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Umpire in Chief

After effects of COVID-19 on officiating

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So I wanted to get your thoughts on the after effects of COVID-19 on officiating.

We've discussed any number of times the shortage of umpires and sports officials as a whole....

So here's my thought, with the hiatus on sports for the immediate future, do you think this will accelerate the number of officials leaving their sport?

Here's my rationale. I really had no intention of stopping umpiring. I got  a new job in Feb 2018 that just didn't give me the availability at all. At first this was REALLY difficult for me. Coming here and reading of your adventures, talking to friends who were still umpiring and going to sporting events just made me want to jump back into it. Then, I found other ways to occupy my newly available time and gradually became more accepting. Now. I honestly don't miss it that much, and am completely comfortable with my decision. 

So do you think a season off will adversely effect people coming back? Especially for people who were on the fence beforehand?

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I have no plans on stopping my umpiring at the level I am at. ( LL) and I do not plan on jumping UP at all either.  I plan on doing it as long as my legs allow me to.

 

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My grandfather started umpiring in 1926. I am the last in the line and intend on umpiring through at least 2026, when I will be 69...and beyond

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I think it may hurt the opportunities for younger umpires just getting started.
If they end up cancelling or shortening the season for youth baseball there will be less games to do, or non at all.
The training has already been suspended.

I have 2 older boys (20,17) and they work part time (one's a lot porter at car dealership, the other works at a pizza place) while they are going to school.
They were pretty much told they're done working for awhile until this ends.

If games do resume, everyone who hasn't been working will be itching to get games.
The college umpires may pick up H.S. games, HS umps may have to pick up Select/Travel games, etc...

 

 

 

 

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All of my college ball was canceled today.  Not sure if I'm coming back.  But that thought was happening before the virus.  Was why I didn't buy anything new for umpiring this year.

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10 hours ago, Umpire in Chief said:

So I wanted to get your thoughts on the after effects of COVID-19 on officiating.

We've discussed any number of times the shortage of umpires and sports officials as a whole....

So here's my thought, with the hiatus on sports for the immediate future, do you think this will accelerate the number of officials leaving their sport?

Here's my rationale. I really had no intention of stopping umpiring. I got  a new job in Feb 2018 that just didn't give me the availability at all. At first this was REALLY difficult for me. Coming here and reading of your adventures, talking to friends who were still umpiring and going to sporting events just made me want to jump back into it. Then, I found other ways to occupy my newly available time and gradually became more accepting. Now. I honestly don't miss it that much, and am completely comfortable with my decision. 

So do you think a season off will adversely effect people coming back? Especially for people who were on the fence beforehand?

You may be on to something chief. Rather than absence makes the heart grow fonder, it could be like "the stats" of those who stop school and take a little sabbatical, tend to not jump back on that horse again the longer they stay away on sabbatical.

Found a little something (video clip) for you to enjoy.

https://www.fox46charlotte.com/video/665822

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Recently, someone in a different forum I frequent posted something from a local newspaper about the declining numbers of officials in my state. Apparently, we lost 140 baseball umpires and 90 softball umpires statewide compared to a year ago.

The article also featured my baseball/softball assignor who stated what most officials that work for him already know: he goes crazy in the Spring spending hours trying to do his best to adequately cover baseball and softball. Last year, it wasn't uncommon to get at least one call a week stating that my softball game at school X was being changed to a baseball game at school Y or vice versa. On a couple of occasions, I was even called to say my partner was needed elsewhere and I'd be working solo. If we somehow manage to have a spring HS season here this year, I expect the umpires in my group will be stretched quite thin -- more so than last year -- trying to cover all the games.

I have no plans to leave baseball (or softball, either) at present. If that were to change, it would have nothing to do with what's happening this Spring. Even if my job situation were to change in a way that would make me unavailable for 4:00/4:30 PM weekday game times, I'd still continue to register for baseball and softball because there are plenty of weekend games here that need to be covered such as non-league HS baseball doubleheaders, sub-varsity HS softball tournaments, and CYO baseball/softball.

