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tankmjg24

Pitcher's Attitude

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So I am looking for feedback on whether I should have put an end to the negativity that a pitcher displayed recently.  Game is with a team that my association usually does not cover, so I have no idea about how the game is going to go.  Game begins and pitcher is missing all over the place.  He is fussing at his catcher who is trying to encourage him, yelling at the infielders who are trying to encourage him, kicking dirt, talking into his hat etc.  One place he is consistently missing is about an inch outside.  As the game progresses, I start to notice that after a called ball, he begins to raise his arms in the air a bit and shake his head etc.  At one point he yells down to home "where did that miss".  I tell the catcher out, who tells the pitcher, who responds by shaking he head and going back to the mound.  I am not going to respond to the pitcher by yelling out to the mound, but I will tell the catcher where a pitch misses.  In the above case I told the catcher who relayed my response to the pitcher.  The body language was pathetic, but I never really felt like it crossed a major line.  It was also very sporadic, and not constant.  I mentioned to the catcher one time that his pitcher was flirting with crossing a line, to which he responded "yeah he always acts like that."  At the time, things did not seem to be too bad, but I have since seen video (will try to get a copy for you all) and it looks worse on film.  I should mention that there was no issues from the coach or the catcher, and the game was never really too competitive.  In hind site, I wonder if I should have stopped the coach one time he was going to the box and mentioned the pitcher's attitude, or if this would have caused a bigger problem.  Thoughts on how this should have been handled?          

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44 minutes ago, tankmjg24 said:

consistently missing is about an inch outside.

First, if he's missing an inch off the plate, call that strike, (unless you're in the MLB)! I don't get too worked up over what he says to the other players but when he throws his hands in the air after a call that's toward me and I'll send the catcher out to stop it right then. If he does it again..gone. All of the other antics were directed elsewhere but will lead to him doing it to you so be ready when he does.

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10 minutes ago, Specks said:

First, if he's missing an inch off the plate, call that strike, (unless you're in the MLB)! I don't get too worked up over what he says to the other players but when he throws his hands in the air after a call that's toward me and I'll send the catcher out to stop it right then. If he does it again..gone. All of the other antics were directed elsewhere but will lead to him doing it to you so be ready when he does.

Just like Specks, I'll send the catcher out to go talk to him. If the first one is a tiny arm raise, maybe I just take note of it and let it go. But if it's obvious or if he does it again send out the catcher. If he does it again I wouldn't come out and dump him right away because the first warning was quite indirect and relatively subtle. Plus, I don't know what the catcher actually said out there so it's possible my message never got relayed. If it happens after sending out the catcher I'd probably come out and warn him, letting him know that's not going to be tolerated today. 

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and if I come out, it goes something like this................look bud, you can either pitch, or umpire.  However, we have the umpiring covered today, so if the drama continues, you won't be pitching or playing anymore either.

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How old, what level?

If it got serious enough to push your tolerance level, it was serious enough to have considered a more severe response. Before getting the coach involved, I'd probably start with the catcher. Call time and clean off the plate, and while you are doing so, tell the catcher to go out and tell the pitcher that another complaint and he's gone. Then follow through. Personal, profane, persistent--any one of these three--and it sounds like F1 persisted.

As with all such suggestions about game management, this is merely one technique, one which you might adapt to your personal style, the game's flow, and your rapport with the catcher.

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I always use the catcher in this situation. He is always going to make or break the game for you. If the pitcher doesn't respond or gets worse, dump him. It's more than likely that no one ever told him the right way to act out there and no one has tossed him for his behavior, so in a sense you're going to be doing him a favor. 

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Using the catcher is always a good way to go.  I am also a believer that the line up card is your friend.  I will call the coach over, take out the card and point nonsensically at it while informing him that his pitcher needs to be calibrated.  I have found that coaches appreciate this approach as it is subtle and does not put anyone "on the spot" but the point has been made.

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Any inappropriate body language, glove slapping, huffing, etc falls squarely on the shoulders of the coach.

He is seeing everything you are seeing, and he's doing nothing about it. 

I recently called a MS tourney where I let the pitcher show hi a$$ about 8 times. Finally I had enough — when I called a strike and he threw his hands up in the air (as if to say, "where's that call been?"

I'd already used the catcher. Nothing changed. I went to the head coach and said, "Coach, your pitcher is literally one pitch away from an ejection. Your catcher and I have been trying for two innings to stop it and he just showed me up on a strike call. I'll give you one free visit to take care of it, or he is gone."

The coach agreed and took care of it. The kid walked up to me and apologized and all was well from that point forward. 

