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Everything posted by kylehutson

  1. kylehutson

    Finding the pitched ball

    I *really* struggled seeing pitches at last night's game, and it took me a couple of innings to figure out why. Now I have the question "what can I do about it for next time?" I normally don't show where I've umpired, but this field is ... unique, and I think a visual would help. Here it is on Google Maps. For reference, the right field fence is about 230' and about 30' tall until it gets to the start of the "curve" where it goes to about 6'. Plate to center (plate through 2nd base, not the center of square footage) is about 315'. Directly behind that is the gas station (typical 1 story flat-roofed building) about 400' from home plate, and directly behind that (again, looking from home plate) is a tree (notably, not a grove or forested area, just a single tree). If you're standing straight up, you don't think much about it, because if you look at the pitcher, you see "building" as the background. However as the sun is setting (as it was last night) and I'm down in my normal stance, I'm look up just enough to see "tree" and that tree is full of light-and-dark holes. And that's where I'm trying to pick up seeing the pitches. Most of the time, by the time I was seeing the ball, I wasn't able to get a good track on it to see it into the catcher's mitt. I was relying on the catcher, and I felt like I had my worst game in *years* as far as zone consistency. My partner (a long-time veteran, but with whom I'd never worked before) said I did fine, but I didn't feel like I was doing fine. I tried setting up higher so the background would be "building" rather than "tree", but the different view there was also throwing me off. Any suggestions (other than "don't work the plate at dusk on that field")?
  2. kylehutson

    Finding the pitched ball

    I had a DH again yesterday. It was honestly good to get back there again and say "hey, this feels right". 'Twas just frustrating to do all the things I usually do to re-focus (concentrate on breathing, hold the head steady and be sure to track with the eyes, slow down on the calls), and still feel like I was off. About 3 innings worth, until it got dark. :-) There were probably 3-4 I watched it hit the catchers mitt and thought "#&*( - I don't know, close to being outside, and maybe low, but maybe not". And another 3-4 more that I really think (judging from the catchers' reactions - who were not crybabies BTW). I wanted to tell them "I promise I usually don't suck."
  3. kylehutson

    Finding the pitched ball

    The sun really isn't in his eyes, just the light from the sunset, mingling with the green from the tree. (The sun sets to the left of the LF foul pole, so it's not direct sunlight.) I've been on this field before and haven't had any issues, leading me to wonder if the tree gets more full in a couple of weeks, and then no light gets through, so it's no problem.
  4. kylehutson

    Mask Opinions Requested

    When I'm wearing my Diamond mask, it's actually loose enough that if I weren't for the brim of my hat, it would fall. YMMV. The instructions I read (somewhere on this site, I'm pretty sure) were to lean over so your facing downward with your hat on, and tighten the straps just enough to feel the top pads hit your forehead. The bottom pads shouldn't be touching your chin.
  5. kylehutson

    Dealing with coaches

    Derailment complete. Unless there's something else going on (e.g., coach giving me subs, getting more balls, in which case I just go to the closer side), I stand on the side of the team coming up to bat. That way the batter has to be further away from me (i.e., not crowding the catcher) when warming up. I usually stand 3-5 feet outside the dirt circle (or the equivalent on all-dirt infields). Being that close also lets me toss a new ball to the catcher in case one (or two, or ...) gets by him.
  6. kylehutson

    Umpire assignors in Kansas City, MO/KS

    Oh sure - throw "reading comprehension" into the mix.
  7. kylehutson

    Umpire assignors in Kansas City, MO/KS

    "KS or MO" leads me to believe KC area? I know some of the guys who assign eastern KS (but not KC metro area) for HS. And they would probably be the same ones who do legion / showcase in that area, or would at least know who does. If you're interested in that, shoot me a PM and I'll look those guys up for you.
  8. kylehutson

    HS JV Ejection on Saturday

    That really depends on the level. NCAA has the verbatim warning. NFHS only has that you notify them that they're restricted to the dugout when you give the written warning.
  9. We need to ping @Majordave. I'm sure he knows the right people to get in contact with.
  10. kylehutson

    Question about enforcement

    It's a lot easier to see from A (or, for that matter, D if you happen to be able to work 3-man). If the free foot is close enough I can't tell from where I happen to be, I say "that's a windup" (in my head) and take it from there. If I can definitely tell, I call it.
  11. kylehutson


