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South Jersey little league has a unique rule to stop umpire hecklers

South Jersey Little League institutes new rule to stop abuse aimed at umpires
South Jersey Little League institutes new rule to stop abuse aimed at umpires 02:04

DEPTFORD, N.J. (CBS) -- Deptford Little League is instituting a unique new rule to curb spectators' verbal abuse aimed at volunteer umpires.

According to Don Bozzuffi, president of the league, if a spectator is verbally abusive to an umpire, the person must volunteer to umpire three games or be banned from coming back for up to a year.

A trained umpire will be with the spectator to help properly call the game.

"I want to see them squirm," Bozzuffi said. "I want to see them make that call, and maybe they'll see it's not easy as it looks."


Bozzuffi said the rule came about after he recently lost two umpires who quit because of verbal abuse from spectators.

"We're losing good volunteers, good umpires, that no longer want to do it because of the abuse," Bozzuffi said.

Mac Barnes' kids play in Deptford's Little League, and he's also worked as an umpire.

"It's sort of natural to say, 'Buddy if you could do a better job, come on down here and do it, or don't make any comments about the way I do it,'" Barnes said.


Bozzuffi doesn't call the new directive a punishment but rather an "enlightenment," especially because a parent's bad behavior negatively impacts their children.

"Cheer these kids on so it's a positive experience for them because it's all learned behavior," Bozzuffi said. "Anything that they see going on is going to carry over."

One positive of the new rule has been that since it was announced on Facebook, Bozzuffi says five people messaged him, interested in becoming umpires.  

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