Spokane region hit by little league umpire shortage


SPOKANE, Wash. -Little league baseball is an American past time. Kids start playing as young as the age of three. But when you take away umpires or officials it threatens to reshape the game "I think the biggest thing is just that baseball was meant to be played with an umpire and has been for over 150 years," said Jason Peterson who's

Parents like Jason are concerned that games without umpires or officials could get out of hand. The reason is that some parents become overly passionate about the game their kids are participating in. One league has even set a code of conduct for parents, in which they have to sign. It has 17 cardinal rules including "I will remember that children participate to have fun that the game is for youth, not adults." Jason thinks parents need to take a back seat when it comes to their kids enjoying the game. "I think a lot of parents are harder on their own kids. I've seen in the past we had to have an occasional game umpired by parents and if your son is pitching, you're going to be very hard on your own child."

Not only is the umpire and official shortage hitting Eastern Washington but across the nation and in several sports like wrestling, basketball, and softball. Here's why, there's a lack of respect by some parents and players, retirement, and safety are two other significant factors that are contributing to the shortage. Bias and the lack of experience also play's a role when parents take the mound to call the strikes when umpires aren't there to call the game. Jason and others say it's often happening "You just don't know what you're going to get. You don't know all the parents on all the teams you don't know who's umpiring that day  you might get someone who is not impartial.. you might even get someone who doesn't know the rules of the game."

We spoke with the Spokane Indians Youth Baseball League, and they said while referee numbers are better than last year. There's still a shortage, and they use all the help they can get.

To Sign up to become a referee in Spokane Youth Baseball you can call them at (509) 321-1999.  If you are interested in becoming an umpire for high school sports Contact Bob Francis at 509-230-5045 or email him at bfrancis@savravb.org. For more information: https://woa.arbitersports.com/front/104759/Site

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