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grk17

A Plea to Modernize Uniforms at the Amatuer Level

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TASO appears to be much better in the uniform dept. relative to everyone else. As far I'm aware, old school black is the only required shirt, but cream and pro blue are allowed too, nor are there any "black shoes only" frankenstein rules. I've noticed that a lot of the TASO guys doing our HS fall-ball games are wearing black vertical stripe polos, so maybe there's a change coming. Bottom Line: No Navy in these parts!! :HD:

BR

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On 10/13/2018 at 9:49 PM, Richvee said:

I agree with you 100% about navy. We're the same here in NJ, though black is getting more popular for regular season, still,  the powers that be still insist on navy for state playoffs. The problem in HS is, there's plenty of "old timers" that whine about buying anything new. They're still bitching they had to buy a new pair of pants 6 years ago when high school phased out heather grey for baseball. NJ just switched from an arm patch to a logo on the breast, and that implementation took 3 years and there's still guys who haven't got one. (Granted the new logo shirts are horrible quality, but that's another story).

One of the worst feelings is emailing a partner you have never worked with before, and you mention you have black and navy shirts, they answer you and it reads "I only have navy".. You know you're probably in for not-so-great pregame, game or post game.

still hasn't made its way down to central jersey yet 

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15 hours ago, grk17 said:

Even though my state’s association requires navy hats and ball bags with the navy shirt

No it doesn't.

[insert long pause while I go look it up]

Umpires shall wear gray slacks and either a navy blue or black pull over shirt. All umpires on a crew should
be dressed alike. For postseason contests umpires will wear gray slacks and a navy blue pullover. When
needed a navy blue or black jacket or coat shall be worn. The hat is to be navy blue and a sized hat is
recommended. Umpires may wear a navy blue hat with a white KSHSAA logo embroidered on the front. If
an undershirt is worn it may be red, black or navy and all umpires must wear the same color. The trouser
belt should be black leather. Socks should be black. The plate umpire should wear shoes designed for
safety that include hard toes. Primarily black shoes designed for umpiring should be worn and shined
before each game. The plate umpire needs to have a ball and strike indicator, a small plate brush, a
protective supporter and cup, ball bag, lineup cards and a pen or pencil for line-up changes. A chest
protector, sturdy mask with throat protector and shin guards are standard equipment of the plate umpire.

It's not on their website, but they did add black as an option last year (per the paper copy of the regulations, section 2J):

2.J Umpire's Uniform

Since umpires may often be working with umpires that they normally do not work with, it is important that each umpire in the state have a uniform that is similar. All umpires should be attired in the same style shirt.

The umpire's uniform consists of cap, gray slacks, NFHS approved navy blue or black pullover shirt and black shoes. Postseason umpires may wear navy blue or black pullowvers. Umpires working the game shall wear the same color uniform

That's all it says.

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I will let the fashionistas worry about how “modern” the shirt is. If uniform is the reason to not umpire, then don’t umpire. Your attitude is wrong anyway.

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17 minutes ago, LMSANS said:

I will let the fashionistas worry about how “modern” the shirt is. If uniform is the reason to not umpire, then don’t umpire. Your attitude is wrong anyway.

Considering the vast shortage of umpires everywhere - let alone any evaluation of the quality of some of the already limited inventory - I would think umpire associations in collaboration with league associations would look at ANY option that could bring in new recruits.  Does that mean free pot and Twinkies for all new umpires...no...but I think you need to assess any reasonable possibility to determine what might raise interest, or, at least, what is deterring interest.  And the uniform is probably a reasonable thing to assess.  And it could be as simple as "well, we're cooler than Burger King."

You're competing with many other options, including "I would rather just stay home and jerk off".

Yeah, it would be awesome if everyone showed up with the perfect attitude to dedicate themselves to umpiring and the self-improvement therein.  Sometimes you need to get people to just show up and try it out to see if they develop the interest and dedication.

