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Kevin_K

NFHS changes 2019

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On 10/4/2018 at 3:52 PM, Minnz said:

NFHS could make life so much easier by just saying the CCA manual applies to us as well. They pretend that a) rotation signals in 3/4 man don't exist b) most good umpires already have a signal (removeal of hat) when they have helpful information on a play for their partner.

Maybe next round they will also give us a super secret drop third strike catch/no catch signal we can all use.  Oh wait...

Too many members on the committee are opposed to using the mechanics set forth in the CCA Manual.  I am not going to tell you their reasons, as I don't speak for them.  But adoption of the CCA will not happen anytime soon.

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11 hours ago, lawump said:

Too many members on the committee are opposed to using the mechanics set forth in the CCA Manual.  I am not going to tell you their reasons, as I don't speak for them.  But adoption of the CCA will not happen anytime soon.

Is it because of "we don't want to be like college" snobbism, or because they are not aware of good umpiring practice? I don't know how many NFHS rules committee members umpire, especially at the college level, so I can't infer that the committee members know either NFHS or CCA mechanics. 

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7 hours ago, ilyazhito said:

Is it because of "we don't want to be like college" snobbism, or because they are not aware of good umpiring practice? I don't know how many NFHS rules committee members umpire, especially at the college level, so I can't infer that the committee members know either NFHS or CCA mechanics. 

Neither one. NCAA mechanics in all sports are designed around a more complex rule set and have more exceptions and more elaborate mechanics.

NFHS has vastly more officials than NCAA, many of whom have little or no "professional" instruction, and many of whom have rather limited mobility. A mechanic might be "good umpiring practice" for fit individuals with proper training, but not feasible for many FED umpires. Part of the objective of FED mechanics is to simplify, simplify, simplify (this priority is probably second only to safety).

As baseball is a complex game, simplification is possible only to a certain extent. Compromises are made. But it is possible to be simpler than CCA mechanics and still have a reasonable set.

My state has its own mechanics manual that's neither FED nor CCA nor MLB. So that's fun, too.

If the mechanics are intolerable to people, then they should not work the games that impose those mechanics. Nobody but umpires ever cared who takes the BR into 3B. I never quite understood the outrage surrounding this issue.

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6 hours ago, maven said:

But it is possible to be simpler than CCA mechanics and still have a reasonable set.

My state has its own mechanics manual that's neither FED nor CCA nor MLB. So that's fun, too.

Both states I have worked in my area have done the same. They are based off of CCA. But have some major differences to them. Especially when you start getting into 3 and 4 man mechanics (Washington in particular). Oregon calls it "Oregon Modified Mechanics Manual" while Washington simply refers to it as the "Washington State Mechanics Manual."

Thankfully, they are close enough to CCA that it is not distracting and can be moved closer or further away depending on what the Crew Cheif for that game wants to do.

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On 10/12/2018 at 2:31 AM, ilyazhito said:

Is it because of "we don't want to be like college" snobbism, or because they are not aware of good umpiring practice? I don't know how many NFHS rules committee members umpire, especially at the college level, so I can't infer that the committee members know either NFHS or CCA mechanics. 

There were approximately 105,000 individuals who umpired at least one FED game in the United States in 2015.  The difference between the top NFHS umpire and the worst NFHS umpire is greater than at probably any other level of baseball.  We have to account for that.  Do I personally fight to adopt mechanics that look more like CCA?  Yes.  Do I understand other committee members' arguments that we need something different than CCA to account for the disparity in umpiring quality we have in NFHS from one umpire to another (including physical limitations)?  While I don't always agree...I understand their arguments and rationale.  

While this has certainly not been the case over the years, over the last three years, we've have numerous umpires on the committee...including a former AAA umpire (who worked NL regular season games), another former MiLB umpire, and several college umpires.  All of whom also work FED, too...as either umpires or administrators.  Several of these committee members with impressive umpiring resumes believe NFHS mechanics should not be CCA mechanics.

