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wolfe_man

HS JV Ejection on Saturday

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Okay, I got my first HS ejection on Saturday in 3 years.  I'm also trying to learn how to handle these better, so I'm open to your advice. The things I took away from this one are:  1.  warn sooner and firmer and 2. enforce the warnings without getting loud. 3. learn to use predetermined verbiage for warnings (i.e. "This is your verbal/written warning for ______.  If you continue ______, then you will be restricted to bench/removed from this contest."

Situation:

Sat JV DH

First game was a very sloppy, typical JV ballgame.  Partner had the plate and final was 15-13.  Pretty uneventful, other than on a close ball down the LF line, my partner holler's "Foul" and HT HC goes hopping around down the line.   The 1B, AC and I all got a chuckle out of it after the 1B mentions he looks like he's got a pogo-stick over there. The AC tells me he's a hothead and has been warned multiple times to calm down this season.  To be honest, I just figured it was coaches being coaches and we moved on.  Time of game: 2.5 hours

2nd game I had the dish.  I told both coaches up front I was going to call a bigger zone (letters to knees, line to line) and try to keep the game moving. Both coaches said good after the long 1st game.  Game was breezing along through the 6th inning with the score at 5-3.  Starting in the top of the 7th, game starts getting tighter.  HT HC had to change pitcher due to pitch count (he tracked, we don't).  He had told me between games he was about out of pitchers, so that's why he was fine with the big K zone. I should mention I had no called third-strikes up through this point, the kids were up there swinging.

Coach changes pitchers and kid is struggling.  He hits 1st batter and coach asks if batter moved or not. I said he's good in my judgment and we move on.  Another batter later, another kid gets plunked, again coach asks and again I say he is good.  A couple batters hit and then another gets nailed, and I hear HC say "My Grandma could have got out of the way of that."  I probably shouldn't have, but I quickly responded that "Well, your Grandma wasn't batting. Let's play ball."   The HC then seemed to let that go, but the very next batter he starts questioning if they're out of the front of the batter's box.   Almost hysterically at times, he's whining "Sir, they are out of the front of the box".   I tell him we're here to play ball and I can still see the front of the box lines still in the dirt and the batter's are good.  He does this for another batter or two and then the inning ends.  At one point, he even started out of the dugout to come to me while the ball was in play, but I told him there's no time given and I am done discussing it, enough of this - let's play ball .

He's still whining to me during the break as teams are changing positions. I'm irritated by now and call him out to me so I can show him that the lines are still clearly visible.  I kick the line in the dirt with my foot to show him they are still clearly marked (I'm wrong here I know it, but i was frustrated) and even though you can see the wear from dirt where players were clearly in the box, he wants to start pointing up where runners have crossed the plate in front of the box and try to say they were up there. I told him I wasn't having it and didn't want to hear anymore about it.   The AC comes running up and tries to the pull the HC back, but he's still complaining about the box and now is whining that I'm being loud and upset and he hasn't raised his voice.  I told him we are done and it's over again.  He keeps on griping as he heads back to the dugout and I threw him at that point.  When I threw him, there were cheers from parents and players, I think even some of his!

The HC then tries to stay in the dugout, so I refuse to start another inning and advise him that he has to leave the dugout area.  He says "Are you serious?" and I respond with "I"m not joking." So, he grumbles, almost in disbelief, and finally gets his keys and leaves the area.  I didn't check to see how far he went because as I was waiting on him to leave, I'm getting an earful from a mom and a grandma (coach's wife?) and the scorekeeper for the HT.   I start to tell them that they can go too, when the scorekeeper reminds me to manage inside the fence. Even though I was upset, it was true, so I turned my attention back to the game and we moved on and finished the game without incident.

VT won 7-6 in 8.

As we finish, every HT player told me I had called a good game.  I know some of these kids personally as my kids went to this school for a while.  I've called their games for 3+ years in Babe Ruth on up, so they know me.  The HT AC apologizes to me for the HC's behavior.  I told him I'm just sorry it had to happen.  

As my partner and I are leaving the field, I'm still getting an earful from the HT scorekeeper and the grandma/wife?.   I'm not 50 feet off the field when the HT HC comes walking back up saying "you got me" as if I had laid a trap for him all along.  I tried explaining why he got tossed, but he kept saying he never raised his voice.  I told him that has nothing to do with it and he kept walking and griping, I told him "see, you still don't get it".

