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#1 Mike Prince

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 09:59 AM

Me and my partner are working a 7U Machine Pitch tournament for the entry round to the NC Cal RIpken state tournament. The state requires 2-man crews for the tournament (1 on machine/bases and one at plate) which is nice considering the situations you get at this age group. 5 teams in this tourney and it is double elimination. We had 2 games Thurs/Fri nights, 3 yesterday (2 of which were elimination games) and the championship round is today.

So we have one team each day that for lack of a better term has fans who are bleacher umpires. To them almost any close call not in their favor was wrong. Thursday night one of them yelled the whole game about a call in the first inning where my partner had a tag on a non-force play (resulting in an out against them of course). They won that game by the mercy rule (10 after 4) and chose to tell us how bad we were as we left the field. Friday night we had a banger at 2nd on a force (against them of course) and two batters later I had a foul ball on a ball that came to rest in the batter's box that they screamed about. Both calls were correct. We heard it even louder at the end of that game (which they lost 3-2 as the HT scored in the bottom of the 6th), this time we reported it to the TD who said they would mention it to the coach before the next game and place an administrator in their bleachers on Saturday (now an elimination game for them). Normally I would not report this but there was a bit of profanity in the Friday night post-game yelling and this in front of 7 year olds.

So Saturday rolls around. This team shows up and 15 minutes prior to start they have 8 players (state rule says they have to start with 10). A 9th shows up 5 minutes before start and their 10th player just beats us to the field. Not a good sign. My partner (who has worked the machine for the first 5 games) asks me if I want to switch it up. I say sure knowing I will hear it on every call (99% of the calls were on the bases through the first 5 games, PU basically counts pitches/outs, calls fair/foul and makes any calls at home plate).

It's about 95 degrees yesterday and our "friends" lose the coin toss and are VT. Things roll along pretty well, the HT puts 13 runs up in the first inning and you can feel the tension on the VT stands. We get to the third inning and the HT is scoring a bunch again. Batter hits a shot to LF that rolls almost to the wall scoring a few runs. He is sloooow so we have a close play at 3B on him. I have a sweep tag on him, but after he gets the base. Safe is the call and I know I am probably the only one in the house who has the angle to see this play. The VT stands erupt in disagreement and all of the perceived "history" from these fans rains down. No administrator in sight and I get zero complaining from the VT coach (who must be afraid of these parents). We play on with lots of encouragement from the VT fans for their kids to get the "fourth" out now. Inning ends and the score is 22-3. One at-bat left for the VT unless they put up 10 runs. They rally in the 4th and score 3, have guys on base and we have 2 strikes on the batter.

Here is where all hell breaks loose. We have a foul that appears to go directly to the catcher's glove - he underhanded it and I thought I saw him get the ball before it hit the dirt. My partner pauses and everyone on the HT side starts yelling. I come in a few steps and yell "Shawn (my partner's name) - did it go to the glove?" He nods yes it did, I signal strike three and that is the ballgame - not how it should be called I know but I wasn't sure he saw it and I was going to call foul so I wanted to check. VT side explodes. As I walk to my partner so we can exit the field I am intercepted by the 1B coach - angrily wants to know why I would ask the batter if the ball was caught. I keep my composure and tell him I asked my partner and it was his call. He then says the ball hit the dirt, I tell him no it was ruled to the glove and game's over. He walks away shaking his head. Teams line up and shake hands, we move to exit the field.

Everyone on the VT side is all over me, they actually move over to the HT side so they can chase us off the field. Several are yelling how dare I speak to the batter and put a child in that position. I do not know what they are talking about and even if I did I would not ever acknowledge or respond. One of the moms screams that she hopes I go straight to hell on my ride home (wow). A VT dad (who did the majority of the yelling from their stands all weekend) who no kidding is 350+ lbs, comes running at me (oh SH*# here we go) - he gets as close as he can to me to tell me I am a disgrace (in no uncertain terms) to umpiring. I continue moving and walk by him, tell him to have a nice day, he responds by yelling he hopes I can sleep at night with a few other insults mixed in. We finally find the administrator (where he was all this time I do not know) and I ask him to call law enforcement. By time they arrive 95% of the fans are gone and they talk to the head coach for a couple of minutes and leave.