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7 hours ago, VolUmp said:

Any inappropriate body language, glove slapping, huffing, etc falls squarely on the shoulders of the coach.

He is seeing everything you are seeing, and he's doing nothing about it. 

I recently called a MS tourney where I let the pitcher show hi a$$ about 8 times. Finally I had enough — when I called a strike and he threw his hands up in the air (as if to say, "where's that call been?"

I'd already used the catcher. Nothing changed. I went to the head coach and said, "Coach, your pitcher is literally one pitch away from an ejection. Your catcher and I have been trying for two innings to stop it and he just showed me up on a strike call. I'll give you one free visit to take care of it, or he is gone."

The coach agreed and took care of it. The kid walked up to me and apologized and all was well from that point forward. 

IMO 8 times is way too many times after the first time it needs to be addressed.  Why did you let him do it 8 times?

 

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5 minutes ago, coachump4 said:

Why did you let him do it 8 times?

because he's a middle school... Volump, I don't agree with everything you say, but you handle this well IMHO.

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2 minutes ago, White47 said:

because he's a middle school... Volump, I don't agree with everything you say, but you handle this well IMHO.

just because he is in middle school he is allowed to complain about the strike zone and act out 8 times without anything.  I am sorry I just can't agree with this.

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1 hour ago, coachump4 said:

just because he is in middle school he is allowed to complain about the strike zone and act out 8 times without anything.  I am sorry I just can't agree with this.

Just because he is in MS doesn't allow him to act out, but at this age, we should try to keep him in the game. To summarize what is written here and many good options we should exhaust.

first time - let it go (unless it is bad)

second time - catcher to the mound

third time - you get the coach involved

fourth - do what you have to do.

There is no reason to be shown up by a MS player (or any player), but make this a teaching moment if you can before you give him the ultimate teaching moment, that probably includes an extra game. We can't treat a MS kid the same as we would a HS or above player.

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middle school is 12-14 y/o, not always the best at controlling themselves, Volump showed a lot of parental style patience, too much???, that IDK, as a Coach I would have addressed it after I saw it a second time. 

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2 hours ago, coachump4 said:

IMO 8 times is way too many times after the first time it needs to be addressed.  Why did you let him do it 8 times?

1 Because I don't agree that 8 times is too many.

2 Because I rather enjoyed letting a cocky kid make as a$$ of himself.

3 Because I was giving the catcher and the coach first opps to fix it.

4 Because it doesn't intimidate me or make me alter the strike zone to punish him.

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3 minutes ago, VolUmp said:

1 Because I don't agree that 8 times is too many.

2 Because I rather enjoyed letting a cocky kid make as a$$ of himself.

3 Because I was giving the catcher and the coach first opps to fix it.

4 Because it doesn't intimidate me or make me alter the strike zone to punish him.

Might I add number 5

5) never felt showed up by a middle schooler.

 

Also, I love number 2

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I have no problem with what @VolUmp did.....I don't have any 1,2,3, step program in how I handle my game. I feel like with my experience level, I'm the best judge of how to proceed. I certainly don't have any problem with ejecting a miscreant......if they got to go..........., they go....

Some days I just may be a bit more tolerant than others...... When the pitcher had an open negative display on a called strike, I think my tolerance level would have been exceeded as well....@VolUmp handled it....

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Oh and number 6...I'll let the next umpire take care of it.

 

I don't care if he is a MS player or not, handle your business.

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#1 is a matter of personal preference and style, I guess, but I disagree with #2. A MS kid (13 or 14 y/o), almost by definition, can be a jerk. You're not teaching him anything by letting him continue for so long. And, in my experience, when you say something to a kid that age, he immediately gets the message and apologizes.

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I wasn't there, and each of us has his own "feel" for what it takes to cross the line, but I think it sounds like you passed the problem on to the next guy.  The kid still doesn't know where the magic number is, but he thinks it's at least 8.

The first time it happened probably wasn't prolonged, profane, or personal, but I think it would have prompted me to have an aside with the coach at the inning break.  "Mike, we both know that's not appropriate.  I wanted you to have your chance to address it first, and I didn't want whatever happens next to come as a surprise."

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On 4/27/2017 at 11:26 AM, tankmjg24 said:

One place he is consistently missing is about an inch outside. 

Consider making this in your zone. It's difficult enough to see the outside strike, and if you're able to determine it was only an inch off the plate, you're better than most, so use this to everyone's advantage because nobody else will have an opinion on it being outside.

