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home : opinions : our views August 22, 2017

8/2/2017 12:32:00 PM
Time to start supporting officials
J. Patrick Reilly

After listening to comments about his strike zone for 10 innings, an umpire at an amateur men's baseball game announced he had leaving.
The umpire walked over to the dugout, took the balls out of his ballbag and tossed them on the ground and said, "You guys go umpire the game yourself."
The umpire was hired to arbitrate the game for $100. What did he do with the money?
"Don't even send me the money," he said. "I'm done."
The teams decided to stop the game with the umpire absent and it ended in a 1-1 tie.
Sadly, officials leaving may be happening more in a lot of sports from amateur down through the youth ranks. The reason?
It is the B word. You know, the word that rhymes with 'itch?'
There is way too much of it in sports at all levels. The worst thing about it is that officials do not want to work under those conditions. And from what I have witnessed the past couple years and this summer, it is not getting any better.
I have heard fans say they feel they are entitled to yell at officials because they paid their way into the game. Maybe those fans should go out on the floor or field and let the officials pay their couple of dollars and yell at them.
Or maybe better yet, let the fans who feel they know so much about the game and obviously feel they could do a better job, register with the state association and start refereeing or umpiring. We all know they are needed.
Or maybe even better yet, why not grow up, cheer for the team you are following and enjoy the experience sports can offer.
That might be the best idea.
I had an umpire tell me this summer that the ranks are so low and young people are not taking up officiating that he and his partner have a full slate of games next year. He will be 79 and his partner will be 80.
It is great they enjoy umpiring so much that they will be back again. But what happens when they have to hang it up?
The time has come to start respecting officials and let them do their job. If that does not happen and no new officials take it up I hate to think about what will happen.
As they say in the world of baseball, "If there are no umpires we don't have a game."

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