I have umpired all levels from 7U up to HS V and while I have taken plenty of verbal abuse (deserved and undeserved), no one has ever wished me dead in front of their children.

My partner and I are sitting with the administrator and the VT coach comes to retrieve his tournament notebook. He actually apologizes to me for the actions of their AC and fans - I tell him that they all thought I asked his batter if the catcher had the ball and that I had asked my partner. He says, "yeah, I know", shakes my hand and tells us we did a good job.

As he walks away, it hits me (the roster book made me realize this). My partner's name is Shawn (the HC knew this because we introduced ourselves by name at every plate meeting). Guess what? The batter's name was Sean (which I remember from doing 2 of their games as PU and seeing it airbrushed on the back of his helmet) and his dad was the 1B coach (I am assuming). Holy crap - I have 100 new people that want to kill me over such a stupid misunderstanding...even if they had explained what they were so mad about there was no way I could have explained this to them. What a bunch of idiots, they obviously came to this tournament with an agenda against umpires. I feel so sorry for those kids, their parents are completely out of control.

#2 mstaylor

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 11:12 AM

It doesn't matter if you absolutely sucked, never getting a single call correct, this does not allow fans to act like this, particularly at such an early age.
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#3 johnnyg08

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 11:18 AM

These kids are 7. SEVEN. Unreal. Absolutely insane.
I'm not where I need to be, but not where I used to be.

#4 bam

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:04 PM

Joke. Right?


#5 UMP45

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:44 PM

In North Carolina there are some places where baseball is life and death. Every pitch. Every breath. :2cents: :eek:

#6 UmpJM

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 02:30 PM

Mike P.,

Thank you for your highly entertaining story.

Seven your old machine pitch - truly remarkable.

The parents are in serious need of some serious attitude adjustment.

I presume you have learned your lesson and will never work another of these games under any circumstances, yes?

JM
"Finally, be courteous, impartial and firm, and so compel respect from all."

#7 Mike Prince

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:04 PM

Mike P.,

Thank you for your highly entertaining story.

Seven your old machine pitch - truly remarkable.

The parents are in serious need of some serious attitude adjustment.

I presume you have learned your lesson and will never work another of these games under any circumstances, yes?

JM

Well, I am not quite as "snobbish" as some on here towards the younger age groups so the answer to your question is no. We had three teams from this tournament advance to the Western NC state round next weekend and feedback we got from our TD was that he as well as the 3 winners from our area were going to contact the state director to see if we could be selected to work that round. So if asked my partner and I will work the games we get assigned. I will not allow one team to deter me from working (they did not make the next round anyway). If I do not do that then I will likely work a similar Area (qualifier) tournament more local to me for 10U.

So for me the only lessons to learn from this are to get with my partner on the field if we need to talk (vs. yelling his name). Also validates my position to NEVER respond to anything from the other side of the fence (which I did not exactly maintain in this case and I regret that).

#8 bam

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:03 PM

I still think this is a joke.

#9 Mike Prince

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:13 PM

I still think this is a joke.


Think what you want, this is not a joke.

#10 Jocko

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:31 PM

I haven't done these young kids in awhile, but I have horrible memories of one particular town's Dixie Youth. Until the kids are 10 when parents have been around the park some, they simply do not know how to act. Several years ago I was working a CP Diistrict Tournament. These are 5-6 y/o babies. Very few can catch, throw, field, or make a routine force play on purpose. So this kid Ks for out 3. His father comes to the dugout, reaches over the fence, grabs his kid by the shirt, holds him at eye level, and commences to SCREAM at this poor child. I, from shallow left (working 3 man!!!) SPRINT to the dugout and demand he turn the boy loose. He does and turns on me. No problem. By now all 3 of us are there and the TD is fast approaching. Seems that since it's HIS kid, it's appropriate behavior from him. His rage is now focused on me. I can dig it. TD escorts him to the parking lot with the threat of police intervention. On his way out, he tells me, "I'll be waiting for you." All I can think is PLEASE wait for me. The kid is crying, his brother on the team is crying, his wife is sobbing, his mother is yelling and crying. Total pandemonium. Needless to say he was nowhere to be found after the game. I looked. The board got together after the tourney and he is banned for life from the park.
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2014 DL misses : 13