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12 hours ago, VolUmp said:

"...I'll give you one free visit to take care of it..." (emphasis added)

While I don't personally agree with a few points in VolUmp's post in this thread...I can chop up most of my disagreements to "different strokes for different folks"...and respect that he got out of his situation unscathed.  What I have quoted above, however, is what I can't look away from.  Maybe VolUmp got away with granting a "free visit" in a MS game, but if you give "free" trips in a higher level game you are going to open up a can of worms and/or a world of hurt (i.e. a lost protest) for yourself.  

Depending on the rule set, if you allow a coach to make a second trip to the mound in an inning, or make the fourth defensive conference in a game (FED), and you allow the pitcher to remain in the game (assuming no prior visit(s) was due to an INJURY), then you are going to have an apesh!t opposing coach on your hand.  You have no support in the rules to allow a "free visit".  If that pitcher remains in the game after he was required to be removed (solely due to the fact that you gave a "free visit") you are almost guaranteed to lose a protest should the opposing team lose.  [Maybe things are more "relaxed" in VolUmp's middle school league, but this technique can get you into big trouble.]

If it gets to the point where you have to call a coach over during that team's defensive inning, you need to tell him to take care of his pitcher or you will...but that if he goes out to the mound to "take care of his pitcher" it will count as a visit/conference.

Personally, if it arises to the level that I feel I need to talk to a coach during the team's defensive half inning...I'm not talking to the coach.  If it has gotten to that point, it means that F1 has continued to behave that way after either (a) I warned him, (b) F2 warned him (after being instructed by me to go and warn F1), or (c) both.  At that point, you can forget me calling the coach over...I'm tossing F1.  If the head coach argues the ejection, I'll tell the head coach that F1 was ejected "for arguing balls and strikes despite having been warned (insert number of warnings) times."  If the coach says, "you should have let me handled it."  I will respond with, "coach, (# of warnings) warnings from me should have handled it; especially when he's not even entitled to any warnings for arguing balls and strikes."

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3 hours ago, lawump said:

While I don't personally agree with a few points in VolUmp's post in this thread...I can chop up most of my disagreements to "different strokes for different folks"...and respect that he got out of his situation unscathed.  What I have quoted above, however, is what I can't look away from.  Maybe VolUmp got away with granting a "free visit" in a MS game, but if you give "free" trips in a higher level game you are going to open up a can of worms and/or a world of hurt (i.e. a lost protest) for yourself.  

Depending on the rule set, if you allow a coach to make a second trip to the mound in an inning, or make the fourth defensive conference in a game (FED), and you allow the pitcher to remain in the game (assuming no prior visit(s) was due to an INJURY), then you are going to have an apesh!t opposing coach on your hand.  You have no support in the rules to allow a "free visit".  If that pitcher remains in the game after he was required to be removed (solely due to the fact that you gave a "free visit") you are almost guaranteed to lose a protest should the opposing team lose.  [Maybe things are more "relaxed" in VolUmp's middle school league, but this technique can get you into big trouble.]

If it gets to the point where you have to call a coach over during that team's defensive inning, you need to tell him to take care of his pitcher or you will...but that if he goes out to the mound to "take care of his pitcher" it will count as a visit/conference.

Personally, if it arises to the level that I feel I need to talk to a coach during the team's defensive half inning...I'm not talking to the coach.  If it has gotten to that point, it means that F1 has continued to behave that way after either (a) I warned him, (b) F2 warned him (after being instructed by me to go and warn F1), or (c) both.  At that point, you can forget me calling the coach over...I'm tossing F1.  If the head coach argues the ejection, I'll tell the head coach that F1 was ejected "for arguing balls and strikes despite having been warned (insert number of warnings) times."  If the coach says, "you should have let me handled it."  I will respond with, "coach, (# of warnings) warnings from me should have handled it; especially when he's not even entitled to any warnings for arguing balls and strikes."

Thank you.   Very well said.  You laid this out much better than I could have.  This brings to mind the article posted below.    This article should be required reading.

 It also brings to mind the quote from  basketball coach Frank Martin, posted here:

 

kids.jpg

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Here's an extreme example, but at what point should this F1 have been ejected? I will state that IMHO, it would have been long before he swiped his glove along the corner of the plate.  (F1 was not ejected, BTW, from what I can tell from watching the video.)

 

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Certainly no later than when he left the mound to argue.

And that coach that came charging in could hold hands with him on the way out, too.

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1 minute ago, CJK said:

Certainly no later than when he left the mound to argue.

And that coach that came charging in could hold hands with him on the way out, too.

The coach was coming in to protect his player.  that action alone would not get an ejection from me.

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