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The Man in Blue

Seriously ... what is wrong with umpires? (A scheduling rant)

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Sorry ... I need to vent ...

I posted in another thread that I am doing my first stint as UIC for a tournament/showcase this weekend.

The facility is notorious for not getting game schedules out until the last minute, making a UIC’s life miserable.  I have turned down previous offers from this facility, and that was one key reason.

About a month ago (when I was asked) I sent out my first message looking for umpires.  I recorded all the responses and advised people that I was going to hire them.  I sent out a message almost weekly advising that I did not have a game schedule, but I would still be using the people who responded.  It is a busy weekend, so I am extremely short but I had enough guys to just barely get everything covered.

I finally get a schedule from the facility, put my schedule together and send it out on Monday.  I have already had three guys back out of full (10-15 games) schedules.  

Two said they booked somewhere else.  OK, why didn’t you tell me that when I contacted you each week leading up to this?!

One said he didn’t register for that particular organization this year ... Why did you reply to my first message and say you were interested and available then?!

Of course, all said they want to work for me in the future ... right.

I had a tournament booked (as an umpire) in another city for this weekend.  That is my prime choice to work when I make my schedule.  When I was asked to UIC, I contacted that UIC and told him I had been given this opportunity and asked if he would be OK dropping me off his schedule.  If it was going to put him in a bind, I would have turned down this offer.  (We are friends and he was happy that I had the opportunity, so he was understanding and accommodating.)

So ... mainly just needed to vent, but this may be a good topic.  How do you handle “problem” umpires?  Do you blacklist them and not hire them/work with them?  Or do you just suck it up since there is such a shortage?

Hw do you do yuh summer tournament schedule as an umpire?  Do you have your full summer booked in advance? Or do you take things a few weeks at a time?  Do you only work one facility or do you spread yourself around?

 

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1) I, too have turned down the opportunity to UIC for tourneys, because I knew scheduling would be a PITA. I do schedule umpires for the (as in "one") local rec field.

2) As for how I work, as soon as I get the schedules for the various places i work for, I tell them right away which ones I already know I can't do, and tell them I'll let them know a week ahead of time if I'll be available. Then I prioritize - if there are no overlaps, I tell them I'll be available for them. If there are, I ask the one prefer to work if they're going to have enough work for me, and then decline the others. I've never said I would and then backed out on short notice. I have had things come up for work (gotta keep the day job happy) and had to back out, but that is usually at least 2-3 weeks in advance.

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Even if they don't have the specific schedules out, you know they are going to use (for example) 4 fields all day Friday and Saturday, and then 3 fields Sunday morning and two Sunday afternoon (for semis and finals and consolation).

So, schedule the umpires with a bunch of TBAs for the teams and then give final field and time assignments when you get the schedules.  Maybe someone moves an hour, but that' usually doable.

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2 hours ago, noumpere said:

Even if they don't have the specific schedules out, you know they are going to use (for example) 4 fields all day Friday and Saturday, and then 3 fields Sunday morning and two Sunday afternoon (for semis and finals and consolation).

So, schedule the umpires with a bunch of TBAs for the teams and then give final field and time assignments when you get the schedules.  Maybe someone moves an hour, but that' usually doable.

Sometimes, you don't know how many fields they are going to use.  Sometimes some tournaments accept teams up to 2-3 days before the tournament.  I've been told a week or more out that the tournament, "will have three to four fields," only to get a text on the Thursday before stating, "just exploded to 7 to 8 fields" or, alternatively, "several teams dropped out.  We only have 2 fields."

However, with that said, there is a percentage of our umpire brother (and sister) -hood that does not understand the concept of professionalism.  I've heard all the excuses over the years. Here is the best:  last year I had an umpire tell me on the telephone, "I got called into work this weekend."  That is an excuse I totally understand...our jobs are our livelihoods.  However, I subsequently found out that he backed out because he had received an offer on Friday to work another tournament for $5 more per game.  He didn't think I would find out, but unfortunately for him that tournament's UIC and I are friends.  That UIC and me just happened to see each other a week later, and that UIC mentioned an incident that had occurred in one of his tournament's games.  I asked him who were the involved umpires...and wouldn't you know it was the umpire who had dumped me because he had been "called in to work."

That umpire now has two organizations who will not use him, and every UIC within 100-miles of me knows about him.  Karma's a bitch.

 

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6 minutes ago, lawump said:

Karma's a bitch.

It's not the cosmos, it's people, and it's a small world.

My mantra: there are no secrets.

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13 minutes ago, lawump said:

Sometimes, you don't know how many fields they are going to use.  Sometimes some tournaments accept teams up to 2-3 days before the tournament.  I've been told a week or more out that the tournament, "will have three to four fields," only to get a text on the Thursday before stating, "just exploded to 7 to 8 fields" or, alternatively, "several teams dropped out.  We only have 2 fields."

When you accept the job, ask for a commitment on fields / games.  If they drop, they still pay (at least some).  If they add, you can try to get umpires, but no guarantees and your fee is higher for those adds.

 

And, I *do* agree on the umpire side of it -- but it also falls on the tournament side

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On 6/20/2019 at 12:05 PM, noumpere said:

When you accept the job, ask for a commitment on fields / games.  If they drop, they still pay (at least some).  If they add, you can try to get umpires, but no guarantees and your fee is higher for those adds.