Long story and full of too many details probably, but I want honest feedback and tried to be honest as I can remember the events.  I think the EJ will stand and was needed so the HC learns he cannot keep arguing when an umpire says we're done.   He needs to ask for time and come to me respectfully and question something, not yell it from the dugout.   I know about the 3 P's and he met the last one - prolonged.  He wouldn't quit after I warned him to stop.  Yes, I should have made a formal warning, but even though I never used the word "warning" I did tell him several times that we are done and let's play ball.  It was clear to anyone in the area that I was done with the discussion and that we are moving on. 

In my opinion, I think more training needs done on how to handle coaches, players & fans possibly.  We are losing umpires who get tired of putting up with this from coaches and fans, and to a lesser extent, the players.  I tried to follow the I-A-W-E logic, but I think I did a poor job of communicating the warning to the coach. I mean I should have said "Coach, this is your verbal warning to stop questioning my judgment on every HBP.  If you continue to question, you will be restricted to the bench." or something like that. Instead, I just kept saying "we're done, let's play ball".  I want to improve and be a lot stronger in this area.  I feel my ability and mechanics to umpire have increased greatly these past two years, but now I need to really work on this side of things.

Your thoughts?  Thanks in advance.

 

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In the future, try to get the written warning in and restrict. Then if he keeps it up, pitch him. I would also put in your report that he returned and continued the argument after the game was over. Sounds like he has a pattern of behavior and it is time to start putting it on paper so others can see it as well. As for the scorekeeper... Others can correct me if I am wrong but isn't the score keeper considered game personnel? If they are the scorekeeper, they can't be a fan and if they need to go as well, send them. 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

In the future, try to get the written warning in and restrict. Then if he keeps it up, pitch him. I would also put in your report that he returned and continued the argument after the game was over. Sounds like he has a pattern of behavior and it is time to start putting it on paper so others can see it as well. As for the scorekeeper... Others can correct me if I am wrong but isn't the score keeper considered game personnel? If they are the scorekeeper, they can't be a fan and if they need to go as well, send them. 

 

 

Thanks.  Yes, I definitely need to improve and use a script going forward. 

I did state that he came up to me after the game, still arguing, in my report to the HS admins.

I was very close with the Scorekeeper, but I realized I need to move on and he wasn't jawing as much as the ladies were.  Looking back, he may have only said a couple of things, but he did tell me he thought I had overreacted after the game. 

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I'm glad you're making this a learning experience and are open to thoughts from others. I'll italicize your comments and give my thoughts below. Take it for what it's worth.

 

3. learn to use predetermined verbiage for warnings (i.e. "This is your verbal/written warning for ______.  If you continue ______, then you will be restricted to bench/removed from this contest."

I think this is far too long. A simple "This is your warning!" will suffice. If the coach is dense enough to not know why, then give a quick explanation ("arguing balls and strikes", "leaving the dugout").

 

I told both coaches up front I was going to call a bigger zone

Nope. Never tell them what zone you're calling. If you're asked, you simply say "I call the zone by the book." If you want to call a bigger zone, call it - but be consistent. Once you tell someone you're expanding the zone, it's opening the door for snipes from the dugout.

 

A couple batters hit and then another gets nailed, and I hear HC say "My Grandma could have got out of the way of that."  I probably shouldn't have, but I quickly responded that "Well, your Grandma wasn't batting. Let's play ball."

You know that's a bad comment, and you're not wrong. With a comment like that, I'd remove the mask, look at the coach, and say "That's enough!" This is especially true when he's in earshot of other participants in the game - and more when near the other team. You have to show that comments like this won't be accepted. The next comment about the box gets the "That's your warning!" and writing it down on your scorecard. I don't think it would have stopped everything else from happening, but it makes your ejection faster when it does happen.

 

he wants to start pointing up where runners have crossed the plate in front of the box and try to say they were up there

Boom. Gone. No more warnings. No more listening.

 

I start to tell them that they can go too, when the scorekeeper reminds me to manage inside the fence.

Go to the new HC and tell him to deal with them. Just like you manage inside the fence, he manages outside the fence. There's no reason for you to listen to them at all.

 

I'm not 50 feet off the field when the HT HC comes walking back up

There's one thing I say to an ejected coach that wants to talk after the game: "I'm not going to talk to you." Remember and write down everything he says and report it to the appropriate people in the league (JV game would be the state association/organization). Coaches know they aren't to approach you off the field, and this is definitely something you don't have to deal with, nevermind any explanations to him.

