This post is written by Brian Pensinger. Brian is a WASA board member and a league director on Thursday nights for Men’s Slow Pitch, Co-Ed, and Grandmasters. He has played softball for just over 15 years.
We recently received reports of harassment of an umpire during a game last week. The subject matter seemed to stem from the fact there was only one umpire at that game. As a WASA board member, league director, but more importantly a player that (admittedly) has had some issues with the “only one umpire” issue, there are a few points I’d like to make on that:
- Any form of abuse of an umpire should not and will not be tolerated. This should go without saying but they are human beings, like all of us. We have all had issues with calls but an ongoing attack is not okay. Let me be clear, questioning calls is part of the game but it needs to be done in a respectful manner and it needs to be brief. As a manager, part of your duties is to control the tempers and frustrations.
- “Hey! We pay for two umpires!” – Like I said above, I have been there. You get that close call at first and wonder if the call would have gone your way if another umpire was out there. With that said, in reality, this very common statement is not true. You, as teams, pay for a qualified individual(s) to umpire our games. One umpire is the norm in a lot of leagues around the state (that don’t use volunteers from the bleachers). We, of course, make every attempt to get a second umpire out on the field where its possible. As a manager, please set that expectation for your players that one umpire will be officiating but if there is an additional, then…bonus!
- If we want two umpires on the fields consistently (I think its safe to say that we all do), we need to be respectful to the umpires we have and we need more umpires! You can help us recruit more umpires by posting / passing around this flyer.
- The umpires we have are trying their best. If this is ever in doubt, any issues should be directed to your league director.
We, as directors, are all current or past players. We understand how frustrating it can be at times but we need to work together to make this association better for everyone. How we treat our umpires directly determines the quality and quantity of our umpires. Umpires that are treated with respect will want to stick around (quantity) and gain more experience (quality).
Please share with your team and let us know if you have any questions about this!