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Mudisfun

The importance of mechanics

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Shockingly we have actually had water falling from the sky here in So. Cal. lately. This has caused many games to be rescheduled or out right cancelled, depending on the league, level of play and field location. My son, 13, plays in a Pony league, and depending on where they play, will determine if they can play on a damp field, or if the city will shut it down entirely.

Last week, with the threat of rain coming my sons team and the team he should have played on Thursday decided to play their scheduled game on Wednesday since they knew the following day the city would close the fields. Knowing I umpire, my son's coach called me asking if I was available... Even though I had a HS game scheduled which would preclude me from saying yes, the answer was NO for any reason... nothing good comes from calling your own kids game I believe. Bottom line... the league made a last minute call to an assignor for an umpire who "thankfully" was available with about 60 minutes to game time.

Here is where it gets interesting... I get to the game just before it starts. Most of the families on the team I have known for years, so although I don't make it known I umpire, they all know... I am the UIC for many of their younger kids who are in our LL. Bottom line, like many of you I am sure, when someone has no clue, they ask you, right?

Umpire working this game:

* SUPER silent strike 3 call. Like so quite, the batter has no idea he just struck out on a called strike.

* Putting the ball in play, especially with runners on... Why would you need to do this? Oh, that's right, F1 just threw over for an out! (I honestly have NO idea if he ever put the ball in play and WE recorded the out, so not, not a complaint from an angry parent)

* Potential play coming into 3rd with runners on and scoring... never looked at the plate to see the 2 proceeding touches.

* Super lazy foul/fair mechanic on close calls.

My intent is not to complain about the official... As someone who calls a few game here or there, I saw several opportunities for improvement, and hey, with 60 minutes to find someone, I was happy they had an umpire who was not me. The point here... when your working a game, give it your A game. The players and the fans deserve it. Some of us actually pay attention and want to know and understand what and why you are ruling something. 

Just a request to those working games to know that some of us sort of umpires are in the stands, and we are watching... and wondering what the heck that call was!

 

Kevin

 

 

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Shockingly we have actually had water falling from the sky here in So. Cal. lately. This has caused many games to be rescheduled or out right cancelled, depending on the league, level of play and field location. My son, 13, plays in a Pony league, and depending on where they play, will determine if they can play on a damp field, or if the city will shut it down entirely.
Last week, with the threat of rain coming my sons team and the team he should have played on Thursday decided to play their scheduled game on Wednesday since they knew the following day the city would close the fields. Knowing I umpire, my son's coach called me asking if I was available... Even though I had a HS game scheduled which would preclude me from saying yes, the answer was NO for any reason... nothing good comes from calling your own kids game I believe. Bottom line... the league made a last minute call to an assignor for an umpire who "thankfully" was available with about 60 minutes to game time.
Here is where it gets interesting... I get to the game just before it starts. Most of the families on the team I have known for years, so although I don't make it known I umpire, they all know... I am the UIC for many of their younger kids who are in our LL. Bottom line, like many of you I am sure, when someone has no clue, they ask you, right?
Umpire working this game:
* SUPER silent strike 3 call. Like so quite, the batter has no idea he just struck out on a called strike.
* Putting the ball in play, especially with runners on... Why would you need to do this? Oh, that's right, F1 just threw over for an out! (I honestly have NO idea if he ever put the ball in play and WE recorded the out, so not, not a complaint from an angry parent)
* Potential play coming into 3rd with runners on and scoring... never looked at the plate to see the 2 proceeding touches.
* Super lazy foul/fair mechanic on close calls.
My intent is not to complain about the official... As someone who calls a few game here or there, I saw several opportunities for improvement, and hey, with 60 minutes to find someone, I was happy they had an umpire who was not me. The point here... when your working a game, give it your A game. The players and the fans deserve it. Some of us actually pay attention and want to know and understand what and why you are ruling something. 
Just a request to those working games to know that some of us sort of umpires are in the stands, and we are watching... and wondering what the heck that call was!
 
Kevin
 
 


True. I had a state evaluator out for my game on Saturday and had no idea until after the game. Good thing I always umpire as if someone is evaluating in the stands.
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I watched my son's first high school game on Friday, only a scrimmage, but a varsity baseball game none-the-less.

It was so cold I was bundled up beyond recognition, so neither umpire, both of whom I've worked with in the past, could recognize me. 

First call at 1B by the BU was a banger, and he banged a guy out... with his LEFT hand. There were other moderate mechanical errors to go along with it.

Plate mechanics were beyond horrendous and at times detrimental to the game (too quiet, or sometimes NO signal, not putting the ball in play, not making the ball dead when it was dead). 

But I should be fair. This is likely the first work they'd both seen this year, and it was beyond frigid. I didn't want to be there either. 

But as @grayhawk said, we ALL, should ALWAYS umpire as if someone who gets it is watching. 

It's clear to me though, that many, many guys are still using a very old standard for what is essentially a new game. Umpiring is NOT the same as it was even 15 years ago, and guys that act as if it is and refuse to grow and change, frankly should be weeded out. IMHO. 