 

One last comment: where's your partner in all of this? Once you eject the head coach, you shouldn't have to deal with him. Your partner should get him back to the dugout and make sure he's leaving the field. You should never have to approach him and tell him to leave.

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23 minutes ago, yawetag said:

One last comment: where's your partner in all of this? Once you eject the head coach, you shouldn't have to deal with him. Your partner should get him back to the dugout and make sure he's leaving the field. You should never have to approach him and tell him to leave.

Thanks for the comments and tips, I'll certainly take note.

My partner is new to umpiring (3rd year) but decidedly more laid-back and unsure of himself.   Unfortunately, in OH we have an umpire shortage and many JV games are solos.  My partner was just excited having another guy there with him for a change, but I was on my own in any argument or rules challenge.  

 

 

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19 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

Thanks for the comments and tips, I'll certainly take note.

My partner is new to umpiring (3rd year) but decidedly more laid-back and unsure of himself.   Unfortunately, in OH we have an umpire shortage and many JV games are solos.  My partner was just excited having another guy there with him for a change, but I was on my own in any argument or rules challenge.  

 

 

This is something that I pre-game, especially if I know my partner is new or if I have never worked with them before. 

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 I agree with @JSam21. As the more-experienced umpire and knowing you have a newer umpire, your pre-games should be a lot more than "So we're going with typical 2-man mechanics today?" As the plate man, it's a lot easier to go through the mechanics, as you can make broad statements with small exceptions ("With no one on, I've got all fly balls unless I see your back; then I've got the runner wherever he goes... etc."). After that (which takes five minutes max), you can go into some situational mechanics; what to do when there's an ejection, how to handle a situation that he's unsure how to handle.

He may not process it all at the time, and it may not have put him where you need him in this situation, but maybe he'll think about the situation while he's out there between innings and say to himself "oh, shoot, I should have been there to wrangle the coach after he was ejected."

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56 minutes ago, yawetag said:

 I agree with @JSam21. As the more-experienced umpire and knowing you have a newer umpire, your pre-games should be a lot more than "So we're going with typical 2-man mechanics today?" As the plate man, it's a lot easier to go through the mechanics, as you can make broad statements with small exceptions ("With no one on, I've got all fly balls unless I see your back; then I've got the runner wherever he goes... etc."). After that (which takes five minutes max), you can go into some situational mechanics; what to do when there's an ejection, how to handle a situation that he's unsure how to handle.

He may not process it all at the time, and it may not have put him where you need him in this situation, but maybe he'll think about the situation while he's out there between innings and say to himself "oh, shoot, I should have been there to wrangle the coach after he was ejected."

We did pre-game mechanics, but I never thought of this part.  I will going forward.

To be frank, I am a 3 year HS umpire as well.  He just seemed a lot less confident in his abilities that I felt in mine.  I just stepped up to Varsity this year, in hopes of working with better partners and gaining experience.  

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Hopefully this may help some guys...I agree...this side of the game management equation is something that simply isn't instructed...and it *should* be.

 

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Not sure who this guy is, but he brings up some good points. Though this is not particularly applicable to NFHS, where they really want a 'warn, restrict, eject' process. How we present ourselves when we are under stress is very important. 

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:07 AM, wolfe_man said:

Okay, I got my first HS ejection on Saturday in 3 years.  I'm also trying to learn how to handle these better, so I'm open to your advice. The things I took away from this one are:  1.  warn sooner and firmer and 2. enforce the warnings without getting loud. 3. learn to use predetermined verbiage for warnings (i.e. "This is your verbal/written warning for ______.  If you continue ______, then you will be restricted to bench/removed from this contest."

Situation:

Sat JV DH

First game was a very sloppy, typical JV ballgame.  Partner had the plate and final was 15-13.  Pretty uneventful, other than on a close ball down the LF line, my partner holler's "Foul" and HT HC goes hopping around down the line.   The 1B, AC and I all got a chuckle out of it after the 1B mentions he looks like he's got a pogo-stick over there. The AC tells me he's a hothead and has been warned multiple times to calm down this season.  To be honest, I just figured it was coaches being coaches and we moved on.  Time of game: 2.5 hours

2nd game I had the dish.  I told both coaches up front I was going to call a bigger zone (letters to knees, line to line) and try to keep the game moving. Both coaches said good after the long 1st game.  Game was breezing along through the 6th inning with the score at 5-3.  Starting in the top of the 7th, game starts getting tighter.  HT HC had to change pitcher due to pitch count (he tracked, we don't).  He had told me between games he was about out of pitchers, so that's why he was fine with the big K zone. I should mention I had no called third-strikes up through this point, the kids were up there swinging.

