Township’s Little League Tackles Umpire Abuse With Assignments

Parents aren’t always an easy crowd and umpires can take the heat when the emotions run high in the stands. A New Jersey Little League organization started enforcing a new rule to tame a wild crowd of spectators who were fighting with volunteer umpires.

Officials with the Little League in Deptford Township, a suburb of Philadelphia, had to deal with a small number of spectators who yell at the umpires for calls that aren’t favorable to their rooting team.

Even though 90 percent of the people are well-behaved, the other 10 percent is becoming a real challenge for authorities. The league officials are kicking off the spring season of Little League baseball in Deptford with a more firm stance towards the poor behavior.

Deptford Township Little League President Don Bozzuffi said kids enjoy the sport but it’s the parents who are proving to be difficult with their repeated interferences.

“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,” Bozzuffi said.

The rambunctious crowd is causing serious emotional distress to the volunteer umpires that two of them have quit over the span of a week. “They’re coming here, they’re being abused, they don’t need that,” Bozzuffi said. “So they’re walking away.”

Deptford Township Little League have had enough of the poor sportsmanship and they would like to take action against the parents. Their solution is the following rule: if you fight with the umpires during a game, you have to volunteer your time to umpire three games before you’re allowed back as a spectator. It’s the ideal solution to fill in the vacant umpire positions.

“The main purpose is not for them 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,” said Bozzuffi.

Parents are supportive of the new rule. “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,” said Kateland Tokley, a mother in Somerdale.

“They’re not baseball players, they’re children. So always keep that in the back of your mind and let them play,” said Bozzuffi.

Even though parents may become umpires, there will also be a certified umpire on the grounds to make sure the calls are correct.

Source: https://abc7ny.com/little-league-umpire-fights-angry-parents-baseball-game-deptford/13180204/