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I worked a 16U Pastime event last weekend.  We got paid $75 per game.  Umpires were assigned so you worked 2 games a day for the 3 day event.  The tournament director (guy who played on his phone all weekend) left us alone, and if we needed baseballs they weren't stingy at all.  I believe the buy in for this tournament was between $800 and $900.  I think the teams were guaranteed 3 or 4 games, but I really wasn't paying attention to that.  With the $75 per game rate, this attracted good umpires, mostly college and good high school umpires.  There were no issues at all and the teams had a good time.  Just additional evidence that you get what you pay for.   

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I work for this group out of SE MI that pays $30 per game no matter what age level whether its 9U-18U.  When they ask me to do anything above 12U I tell them no because its not worth the pay for that level.  They need to up the ante for UMPS if they want to attract quality over "Warm Bodies."  What do you guys think about out of state tournaments?  Im thinking about those too for better pay and do they cover expenses.

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My nephew plays 10U USSSA and the tournaments I have been to as a spectator have shown that they don't pay or respect their umpires, and they are getting what they pay for.  It is apparent that most of these guys are not trained and at first glance they do not know how to manage a game or situations, but I do not blame the umpires for this; the TD's are treating umpires as a commodity and the blame lies with them.

 

I say "at first glance" because I went to his last tournament of the season this past weekend and my seat in the bleachers was within earshot of the umpires' meeting that the TD was holding (this was not intentional, but it made me realize what a disadvantage these poor umpires have).  A couple of the gems I overheard:

 

- You get 3 new baseballs per day of the tournament.  If you do not turn them all in at the end of each day I will dock your game fees $5 per unreturned baseball.  If for some reason you need more baseballs you get charged another $5 unless you can turn in a damaged ball.  I saw umpires all weekend delaying their game to make sure out of play foul balls were being returned to them.  With a 2-hour time limit, I bet at least 10 minutes per game were wasted by everyone standing around so the PU could get "his" baseball back.

- An ejection is a last resort and all ejections are subject to immediate review.  If you EJ or restrict a coach and I overturn it, you will finish the game you are on and you should not expect to get assigned any more games this weekend.  WOW.  I saw coach behavior on my nephew's team that I would have no problem justifying an EJ on and the umpires never even warned.  In fact they continued the conversations and got walked all over the entire weekend.  The 1BC ran at the umpire to dispute a catch/no catch call during the play and was not even warned!  But, this is what happens when the umpires have no backing and their authority is non-existent.  Also saw multiple occurrences of umpires justifying their calls verbally to the stands... <_<

- Pay was $25 per game and they got one voucher for a hot dog and a drink at the snack bar.  Two-hour time limit games, two-man crews and each umpire could probably get 5, maybe 6 games a day (games started at 8am each day).  So I can make $125 with a free lunch in 90+ degree heat, unless I don't have 3 baseballs turned in...

 

:ranton: Bottom line, you want to subject yourself to this level of ball, you have to play by the TD's "rules".  He isn't looking for good umpires, he is looking for warm bodies who are willing to work for peanuts and keep the coaches happy.  All the TD cares about is money and that the teams return for his next tourney.  Umpires?  If a few leave he will find other ones - someone (trained or not) will do it for $125 a day and a free hot dog... :rantoff:

Those are the very worst USSSA conditions I have ever heard of!!!!!

Around here $35 per game is standard for youth tournaments. Charge, for baseballs the darn teams lose?

Although some TDs I have worked for are better that others (From Meh to fantastic), I've never felt like I was not being backed up.

I might be in a blessed area.

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My nephew plays 10U USSSA and the tournaments I have been to as a spectator have shown that they don't pay or respect their umpires, and they are getting what they pay for.  It is apparent that most of these guys are not trained and at first glance they do not know how to manage a game or situations, but I do not blame the umpires for this; the TD's are treating umpires as a commodity and the blame lies with them.

 

I say "at first glance" because I went to his last tournament of the season this past weekend and my seat in the bleachers was within earshot of the umpires' meeting that the TD was holding (this was not intentional, but it made me realize what a disadvantage these poor umpires have).  A couple of the gems I overheard:

 

- You get 3 new baseballs per day of the tournament.  If you do not turn them all in at the end of each day I will dock your game fees $5 per unreturned baseball.  If for some reason you need more baseballs you get charged another $5 unless you can turn in a damaged ball.  I saw umpires all weekend delaying their game to make sure out of play foul balls were being returned to them.  With a 2-hour time limit, I bet at least 10 minutes per game were wasted by everyone standing around so the PU could get "his" baseball back.

- An ejection is a last resort and all ejections are subject to immediate review.  If you EJ or restrict a coach and I overturn it, you will finish the game you are on and you should not expect to get assigned any more games this weekend.  WOW.  I saw coach behavior on my nephew's team that I would have no problem justifying an EJ on and the umpires never even warned.  In fact they continued the conversations and got walked all over the entire weekend.  The 1BC ran at the umpire to dispute a catch/no catch call during the play and was not even warned!  But, this is what happens when the umpires have no backing and their authority is non-existent.  Also saw multiple occurrences of umpires justifying their calls verbally to the stands... <_<

- Pay was $25 per game and they got one voucher for a hot dog and a drink at the snack bar.  Two-hour time limit games, two-man crews and each umpire could probably get 5, maybe 6 games a day (games started at 8am each day).  So I can make $125 with a free lunch in 90+ degree heat, unless I don't have 3 baseballs turned in...

 

:ranton: Bottom line, you want to subject yourself to this level of ball, you have to play by the TD's "rules".  He isn't looking for good umpires, he is looking for warm bodies who are willing to work for peanuts and keep the coaches happy.  All the TD cares about is money and that the teams return for his next tourney.  Umpires?  If a few leave he will find other ones - someone (trained or not) will do it for $125 a day and a free hot dog... :rantoff:

Those are the very worst USSSA conditions I have ever heard of!!!!!