Coach changes pitchers and kid is struggling.  He hits 1st batter and coach asks if batter moved or not. I said he's good in my judgment and we move on.  Another batter later, another kid gets plunked, again coach asks and again I say he is good.  A couple batters hit and then another gets nailed, and I hear HC say "My Grandma could have got out of the way of that."  I probably shouldn't have, but I quickly responded that "Well, your Grandma wasn't batting. Let's play ball."   The HC then seemed to let that go, but the very next batter he starts questioning if they're out of the front of the batter's box.   Almost hysterically at times, he's whining "Sir, they are out of the front of the box".   I tell him we're here to play ball and I can still see the front of the box lines still in the dirt and the batter's are good.  He does this for another batter or two and then the inning ends.  At one point, he even started out of the dugout to come to me while the ball was in play, but I told him there's no time given and I am done discussing it, enough of this - let's play ball .

He's still whining to me during the break as teams are changing positions. I'm irritated by now and call him out to me so I can show him that the lines are still clearly visible.  I kick the line in the dirt with my foot to show him they are still clearly marked (I'm wrong here I know it, but i was frustrated) and even though you can see the wear from dirt where players were clearly in the box, he wants to start pointing up where runners have crossed the plate in front of the box and try to say they were up there. I told him I wasn't having it and didn't want to hear anymore about it.   The AC comes running up and tries to the pull the HC back, but he's still complaining about the box and now is whining that I'm being loud and upset and he hasn't raised his voice.  I told him we are done and it's over again.  He keeps on griping as he heads back to the dugout and I threw him at that point.  When I threw him, there were cheers from parents and players, I think even some of his!

The HC then tries to stay in the dugout, so I refuse to start another inning and advise him that he has to leave the dugout area.  He says "Are you serious?" and I respond with "I"m not joking." So, he grumbles, almost in disbelief, and finally gets his keys and leaves the area.  I didn't check to see how far he went because as I was waiting on him to leave, I'm getting an earful from a mom and a grandma (coach's wife?) and the scorekeeper for the HT.   I start to tell them that they can go too, when the scorekeeper reminds me to manage inside the fence. Even though I was upset, it was true, so I turned my attention back to the game and we moved on and finished the game without incident.

VT won 7-6 in 8.

As we finish, every HT player told me I had called a good game.  I know some of these kids personally as my kids went to this school for a while.  I've called their games for 3+ years in Babe Ruth on up, so they know me.  The HT AC apologizes to me for the HC's behavior.  I told him I'm just sorry it had to happen.  

As my partner and I are leaving the field, I'm still getting an earful from the HT scorekeeper and the grandma/wife?.   I'm not 50 feet off the field when the HT HC comes walking back up saying "you got me" as if I had laid a trap for him all along.  I tried explaining why he got tossed, but he kept saying he never raised his voice.  I told him that has nothing to do with it and he kept walking and griping, I told him "see, you still don't get it".

Long story and full of too many details probably, but I want honest feedback and tried to be honest as I can remember the events.  I think the EJ will stand and was needed so the HC learns he cannot keep arguing when an umpire says we're done.   He needs to ask for time and come to me respectfully and question something, not yell it from the dugout.   I know about the 3 P's and he met the last one - prolonged.  He wouldn't quit after I warned him to stop.  Yes, I should have made a formal warning, but even though I never used the word "warning" I did tell him several times that we are done and let's play ball.  It was clear to anyone in the area that I was done with the discussion and that we are moving on. 

In my opinion, I think more training needs done on how to handle coaches, players & fans possibly.  We are losing umpires who get tired of putting up with this from coaches and fans, and to a lesser extent, the players.  I tried to follow the I-A-W-E logic, but I think I did a poor job of communicating the warning to the coach. I mean I should have said "Coach, this is your verbal warning to stop questioning my judgment on every HBP.  If you continue to question, you will be restricted to the bench." or something like that. Instead, I just kept saying "we're done, let's play ball".  I want to improve and be a lot stronger in this area.  I feel my ability and mechanics to umpire have increased greatly these past two years, but now I need to really work on this side of things.

Your thoughts?  Thanks in advance.

 

You did the right thing but when you advised him of a verbal warning, you really opened a can of worms. I would have said something to the effect of " That's it coach, I don't want to hear anymore. " I then would have turned away and go ahead with the game.

