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jmadigan001

Situation From the Other Day

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So, I umpired a first grade machine pitch game the other day. I know I'm gonna get a lot of hate for umpiring such a young age, but whatever, because I love umpiring so I don't really care about the age. This was the last game of the year for both of the teams. During the pre-game meeting, I kind of got a bad vibe from the visiting coach, but of course I just kept it in the back of my head and moved on. So during the top of the first, the visiting assistant coach was feeding the machine and he was getting kind of impatient with the home catcher and having to wait for the home catcher to be standing and looking at the machine so he didn't get hit. Again, I really didn't think too much of this, so I said something to the home assistant coach when he came out to feed for his team, and then that issue resolved itself by a new better catcher for the rest of the game. So during the bottom of the second inning, with no one on, there was a little grounder hit right to the first baseman. Instead of forcing the runner out at the bag, he decides to try to tag him. The runner dodges the tag(while staying in the three foot box) and I call him safe at first. Immediately after that, the visiting coach is fuming at my call. Shortly after, I get the rule straight with him and my call stands.

Later in the inning, the visiting head coach thinks that there are 3 outs after a groundout play, but both me and the home scorekeeper who happens to be the home head coach have 2 outs. We continue play with 2 outs, and a few pitches after some hits by the home team later the visiting coach proclaims to me "Hey blue, What are we gonna do? Keep playing until there are 7 outs?". The home assistant coach who is feeding the coach immediately retaliates with a comment about sportsmanship to him, and it keeps going for a bit, when the visiting coach calls me over. He tells me that if the coach keeps being an asshole(sorry for the language but I thought it was important because under league rules, "Swearing and profanity are prohibited. Umpires are authorized to give up to one warning to the individual violator before removal") that his team would walk off the field. He also made me give a warning to the home assistant coach or they would walk off. (What a great lesson to teach first grade boys right??) After that he told me he wanted the game to be over as quick as possible, but I really do not have any power in how quickly the game goes.  I ended up not warning the visiting coach(I realize now I should have), and I gave a warning to the  home assistant coach, even though I really did not feel it necessary, because he had done nothing wrong. My speech to the home coach went something like "Coach I  am sorry that I have to do this, but this is  your official warning. I do not agree with this, but I want to keep these kids on the field, so let's quiet down and just play baseball".

Anway, in our Pre-K through 3rd grade leagues, we have something called the infield possession rule. It is as follows: "When the ball is in the possession of an infielder in the infield area, and he makes no attempt to make a further play, a base runner between bases may advance at his own risk no further than the base he is attempting to reach". This came up later in the game when the home team was at bat. One of the infielders for the visiting team clearly had possession of the ball in the infield, but a kid had started running home while the ball was  in the glove of the infielder in the infield area, therefore breaking the infield possession rule. I start to call him back, but  the other coach insists that he score for some reason, so I sent him home.(Another great lesson to teach these kids) This later happened on a dead ball with runners on 2nd and 3rd(in the same inning with the home team at bat). The ball had barely rolled into the visiting dugout, so the home coach and I had agreed that the runners could stay, but the visiting coach insisted that they advance or they were done, even though it increased their losing deficit. In the next half inning with the visiting team at bat, there was a tag play between 2nd and 3rd that made the third out. After this tag play as both teams were exiting the field, I heard the visiting coach tell his kid who just got  tagged out, "Run way out of the baseline next time and you will be safe"(referring to the other tag play where he thought the runner was out of the baseline). I tried to give the coach a stare, but he didn't look at me.

As the teams were transitioning to the next inning, from across the field, I heard the coach saying something about the game, and then I heard the word SH*#. I was going to give him a warning, when I saw that there were only 2 minutes left in the game, so I figured I would just catch him after the game. So after 2 minutes of play,  I called ballgame, and honestly, I'm surprised that nothing broke out between the visiting coach and the home assistant during the postgame "Good Games". This is kind of a side note, but there was this one parent for the visiting team, who said that the home team cheated, by having a defensive coach in the outfield.  This is perfectly legal in our league, so I just ignored her.  I ended up not finding the visiting head coach after the game so I just let it go. Anyway, was there anything that I should or should not have done during that game? I feel like I didn't take enough disciplinary action against the visiting team. 

Thanks for your help and long reading!

 

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15 minutes ago, jmadigan001 said:

I umpired a first grade machine pitch game the other day

Don't lie noumpere - /\ you read that and stopped.  :D 

9 minutes ago, noumpere said:

tl;dr

paragraphs are your friend.

 

 

from this non-umpire, having been a daily reader of this board for a couple of years now, I have to say you allowed the coaches to dominate you're actions, that's a no-no on the field.  

16 minutes ago, jmadigan001 said:

He also made me give a warning to the home assistant coach or they would walk off.

 

17 minutes ago, jmadigan001 said:

but the visiting coach insisted that they advance or they were done,

 

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A warning like that is supposed to go both ways, but I'm definitely not giving a warning because I was told to.

 That would've turned into me telling that coach, don't tell me what to do, and if you give me another problem, you can start walking out of here. 

