Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two Games, Two Ejections

There was a time in my umpiring career (I use that term loosely) that I really enjoyed getting into arguments and throwing people out of games. As I have gotten older, I have felt that if I had to throw somebody out, I wasn't doing my job correctly. That isn't always that case but in my mind, it is. It had been over two years since I had thrown anybody out of a little league game but last night that changed.

The first game was a Boys 11 select Gold (Top Division) game between two really good teams. I was behind the plate and I was working with another experienced umpire (I thought it was a younger umpire but I was mistaken). My game behind the plate was the best game I have called all year. The kids were around the strike zone and the batters wanted to swing the bat. My field umpire had a few tough calls but there were two at third that really got the coaches on the losing team upset. Now, I have no idea if he got the calls right or not. Both were tag plays and on both of them, the ball beat the kid to the base by a mile. However, the tag was behind the fielder so I was blocked and couldn't see it. Both calls were safe.

On the first one, the coaches started yelling but calmed down almost instantly. On the second one, the game was tied and their team was starting to fall apart. When this safe call was made, four coaches came flying out of the dugout to argue. The head coach to his credit, told them to sit down. Then the scorekeeper (another coach on this team) started screaming his head off. He was out of the dugout and just going nuts. I told him to calm down but he didn't hear me so I yelled pretty loudly for him to stop and sit down. He went and sat down but after about two seconds, he threw his score book on the ground and started yelling again. At that point, I had no other option and I threw him out of the game. He didn't argue, he just got his last few words in and left.

In the second game, the coach got thrown out for arguing balls and strikes. My partner called a decent game. The coaches got upset because the ball was being caught right down the middle but it was CROSSING the plate high. They didn't understand that it doesn't matter where it is caught. Well, they started making comments around the 2nd inning. It started with things like, "The catchers glove didn't move, how is that a ball." We both let it go. Then in the 4th, they started blowing a 12 run lead and they really got upset. On two straight pitches, they didn't like the call. They started yelling at the plate umpire. He called time and walked toward them and told them to knock it off. They continued. He told them that he didn't want to hear one more word, they continued. He warned them again, they continued. At this point, I stepped in and told the head coach to knock it off. He looked at me and told me that he was talking to his catcher. I said, I didn't care, the umpire said his peace, it's over. He argued. I told him to knock it off. He argued. I told him to not say another word and sit down. He was quiet for about 5 seconds and then he yelled, "You can't tell me who I can talk to." At this point, I ejected him.

Even with the two ejections, we had two well played games.

A couple points I want to bring up. As an umpire, if you ever say, not another word, you better be ready to back it up. Also, I made a mistake, I shouldn't have said that. Because what would I do if he said, "hi."? I should have told him that if he wanted to continue arguing, I was going to throw him out. Also, when you are behind the plate and they are arguing your strike zone, you can't stand for that. Sure a comment here or there is ok but if they really want to get on you about your strike zone, then tell them to knock it off. You are asking for trouble if you don't. These were coaches that were used to younger umpires that they could intimidate and that's not what they had.

On a good note, I had an interesting play that I haven't had in a while. A pitcher balked in the first game. I called it and the pitch was thrown. The batter hit the ball to the second basemen who booted it and the runners advanced and the batter runner reached first base.....whats the call?

Tonight I have two more games. This time they are boys 14. I am looking forward to it.

More posts to come...until then....PLAY BALL!!!


  1. The call is a live ball. Since the balk call isn't a dead ball call and the pitch was thrown, the play is allowed to finish and the team batting gets to choose either the result of the balk or the result of the play. Hence, if a balk is call and a pitch is still thrown and the batter hits a homerun, the homerun stands so long as the coach makes it known he wants to choose the result of the play, not of the balk.

  2. Justin,

    If you were talking about catcher's interference, you would be right.

    With a balk, it's a little different. On a balk, let's say the play above happens and the fielder makes the play, then the umpire automatically declares the balk, no pitch.

    Let's say there are runners on First and Second, the pitcher balks but the batter hits a ball to center. The runner from second, is thrown out at home (and every other runner has advanced one base), the balk is nullified and the runner is out. The coach does NOT have the option.

    This is why when you have experienced umpires and they call a balk, they don't kill the play right away.

    I must say, this was the first time I have had this happen where everyone knew the rule. I was a little impressed.