I’ll admit, being a little league umpire may be one of the most thankless jobs on the planet.
Seriously, you can’t do anything right.
When you’re umping a little league game, you have to call any pitch close to the strike zone a strike, or you’ll be squatting behind home plate for a whole hour and a half and one inning hasn’t gone by yet because the pitcher can’t hit the broad side of a barn and walks in seven runs.
On top of that, they get paid next to nothing a game, and they’re typically a bunch of college kids who are trying to scrap up some loose change, and they still have to deal with every parent and coach chirping in their ear the whole game.
Of course, this has been going on since the invention of youth league baseball, so what’s a possible solution to this problem?
Well, it appears the folks who run a New Jersey little league has figured it all out.
And the answer?
Have the parents who heckle umpires be forced to umpire three games themselves.
According to WPVI, it’s all going down in Deptford, New Jersey in South Jersey, as league officials are saying if you fight with the umps, you’re going to be making the calls the next three games until you’re allowed to come back as a spectator.
Deptford Township Little League President Don Bozzuffi told the outlet:
“The kids love it. The kids come up to you, they’re all excited, it’s great.”
He also mentioned that the parents heckling has gotten to this point:
“They think that the call was bad, which always amazes me that they can see a strike better over there than the umpire can one foot in back of them.”
He added that the heckling has gotten so bad, that two volunteer umpires have already quit:
“They’re coming here, they’re being abused, they don’t need that. So they’re walking away.
The main purpose is not for them (the parents) to be able to call a baseball game, but for them to see what’s going on out here and it’s not that easy.”
The parents who the outlet spoke to also seem to be fans of the move.
Paige Durham of West Township said:
“If one kid is shoving too hard, parents get really aggressive.”
Pop Little of Paulsboro added:
“It’s bad sportsmanship, but it also, a lot of times, teaches the kids like – winning is everything, rather than playing hard, competing.”
Needless to say, some unlucky parents may be having to eat their words here soon.
And if you need an example of parents giving umpires the business…