The life of a minor league umpire, may not be overly glamorous, but it still represents a chance to get to the Majors someday. As part of a new five year contract, their time spent there will be a bit easier.
It can be rough to be a minor league player or umpire. The pay is not the best, the long rides to the next town can be tiring, and the season can be quite the grind. Even those who are considered top prospects have to deal with the same conditions.
Fortunately for the umpires, there is going to be a bit of a break. In their new five year agreement, the umpires will be seeing an increase in pay, upgrades in hotel accommodations, family leave, and an increase in their per diems, amongst other changes.
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When one thinks about conditions and time in the minors, it is natural to think of the players. After all, this is where the hopes of the fanbase reside, where future stars are maturing into talents that can contribute at the Major League level. We follow their exploits, and get excited as they perform well, envisioning their ascension to possible stardom.
And while we know about the trials and tribulations of the players in the minors, the plight of those umpires are often ignored. They face the same climb through the ranks as they look to achieve their dream of reaching the Majors themselves, doing so in anonymity. The only time they get any attention is during an epic minor league umpire ejection, and even then, the focus is elsewhere.
Of course, there will be new ways of evaluating these umpires as well. And the evaluations will need to be accepted by the Association of Minor League Umpires, at least in terms of how they were performed. But things are going to be a bit better for the lives of their constituents.