VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – So far this spring season, there’s been too much field work for players and not enough play time actually playing games. High school baseball and softball players have exchanged bats for brooms and gloves for hand pumps. “Were probably 25 to 30 percent more rainouts and cancellations due to rain or snow than any past year,” said Jim Smith.
Jim Smith is the director of the Eastern Virginia Officials Association. He oversees 138 umpires and schedules them for high school, college, junior varsity and local recreational baseball games. In his eight years scheduling games, he has never seen this many rainouts to start a season. “This year we have had 455 games scheduled and so far 383 of them have been cancelled. That’s high school, college and Sunday select games. Every day you start with 35 games and then at the end of the day you have nothing left,” said Smith.
Smith has been working non-stop trying to reschedule all of these rainouts. He says he spends all day cooped up in his home office. He needs complete silence to get the job done. “I can’t have anybody come in here and bother me. I need complete silence to get the job done. And it’s taken eight years to learn,” said Smith.
These consistent rain events put strain on everyone involved. Coaches, players, athletic directors, umpires. It seems the list is endless. Kempsville junior varsity coach Justin San Agustin says the season has been pretty bad. “It’s been awful. Rained out games. Can’t practice and we spend all our time inside the dome.”
Local players have been spending too much time dragging tarps and most practice is being done inside hitting domes. There’s just no getting around mother nature. Smith says he will do his best to make all the games up, but added, “Its gonna be a real challenge to get the games in.”