Will cool/better uniforms bring in droves of millennials?  Who knows?  Maybe you need an app.  But don't dismiss it out of hand.  The average age of active umpires goes up every year (or seems to).   Whatever is being done now isn't working.

Maybe their attitude is wrong, but we may need to adjust to the collective attitude, rather than trying to change it.  I know I've seen it in the workplace in addressing the existing millennial workforce and the upcoming gen z workforce.  The umpire workforce is no different.

 

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So dri-fit t-shirts?

When I'm recruiting kids (typically high schoolers) for rec-league (and I've moved a couple up from there to more competitive leagues), it really seems to be the money that gets them interested, not the fashion choices. When I tell them they can make more than they do flipping burgers (on a per-hour basis), and that I won't schedule them for nights they ask off, that seems to be the hook. Probably half of those don't continue past the first year.

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3 hours ago, LMSANS said:

I will let the fashionistas worry about how “modern” the shirt is. If uniform is the reason to not umpire, then don’t umpire. Your attitude is wrong anyway.

How does wanting to have up to date uniforms have anything to do with an umpires attitude?

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4 hours ago, LMSANS said:

I will let the fashionistas worry about how “modern” the shirt is. If uniform is the reason to not umpire, then don’t umpire. Your attitude is wrong anyway.

Have you used this line on MLB umpires yet?

Also, not sure how many of us posting on an umpire message board are threatening to not umpire based on the shirt.

Lastly, appearance obviously matters in umpiring. A better, more modern shirt contributes to that.  

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2 hours ago, umpstu said:

How does wanting to have up to date uniforms have anything to do with an umpires attitude?

If that is the reason to not umpire, they are just looking for an excuse.

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1 minute ago, LMSANS said:

If that is the reason to not umpire, they are just looking for an excuse.

Ok... so why not try to eliminate an excuse if we can to recruit new umpires?

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1 hour ago, Thatsnotyou said:

Have you used this line on MLB umpires yet?

Also, not sure how many of us posting on an umpire message board are threatening to not umpire based on the shirt.

Lastly, appearance obviously matters in umpiring. A better, more modern shirt contributes to that.  

What we do has very little to do with MLB umpires. I have to spend $$ to buy a rainbow of colored shirts & a variety of styles to make umpires happy. No one else notices.

The OP was all about a potential umpire not wanting to wear grandma's shirt.

Tastes evolve...the blue button shirts from the 60's & 70's were modern once.

 

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3 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

Ok... so why not try to eliminate an excuse if we can to recruit new umpires?

Maybe we should go the route of soccer refs with many neon colors or better yet, vertical stripes, like most sports. Why wear a uniform at all? let's just wear street clothes or dress like the coaches in team shorts & sweats.

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5 minutes ago, LMSANS said:

Maybe we should go the route of soccer refs with many neon colors or better yet, vertical stripes, like most sports. Why wear a uniform at all? let's just wear street clothes or dress like the coaches in team shorts & sweats.

Ahh.. yes... great debate points there. You said you had to buy a rainbow of colors... I've worn nothing but black and polo blue for the past few years. But it is obvious that you don't want to actually have a discussion about this topic. 

 

It is obvious that we are entering a crisis when it comes to a shortage of officials... If this is one way to get new guys to come in, then I welcome it. It would also force guys to get new shirts that desperately need to get them. Overall it sounds like a win-win to me. 

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2 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

Ahh.. yes... great debate points there. You said you had to buy a rainbow of colors... I've worn nothing but black and polo blue for the past few years. But it is obvious that you don't want to actually have a discussion about this topic. 

You say that to get recruits, we should "eliminate the excuse". That is all I'm suggesting. I'm not looking for the great debate. I have a partner that bought 2 of every color that Official's Choice offered a few years back. When we worked a travel tourney, he suggested wearing something other than blue.  I went along for the ride since he supplied the shirts. Nobody outside of the umpires that took the field after us noticed or cared.

