Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still Cold but at least it's not windy

Last night I had two game. Both boys 14. The first game was out silver division. I had the plate and called a much better game than the night before. My timing was better, my zone was consistent and I just felt a little better back there. The game itself wasn't much to talk about. 12-0 and should have been much more. For whatever reason, the kids just didn't want to swing the bat. I punched out at least 10 kids in 3 and a half innings. Other than that, there really isn't much to report.

For the second game, the starting temperature as a warm 38 degrees and it felt like it dropped quite a bit as the game went on. This was our Gold division. An interesting side note, this year, our top division (Boys 14 select Gold) use Wood bats. IN the cold temperatures, I was prepared to dodge some broken bats during the game. This was a very well played game. The score ended up being 5-0 but it was a much closer game than that. The kids are still trying to learn how to swing the wood bats so offense was sparse but there were some signs that they will get it.

Defensively, they keep me moving. Both catchers had guns and we firing the ball all over the infield trying to pick runners off. I liked it because in the cold temperature it was nice to have something to keep me on my toes. I had a couple close calls but no arguments on any of them.

Both coaches and teams were the best behaved I have seen in a long time. When we first got there, the home team manager came up to shake our hands and thank us for coming out. I have never had anyone say that before. After the game, he told us how much he appreciated us working his game and he was a losing manager. So despite my post last night, it's nice to know that some managers still teach and have respect.

Thats it for tonight. As of right now I am off until next Wednesday. Hopefully it warms up before that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where has the respect gone?

There has been a trend the last couple of years that has really started to bother me. 11, 12, 13 and 14 year old kids are showing no respect at all towards the umpires. Last year, I almost threw an 11 year old out of a game for arguing a strike call. ELEVEN!!!

I'm 33 years old so it has been a while since I played but when I was playing little league we played at a very high level. In all the years I played, I don't think I ever argued with an umpire. I might have shook my head on a strike call I didn't like but I NEVER looked back or said anything. The reason was because if I did, my butt would have been on the bench for the rest of the game. My coaches always told us that if it was worth arguing, they would do it for us.

Today, it's not like that. Players not only show little or no respect for officials, the coaches say nothing to them about it. I will give you a perfect example. Last year I was umpiring a 12 year old boys game, non-select. I was in the field and I had a play a second that was a bang bang play. I called the runner safe. The second baseman looked at me and yelled, "You have got to be freaking kidding me!" I told the kid to calm down and then went and spoke to the coach after the inning. I told him that if it happened again, I was going to toss him, the coaches response, "Yeah, he's competative but what are you gong to do?" Really? I'll tell you what you do, you sit the kid down and tell him to knock it off, your the coach...right?!!

Anyways, I'm sure a lot of people who aren't officials won't see this as a big deal but I believe that to us, it is. I don't mind being yelled at by the coaches, I don't mind being yelled at by the fans. That really doesn't get to me. But a kid trying to show me up, that's where I draw the line. Now, if a kid wants to ask me a question about the call, I'm fine with that.

Anyways, that's just an observation I have made the last few years. How about all of you? Have you noticed it too?

Opening Night

Man, it was a cold one last night. I doubt the temperature was around 36 the entire night. I was scheduled to do two Boys 14 games. I ended up only doing one, the second games was canceled. I was behind the plate for the first game.

All in all it was a pretty good game. Nothing really exciting happened. There was one close play at home but I didn't hear anything about it. My strike zone wasn't perfect but it was pretty good.

In all honesty, the games never should have been played last night and I am a little dissapointed with the association. It was way too cold. That is how kids get hurt.

Two more tonigth but I doubt we will play, it rained all night.

Monday, March 28, 2011

One More Day

Well, tomorrow is the beginning of my 21st season as an umpire. As always, I am very excited and even a little bit nervous to get back on the field. I know that there will be many times during the season where I complain about coaches or players but it really is an honor to officiate baseball. There is nothing about it I don't like.

Tonight will be my normal pre-opening day routine of shinning my shoes, scrubbing my gear and ironing my uniform. I can't wait for tomorrow night.

Going forward, I will try to post something after each game that I do. Hopefully, I will have some good situations that will help the younger umpire. So, for all of you who are about ready to start your baseball season, have fun and PLAY BALL!!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Did you really just say that?

About 5 years ago I was umpiring a Boys 13 select tournamnet game. I was the umpire in chief for the tournament but I had a umpire no show so I had to work the game. I was in the field and one of my middle of the road umpires was behind the plate. He was a decent umpire but his strike zone was rather large...consistent but large.

Anyways, the coach for the home team start making comments after the first inning. He was bad about it, he would just say stuff on his way back to the dugout. He honestly just didn't like the size of the zone. Well as the game went on, he got more and more upset. Mainly because his kids couldn't get the idea in their head that this was going to be the strike zone so you needed to expand your zone.

Around the 5th inning, he walked by and started in on the plate umpire the senior umpire I told him he needed to quit and walk back to his dugout. He started arguing with me and I simply said, you can't argue the strike zone, you said your peace now go back to your dugout. He turned, walked up to me, got right in my face and said, "I poop on that strike zone."

It took me a second but I said, "Excuse me." He repeated himself. I smiled and told him to get back to his dugout. He said it again. I just looked at him. Was he trying to get thrown out of the game?

I told him to please go back to his dugout so I wouldn't have to write in my ejection report that he said I poop on that strike zone. He then yelled, "POOP POOP POOP POOP!!" To which I threw him out.

To this day, I don't know what the guy was on but later in the tournament I had him again and he claimed it never happened and I was talking about another coach. I really hope the parents realized that their kids coach was insane.