". As I told him, if you invest and treat them the best, they will stay - but he didn't want to hear it.

I know how much money these orgs are making - I have run tournaments and know the margins. That they are not willing to invest back ANY amount into officials to making a better product is a disgrace. Every year I shell out a good solid chunk of cash for a variety of equipment, dues, uniforms, travel and so on - more than any other sport - then you want more money for training. And yeah, I am one of the ones who turn up ANY time there is a clinic - but I can absolutely see why others will not.

When I see examples of an official doing something stupid they shouldn't on threads like this one, I cringe. But my first thought is almost always "That doesn't happen if they are trained properly". Most umpires make stuff up because they honestly just don't know - and no one is helping them out in any meaningful way.

As for some of the posts about money motivation; the vast majority are umpiring because they enjoy it in some way (I know I like the challenge as much as anything else - it just appeals to me in some way). Just like players, coaches and every reason anyone does anything; motivations will vary. That doesn't mean there aren't umpires doing it for the wrong reasons or are 'mailing it in' or whatever - believe me I am way madder at these types of officials than you will even be.

One last point... if it was just money, even within officiating, softball is one of the least returns on investment in time and return. I can do volleyball for the same or better pay, it is way less physical, it is WAY easier at the lower levels (until players play can spike and block at the net there is not much to call) and way less personal out-of-pocket cost - and the games always happen because they are inside. Frankly, if you are doing softball for just the money you are even dumber than you appear. It is why I do softball on the weekends instead of volleyball most of the time - I only want to do volleyball at a level that is challenging for me as an official.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,666
113
California
Totally agree. Why are the orgs and sanctioning bodies not stepping up? The occasional "don't be mean to officials' post on FB is not cutting it.

One State Director told me he is paying the umpires assoc; therefore they should be the ones investing, not him.
One told me that if they invest, then he is 'as much doing it for everyone else, so why me?" - i.e. they will train them and then they will umpire elsewhere as well.". As I told him, if you invest and treat them the best, they will stay - but he didn't want to hear it.

I know how much money these orgs are making - I have run tournaments and know the margins. That they are not willing to invest back ANY amount into officials to making a better product is a disgrace. Every year I shell out a good solid chunk of cash for a variety of equipment, dues, uniforms, travel and so on - more than any other sport - then you want more money for training. And yeah, I am one of the ones who turn up ANY time there is a clinic - but I can absolutely see why others will not.

When I see examples of an official doing something stupid they shouldn't on threads like this one, I cringe. But my first thought is almost always "That doesn't happen if they are trained properly". Most umpires make stuff up because they honestly just don't know - and no one is helping them out in any meaningful way.

As for some of the posts about money motivation; the vast majority are umpiring because they enjoy it in some way (I know I like the challenge as much as anything else - it just appeals to me in some way). Just like players, coaches and every reason anyone does anything; motivations will vary. That doesn't mean there aren't umpires doing it for the wrong reasons or are 'mailing it in' or whatever - believe me I am way madder at these types of officials than you will even be.

One last point... if it was just money, even within officiating, softball is one of the least returns on investment in time and return. I can do volleyball for the same or better pay, it is way less physical, it is WAY easier at the lower levels (until players play can spike and block at the net there is not much to call) and way less personal out-of-pocket cost - and the games always happen because they are inside. Frankly, if you are doing softball for just the money you are even dumber than you appear. It is why I do softball on the weekends instead of volleyball most of the time - I only want to do volleyball at a level that is challenging for me as an official.
This is why I previously asked who represents the umpires?!
 

PDM

Jun 18, 2019
121
43
NJ
There is a new trend with sports officials other than the decline in numbers because of parents and COVID.
The decline of knowledge and ability.

In the past (and it is fading fast to the past) that parents were the problem with youth sports. The goal to shame bad parents with signs, teams requiring good conduct contracts and peer pressure has worked. Covid can be blamed a bit for loosing some officials.

But not anymore.

I was interested in softball officiating. Not any more. I use to defend umps at softball games. Not any more. Umps use to be good. Not anymore.

This Fall Ball season has been ridiculous and bad.

Now the sport is just left with what is at the bottom of the ump barrel.

It is OK to demand that sports officials be competent.
Oh, so because there are bad officials you choose not to become one. You would rather just b*tch about the guys who actually make the effort to sign up and do the job. How does that help the problem? It's OK to demand that sports officials be competent but too much trouble for you to be part of the solution. Make no mistake. Parents are still a big problem and major reason why good officials don't think it's worth the trouble any more. I attend games in a lot of sports and it's far more than annoying listening to bleacher experts make the "correct" call from 50 yards away and yell at officials constantly, assuming that they know better than the official with the best view and the highest level of objectivity. Is it OK to demand that parents who complain about officiating be required to do the job and learn just how bad they are at it?
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,666
113
California
Oh, so because there are bad officials you choose not to become one. You would rather just b*tch about the guys who actually make the effort to sign up and do the job. How does that help the problem? It's OK to demand that sports officials be competent but too much trouble for you to be part of the solution. Make no mistake. Parents are still a big problem and major reason why good officials don't think it's worth the trouble any more. I attend games in a lot of sports and it's far more than annoying listening to bleacher experts make the "correct" call from 50 yards away and yell at officials constantly, assuming that they know better than the official with the best view and the highest level of objectivity. Is it OK to demand that parents who complain about officiating be required to do the job and learn just how bad they are at it?
imo
MoJo post was simply bringing up there are two sides to the situation.

Both are relevant as they
wear down tolerance.

