Umpires walk off field, quit after little league parents, players threaten them
TAUNTON, Mass. (WBZ) – There’s no one left to officiate playoff games for little league baseball teams in one Massachusetts town.
After parents and players verbally abused and threatened the umpires, the officials walked off.
Dominic Damiano, president of the Amateur Baseball Umpires Association, said the threats happened against two of his umpires at a recent little league game in Taunton.
“Profanity, verbal harassment, ‘I’m going to meet you in the parking lot,’” Damiano recalled the spectators saying at the game.
Damiano said at the game, the tying run was on base for the home team. The home plate umpire put his hand up to prevent the ball from going into play, and the field umpire saw it, too.
However, the batter stepped into the box and the pitcher delivered the ball. The batter hit a double, giving his team the lead late in the game.
But the umpires said the boy’s double didn’t count because the ball was not in play.
The batter then had to start over and try again, this time with the ball in play. He struck out.
That’s when chaos happened, Damiano said.
Paul Nadeau was the umpire behind home plate that night.
“As soon as we got off the field, we started to be confronted and accosted by numerous parents continuing to yell at us and get in our faces,” Nadeau said.
The umpire said several fans threatened to assault them on the field and again in the parking lot.
“We had kids that were being condoned to do that as well, as far as to yell at us and say we suck,” Nadeau said.
Damiano called the little league, saying the incident violated their contract with the Amateur Baseball Umpires Association. They won’t officiate another game, and now, the league has no umpires.
In a statement on Facebook, the little league called the situation an “isolated incident,” saying all parties involved have been suspended from games.
The league has offered to host games without fans or with a police presence if the umpires come back.
“We would like to go back. But there has to be some type of standard met,” Damiano said.
Soon, the little league and the umpires will meet with Taunton’s mayor to try to come to an agreement.
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