What Can You Do About the Baseball Umpire Shortage?
We're currently facing a baseball umpire shortage. Here's what your team can do to solve this.
There's a good chance you've been to at least one game where you've seen the umpire become the target of wrath for one or more parent. Maybe you've even joined in the chorus a couple times. A baseball umpire is an easy mark.
But they are also a resource that the game today has too few of to spare.
Bullying the umpire is only part of the problem. The poor pay and even lack of interest are also contributors. But there are some things you can do to help.
Your Baseball Umpire is a Human Being
The USA Today, quoting an umpire, calls it "a culture of abuse." Put simply, the umpires are being driven out of the game by fans who cross the line with their criticisms all too frequently.
It is hard for some to recognize that the outraged fan isn't really mad at you as a person, they're actually just yelling at the uniform. But that doesn't mean that umpires just need to toughen up either.
The parent has a role to play here too. If we want to see a resurgence of umpires, one of the main things we can do is be civil to them. Kids at the park, whether they are in the game or just watching, see the way umpires are treated.
Reach Them Early
One of the other reasons baseball umpires are dwindling is they are simply getting too old. You may not have a cure for aging... but you can help bring up a crop of fresh recruits!
As is mentioned above, it will be hard to recruit young people if they see the way umpires are often treated. Recruiting them at a young age will only work if they see the parents treat the position with respect.
If a young person played for any length of time there is a good chance they truly love the game. Recruit those former players! Use that passion to encourage the youth to look for opportunities as an umpire when they leave the game.
It might have the added benefit of changing their own perception of the umps while they are still playing! And let's face it, the gear these guys/gals wear is pretty cool.
The amount a high school umpire makes is affected by the region they live in. Some make as little as $24,000 annually.
This may not seem like an area where you can make an impact. But the truth is, parents involvement with the school booster clubs can make a difference.
Parents involved in this way naturally understand the other components we have already covered. But they also have an investment of time and resources that make an impact on the athletic departments of any school.
Relax and Enjoy the Game
The umpires are going to miss calls. Sometimes the runner was safe when he was called out, and sometimes the pitch really was a ball and not that called third strike.
Go to the game with the intent to really enjoy it! Knowing all that is part of what makes the game great. Thank the umpires after the game and let your kids see you do it. Those kids might just be the future of baseball umpires.
Interested in getting equipment for the umpires in your league? Contact us for options today!