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Umpire in Wheelchair

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I was reading the FED Case book last night and came across this.

Has anyone seen this?

USE OF WHEELCHAIR BY UMPIRES

10.1.7 SITUATION A: The base umpire takes the field in a wheelchair. RULING:

This is allowed.

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I was reading the FED Case book last night and came across this.

Has anyone seen this?

USE OF WHEELCHAIR BY UMPIRES

10.1.7 SITUATION A: The base umpire takes the field in a wheelchair. RULING:

This is allowed.

Yes. I see it every year when I read the case book. It's been in there for 7 or 8 years.

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True. However,the wheelchair MUST be motorized.No larger than 30 horsepower and may not be supercharged, unless local rules allow.

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I think this is PC BS.

As an HR professional I am very confident the ADAA does not apply to independent contractors which the majority of us are.

Second, even id there is a state or local law extending ADAA act to independent contractors, then you'd have a hard time convincing me that in using his mobility device he'd be able to perform the essential functions of the job.

I may be wrong but cannot see a ump in a wheelchair taking a runner from A to 3rd on a triple, a pickoff attempt particularly at second, or a 3rd to first/first third double play.

Yes I've seen some very impressive feats by folks in wheelchairs, but the majority are on hard smooth surfaces, not in grass and dirt we operate on. Even a world class para-Olympic racer couldn't cover all of these plays.

Don't get me wrong, I am very much in favor of inclusion, and even adaptation for umps with disabilities, but they have to be able to perform the essential functions of the job.

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True. However,the wheelchair MUST be motorized.No larger than 30 horsepower and may not be supercharged, unless local rules allow.

I would have thought that >30HP and supercharged, with high performance suspension would be required!!!!

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Funny timing that this came up. The HC for one of the teams from last night was in a wheelchair...matter of fact, she's the league's softball commish.

Anyway, asked my partner about it as he's worked this area for years. He says they allow her to be near the dugout, but can't basecoach. Reason being is not so much potential injury to her, which is a factor, but biggest thing being potential injury to one of the players...she simply lacks the mobility to get out of the way if a fielder is trying to jab a line shot, chase a foul ball, an overrun, etc.

I'm shocked FED has this as I would think the same logic would've been employed at some point! I know, I know...I couldn't keep a straight face while typing that!

But still...definitely reeks of PC and that would just be a serious accident waiting to happen!

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So if an Ump is not totally disabled could he sit in a wheelchair in the A position and then when the ball is hit could he get up and run to where he needs to?

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I would have thought that >30HP and supercharged, with high performance suspension would be required!!!!

Can you have a supercharged motor that is >30HP. I mean that sounds kind of pointless over here!

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So if an Ump is not totally disabled could he sit in a wheelchair in the A position and then when the ball is hit could he get up and run to where he needs to?

I'd say no still. Leaving that wheelchair unoccupied in the A position could potentially cause problems.

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I think this is PC BS.

For all the respect I have in you, this post surprises me... A LOT.

I had never seen an umpire in a wheelchair, until this year at a meeting. It wasn't for high school, but I was surprised to see it. I don't know how he works or anything, but I would love to see.

As an HR professional I am very confident the ADAA does not apply to independent contractors which the majority of us are.

Second, even id there is a state or local law extending ADAA act to independent contractors, then you'd have a hard time convincing me that in using his mobility device he'd be able to perform the essential functions of the job.

You are correct. ADA does not cover independent contractors. However, using "essential function" may not work.

I don't work HR, but I'm responsible for interviewing potential candidates for my department. One of the first things we do in the interview is hand them a sheet of the "essential functions" of the job. The sheet is somewhat detailed on what is expected to complete the job. After they've had a chance to look over it, we ask them (almost word-for-word) "Are you able, with reasonable accommodation, to complete the functions of the job?"

I was never given a list of "essential functions" from my organization, and I'll bet you didn't either. If the state covered ICs under ADA, and you then fired him for not meeting the "essential functions" that were never given before being hired, you'd be up crap creek.

I may be wrong but cannot see a ump in a wheelchair taking a runner from A to 3rd on a triple, a pickoff attempt particularly at second, or a 3rd to first/first third double play.

