Umpire shortage real, not rare

Posted February 10, 2010


Umpire shortage real, not rare

Every season Powerline Baseball League teams scramble around calling players and trying to acquire some new ones for another season in the sun.

However, in addition to the search and stress for PBL managers comes a new and possible silent killer of the league – the case of the dwindling supply of umpires.

It’s a problem that’s not isolated to the Powerline League or even rural areas of Alberta. The lack of qualified and passionate officials to govern the sport we all love is evident from big city to small village, from mosquito to twilight.

“We have the old farts like us, and the young kids, but we don’t have that middle age group,” said one Baseball Alberta umpire out of St. Albert. “It’s like that everywhere.”

Last year, the league used around 7 or 8 umpires total for the entire season and playoffs. This meant some games had just one umpire, and teams see the same guys game after game, after game.

“We’ve discussed with Sherwood Park umpires and they seem interested in assigning games with mileage if our league is under Baseball Alberta,” said interim Armena manager Jason Buzzell. “I guess we’ll wait and see if that comes to fruition.”

Still, some in the city don’t think Sherwood Park has enough umpires either. and the shortage will continue, whether the league is under Baseball Alberta or not.

“Who will they get? There’s a lot of baseball going on there, too,” said the St. Albert ump. “Kids shouldn’t be umpiring men. Even on the bases.”

It is true the league may have to be open to younger umpires, especially on the basepaths as the older umpire tutors them in what is supposed to be a rec league. In the past, newer younger umpires have been scolded, intimidated and harassed by

“I am all for becoming a training ground of sorts for younger umpires,” Buzzell said. “I just hope other teams don’t ruin it. We can either have two umpires and one be learning and plying his trade in our league, or we can see our games get umped by one guy or worse, canceled due to the shortage.

Seems simple to me.”

Posted on February 10, 2010 by Jason Buzzell

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