Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blown Responsibility

(Before we go into full blown playoff coverage next week, another post DV prepared before he left for vacation. At this stage it will be tough for the Yankees to win the east, but it's not impossible. We'll see what happens this weekend in Boston as well as with Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Everybody have a great weekend.)

Over the past four baseball seasons, Pat and I have both gotten on umpires for a lot of things. General blown calls have taken a back seat to umpires with oversized egos, thinking they're the ones people are showing up to see, as of late. But a few weeks ago (and this is one of the archived thoughts, obviously), when Adrian Beltre got tossed from a game by a AAA umpire, I learned something completely asinine:

Major league umpires can go on vacation. During the baseball season.

Not only this, but in addition to the built-in vacation of, you know, November through March (or at least February), an MLB umpire, who makes $84,000-300,000 a year, gets FOUR WEEKS of in-season vacation. What a freaking country. Is this Europe?

I'm generally anti-vacation. As you guys know already, the one-week vacation that is now underway will be my first absence of more than two days since I started working at this company two years ago. I am using up my two weeks of 2009 time. Also, not surprisingly, I'm not entirely thrilled that I'm just going to abandon my responsibility as a consultant to visit Ireland and find my inner NESCAC graduate by drinking at local establishments and coming back home to brag about how freaking cultured I am.

My mantra professionally is to do the exact opposite of what JD Drew and 46 do. And both of those guys take vacations and let Darnell freaking McDonald and Daniel Nava pick up the pieces.

Apparently the MLB umpires and their union don't care about their own responsibility to make sure major league baseball games are officiated effectively. They can instead import overabitious adolescents from the Pacific Coast League to officiate games and throw out Adrian Beltre for no reason. But the thing that boggles my mind is the fact that their roughly 150 built-in vacation days outside the baseball season are not enough to placate these people. Instead they can take an additional month. This means that the guys who don't do playoff baseball only have to work five months out of the year. I mean, is six too many? It's not like these guys are being paid peanuts - even 84 grand is a lot of money to make. It's not like they're completely abandoning their families. I bet every major league umpire can drive their kid to school and to hockey practice every day in December. So four additional weeks of vacation is downright disgusting.

Does anyone on the comments section with real jobs have four weeks of vacation? Pat and Kaplan, neither of you count. I only get two a year, and that includes sick time as well. Before this week, I was at 11.5 missed days in the last two years. Good for me? No. Responsible for me, and lucky for me for recovering from sports hernia surgery as quickly as I have.

Seriously, these umpires, who obviously take themselves extremely seriously, should have some kind of pride in their job. If they think they're the reason people show up to the games, they should likewise take the responsibility to actually show up themselves all year.


Anonymous said...


I don't work 50 hours a week like most young lawyers in this world do, so perhaps I'm not the best example for this discussion, but here are a few facts about my employment history:
In November I will have been employed as an attorney for two years.
During that time I have taken three days off for vacation.
I have taken one sick day.

So in two years, I've taken four full days off of work. Granted, I enjoy my job, but still. There aren't a whole lot of people out there with that type of employment history.

That said, the baseball season is a long one. There are games basically every day for six months. The games are long (and often testy). Because of that, umpires should probably have somewhere between seven and 14 days off during the year (which is a number that perhaps you find a little high, which I can understand). But four weeks? That's really absurd, because that ultimately equates to more than 16% of the work year for them. By comparison, that would be like a regular employee getting eight or nine weeks of paid vacation. Eight or nine weeks! Think about how ridiculous that is. Especially considering how well compensated they are. I mean, if a guy were making the minimum of $84 thousand (which probably doesn't account for total gross income--with perks, insurance, and the pension, I'm sure even the lowest paid umpires are grossing over $100k) he could go out and do some half-assed job in the winter and make himself another $20-40k and now he's making well over six figures. And for what? To call baseball games?

I guess this is a long way of saying that no, it doesn't make sense that these guys get four weeks of vacation during the season. All I can say is that their union must have some fantastic lawyers.

--the Gunn

bigyaz said...

Just because you (apparently) have no life and no interests outside of work, no curiosity about seeing the rest of the world or, and no need/desire to spend quality vacation time with a loved one, doesn't mean the rest of the world is like you.

I get four weeks paid vacation, and I use it all. In return I give my employer my full effort the rest of the year. A lot of people who have worked for a good company for more than 5-10 years get four weeks as well. Sorry your company is so miserly. I'm betting there are a lot of unhappy people there.

Now, on to MLB umpires. While I agree four weeks is excessive, I think they do need signifcant breaks during the season, probably two weeks. You don't get weekends off during baseball season, and most days off involve travel. So there is a need for some down time, some time away from the game, some time to re-energize -- particularly in such a high-pressure job.

Anonymous said...

i believe they get 4 weeks of vacation because they have to work every weekend, i coould be mistaken tho

Anonymous said...


I'm my own boss. Our office is my father, myself, and two assistants (who get paid vacation time, and use it). Because our office is so small, if I don't show up to work it doesn't get done. It sounds like you're more of a cog in a bigger machine that can keep rolling whether you're there or not. It must nice to know that you can take four weeks off and your employer doesn't miss you. You should consider yourself fortunate.

I'm also impressed that you were able to draw so many inferences about me based on two paragraphs about my employment history. You sound like a bitter person or at least a very sensitive one. I'm sure your employer enjoys the time you take off from work as much as you do.

--the Gunn