I've just about reached my breaking point, and I feel horrible about it. In case you didn't already know, Minor League umpires have been on strike all season and the strike continues. It's a horribly underreported story for the most part. The umpires make no more than $15,000/year and have gone without a raise for nine years. It seems reasonable to give them a raise. After all, without umpires there is no game. And without GOOD umpires, a game can seem more like going out for a nice night at the movies and instead seeing A Night at the Roxbury.
So to stand in solidarity with Blue I have refused to attend any Iowa Cubs games this season. It's been very difficult. I normally attend at least 30 games throughout the season. But I made the decision to stand with the umpires. They've put up with me for years, so I'm returning the favor. But it's getting harder every day. I think any baseball fan can understand why.
The thing that irritates me most, though, is the absolute lack of concern shown by the media and the general public. This is an important issue that deserves thorough discourse. But this is nothing new. Labor unions have been made out to be groups of greedy children, crying about having to do their job. And it's simply not true. Plants close and move out of town and you read the wise words from the local luminaries, "If the union wouldn't have demanded so much . . . " "Can you blame them for leaving? The union is too strong." But where are the savants complaining of CEO bonuses? Corporate jets taking VIPs on vacation?
Is minor league baseball struggling? Is it on the verge of collapse? Bankruptcy? No, and it's time for those poor bastards who take abuse from every side to get a little more compensation and a little more respect. I encourage you to pick up the phone and make one phone call to Mike Moore, President of Minor League Baseball, at (727)822-6937. Tell him to give the umpires what they want. If you need to get nasty, tell him he looks like his per diem could probably be cut back. If you have time and feel like making some more calls, call the league presidents from A to AAA and tell them it's time to do what's right for the umpires and the game.