Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rules Question

This happened to me about 9 years ago and it came up in a discussion the other day. Let's see if you know the answer.

Runner on first. Runner steals on the pitch, the catcher goes to throw him on and hit's the plate umpire on the backswing of his throw which causes him the throw the ball into center field. The runner ends up on third. What's the call?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Code of Conduct for Umpires

In my last post, I recieved the following comment:

"just had an umpire yell at a 14 yr old kid, 2 inches from his face like he was going to beat him up because he drew a line with the bat to connect part of the batters box that was scrubbed away. is there a conduct rule for umpires in Little League?"

Here is my response:

I believe that in little league and in all levels of baseball there is a definite code of conduct for umpires. Umpires need to be professional at all times. Sure there is a time to yell and show that you are in control of the field but even then, you do it respectively and stay in control. When I get into an argument with a coach, no matter what he says to me, I still call him sir. If a kid gets on me, I might go talk to coach or say something to the kid but I stay in control. I don’t lose my cool. As an umpire, you are a representative of your league, your complex and every umpire that works with you.

Getting in a 14 year olds face is not acceptable. There is nothing that a kid could do that would make me do something like that. The way I look at it, if the offense warrants getting in the kids face, then he should be thrown out of the game anyways so I would just do that. I have two ways of handling a situation with a player. The first is that I pull the kids aside and calmly talk to him and explain that I’m not going to put up with it. Or I talk to the coach and let him deal with it. The only time I might really raise my voice at a player is if he argues balls and strikes but even then, it’s something simple like knock it off or that’s enough. I never get in a players face. Actually, I think in my 22 years, I have only been in three arguments at the little league level where I was in someone’s face and in each situation, the coach was the one getting in my face.

Hope that answers your question.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where's the Respect Part 2

This season has been a pretty decent season. I have had a chance to umpire some really good baseball but I have to tell you, I am getting to the point where this isn't fun anymore. The lack of respect towards umpires by coaches, fans and players is amazing. This was stuff that didn't happen 6-7 years ago, let alone when I played.

I'm an umpire. Arguments are part of my job. I understand that they are going to happen. I know I am going to tick some people off and they are going to get in my face from time to time...I'm ok with that. What I am not ok with is the blantent lack of respect for us. I will give you a couple examples. The other night at my complex, a mom followed one of the umpires to his car after the game screaming at him the entire time. I had a kid turn around a tell me I was crazy on a strike three call a week ago. Two nights ago on a play where a kid tagged a player with his glove while he was holding the ball in his throwing hand, a kid threw his glove in the air and yelled, "you have got to be kidding me" Now, I am one who doesn't like to throw players (or anybody to be completely honest with you) out of games. But it has gotten to the point that starting tonight, I am going to warn all the players before the game that this won't be tollerated.

You know, I am making it sound like I work at the worst ballpark in America. I can tell you that I have seen in everywhere. I was in Chicago a few weeks ago and 11 year old kids were yelling at the umpire on the visiting team. A scorekeeper cussed out the umpire after the game. At the fields near my house, I stopped by to talk to someone and I saw three fans ejected from the park in a matter of 10 mintues on three different fields. This is something that has to stop.

I think the problem is that people are forgetting that little league baseball is about getting the kids ready to play high school baseball and to have fun...that's it. It's not about how many games you win, it's not about playing in tournaments all over the country. WHile that stuff is fun, it's not the most important thing and I think that has been lost with parents and it is carrying over to the players.

Anyways, I figure I can get off my soapbox now. Weather permitting, I have two tonight. Hopefully, they are event free.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rules Questions

Ok, you all better get these right.

The other night, I have both of these happen and the coahces actually argued with me, I was amazed so I am putting on here to prove to myself that some people at least know the rules. Don't let me down.

Runner on second, 1 out. The Batter hits a line drive that is caught by the SS. The Runner is caught WAY off the base. The SS turns and fires the ball to second base but throws it high. The second baseman jumps, catches the ball and falls down on his back right on top of the base before the runner gets back. He never steps on the base or puts his glove on the base. What's the call?

Runner on second, 1 out. The batter hits a ground ball to the SS who runs right at the runner who is caught off 2nd. He has the ball in his throwning hand and tags the runner with his glove. What's the call?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rules Question

I had this come up the other day. Let's see how you would rule it.

Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out. The pitcher steps off the rubber and throws the ball to first in an attempt to pick off the runner. THe ball goes over the first basemens head and goes out of play. Where to the runners go?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rules Question

Runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out. The batter hits a fly ball to deep right field. Runners on 2nd and 3rd tag up and move up one base. The ball goes back to the pitcher who steps on the rubber and then steps off and appeals the runner leaving early at second. The umpire calls the runner out of leaving early for the third out. Does the run score?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Perfect Game*****

I put a lot of asterisks next to the title because it was only a 5 inning game but last Thursday, I umpired my first ever (shortened by still impressive) perfect game. 15 up, 15 down, 12 strikeouts, 2 ground out and one pop up. The kid just dominated from the first pitch and was pretty much untouchable. For me, it was a pretty boring game, I didn't do anything besides watch one team run around the bases and the other strike out but it was cool to watch.

I have had a bunch of rain outs lately. I am scheduled to work again this Thursday and it looks like the rain will hold off. I hope so because it would be nice to be out there more.

On a personal note, my 5 year old daughter played her first softball game last week. I put her in coach pitch instead of t-ball for her first year. Anyways, she had a lot of fun with her first game but my favorite part was her first at-bat. She made me so proud. She was scared to death and missed the first two pitches but then stepped back took a deep breath and hit the third. Then....she ran to third base. It was great. Anyways, it's nice to be on the parent/coach side for once. Above is a picture of her first game.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tip of the Day - Working Solo

A few weeks ago, I was in Chicago to visit my sister in law and her family. While we were there, we went to their kids baseball games. Both of these kids play on select teams. One is 12 and the other 11. In each of these games, they only had one umpire. In watching these games, I was reminded of how hard it can be to work a game by yourself. I thought it might be a good idea to throw a couple tips out there to help you out.

1) Completely give up distance for angle. When you are umpiring by yourself, there is no way you are going to be in perfect position for every call. So do what you can to get the rigth angle on the calls and don't even worry about distance.

2) Hustle. Every time the ball is hit, you need to be out from behind home plate. On a play at first, you should be as close to the pitching mound as possible. You need to get out from behind the plate and give yourself the best chance you can get at seeing the play. Coaches will give you the benefit of the doubt if you hustle.

3) Be loud...SELL EVERY CALL!!

Umpiring by yourself is not fun and I don't think it is something that should happen very often but when it does if you follow these steps, you'll be ok.

Back At It!!

Well, it seems like it has been a while since I have posted anything. Actually, it seems like it has been a while since I have umpired. I guess a week full or rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes and a trip out of town will do that to you. Well, in about two hours, I get a chance to get back out there. Today, I have a middle school recreational game. I usually don't do these games but as a favor to the lower school athletic director at my old high school, I have agreed to do it. I get to work with one of my favorite partners so it should be a good day.

I'll post on the game if anything exciting happens. My next good games are Thursday.