Videos by OutKick
Can you do a better job than the umpires?
If you run your mouth this year at a New Jersey Little League, you’ll find yourself getting the chance to suit up and call games before you’ll be allowed back as a spectator. Prove just how good you are calling balls and strikes, tough guy.
The Deptford Little League is so fed up with losing umpires due to unruly parents that it has issued the following new rules, according to WPVI: Fight with umps during a game and you’ll face a ballpark suspension until you call three games.
“If the parents are going to be sitting there yelling the whole entire game they might as well use that energy out on the field,” one lady told the TV station.
This rule is absolutely perfect at the house ball/Little League level where you can manage who’s in the stands. This past Saturday, I found myself behind the plate (off to the side because I didn’t have a mask) calling balls and strikes during a scrimmage between my 10U team — the Astros (no, my kids don’t steal signs) — and the Miami Marlins, whose jerseys make them look like they’re about to crush margs at The Clevelander on South Beach.
Anyway, it was my first time calling balls and strikes — ever.
I spent about a dozen years as a catcher during my youth baseball days, so I already have an appreciation for umpires, but I’d never felt the pressure of calling balls and strikes on a kid with a six-inch strike zone.
How much plate do I give to my pitcher? Do I call the neck-to-ankles strike zone to get this game going? Wait, what’s the count again? I didn’t have a counter to keep track. Yes, there were a couple of calls where parents could’ve unloaded on me, but again, it was a scrimmage so the parents were well-behaved.
But we all know that’s not the case across the United States where umpires are ripped to shreds. OutKick founder Clay Travis was run out of a park in 2022 for dropping an f-bomb on a paid ump at some travel ball tournament.
We all know it’s hard to find umpires because at the end of the day who wants to be yelled at, taunted, made fun of, and traumatized for missing a call? The numbers who are willing to do it are dwindling. At the Deptford Little League, two volunteer umpires quit this past week. In Alabama, games are being canceled outright because nobody will step up to call the games.
And this isn’t exclusive to the United States. The Perth (Aussie Rules) Football League announced this spring that 30 of 330 teams needed umpires. Parents were warned in Canada that if umpires can’t be found, games will not be played this season.
As a 10U house ball coach for the next 2 1/2 months, you know what I want? I want parents to show up, realize it’s just two hours of baseball and then they’ll be going home to drink multiple bottles of wine.
Dear Baseball Jesus, just let me get through this season without some maniac causing one of these:
And how can we possibly forget this bright moment for parents vs. umpires when the mom asked the ump if he’s mad that the kids are taller than him.
That’s it, he’s D-O-N-E.
Keep it up, parents. Soon you won’t have umps for those travel ball tournaments six hours from home where you’re dropping a grand in hotel costs.
Think long and hard about the world you want to live in.