It’s unclear who will be calling balls and strikes after two umpires were allegedly harassed and threatened after a Taunton West Little League game Monday night.
The Greater Taunton Amateur Baseball Umpire Association says it is suspending officiating service to the league after two umps were met with an angry crowd, including a man allegedly threatening to physically assault the pair.
“Telling me they were going to kick my fat butt but not using the word butt,” umpire Paul Nadeau told Boston 25 News.
In an email to the board, umpire Paul Nadeau says he and his partner were “constantly ridiculed” throughout the game. The crowd continually jeered at the pair that they were ruining the game and they needed to earn their payment, according to Nadeau. When the game ended, Nadeau says a man approached the pair, saying he was going to “kick our ass.”
“It created an uprising in the crowd,” says Nadeau.
Nadeau says he told the man to back off or else he would call the police. However, the man allegedly continued to follow them back to the parking lot, still threatening to assault the two umpires.
“We are not prepared to handle harassment and verbal abuse after the game especially as we are trying to leave the parking lot,” says fellow ump David DeOliveira.
“In my last 20 years of umpiring, I have never seen an incident like this ever in my life at any level of baseball,” Nadeau wrote in his email. “Not only is this unacceptable in general, but even more so on a Little League level in front of children.
“When you have parents, legal guardians, spectators that are promoting this type of verbiage on and off the field it definitely sends a precedent that it is okay for the kids to do it as well,” says DeOliveira.
“People have lost focus that this is a kid’s game,” says Nadeau.
The president of the Taunton Little League, Tyler Doehler released a statement reading in part:
“As a league we take this matter very seriously. All parties involved in the incident have been suspended from our park indefinitely. Our focus remains on getting the kids back on the field and allowing them to complete their amazing season.”
After a meeting, the GTAUB determined that the Little League was in breach of its contract for allowing the behavior to occur without punishment. The board says it then voted “overwhelmingly” to suspend umpiring service to the league.
Dominic Damiano-President of the Amateur Baseball Umpiring Association says his umpires won’t officiate any more of their games for the rest of the season. Little league volunteers will have to step up instead.
“It was unsafe, and I was not going to put those guys in that situation, and I had to make sure that it wasn’t going to happen again,” says Damiano.
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