#11 bam

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:33 PM

I don't mean it is IN FACT a joke. I mean sending 7U machine pitch teams to some kind of state tournament. THAT'S a joke. And the fact that there are umpires that would not only put up with this lunacy, but also TRAVEL to put put up with this lunacy. Thats also a joke. Thank goodness civilization is soon ending, I guess...


#12 Jocko

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:38 PM

7 year olds need umpires too! I don't cull age groups, just don't get these assignments. They deserve the best umps available, just like everyone else. When I did them, I dressed, hustled, acted, and projected the same professionalism I do in HS games. I'm not ABOVE calling young divisions, like some.
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#13 bam

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:02 PM

They don't NEED umpires. They cannot catch throw or hit.


I think everyone's opinion of a minimum age when kids need umpiring may vary, but when kids cannaot make a play on purpose and we have two (or more) umpires on the field, I think that's a pretty good indication we're off the reservation.

#14 Jocko

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:08 PM

They don't NEED umpires. They cannot catch throw or hit.


I think everyone's opinion of a minimum age when kids need umpiring may vary, but when kids cannaot make a play on purpose and we have two (or more) umpires on the field, I think that's a pretty good indication we're off the reservation.

Keep turning em back. I'll take em. I prefer teenagers+ but would rather call 7s than not call.
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#15 bam

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:19 PM

Well maybe we're not as advanced, or probably because we're just plain not crazy up here, but we don't have a state 7u machine pitch tournament, so there's nothing to turn back.

#16 Jocko

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:35 PM

Well maybe we're not as advanced, or probably because we're just plain not crazy up here, but we don't have a state 7u machine pitch tournament, so there's nothing to turn back.

my son's career
3 y/o - tee ball
4,5,6 y/o - coach pitch
7 y/o - started kid pitch
8 y/o - moved up because 7-8 went back to machine pitch
8,9 y/o - no lead off
10+ y/o - OBR
He made all star every year, and played his WS age 13. Not a buy in berth, they actually won their way in. Finished 4th.
He will be starting his freshman year at local D2 4 year college.

Advanced? Nah... Just passionate. Start em young and teach em right. Dividends, baby.
2014 Game Count: 120
2014 Rainouts: 22
2014 DL misses : 13

#17 umpcoachfather

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 06:17 AM

Didnt you realize all those kids on that team will one day be playing pro ball? How dare you make a judgement call like that, you should know better. I would have sent both teams to the dugout and told the coach to quiet his parents down or they'd lose really quick, then I would have not continued until the tourney director or who ever else was available was there. And I would want security at the field before I continued. I wonder how many of those kids, if polled, would have said they wish their parents would shut up during games.

#18 James Walker

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 12:24 PM

@umpcoachfather probably 99%. Should be 100% but one kid was in the outfield picking flowers.

I know I'm in the minority, but I actually enjoy doing the younger kids games. I dont get them a lot but I always try to get at least 2-3 games a year. It keeps you on your toes and let's you work on things like timing and obs/inf. IMHO, these kids deserve umpires as much as MLB does. Just because the talent isn't there doesnt mean that the effort and determination isn't. Also, to see one of these little guys get his/her first hit and they can't stop smiling. It puts everything in perspective. It's the reason I do this, not for money or fame or glory, but for the kids. And who knows, maybe one day one of these kids will make the show, and you can tell your grandkids that you saw their favorite plays first ever hit.
You can only please 50% of the people 100% of the time.

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2014 Totals : 86
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#19 Jocko

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:37 PM

I have 1 that got drafted in 3rd rouund, but decided to go to college. Maybe next year he will go sooner and take the $.
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#20 spiritump

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:51 PM

my only question is ---how many scouts where at the games




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