Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I'm Back

Last year I made the decision to stop umpiring and begin coaching. I was offered a job as the assistant Junior Varsity Baseball Coach at my old high school and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. While it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it, I found that I really missed umpiring. This year, my kids are a little too busy for me to make the commitment to coach on a daily basis so I will be back in Blue. I am really looking forward to the upcoming season and can't wait for my new gear to show up in the next week or so. I plan on getting this blog up and going agina with weekly posts and rules questions. I also think I have the ability to put video on here now so hopefully, I'll be able to put some mechanics and positioning videos on here. Time will tell if my personal computer will cooporoate or not. As far as coaching goes, it was a great exsperience; however, I found myself very disappointed with the quality of umpiring my team and the Varsity received. It's a shame to say but it sure seemed like the number of quality high school umpires are limited in the St. Louis area. Having worked High School Ball in the St. Louis, I was shocked at the lack of knowledge of the umpires we had. I know we were a small school and the better umpires get the better teams but even so, there is no excuse for some of the things that were missed in our games, and I will give you a few good exsamples. We were playing in one of our first games of the year and we were in the field with runners on first and second with no outs. The batter hit a pop up to our shortstop in short left field. Our short stop was camped under the ball and dropped it. No call was made by the umpires. The runners ran and we turned a double play. The opposing manager asked why infield fly wasn't called and the answer given was that the ball was not in the infield. Any decent umpire knows that is just wrong. Infield fly was an issue the entire season. There were a number of times that I pretty much called infield fly from the dugout. I actually had one umpire walk over and thank me because he said he forgot about that rule. How do you forget about infield fly. We had another situation were our batter hit a ball in the gap in left center. The first baseman got in his way and our runner ended up on the ground. My runner got up and was thrown out on a close play at second. The umpire ruled him out. When I went out to ask him abotu obstruction, he told me that since the 1st baseman wasn't standing on the bag, there is no obstruction. What?!!! Obviously, this wasn't taught very well. The last thing I will point out is the lack of hustle and bad positioning. I'm not sure if some of the umpires we had were just lazy or didn't know where to go but it was awful. We had three umpries hit by throws. We had a run down with no one on and the plate umpire didn't come down to help. We had a play at the plate where the plate umpire and field umpire where both at third (That was an interesting call). It was just the a bunch of stuff like that that made it very frustrating to an umpire to watch. I could go on but I don't want it to seem like I am down on umpires or was a coach that yelled and screamed. I never got thrown out of a game and always gave the umpires the benfit of the doubt but it was hard. I'm sure part of the issue was that I was coaching a small school JV team and we didn't get the best umpries but these were rules that needed to be taught. Ok enough about my bad experiences with umpires, the point of this post was not to blast umpires, it was to just get this blog up and running again. I can't wait for the season to start so I can knock off my rust and get back on the field doing what I love. Until then, survive the cold, only a few months until you can yell "PLAY BALL" again!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's been a while since I have been on here so I figured it would be a good time to update what I have going on next year's baseball season. I still plan on umpiring but not nearly as much as before. This year, as I mentioned before, I will be taking on the coaching role. For the past few years, my old high school has been asking me to help out with their high school program. Well, this year, I finally have the time to do that and I have agreed to be the assistant JV coach. The orignal plan was for me to help with the varsity but due to my main job, I need the ability to miss a practice here or there if something gets in the way. I am very excited for this new challenge. I'll update this post as the season get's closer. Hope everyone is having a great off season. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!! Oh yeah...PLAY BALL!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back at it...exciting annoucement

Well, after taking off the majority of the summer to concentrate on my career, tonight I hit the diamond again. It will be my first game since May. It's fall ball so it should be a pretty easy game but it will be nice to be back out on the field. After being asked for about 4 years, I have decided to continue being involved in baseball but in another capacity. Beginning in two weeks, I will begin my coaching career. I will be working with the SLABA Southwest Stars 17/18 year old team this fall and then in the Spring, I will be the assistant coach on my old high schools varsity baseball team. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to coach at such a high level. It has always been a dream of mine to coach at the high school level and I am really looking forward to it. It will be interesting to see how I handle situations that I have complained about for years. Having coached before, I know that I rarely yell at the umpires but I do get upset when they don't know the rules. I doubt that will happen much at this level but I'm sure there will be a situation or two that I can post about. I plan to continue umpiring but not nearly as much as I have in years past. Unfortunately, with the coach opportunity, my kids getting bigger and new things happening at my main job, umpiring has kind of taken a back seat to everything else. I will always love umpiring and will continue to work as much as possible but I think time in my life where I am able to umpire on a regular basis is about over. With that being said, I will do my best to continue to post on here as much as possible. I am really looking forward to postiing as a coach. I will continue to post rules questions and various things I see at the ball fields. On that note, I'm off to go get some work done before my 6:00 game tonight. PLAY BALL!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Batting Out of Order - Rules Question

This is Question 1 of 2 for this subject.

