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'There's a big need right now' | Clinic held to address umpire shortage in Ohio

The free clinic was held to anyone wanting to or interested in being an umpire and for those simply wanting to learn more about the game of baseball.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The umpire shortage in Ohio is real and those being affected by it the most are the players just wanting to play the game.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association alone has lost over 1000 umpires in the last three years, but that doesn't include all the youth levels that are experiencing the impact as well.

Games at all levels have been canceled and are at risk of not happening because there aren't enough umps.

"There's a big need right now," said Mark Kuhn, a local baseball umpire instructor.

That's why Kuhn, along with other local and statewide umpires, organized a clinic for those interested in possibly becoming an umpire and even for parents just wanting to learn more about the game.

There are a few factors that go into the shortage, but Kuhn believes the biggest reason is because of those in the stands and outside the fence.

"I think a lot of it is the fans and the stuff we hear out of the stands," said Kuhn. "I think that's the biggest problem is people just don't want to hear what is coming out of the stands."

Because of this, now there are players and kids that can't play the game that they love, but also umpires are giving up the game they love as well.

"It's very disappointing. We all love baseball," said Kuhn. "The umpires that are working now, we love baseball. That's why we're doing it. We're hoping that we can help people better understand what we have to deal with, what we have to do and get more people interested."

Umpires are hoping that spectators, parents and players can all understand what goes into being an ump at any level. 

"I think the big thing is, people just don't understand what umpires do," said Kuhn. "They don't see behind the scenes, they don't see everything that's involved in our training and things of that nature. Hopefully, this helps."

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