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MidAmUmp

Between Innings

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MidAmUmp    1,726

I'm sure Missouri isn't the only state having issues with teams taking forever between innings. Pretty much state-wide the 1 minute rule isn't enforced. One of the other state evaluators contacted me the other day to see if I was hearing about problems in our area...and I am. We have approached the state office about it and they are looking into it.

I want to know what your state and/or local associations require. Do you enforce the 1 minute rule? Do you carry a stopwatch? How do you deal with it?

I don't want a debate, I just want to know what other states are doing so I can take it back to my state.

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Mike D    13
I'm sure Missouri isn't the only state having issues with teams taking forever between innings. Pretty much state-wide the 1 minute rule isn't enforced. One of the other state evaluators contacted me the other day to see if I was hearing about problems in our area...and I am. We have approached the state office about it and they are looking into it.
I want to know what your state and/or local associations require. Do you enforce the 1 minute rule? Do you carry a stopwatch? How do you deal with it?
I don't want a debate, I just want to know what other states are doing so I can take it back to my state.

Michigan is hit and miss, I carry a watch in my bag, but only use it if teams are taking an exorbitant amount of time. Most of the time I'll just tell the catcher to 'ship it' and they are good about it. I also remind the catcher at the beginning of the game that they only have a minute.

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JonnyCat    135

In our area most of the fields don't have lights, so there is a sense of urgency for most coaches to get the games in. That being said, we instruct our umpires to have due diligence in keeping the game moving. We want our PU up near the line counting pitches and hurrying the players if need be. We teach our umpires to be ready to go and not to waste time between innings. If the umpire has a sense of urgency, then that attitude often trickles down. If the teams are lagging and the umpire is on it, they get the message pretty quickly. Conversly, if the umpire is yucking it up between innings thinking it is a social hour, that will really slow down a game. We try to discourage that!

I think education of game management techniques is the key.

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scrounge    1,127

in Central Ohio, we don't use stopwatches or anything, but it's a point of emphasis to keep them moving....to be honest, it's not a problem in the main suburban leagues from what I've seen.

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maineump    349

Our board tells them to keep the kids moving and reminds them that there is a 1 minute time limit - it generally works. Do we carry a stop watch? Not officially. Last year we did a pretty good job with keeping the game moving.

Maybe the answer is to carry a stop watch like college and hold the teams to the rule. I have done 9-inning college games shorter than some of the HS games I have seen.

Our state meets with the coaches every spring (required meeting) and gives them the rule changes, POI's and whatever else they think needs to be worked on. Pace of PLay is one of the things they talk about.

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LMSANS    495

In HS games, we do not use a watch.  Heck, most guys don't even count the warmups.

We only whine about the length of games, we don't do anything about it.

 

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VolUmp    212

In Tennessee, I blame the officials when this problem occurs. It's just too easy to fix. We also have it as a POE every year at our state meetings.

There are about 4-5 reasonable "delays" that slow the pace of the game down, but that's just part of the game.

- Injuries

- Difficult Subs

- Pitching changes

- Catcher made last out 

- (fill in the blank)

If the official counts warm up pitches, sweeps the plate before he's asked, hands the bats back to the team after the 3rd out, always calls for more baseballs before the bags are empty, stays away from his partner between half innings, gets his drinks during pitching changes, ignores the fans, pulls out his lineup cards every half inning to anticipate a sub(s), anticipates courtesy runners, limits the time for Defensive Conferences by the coach, establishes at the plate meeting that ON DECK BATTERS need to hustle after foul balls straight back and passed balls with no runners (and enforces that from the first pitch), then that's about all we can do without becoming OOO.

i NEVER let my catchers or myself chase down balls back to the screen that aren't live with runners.

Most of our fields do have lights, so it's very important not to let the players and coaches drag the pace down.

The local womens' Softball officials at the HS and College levels use a stopwatch. I think this appears very arrogant and actually makes the ump look like he's reprimanding children. We'll never do that here in baseball.

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Richvee    1,724

We have no state mandates, and we don't use stopwatches. That said, if I have the plate, I'm encouraging guys to hustle out if they're loafing,  make sure there's someone warming F1 if F2 is delayed,etc. For the most part, at least at the Varsity level, I rarely need to move them along. If I count the 5 warmups after the second inning, The F2's usually get it and I don't have to count anymore..They're throwing down on pitch 4 or 5 on their own.  they do good job around here of hustling in and out. I'm not sure if we're averaging a minute, but it's not usually an issue.

