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Posts posted by maven

  1. I recommend caution.

    Yes, that's the rule. But local customs vary, and it's quite common in kiddie ball for more coaches to be closer to the players to instruct. 

    For HS ball, I enforce the rule. Beyond that, I recommend following local custom, up to the point where it becomes a distraction. Then enforce the rule equally both ways (and tell them why—enforcement may be preceded by a warning, such as "Coach, if you want to do anything other than coach your players, you'll have to do it from the dugout").

    • Like 2
  2. 7 minutes ago, maven said:

    First, I check my physical condition. Dehydrated? Sore, in pain, discomfort? I address that first.

    Apologies for quoting my own post, which is tacky.

    But I was watching a game last weekend and an amateur umpire asked the crowd for aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. Somebody offered Excedrin™, which he accepted.

    I recommend not using that product (or Anacin, or related products), as they contain caffeine. As you might know, caffeine is a diuretic, and thus dehydrating. Anything that dehydrates us diminishes our visual acuity first, as the eyes are 98% water (TBP, the vitreous body is 98% water, and it constitutes most of the eye by mass and volume).

    It was a late inning, and I didn't know the guy, so I said nothing. Just sharing the thought here, to help us improve performance.

    • Like 3
  3. This question gets at the art of umpiring, and no one answer will be adequate to every situation. 

    Some of the variables include:

    • experience level of the two partners
    • relationship, if any, with coach
    • temperature of the game
    • nature of the call being discussed
    • need to focus on other participants

    noumpere's answer is right for playing rodeo clown, but if I'm with an inexperienced umpire (even on a varsity game) I will listen in. If the discussion involves a more challenging rule (batter or catcher INT, for instance), I'll listen in to make sure we're giving good info. And if a newer partner is getting ridden too hard, I'll intervene to shut it down.

    • Like 2
  4. First, I check my physical condition. Dehydrated? Sore, in pain, discomfort? I address that first.

    Then, I check for mental distractions and try to focus. If something required my urgent attention, I wouldn't be umpiring. So I try to set whatever it is aside, knowing that it will wait.

    Finally, and in every case, I slow down. Take a deep breath, go back to basics (read the pitch out of F1's hand, track it to the mitt, judge it mentally, then call it).

    There's no such thing as a "bad day behind the plate." There's only, "I can do better." 

    • Like 5
  5. The days of the expected call have gone. With even amateur fields having multiple cameras on plays, we should make the right call. That philosophy has taken over for a generation in pro ball now, and needs to displace the old guard in amateur ball as well.

    That is my opinion, offered entirely without justification at this time.

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
  6. 52 minutes ago, Guest Dr.J.N. said:

    I was coaching 1st base and said that was a balk because of the pause in his wind up

    This statement reflects a correct grasp of the rule. F1 must proceed with his windup and pitch to the batter without interruption, once he is committed to pitching (starts the windup, say, with a rocker step).

    But some opposing coaches see a leg stop, for example, without noticing that something else (such as the hands) continue to move. As long as something is moving, F1's delivery is legal.

    And, yes, this is a judgment call. Given the severity of the penalty with R3, I'd be looking for an obvious "freeze" of F1's entire body for a substantial time, not a momentary pause of the leg.

    52 minutes ago, Guest Dr.J.N. said:

    which he had not done in any prior pitching motion before (maybe 3 innings of pitching), not his normal pitching motion, and obviously trying to deceive the runner

    All of this is irrelevant. If F1 throws 100 pitches in a game, they can all be made with different motions without violating the balk provisions.

    And deceiving the runner is not illegal in and of itself. The purpose of (legal) feints, suddenly disengaging, varying time to delivery, etc. is to deceive the runner. A balk is illegal deception, as defined in the balk rule.

    • Like 5
  7. 3 hours ago, Guest Tomuic said:

    OBR does not have  an advantageous fourth out (as mentioned earlier). Neither does NCAA (as per Randy Bruns) in a post a while back, that really only leaves  NFHS, which has not been so definitive unless someone can show a rule reference that pertains.

    Again, the only fourth out (advantageous) appeal is for a missed  base or one left to soon which occurred   before the third out in the inning.

    This post reflects my view exactly. By rule, an advantageous 4th out is possible only on an appeal play, and, by definition, an appeal play may occur only for a missed base or failure to retouch. Thus, it should not be possible to appeal the BR at 1B for an advantageous 4th out (the BR can't have missed 1B until he has passed it). True in all codes, including FED.

    And whatever email from the last millennium from FED to Carl should be ignored, as it contradicts black-letter rule. 

    Always glad to hear that Wendelstedt (and Randy, FWIW) agrees with me. 🙃

  8. 18 minutes ago, noumpere said:

    The play isn't that uncommon.

    True, but it usually happens at lower levels and when the ball is hit to F3.

    I've never seen R1 coached to remain on 1B. It could conceivably blow up, if the defense tries to turn a double play and the (now retired) R1 interferes with the fielder taking the back end play at 1B.

  9. What does "valid" mean? For it to be a tag, it has to be arm's length or less!

    I'm guessing this is about the 3-foot violation. And in that case, it doesn't have to be close at all: once the fielder with the ball starts moving toward the runner, the tag attempt has begun, and the runner has to head directly to a base (advancing or returning). Deviating more than 3 feet from that direct line in order to avoid the tag results in a (live-ball) out.

    • Like 1
  10. 11 minutes ago, MarsOmega said:

    As both me and the youth umpire were trying to leave the field, a group of adult men fans tried to prevent us from leaving by blocking us from walking to the parking lot. We both had to jostle our way through them. I reported this to the league president who is also their umpire assignor. 

