GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the sports world to a halt.
When many people think of those affected by the cancellations, players, coaches and even fans are top of mind.
But another party deserves a strong level of consideration – the officials.
For sports that never had a chance to get rolling in 2020, the hit was especially hard. Baseball umpires plan their summers and bank accounts around game-filled weekends, but this year, they’re missing both a paycheck and the game they love.
“It’s definitely a financial thing because some guys use the extra money for a car payment or to do something for the kids, family vacation, stuff like that,” umpire Brad Thede said. “But honestly there are some guys out there that are just hurting emotionally because they just love to umpire baseball.”
But the pandemic isn’t the only obstacle baseball is facing in Wisconsin – the pool of umpires and officials is becoming even more shallow, and while many are hopeful the return of sports will bring renewed interest in officiating, COVID-19 could cause some umpires to hang up the face mask for good.
“Our guys in blue, they’re caught in the crossfire right now,” said Tom Senecal, president of the Green Bay Officials Association. “We were all sitting on deck chairs on the Titanic with respect to officiating numbers. I mean we need baseball and softball umpires like there’s no tomorrow.
“Hopeful on one end, we’re going to get an influx of at least people looking over the fence, now whether they be one-year people, one-year wonders, two-year, three-year, it’ll be interesting to see what’s going to happen.”
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