Local baseball little leagues react after anger directed toward umpires across the country
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A couple local little leagues recently talked to FOX5 about umpire shortages and mistreatment of umpires. Nationwide, people have verbally and physically assaulted umpires.
“Last season we noticed that the parents had taken an extreme excitement towards their kids playing baseball and when that happens sometimes, they do become unruly,” said Melissa Vravis, President of Mountain Ridge Little League.
However, Vravis says there was nothing physical in the league.
“We’ve had a couple of instances this year where parents have approached umpires after games about calls that they weren’t totally happy about during the game,” said Jason Caldwell, the President of the Henderson Little League.
Caldwell says parents are instructed up front about not harassing umpires. He says it doesn’t happen much. But when it does, a disciplinary committee discusses consequences.
“Those parents are generally suspended and not allowed to come back to the game for a certain amount of games,” said Caldwell.
Caldwell says suspended parents can make up for their behavior.
“If they don’t like what the umpires are doing on the field, they have an opportunity to lessen their suspension by umpiring a game themselves,” said Caldwell.
However, parents who have been suspended haven’t taken the league up on the offer.
“A couple instances we’ve had, they’ve decided to take their full suspension and not umpire the games.,” said Caldwell.
Vravis says little league is competitive as it’s grown, which may have led some parents to want to argue calls with umpires. She says she’s proud of how parents typically act but has let parents know baseball is fun for the kids and they are watching how parents act.
“No one is getting a college scholarship today here. No one is moving to the pros. So, let’s let them play baseball. And let’s them enjoy the best game on the planet,” she said.
Caldwell says they have seen shortages of umpires in the league but says the league has turned to the Foothill High School Varsity and Junior Varsity baseball teams to help out with umpiring games and says players are glad to lend a hand.
of the Henderson Little League. He added that parents are instructed upfront about not harassing umpires.
Caldwell says it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, a disciplinary committee discusses the consequences.
“Those parents are generally suspended and not allowed to come back to the game for a certain amount of games,” he noted. “Last season, we noticed that the parents had taken an extreme excitement toward their kids playing baseball and when that happens, sometimes they do become unruly.”
Parents suspended due to their behavior are offered an interesting opportunity to make up for their actions.
“If they don’t like what the umpires are doing on the field, they have an opportunity to lessen their suspension by umpiring a game themselves,” Caldwell said. “And see what it’s like to be out there on the field and experience what those high school kids, and even the older folks who do our games, experience, having people yelling at them for two straight hours.”
The league has not received any takers on its offer.
“We have not had anyone take advantage of the ‘lessen your suspension by umpiring,’” Caldwell confirmed. “A couple instances we’ve had, they’ve decided to take their full suspension and not umpire their games.”
Caldwell said the company used to secure umpires has not always had enough to supply leagues across the Valley, so they have partnered with the Foothill High School varsity and J.V. baseball teams to crew some games. He said those players have been happy to do it.
Colby Davis, President of the Mountain Ridge Little League, said she hasn’t heard of any physical encounters there. She added that she is proud of how parents typically act, but noticed that certain behaviors have escalated in recent years. She addressed this by sending out a reminder to parents.
“No one is getting a college scholarship today here,” Davis said. “No one is moving to the pros. So let let them play baseball and let them enjoy the best game on the planet.”
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