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Minor League Baseball Team to Replace Umpires With a Judge & Jury of Little League Players

Elsa, Getty Images

The St. Paul Saints, an independent minor league baseball team with a history of wacky promotions, are fulfilling the dream of many managers: getting rid of all the umpires. During their May 11 game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats, the Saints will replace umpires with a judge and a jury. It’s allegedly the first time an organized baseball game has not used umpires since 1876.

A judge wearing a robe will smack a gavel to start the game and stand behind the pitcher’s mound to call balls and strikes. Meanwhile, a jury of 12 little league players will judge whether players are safe or out; the judge will break any ties reached by the little leaguers. There will be an additional judge in the stands to hear disputes.

We first assumed this silly promotion was being sponsored by a law firm, but it turns out that Hamline University (Minn.) is the sponsor, and the promotion has educational motives:

“We respect all baseball umpires and believe this promotion will allow our ‘jurors’ and both teams to realize how important they really are to the game,” said Saints executive vice president/general manager Derek Sharrer. “This is something that has never been attempted before and I think it will make for an interesting and intriguing nine innings of baseball.”

While Hamline sounds like a delicious place to go to school, the university and the Saints may not be thinking clearly about how damn long this game may take to complete. Parents will tell you that it takes 10 minutes just to get kids to pay attention, so asking them to make every call seems like a really bad idea. Maybe the Saints can schedule an free Adderall promotion on the same day.

Next: MLB team To Screen 'The Sandlot'

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