The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a teenage umpire fell to the ground during a dispute at a baseball game in Springfield Twp.
Witness accounts vary about what exactly happened Monday night at Possum Elementary School but the teenage umpire did hit his head because of the fall. He was not taken to the hospital.
Deputies responded to the ball field at around 9 p.m. Sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Brown said some witnesses told deputies the adult pushed the teenager to the ground, while others told authorities the umpire was backing away from the adult and tripped or stumbled over an object on the ground.
No charges have been filed in connection to the incident and an investigation is continuing.
The umpire, Dustin Massie, told this news organization he was pushed during the on-field fight.
He said it started when a woman came onto the field during the game.
“She came into the field and started yelling at me about how my brother hurt her kid and stuff and I said, ‘ma’am I don’t care about what’s going on at the playground, I care about this game right now,” Massie said.
An assistant coach made his way onto the field, the umpire said, and attempted to break up the altercation. However, things didn’t end there.
“I kept telling her to be quiet. And he was standing in between us and when I finally told her to shut up like in a mean way because she wasn’t listening, he went ahead and shoved me onto the ground,” Massie says.
This news organization attempted to reach out to the Possum Recreation Program, but a phone call was not returned.
Jim Heatherly, a lead assigner with West Central Ohio Umpire Assignors, said the incident should have never escalated as it did.
“It lasted long enough that an umpire ended up on the ground,” he said. “No matter whose fault it was.”
As a result of the incident, the West Central Ohio Umpire Assignors will no longer assign umpires to the Possum Recreation Program.
“I cannot ask an umpire to put himself/herself in harm’s way with the administration or fans of your program,” an email sent by Heatherly says. “West Central Ohio Assignors has the expectation that our umpires will be protected from fans and supported by program administration.”
Heatherly said these types of incidents happen far too often to umpires — especially young ones who are still learning.
“Everywhere across the state, people are not wanting to become officials anymore and our problem is we can’t even train our new officials because they are one-man crews. I started my career working with an older guy, but the girls and guys nowadays don’t have partners at the lower levels and that is going to hurt this profession. It’s already hurting it.”
He said in previous years, a crowd of upset parents would quiet themselves when they realized they were getting out of hand. He said at least, one or two parents would work to hush the rest if the crowd became unruly. That’s not always the case anymore.
“We don’t want our umpires to be soft. They need to be able to have coaches come out to argue a call, deal with it and move on,” Heatherly said. “We have crowds burst out over a play but then they catch themselves and stop. But nowadays, with the stopping, they are not finding that point. There is no one in the crowd or an administrator to stop it and it continues to fester and fester.”
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