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ilyazhito

High School Playoffs

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I've noticed over in the collegiate section of this forum that there is a thread dedicated to NCAA Postseason umpires. I thought, why not make a similar thread for high school folks good (or lucky) enough to work in their playoffs. I'd like us to be able to congratulate each other on our playoff assignments, reflect on our playoff experiences, and learn more about each others' playoff tournaments.

I am a second-year umpire in MAC/NVBUA, and have worked playoffs in each of the past 2 seasons (last year, I worked a 4A Sectional Quarterfinal game, this year a 4A Sectional Final game). Maryland (MPSSAA, the governing body for public school sports) runs 2 tournaments to determine a state champion for each of 4 classifications (1A is very small schools, 2A is small schools, 3A is medium schools, and 4A is large schools), first the Regional Tournament, to decide the state semifinalists, and then the State Tournament, starting with the semifinals at 4 different sites (Cannon Stadium in Anne Arundel County (3A), Harford Community College (2A),  McCurdy Field (Harry Grove Stadium) in Frederick (1A), and Shirley Povich Field (4A), also the home field for the Georgetown Hoyas baseball team), and then all four finals at Ripken Stadium, home to the Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League.

MPSSAA pays for two umpires for the Regional Tournament, however, MAC supplies 3 umpires for as many playoff games as possible each year. For the State Tournament, MPSSAA assigns and pays for 3 officials.

Last year, I worked a 2-man Sectional Quarterfinal (1st round) game as the plate umpire, and I had to suspend it because the steady drizzle to start the game had turned into a torrential downpour. I was stuck in position behind the catcher, so my partner and I decided to call the game. It was resumed on the following Monday with a different crew.

Today, I worked a 3-man Sectional Final (3rd round) game as the first base umpire. It was an eye-opening and exciting experience, because I had never worked 3-man before this year. I had practice as the home plate umpire working 3-man in a preseason scrimmage (I was able to do a rotation with no one on), so I knew association practices and the 3-man rotations from that perspective. Today, I was able to get many nice looks on pickoffs at 1st and 2nd base due to the closer positions that 3-man allows for (Short A and Deep B really open up the wedge for those types of calls), and enjoyed making many close calls on pickoffs. I was also able to go out with a runner on 1st to rule on a potential low catch (the fielder dove, but failed to catch the ball, and R1 was forced out at second).  Because I had read through 3-man mechanics manuals before, I was able to get into the groove after the 1st half-inning ended (I only had to remind myself once to stay in A with a runner on 1st base). It was a great experience, and I'd love to be able to work a Regional Final game this year. If not, I might get other 3-man playoff games next year.

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My first year Varsity in NYS Section XI. And I made the cut (playoff assignments are made by Section XI based on coaches ratings) for playoffs. Today had U2 in a three man assignment for an elimination game. I lived up to the term "rabbit"..

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Wow! It's crazy to think about working U3 (3rd base umpire) if you're new to 3-man, because you have to cover the back side of plays, go out if on the line, and be in B, C, or D depending on baserunner configuration. Still, congratulations on earning a playoff assignment first year. We are one of few umpires working playoffs in our first years. 

 

Remind me again where Section XI is (I went to Arlington High School (LaGrangeville, NY), in Section I, and Section IX was across the Mid-Hudson Bridge for me). Maybe they are as desperate for umpires in Section XI as they were in Prince George County, MD last year (Last year, PG County introduced a new fingerprint policy. Many veteran umpires refused to have their fingerprints taken, but I did. I ended up working varsity games, and got chosen to work the playoffs, thanks to my work, and the recommendation of a coach for DuVal High School (a team I worked a varsity doubleheader for)).

 

Congratulations, and I'm rooting for you to get a spot working next round. How do the NY playoffs work? Is there a tournament for all of NY, including New York City and the private schools (like the Federation State Tournament in basketball), or do the playoffs include just NYSPHSAA schools, with PSAL and the private schools on their own?

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According to the wonderful world of baseball in New Jersey, umpires are not allowed to talk about post season assignments.

From the assigners of post season baseball in NJ: "If we find out that you shared this info with anyone but your crew, you will be disqualified from working."

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Wow, Jersey sounds like fun...
Section XI is Suffolk County, Long Island.
We have enough umpires to cover games and such, but can always use more, like e everywhere else. The playoffs assignments are first: you are Varsity level, determined by a two year average ratings, and a promotion procedure. Second, you met all the trainings and tests and mandatory meetings requirements. Third, meet minimum number of Varsity games worked that regular season. Fourth, ratings. In our case, top 12 who qualify get in. Finally, availability and Section assigns us, including assigning the Plate/UIC for each game. There is a proposed update to the regulations for application next year that first year Varsity umpires can not work playoffs their first year, so I basically just got in before that takes effect!

