Umpire Volunteers

Northshore Little Leagues umpires are not paid. The purpose of Little League International and Northshore Little League is to help teach children sportsmanship, loyalty and respect for authority in the context of a well-run baseball program. Little League International encourages volunteer participation by people who share this objective - from league President to scorekeeper and everything in between. No one in NSLL is paid, even though an argument could be made for paying many of the positions.

Following are some of the factors that NSLL has considered when deciding to use volunteer umpires.

  1. Good sportsmanship between managers, players and umpires is exceedingly more important than the score of any game. We know umpires will make mistakes and it is great life training for everyone to learn how to deal with it properly.

  2. When parents volunteer to umpire, they learn the game better and become more invested in the league. We provide many training options every spring and urge our volunteers to get as much training as they can. Trained umpires are better fans and coaches.

  3. When parents decline to volunteer after being asked, they tend to be more respectful of those who took up the challenge and are less likely to bark and complain at other volunteers than they would be with paid umpires.

  4. Managers who must plead with their parents to volunteer to umpire are less likely to be rude to those men and women who step up, knowing that if they are rude, the volunteers will quit and there will be no umpires.

  5. Umpiring is more difficult than refereeing soccer or basketball.

  6. Leagues that pay tend to attract a larger contingent of teens who are excited to earn $25. They don't necessarily get better umpires. They often get worse.

  7. Competent adult umpires tend to choose Little League games out of their love for Little League, not for the money. If they are in it for pay or just baseball, then they will go umpire High School or higher level select games where the pay and quality of play is higher.

  8. If we start to pay one set of volunteers it tends to devalue other important roles like Managers and Board Members, where a high degree of competence is also important.

  9. Little League is about kids and community. It builds community when the umpire is your friend or someone you know from a prior team.

  10. When a League pays, it becomes an employer or has to set up an independent company to be the employer. That additional administrative and legal liability needs to be addressed.


Paying umpires may work well in some leagues and it may seem easier. But on balance, as NSLL has considered it, we've become more convinced that we love our volunteers and want to do everything we can to help them become the best they can be. Our hope is that as parents step up at AA and then into AAA, they learn along with the kids so that as they move into Minors, Major, Juniors and Seniors, their knowledge, skill and love of the game continues to mature . . . along with their kids, coaches and managers.

If you need more information or just want to volunteer to umpire then please contact our League President.

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