UPDATE (7:05 p.m.): WKRG Sports Director Simone Eli spoke with MCPSS Board Member Johnny Hatcher Friday afternoon.
Hatcher made it clear MCPSS has “it’s hands tied,” for the ongoing dispute between umpires and the AHSAA.
“Mobile County Public schools wants to continue a strong relationship in good working positive relationship with any organization that is going to come in and help the kids like they do. I think that they bring value to the community,” said Hatcher.
Hatcher said MCPSS “respects the umpires immensely” and they know how hard of a job the umpires have.
“We want to help them and do better but right now Mobile County Schools’ hands are tied,” said Hatcher. “This is a state issue. This is a state athletic association issue. This is not a Mobile county issue but it’s been dumped on us and we have to get out here and we have to do what we have to do for our children.”
Hatcher also told Eli “I don’t think we [MCPSS] has a problem paying” the umpires an additional $10 per game.
“They really endure a lot to do this for these children and these guys are doing this because they love the game and they love the children,” said Hatcher.
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County Public Schools said some high school baseball games may be rescheduled this weekend due to the ongoing dispute between the Alabama High School Athletic Association and the umpire group who calls games in south Alabama.
WKRG News 5 broke the story on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the AHSAA responded.
Contracts are being sent to the long standing umpire’s association, but they will not be finalized in enough time to staff the entire weekend slate of games.
Baldwin County Schools sent a letter to parents Friday afternoon saying several games this weekend will be rescheduled.
Rena Philips with MCPSS released a statement to WKRG Friday afternoon:
“We are looking forward to kicking off the 2023 baseball season. We have several regular season baseball games being played tonight and throughout the weekend. In event of official shortages, some games may have to be rescheduled.”
In a letter to parents, MCPPS said, in part, “Each schools will need to contact local officials to confirm coverage for each game as we move forward with the season.”
Thursday was opening day for both counties. Mobile County Public Schools cancelled all outdoor athletic activities due to the threat of severe weather. Baldwin County games were played on time and without problem.
Spanish Fort hosted St. Paul’s in the Hank Aaron Classic. WKRG was on scene and spoke with a 15-year veteran umpire and several parents who voiced their concerns about the quality and quantity of umpires.
WKRG will continue to follow this story and provide updates on regularly scheduled newscasts and WKRG.com.