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Northville Baseball-Softball Association

Northville Baseball-Softball Association

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May, 2021

Message from NBSA Umpire Committee Chair

Dear Parents and Coaches of NBSA players,

You may not know, but along with baseball and softball, NBSA has a very active umpire recruitment program. When a child turns 13 years old, he/she becomes eligible to umpire for the NBSA and our goal is to train as many of those as possible to become the future umpires of the NBSA. If they are interested, they attend a series of clinics where they learn the skills needed to become an umpire. We bring in seasoned MHSAA umpires to help us teach them many skills including:

  • Running the coach’s plate meeting
  • Handling adversity and criticism
  • Resolving conflict
  • Respecting the game and others
  • Handling responsibility

Our umpires begin by working games in our house program starting with 8U girls’ machine pitch. This is done intentionally for many reasons, but most importantly to help build their confidence as this level of the game has infrequent close plays. Even though two umpires are not necessary at this level, we typically have two umpires at these games. This allows a seasoned umpire to mentor a new umpire in order to help establish good habits that will be required as they work higher level games. After two years of umpiring the house level, they are eligible to umpire travel games. Eventually some of these umpires that have successfully gone through our program are hired as supervisors and mentors that roam the fields to evaluate the younger umpires and help them handle any issues that come up during a game. There is always a supervisor on duty if anything should arise.

Northville is very unique in that unlike other communities, NBSA invests a lot of time, money, and resources into our umpire program. We believe we are not only providing kids with their first job, but we are giving them skills that will make them productive members of society. Not only do we teach them to umpire, but we teach them to look adult coaches in the eye, shake their hand firmly, introduce themselves and take charge of the game. I have gladly provided internship and job references for these kids and we really try hard to promote a healthy team atmosphere.

With that being said, we are currently facing some unfortunate issues that involve our youth umpires. As you may guess, there are times when coaches are unhappy with a given call made in a game. While we give our umpires the skills and training to deal with unhappy coaches, the badgering of the umpires has increased and expanded to parents, grandparents and even team players verbally abusing our umpires. Let me emphasize again that some of these kids are as young as 13 years old. These kids are not perfect, just like the coaches and players on the field are not perfect. I do not know of any other job where this would be tolerated, nor should it be tolerated. I was very discouraged this week when one of our very valued and seasoned umpire mentors, that has been with us for over 10 years, informed me he was “done”. The joy of helping the kids was outweighed by the frustration of dealing with coaches and fans who were overly concerned with a call in an 8U girls’ machine pitch game on a weekday at Meads Mill.

Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but the verbal abuse from the coaches, fans, and players has increased this year. I am not in any way suggesting we wrap the umpires in a bubble – as I mentioned, part of our program is to teach these young umpires how to handle themselves when conflict arises. However, my fear is that if this trend continues, more umpires will surely leave and less kids will want to become umpires. Given we already have a hard time covering the games, the loss of umpires would be detrimental to the NBSA program.

Please be respectful. Please be kind. This is not MLB and it is a tough job even when there are no issues.  These kids are trying and although they will not get everything right or always make the call you want; they will hopefully get better with every game. My ask is that you think of these umpires as your kids, your kids’ friends and your neighbors, because more than likely, they are.


Jeff Antone – NBSA Umpire Committee Chair




Northville Baseball-Softball Association
PO Box 147 
Northville, Michigan 48167

Email: [email protected]

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