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Off Night

Last week, I was doing a 3 man crew for 13y/o wooden bat championship. It had rained the game out once so it was about 5 days since I did a game and was behind the plate. This was a 7 inning, no time limit game(first mistake) with a possible game to follow depending on who won.

Everything was fine for the beginning of the game except I just didn't feel comfortable back there due to the time from the last game. But, me feeling comfortable behind the plate became the least of my problems.

First off, for the whole game, I felt like I missed about 5 or 6 pitches. I called them one way. Then, thought to myself, "I just missed that one." Irritated the hell out of me every time I did it. And, not to disappoint, the coaches were moaning about any close ones(or not so close from my vantage point) not going their way especially on these few.:shrug:

Well, the game starts and the first 3 innings were over in about an hour. Not too bad on time. The score was a little high but not too bad. It was something like 3 - 8.

Then, everything seemed to fall apart. The next 4 innings took 2 and a half hours. So, here is where it just gets bad.

I have a play at the plate on a passed ball. I am going to call the kid out. I know I am in my head. I am about to say "He's out!" As I am doing this, I am bringing both hands up just about to signal "Safe". :WTF I couldn't believe it. My left hand had the mask and my right hand was closed for the out signal but they were both chest high and appeared as though I was about to signal and say "Safe!" Well, I finally caught myself and raised my right hand for the out as I am saying "He's out!" But, the Rats noticed it and wanted to argue I was about to call him safe as if they wanted me to change it or something. The 3B coach even wanted U3 to help me with the call. I had it right. It was a high tag but was applied up the line just before the foot touched HP.

Things get even better but not on my end. R1 and a ball hit to the outfield. U3 is in C with U1 in A for the runner. With the ball in the outfield, U3 takes R1 into 2B but notices U1 coming in behind him b/c he pivoted for BR instead of staying on the outside and letting U3 have him at 2B if he comes. I couldn't believe it when U3 told me that b/c I didn't see it while watching R1 rounding 2B and heading to 3B with the possibility of coming to HP.

This is just the start of what U1 did. I don't know what he was thinking the whole night. I guess doing a 3 man messed him up since we usually do 2 man crews.

Then, whenever there was a play at 1B, U1 was getting lazy or felt that U3 or I will cover things if something happens. He was making calls in foul territory instead of getting in fair territory. I asked him about that during the game but he kept doing it. :banghead: I couldn't believe he kept doing it. :BD:

Next was the last thing I could take before I had to say something with a little more authoritativeness. It has already been about 2 hours into the game and I am only in the 5th inning. So, I am a little irritated now. I have a pitch coming in with runners on base. U3 is in C and U1 is in A since we have a R1. It is a 4 field complex so the fields are back to back to each other. Well, a ball comes onto the field from another as a pitch is coming in. The ball hits near U1 almost right at him. As soon as the ball hits, he calls "Time" as the pitch is about to cross the plate. :agasp_: I call the pitch a strike. Of course, now, the coach wants it to not count since my partner called time. I told him it did count since the ball was already crossing the plate so it did not affect anything b/c his batter already gave up on it long before "Time" was called. Also, I got a strike out of it and I was not about to give that up especially in this marathon.

The ball is corralled and we get through the inning. After that, I had to go talk to my U1. I was not in a good mood with this game and took a little out on him since he knows better than to do that.

Me: Never call "Time" while a pitch is being made.

U1: But the ball was about to hit me.

Me: I don't care if it does hit you. Don't call "Time".

Of course, we will call "Time" if he goes down and it may cause further injury if the play is near him and he might be in the way. But, at that point, I didn't care to argue about it.

We finally get through the game about 3 and a half hours after it started. Luckily, the team that needed to win did so no second game. The score ended up being something like 10 - 14 with the home team almost getting the 10 run rule to end it early. But, they failed and almost blew the lead to force a second game in the last couple of innings. I definitely like time limits for anything below HS level and even wish they had it at times.

Just another reminder that we all have bad games. And, sometimes, the games are so bad that it makes us look even worse. But, we have to keep doing more games to get better and get comfortable with it.

So, don't let 1 bad game stop you from umpiring. Players are not good at it without repetition. And, we will not be good at it without repetition. Keep umpiring as many games as possible and forget the 1 you just did b/c it means nothing for the game you are about to do.