Umpire heads: We’re here for the kidsPublished 12:00am Saturday, July 6, 2013
Local head umpires in charge said it’s been a quiet year on the diamond.
About two months ago, a soccer referee was punched after giving a yellow card to a player at a junior high school game. The referee, Ricardo Portillo, later died of his injuries.
On the baseball field, an official hasn’t taken any contact, City of Andalusia Umpire in Charge David Hollinghead said.
“Our umpires have been really good this year,” Hollinghead said. “Not many (coaches or players) have gotten upset with our umpires. They’ve made regular calls on the field.
“Generally, our parents and coaches have been pretty good,” he said.
Hollinghead said if a player strikes an umpire, it’s an automatic ejection from the game.
“Then, we’d have to go through (City of Andalusia superintendent of parks and cemeteries) Alan (Bracewell) and (Youth Sports Coordinator) Caitlin (Shipman) and the city to determine what course of action needs to be taken after that,” he said.
As recently as last weekend, umpires were busy toiling away calling both baseball and softball tournaments at Johnson Park and the Dwight Mikel Athletic Complex, respectively.
Johnson Park head of baseball umpires Brian Cross said as of early May, there haven’t been any incidents on the field. The same can be said for the last two months of play.
Cross said during the recreation league’s regular season, he’s used high school students as umpires.
That way, this gives them the opportunity to make a little money during the summer, he said.
As far as ejections are concerned, those who are ejected — either coach or player — they are fined $300.
Cross said there haven’t been any ejections he knows of this year, both in high school and in rec league.
Having umpires at games is important not only for the game itself, but for the players, Hollinghead and Cross said.
“It’s important to me,” Cross said. “We’re there to interpret the rules and the coaches are there to coach. Umpires are relevant and important. They need to be there.”
Hollinghead said “we’re out there to make sure the kids are having a good time.”