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BlueMagic

Chirping Assistant

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Summer League HS game.  Third game of the day (didn't start until 9:15 pm).  Before the game starts, the pitching coach for the home team hands me baseballs and says something to the effect of, "If you widen your strike zone tonight, you won't get any arguments from anybody.  We all want to get out of here."

Top 1st, his pitcher can't find the plate.  The pitching coach (who's sitting right outside the dugout) starts rumbling (where's that???, looks like a good pitch to me, etc.)  During a brief stoppage in play, he starts yelling for everyone to hear, "Blue, we're gonna be here all night if you don't call those strikes!" I turn and look at him, take my mask off, and before I say a word, he says "I'm not arguing balls and strikes, I'm just saying it's 9:30.  Gotta widen your zone."  I respond, "I'm not the one who scheduled the game.  Let me do my job, and you do yours."

If this was a regular season HS game, I would've handled it differently (first of all, I wouldn't have allowed him to be outside the dugout).

Thoughts/advice??

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Did he get the message? If he did, fine... 

He already commented to you prior to the game that a big zone would be appreciated, so in effect he is 100% arguing balls and strikes by grinding on you in the 1st inning. He wants to go home... if he continues, oblige him. If he zipped it, then mission accomplished.

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Look at the head coach and say,”You want to take care of this or do you want me to?” Depending on his answer, restrict/eject the assistant or do nothing.


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2 hours ago, BlueMagic said:

I respond, [1] "I'm not the one who scheduled the game.  [2] Let me do my job, and you do yours."

Your approach seems to have worked, so there's that (and it is NOT nothing).

However, as a general rule, I recommend staying away from both parts of how you replied.

  1. True, you did not schedule the game: but it wasn't arguing until you engaged with it.
  2. I generally recommend against telling people what to do. We sometimes tell them what NOT to do, but that's different.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the forum's favorite acronym, IAWE, which applies here too. I think I'm still at "I" for 'ignore' in the first inning. If not (and the ASSt sounds annoying enough), then just staring at him might shut him up.

Depending on the experience level of the coach, a stern "Knock it off" or "That's enough" can be sufficient to address the problem. If you're working with FED rules, you can issue a written warning as well (or just write down when you said KTSO).

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As long as we’re on asst coaches, does anyone mention them in pre-game....i.e., “we’ll talk to you 2 only,” “your asst coaches do just that, assist you (HC) not us, etc, etc. Thanks for any insights.


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Personally, I don't like to address expected behavior at my plate meetings. Especially at the HS level, I assume (I realize that's not always good to do) that coaches know how to conduct themselves properly even if they always don't. I don't like to get into what they should do if they have a question about a call, blah blah blah.

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51 minutes ago, Catch18 said:

As long as we’re on asst coaches, does anyone mention them in pre-game....i.e., “we’ll talk to you 2 only,” “your asst coaches do just that, assist you (HC) not us, etc, etc. Thanks for any insights.

Most of us recommend against this tactic. Raising the possibility of conflict primes coaches to expect it, which in turn makes it more likely.

The primary virtue of a plate meeting is that it is, above all, short. Most of mine last a minute or less, depending on how long the ground rules take.

Certain business must be conducted: lineups, equipment question, ground rules, and anything else your league or state mandates. Limit your plate meeting to the minimum.

Less is more. As always, when the game is actually being played, there's generally less shenanigans (most everyone has a job to do).

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A friend of mine shut down a pitching coach in a college game recently.  He heard some comments from the dugout, looked at the guy and said, "Who ARE you?  The message being that he's not the head coach and needs to STFU.  It was also a message to the head coach that he needs to take care of it.  The coach turned tail and headed to the back of the dugout.  YMMV.

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Most of us recommend against this tactic. Raising the possibility of conflict primes coaches to expect it, which in turn makes it more likely.
The primary virtue of a plate meeting is that it is, above all, short. Most of mine last a minute or less, depending on how long the ground rules take.
Certain business must be conducted: lineups, equipment question, ground rules, and anything else your league or state mandates. Limit your plate meeting to the minimum.
Less is more. As always, when the game is actually being played, there's generally less shenanigans (most everyone has a job to do).