The batting order for the following question is as follows:


In the first inning, Bryan comes up and hits a single. Robert then strikes out for the first out. Matt then bats (KEVIN SHOULD BE UP HERE). Matt hits a double that scores Bryan. A Pitch is thrown to Kevin and then the home team calls time for batting out of order. Whats the call?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Learn the Rules

I feel like I have a post like this every year so I'm sorry if I have said all of this before but putting it out here keeps me from saying something during a game.

Last night, I had two plays that made me want to make this post.

The first was a foul tip (directly from the bat to the catchers glove or hand and was caught) when a runner was stealing. The catcher held onto the ball and automatically the defensive coaches started yelling that it was a foul ball. Now, if this was a 9 year olds game, that would have been one thing but this was a 13 year old game. Even if a coach never took the time to read the rule book, you would think that at some point in the 4 or 5 years of coaching he would have seen a foul tip before. They didn't put up too much of a fight but the fact that they argued the call was insane to me.

The second didn't bother me but as a coach, he ran his kids out of an inning. Runner on 1st, no outs. Strike three is dropped by the catcher. The runner started going back to the bag but the coach was screaming at him to run. I was yelling "Batted is out, first base is occupied, BATTER IS OUT!!!" But nobody paid any attention to me. The kid was thrown out at 2nd. The kicker was, it was a 1 run game in the last inning. The next kid hit a double that would have tied the game. They ended up stranding him at 3rd.

I understand that coaches and players are not going to spend as much time learning the rule book as the umpires do. I wouldn't expect it. But if you are going to coach the game, don't you think it would help to have an above average understand of the rules of the game? To any coach that reads this, I challenge you to read the rule book, to ask questions of the umpire in between innings. Learn the rules. It will keep you from arguing things you shouldn't argue and it will make you a better coach. The best coaches are the ones that not only understand how to teach the game, they also know the game.

I know not just saying all of this to vent. I honestly believe that if coaches took just a little more time to learn the rules of the game, things would improve in all aspects of the game of them. Ok, time to get off my soap box. Only an hour and fifteen minutes until I head to the fields. PLAY BALL!!!

Slow Night

When I got to the fields yesterday, I was really looking forward to working my first game behind the plate. I was under the assumption that it was a Select Boy's 13 "Gold" game. What I didn't notice was that on the schedule, there wasn't a SL next to the game which meant it was a Rec game. Oh my, was it ever a rec game. I think I had at least 9 punch outs in the game. There were at least 10 errors by each team and I don't think a ball left the infield on the fly the entire game. At one point, the third base coach started yelling at the runner on 3rd for not running on a 3-2 pitch with two outs. The only thing was, the runner on 3rd was the only runner on. Yes it was one of those games.

My second game was a select "silver" boys 13 game. This game wasn't great but it wasn't too bad. Neither team could hit very well but both teams played pretty good defense so I had plenty to do in the field. I had quiet a few bangers which always makes things a little more exciting. We had two very interesting plays in the game.

Play 1:

Runner on 3rd, 1 out. Batter hits a sharp ground ball to 3rd base. It hits the lips of the infield and comes up and hits the 3rd basemen in the face. The shortstop comes in grabs the ball and throws to first. The Batter runner has already reach first when the throw is made. The batter runner, for whatever reason, rounded first and took two steps like he was going. The first basemen tags him out.

Play 2:

Runner on 1st. Pitch does not come set and pitches, I call a balk. Batter hits a swining bunt down the 3rd base line. Everyone stops and looks at me. I do nothing. After about 5 or 6 seconds the third base coach takes the hint and tells everyone to run. Batter reaches first and the runner reaches 2nd. The defensive coach and fans kept screaming, "its a balk, send them back". I love explaining this rule because they never believe me and they pull out their rule books.

Other than that it was a pretty easy night. Tonight I have one game. Hopefully, it will continue to be a good season.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Back at it

After a week off, tonight I head back to the ballpark for two boys 13 games. It will be nice to get back on the diamond after a week off. As much as working a full time job and umpiring is exhausting, I couldn't ask for a better second job.

Now I have a question for all of you. My nephew is Chicago is playing on Saturday and I have been asked to umpire the game. I have mixed views on umpiring family. What are your thoughts?