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Would the committee be open to "the standard NFHS mechanic is xxx, but if the crew agrees, it can be yyy"?

 

I do recognize that it can be dangerous to agree to change something because muscle memory can interfere or people can be on different pages, but certainly there are a couple of changes that should be easy to implement by crew adoption.

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17 hours ago, noumpere said:

Would the committee be open to "the standard NFHS mechanic is xxx, but if the crew agrees, it can be yyy"?

 

No.  States are free to adopt their own mechanics without incurring any penalty (unlike rules)...so we see no need.  I would bring it up in your local association.

BTW, while I'm on the committee...I'm also the director of training and education for my association...and we use the MiLB 2-man mechanics.  (Which, now, is almost identical to CCA.)

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On 10/14/2018 at 8:37 AM, lawump said:

Do I personally fight to adopt mechanics that look more like CCA? Yes.

Here's the thing that gets my goat, @lawump (and please understand, I'm corresponding with you as a form of rhetoric, not specifically griping at you)... With all your experience, when you do a 2-man Fed game, then a 2-man College game, then a 2-man OBR game (whether it be amateur adult, actual Minor League, or teenaged tournament, such as USSSA or American Legion), all in the same weekend, even with the same partner, are you specifically altering your positioning, mechanics, and partner interaction to suit the specific game you're doing, from one to another? Likely not. I'm not talking about rules application, I'm talking who-has-what-and-how during a play. When you work with someone long enough, you each understand how the other reads and reacts, you know each others' capabilities, and you certainly don't need much in the way of signaling or pre-game discussion.

Certainly, if you're partnered with someone you're not familiar with, you have to establish that working relationship. That takes a foundation, a lexicon, a language. So, I don't mind that there are different manuals for advisement and education. What I have a problem with – what gets my goat – is when an evaluator, pundit, association staff person, somebody "official" criticizes me and/or my partner on an apparent lack of adherence to "the" manual, or an association's prescribed method. Case in point: My fellow Vulture is not only my usual partner, he's also my roommate. We've spent the last 2 years working together. We work everything from MLB/MiLB Spring Training thru Adult thru College thru Showcase thru High School thru various tournaments. At a fairly prestigious weekend tournament, we had these "guest evaluators" making the rounds. One in particular made it a point to track us down in the dressing room postgame to "demerit" us because "we don't signal pre-pitch and between batters". After the both of us gave him a spooked look, my partner replied with, "So you know, he's (me) my housemate. We know what each others doing all the time."

Thing is, I can arrive at the same summary for each of "my" Vultures, as well as the other colleagues I work frequently with. But associations and their evaluators have to justify why they are there. In my Arizona experience, most of those who are in the positions of merit or that matter know, or at least trust, that those 2-4 guys they place together on a game, as a crew, will perform well together and call a quality game, regardless of their specific adherence to a specific set of mechanics. That experience, adaptiveness, and cooperation-to-goal will trump (or win out over) strict adherence to this, that, or whatever mechanics guidelines. 

I've stated this several times before on U-E – You succeed as a crew, you fail as a crew. My point is, if you – whether you're an umpire in-game or an evaluator outside the game – are so scrutinizing every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed, you invariably miss that the sentence doesn't fit the context, or that you have misspelled words.

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@lawump , any hope of getting the "start each inning with a runner at second in extra innings" rule anytime soon? This was a change I had hoped to see for this year.

As an aside, I'm glad the pitching mechanic was altered. Like others have said, I never saw any reason to enforce that in the first place.

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20 hours ago, jonathantullos said:

@lawump , any hope of getting the "start each inning with a runner at second in extra innings" rule anytime soon? This was a change I had hoped to see for this year.

As an aside, I'm glad the pitching mechanic was altered. Like others have said, I never saw any reason to enforce that in the first place.

