El Dorado Parks and Rec taking stand against umpire abuse

El Dorado Parks and Rec shared a post spelling out guidelines of what’s expected from players and coaches on its baseball and softball teams, as well as fans.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:46 PM CDT
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EL DORADO, Kan. (KWCH) - Taking a stand in the name of sportsmanship, El Dorado Parks and Recreation on Wednesday posted a stern warning and a simple message: set a good example for children. El Dorado Parks and Rec shared a post spelling out guidelines of what’s expected from its baseball and softball teams competing in the Wichita Heights Junior League and fans attending games.

Those guidelines to follow include:

  • No yelling or cursing at the umpires
  • Avoid excess complaining; it won’t change the call on the field
  • If your misbehavior causes you to be asked to leave, you will be banned from the next three games (home or away) and your team will have one strike against them (per league rules)
  • IF a team has three ejections (players, coaches or fans), they will forfeit the remainder of the season
  • Relax and enjoy watching the game

El Dorado Parks and Rec posted the guidelines following a few ejections already reported this season. It’s a growing problem across youth sports and those who officiate say it needs to change.

El Dorado Parks and Recreation Foreman Brian Urton has been an umpire for 20 years. He’s seen fellow umpires getting younger each season because it’s difficult to retain umpires due to abuse they get.

“Our job is to be out here, call a fair game and give back to the kids,” he said. “Beyond that, all that extracurricular stuff is a little too much sometimes.”

El Dorado Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Wishart said the umpire abuse he’s witnessed has been enough for many of them to refuse to come back and the guidelines his department shared aim to protect the officials.

“They’re trying to be fair and consistent, they’re going to make a mistake,” Wishart said. “Yelling at them is not going to fix that and they’re not going to make them come back.”

Wishart said he’s seeing more leagues take notice and are implementing similar rules as El Dorado Parks and Rec. The hope is to retain umpires and teah the value of sportsmanship.