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#1 ump_24

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 10:26 AM

Had my first "official" ejection of the year yesterday and it was a pretty obvious one.

What I'm interested in knowing is if you tailor your methods of game management to the level of game you are dealing with, specifically related to the baseball IQ of the individuals.

When I had my throwing at ejections last year, some observers at the game whose opinions I trust indicated that while how I handled everything was textbook, it appeared overzealous for the caliber of baseball and cocky the way it was handled coming from such a young kid.

Usually, I handle high level games where the baseball IQ is high enough that when a situation becomes prolonged, I can tell someone, "you need to get back to the bench so we can continue here" and they'll know they either follow my direction or I have to run them.

Yesterday, I was doing a HS game. HS ball in Ontario is glorified house league - the caliber is weak and the coaches are mostly just volunteer teachers supervising their kids.

There was a situation where one team disputed a league pitching limit rule that was not clearly outlined as to whether or not it applied to this particular tournament. After a solid 5 or 6 minute delay, we had it resolved and I was ready to get the game going again. One coach - who is just a teacher with the school and has no other baseball involvement - was still highly persistent with his argument. I let him go for a few seconds hoping every word was the last but when it became apparent he wasn't done anytime soon, I looked over at him, took off my mask and said "listen, this game has been on hold long enough. I need you to go back to your bench or you're going to force me to eject you for delaying the game."

My hope was that spelling out where he stood in his argument would cause him to have an "oh SH*#" moment and stop arguing. IMO, just saying "that's enough" would have done nothing, led to his ejection, and then caused a "what are you throwing me out for?" tirade. While I can tolerate those in regular ball, again, in HS the baseball IQ just isn't there and I will look to avoid trouble in HS baseball because it's just for fun.

Anyway, what I said worked the opposite way. He kicked some dirt in my direction and said f you so away he went. Judging by what happened after that, which ended with him kicking dirt all over me, indicated he probably would've been thrown out one way or the other.

Is it appropriate to tailor the way you handle something according to the level you're working? I don't think it's fair to hold a guy like this - a teacher with no baseball knowledge just there so the kids can play - to the same standards of knowledge as I would normally expect on a field.


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#2 sdix00

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 12:42 PM

That teacher with little baseball knowledge probably has a lot more baseball knowledge now.

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#3 James Walker

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 11:33 PM

Sound like maybe he knew more than he let on, but if not sdix is right, he know more now.
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#4 SanDiegoSteve

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 02:25 AM

I've never had someone kick dirt all over me. Probably because I look like I would kick the sh*t out of them if they tried it!

#5 dumbdumb

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 07:06 AM

Come on guys who work all different levels and are really good at "game management", his original question was do you change your "game management" to the level. I am interested in hearing the answers also.

Maybe some examples of your game management differences at certain levels would help.

A general guess for me might be that you would use your same game management skills at all levels, but you might have to use them "more" depending on the caliber of ball and the caliber of the coaches.

You obviously did not have the situation resolved above to at least one persons "total" satisfaction, which happens sometimes no matter what, and even if he did agree in concept, he felt his point was being taken into consideration enough. Nothing you can do, just like when a manager at a higher level makes his point but you are not going to rule in his favor (kind of like the Armbrister case with Larry Barnett for either side of the argument you want to make.
You give each coach the amount of rope you think the situation needs, but at some point you have pull the rope or cut the rope and move to the next step which may or may not include an ejection. Sometimes the ejection may just come under, arguing too long, and nothing else. In this case, it sounds like you handled it fine and the coach may really have wanted to be ejected. Even if not, he cut the rope himself with his final comment. Maybe that issue (rule and interpretation) that started everything could be put in writing as to how the league wants that situation handled and make it easy on everybody.

Hopefully those here with who are really good at game management can help.

When are you going to the umpire school? Good luck when you do. Make Jim McKean proud. If you get your education out of the way and do not have any severe family issues, or that you are married with 4 kids, I will be severely disappointed if you do not at least "give it a shot", from all your post's I have read. It's obviously in your blood but you will never know that final answer unless you go, from all the things I have read in different places on this subject.

