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About mepperson

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  • Birthday 04/17/1969

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  1. Don't get me started on Selig. But, then again, what can you expect from someone whose major experience prior to becoming Commissioner was being a used car salesman?
  2. For others who may be looking on how to get in with a certain group - what I've done when I've moved is actually gone to a game site and talked with the umpires after the game. I usually have something on (not my uniform shirt, though) that would identify me as an umpire, so that they don't think I'm some "nut job", and ask them about getting in contact with their scheduler. Most have been generous and given me the info I need - contact name/phone number - the rest is up to me at that point in actually contacting that person. Most groups, especially about mid-season, are dying to find umpires; so, the contact, especially if about that time, will be greatly appreciated by the scheduler in most cases.
  3. I'm looking for what you describe with FED, where the pitcher is allowed/prohibited from a return to the mound after taking another defensive position. When OBR states "removal," it is referring to removal from the lineup and, therefore, from the game. The situation I'm looking for (illustrated, if you will) is where a pitcher moves from the mound to, say, RF - is he prohibited from later in the game moving back to the mound to pitch again? I'm not finding anything, but want to make sure that I'm not overlooking anything...
  4. By "overthrow responsibility" are you referring to the overthrow itself, to ensure that it does not go out of play or become interfered; or are you referring to the runner on the overthrow? I've always been taught, and practiced, that the BU has the responsibility for the runner in this situation. This is something, though, that could be worked with the partner before the game - as long as it's handled by the crew with a look of fluidity and teamwork, and as long as both aspects are covered, I don't think any coach is going to gripe about the mechanics used. They may gripe about the call; but, they probably won't gripe about who makes it.
  5. I almost lost my passion for umpiring, and for baseball, a couple of years ago because of a league that consistently and constantly disrespected the umpires. When I moved here, I had finally gotten myself into a "professional" state of mind - before, umpiring had been more of a hobby; and I had been working on doing games with the same professionalism that I show in my 'regular' job. The things I had been working on were my positioning and mechanics (making my signals sharp), my attitude (going out to have fun doing a job instead of putting the having fun first), and looking sharp in my uniform when I took the field. I quickly learned that the league I was moving to viewed the umpires more as an evil necessity than part of the game. The umpires are expected, basically, to make calls that keep the game running smoothly (which is not always what is in the Rules) and without incident from either team. When an incident does arise, the umpire is expected to let the players and coaches, as well spectators, basically "run over" the umpire and to take this in stride. Unfortunately, the umpires here who stay with this league have accepted this and, in my opinion, degrade themselves by allowing this attitude to continue. During my first tournament here, I ejected a player for his language and attempting to show me up on a Called 3rd Strike. After the ejection, when the player charged me and threatened me with physical violence (making my wife dial 9-1-1 with her finger on the Talk button, ready to make the call), I ejected the manager for failure to control the ejected player. I was then pulled from the tournament schedule when the manager threatened to pull his team and go back to Florida. This was a team that had a "reputation" among the umpires to begin with (of which I was unaware until after this incident). A couple of years later, I encountered a similar situation - I ejected a player for throwing his bat in response to a Called 3rd Strike (the bat hit the backstop about 2/3 the way up because he threw it with such force). After an argument by the manager over the ejection - which I allowed because the manager kept his language clean and was doing as a manager should by standing up for his player - he decided to shout a few obscenities my way on his trip back to the dugout; for this, he, too, was ejected. As the two gathered their gear, the obscenities flared up again; so, the other player who was on the bench and who had joined in the shouting my way, was also ejected. This left the team with too few players to continue; so, I declared a forfeit. That evening, I got a call telling me that the game had continued after I left, and that the league was accepting the result of the game as it had been completed, rejecting the forfeit that I had declared and the ejections that I had handed out. The next week, after the managers' meeting, I found out that I had been suspended. The final straw came when, during a blow-out, one of the commissioners was on the mound - a man with whom I have no quarrels, and whom I considered a friend. He was having trouble finding the Strike Zone, and was getting upset. From the mound, he made strong implications that I was calling Ball on pitches that should be strikes, and that I was somehow doing this to penalize him. Normally, I would have considered the possibility that he was joking about it, and would have reacted in that fashion. Somehow, though, his tone was more serious; so, I took this as a true attack on my integrity. I finished that game, but decided after the game that it was unreal that a commission was actually questioning an umpire's integrity in the middle of a game. That was the last game that I worked for that league. I was called back the next year, but declined telling the league that I would return when their attitude toward the umpires improved. Mine might seem like an isolated case; but, I've been told that many "excellent" umpires from this area decline to work for this league for the same reasons. Do you have these issues?
  6. I agree with littleleagueump - if asked, I can say that, in my judgment, the front foot (the one out of the box) was in the air when the ball was hit - if the foot is in the air, it is not out of the box as the rule states that the offending part of the body must be on the ground outside of the box when contact is made. That would be my "save myself" argument if the case happened that I blew it. Getting back to the point of the post, though - I agree that a discussion must be had after the game about it, using the rulebook if necessary. This should be held "to the side" and away from spectators, coaches and players to avoid the appearance to the "public" that the umpires aren't quite on the same page. This should not escalate into an argument, though - if you see that your partner is not going to accept your answer, even when confronted with the rules, then it's time to agree to disagree. You're going to have to work with that partner again at some point in the future, possibly even the next day; so, you don't want animosity with your partner coming on to the field with you during that next assignment. Similarly, going to strike3scott's comments, the discussion should be held on the field if a coach argues the call - and, if you are asked by your partner to join the conversation; do not seek out such a discussion during the game, unless 1) you are the umpire making the call; and you are in doubt about your ruling. "No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire's decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it." (Rule 9.02©, OBR) Whether in agreement with the call or not, the umpires' discussion should be held away from all players and coaches, in the middle of the infield. It should not turn into an argument, or show any discord amongst the umpires, no matter whether there is agreement or not. If the question is regarding the rules, and there is a disagreement, then the UIC should explain his/her interpretation of what should be ruled, and state to the crew that this is what is going to stand - "If different decisions should be made on one play by different umpires, the umpire-in-chief...shall determine which decision shall prevail..." (Rule 9.04©, OBR). If you are not the UIC and have the correct interpretation, but are "overruled" based on the Rules above, just go on knowing that you were correct; do not allow it to affect your relationship with your partner(s), knowing that it will catch up with the UIC eventually - the Baseball Gods have a way of making sure that the game is still played fairly and within the rules eventually... Remember at all times that you and your partner(s) are the 3rd team on the field, and that the other two teams will "gang up" on your team if given the opportunity and if they sense weakness. They will attempt to use discord and disagreement among the umpires to disrupt the crew and keep you from working as the team that you should be. Don't let them do it!
  7. B1 can be awarded Home, though, even with the errant throw if, in the judgment of the umpire, he would have had a chance at Home based on the play that occurred, had the Obstruction not occurred. The rule states that the runner is awarded at least the base to which he was running when the obstruction occurred; if the runner could have gotten to a subsequent base, as well, without the obstruction, then the runner can be awarded that base, as well. Based on the information provided, I'm not prepared to "judge" the award given by the UIC. The description does not state that the runner would have only gotten to 3rd based on the play as it unfolded; so, there is the possibility that the UIC did correctly, and not just to penalize the defense.
  8. Other than the obvious - when a coach/manager conducts a second trip to the mound during the same inning - is there a situation where a pitcher cannot be removed from the mound to another fielding position, then return to the mound later in the game (in a later inning)?
  9. mepperson