OTOH.....:ranton:Sub Varsity, and a "less diligent" PU and it can get unbearable. I end up standing in RF clapping my hands "Let's go, let's go" (directed mostly at my PU, who's either chatting with a coach, or otherwise oblivious to the fact that F1 is on his 9th warmup pitch):rantoff:

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VolUmp    212
16 minutes ago, Richvee said:

I'm not sure if we're averaging a minute, but it's not usually an issue.

If I average 90 seconds, that absolutely superb.  2 minutes is fine.

The complaints are coming from teams that take 3-4 minutes every inning, coaches talk to officials, officials talk to each other, officials go for water AFTER the 5 warm ups, it's just all avoidable and preventable.

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umpstu    689

If I see the catcher sitting on his butt taking his time that pitcher isn't getting any tosses between innings.  Generally gets the point across.

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Jimurray    542
5 hours ago, MidAmUmp said:

I'm sure Missouri isn't the only state having issues with teams taking forever between innings. Pretty much state-wide the 1 minute rule isn't enforced. One of the other state evaluators contacted me the other day to see if I was hearing about problems in our area...and I am. We have approached the state office about it and they are looking into it.

I want to know what your state and/or local associations require. Do you enforce the 1 minute rule? Do you carry a stopwatch? How do you deal with it?

I don't want a debate, I just want to know what other states are doing so I can take it back to my state.

Generally I don't think the one minute rule is enforced in my neck of the woods in Texas. But the rule is unrealistic compared to the NCAA rule. That being said, "2 more, 1 more, or take it down" should take care of the problem if umpires are controlling the game. @VolUmp gives examples of guys who do not do that. So your problem is with umpires who do not get the battery out or don't care if the battery is out, or don't ask for the warm up catcher to come out, don't count pitches or let the catcher know his job is to count, who drift to the shade and let things happen, who do not know to leave a ball at the plate when they are taking subs (a good BU will come in and keep track), or walk to get a drink every half inning ( I don't want shame an umpire in to heat exhaustion but we  don't need shade, a drink, and a sit every half inning. I'm 70 and live in Laredo, TX) . It's also possible that some umpires, having done many time limit JV games, thus no need to move the game along, have become jaded and just go with the flow.

So I think your problem is with your umpires, given that one rule exists which can be used with discretion.

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maven    3,880
10 hours ago, LMSANS said:

We only whine about the length of games, we don't do anything about it.

Agree. I might have posted this here before (it's mine):

Quote

Umpires complain about how long their games are, but the plate umpire often contributes to the problem. Here are three things you can do to speed your game without rushing it.

 

  1. Enforce warm-up pitch restrictions: Rule 6-2-2 limits pitchers to 8 warm up pitches within 1 minute when they enter the game, and 5 pitches within 1 minute when they return to the mound. If the pitcher strolls out of the dugout, wanders around the mound, and generally takes his time, you can cut off his warmup after 2 or 3 pitches (and let his catcher know why). Some umpires allow warm up periods to extend to 3–5 minutes each half inning! Time saved: 2 min x 14 half innings = 28 minutes

  2. Call more strikes: an easy way to improve any baseball game at any level is to call more strikes. Baseball is a defensive game, and pitching is difficult. Make batters put the ball in play, and keep the defense in the game with more batted balls. Every walk adds 5 minutes to a game: try to eliminate 3 or 4. Time saved: 5 min x 3 fewer walks per game = 15 minutes

  3. Enforce the batter’s box rule: Rule 7-3-1 governs when a batter may leave the box, typically after he swings (swinging strike, foul ball) or the defense delays. Time saved: 1 min x every 2 innings = 4 minutes


Just three small steps can shave as much as 40–50 minutes from a game. Enjoy!

 

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Thunderheads    2,360

Michigan, ...  it's encouraged and we've been asked to carry a stop-watch (base ump) and keep to a minute the best you can.   If you mention this quickly in the pre-game, you'll have ZERO issues.  I've had no problems

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kylehutson    296

New mandate from the state of Kansas this year, and all the coaches were told about it.

BU *shall* have a stopwatch. When all the fielders have left the field, BU is in short RF and starts the stopwatch. 40 seconds later he is to run to A. That's a signal to PU that there's 20 seconds left, and he should tell the catcher he's only got a couple more.

