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Local umpires face financial setback with baseball games cancelled

high school umpire Kyler Padgett.jpg
Posted at 8:13 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 20:18:01-04

Kyler Padgett sifts through his shipment of unopened umpire equipment, which arrived two weeks ago – shortly before coronavirus began shutting down most of society around us.

"Now we're sitting here with it just setting in the box,” said Padgett.

This was supposed to be Padgett’s first year umpiring high school baseball games in Northern Kentucky.

"I was really excited actually,” said Padgett.

Many of those games, though, have already been called off.

"So far, for the first two weeks of the season, 419 [games]," explained Perry Wing, who assigns umpires to games across Northern Kentucky.

He’s already had to tell umpires that those 419 games have been cancelled.

Multiply that number by $65, which is what umpires generally get paid to call a high school baseball game; and consider the fact that most varsity games require multiple umpires.

You come up with $30,000 to $40,000 that should be in the pockets of local umpires, but won’t because of the cancellations.

"Financially it's going to hit these guys pretty hard,” said Wing.

That's just the first two weeks of the season in one small portion of the area. There could certainly be more games canceled in the near future.

"I didn't pull anything out of the bags because I was waiting to pull it out Saturday and wear it fresh,” said Padgett, as he pulled his brand new umpire equipment out of the box.

Umpires like Padgett are actually out several hundred dollars already.

"$350 was what the total ended up being around,” recalled Padgett.

Typically, an umpire would make that money back in a week or two, umpiring games.

"Parents or coaches can get on you, but you have to have thick skin,” said Padgett, who has umpired youth league games for several years.

Officiating any type of game can be a tough, thankless job at times.

"It does take thick skin,” said Wing. “You have to have patience. You have to have professionalism."

It's even tougher, knowing they can’t do that job at all.

"We're going to get through this,” said Wing. “Once they say ‘Play ball,’ we're going to be out there having fun just like everyone else!"