Taking Charge: New Jersey Little League's Rule Requires Complaining Parents to Umpire
For generations, children have taken to the field to play Little League baseball, while their passionate parents have engaged in heated debates with umpires over contentious calls.
Philadelphia's WPVI news recently highlighted an innovative approach a southern New Jersey league is taking to address this recurring issue.
This season, the Deptford Township Little League has implemented a new rule that invites vocal spectators, who believe they can outperform the volunteer umpires, to step up and show their skills.
Under this new rule, any audience member who challenges an umpire's decision during a game will be required to umpire three games themselves before they can return to the stands as a spectator.
League president Don Bozzuffi expressed his surprise at how some parents seem to think they have a better perspective on the game than the umpires. "It always amazes me that they can see a strike better over there than the umpire can one foot in back of them," he told the TV station.
Unfortunately, the situation had deteriorated to the point where two volunteer umpires resigned last week due to the abuse they received. Bozzuffi noted, "They're coming here, they're being abused, they don't need that. So they're walking away."When interviewed by the station, parents appeared to be in favor of the new rule, despite it not yet being put into action.
Bozzuffi emphasized that the primary goal is not to have parents become expert umpires, but rather to help them understand the challenges faced by those on the field. "The main purpose is not for them to be able to call a baseball game," he said, "but for them to see what's going on out here and it's not that easy."
As a parent of multiple sons that have gone through the ranks of little league and travel ball, I 100% support this change. Nothing is worse than having to hear the Karen every single game bitch over and over about the calls in a baseball game involving our 10 year old children. It’s a GAME, and some parents need to re-learn this truth.
Oh, and by the way, umpiring is NOT easy. Good luck!