Look at the real reason we can't get recruits; the game has no time limits (yes, I know many leagues put time limits in, which many on this site put down as "not real baseball"), the other sports are shorter in length, have more action and pay the same or more. The number of participants is growing in Lacrosse & soccer at a faster rate (anecdotal, I don't have actual stats). Kids are playing one sport only and that is most of the year.  

So to get more umpires, we should modernize the shirt. Okay, I'll concede the point. I'm sure they'll be knocking down the doors to get in.:givebeer:

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46 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

Ok... so why not try to eliminate an excuse if we can to recruit new umpires?

Because that's all it is - an excuse. They'll find another.

And besides, it doesn't eliminate the excuse. They'll have to work someday with the geezer who's had his navy shirt since 1986 and refuses to get another, so you end up getting the navy anyway.

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1 hour ago, LMSANS said:

What we do has very little to do with MLB umpires. I have to spend $$ to buy a rainbow of colored shirts & a variety of styles to make umpires happy. No one else notices.

The OP was all about a potential umpire not wanting to wear grandma's shirt.

Tastes evolve...the blue button shirts from the 60's & 70's were modern once.

 

You've completely lost me here. Enjoy your navy shirts forever and ever.

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As I read some of these responses several issues jump out at me and there are several things I want to address. First, @kylehutson, You are correct in that our association doesn't technically require navy ballbags. Thus, I stand corrected and I thank you for bringing the specific regulations to my attention. However, I still stand by my original points. The KSHSAA still requires us to wear either an "NFHS approved navy blue or black pullover shirt." While different color ballbags are not specifically mentioned, I think we can all agree that ballbags need to match the hat color. Further, I find it interesting that the regulations don't mention anything about black hats. No one should wear navy hats with black shirts, that is just silly. Therefore, while the KSHSAA regulations are surprisingly vague, the spirit of the regs remains the same. (That is, we approve of umpires wearing either navy or black and for them to look the same.) Even though both navy and black are mentioned, my experience has indicated to me that navy is still the standard (if not in fact, in appearance.) There have been numerous times where I have worked with first-year umpires and many of them only have one color of shirt-------navy. Thus, navy is clearly still regarded as the standard and it furthers my point that those of us who work with many different partners, some of which prefer black, are still forced to buy navy hats and navy ballbags to keep our uniform jiving. I have also worked with many newer partners that only have one color of the hat....... making it more difficult to adhere to the regulation that we should be dressed the same. For example, I may email a partner and he tells me he only has one color of shirt (navy). Thus, I only pack navy on my way to the game and my partner shows up with a black hat. While it's not a huge deal, it still looks a little funny when we are standing together. We look mismatched, dysfunctional, and unorganized. That is one reason why I am advocating for just eliminating the navy from our repertoire altogether.

Next, we seem to be getting a little bit off topic with regards to the recruiting new umpires thing. I never said that updating the shirts would bring in new recruits by itself. like @kylehutson mentioned, his recruits cite different reasons and I agree with him. This, however, is tangential to my point where I argued that having to buy supporting accessories for navy constitutes a higher price tag for new officials. They must buy more hats, and preferably, more ballbags instead of just a one size fits all black hat and black ballbag. My association has rightly identified startup cost as a huge factor deterring new recruits from joining. Thus, I would think that taking a small step to reduce this cost would help. 

Further, @LMSANS has used some faulty logic and faulty debate topics to support his points and refute mine. First, you seem to be raising the slippery slope issue with regards to updating shirts. (If we want to get more modern we change a shirt here and change a shirt there and pretty soon we are wearing street clothes and basketball shorts.) When dealing with a "where does it stop argument" my experience has taught me that the answer is always SOMEWHERE. It stops somewhere long before street clothes. No one is arguing for wearing Tshirts and street clothes, all that has been argued is that we update to a more modern style and color scheme. Therefore, the where does it stop argument doesn't really hold water under close scrutiny.

