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Old Thu Apr 06, 2006, 11:48am
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Why be in the Minor league Union to begin with

Ok since we are on the topic of the Minor League Umpires Union I thought I would take a different "twist" on what's going on.

I'll start by asking this question? What is the benefit of being in a Minor League Union anyway?

Here is what I am talking about and perhaps you know some individuals who had the same thing happen to them.

The majority of the umpire movement in the Minor Leagues is within the Minor league program itself. Very few make it to the PROS.

My summer assignor is good friends with an individual who attented PRO School and this individual made it up to Triple A. I can't remember the exact time frame he was in Triple A, 2 or 3 years. After the 2nd/3rd year, he received a letter in the mail that said.

"Major League baseball no longer requires your services" and just like that he was out of a job. No severance pay, No Nothing. To my knowledge and I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. An umpire who makes it to Triple A has a certain amount of time to make it to the "Show" and if he doesn't then he is released to make room for other Umpires wanting to go from Double A to Triple A.

Do you think the Teamsters Union would have become a Big outfit under those type of circumstances? Answer: NO. One joins a Union for: benefits, safety conditions, and Protection meaning an employer simply can't fire you without having your shop seward present. Here in the Minor leagues, your career can end at any moment and what Ultimate benefit do you receive.

I think what could happen someday if not already in the works is that Umpires for the Minor Leagues will be chosen from the College ranks. Just like a draft system works.

Summary: What's the purpose of the Minor league Umpires union to begin with? Does the Union really look out for it's participants?

Pete Booth
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Old Thu Apr 06, 2006, 11:56am
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Others here have alluded to the real issue, IMO..its not current pay, bennies, per diem, whatever. Its the entire system of umpire intake/progression/firing.

For whatever reason, baseball and the umpires support/have supported the monopoly of the process by only two schools and the PBUC, and rigidly control the pipeline in every aspect using reasoning and methods that are often serious compromised by politics. In yours and other countless examples, logic does not play a strong role here. I'm sure that the current system's defenders would argue its merits over all other alternatives, but I have trouble seeing its advantages, other than total control over the process.

As I read the situation, a possible outcome to this current labor tiff could be the dissolution of the current monopoly-system, to the benefit of future umpires. That, if it comes to pass, will have far greater longterm effects than the pay/benefit status of the current strikers.
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Old Thu Apr 06, 2006, 12:05pm
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Great questions, Pete.
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Old Thu Apr 06, 2006, 12:20pm
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It is just that- total control of the process. The two schools are completely independent of professional baseball (by the way the "pros" is minor league and major league baseball) and each other. They are simply the only two to meet the standards set by professional baseball. The reason they don't just pick good college guys is because there is still a huge gap between college umpires and professional ones, a gap bigger than the one between college players and professional ones. First off, the average age of a college umpire is far far older than that of a professional one. Starting off with two man mechanics on diamonds featuring world-class athletes, a 45,55, or 65 year old man is going to struggle over the course of a season (the 25 year old guys sometimes do.). Minor league baseball is full time, though seasonal job; few if any of the college guys would give up their "real" jobs for an umpiring gig. They also are looking for MLB umpire prospects. a 45 year old doesn't make for a very attractive prospect because by the time he puts in his 6-10 years in the minor's (which is absolutely necessary) he is 55 going to the bigs. They just invested all of that time and money just to get maybe 10 years out of him before he retires and takes them for the big league retirement. That's just bad business. None of this takes into account the fact that there is no standardized training for college umpires. Some are very good umpires, others are horrible but at the exact same level. The amateur ranks work on a system in which assignors are God's and decisions are often made less than objectively. College umpires also use some (not all-most of the mechanics are the same and have trickled down from pro-ball) mechanics that are very much frowned upon by professional baseball. Not to mention the way in which situations are handled is COMPLETELY different. There is a completely different attitude at the professional level. Simply put, college umpires and professional ones live in totally different worlds. The pro schools are the only way because professional baseball wants things done their way and only their way so as to maximize the umpires chances of survival and make sure there is standardized training at the professional level. The two schools teach students that way.
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Old Thu Apr 06, 2006, 12:28pm
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Jiggy,
I don't see anyone that is saying that the two worlds aren't different as they are now, but what if one of them changed? Take a look and the post I put in the Div 1 thread. I know they are different, I have been in both and I am sure you have too. But I am not silly enough to think that you and I are the only two that can work in pro-ball. Guys will have to learn the differences, and if the AMLU doesn't settle soon, we will see just how long it takes guys to figure out the differences.
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Old Fri Apr 07, 2006, 02:55am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteBooth
Ok since we are on the topic of the Minor League Umpires Union I thought I would take a different "twist" on what's going on.

I'll start by asking this question? What is the benefit of being in a Minor League Union anyway?

Here is what I am talking about and perhaps you know some individuals who had the same thing happen to them.

The majority of the umpire movement in the Minor Leagues is within the Minor league program itself. Very few make it to the PROS.

My summer assignor is good friends with an individual who attented PRO School and this individual made it up to Triple A. I can't remember the exact time frame he was in Triple A, 2 or 3 years. After the 2nd/3rd year, he received a letter in the mail that said.

"Major League baseball no longer requires your services" and just like that he was out of a job. No severance pay, No Nothing. To my knowledge and I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. An umpire who makes it to Triple A has a certain amount of time to make it to the "Show" and if he doesn't then he is released to make room for other Umpires wanting to go from Double A to Triple A.

Do you think the Teamsters Union would have become a Big outfit under those type of circumstances? Answer: NO. One joins a Union for: benefits, safety conditions, and Protection meaning an employer simply can't fire you without having your shop seward present. Here in the Minor leagues, your career can end at any moment and what Ultimate benefit do you receive.

I think what could happen someday if not already in the works is that Umpires for the Minor Leagues will be chosen from the College ranks. Just like a draft system works.

Summary: What's the purpose of the Minor league Umpires union to begin with? Does the Union really look out for it's participants?

Pete Booth
Pete,

You have asked some very good questions. I'll try to answer each in turn:

1. The AMLU was formed BECAUSE of the way MiLB has treated umpires.

2. The union was formed & signed the first contract in 2001. Prior to 2001, each umpire signed a seperate contract with MiLB/PBUC.

3. Much of what the AMLU is trying to achieve during negotiations relate directly to these very issues.

4. Without the union, MiLB was free to transfer, promote or demote or terminate umpires at will. The original contract helped set some reasonable standards with regard to ranking, promotion, etc (It didn't solve all the problems by any stretch).

5. MLB supervises umpires at the AAA level. An umpire that MLB feels is not a viable candidate will be released after 2-3 years so that a AA umpire can be promoted.

The entire system, umpires and player alike, is based on up or out. If you are not a viable MLB prospect/candidate by a certain point in your carreer you are released so someone else has an opportunity.

Frankly, I feel that MLB should have retained umpire development. The result would have been similar in regard to standards, with better supervision and working conditions for the MiLB umpires. PBUC management is a joke (There are some great folks working there).
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