This is where you're a bit narrow minded. I think we've all worked with able-bodied people that can't do these, or simply don't for whatever reason (bad training, momentary forgetfulness).

In our organization, we have older gentlemen that couldn't take a BR to third from A, or couldn't get up the line for a first-to-third. Our president will not leave B or C when he umpires, even with no runners on. Does this mean they can't be umpires? Hell no. They're just as good as anyone else in making calls, they just understand their limitations.

So, what do we do when we get partners that physically can't (or mentally won't) cover what needs to be? We adjust. If we know our PU can't get to third, you cover it. If you're PU and know it's going to be a triple, you bust your ass up the line to make the call. If your partner has to stay in B or C the whole game, you know you have all fair/foul calls. It's not that difficult. It might fall under "reasonable accommodation."

I'm guessing a wheelchair-bound umpire would always take the plate. Calling balls and strikes is not a problem. As the BU, you know that you have to cover every base. If you're not able to do it, then don't be his partner.

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With ADAA not in play the ability to perform essential functions w/ or w/o reasonable accommodation is also out of play like balks when no steals are allowed.

I'd be all in favor of having an ump in a wheelchair if they could prove they have the ability to do the job.

As for your president or any other people who are not able to move appropriately on the field, they shouldn't be out there. There does come a time when people have to hang it up.

You can't go switching mechanics to accommodate your partner, it will bite you. That's why we have mechanics and don't go out there willy nilly. Take that play I discussed taking the runner to third when the BU is in A, say the ball was hit to the RF corner you do cover 3rd and F9 overthrows F5 and the BR decides to go home, But F1 was backing up the play and now you have a play at the plate with nobody there.

There is no limit to the scenarios where breaking the mechanics will lead to trouble.

As for an ump in the wheelchair behind the plate, I cant see that either. There is too much movement required which behind the plate.

I would love to be proven wrong on this, but I just cant see it.

My organization has an umpire who has a disability. Over the years it has gotten progressively worse. He's gone from JV games to Pinto & Mustang. He doesn't have the ability to even get out of his own way, even with out a wheelchair. Last year I had a game at the same complex with him. In a mustang game there was a passed ball the catcher just grazed him going to the backstop. He went down and the runner from 3rd came in F2 threw to F1 and he was laying on his back and the BU had to make the call. It was not a good situation.

Nothing personal to those umpires with disabilities.

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I gotta go with Warren on this one. I don't care if you have a wheel chair or not. I don't care if you're blind, deaf, dumb, hungry or hot. If you can't do the job you shouldn't be out there.

Nothing against anybody, but umpiring requires a great deal of mobility to get in the right position to make the right call. That is about as fundamental and basic as our job title gets. If a wheelchair or crutches or what have you doesn't hold you back, then so be it; power to you. But 90 feet is a long way.

There comes a time when 60' 6" is too far and kids throw to fast. This game will pass me by, it'll get too fast. It will pass us all by eventually. It doesn't matter how it passes us by, when it does, it's time to step down and let someone else take it on.

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Forget about the ability to make calls/get into position just for a second. There is a SERIOUS safety factor involved here for the participants, primarily players, but the umpire themselves, just like the situation I mentioned w/ the coach in the wheelchair.

We've all been there where we've had to scramble quickly to get out of the way of a line shot, catchers scrambling for a foul pop-up if you're PU, a blooper toward B or C w/ 2 or 3 infielders trying/diving for ball....too many other scenarios to list, but you get the jist. And I agree there are some "able-bodied" folks that lack mobility that create a similar liability, but still nothing compared to someone in a wheelchair. PC or not, that's just simply how it is.

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Sorry to revive an ancient post, but my son's team just ran into a wheelchair ump at CDP in an elimination game. I did some googling and found this thread.

All the mobility problems were obvious. He was blowing 1B pickoff calls from 40 feet away with no angle to see the tag.

He would park his wheelchair right next to F3 so if he tried to go to his right for a ball he would run right into the wheelchair. A ball actually came that way and he could not move an inch. Our player barely got in front of his wheelchair to make the play.

Worst part was that he absolutely refused to ask for help. He gave warnings to everyone and made rude remarks to players. He point blank told our coach that we were lucky he gave us a gift call even though the kid was obviously out.

