June 2017
Umps Have Had It!

Rob Brown couldn’t believe his ears as he stood behind home plate. Brown, the chief umpire for Little League for the majority of the Treasure Valley of Idaho, had just called a third strike on a young batter. The boy turned to Brown and gave his two cents.

“What, are we golfing here?”

A lesser man might have been angry. Brown took the high road and smiled.

“This kid is 11 years old,” Brown said.

The days of silence and compliance are over. Talking back is back. And officials have had enough.

Referee and umpire numbers are declining across the country. Only two of every 10 continues officiating into their third year, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. And the trend is not isolated to urban areas of the country.

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