Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quick Tip for the Young Umpire

There are times as an umpire when a coach, player or fan can get you so upset that you actually just want to start screaming at them. Hell, there have been times that I have wanted to haul off and knock their teeth right down their throat. But as an official you need to learn how to rise above that.

When I was 16, I had a game where a coach put his hands on me. It was just a small shove but he still put his hands on me. Every instinct I had told me to shove him back but my partner had grabbed me and told me to walk away. Later, I was talking to my Dad and he told me that it is always best to kill them with kindness. As I have matured as an umpire, I have always rememebered that.

If you ever watch me umpire, I call everyone sir (even 12 year old players). I call the mom's Ma'am if they ask a question. If a coach starts an argument, I still call them sir. If we get into a screaming match with one another, I still call him sir. I know that there are times I am going to have to yell but I always try to be professional.

That is one tip I try to give every young umpire I work with. Sure there are times you are going to have to lay the law down when working a game but never ever lose your professionalism.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rules Question

Runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out. The runner on 1st steals on the pitch. The pitch bounces off the plate, hits the umpire in the chest and then lands in his ball bag. What's the call?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rules Question

Ok, I had this last night. Let's see how you would rule it.

Runner on third, two outs. Pitcher throws a pitch that bounces before home plate and the catcher knocks it down. It rolls about 5 feet away. The runner from third breaks for home and the catcher gets the ball. When going to tag the runner, the batter backs up into the catcher causing him to have to stop and go the other direction.

Whats your call?

A Decent Night at the Ballfields

Last night I had the opportunity to work a game with a Double A umpire. Ian started umpiring at my association when he was 18 and half way through his first game, the Umpire and Chief and I told him that he needed to go to umpire school. Well, long story short, he went and now at the age of 24 he is a double A umpire. Pretty cool.

Anyways, when he season is over, he always comes back and works a few games with us. Last night, I got to work with him and he is an amazing umpire. Unfortuanetly, the game, was not a very good game. He didn't have much to do in the field but it was nice to watch his positioning and mechanics. I took a few notes, asked a lot of questions and for once I enjoyed a 16-1 blow out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where has the fun gone?

Excuse for a minute while I pull out my soap box because I have something to get off my chest. When did little league baseball stop being fun? This past summer I have really noticed that it doesn't seem like the coaches, kids, fans or umpires are having nearly as much fun as they used to. The other night I was umpiring a boys 12 fall ball game. It was between two fairly good teams. One team had a coach who didn't say one good thing the entire night. There was no constructive criticism. There was just yelling!! If I was a parent of a kid on this team, I would have pulled my kid off the field. At one point, a kid hit a screaming line drive to the center fielder. He crushed it but he hit it right at him. The coach started yelling at the kid for not getting around on the ball quicker. Really? Are you kidding me? What happened to a pat on the butt and telling the kid "Nice stroke, keep your head up." I don't understand when the mentality of little league baseball change. When I was a kid, I played National Blue which was as high as you could play in our league. We were a pretty good team. We took it seriously. We wanted to win. But it was fun. Our coaches understood that it was their jobs to teach us the fundamentals of the game and get us ready for high school. Winning was nice but it wasn't the most important thing. Sure, if we didn't have our heads in a game, we would get yelled at but it wasn't nearly as brutal as it is today. As an outsider looking in, I am nervous about my son playing baseball when he is old enough. I am all for tough love but the coaches today are so focsued on winning they forget that their main job is the fundamentals. Not to teach a 10 year old to throw a curve ball. And even though there is a time a place for coaches to yell, there is no place where are kid should be asked if he is stupid for making a mistake. As an umpire, I have to remind myself at times there as long as the coaches don't physically harm the players there is nothing I can do. If the parents want to put their children in that type of situation, who am I to say anything about it. But I will tell you that I have been around little league baseball for my entire life. Kids are not having as much fun as they used to. Sure, I think the kids still like the game but not with the same zeal we did when I played as a kid. When I get to the point where my son starts playing baseball, I am going to coach. Not because I think I know the most about the game. I don't. But I can teach the fundamentals as well as anyone and I really think that, and having fun, are the most important aspects to little league baseball.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rules Question

Well, I am in the thick of fall ball and have been doing a few games here and there. Even though most of the games aren't very competative, I enjoy fall ball. It gives me a chance to work on new plate mechanics or to sharpen up things that need work on. It is also, for the most part, a much more relaxed atmosphere than the summer.

I have three games this week so I hope to have some stories by the weekend but now is a good time for a couple rules questions.

This play I saw earlier this summer. I know I got the call right but the coach didn't agree. Let's see what you come up with.

Runner on first. The first baseman is playing in front of the runner. Batter hits a line drive past the first baseman and it hits the the runner. The 2nd baseman hasn't moved. Whats the call?

I'm sure all of you will get that one. I sure hope so.

Well, I am going to try to come up with some really good rules questions over the next few weeks. Until then, remember that the tie does not go to the runner and PLAY BALL!!!!