Thanks, I’d tend to agree. If you come asking/addressing, it may look like you’re picking for a fight. I’ve just had some partners mention things, so I thought I’d poll the audience. Thanks again.


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Most of us recommend against this tactic. Raising the possibility of conflict primes coaches to expect it, which in turn makes it more likely.
The primary virtue of a plate meeting is that it is, above all, short. Most of mine last a minute or less, depending on how long the ground rules take.
Certain business must be conducted: lineups, equipment question, ground rules, and anything else your league or state mandates. Limit your plate meeting to the minimum.
Less is more. As always, when the game is actually being played, there's generally less shenanigans (most everyone has a job to do).

Thanks, I’d tend to agree. If you come asking/addressing, it may look like you’re picking for a fight. I’ve just had some partners mention things, so I thought I’d poll the audience. Thanks again.


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He is an assistant who started talking about the zone and wanting to get out of there before the game started. When he started chirping about the zone he is getting a warning and anything after that and he is going home early like he wanted to in the first place

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On 6/12/2018 at 8:13 AM, BlueMagic said:

"If you widen your strike zone tonight, you won't get any arguments from anybody.  We all want to get out of here."

If I narrow the strike zone I'm not getting any arguments either....ya follow?  (obscure The Sting reference)

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54 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

If I narrow the strike zone I'm not getting any arguments either....ya follow?  (obscure The Sting reference)

Way obscure 'The Sting' reference... did you know Robert Redford never watched that movie until he saw it with his Grandkids 25-30 years after it was made? Thought that was interesting when he mentioned that in an interview.

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One I did a few weekends ago when there were too many cooks in the kitchen:

”Chuck, I’m hearing a lot voices in the dugout that don’t sound like yours. I only want to hear yours from now on.” 

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10 hours ago, taa71458 said:

One I did a few weekends ago when there were too many cooks in the kitchen:

”Chuck, I’m hearing a lot voices in the dugout that don’t sound like yours. I only want to hear yours from now on.” 

Too many words. "Knock it off!" Done.

Like explaining balks, if we can do it in 5 words or fewer, that's ideal.

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On 6/12/2018 at 5:10 PM, grayhawk said:

A friend of mine shut down a pitching coach in a college game recently.  He heard some comments from the dugout, looked at the guy and said, "Who ARE you?  The message being that he's not the head coach and needs to STFU.  It was also a message to the head coach that he needs to take care of it.  The coach turned tail and headed to the back of the dugout.  YMMV.

I used that once in a HS varsity game, but with emphasis on the last word ("who are YOU?"). HC and assistant were both questioning something between innings. I don't remember what the issue was, but it worked beautifully. HC told AC to get in the dugout and keep his mouth shut. :)

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On 6/13/2018 at 9:54 PM, taa71458 said:

One I did a few weekends ago when there were too many cooks in the kitchen:

”Chuck, I’m hearing a lot voices in the dugout that don’t sound like yours. I only want to hear yours from now on.” 

"I'm a ventriloquist."

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Coach failed to mention that large strike only applied to his pitchers, and not his hitters.

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On 6/19/2018 at 1:01 AM, Matt said:

"I'm a ventriloquist."

Well, I'm going to start throwing out your "dummies" until it quiets down over there.

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On 6/12/2018 at 2:22 PM, maven said:

The primary virtue of a plate meeting is that it is, above all, short. Most of mine last a minute or less, depending on how long the ground rules take.

Certain business must be conducted: lineups, equipment question, ground rules, and anything else your league or state mandates. Limit your plate meeting to the minimum.

Less is more. As always, when the game is actually being played, there's generally less shenanigans (most everyone has a job to do).

