Under these brutal economic circumstances over 15,000,000 are out of work with more than 150,000 people losing their jobs each month. There is a job however, where you can make a lot of money, have great job security, and never pay any consequences for your mistakes. From 2001-2009 this job was known as President of the United States. Today, this job is known as a Major League Baseball Umpire, a National Football League Official, or NBA referee. Yes sir, ladies and gentlemen screwing up on the field may mean a trip to the minors for many baseball players, but for umpires it means a trip to the playoffs and a chance to work the most important games of the season. And if you play your cards right, maybe you can affect those games too. Same thing in the NFL and NBA. All you have to do is look at how poorly the Super Bowl was officiated last year. The NBA is probably the worst of all the leagues and even had an official, Tim Donaghy, bet money on games that he officiated.
Recently, officiating in professional sports has hit an all time low. The baseball playoffs have been a prime example. CB Bucknor gave the Angles two extra outs in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox with two missed calls at first base. In the Yankees-Twins series Joe Mauer hit a double that was ruled foul, when you clearly see at full speed that ball was about 8 inches fair. The Colorado Rockies lost a game last night where the umpires blew two calls on ONE PLAY.
During yesterday's Pats game, an official through a flag on Brandon Merriweather for Pass Interference, and then changed the call to Taunting. The problem was, the official threw the flag before Merriweather taunted the Broncos receiver. In other words, he knew Merriweather would taunt the opposing player before it happened, or he didn't want to pick up yet another ill-advised penalty flag. So they made something up. These calls even happen on the tennis court. The famous incident where Serena Williams verbally abused a line judge happened when that line judge called a foot fault at match point. I don't excuse Serena's behavior, but making that call at match point is like passing gas during the blessing at Thanksgiving Dinner; not an appropriate time.
I did a little searching on MLB.com on how to get an umpires job, and how much they get paid. This is what I found.
Professional umpires currently begin their Minor League career at $1,800 per month. At the Major League level, salaries range from approximately $84,000 to $300,000 per year.
Even more disturbing is the job description I found on MLB.com for umpires. It's listed below. Look at the second question asked. This is where the problem lies.
How to Become an Umpire
Have you ever stopped to think about what it would be like to be an umpire? To know the fate of a game rests in your hands? What would it be like to suit up and call the shots each day?
I always thought the fate of games should be left in the hands of players. But if you like control and 300,000 dollars a year, you too can be an umpire. Not a bad gig.