    This is the only part of the first story I don't like. Don't contact anyone. If someone persists in confronting you, take out your phone and dial 9-1-1, but don't send the call. Hold up the phone and tell the person to leave you alone or the police will be involved. Call the assignor when you're secure.

    13 minutes ago, MarsOmega said:

    During this pitching change, VT said he only had 1 out. I checked the VT score book and confirmed that there was a single out in that inning.

    Check your league rules, but generally the home book is official. If they disagree, go with home book and recommend that the scorekeepers sort it out. It's not our job to adjudicate these disagreements.


    15 minutes ago, MarsOmega said:

    After the game, as I was leaving through the visitors team dugout, the home team head coach asked to talk to me. He stated that he had suggestions for me. I responded that he should contact the my association or his league president.


    15 minutes ago, MarsOmega said:

    He persisted in arguing and told me that I needed to keep track of the outs and that was not his job. I responded by saying that I had been doing this a while.

    Not so good. Do not respond, or, at most, "Thanks coach," and be on your way. He's entitled to his opinion, and your response set up what happened next.

    16 minutes ago, MarsOmega said:

    He responded by saying “It dosen’t look like it”. I ejected the home team head coach at this time and headed for the visitors team dugout. While walking through the dugout a parent tried to engage me in a negative conversation. I engaged for a second and then disengaged and continued to the parking lot without further incident.

    The hardest thing is to ignore all these comments thrown our way, especially from ignorant, angry fans. The sooner you learn to do it, the better.

    17 minutes ago, MarsOmega said:

    On Thursday, I worked a 25+ mens league game with OBR rules.

    Ugh. Some of those leagues are the worst: a bunch of has-beens and never-were's, taking it out on officials. Gross. Don't let them get away with anything.

    • Like 3
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  11. I don't know why this is so difficult.

    The BR did not make the third out: that was R2 retired (not a force play) after R3 scored.

    That's a time play. The run counts.

    Some codes permit an advantageous 4th out play on the BR before he reaches 1B. In those codes, the BR would have made the 3rd out (as an advantageous 4th out replaces the 3rd out), and no run would score.

    BUT THAT DID NOT HAPPEN IN THE OP, along with a million other irrelevant possibilities.

    Score the run.

  12. 1 hour ago, MT73 said:

    R3 scores before R2 is tagged but before the B/R reached first base.

    Count the run. The third out was not a force play or the BR prior to reaching 1B.

  13. 1 hour ago, Jimurray said:

    Stanton's sub took his place in the batter's box with 2 strikes. My personal guideline is to use what the rules say and judge whether the batter struck at the pitch.

    Isn't that what happened? The 0–1 pitch hit him as he swung, ruled a dead-ball strike, sub on the injury, the sub assumes the 0–2 count.

    What was wrong about any of that?

  14. 35 minutes ago, Guest dachshund said:

    There may have been some contact in that mess but there was no hard collision. Saying that the proximity effected the dive is not an unreasonable stance

    Contact is irrelevant. The operative concept is hindrance.

    The umpire must judge whether the runner's position and actions hindered the fielder. As I'm envisioning it, and for HS (varsity?), I'd say no. Being "distracted" by an approaching runner is on the fielder; being screened, contacted, potentially run into by a runner is more what we're looking for.

    Contact is helpful in calling INT because the call sells itself. If there's no contact, we need the hindrance to be quite evident—so when coach argues that there was no contact, we can point out that the hindrance he did see is sufficient for INT. 

    We need this to be big because the penalty is big: the offense is losing a runner at 3B or one who will score, which can be the difference in a game. When in doubt, it wasn't INT.

    As for the OBS: the runner did a good job avoiding the fielder as he was supposed to do. That put him on the ground, like the fielder—hindering his own opportunity to advance. Unless something additional happens after that point, I'm not likely to hang OBS on F5: ideally, they both get up at the same time and in such a way that F5 does not hinder the runner. But yes, in principle, F5 is on the hook for OBS once he misplays the batted ball.

    • Like 1
  15. The term "slide step" generally refers to a pitching motion from the set position. It is a move to pitch to the batter without a significant leg lift.

    If F1 does that slide step and throws to 3B instead, that's a balk for failing to step and throw directly to the base.

    If the "slide step" is a step toward 3B, then all is good, provided that the move otherwise satisfies the requirements of stepping and then throwing directly to a base (the step gains distance and direction, the throw is to the base and not a fielder away from the base, etc.).

  16. War stories aside: many amateur umpires are too close to their own experience coming up as a solo umpire. They're used to knowing whether time is out because they called it (or not).

    With more than 1 umpire, we have to be clear at all times whether time is out. If the batter is getting ready and all eyes are on the plate, sure, PU can put his hand up to call time.

    Any other time, all umpires must verbalize "Time!" loud enough for all the umpires to hear and register. Failing to do so creates shît shows like the OP.

    • Like 3
  17. 17 hours ago, BLWizzRanger said:

    I didn't call it obstruction though I thought it was after playing it through my mind. It was just one of those plays.  Ultimately, getting to brass tax, F3 hindered the BR, making the BR slow down due to the F3 being in the base path without the ball. 

    Sounds as if you DID call OBS, just never got around to verbalizing it!

    Yes, F3 hindered the BR without the ball. And this is a call we HAVE to get, because this BR did the right thing by not crashing F3. We penalize his correct choice if we ignore it.

    • Haha 1
  18. 11 hours ago, noumpere said:

    It can even be a feint to second or 'giving the impression he is attempting to advance" (or some such words.  Just a normal lead off / secondary lead won't cut it.

    And if R1 feints advancing to 2B, thus legitimizing F1's move to 2B, F1 may also feint (to 2B), which is always legal.

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