However, I could see older umpires or any other umpires already debating their future not wanting to come back with the lack of games this spring being a contributing factor in the decision.

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I received new Base shoes, pants, Belt, Lineuo card holder...

I need to use them.... Need my games!!!!

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6 hours ago, JaxRolo said:

I received new Base shoes, pants, Belt, Lineuo card holder...

I need to use them.... Need my games!!!!

No ****. I spent $500 on some upgrades, new warm weather stuff and sunglasses and after some cage work, I'm ready to go

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I will be back out there ASAP. However, I think you make a valid point. I can see those who don’t absolutely love it say to themselves, “ hey, I really didn’t miss it”. Couple that with the lack of new umpires even more-so than usual since  nothing is going on now, we may experience a real shortage if/ when we ever start up this year. Unfortunately at this point, I’m just hoping we’ll have one summer ball. 

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I've been getting emails from referee/umpire sites offering inducements like sales and free shipping. As this was likely to be my last or maybe next-to-last season, I won't spend money on gear I'd probably never use. The crisis just increases the likelihood of my retirement from umpiring; basketball and soccer each have another year--maybe!

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The most disappointing thing for me this season, was that I actually had a weekday available. I was one of 6 guys that had our names if for state level playoffs. And the weather so far has been PERFECT!

I dont know if my availability will stay like this though next season or not. So this could be my last chance for a while for playoffs and beyond. 

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2 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

And the weather so far has been PERFECT!

This is what's really getting me down. It's been beautiful out. It's the first March I would have had more than 1 or 2 high school scrimmages in about 5 years.  

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On 3/20/2020 at 12:07 PM, LRZ said:

I've been getting emails from referee/umpire sites offering inducements like sales and free shipping. As this was likely to be my last or maybe next-to-last season, I won't spend money on gear I'd probably never use. The crisis just increases the likelihood of my retirement from umpiring; basketball and soccer each have another year--maybe!

I'm in the same situation.  It has come to a point where one person is driving umpires away from umpiring.

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On 3/19/2020 at 11:41 AM, Umpire in Chief said:

So I wanted to get your thoughts on the after effects of COVID-19 on officiating.

We've discussed any number of times the shortage of umpires and sports officials as a whole....

So here's my thought, with the hiatus on sports for the immediate future, do you think this will accelerate the number of officials leaving their sport?

Here's my rationale. I really had no intention of stopping umpiring. I got  a new job in Feb 2018 that just didn't give me the availability at all. At first this was REALLY difficult for me. Coming here and reading of your adventures, talking to friends who were still umpiring and going to sporting events just made me want to jump back into it. Then, I found other ways to occupy my newly available time and gradually became more accepting. Now. I honestly don't miss it that much, and am completely comfortable with my decision. 

So do you think a season off will adversely effect people coming back? Especially for people who were on the fence beforehand?

Don't forget, you always have the chance of coming back a couple years down the road. The SEC has an umpire that is 68 years old, The Big South has a 73 year old working games.

And if you will switch sports to volleyball where the World does not end if you lose, I am providing recent film of that 78 year old volleyball official i have alluded to in the past, with a #USVBA National Ranking" working a D3 game this past fall. And yes, he still works D1.

 

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I guess we really haven’t missed much in Illinois ... the season would have just started this week.  We had cold and rain on Monday and rain on Tuesday.  Wednesday was nice, but the ground would have been too wet for most fields (anything not turf).  Thursday was 60+ degrees, but a crap ton more rain and tornado warnings.  Friday was 40 degrees.  Saturday was 40 degrees and rain.  Today we got an inch of snow.

We probably wouldn’t have played much of anything anyway ... but at least with weather there is always the prospect of tomorrow!