I agree with other comments that the wheelchair isn't the issue. If he couldn't move to see the plays then he shouldn't be out there. If he was on a pogo stick but could do his job then we'd all be fine.

My question is how should the coaches deal with problems like this in a big expensive tournament like CDP?

Us parents just have to keep our mouths shut but we didn't pay thousands of dollars to have a game decided by an obviously vindictive ump who couldn't move and was a hazard to players.

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11 minutes ago, sth1d said:

My question is how should the coaches deal with problems like this in a big expensive tournament like CDP?

Us parents just have to keep our mouths shut but we didn't pay thousands of dollars to have a game decided by an obviously vindictive ump who couldn't move and was a hazard to players.

That's the ten dollar question. I'm not sure about any statutory requirement to allow someone with the level of physical disability on the field, but there is the legitimate and defensible idea that one has to be physically capable of performing the job duties, so there's that angle. I'm also not sure what code set CDP uses for their games, so I don't know if or how this is addressed, like it is in the Fed rules.

Allowing someone on the field who is incapable of executing many of the physical aspects seems like an attempt at boundless inclusion to the detriment of the greater good.

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On 4/23/2010 at 11:20 AM, Umpire in Chief said:

As an HR professional I am very confident the ADA does not apply to independent contractors which the majority of us are.

 

I wouldn't bet the farm on that.

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On a different but similar note, I've been accused of killing the grass and asked to move around a little when umpiring:rolleyes:

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On 4/23/2010 at 10:20 AM, Umpire in Chief said:

I may be wrong but cannot see a ump in a wheelchair taking a runner from A to 3rd on a triple, a pickoff attempt particularly at second, or a 3rd to first/first third double play.

I posted about this rule 3 or so years ago and got skewered for it in skewering the rule.

And by the way, I know 15 guys in my Association (who don't use wheelchairs) who can't take a runner from A to 3rd on a triple, a pickoff attempt at 2nd, or a 3rd-1st/1st-3rd double play.  They're immobile, but they're needed, so they're gonna work as long as they want to. What they don't do is pose a danger to the players on a motorized heavy unforgiving Jazzy.

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Personally, I find getting in exactly the right spot overrated for about 95% of my plays.  I've been watching my daughter this year and most of the bad misses by the (admittedly awful, in general) umpires have been because of (1) anticipation of calls and (2) poor timing.  I could make 95% of those calls from my seat in the bleachers.

The 5% they're likely flipping a coin on anyway.

What I'm saying is this -- the wheelchair likely isn't causing the calls to be missed -- it's the person sitting in the chair that's causing that to happen.

I assign games for 24 HS and I'd use someone in a wheelchair in a second if that person got his/her calls right.

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On 06/25/2017 at 5:43 PM, RichMSN said:

Personally, I find getting in exactly the right spot overrated for about 95% of my plays.  I've been watching my daughter this year and most of the bad misses by the (admittedly awful, in general) umpires have been because of (1) anticipation of calls and (2) poor timing.  I could make 95% of those calls from my seat in the bleachers.

The 5% they're likely flipping a coin on anyway.

What I'm saying is this -- the wheelchair likely isn't causing the calls to be missed -- it's the person sitting in the chair that's causing that to happen.

I assign games for 24 HS and I'd use someone in a wheelchair in a second if that person got his/her calls right.

We're not needed for 95% of the calls on the bases. We're needed for those other 5%. And to get those 5% right we need to be in the best position. And since we never know what play is going to turn into one of those 5%, we damn well better be in the best position we can be in for every call. You may call the right spot overrated, I like to think of it as a necessity in case the play turns into one of those 5% plays.

The reason those "admittedly awful" umpires are missing calls is because they're never in position. If you're never in position, you're never gonna get those 5% right.(Unless you're a real good guesser) 

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On 6/25/2017 at 4:43 PM, RichMSN said:

Personally, I find getting in exactly the right spot overrated for about 95% of my plays.  I've been watching my daughter this year and most of the bad misses by the (admittedly awful, in general) umpires have been because of (1) anticipation of calls and (2) poor timing.  I could make 95% of those calls from my seat in the bleachers.

The 5% they're likely flipping a coin on anyway.

