I've had concerns since this organization went statewide. The guys responsible for the umpires have a not so good reputation for non-payment, late payment and other such conduct. Here is the latest scenario. I received this in an email from one of my assigners.
We had a situation on Thursday at a USABL game.
The crew that was assigned to the 6:30 pm game called
me from the field at 6:15 due to lighting in the area.
The coaches at the game decided to cancel the game at
6:29 pm. I inform USABL that the coaches had canceled the game
and was told that the officials WOULD NOT BE PAID any fees by USABL.
This did not sit right with me. We called Babe Ruth who
is the President of USABL, but only got his voice mail. At that
point I sent him an e-mail which was ignored by him. Tomas
our Vice President reached out to Mr. Ruth and this is his reply;
“Tomas-- If we paid for all 60 games last night that got rained out with very badly timed rain we would be in the red. This is just a SH*#ty situation likewise one pitch is thrown and you get full pay. Not to mention the game still gets rescheduled we end up paying twice but do not get paid again by teams as you know. I get when a team cancels and does not tell anyone but when it is out of everyone's hands and mother nature rains at the worst time possible we would ask that all umpires understand.”
So...we have this massive tournament here called Buckeye Elite. It's one of the biggest in the midwest, approx 300 teams this year as I recall. I always take Thur and Fri off work to do it - it's generally good to very good ball, the assigner usually keeps me close to home, and it's pretty much my last big baseball thing of the year. Had 4 games sched for Thur and Fri, as well as Sat. I'm not yet good enough to work the Sun semi and final games, but those are played at either Ohio State's stadium or, for the 18U top teams, the local AAA stadium, a beautiful new stadium downtown.
Anyway, it's pretty much only rained twice this summer - for 15 days the first time and 30 days the second. Seriously, I think there were only a day or two in June without some form of rain at some point in the day. Entire tournaments were washed out and it looked like this one was in danger as well. Thur was a complete loss, a handful of games got in on a couple turf fields but even they had to go down in the afternoon. My wife asked (made) me to help clean out the basement. In other news, we got $33.12 from the local home goods resale store for various crap. But I digress.
Since hundreds of games got cancelled on Thur, the tourney decided to go to 5 innings, 1:30 time limit games on Fri. Many fields couldn't even start on time Fri due to aftereffects from Thur, but our field was ok. There was no communication to umpires as to reassignments - it was chaos and they just said work the same times and we'll settle up later. We were scheduled for 7 games on Fri due to it all. And guess what came in the middle of the 6th? Yep...more rain. We were lucky, the northern areas (the tourney takes up over 50 fields in the entire central OH area) got big storms in mid-afternoon and we were one of the last to go down. Shouldn't have finished the 6th game but we did, killing the final game. With so many games cancelled, the tourny made the very controversial decision to cut bracket play from 72 teams in each age group to 24 and eliminate ALL consolation games. So, basically, 3/4 of the teams in the tournament paid about/over $1000 for three 5 inning games. Some pretty unhappy people on twitter, from what I saw...but not sure what the alternative was.
I felt the wrath from one idiot myself on Sat. Had the final pool game where the winner would move on. Still the same rules, 5 innings, 1:30 time limit (if no winner by then and tied, go to a shootout - man on 2nd, 3-2 count for everyone). Visiting team was going thru pitchers, being deliberate, etc., but they tie it in top of 4th. In bottom half, HT loads the bases with 1 out, 1 min left in time limit. VT coach changes pitcher, we tell him that will run out the clock, he's totally fine with it, understands. Blooper to LF, R3 takes off and would have been easily doubled off if caught. Alas, the LF dives and gets his glove on it but it bounces out, game over.
As we're walking away, a parent comes up to us and starts ranting at us about "That's it? Are you f@#%#% lazy??? 4 innings? This is #@%% bu@#%@#". At first I thought he was just joking with us but once the f-bombs started flying we knew he wasn't. It got to the point where I had in mask in hand, preparing to use it as a defensive weapon in case. He finally walked away and we left with no further incident, but did he think we made the tournament rules??? We controlled the rain?
He was frustrated and angry and just lashed out at the most visible, immediate target like a 4 yr old.
Still, wasn't too bad of a weekend overall. Got 9 shorter games in vs the originally scheduled 12. And got that $33 for basement junk. Which is nice.