Around here $35 per game is standard for youth tournaments. Charge, for baseballs the darn teams lose?

Although some TDs I have worked for are better that others (From Meh to fantastic), I've never felt like I was not being backed up.

I might be in a blessed area.

 

Get ready to get screwed by USSSA Georgia. It WILL happen.

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USSSA Northern California is great.  All prospective umpires are evaluated before being allowed to work (you can be sure your partner will know proper 2 man mechanics).  There is an annual field clinic run by several current MiLB and college umpires, who also work tournaments and do evals during the year.  The UIC, who is a former pro ball umpire, works very closely with the TD's to make sure the umpires are taken care of.  Umpires aren't expected to have a longer leash with coaches than they would in a youth game or HS game, and EJ's are backed 100% by tournament staff.  Pay is $44 - 50 per game, with ages ranging from 9U to 18U.

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USSSA is a very marginal organization. They lowball on pay here. The baseball is not very good. The parents and coaches are crazy and stupid. The TDs only care about the money. The lower level umpires are all untrained rodeo clowns with shirts untucked, mismatched colors on partners and just horrible. The 14s and up are a little better in terms of umpiring but low pay, etc. Still exists. I work it once or twice a summer to help me appreciate the good baseball I usually get to work. And when the main assigner does not have a tourney in KC to work.

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USSSA is just okay here in SoCal.  While emails have been sent by the assignor about umpires that manage games poorly, and threats to evaluate and get rid of guys that don't measure up, I'm not sure that's ever actually happened.  There are a few good umpires, and many average to poor umpires.  The guys that get games every week (and there are tournaments 50 weekends a year here) are not chosen for their skill, but rather because they have committed to the assignor and he has committed to them.

 

I worked 7 games for USSSA last year over two weekends, but I know I asked for games at least 10 other weekends and got nothing.  It cost $110 to be an umpire for them, and that's taken out of your first game fee.  I found that the assignor is more than willing to spread around the assignments early in the year to get as many guys to pay as possible, but once everyone has paid, then only the select few get games regularly.  I think some of that goes to USSSA national for insurance, but I'm sure the assignor keeps a chunk of it as well.

 

I still get his emails, and have not been asked to be taken off his list, but I have not asked for games and will not pay $110 anymore when I am getting much better assignments.  If he was in a pinch and needed someone and I was available, I would tell him the only way I work the games is to not pay the $110.  That would only be if he was desperate enough to call me.

 

He has also implemented a bunch of fines if guys don't do what they are supposed to do like show up on time, keep an accurate card with the score and innings pitched, etc.  It's all stuff that's under the control of the umpire if they are doing their job.  No fines for missing baseballs - that's about the biggest pile of crap I have ever heard of.

 

As far as the tournaments themselves go, most of the major division games are really good, while the AA games tend to be bad.  Parents are typical travel ball parents, but the only real problem I have had was when we had to call a game because the field just got too wet.  Batters slipping out of the box, fielders falling down trying to make plays, etc.  The team that was losing was from Vegas and the loss sent them packing a day earlier then they had hoped.  We got the TD involved and headed home.  A few of the parks are Big League Dreams parks which serve alcohol  so the Saturday evening games can get pretty loud.

 

In short, I feel extremely lucky to not have to beg for those assignments anymore.  I've got much better options, working with much better partners, for much better assignors.  I feel great about the games I am getting nowadays, so USSSA is pretty far in my rear view mirror at this point.

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I've worked 4 USSSA tournaments this past July for West Michigan USSSA...2 in Grand Rapids and 2 in Battle Creek.  I have to say that I haven't had a bad experience in any of these tournaments.  In fact, the fields on which I've worked have been nice HS diamonds and college facilities.  I did not have to pay a "fee" to umpire and was assigned anywhere from 4 to 8 games a weekend (Sat/Sun).  Plus, I was put up in a hotel each weekend as I traveled 2-2 1/2 hours to work the tournaments and was paid in full before my last game of the tournament ($50/game).  The baseball wasn't bad, either.  Although, I didn't work anything less than 16U (16-18U).

 

The TD was more than satisfied with my (and my partner's) performance as both winning managers and losing mangers alike commented on our work.  In all honesty, all of my partners for these tournaments have been solid.  So, it made my/our jobs easier knowing we were working with qualified partners. 

 

All in all, I haven't had a bad USSSA experience.  And until I do, I will keep working USSSA tournaments as well as Pastime and Elite tournaments.

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Here umpires are supposed to buy the USSSA card to be able to umpire. I don't think TDs care if you have it or not

What is that? the registration fee? i think its like 65 bucks. Payble right on the USSSA website?

yeah that's it. I bet you 1 in 10 umpires have it here.
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USSSA was good when I was in VA. Pay was a little low, but they were matching any competition, so it isn't like you could go elsewhere. But I believe that from hearing on here, USSSA varies from org to org, some are great, some stink.

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USSSA was good when I was in VA. Pay was a little low, but they were matching any competition, so it isn't like you could go elsewhere. But I believe that from hearing on here, USSSA varies from org to org, some are great, some stink.

YES but most stink!

All about money here in Georgia.

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  • 1 month later...

I know for a fact it is all about money in Kansas and Missouri with USSSA. I ran tournaments for a few years in 2006-2007 and had the State Director tell me to remove my best umpire from a state tournament. The reason was because the coach had been to a ton of tournaments and was one of their best customers. While the umpire was 100% correct according to the state director, he was still pulled and asked to leave the tournament. That was the last one I ran for them. We went independent after that. They are all about the $$ but in this area it is about all we have.

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