FRESNO, Calif. — The 51st annual Fresno Easter Classic was supposed to take place next week beginning on Monday and lasting three days, with the championship game taking place on Wednesday night.
The year, there will be no tournament and no champion. Having no games also affects more than just the athletes and coaches.
The umpires who were supposed to work those 70-plus games next week are out of work for the foreseeable future.
“I am unemployed right now,” said Grant Meyers, a CIF umpire. “All of my jobs have been suspended, I’m trying to cope with it financially.”
Fellow CIF umpire Owens Ferrazza has also been affected. “I went from working a game every single day to abruptly losing the better half of my entire baseball umpiring schedule.”
Umpires are independent contractors and most aren’t making livable wages. Some have to pick up a second or third job. Meyers also works at the Save Mart Center and as a substitute teacher.
“We’re making close to about 70 dollars per game at the varsity level, the higher you go, the higher the pay is. So when we do 4 to 5 games a week, we’re losing out on a couple hundred dollars each week,” Meyers said.
During this uncertain time, their mindset is to stay positive.
“I do know that it will end, it’s just a matter of when so it’s trying to keep up my spirits and trying to keep busy at home,” said Meyers.
For the baseball and softball players who didn’t get a chance to finish off their season, the game doesn’t have to end here.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to play baseball at the next level within just the state of California, various different divisions, junior college, division two, division three, NAIA,” said Farrazzo. “Continue to try and play baseball, get your education, don’t let the love of the game die.”