Has it worked? Mostly so far (I've only had 2 nights/4 games that weren't rainouts). Biggest issue are when catchers aren't ready (on base during the last out) and when new pitchers come in - their one minute is timed from first pitch, rather than players leaving the field.

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smckin    18

I don't time them I count pitches new pitcher gets 8 returning gets 5 ... After a couple of innings they typically take three and they are ready

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kstrunk    204

I guess the lack of suitable umpires makes it difficult for associations to DEMAND the professionalism of the PU standing on the respective foul line, counting pitches, and notifying the battery and the on deck batter when there are 2 left, then 1 left, then... 'here we go!'...

Everything else that some guys do (i.e... social hour, small talk, etc.) only serves to provide more opportunities for him to hang himself with a coach or player. In my limited experience though, the job is easier when done right (PROFESSIONAL). Is it a bit lonelier? Maybe. Does it then address some guys' need for approval and friendship? Nope. But that's not what umpiring is about anyway. It's about making sure the game is played right so that the players have every opportunity to do what they've come to do. 

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ricka56    1,062

Fed can make between innings issue a POE. States can make it a POE. But if the individual chapter/asso don't make it a POE, then nothing will be done. If chapters want to put teeth to this "POE", they can withhold plum assignments. If states want to put teeth to the POE, they have to find what would motivate chapters to emphasize it (ex. put problem assos on notice and withhold state playoff assignments for assos that don't comply).

Training...keeping the game moving (the object of this POE) is a manner of training. I like my procedure and would kick/scream if mandated by my chapter to do something less efficient. But chapters can have a "canned" procedure for those who don't/won't develop their own.

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KenBAZ    377

AIA, our association here in AZ does not require us to time it. We are trained to enforce the eight and five practice and to signal and notify the offense when there are two warm-ups​ left. We have the benefit of coaches and players with a lot if experience so it's seldom if ever a problem. I work closely with catchers encouraging them to beat their pitchers into the field and to always jog back from the mound after a visit. On occasion I will have to encourage the leadoff hitter to step in right away. One other thing, we work hard to keep kids in the box once they enter. Again, a HS Varsity player here like in many other warm weather areas, has played hundreds perhaps thousands of games and will have heard it all before so this part of my job is not difficult.

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MadMax    1,215

Following up with what @KenBAZ already disclosed, the level and... for lack of a better term... "intensity" of play is a significant factor in this. When you've got two above-average teams squaring off, with coaches who "know the drill" and have pitchers and catchers who have experience, often in not only HS games but also in (timed) tournament and showcase games, this concern about time between innings becomes a moot point. Often, these pitchers are already fully warmed up (typically in an actual bullpen) and don't want to give the opposition much in the way of "timing him up". So too, the larger and more intense HS programs have at least one backup / off-day catcher sitting in gear (at least shin guards and a mask), ready to receive warm-up pitches between innings, or warm-up a potential relief pitcher in the bullpen. These programs delight me (as an umpire, and as a former catcher) because as the game progresses, there is no time wasted between innings. I've had pitchers come out, throw one, then tell their F2 to send it. Love it!

I see noticeable loss of time in games wherein one (or both) teams lack an 11th or 12th player who could potentially warm up the pitcher between innings. I also see it with programs who have rather shaky grasps on fundamental baseball (pitcher overthrows catcher, catcher overthrows pitcher, infielders are overthrowing each other in the background). Another big waste of time is when a HC makes a pitching change amongst his fielded nine. There's the figuring out who goes where, then there's the switching of gloves, then the warmup pitches are "started cold", with a majority of them giving a cringe to either the umpire or the folks behind the backstop. To top it off, the HC then has to convey all the lineup changes he's making.

Lineup changes are a major time-leech, especially in the 5th and 6th innings.

All of this is compounded in Sub-Varsity baseball. Here, even the most dutiful of umpire considers being dragged slowly behind a salt truck across a road of broken glass as more tolerable than watching all the lackluster activity between innings, on the part of both teams, and trying to keep them to a 1-minute interval. For as punctual as you enforce them to be to that 1-minute interval, the Baseball gods will drop on you a 9-run second inning, wherein a ball doesn't leave the infield (except by overthrow), you've forgotten how to pronounce the word "Strike", and we're now on our third pitcher...

... who now has to swap his outfield glove for his pitcher's glove, and needs his 8 warmup heaves pitches.

