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Everything posted by lawump

  1. "Strike!" Batter: "Where was that at?" "I don't know, but it sure sounded good!"
  2. Let's just say I learned what the term, "big league curveball," means. It's also the day when I truly learned why they stress timing so much at umpire school when teaching plate mechanics.
  3. And that's the issue. Maybe what should have been written earlier in this thread is that the MLB umpires are better than the computer at calling pitches at "game play" speed. There's a reason an MLB umpire doesn't receive his plate zone evaluation from MLB until the next day...MLB has to go back and re-calibrate the results in order to correctly evaluate each pitch. Please know that I am not a computer engineer so I may not be using the correct terminology...but this has all been broken down on www.closecallsports.com many times over the last few years. The computers are not good enough (at least not yet) to give instantaneous results which are better than an MLB umpire. It takes MLB nearly 24-hours after a game to get the final computer results. And, even then, it does not eliminate the computer's margin-of-error completely (or, to put it another way, the margin-of-error, even after all the post-came calibrations are completed, is still not statistically insignificant).
  4. Whatever the size of the difference, this difference can pucker an umpire's cheeks faster than anything else: All I know is that one day I went to rub up the baseballs before my plate job and instead of them reading, "New York-Penn League," they read "American League". I asked the clubby what was up. His reply was, "you didn't hear? Gooden has a rehab start tonight." And that's how I found out (through the label on a baseball) that I was umpiring my first game with an actual MLB pitcher. Talk about not being able to fit a pinhead up my a$$!
  5. My two cents (to add to all the great advice above): Upon hearing this, I would have done one of two things [Which of these I would have done would depend on the level at which the game is being played, how the game has gone so far (meaning, how the coach has behaved so far), and my prior relationship with the coach (and, yes, I know that each day is a "new game"...but coaches who have a history of proving they can't behave get a shorter leash.)]: 1. I would have responded with, "ARE YOU ACCUSING ME OF CHEATING?" (I would shine the spotlight really bright on him.) Please note that me saying this would not be in a "meek" tone of voice. It would not be said in a "polite and quiet voice" as you said you used when responding to the coach. I can assure you I would be saying this loudly, somewhat aggressively, and with a good stare down. Any response from the coach other than a "no" gets an immediate ejection. If he says, "I'm not accusing you of cheating blue, I'm just saying..." I would cut him off and say, "you are accusing me of cheating because you are saying I am intentionally making wrong calls because you think I don't like you. That's accusing me of cheating. This is your warning, if you continue to argue today you are going to be ejected!" Again, if he makes another peep...he's done. 2. Alternatively, (using the criteria set forth in the first paragraph of this post) I might have ejected the coach immediately. If/when he throws a fit wanting to know why he was ejected, I would reply, "you yelled for everyone to hear that you think I'm a cheater". (And you can bet that I will make sure my ejection report states everything he yelled and that it was yelled in a manner that was audible to everyone in attendance.) Of course, he'll deny that he called you a cheater. To which I would reply, "you just screamed that I was making calls against you on purpose because you think I don't like you. That's calling me a cheater. You're done!" Just to be clear, the language the coach yelled (which I quoted above from your post) meets one of the three P's (personal, profane, prolonged) in that it is personal. He used the word "you" numerous times. Not to mention he used "you" in the context of accusing "you" of cheating. In any event, this whole situation had to be shut down at this moment (when the language I quoted above was yelled by the coach). This should have been done either by giving him a warning as set forth in #1 above (and then ejecting without further warning for any further arguing), or by ejecting him immediately. You have rulebook and/or casebook support to use either of these methods at every level of baseball.
  6. South Carolina has something (even "just" travel ball) from end of January to the beginning of December. Basically, the weeks around the holidays are the only time that something is not going on.
  7. lawump


    He admitted he was not fair to umpires as a player. But as an announcer (one whom I listened to regularly over the years), I found him (and his play-by-play partners)...while not perfect...to be far more fair to umpires than most announcers today. He would definitely go out of his way to say when he thought an umpire was having a good night. Sometimes, he might say when he thought an umpire was having a bad night, but he never blamed the umpires for a Sox' loss, and he never went off on a negative tangent about the umpires. It was more along the lines of, "as a player, you need to adjust." In fact, as I recall (I hope my memory is correct) the boys over at closecallsports.com even praised him once or twice for correctly understanding a rule or umpire's ruling. He was a true New England institution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/11/02/jerry-remy-rip/
  8. Number of ejections: 6 Number of times I failed to eject when, in hindsight, I should have: 0 It was a good year. [As the years go by, I begin to believe more and more that these are the only stats that matter.]
  9. lawump

    Tag out/run score?