#6 Typhoon

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 09:54 AM

Yesterday, I was doing a HS game. HS ball in Ontario is glorified house league - the caliber is weak and the coaches are mostly just volunteer teachers supervising their kids.


U24, I wouldn't be so quick to say that HS ball in Ontario is glorified house league. One of the high schools in our area played in a Michigan HS league. They used to bring their own umpires over until immigration got involved and put a stop to it, and we started to umpire their games. This school was usually near the TOP of the standings and actually won a few state championships. Rumour had it that they didn't like a Canadian school to be winning state champinships and so they dropped them. Peronally I think it was more economics that caused it. Anyway that school still has a baseball team and the high schools around here are quite competitve with them.
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#7 UmpJM

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 01:40 PM

Chris,

Yes, I definitely "adjust" my game management activities to the level of play I'm working.

In the spring, I generally work HS Varsity and "lower level" college games - JUCO & DIII.

In the summer, summer HS, 15U-18U travel ball, and some college wood bat.

The spring school games I hold the participants to a higher standard of understanding of basic "baseball etiquette", while in the summer leagues I will often "overlook" initial breaches of behavior standards if I think they just don't know any better. But I will then "educate" them and and subsequently hold them accountable. I will also on occasion entertain discussion of some of the most outlandish misconceptions of the rules you could ever imagine with a straight face and act as if I'm genuinely concerned about the coach's question. Just because I find it entertaining.

I have found that when dealing with someone who doesn't have a clue who is reluctant to "drop it", it can sometimes be effective to simply tell the person,

"Tom, If I understand you correctly, you're concern/issue/objection is blah, blah, blah (restating their beef). is that correct? While I appreciate your concern, my ruling is blah, blah, blah because I saw blah, blah, blah and the rules say blah, blah, blah. I can understand that you may not like that call, but that is my final decision and now we're going to resume playing baseball."

If that doesn't end it, then he's likely to get dumped.

Appalling behavior for a teacher. Around here, that would get a teacher a serious reprimand from the school's principal.

JM

P.S. WOW!!! It's the middle of May, and you're just getting your FIRST ejection!?!? :wave:
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#8 zm1283

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 09:26 PM

Re: Game management

This doesn't really relate to the situation at the TOP, but I wanted to point it out. Let me know how you guys do this.

When a team in a HS game has baseballs to return to you, how do most of them do it? A few teams around here will have a player or coach return baseballs to you by walking them out to you either between batters or innings, but some throw them from the dugout. Yes, most on-deck batters will bring a ball to you if they have it, but I HATE it when coaches or players throw baseballs at/to you between innings. In college baseball this is a known "no-no", and the home dugout will have someone that brings you baseballs all game. I NEVER have baseballs thrown in my direction from the dugout, even during NAIA games.

I used to pick up the baseballs thrown my way in high school games, but during the season this spring, I decided to quit doing that. A couple times I would just toss them back over to the dugout where they came from, or if it is their catcher on the field, have him pick them up. This happened in a district playoff game last week. One of the teams threw two baseballs toward the plate between innings. After their catcher threw the ball down, I go behind the plate, put my mask on, and ask him to pick them up. I proceeded to explain that since his team has 20 subs on the bench, one of them could be put to work returning baseballs.

I'll get off my soapbox now. I just think that this practice is done somewhat on purpose because some coaches think they are above bringing you a baseball and that you should be the one chasing it down and picking it up.

