Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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!!!