Umpires walk briskly onto the field.  They walk directly to the home plate area.  They do not stop to talk to coaches/players, etc.  Plate umpire stands behind the point of the plate with his mask under his left arm and his line-up card holder and pen out and ready to go.  Partner(s) stand opposite the plate umpire (on the other side of home plate) facing the plate umpire.  Coaches will then walk up and stand in the batter's box closest to their dugout.

Me:  "Matt Sullivan, good to meet you"  (extends hand to shake.)

Partner:  "Alan Johnson, good to meet you." (extends hand to shake.)

Head Coach #1:  "Joe Smith, good to meet you."  (shakes umpires' hands)

Head Coach #2:  "Dick Jones, good to meet you."  (shakes umpires' hands)

Me:  "Joe (home team coach), I'll take your card first." (I review line-up card.)  "Ten-man line-up with your DH batting for your shortstop?"

#1:  "yes, sir."

Me:  "All of your substitutes listed?"

#1:  "Yes, sir."

Me:  (Takes Dick Jones' card and reviews it.)  "Batting straight nine; all of your substitutes listed?"

#2:  "Yes, sir."

Me:  "Are all bats, helmets and other equipment proper and legal according to Federation/NCAA rules?"

#1 & #2: "Yes, sir."

Me:  (In Fed games:) "All players properly and legally equipped?"

#1 & #2:  "Yes, sir."

Me:  (If required:) "Gentlemen, I'm required to mention sportsmanship.  I've just done it.  Joe, take us around."

#1:  (Gives ground rules.)

Me:  "Sounds good.  Good luck gentlemen."  (coaches and umpires shake hands one last time.)

Takes 1-2 minutes...with much of that time spent in silence reviewing the line-up cards.  THIS IS HOW IT GOES EVERY TIME.

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On 7/9/2018 at 10:42 AM, CJK said:

Well, I'm going to start throwing out your "dummies" until it quiets down over there.

Do not forget that in FED games, FED rules specifically allow for an umpire to eject the head coach if the umpire is being verbally abused by a team's dugout, but the umpire does not know who is responsible.  You will not find this in the rule book.  Rather, it is in the NFHS umpire's manual.

This happened a few years ago in a state playoff game (not my state).  An umpire was getting a lot of arguing from the dugout.  After a warning or two, the arguing/yelling continued.  Some player yelled something worthy of an ejection.  The umpire did not know which player said it, and when the team would not point out the culprit, he picked a player and ejected him.  Because a player ejection in that state carried a mandatory suspension (and because that team would be without that player for their next playoff game (it turned out that that player was scheduled to start as the pitcher in the team's next playoff game)), the team protested the ejection.  The umpire provided the state association with the language in the NFHS umpire's manual that allowed an umpire to "pick a player" when he didn't know who the culprit was and the team refused to identify the culprit.  Based on the language in the NFHS umpire's manual, the state denied the protest.

We (the rules committee) did not feel that this was fair to the player (who may not have been the one to have uttered the offending words).  Furthermore, some school districts suspend (from school) a player who is ejected from a game (under the theory that the playing field is an extension of the classroom).  We didn't want a kid being suspended from school when he may not have done anything.  Thus, in 2016 we changed this rule to make it that the head coach (or acting head coach) may be ejected in this situation...under the theory that the head coach is responsible for the conduct of his dugout.

While this is an unwritten rule (that is taught at umpire schools), I believe that NFHS is the only organization that has specifically put in writing that if someone in the dugout says something worthy of an ejection and you don't know who said it...you can eject someone (the head coach).  (Of course, before you eject the head coach you should try to ascertain the true culprit.)

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10 minutes ago, lawump said:

We didn't want a kid being suspended from school when he may not have done anything.

I don't feel bad for him, because he did do something wrong.  He made a conscious choice to hide the identity of the loudmouth.

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4 minutes ago, CJK said:

I don't feel bad for him, because he did do something wrong.  He made a conscious choice to hide the identity of the loudmouth.

Well, that is true.  I don't know if that is school suspension worthy...although, I'm not an educator.  LOL

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