 Sounds like the coaches pushed you around.

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@jmadigan001 you need to step up your management skills. YOU are in charge of running the game, not the coaches, especially if you are there on an assignment and not just a team Dad who was hijacked into running the game. Don't let coaches tell you what is going to happen. If they come to you, ask them what they want, what they saw, or what they need. If they are asking a rules question, wait for them to finish and then give them your answer; do not debate. If they want to complain about the other team, tell them what you have, why it is or is not ok and send them back to the dugout. Telling you they will take their toys and go home is poor sportsmanship and really as low as it gets. 

Don't let coaches dictate to you what you will and will not do. Coach, you will not dictate to me how I will officiate this game. This is your warning and if you continue you will be ejected from the game. Please go back to your dugout now.

 If one is starting issues with the other teams coaches, end it, now. No good comes from allowing them to interact, especially when their maturity level seems to be below that of the 1st graders that are playing the game.

You sound young, which is not a dig at you. Your management of the game starts when you walk onto the field. Have your uniform, if you wear one in good shape. Know your pregame plate meeting topics, hit the items you need to cover. Don't BS with the coaches other than shaking hands and saying hello. Be firm in your knowledge of the field, ground rules and playing/local rules. If you seem in charge, they will see you as in charge. If they see you as un-knowledgeable , indecisive or lazy they will try and push every button they can to their advantage.

 

EDITED to tag the right person! Sorry @SouthJerseyK!!!!

 

 

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First, you have to know your rules. If the Infield Possession rule requires the runner go back, he goes back. Mud's right: you got a couple coaches who knew they had a rookie out there, and used your inexperience to take advantage of you. If you know the rules backward and forward, you'll feel confident about your rulings, which will give you the confidence to shut the coaches down. 

Don't be afraid to assert yourself. A simple, "Look gentlemen, we're not having this tonight, so knock it off", will generally stop the nonsense. And a coach threatening to pull his team should always be followed by your response "If you're pulling your team, coach, I'll be happy to rule on the forfeit: now what're you going to do?" 

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On 7/13/2018 at 6:43 PM, Mudisfun said:

@SouthJerseyK you need to step up your management skills. YOU are in charge of running the game, not the coaches, especially if you are there on an assignment and not just a team Dad who was hijacked into running the game. Don't let coaches tell you what is going to happen. If they come to you, ask them what they want, what they saw, or what they need. If they are asking a rules question, wait for them to finish and then give them your answer; do not debate. If they want to complain about the other team, tell them what you have, why it is or is not ok and send them back to the dugout. Telling you they will take their toys and go home is poor sportsmanship and really as low as it gets. 

Don't let coaches dictate to you what you will and will not do. Coach, you will not dictate to me how I will officiate this game. This is your warning and if you continue you will be ejected from the game. Please go back to your dugout now.

 If one is starting issues with the other teams coaches, end it, now. No good comes from allowing them to interact, especially when their maturity level seems to be below that of the 1st graders that are playing the game.

You sound young, which is not a dig at you. Your management of the game starts when you walk onto the field. Have your uniform, if you wear one in good shape. Know your pregame plate meeting topics, hit the items you need to cover. Don't BS with the coaches other than shaking hands and saying hello. Be firm in your knowledge of the field, ground rules and playing/local rules. If you seem in charge, they will see you as in charge. If they see you as un-knowledgeable , indecisive or lazy they will try and push every button they can to their advantage.

 

 

 

 

Not me man, you tagged wrong person.

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On 7/14/2018 at 8:19 PM, SouthJerseyK said:

Not me man, you tagged wrong person.

DOH!!!!!
 

Sorry man! going to edit that right now!!!!

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14 hours ago, Mudisfun said:

DOH!!!!!
 

Sorry man! going to edit that right now!!!!

you......you.......YOU HEARTLESS TAGGER!

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@jmadigan001 No one is every going to give you heat over the level of ball that you are working.  We've ALL worked those games. Use this situation as a learning experience. Coaches don't get to tell you what to do when it comes to game management. Sometimes as a young umpire, it is better to be a little more assertive than needed just to let the coaches know that you're in charge. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?

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On 7/13/2018 at 1:55 PM, jmadigan001 said:

I figured I would just catch him after the game.

By the way, little good can come of approaching a coach after a game, especially if you've had issues with him/her during the game. There are exceptions, but generally you just open yourself up to friction and tension. If you have issues with a coach's conduct, you might raise them with your assigner, or if in-house, someone of authority in the league.

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29 minutes ago, jmadigan001 said:

I am 15

Welcome to the club!

When you umpire, forget that you are a teen-ager. You are the game's arbiter, the fulcrum of fairness between two teams, and you might as well learn now that you will often have to tell a coach, "That's enough." Warn, then eject if necessary: as an officiating cliché has it, the only ejections we regret are the ones we didn't do.

And I hope your supervisors (presumably adults) back you up when you have to exercise your authority and game management skills.