Second, when faced with the argument for updating shirts, you seem to be using the tactic that I call "what aboutisms" where your counterargument consists of "what about time limits, what about pay, what about XYZ." This tactic doesn't really accomplish anything other than deflecting blame and dancing around the main issue. No one asserts that time, pay and a myriad of other negative externalities don't exist that deter recruits. I am merely tying low recruiting number, high startup costs, and other issues to the issue of updating shirts with sound and reasonable logic.

Finally, I agree with @JSam21 about eliminating excuses and I think that if new standards were adequately codified, we could stop further issues. If associations, like mine, would put into writing a regulation detailing that navy blue is no longer an acceptable color, unless both partners agree to it and completely match, the "old geezers" would have no choice but to update. They wouldn't be able to tell you that they just have their one navy shirt from 1980 and that's it. The association standards could clearly oppose this by detailing that navy is not a standard shirt.

All-in-all, I still firmly believe that abandoning navy makes sense for reasons I've mentioned before. Additionally, most of us don't like the color. I still support updating our shirts out of the 80s and into the modern day. After all, perception can make all the difference. If we look good, we feel good, we get more respect. I still have not been convinced that any of the counterarguments hold any weight.

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, grk17 said:

I think we can all agree that ballbags need to match the hat color.

Actually, I don't. I think black looks good with everything because it matches the belt and shoes.

The real reason I don't like navy (shirts or hats) is because when you're working with the old geezer (or even a guy that's had it as his only shirt for 5 years), his shirt and hat have faded so much that they don't match anymore. I don't disagree with your larger points.

But good luck getting TPTB to change anything. I'm on your side, but I've grown cynical in my old age.

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33 minutes ago, kylehutson said:

Actually, I don't. I think black looks good with everything because it matches the belt and shoes.

I can see that side of it. Just as long as we stay away from grey ballbags right? Lol 

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13 hours ago, grk17 said:

I can see that side of it. Just as long as we stay away from grey ballbags right? Lol 

Yes.

Well, except for the case where the ball bags are made of the exact same material as the pants. :wink:

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Apparently, MD and VA now both allow navy and powder blue shirts, so there is an alternate option for warm-weather games. 

Another association in the area (Southern District Umpires Association), which does Southern MD public schools and most MD/DC private schools, uses black as its base color, whether for public or private school games. 

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On 10/18/2018 at 8:34 AM, kylehutson said:

Yes.

Well, except for the case where the ball bags are made of the exact same material as the pants. :wink:

Reading through this thread, I'd started to worry that I'd screwed up by getting the smitty ball bags that match my pants... This gives me a little hope :P

I like the way it looks, but would it be looked down on by evaluators? 

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3 hours ago, Biscuit said:

Reading through this thread, I'd started to worry that I'd screwed up by getting the smitty ball bags that match my pants... This gives me a little hope :P

I like the way it looks, but would it be looked down on by evaluators? 

When I first started I had grey bags... then I switched to dark bags. It is a personal preference. I hate grey bags because they never really match the pants. 

Now, will an evaluator look down on it? Maybe. It isn’t something that will kill you on an evaluation, but if one of them says to get black bags, it is an easy fix.

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4 hours ago, JSam21 said:

Now, will an evaluator look down on it? Maybe. It isn’t something that will kill you on an evaluation, but if one of them says to get black bags, it is an easy fix.

I once was told by an evaluator that I didnt make a college group "because my pants weren't cut long enough." I later found out there just wasnt room on the roster. It took another 3 years to get in.

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13 hours ago, JSam21 said:

When I first started I had grey bags... then I switched to dark bags. It is a personal preference. I hate grey bags because they never really match the pants. 

Now, will an evaluator look down on it? Maybe. It isn’t something that will kill you on an evaluation, but if one of them says to get black bags, it is an easy fix.

To be clear, these are smutty on smutty. Exact same fabric. Next time I buy bags though, I’ll be sure to pick up some black and blue (unless we can get rid of navy...)

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