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Maybe it could be the opposite? A lot of the reason we have lost umpires the last 10 yrs is also due to the economy. When unemployment goes down, officials in amateur sports goes down as well. If we see unemployment skyrocket, we will see people turn to officiating to get money. Then those of use with experience and knowledge are going to have to double down to train these people. Make them feel welcome. Make them want to stay once the unemployment goes back down, which is always does.

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On 3/21/2020 at 5:30 PM, BT_Blue said:

And the weather so far has been PERFECT!

Yes this!!! ^^^

This has been one of the nicest springs in WA state in a while...great baseball weather in March for a change.  And no games.  Sad.

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16 hours ago, ousafe said:

Yes this!!! ^^^

This has been one of the nicest springs in WA state in a while...great baseball weather in March for a change.  And no games.  Sad.

It really has been! Up until this week, the weather has been darn near early summer-like.

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On 3/24/2020 at 12:42 PM, Minnz said:

Maybe it could be the opposite? A lot of the reason we have lost umpires the last 10 yrs is also due to the economy. When unemployment goes down, officials in amateur sports goes down as well. If we see unemployment skyrocket, we will see people turn to officiating to get money. Then those of use with experience and knowledge are going to have to double down to train these people. Make them feel welcome. Make them want to stay once the unemployment goes back down, which is always does.

I was actually thinking along the same line... at least for our HS units. When I started in our group, we had +/-260 umpires, this season we are down to +/-170, maybe less who were actually working. If jobs are impacted, we may see a decent influx, at least until the economy comes back, at least for the HS units.

What I can see happening however is a decrease in game fees. Being in So. Cal, weather is normally not an issue, so we play year round. If there is a sudden influx of people willing to take games, I can see the travel teams and other leagues lowering game fees. You or I may not be willing to pull a 7-9 inning solo game for $45-$50 versus the normal $60-$90, but someone who is hungry will. And I doubt, even if there are more officials,  that teams will suddenly be willing to spring for two officials. Now you want to pay me $50 for a 7 inning game with a partner for a travel game? Sure, that I can see doing. $50 for that same game solo? Sorry, not interested. 

 

 

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I really don't expect a large influx of people to move to this job.   People are lazy and flipping burgers at McD's for almost $15 an hour is easier money - and more hours - versus our startup and licensing costs.   Plus, there are no rain-outs at McD's.

Call me crazy, but I don't really believe you'll see much difference.

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An article for you New York guys.

Ok, which one of you was the one in the article getting 90 D1 games and $30,000 grand all up and down the East Coast? That's 5-6 games per week for 15-16 weeks, plus Conference Tournament.

 http://www.oleantimesherald.com/olean/umpires-could-feel-impact-of-potential-lost-spring-season/article_90cd3354-cb46-5be2-a0df-6ee505318a3b.html

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It's $35,000.00 for 90 games? $388.00 per game? I don't think so.

And someone is making $58,000.00 per year umpiring if I read that correctly? No.

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7 hours ago, JonnyCat said:

It's $35,000.00 for 90 games? $388.00 per game? I don't think so.

And someone is making $58,000.00 per year umpiring if I read that correctly? No.

$58k seems to be total combined that the group is losing out on. 
 

But $35k for a D1 guy isn’t unimaginable. Lots of games worked, at highest level, making high pay  

$388 isn’t that much of a stretch for a D1 game. Single game midweeks run in the $300-700 range depending on team/region. Major D1 weekend runs $1500-2500 at least and add in some per diem and travel reimbursement. 
 

14 week D1 season, if you’re in demand and make yourself available 5 times (Tue, Wed, weekend) a week or add in a D2/3 midweek DH paying somewhere in the $450-600 range. 
 

Then add in conference tournament(s) that you probably work another 5+ games. Good enough regional, maybe 4 for games, and then super regional 2-3 games. 
 

90 games is a lot, but doable, if you do some D2/D3 that start a week or 2 before D1 started. 

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