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16 minutes ago, kstrunk said:

Umpiring is NOT the same as it was even 15 years ago, and guys that act as if it is and refuse to grow and change, frankly should be weeded out. IMHO.

In my heart, I agree with you outright.  In reality, there are places where pulling out all the weeds would leave the garden bare.

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23 minutes ago, CJK said:

In my heart, I agree with you outright.  In reality, there are places where pulling out all the weeds would leave the garden bare.

That is, without a doubt, the difficulty in our region as well. 

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Before we start taking a weed whacker to guys, are we assuming they have received proper instruction and blown it off? Or conversely, can they be taught and/or broken of bad habits from Smitty?

If the latter, what have you guys found that these kind of umpires respond best to?

-Formal Training

-Association sponsored camp

-Association pays part of the fees to get to a camp

-Small group sessions

-Small group sessions watching video of themselves working and getting critiqued

I know we all have guys who are chomping at the bit to learn and then we have the lazy guys that simply show up to get a check. We probably will never reach the check grabbers, but we can make an impact on others.

I am interested to hear what some Associations are doing that seems to have worked and is showing dividends.

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1 hour ago, Mad Mike said:

Before we start taking a weed whacker to guys, are we assuming they have received proper instruction and blown it off?

The guys I was referring to primarily, are some guys (not all) with '30 years' under their belt, but, as you said, were never REALLY trained, but they're still very passionate. And in their passion, coupled with their 'experience',  not only reject instruction in many cases (not all), but insist on pushing their way as THE way in spite of new standards and philosophies that are required for guys to grow and advance. 

It's frustrating to go to a collegiate clinic, learn, implement, and then get rebuked (take that literally) by one of these guys in a high school game, and actually instructed to do something incorrectly. 

Our area has some good clinicians, with lots of experience, who are still eager to grow and learn, but they are far outnumbered by guys who think they've arrived, and will not hear anything that didn't come out of their own mouth. 

Again, I don't want to 'over-generalize', this isn't every 'experienced' umpire, but it's a bunch who simply fail to realize that things have changed. That said, I am the first one to submit to the older/wiser/more experienced, and I've made it a habit to ASK THEM for advice and counsel, as I truly appreciate their accomplishments and experience. 

Finally, to answer your question, my frustration is that there isn't much happening in our area in regard to training for HS umpires. When someone DOES put on a clinic, attendance is usually not great. And the philosophy of accountability in scheduling is non-existent for the most part. It's a function of numbers, and the numbers of umpires simply isn't there, I guess...

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On 3/19/2018 at 10:02 AM, grayhawk said:

 Good thing I always umpire as if someone is evaluating in the stands.

 

Some one always is. Sometimes they are evaluators. Sometimes they are assignors. Sometimes they are the check writers. Sometimes they are just watching. And sometimes they rightfully say, "Awwww, c'mon blue!"

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I think two things help, even for old dogs: the culture of your umpire association and learning opportunities all through the year. 

Old dogs will catch the fever to learn if they see all their partners hitting the books and picking ideas up from skilled umpires. This has to be the practice of your association — it’s culture. If you are not learning, you’re not trying. 

Yearly clinics are not enough to change the work on the field. On-going field drills and study sessions, along with game mentorship have to be part of the process. There has to be constructive informal mentorship in addition to formal evaluation to give meaningful feedback for growth and development. 

Finally, there has to be open doors, not closed ones as people develop. People do not progress linearly, so don’t assume they will never learn. I know when I learn something new, I will forget, get mad, forget, get mad, forget, get mad, doing it, doing it, doing it. WTF, how did I get to doing it? 

I don’t think I am the only one who learns this way. 

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12 minutes ago, BCBrad said:

I think two things help, even for old dogs: the culture of your umpire association and learning opportunities all through the year. 

Old dogs will catch the fever to learn if they see all their partners hitting the books and picking ideas up from skilled umpires. This has to be the practice of your association — it’s culture. If you are not learning, you’re not trying. 

Yearly clinics are not enough to change the work on the field. On-going field drills and study sessions, along with game mentorship have to be part of the process. There has to be constructive informal mentorship in addition to formal evaluation to give meaningful feedback for growth and development. 

Finally, there has to be open doors, not closed ones as people develop. People do not progress linearly, so don’t assume they will never learn. I know when I learn something new, I will forget, get mad, forget, get mad, forget, get mad, doing it, doing it, doing it. WTF, how did I get to doing it? 

I don’t think I am the only one who learns this way. 

I agree with you on all counts. What needs to be done is never a debate. But what hinders progress is time, money and resources and all our associations and ourselves included face a lot of competition for our time. My association tries every year to implement a mentor/evaluation program. So far, though, finding people to commit to it has proven too difficult to make it work. So what we're left with is -- to your point -- the culture within the organization and positive examples from our peers. And it leaves guys frustrated who lack perhaps the same drive to self-teach and learn from resources outside of the games they umpire. They're left wondering what they have to do to improve and move up.

 

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