Unhappy Umpire Says Rule Change Desperately Needed in Section 3 Baseball
At least one local umpire has seen enough and says it's time for a new rule to be implemented for high school baseball in the Utica and Syracuse-areas.
Sal Barbero has been calling games at various youth levels for two decades and is calling for the addition of the 'mercy rule' for Section-3 high school baseball.
''I emailed the head of Section-3, John Rathbun, about the 10-run rule. I'm not gonna put out school names, but just in the past two or three days we've had scores in varsity baseball of 19-1, 25-3, 22-14, and 18-8,'' Barbero said on the Keeler in the Morning Show on WIBX 950. ''I couldn't take it anymore.''
The veteran ump also said he recently called a junior varsity game where the deficit was 25 runs after three-innings.
In his email, Barbero said he made the point: '' 'You guys are always preaching about player safety. How is player safety [being considered] when it's 28-2 in the fourth-inning, and we have to play 6.5 to 7 full innings?' It's non-competitive, the players don't wanna be there, the fans don't wanna be there. And, to be honest, it takes umpires off their game, too,'' Barbero said. ''That's not even baseball when the score is that out of control.''
Barbero said Section-2 baseball to our East has a 10-run rule, as does every Mohawk Valley-area summer league from Minor League to Little League, travel ball, and junior and senior levels of American Legion Baseball. All except Section-3 JV and varsity, he said.
''Section-3 is a lawsuit away. If a kid breaks their arm, breaks their leg, in a non-competitive game, the parent is going to be asking why their son was playing in a 30-2 game in the fifth-inning.''
When games turn into blowouts, the score and game-play tend to get worse as the game goes on, Barbero said, because coaches will put players on the mound who aren't pitchers or don't pitch often. The reason being, with poor weather and a short window to get games-in, a coach doesn't want burn innings from his better pitchers when he still has two or three games to play that week.
And, those thrashings don't serve the sport well, either, he said. Players and parents lose interest, as do umpires.
''We're losing umpires at a record pace, this is the worst I've seen it in my 20 years. Guys leave because they get too old, they retire, or their hours at work get changed and they can't do it. Add this to the list. If this keeps going on, there's gonna be a lot of guys who say 'That's it, I can't do it anymore.'"
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