What I'm saying is this -- the wheelchair likely isn't causing the calls to be missed -- it's the person sitting in the chair that's causing that to happen.

I assign games for 24 HS and I'd use someone in a wheelchair in a second if that person got his/her calls right.

So if you had an association consisting entirely of paraplegic, wheelchair-bound umpires, you'd use them exclusively if they got their calls right? Mobility is certainly a necessary component of successful umpiring. Yes, you may see calls very well from your vantage point in the stands, but sitting there doesn't require you to get out of the way of a sharply hit ball, avoid a runner, re-position yourself during playing action, move from behind the catcher on a wild pitch, hustle during a rotation or any of a hundred other things we have to do on the field.

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This entire discussion is insane.  An umpire in a wheelchair poses a danger to the players, he/she's (see what I did there) never going to have a shot at getting in the best position for those crucial 5% calls as Richvee stated, any person who is wheelchair-bound has no more "right" to be a HS/College/Pro umpire than I have a "right" to be an NFL football player ... just because I believe it's unfair that I shouldn't get to play.

You'd have coaches refusing to question calls because they feel sorry for the disabled ump ... you'd have other coaches who were demonized for questioning or arguing with the ump on a play he thought was blown because the ump could not see it from a poor position.

Let's just admit that the FED BOARD is "sissy" enough to put a "CYA" rule into their RULES BOOK and CASE BOOK, and if anyone ever actually put it to the test, the FED BOARD wouldn't know what to do.

When I posted about this ill-conceived rule 2 or 3 years ago, MY POINT was ... NOWHERE in the FED books does it mention that the ump in a wheelchair needs any kind of proof or medical authorization that he/she (see what I did there again?) has been deemed required to use it.  I don't see why I couldn't ump a game myself from a wheelchair going strictly by FED's RULES BOOK and CASE BOOK. What are they gonna say?  I'm making a mockery of it?  Their very rule makes a mockery of it.

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On 4/24/2010 at 0:50 AM, yawetag said:

I'm guessing a wheelchair-bound umpire would always take the plate.

I don't think the rule allows for this.

On 6/25/2017 at 4:43 PM, RichMSN said:

I assign games for 24 HS and I'd use someone in a wheelchair in a second if that person got his/her calls right.

And you would gladly put many players at an exponentially greater risk of injury due to a collision with a Jazzy.

On 4/24/2010 at 0:50 AM, yawetag said:

I was never given a list of "essential functions" from my organization, and I'll bet you didn't either. If the state covered ICs under ADA, and you then fired him for not meeting the "essential functions" that were never given before being hired, you'd be up crap creek.

This is the only part of your misguided liberal bleeding heart dissertation that makes a good point ... but the point is NOT that disabled people who require wheelchairs should be allowed to umpire, the point is that we all SHOULD be given the "essential functions" document the day we are interviewed, and then when the time comes that we are no longer able to perform these essential functions, and we are just out there for the paycheck and putting the outcome of games at risk due to our own limitations, the Associations should be able to hand us our pink slips without any guilt.

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How come I get the feeling I could substitute woman or African-American for person in a wheelchair into some of these posts, and feel I was back in the 1950s. 

Everyone here is demonstrating the classic stereotype of people with a disability. Your reasoning conveys that because of a chair, they are immobile, or they are a risk to getting hit. May be all people with a disability should be shut-ins so all you dinosaurs don't have to degrade another person with your condescending pity. (Note: No "I got family or friends with a disability" stories to try to prove you are not prejudice.). 

My take is this:

Technology is evolving and there are many ways solve obstacles and barriers for people with disabilities to participate in many aspects of our culture, including sports. 

People with disabilities, or differently abled, or people with assisted technology already demonstrate that assumptions about their abilities are incorrect. Just look at the para-Olympic games. 

Get out of your generalized preconceived ideas of what a person with a disability can't do and open your eyes at the abilities of each person. People may surprise you and break down your preconceived ideas. 

Finally, sports is a place to demonstrate what we believe in, and teaches children these values. What do you teach a child playing baseball when they see an umpire with a disability participating in this great game? 

I know in my province we have a challenger baseball field in Vancouver for all children to enjoy baseball. If you build it, they will come. 

 

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