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I started just as young. Remember that YOU are always in command when you walk on the ball-field. Daddy coaches tend to want to self-police for some-reason, but you make the decisions and do not allow them to bicker at each other. 

It sounds like you are getting into the rules (at least the local fools' rules, make sure you give the same attention to the real book for when you move up) and that you care/having fun. With experience you will find the right mix of approachability and don't-mess-with-me confidence and when it is appropriate to act as such. 

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17 hours ago, jmadigan001 said:

I am 15

Welcome to the club. I was about 2 years older that you when I started umpiring baseball, but I was around 12 when I started officiating other sports,  and I also help train and mentor youth umpires when they start (youngest is 12).  The biggest thing to get over is the Adult/Child dynamic when on the field. You are not a child anymore on the field and you are in charge. I will admit that I was a bit more "red assed" when I started just to make sure that the adults on the field knew I was in charge. Just don't let them run over you just because you are a "kid". 

 

You obviously have the want to get better at this craft as you have found this site. Feel free to ask questions and never stop trying to learn something every day. Find some people locally who have a good reputation and try to get advice from them. Find some guys on here as well... this is probably one of the single biggest sources of umpiring knowledge bases in the world. 

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@jmadigan001 I'm pretty darn close to you in age, and let me say right off the bat; thank you for seeking out the advice of our elders! Take what they say to heart, I guarantee you will quickly see yourself getting better and more confident. :HD:

Now, the key to being taken seriously, and warding off a load of issues, is pure and simple professionalism. Now, don't interpret that as me accusing you of lacking it, crap, I just remember how unprofessional I was when I first started out compared to now, and I still see ways I need to improve my game management.  I know it's a cliche, but it's true. So, based on your OP and remembering my experience from being your age a couple of years ago, I would recommend you do the following:

1) Remain the calmest and most even-keeled person in the entire complex. Nothing good ever comes from getting angry, even when it's totally reasonable to be. It also helps to either de-escalate the situation or make the guy yelling at you look like an unhinged fool. :hopmad:

2) The plate meeting is crucial. Take the time to write out the main points you need to cover (rule set, equipment check, etc.) and then practice reading it. This, and debate, did wonders for my stuttering and "uhh...ummmm"ing at the plate meetings.

3) Remember the 3Ps of ejections: Prolonged - Repeatedly bringing up past calls and refusing to cease and desist after saying their piece. Personal - Anytime a coach says "you suck" or "you're a disgrace" dump them. Profane - If a player or coach lets loose a four letter word, they're done. Keep an index card and pen on you or in your field bag so you can jot down what happened.

I realize this is going to be imposing, and even a little scary if you're solo, but you are the authority on that field and need to be able and willing to bite back when someone crosses the line. Now, obviously, don't go dumping everyone because they look at you crooked. :FIRE:

4) Don't appeal everything to your partner just because the coach asks/demands. If they ask you to check on a swipe tag/pulled foot, that's one thing, but don't ever appeal a tag play at second to your partner unless you know with total certainty that you blew it. Appearing weak in the face of coaches arguing may buy you some temporary respite, but things will only go down hill from there, b/c now they think they can go umpire shopping for the call they like.

Another thing on this: if your partner makes a call and the coach comes to you, the only thing you that should come out of your mouth is "Sir, you need to talk to partner, he made the call." I made this mistake early on, thank god, but it was indeed embarrassing to be getting gently shredded by someone I respected after the game.

5) LOTS of younger players see young umpires like you and me, and will often get chummy. Be kind of course, but professional, otherwise you'll start running into issues. :Cool2:

6) Find a training camp or clinic! I started out as an in-house rec umpire, and the training I received was very, very, very basic. Going to a camp or clinic will help you immeasurably, especially when you get behind the plate for kid-pitch. I'd recommend looking up free clinics run by your HS association, MLB camps in major cities (!!!), and maybe your region's Little League. And of course, keep asking questions here!

7) Hustle. Again, cliche, I know, but if it looks like you're trying to get in a good position to make the call, that looks really good on you, and helps your street cred on close calls. :rock

8) Have some freaking fun man! Baseball is the greatest game on God's green Earth, and you get the best seat in the house!

Edit: Found a great quote from @ElkOil on one of my first posts on the site.

I know how difficult it is to be a younger guy in a position of authority. Just remember that the biggest hurdle to overcome isn't other people's perceptions of you, but your perception of yourself. You're the paid professional umpire who has been hired to uphold the rules and integrity of the game, regardless of your age or your age relative to anyone else. Embrace that role and have fun with it. It's a real confidence-builder. -ElkOil

-BlueRanger

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16 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

Pretty sure to @jmadigan001 and @BlueRanger@tpatience and Spencer (for some reason I am drawing a blank to his screen name) are "elders."

:D To be fair, madigan and I are probably two of the, if not the, youngest umpires on here. Not to mention, most of the guys in my association are old enough to be my dad/grandpa. But hey, none of you have condescendingly told me that you "usually dont do ball this low" (12uAAA? Lol) so you'll hear no complaints from me!

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