Fargo-Moorhead baseball leagues are in need of umpires
The demand of the job is running people out the profession and making new people reluctant to join
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR)- “Everything is a challenge. We’ve had to ask schools to play on different days now and again, really, anything sub varsity we’re probably one man officiating when it comes to umpiring because we just don’t have enough people,” said Todd Molden, Umpire coordinator for Legion Baseball.
Last season leaders of Fargo Youth Baseball tell me they they had to work around a lack of umpires all season.
“The parents in our program in our Red River Valley league which is like West Fargo, Moorhead those are some of the hosts sites. All the parents in those organizations have really done a good job stepping up and going behind the mound and calling the games,” said Alex Summer, Fargo Youth Baseball.
They say some umpires just don’t last long because of the environment. It’s impacting high school ball as well. Teams have had to reschedule games or play on days they normally wouldn’t.
“For some people, they start trying and they want to continue in a sport that they love, but you know, whether it be coaches or fans sometimes they get after them right away. If you’re inexperienced, you’re probably going to make a few mistakes. We all make mistakes, but you know no one likes to get yelled at,” said Summer.
Youth leagues went from having over 100 umpires registered in past years to 40 last year.
League leaders say they have worked diligently address the umpire shortage issue, but they’ve been striking out. Now they’ve gone back to the drawing boards and they’re determined to revamp their strategy and bring in the next generation of young umpires.
“We actually partnered with USA Baseball, so there is a certification. So, we do ask our umpires to do that online training. It takes a couple hours to complete and then we have some in-person trainings with our umpire committed that we’ll put on,” said Summer.
“I mean there’s not a lot of better things to do in Fargo in the summer then run around on a baseball diamond,” said Molden.
“Help us get back on the right track and it ultimately comes down to the experience for the kids,” said Summer.