It's Little League Regionals time. Across the country there are kids playing in the most important games of their lives on national tv (or streaming services ...tomato/ tomatoe) to have a chance to compete for a title at Williamsport in the Little League World Series. I love it because it's the last real pure event in the country. Kids playing baseball before they really get jaded by sports and it feels like a job where workouts are mandatory and the fun slowly gets sucked out of the game. I also love it because of the unpredictability. No lead is safe, wild plays happen, and chaos ensues it's great TV.
Now for all the positives, Little League does have a lot of negatives. If you are unfamiliar with my past, I am very knowledgeable about the different rules etc. One big issue for me is that the umpires are not paid, which normally wouldn't be a problem if Little League was scraping by in terms of finances. On the contrary their TV deal in 2013 was worth 60 mil and the latest one was estimated to be bigger but an official number was never announced. Even if it stayed flat, 6-8 year deal worth 60 mil from ESPN is great money. Little League instead of using that money to hire the best umps and pay them across the country, they have "camps" in which umpires interested in working the regional or LLWS must attend to get work. The camps are $275 per ump. A complete "money grab" as they say, and also a complete joke because it means they don't have the best umps they just have ones willing to pay to get on the field. Absolute joke and crime to do this to these kids and parents and coaches who sacrifice so much all summer to play in these tournaments. The least they can do is give them a fair shake.
You can read all about my gripes on umps below ...
Anyway back to this game. So we established we have absolutely unqualified umps ,who again it's not their fault and I'm not mad at them. The games need to be worked, the system is in place that allows subpar umps to work the most important games of the year and these guys paid to do it so they are just part of the system, can't fault the pawns. Who you can fault is the system, or the kings and queens who set up this shitty system. Disgraceful. I equate it to a car repair shop sending out a kangaroo to fix your muffler and when you complain them using the defense of "it's the best we got." Except it's not the best they got they just refuse to pay people capable of doing the job.
Anyway... even under-qualified umps should have enough of a skill set to keep track of the count. It's 3 strikes and you're out like the song says for God Sakes. What am I missing here ? The kid swung and missed at 2 pitches clear as day ... CLEAR AS DAY. And you have an entire crew of umps so bad that not 1 of them takes a second look and says "hey we sure he's 1-1 ? I saw two swings." Nope ...they all say zero. Two busy thinking about telling all the people back home how great it was they worked a regional. .. meanwhile they botched the at bat like the Bay of Pigs. And these moron announcers from ESPN who are just PUPPETS for Little League refusing to say a word about the count or show a replay. Absolute joke. Everyone covering up the crime and sweeping it under the rug while the kids get absolutely hosed. Such a joke. Mind you it's day 1 of the regionals... DAY 1 ... and we have umpires who can't count to 3! Unreal. Fix the system.
And to make matters worse ... Little League social media tweets it out with no mention they hired a pack of dopes who can't count and potentially affected the game. Also they cropped out the count like complete pussies.
What a joke.
Luckily Virginia won the game in the 6th with a rally but the point remains … you can't have people who can't do the job … do the job. If someone loves helping people and is a real sweetheart doesn't mean you let them do open heart surgery on you. Same should be the case for umpiring. Pay the best and leave the dopes who pay their way in at the door. It's unfair to the kids.