 

And, I *do* agree on the umpire side of it -- but it also falls on the tournament side

When you are hired for the year to provide umpires for an organization that has a tournament every weekend...you have to roll with the punches when it comes to fields.

This is also probably a case of things being done differently in different parts of the country.

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I pay dues to a summer organization for use in Arbiter, assigning fee, and chapter liability insurance.  They will usually get my first assigning of games, but that group is one county over from where i live.  During the week I will try to take 1-2 of my local Legion(a very very weak league) games so that the assignor will give me games come regional play.

if I agree to take a game, it takes a very large issue to come off.  Only have given back two games this summer and that was due to Funerals. 

 

Weekends are a different story because I will only do 2 games a day(personally on a 90' diamond you are doing the kids a disservice doing more than that without a break).  I also will travel for some for college summer leagues but just on the weekend as my work schedule only allows me that.

 

IMO the level of money grab for tournaments across the country is creating a cluster in terms of organizing an event.  Think about when you got married(if you did). Did you book the venue, dj, caterer, photographer, etc. 2 days before your date?  What makes us any different in our service industry as independent contractors?

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On 6/20/2019 at 10:50 AM, lawump said:

Sometimes, you don't know how many fields they are going to use.  Sometimes some tournaments accept teams up to 2-3 days before the tournament.  I've been told a week or more out that the tournament, "will have three to four fields," only to get a text on the Thursday before stating, "just exploded to 7 to 8 fields" or, alternatively, "several teams dropped out.  We only have 2 fields."

However, with that said, there is a percentage of our umpire brother (and sister) -hood that does not understand the concept of professionalism.  I've heard all the excuses over the years. Here is the best:  last year I had an umpire tell me on the telephone, "I got called into work this weekend."  That is an excuse I totally understand...our jobs are our livelihoods.  However, I subsequently found out that he backed out because he had received an offer on Friday to work another tournament for $5 more per game.  He didn't think I would find out, but unfortunately for him that tournament's UIC and I are friends.  That UIC and me just happened to see each other a week later, and that UIC mentioned an incident that had occurred in one of his tournament's games.  I asked him who were the involved umpires...and wouldn't you know it was the umpire who had dumped me because he had been "called in to work."

That umpire now has two organizations who will not use him, and every UIC within 100-miles of me knows about him.  Karma's a bitch.

 

Good for you. I had a guy do the exact same to me. He then calls me the next week asking if I have games he can work. I said I do so he came in to work. I put his ass on t-ball and said enjoy the $10 a game. Well he got mad and I said you know I would have gave you the extra 5 dollars but you wanted to lie to me. He left and I had a good laugh. 

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That happened with one of these guys.  I called the UIC from where I was originally scheduled to work this weekend and he brought up the guy’s name.  The UIC said the guy was on his schedule but backed out, too.  It is good to have a network.  :)  Do people really think the world is not that small?

Well, day one was rained out, so I am scrambling to rewrite tomorrow’s schedule for the third time today.

I had another guy contact me from ... somewhere?  He never said where he was from or how he got my number.   He was interested for about three text messages, but then didn’t reply to a phone call or any subsequent texts.  Good grief people, what happened to common courtesy?

Back to it ... 

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Now that I have had a few days to calm down ... :P

 

Day two was pushed back to a mid-afternoon start and lowered time limits.  I actually had to cancel a couple of guys who were scheduled in the morning only and for the last few late games only.  Two guys had to cancel due to flooded basements, but the reduced game schedule left me with no major problems.

Day three ... oh, day three ...  one guy canceled due to knee issues from working the full day before (understandable).  One guy no-showed for the 8am game.  Said he misread the schedule, would be there at 9.  No show at 9.  Said the dog got loose and he had to go find it.  I replaced him and went on with the day.  He is notorious for that.  Beyond that, people were getting tired and notably cranky, but it all turned out decent in the long run.

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On 6/21/2019 at 11:30 PM, GPblue said:

Think about when you got married(if you did). Did you book the venue, dj, caterer, photographer, etc. 2 days before your date? 

Two out of the four times, yes.

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On 6/21/2019 at 2:30 PM, GPblue said:

Think about when you got married(if you did). Did you book the venue, dj, caterer, photographer, etc. 2 days before your date?  What makes us any different in our service industry as independent contractors?

There's an entire industry in Las Vegas built on this.

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16 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

There's an entire industry in Las Vegas built on this.

and Summer amateur sports tournaments is now at that level too.  Indivivuals and groups are making multi millions of dollars for these and the professionalism of it needs to evolve 

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Guys, we are really short of umpires here in AZ and this time of year it can be worse. Guys are legitimately worried about surviving the heat for more than one or two games. However, both assigners and umpires can make it work by using the web tool Arbiter, communicating with their umpires, assigners and partners. For me it's simple:. if I'm open in Arbiter you can assign me. If you assign me, I'll accept the games, if I accepted the games I'll work them and work things out with my assigned partner. If an assigned tells me there big event is coming up in two months and they are going to want to use me I block if off in Arbiter.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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