10u tournament last weekend, did 11 games in three days with three different partners. OBR with the typical youth exceptions, re-entry, etc. Nice weather, surprisingly good baseball and no noteworthy issues, except for ONE coach. He was a real pleasant guy, but with ZERO knowledge of the game. His team had enough talent to make it to the semi-finals, so I had them five times...here's the highlights:
1. (pre-game #1) I ask the obligatory question "coaches, can you assure me all your boys are legally, safely and properly equipped?" Other coach; "Yes, sir." Idiot; "So far as I know," Me; "Wrong answer, Todd. I'll be happy to give you some time to check."
2. He and all three of his assistants have lined up buckets in front of the dugout, and are obviously planning to stay there during play. Me; "Todd, we covered this at pre-game. Equipment and furniture need to be out of live ball territory. If ONE of you wants to STAND there just outside the dugout to direct the defense, I'm OK with that." Todd; "Oh, yeah. Sure. I'll take care of it." One version of another of this conversation repeated itself ALL weekend,
3. Starting pitcher comes out to warm up wearing white long sleeves. Me; "Sorry, Todd. Pitcher can't wear white sleeves below the elbow." Todd; "Since when?" Me; "since forever."
4. His team is at bat, bases loaded 0 out. Batter hits pop fly to F6. As soon as I announce infield fly, I hear him shouting and waving his runners to go. F6 catches ball, steps on 2nd then throws to F5 for triple play. Todd is stunned. He thought the infield fly rule meant the runners didn't have to tag up.
5. His team is in the field. He comes to me to tell me he's moving F7 to F5, F5 to F2 and F2 to F7. Me; "you don't need to report DEFENSIVE changes unless they involve the pitcher" (umpires were keeping track of innings pitched).
6. His team has just completed their at bat. He comes to me and says "next inning #12 is going to hit for #3." Me; "Is #12 playing on defense this inning?" Todd; "no." Me; "I can't make record of that change till it is happening. Be sure to tell me again as he comes to bat." (NOTE: umpires were NOT given lineups cards by either team). Next half inning...Todd comes to me and says "NOW #12 is subbing for #3." Me; "Thanks, Todd." I then turn to other bench and say "#12 entering for #3". They respond "#12 is already in the game, has been from the start." Me (to Todd) "They show #12 is already in the game." Todd; "Yes, but he was playing 1st base. I want to move him to 3rd base, put the 3rd baseman (#3) on the bench, and bring my bench guy (#17) in to catch, and move my catcher (#4) to first base." Me "Again, Todd...I don't care who is going where defensively. Who are you bringing in from the bench?" Todd; "#12". Me; "No, he's already in the game." Todd "Oh yeah, I guess it's #17." Me; "OK, then...what we have is #17 entering for #3, right?" (PAUSE) "well not REALLY, cause he'll be catching instead of playing 3rd." Me: "The only change to your BATTING ORDER is #17 for #3...CORRECT?" (LONGER PAUSE) Todd "yes." I turn to other bench and say "#17 for #3."
7. Two innings later, #17 has just been walked, and #3 is stepping in the box. Other team's scorekeeper shouts "I thought this kid was subbed out?". Me (to Todd); "isn't this the guy you subbed out earlier?" Todd; "Yes, but that was just for defense, he's still hitting." Me; "No, Todd. "#17 was a SUB for #3, they can't BOTH be in the game at the same time." Todd; "You mean I can't re-enter him?" Me; "Sure, he can re-enter, but he has to go back in the same spot he originally had in the batting order." Todd; "Yes, and this IS the spot he was in." Me; "No, #17 is in that spot, and he just walked." Todd; "OK, I want to re-enter #3." Me; "Fine, then we send him to first base and #17 goes back to the bench." Todd; "Then can I re-enter #17 next inning on defense?" Me; "No, Todd. Starters can re-enter once, subs can't return. Once they're removed, they're done." Todd; "But I want to keep #17 in the game for defense. He's my best catcher." Me; "you choose, Todd. Simple as this #3 and #17 can't both be in the lineup."
8. Next half inning #17 is still catching, and guess who's warming up to pitch. That's right #3. Me (to Todd) "This is getting old, Todd. #3 and #17 can't BOTH be in the game." Todd; "I thought you said you didn't care who went where defensively." Me (wondering if he's trying to pull something, or if he's really this stupid) "If somebody's in the lineup, then I don't care where they play on defense...but #3 is NOT in the lineup, and the only way he CAN be put back IN the lineup is if he replaces #17." #3 went back to the bench.
9. Todd's team is batting, 2out, full count, runner on 2nd. Todd shouts to R2 "full count, 2 out...you know what that means" and makes winding motion with his hand. Pitch is ball 4, F2 throws to F5, R2 is out by two steps.
10. Todd's team on defense. A runner just crossed home plate without a play (ball was still in the outfield, and F2 was two steps out front of plate) "He's GOT to slide at home plate!"
11. Todd's team on defense. Batter has just fit sac fly to LF, R3 tags and scores easily while R1 moves up to 2nd. Todd asks for time and approaches me. "I think that guy on 3rd left too early." Me (definitely irritated with this guy's ignorance) "Well, what are you supposed to do about that?" (BLANK STARE/Deer in headlights). Todd: "I want to appeal." Me: "pro rules, Todd. You've got to appeal with live ball." (EVEN BLANKER STARE) "Can I have time to go talk with my defense." "Sure, time is out." (I'm actually feeling sorry for him, as he's trying to teach 10 year olds how to do a live ball appeal...especially since I know his appeal will be no good). Conference over, F1 (RH) engages in set position, batter in box, I announce PLAY. F1 without disengaging steps toward 3rd, but is distracted by R2 who is acting like he's running. F1 stops his throw (partner and I both yell BALK), F1 then runs at R2 chases him nearly back to 2nd, then throws ball into center field. Runner scores. Once the dust settles, we're ready for the next hitter. F1 disengages, tosses to F5 who steps on bag and says "that guy left early on the fly ball." I just hung my head, made no call. Todd says "well, what's the call." I answer there is NO call, because that appeal was not legal." "WHY?" "It has to be done before the next pitch or play." Now he wants to talk some more..."why do I lose my right to appeal? What did my pitcher do to get balked? If there was a balk, why did the play stay alive?" I answered his questions, but am quite certain he didn't GET any of it. Pitcher looks dazed and confused. Todd asks to go talk with him..."Sure, you can go, but you know you'll have to replace the pitcher." "What, why?" "Because you've already had one conference this inning." "But I don't have anybody left on the bench" (they were roster batting this game). "It doesn't have to be somebody from the bench, just swap defensive positions." He decided he didn't really need to go out. Right then the game timer went off (no new inning after 1:45). As the home team was leading, (8-5 I think) I declared the game over. Todd is confused again "you mean we don't get our last at bat? That can't be right."