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7 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

According to the wonderful world of baseball in New Jersey, umpires are not allowed to talk about post season assignments.

From the assigners of post season baseball in NJ: "If we find out that you shared this info with anyone but your crew, you will be disqualified from working."

I guess the Mafia runs the NJSIAA like they do other aspects of New Jersey, since umpires are forced to observe omerta ;)

Is there any info available on the structure of the playoffs in NJ?

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Actually, given what some of the, um, less intelligent officials (in any state) think appropriate to post to social media about their games, the NJ policy is pretty reasonable. Because folks have such a wide range of "filtering," the safest course is the shut it all down.

That said, the scope of NJ's prohibition "If we find out that you shared this info..." is open to interpretation. Posting "I have a post-season assignment" is not likely to be actionable.

What they don't want shared is the specifics: date, level, opponents (if known), or basically anything that would allow meddling coaches, players, parents, fans, or boosters to infer who will officiate their team's game. That knowledge confers an unfair advantage, even if they don't contact the officials. Officials have known "tendencies" (for umpires: larger/smaller strike zone, mobility, ease of being "worked" by coaches, which they sometimes confuse with "approachability," etc.), and being able to plan around these is an advantage (or apparent advantage). NJ, reasonably, does not want their assignments to be made public, so they (like many states) issue a gag order.

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33 minutes ago, maven said:

Actually, given what some of the, um, less intelligent officials (in any state) think appropriate to post to social media about their games, the NJ policy is pretty reasonable. Because folks have such a wide range of "filtering," the safest course is the shut it all down.

That said, the scope of NJ's prohibition "If we find out that you shared this info..." is open to interpretation. Posting "I have a post-season assignment" is not likely to be actionable.

What they don't want shared is the specifics: date, level, opponents (if known), or basically anything that would allow meddling coaches, players, parents, fans, or boosters to infer who will officiate their team's game. That knowledge confers an unfair advantage, even if they don't contact the officials. Officials have known "tendencies" (for umpires: larger/smaller strike zone, mobility, ease of being "worked" by coaches, which they sometimes confuse with "approachability," etc.), and being able to plan around these is an advantage (or apparent advantage). NJ, reasonably, does not want their assignments to be made public, so they (like many states) issue a gag order.

I think you are being generous Maven.  AD's and some coaches have access to Arbiter, so they know ahead of time who is assigned.

I would be more inclined to believe that assigners do not want to field phone calls of the type: "Why did Bubba get that conference playoff and I am on the sidelines?"

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Maven, does the ban also cover talking about past assignments? AFAIK, there is no competitive advantage to be gained  when the game is done. 

 

Re: OH, how are things done there? Does your local association (SUA) make playoff assignments for some rounds, or is it all done by OHSAA, from the first round to the state championship? 

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1 hour ago, ilyazhito said:

I guess the Mafia runs the NJSIAA like they do other aspects of New Jersey, since umpires are forced to observe omerta ;)

Is there any info available on the structure of the playoffs in NJ?

Here you go...

2018 NJSIAA/WILSON BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
Important: Coaches must have a copy of these instructions as well as a copy of the NJSIAA Baseball Rule Modifications

available at all games. Copies of these regulations are available at: www.njsiaa.org/sports/baseball

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52 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

Re: OH, how are things done there? Does your local association (SUA) make playoff assignments for some rounds, or is it all done by OHSAA, from the first round to the state championship? 

It's kind of in between. At least in central OH, associations really don't have much formally to do with assigning in any capacity. The various conferences in this area have hired an assignor, who can pick people from across any association depending on his needs. Associations do the training and informal assistance (let's face it, all the top guys know each other, and there's nothing wrong with that) but the schools hire the assignor, not the association.

So, as to playoffs, there's a somewhat complicated formula (not that bad, really) for ratings that determine who gets into the pool of consideration for each level. Each pool is about 3-4 times bigger than the actual need. We have district boards and assignors that pick for the first four rounds (the first two rounds, with many schools having a bye, was last week and is what we call 'sectionals', with the next two rounds this week, which we call 'districts'). After that, the regional games next week and the state final four for each division (we have 4), those are assigned by the state from those in the state-qualified pool.

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9 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

According to the wonderful world of baseball in New Jersey, umpires are not allowed to talk about post season assignments.

From the assigners of post season baseball in NJ: "If we find out that you shared this info with anyone but your crew, you will be disqualified from working."

and you will end up in the meadow lands  with cement shoes?

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11 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

According to the wonderful world of baseball in New Jersey, umpires are not allowed to talk about post season assignments.

From the assigners of post season baseball in NJ: "If we find out that you shared this info with anyone but your crew, you will be disqualified from working."

 

nj.jpg

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Well, how does the postseason work in TN? Have you, or anyone else you know, had any postseason assignments this year? I'd love to hear all about it.