Something else I noticed occasionally on this website
when every time post something have to post a disclaimer... because can't simply make a point without somebody wanting to back bite
( instead of reading the point being made)

is the same thing that happens to umpires on the field.
Back biting.

Btw. I am not saying berating umpires is okay but once again it is not exclusive to umpires.
 
Last edited:
Mar 20, 2014
903
18
Northwest
DD started umpiring at 14 and umpired through her third year of college. She was highly sought after by tournament directors (even from neighboring states) because of her dedication to the game and her effectiveness as an umpire. She quit because the money just wasn't worth the abuse she took all weekends from the parents and coaches. Along with that was her frustration of getting constantly put with the younger age groups while the "old boys" who couldn't get out from behind the plate to make good calls were getting all of the upper level games. Here was a young woman with a love for the game, high knowledge of the rules and the athletic ability to do a fantastic job. Yet she left because it just wasn't worth it to her. Organizations need to look at how to encourage younger people to get involved in umpiring or there just isn't going to be any left...
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
4,666
113
California
DD started umpiring at 14 and umpired through her third year of college. She was highly sought after by tournament directors (even from neighboring states) because of her dedication to the game and her effectiveness as an umpire. She quit because the money just wasn't worth the abuse she took all weekends from the parents and coaches. Along with that was her frustration of getting constantly put with the younger age groups while the "old boys" who couldn't get out from behind the plate to make good calls were getting all of the upper level games. Here was a young woman with a love for the game, high knowledge of the rules and the athletic ability to do a fantastic job. Yet she left because it just wasn't worth it to her. Organizations need to look at how to encourage younger people to get involved in umpiring or there just isn't going to be any left...
Looks like she put in a good stint of years!
Good for her!

Yep lots of people have to make decisions about what we are willing to endure and the cost of living.
 
Jul 16, 2013
4,477
113
Pennsylvania
Read again. I said previous posters in this thread that have tried to say that all umps do it for reasons other than money. I said THAT is laughable. The idea that ALL UMPIRES DO IT FOR REASONS OTHER THAN MONEY is laughable. As an umpire has mentioned, there are some that do it only for the money.
I don't remember seeing any of those posts. Perhaps I missed them...
 

inumpire

Observer, but has an opinion
Oct 31, 2014
204
43
Well, $5 is nothing, but why do you have to charge at all? Your Organization should pay you to teach a clinic. As an umpire, i 'm tired of being nickled and dimed. I pay $200 for travel league, plus 10% of every game to assignor, and school is $100 for the season. We talk about respecting umpires from parents and coaches, but I've found in the three short years of umpiring the biggest lack of respect is from the organization's that hire us. School is not bad, it's only one game a day, but TB tourney s around here are the worse. No place to change, no parking, no food voucher, not even a bottle of water on a hot summer day. And half the time the checks are delayed coming, but if you work a cash game, be sure to send that 10% to assignor, cause he gonna be on you for that.

With all this said, I'd still pay the $5, because I want to be the best i can be. but then again the TB org doesn't run clinics.
I usually don’t charge the $5.00, but if I do I usually give the umpires an indicator and I supply water or snacks for them. So $5.00 isn’t breaking anyone.
I assign for over 25 HS and a couple small colleges and have never charges an umpire a penny for assigning them games. I do expect them to continue perfecting their craft and know the rules. I don’t think that is unrealistic.

And you are correct, the organization that hires umpires for tournaments have no respect at for the umpires usually. Some do. Most look at the umpires as a necessary evil. They have to have us, but they have to pay us.
Years ago the TD a would provide water, and food for the umpires. Yes this is true…..LOL. Now days they will not even give you a bottle of water on a 98 degree day. Because that come out of their bottom line, and we know all know it is all about the money. Ok, I will get off my soap box now.
 
Jun 3, 2020
2
1
There is a new trend with sports officials other than the decline in numbers because of parents and COVID.
The decline of knowledge and ability.

In the past (and it is fading fast to the past) that parents were the problem with youth sports. The goal to shame bad parents with signs, teams requiring good conduct contracts and peer pressure has worked. Covid can be blamed a bit for loosing some officials.

But not anymore.

I was interested in softball officiating. Not any more. I use to defend umps at softball games. Not any more. Umps use to be good. Not anymore.

This Fall Ball season has been ridiculous and bad.

Now the sport is just left with what is at the bottom of the ump barrel.

It is OK to demand that sports officials be competent.
Mojo - I've been a basketball official for 26 years. I'm 60 years old. Yes there is a decline in numbers due to numerous issues. Yes some of the umps/officials today lack the knowledge needed to do a great job, but they're out there trying, you are not. SSSSSOOOOOOOOO, your comment about not wanting to ump - reasoning is ??? well it's the exact reason why we are short on Umps, Official, Referees in any and all sports, YOU/ as others do not want to take the time that it takes to be a knowledgeable ump/official, but you'll bitch about the all the bad calls, and I am sure the calls your most upset with, you probably don know all the parts to the rule anyway. If a new official ask me anything, I'm there when needed with answers and encouragement. All veteran officials will help any new/old official if needed. We look forward to it. Oh, by the way I've coached Competitive Traveling Softball teams for years, all ages 10U to National Champs 18 Open, Umps - they've done a super job thru the years. I just email my last tournament assignor and told him how happy I was with the umpiring. Top notch. It's out there!!! get your strips, blue shirt what ever it takes and join the Officials Brother/Sister hood. We need you. We had a great umps all fall season..
 
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