#9 ump_24

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 10:23 PM

Addressing the things I've seen come up here:

1) Intend to go to umpire school once I'm done my undergrad degree in Forensics & Crim. One more year to go. So, ideally - financially willing, Jan 2014 is the year

2) TOP tier HS teams here can be very good, but most of the ball is glorified house league, lol

3) The issue at hand was raised and contested by the opposing coach - not the one who was ejected. After seeing the game on hold for as long as he did, and with no solution that didn't make him look like a sore loser evident, he removed his contention. However, the coach who ended up getting dumped was too busy trying to argue that he was right to hear the protesting coach tell me not to worry about it, and also then to hear me subsequently tell him (again - him being the coach to eventually get the hook) that A) I was agreeing with him all along and B) that it wasn't being contested anymore. Admittedly, I was pissed off that he insisted on arguing with everyone when I stated multiple times that I had agreed with him the entire time.

4) Specifically, I was wondering what people thought of telling people at less knowledgeable levels of baseball "If you continue to do X, I will have to eject you." The argument that this was aggressive and confrontational was raised by a friend bound for the GCL.

5) "Weak" baseball - I'm happy just to have baseballs returned to me. "Real" baseball - I accept handing and flipping (from close distances) me the ball. Throwing the ball at me is not well received. I have them throw it to the catcher, or just watch it roll past.

#10 JamesC

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 11:52 PM

Personally, I would never tell a coach "If you do X, I'm going to eject you". I'm not in the business of explaining my judgement actions any more than I have to. A stern "That's enough, coach!" will do the trick one of two ways: he will either shut up and stay in the game, or shut up and leave the park. It's to his discretion which he chooses. And if he doesn't like the latter part, I don't have to explain my reason to him. That's what my ejection report is for, and that is for my assignor.

Guess this is just my two cents.

#11 mstaylor

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 08:15 AM

If I am working with participants that have less baseball knowledge than most, I follow the same steps but I have more patience. I will shut the same things down but in rules discussions I will allow a more prolonged conversation. However, once you have reached the end of your discussion tell them it's time to play and walk away. If he follows you, dump him. Since he is a teacher, he should know the language limit and as such he gets no favor. He could know absolutely nothing about baseball and still know what he is allowed to say in a school setting.
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#12 MPLSMatt

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:17 AM

I give a little more rope as long as the coach is being semi-respectful in his manner. If he's yelling and screaming he gets a "that's enough" then a dump, if he's just ignorant, I'll try to give him a little better explanation and make sure that he understands.

On a side note, it's ridiculous that a teacher who's affiliated with a school can get away with kicking dirt on an umpire without some sort of trouble at work. That's not appropriate for an educator no matter what the situation is. Canadian baseball is a strange, strange world I guess.

#13 mstaylor

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:26 PM

Re: Game management This doesn't really relate to the situation at the TOP, but I wanted to point it out. Let me know how you guys do this. When a team in a HS game has baseballs to return to you, how do most of them do it? A few teams around here will have a player or coach return baseballs to you by walking them out to you either between batters or innings, but some throw them from the dugout. Yes, most on-deck batters will bring a ball to you if they have it, but I HATE it when coaches or players throw baseballs at/to you between innings. In college baseball this is a known "no-no", and the home dugout will have someone that brings you baseballs all game. I NEVER have baseballs thrown in my direction from the dugout, even during NAIA games. I used to pick up the baseballs thrown my way in high school games, but during the season this spring, I decided to quit doing that. A couple times I would just toss them back over to the dugout where they came from, or if it is their catcher on the field, have him pick them up. This happened in a district playoff game last week. One of the teams threw two baseballs toward the plate between innings. After their catcher threw the ball down, I go behind the plate, put my mask on, and ask him to pick them up. I proceeded to explain that since his team has 20 subs on the bench, one of them could be put to work returning baseballs. I'll get off my soapbox now. I just think that this practice is done somewhat on purpose because some coaches think they are above bringing you a baseball and that you should be the one chasing it down and picking it up.

If you are talking about coaches rolling you baseballs then that is disrespectful at certain levels, just lack of knowledge at others. I am extremely adept at catching with my mask and if they want to throw to me, I have no problem with that. Most will throw to the catcher. If they roll it, I just turn and walk away, then tell the catcher to get them.
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