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16 hours ago, blue23ll said:

Not sure who this guy is, but he brings up some good points. Though this is not particularly applicable to NFHS, where they really want a 'warn, restrict, eject' process. How we present ourselves when we are under stress is very important. 

Agreed....but I believe much of what he instructs in this video can be adapted to NFHS games.

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3 hours ago, ofhs93 said:

Agreed....but I believe much of what he instructs in this video can be adapted to NFHS games.

Especially about what's too much. I definitely think I let way too much slide before starting the process, and that video really made me realize it (more than I already did)

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A few thoughts...

-Use written warning and restrict then if you have to eject do so

- don't call coaches out if the dugout especially to look at lines in dirt. We don't want them doing it to us, don't do it to them. It's judgement. Leave it at that.

-I wouldn't tell coaches to swing the bat or a certain zone you are going to have. They will figure it out. Doing this at plate meeting may create tension before anything happens

-I know it frustrating but try not to umpire with emotion. Coaches are already emotional and unrational during arguments. We need to defuse it if possible. Being at their level does no good.

 

just my 2 pennies...

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Appreciate the feedback.  I totally agree with most of your comments.  I know I erred in several areas and was upset, which I cannot allow myself to be. I hope to do better next time (if there is 1).

Thanks

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On 4/8/2019 at 6:31 AM, JSam21 said:

As for the scorekeeper... Others can correct me if I am wrong but isn't the score keeper considered game personnel? If they are the scorekeeper, they can't be a fan and if they need to go as well, send them. 

 

I would agree with this and this was my approach whenever I was a TD.  Yes, you typically want to ignore typical heckling from fans, but the official scorekeeper is "personnel" and they are REQUIRED to be impartial, and to do the job they are assigned to do - like any other volunteer.  If they can't be impartial, and if they are actually arguing with or heckling the umpires, they need to be removed and replaced.

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On 4/9/2019 at 6:12 PM, Bigred714 said:

You did the right thing but when you advised him of a verbal warning, you really opened a can of worms. I would have said something to the effect of " That's it coach, I don't want to hear anymore. " I then would have turned away and go ahead with the game.

Sadly, 'that's enough, I don't want to hear any more, stop, etc, etc' do not meet the warning requirements... To properly make the warning a warning by book, you need to use the verbiage... then when you restrict or EJ, you have rules support to stand on.

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17 minutes ago, Mudisfun said:

Sadly, 'that's enough, I don't want to hear any more, stop, etc, etc' do not meet the warning requirements... To properly make the warning a warning by book, you need to use the verbiage... then when you restrict or EJ, you have rules support to stand on.

That really depends on the level. NCAA has the verbatim warning. NFHS only has that you notify them that they're restricted to the dugout when you give the written warning.

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On 4/10/2019 at 11:55 AM, wolfe_man said:

I hope to do better next time (if there is 1).

There's ALWAYS gonna be a 'next time.'  It's just what KIND of 'next time' it turns out to be, is the issue.

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On 4/11/2019 at 2:06 PM, kylehutson said:

That really depends on the level. NCAA has the verbatim warning. NFHS only has that you notify them that they're restricted to the dugout when you give the written warning.

The requirement in our unit is the official verbal warning, using the 'this is your verbal warning...' and then proceeding to the documented, 'this is your written warning, you are now in baseball jail'... Failure to use this phraseology is frowned upon. 

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One thing that I really like is a change in the written warning verbiage. Instead of saying "if you continue, you will be restricted/ejected." I now like "if you continue, I will have no choice but to restrict/eject."

It puts the onus back on them to behave. That their actions, not yours, will result in their punishment. THEY are making you do this.

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On 4/8/2019 at 4:11 PM, ofhs93 said:

Hopefully this may help some guys...I agree...this side of the game management equation is something that simply isn't instructed...and it *should* be.

 

Is asking a coach to repeat what he just said standard practice?  Around 5:30-6:00 he talks about how he'll ask a coach to repeat if the coach says something that he doesn't like - that "repeating something that is minor and not ejectable now all of a sudden becomes ejectable."  Guess this comes across as baiting to me.  Seems like if the coach doesn't repeat it now you look kind of foolish and have possibly lost an opportunity to give a warning.  Seems to me that if you aren't sure if you heard it clearly, go ahead and ask, but otherwise act on it if you know you heard it and that it was offensive.  

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