    Quote of the day here.
  12. The best time (from a strategy standpoint, assuming it's against not-your-team) is to inform during the at-bat (so they're ready), but tell him not to say anything to the umpire until after the at-bat is over.
  13. kylehutson

    Washington, Mo high school game

    My wife and a couple of her cow-orkers are going to a conference. I'm chauffeuring . And probably going out for some evening libations. We're leaving Saturday mid-morning, and with a deadline to get back, unfortunately.
  14. kylehutson

    Washington, Mo high school game

    I'm happy to report that "Operation Avoid yawetag" was a resounding success
  15. kylehutson

    Washington, Mo high school game

    I'm missing you all by a week. I'm heading to St. Louis next Wed-Sat.
  16. kylehutson

    Colored masks acceptable?

    Can you? Sure. The "gotcha" is that if you do something that isn't standard, like the blue above, and you are umpiring a game between a team that's in red, and one that's in the same color blue as you have there. How many people from the red team are going to think you're part of "the other team" based on your pad color?
  17. I organize the umpires for my small town's rec leagues (8u machine pitch, 11u, and 14u, baseball and softball), that's one field and (this year) 7 teams. The pay isn't much (starts at $12/game for 8u, up to $20/game for 14u). But here's what we do provide: - Almost all equipment. It's a mix of "good" and "passable" - we have the Schutt XV and a decent Champro mask with good Wilson pads. Shin guards are old catcher's gear, but for the level we're working there, it's "good enough" - even the better 14u pitchers would have a hard time making a travel team. I think I'm the only one that has plate shoes, and guys must wear their own cup. As far as liability, sure they could sue the rec commission out of existence ... and get the $2k in its bank account (maybe less toward the end of the season). I'm not worried. - First shirt is half paid for. We standardized on the powder blue shirt, and the rec commission will pay for half of the umpire's first shirt - which comes out to slightly less than the first 8u game fee. Being a rec league, the rest of the uniform is optional (read: non-existent). The other towns in our league only use t-shirts with "Umpire" emblazoned on the front, for comparison. - We can start them young. You only need to be 2 years older than the age group you're umpiring for, so I can start them as young as 10 years old working 8u games. I do partner anybody with less than 2 years of experience with somebody with more than 2 years of experience, preferably an adult. We do have 2 umpires for each game, even the 8u's.
  18. kylehutson

    Middle School "Extra Hitter (EH)" Rules

    In middle school (and anything sub-varsity), as long as the coaches agree to it in pre-game, they can do whatever they want. Continuous batting, free substitution, time limits, I really don't care. In most cases, I've seen it like you describe (it's just another defensive position whose position happens to be on the bench). If the coaches don't agree (and note that sometimes what the coaches agree to is dictated by league rules). If they don't agree to it, we go by NFHS rulebook, which doesn't recognize such a thing as an EH.
  19. Anybody have Mattingly's address? I think he could use some of these.
  20. kylehutson

    Shin guards

    I don't need stock. I just need them to stay in business.
  21. kylehutson

    F3 throat guard?

    I don't think it's bad - I just don't like it as well as the spyder I have on mine.
  22. kylehutson

    Feet past the white chalk of batter box

    The point is that if you can't see the batter's box lines, you can't tell them to get back in it. If you can, there's no problem, just tell him to keep his toes inside the line. In my case (where the line is gone), rather than let him stand where I know he shouldn't, I chose to be proactive and make a line to keep that from happening.
  23. kylehutson

    Feet past the white chalk of batter box

    From the NFHS Case book: -- 7.3.2 SITUATION B: B1 assumes his batting stance (a) with his right foot on the back line but not outside the back line of the batter’s box, (b) with his right foot partially on the back line and partially outside the back line of the batter’s box, or (c) with his right foot completely outside the back line of the batter’s box. RULING: The stance in (a) is proper. However, in (b) and (c), the umpire shall instruct the batter to assume his stance so neither foot is outside the lines of the batter’s box. -- Based on this, he needs to start completely inside the batter's box. The "completely outside the batter's box" terminology comes into play in determining whether or not to call a batter out for hitting a ball outside the batter's box. In fact, I had a high school game this week where a batter stood with his toes less than 3" from the plate (the batter's box lines had been wiped out through the course of the game). I called time, took the knob of his bat and drew a batter's box line and told him to setup outside that line.