    Thrown Ball

    The base coach is considered "part of the field" similar to a runner for the purpose of this rule. There must be intent on the part of the base coach to have interference with a thrown ball. The key parts here are 1) it's a thrown (not batted) ball; 2) the base coach is where he/she is supposed to be (in foul territory); 3) the situation as you've described does not indicate that the base coach intentionally interfered with the thrown ball. Situation - a base coach is focusing on the runner, attempting to get her to slide into third base, and is crouched and looking at the runner. The throw is missed by the F5 and bounces off the coach's shin. Are you going to penalize the offense for the defense not being able to field a thrown ball?
  10. Bigdog - I can see that, to an extent. However, the definition of Obstruction states that the field "impedes the progress of the runner." Depending on the line being taken by the runner to the base, part of the base can be "blocked" without impeding the progress of the runner. Even though it's a judgement call, I would use the analogy of a car parked on the side of a highway - even though the wheels may be outside of the line and in the roadway, but may not actually impede traffic in that lane. Granted, if there is a collision, the parked car was parked incorrectly; but, unless there's a collision, where's the obstruction? (just debating, not arguing)
  11. blue bomber - very good suggestions! I hadn't quite equated it to rifle shooting; but, I try to use the same method. I guess it's like almost anything else - we need to focus when we're umpiring.
  12. Whenever somebody gripes about the games that they've gotten, I usually let them know that I'll be happy to take them over while they go do something that doesn't earn them any money, or while they have time to do house- or yardwork. They usually quit griping after that, and begin to realize that, in most of those cases, they should be considered lucky to still get assignments at all. In my experience, the ones griping are the ones who usually don't do very good jobs on the field anyway...
  13. I'd let them go fairly good at me, as long as it was "clean." Depending on my relationship with the coach, I might even admit that I blew it, but also caution that I won't try to make up for it - after all, the ones that we blow without trying to usually end up evening out. In any event, to keep myself from getting down about blowing it, I'll remember that there are literally hundreds of calls during a game; as a group, we might miss 5% of those. Hopefully, one of those won't be in a situation where it's obvious that we blew it. Hopefully, too, I'll be one of the ones who is keeping the "blown call rate" at 5%, and offsetting others who may be blowing a lot of them...
  14. I think the question is - what is your definition of "access to the base?", specifically - "how much of the base has to be open in order for the runner to have access to it?" This is something I haven't ever thought about in much detail, as it's usually pretty obvious when someone is blocking a base; I also don't call Fed, which leaves me out of the loop on what the new rules or guidelines are. I agree with the 75% - but, which 75%?
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