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MN901c

Hecklers

Question

Hey guys,

Rusty, born again umpire in his first year back after 10 years off, curious to see how you handle heckling fans and people who try to interact with you that are right behind the backstop. "Blue, that was outside." "Blue" "Blue" "Blue, that was outside" or a situation we had in a game yesterday; Batter rounded 1B towards 2B, 1Basemen goes to make the tag going back into base, tags the runner while on the bag, and the runner overruns the bag on his way back and he gets tagged out. Then one single wonderful fan behind the backstop kept yelling out "HE HIT HIM!" "He hit him off of the base! Come on blue! You can't do that!" And goes on a good 25 seconds. At what point do you say something? I wasn't about to delay the game. But it was a small backstop, and he was about 9 feet behind me. It was difficult to ignore, even more so because he was the only one that had a problem with it. Low level JV game. Would you acknowledge him right then and there, or wait in between innings? Would you even acknowledge him? If the inning ends and he says "blue what was that" calling you over, do you explain it or just ignore him?

Or say it was someone else, who didnt appear to be trying to challenge you on a call, but is calling you over in between innings. Do you even acknowledge them, look in their direction, or just completely ignore them? 

For whatever reason I can't remember how I handled this in the past and this time around I just completely ignored all of the above but I felt like a jerk, and Im curious to see how you guys would handle it/what has worked well for you in the past.  Thanks fellas.

 

By the way, I just recently discovered this site. As it figures, the year I gave up umpiring this website was created. This is such a great way to connect and get advice and interpretations from other umpires. So glad to see/have something like this the second time around. Kudos to the creators and to you all for making it happen.

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Don't talk to the fence.

Engaging fans over calls only invites more "quality control" on their part.

Ignore to the best of your ability.  If it gets unbearable, have game management speak to the fan(s) and remove them from the game if necessary.

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2 hours ago, MN901c said:

(1) At what point do you say something? 

(2) Would you acknowledge him right then and there, or wait in between innings?

(3) Would you even acknowledge him?

(4) If the inning ends and he says "blue what was that" calling you over, do you explain it or just ignore him?

(5) Do you even acknowledge them, look in their direction, or just completely ignore them? 

Welcome back.

(1) When fans affect the playing of the game is when you say something, but not to the fans.  Umpires don't talk to fans or to anybody else not allowed on the playing field.  The person to talk to is the site manager (field rep, home AD or coach, et. al.) preferably between innings, but stop the game and don't proceed any further until the situation is rectified, if necessary.  

(2) You don't acknowledge fans.  

(3) No.

(4) Ignore him until you can't, then see (1) above.

(5) Never make eye contact with a fan unless it is biologically necessary and has been discussed thoroughly during your pregame with your partner.  

The word "fan" stands for "fanatic" and its synonymous with extremist, militant, bigot, radical, diehard, maniac, freak, wacko.  Fans are not necessary to play a ballgame.  I've umpired several hundred games when there were no fans present at all and the games went on as if they weren't necessary to begin with.        

 

 

   

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The game is in front of you. Anything behind you is worth paying attention to.

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It all depends. In the county youth league my son played in, umpires absolutely can and do eject fans over arguing balls and strikes.  The league gets the fine money. I've seen it happen.

At the rec league level do what ya gotta do! We need to have civility restored!

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Basically the only question(s) I will answer, when working somewhere with no score board and if I go to the fencing for my beverage:

- Mud, what inning is this?

- Mud, are we playing 7 or 9 today?

- Mud, do you know the score?

- Mud, is there a time limit today?

Pretty much anything else gets no reply. If there is/was anything that would cause angst, then I stay away from the fans for a while...

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I always bring my soccer into this, but I use the ask tell dismiss policy. I have never addressed parents directly. I go to the coach. I ask them to talk to their parents. If the parents get rowdy I tell the coach this is getting out of hand and we will not continue until you remove that fan from the field.

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