Coaches & Parents,
There is no doubt 2020 has brought much uncertainty into all of our lives. Our youth have been fortunate enough to continue to play the game they love alongside their teammates to provide some normalcy in their lives and ours. Going to the ball park on a hot summer day is indeed America’s Pastime. When we started playing baseball again in late May it was like Utopia being back at the ball park, seeing the game we missed so much being played again. There was a palpable happiness that could be felt at the ball park. Fast forward two months; it seems that gratitude and happiness has left many of us.
For those of you who may not know, there is a National shortage of umpires at the youth and high school level. This shortage has existed for years but the issue becomes more evident each year. The reason for this is simple; many of the experienced umpires refuse to umpire youth baseball due to the lack of respect shown to them by coaches and parents. When the older generation no longer will umpire youth baseball, we are forced to go to the younger generation. However, the younger generation has no interest in a job where being disrespected is common place. That’s where youth baseball stands today; experienced umpires wanting to call fewer youth games and less younger umpires wanting to be trained to umpire due to the lack of respect shown to them at the ball park.
Not only does youth baseball not exist without umpires; it also does not exist without fields to play on. We have been fortunate for the last 27 years to have City after City welcome us to their townships and to their ball parks. A tide has turned over the years where it is becoming more common for Cities to not welcome “comp baseball” back into their cities. The reasons for this come back to RESPECT, or the lack thereof. The fields we play on were originally built for City residents to enjoy. With the expansion of “comp sports” throughout the years, cities have opened up fields to more than their citizens.
We must ask ourselves how we can leave these parks after a tournament so the Cities are excited for us to come back, rather than dreading our return. Trash continues to be a massive problem, as for some reason people choose to treat youth baseball like they are attending a MLB game by leaving trash everywhere. Also, the lack of respect with basic park rules, such as parking where you shouldn’t and not adhering to NO DOGS ALLOWED. All of this is giving travel baseball a bad rap and has even caused some Cities where we have long lasting relationships, to not welcome RMSB back. We must do a better job at showing some sanctity to these ball parks.
We call upon all Coaches and Parents with Rocky Mountain School of Baseball to dismiss the notion that “it’s part of the game” to yell at an umpire in disgust when they miss a call. What is part of the game is RESPECT. It is time to make the ball park an enjoyable place again for ALL those who choose to attend and to the Cities who welcome us; a place where the world stops for a few hours as coaches and parents witness their child be part of a team and an even larger baseball community. Remember, it is okay to smile and have a little fun while at a ball game!!!
Let us all be a part of the solution for the future of Youth Baseball!
Respect the Game!
Rocky Mountain School of Baseball
542 South 330 West, Providence, UT 84332