For the record, as my coaching experience is in softball, I have vast experience with this rule.   It sucks.   It does not, in my experience, ensure games end more quickly.   It MAY reduce the number of those 16-18 inning games, but will likely have minimal impact on how many games end in the first extra inning, and will, even if going less innings, not necessarily reduce the actual TIME it takes to finish the game.

Unless you have a coach who understands analytics, you almost always run into "sac R2 to third, push R3 across plate, end up with three out, one run scored" in BOTH the bottom and top of inning.   The visiting coach SHOULD be going for more than one run and hitting away, not going for one run, but typically they go for one run and hope to shut down the home team in the bottom (even in NCAA and International softball games).  if the visiting team scores one the home team, invariably, goes for the tie, not the win.  

You're just as likely to have both teams each score one run as you are to have a winner.  I've seen games go four extra innings - 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8 before getting a winner - four extra innings with all those runs takes longer than 6 or 7 extra innings with no runs.

 

It may add a twist and give fans a little extra interest and value in extra innings, but I doubt it will speed things up drastically.   As it is something like 3/4 of MLB games end in the first or second extra inning anyway.

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I feel it's a lot easier to get a bunt down in softball than it is in baseball. I don't know the % time the first guy up in the inning (it could be your 3 hitter, 4 hitter) will be able to get the bunt down, but I don't know that it's very high. So the chance of both teams doing sac, push across, 3rd out seems pretty low to me...at least compared to softball.

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3 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

I feel it's a lot easier to get a bunt down in softball than it is in baseball. I don't know the % time the first guy up in the inning (it could be your 3 hitter, 4 hitter) will be able to get the bunt down, but I don't know that it's very high. So the chance of both teams doing sac, push across, 3rd out seems pretty low to me...at least compared to softball.

In the end, all you're doing is creating more action.   

I don't want to do a full hijack here but I can provide the baseball stats to back it up - including how many more runs are scored in the R2 zero out scenario, and how teams wrongly play for one run instead of more (and why it IS wrong) which just prolongs games.

The argument can be made, and demonstrated, that games (or innings) with more runs scored typically take longer to complete.   Which takes me back to my original point.  The R2 rule just creates more action, more offense, more runs, and in turn, makes each inning longer.   Even if you end the game an inning or two earlier, it may not be shorter.   And the majority of extra inning games already end in the first or second extra inning anyway.

Sorry for the hijack.   I might create a thread in the free for all section about that, in case someone actually cares.

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On 1/10/2019 at 3:53 PM, jonathantullos said:

@lawump , any hope of getting the "start each inning with a runner at second in extra innings" rule anytime soon? This was a change I had hoped to see for this year.

As an aside, I'm glad the pitching mechanic was altered. Like others have said, I never saw any reason to enforce that in the first place.

I don't recall it even being discussed.  I may be wrong...maybe someone in some state office proposed this as a rule change.  If they did, their proposal did not come close to passing (as evidenced by the fact that I don't recall it even being discussed.)  For what its worth, I'm a baseball purist.  I still hate the DH rule (and that rule came in to effect before I was born).  So, there's no hope of anyone convincing me to vote for such a proposal.

As an aside, I love the fact that nearly a decade later, I was the home plate umpire for a legendary 15-inning state semi-final game that is still talked about in prep baseball circles in SC all these years later.  Both teams scored a run in the first inning...and couldn't score again.  Combine that with the fact that it was being played between arch-rivals, to advance to the state championship, and that it ended on a freak bad bounce on an infield ground ball hit to F3 (with an R2, and two outs)...has led to this game taking on legendary status.  During the game, I never wanted it to end.  Seriously, I actually starting thinking, "it would be awesome if we could break some state record for longest game."  The AD for the school that had to pay us actually came in to the locker room after the game and shook our hands and told us that we had done such a good job that he was paying us two game fees!  I wouldn't want to ruin the possibility of that never being able to happen again by having an International Tie-Breaker Rule.  That is one of my few games, at any level of baseball, that I still go to bed day-dreaming about.

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