 

35 minutes ago, conbo61 said:

 

nj.jpg

I know that NJ is anal about its umpires not talking about the playoffs, but what is it like in PA? Have you, anyone you know, or other U-E users from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, gotten any playoffs this past year?

In MD, teams are divided into  4 Regions by size (from 1A to 4A in increasing size order) and geography (e.g. 4A South includes all big schools in Prince George's County), and these regions are divided into sections, for ease of scheduling. Regional champions advance to the semifinals, from whence the winners advance to the State Championship at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen. Local associations select officials to work in the regional tournament, if both teams are from the same association coverage (2 PG teams get a MAC crew, but a Montgomery County team playing a Frederick County team gets a neutral crew, because MoCo and FredCo use different associations in the regular season).

I know that PA has 12 districts, and that both public schools and private schools are involved (MD only has public schools competing in the state championship, so local private school associations [WCAC, IAC, MAC [the conference, not the association], etc.] compete on their own). That said, how similar is the PA system to the Maryland system. Does PIAA assign officials to all rounds of the playoffs, or is there some local control involved? What are the eligibility requirements, other than passing the rules test and attendance at the rules interpretation meeting (or completing an online clinic [VA and some other states replace the rules clinic with watching an online video])?

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Haven’t worked in PA in couple years but did for several years.  Never was in on the decision making, but was on playoffs for 7-ish years. This is how I think it worked in our area  

Districts (ours was 4 counties,some may be just the Pittsburgh public schools, some may be all over the place) have there own tournaments, our district used 3-man crews, and then 4-man for championships. There were 4 chapters in our district and we each had 2-3, 3-man crews that were “nominated” by assignor/board and approved by district committee. The 4-man crew was also done in same manner, and was the deemed the “inter district crew”. 

When the state tournament started there are 4 rounds per level (may have changed in past years).  Depending on where games were played and who was playing determined which district committee was the host, then the crews from that district worked. Those came from PIAA office to the district committee, then they decided which crew was where and what game. 

The year my crew got a state championship, that game came from PIAA office. 

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Worked a state championship game last night (5/17/18) in South Carolina.  We play a best-of-three championship series.  I had second, then first and I would have had game three on the dish...but it was a series sweep.  It was my 14th consecutive year being selected by the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) to work at least one state championship game.  I am proud of that fact because it is the SCHSL that picks the umpires...so umpire association politics are just not relevant.

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5 hours ago, lawump said:

Worked a state championship game last night (5/17/18) in South Carolina.  We play a best-of-three championship series.  I had second, then first and I would have had game three on the dish...but it was a series sweep.  It was my 14th consecutive year being selected by the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) to work at least one state championship game.  I am proud of that fact because it is the SCHSL that picks the umpires...so umpire association politics are just not relevant.

Congratulations! It's surprising that SC has its state championship so early, but maybe the warmer weather down there does allow for baseball to begin sooner than in other states.

It's also really cool that the championship is a series, not 1 game as in MD. I'm guessing that y'all use 3 umpires throughout the tournament (or at least for the semis and finals).

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6 hours ago, ilyazhito said:

Congratulations! It's surprising that SC has its state championship so early, but maybe the warmer weather down there does allow for baseball to begin sooner than in other states.

It's also really cool that the championship is a series, not 1 game as in MD. I'm guessing that y'all use 3 umpires throughout the tournament (or at least for the semis and finals).

We start scrimmages in early February and games in late February.  We use three through the entire playoffs until the championship series when it is four.

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9 hours ago, Richvee said:

:clap:

South Carolina is the best state in the country to umpire high school baseball.  We have unbelievable baseball talent to umpire and a great League that backs its officials.  If you're a coach and get ejected you're paying a minimum $300 fine and serving a 2 game suspension.  If you're a volunteer coach, you're banned from having any contact with the school's athletic department for one year from the date of ejection.  Players get a minimum 2 game suspension.  The League often goes beyond the minimum...even for a first ejection.  Needless to say, our association has very few ejections in a season.  

For example, once we had a Coach appeal his ejection.  He had been restricted to the dugout when he said, "bear down!" to the umpire as he was leaving the field and heading back to the dugout.  He got tossed. (We umps can argue whether that is a good EJ or not...but that's beside the point.). Coach said in his appeal that, that was not enough to warrant an ejection.  The League said, "when you are restricted you don't have the right to say another word," enjoy your suspension.  (Okay, I made up "enjoy your suspension".)

Add to all of that the fact that our local umpire association is committed to putting the best umpires on the field for the "big games", and not those umpires in some clique or with some type of seniority, and you have the best possible situation that an umpire can have in high school baseball.  Life is good. 

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41 minutes ago, scrounge said:

Now if y'all would just get rid of the auto-out on a missed base vs. an appeal, you'd be perfect!

LOL.  Nothing can be perfect!

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