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kylehutson    296
6 minutes ago, MadMax said:

All of this is compounded in Sub-Varsity baseball. Here, even the most dutiful of umpire considers being dragged slowly behind a salt truck across a road of broken glass as more tolerable than watching all the lackluster activity between innings, on the part of both teams, and trying to keep them to a 1-minute interval. For as punctual as you enforce them to be to that 1-minute interval, the Baseball gods will drop on you a 9-run second inning, wherein a ball doesn't leave the infield (except by overthrow), you've forgotten how to pronounce the word "Strike", and we're now on our third pitcher...

Welcome to my game last night.

Inning 6, and the coach calls on the catcher to start pitching. Oh, and all defensive changes, so somebody (F7 maybe?) has to run in to the dugout and put on the one set of catcher's gear that's being shed by the newly-designated pitcher. I shouldn't complain, though, because the old catcher/new pitcher, left me with a huge goose-egg on my forearm when he completely whiffed an inside pitch. It's still painful to open and close my left hand today.

I kept 'em moving between innings, but that pales in comparison of the 7(maybe?) runs walked in.

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Jeff C.    70

I've never really had a problem in Michigan.  If I think they are lolly gaging,  I take a couple of warm up pitches away.  But I have worked with individuals that let them get away with  6-7 warm ups per inning.

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eric0531    5

One of the senior guys in our association brings a stopwatch when he is doing bases, and my first year doing HS games a couple of years ago he was really helpful with some tips on keeping things moving between innings. 1:00 is pretty aggressive but keeping inning breaks to 1:15 or 1:20 does make the game feel noticeably snappier. I've got no qualms about taking a couple of warmup pitches away if the team is slow getting out and ready, and once is all it takes for them to get the message.

My between inning rules are no chatting with coaches, players or my partner, and if I'm going to hydrate I'll walk over immediately after the last out but stay aware of the team coming out so that when I walk back to the line I know exactly how many more pitches they're getting. Had a JV game on Thursday, albeit two good JV teams, but we finished a 3-2 game in 1:35 - helped a little bit being on field turf as there were no cheap hits from bad bounces :-)

Now if we could just get some dry weather out here in western Washington we could get some games in. Of the 19 high school games I've had scheduled so far, 12 have canceled due to rain. lol, just as I finished typing that my scheduler texted me to ask if I could do a re-scheduled varsity game this afternoon. Forecast looks iffy, crossing my fingers.

 

 

 

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RichMSN    528
In Tennessee, I blame the officials when this problem occurs. It's just too easy to fix. We also have it as a POE every year at our state meetings.
There are about 4-5 reasonable "delays" that slow the pace of the game down, but that's just part of the game.
- Injuries
- Difficult Subs
- Pitching changes
- Catcher made last out 
- (fill in the blank)
If the official counts warm up pitches, sweeps the plate before he's asked, hands the bats back to the team after the 3rd out, always calls for more baseballs before the bags are empty, stays away from his partner between half innings, gets his drinks during pitching changes, ignores the fans, pulls out his lineup cards every half inning to anticipate a sub(s), anticipates courtesy runners, limits the time for Defensive Conferences by the coach, establishes at the plate meeting that ON DECK BATTERS need to hustle after foul balls straight back and passed balls with no runners (and enforces that from the first pitch), then that's about all we can do with becoming OOO.
i NEVER let my catchers or myself chase down balls back to the screen that aren't live with runners.
Most of our fields do have lights, so it's very important not to let the players and coaches drag the pace down.
The local womens' Softball officials at the HS and College levels use a stopwatch. I think this appears very arrogant and actually makes the ump look like he's reprimanding children. We'll never do that here in baseball.


NCAA uses a stopwatch. How is that arrogant?

The problem is this. 60 seconds isn't enough. Give them 90 and then enforce it.
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catsbackr    371

VolUmp and I are from the same state and we are doing completely different things.

 

In our association, the field umpire is required to carry a stop watch and start the clock when the last defensive player is off of the field.  At 45 seconds, the field umpire walks from right field to the A position, signaling his partner that the catcher needs to throw the ball down to second base.  If the pitcher or catcher is late coming out, the clock is running, so they may not get any warm-up pitches.

 

On a completely different subject, I think the one thing that slows games down the most is coaches calling pitches.  Some times it takes forever, and the catchers even apologize for it taking so long.

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