▶️ ‘I want to see them squirm’: Little league makes abusive parents become umps


Fed up with parents behaving badly, causing volunteer umpires to quit, a New Jersey little league has come up with an option to deal with hecklers.

“We’re losing good volunteers, good umpires that no longer want to do it because of the abuse,” said Deptford Little League President Don Bozzuffi.

He can’t afford to lose any more umpires. He only has four to cover 15 games a week.

So, there’s a new rule at Deptford. Any parent who is verbally abusive to an umpire then has to work as an umpire for three games or be banned from coming back for up to a year.

“I want to see them squirm. I want to see them make that call and maybe they’ll see it’s not easy as it looks,” said Bozzuffi.

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A trained umpire will be with the parent to help properly call the game.

Mac Barnes’ kids play in Deptford’s little league and he has worked as an umpire. He, too, has been the target of harassment and supports the new rule.

“It’s sort of natural to say, ‘Buddy, if you could do a better job, come on down here and do it or don’t make any comments about the way I do it,” said Barnes.

Bozzuffi doesn’t call this new directive punishment, rather, an enlightenment — especially because a parent’s bad behavior negatively impacts their children.

“Cheer these kids on so it’s a positive experience for them because it’s all learned behavior. Anything that they see going on is going to carry over.”

Since publicizing the new rule, Bozzuffi says five people messaged him, interested in becoming umpires.


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