    Technically, your question doesn't give us quite enough information as it doesn't state whom F6 (a/k/a "SS") tagged and where that runner was located at the time of the tag. In answering your question, I am assuming that F6 tagged R2 (R2 is the runner who started the play on second base) before R2 acquired third base. The question to ask yourself is: at the time of the "out" (whether that "out" comes as a result of the fielder in possession of the ball tagging the base OR legally tagging the runner) was the runner who was put out forced to advance as a result of the batter becoming a runner? In your scenario, (if my assumption stated above is correct), when F6 tagged R2, that runner was "forced" because the batter was advancing to first base (which forced R1 to advance to second base, which forced R2 to advance to third base, etc.). Thus, since at the time of the tag R2 was "forced" to advance it is a force out and no run scores (since no run may score on a play in which the third out is recorded and that third out is a force out). In summary, do not focus on the type of out (tag of base vs. tag of runner). Rather, focus on the runner's status at the time of the out (was the runner "forced" to advance vs. was he advancing at his own risk). If we modify your scenario so that R2 had touched third base and was trying to advance home when F6 tagged him we would no longer have a "force" out (since R2 was not "forced" to advance beyond third base). In this modified scenario, R3's run would count.
  10. I find it hilarious that this happened yesterday: https://www.closecallsports.com/2021/10/roboumps-odd-strike-zone-gets-afl-game.html?m=1
  11. Replay system similar to the one your propose have been proposed...and it makes sense. It would eliminate a truly "gross miss". I think you're likely to see your last suggestion very soon.
  12. Commissioner Manfred in 2019 stated, "that technology has a larger margin of error than we see with human umpires..." Since he actually sees the data, I'll go with him. (And, the systems have not significantly improved since 2019 to make that quote obsolete.) And when the majority of MLB pitchers make a living on the outer edges of the strike zone (and not by throwing pitches in the heart of the strike zone) a computer with a 1" or 2" margin of error (which is, in fact, the margin of error that two of the popular computer systems have) then "slightly" (if "slightly" is defined as 1 to 2 inches) does make a huge difference. And my first two paragraphs leave out the fact that the computers have just as many (if not more) gross misses than the humans. Again, check out the website I cited to.
  13. I would recommend checking out www.closecallsports.com. You can find numerous stories on that website that detail the problems with the electronic strike zone. For example, the computers require constant calibration by humans...and there have been some hilarious results when those calibrations are off. Second, the "computer zone" still requires a human to set the upper and lower limits of the strike zone for each batter (by rule, these boundaries change based on each individual batter's height). So, even with computers there is an element of human judgment. Third, regardless of what your physics professor states, these machines have a "margin of error" of at least 1" which MLB acknowledges internally, but not externally. Perhaps the most intriguing issue is: which computer would you use? There was a funny graphic they had on that website a few years ago of one single pitch in one particular game. The article showed three pictures of the same one pitch. Each picture was taken from a different computer's depiction of the location of the same exact pitch. They used the TV broadcaster's computer, the MLB GameDay app computer, and a third computer. If you were watching that game on all three separate devices (television broadcast, MLB GameDay app, and an umpire tracking site) you would see that each computer had the pitch in a slightly different location. And, because of where it was thrown, "slightly" made a big difference: some of the computers had the pitch as a "ball" and some had it as a "strike". So, like humans...it appears that the strike zone varies slightly from computer to computer. LOL Anyways, I'm not naïve enough to believe that the computers won't get there some day. But, they're not there, yet. As stated above, you can search for articles on these issues at www.closecallsports.com as they break down the limits of the systems (including the physics behind the reason there are limits).
  14. Hilarious, considering that there is a merit-based system in place (including the awarding of playoff assignments and crew chief positions). At least get your facts straight; the seniority-based system started dying in the 1990's and completely died in August of 1999. As for "we can all name the MLB umpires with the poorest performances". That's laughable. Everyone and their mother always names "Angel Hernandez" first when listing the umpire with the "poorest performances". The only problem, however, is that the objective facts don't bear this out. From 2001 to around 2013 (I forget the exact last year as I forgot what year I was discussing this with a friend who works in umpire administration), Angel finished in the top 5 every year in the computer grades for balls and strikes calls. Yet, through all those years he was consistently named by announcers, members of the print media, and idiots on social media as the worst umpire. So, the idea that "we" can all agree on the umpires with the poorest performances is wrong.
  15. Great on your CC and congrats to you. Here is some advice I give to guys when working the plate in a "big game" (that is, when they are in the situation you were in). I've posted this elsewhere, but I'll rehash it here. The key to getting relaxed on the plate (when you're really nervous) is to get the game into a defensive flow. Baseball is the only major American sport which is designed to be in a defensive flow. Think about it: it is the only sport in which the defense possesses the ball. Everyone wants the batters swinging, the ball being put in play, and the defense making plays. When those things are happening, the managers/coaches do not have time to waste yelling at you as they're too busy thinking ahead about their next possible coaching move because the game is moving along at a good pace. So, how does one get the game in a good defensive flow? Usually, at the beginning of the game the first pitch that you have to judge (a pitch where the batter does not swing) is an easy call. Usually the pitcher is so jacked up that he either throws an obvious "ball" or he takes a lot off his velocity and throws a "down-the-middle" strike to calm his nerves. HOWEVER, at some point (usually in the first inning) you're going to get that first "nut-cutter" pitch of the game. This is a pitch that is borderline and could go either way. THE FIRST TIME YOU GET A "NUT CUTTER" PITCH YOU HAVE TO CALL IT A "STRIKE". If you can do that...if you can go onto the field with the mentality that you're going to call the very first borderline pitch you see a "strike"...it sends a message to everyone that you're calling strikes. (And trust me, everyone gets the message.) No one is going to argue with you at this point because (1) the game has just begun and (2) they're trying to figure out your zone and, thus, are not going to complain that you're being inconsistent. By calling this very first borderline pitch a "strike" you let both dugouts know that you're not planning on having a "walk-a-thon". Furthermore, (even if subconsciously) you're telling them and yourself that you are not going to squeeze the zone just because you're nervous. Where plate umpires go wrong when they're nervous is that they allow their nerves to affect their judgment (that's human nature). Unfortunately, it is my experience that the vast majority of umpires who are really nervous end up "squeezing" the zone. And, of course, this is the exact opposite of what you want to do in a "big game". What you want to do in a "big game" is get the game in a defensive flow so that the game has a good pace and everyone is focused on the game (and not you). Call the first nut-cutter a strike, and everything settles in from there. If you can do that, in 98% of these games your nerves will be gone by the second inning. [The other 2% are games where the pitchers themselves cannot overcome their own nerves and the game turns into a walk fest...but at least that has nothing to do with you!] My mantra coming out of the locker room in these games: CALL THE FIRST NUT-CUTTER A STRIKE!!!
  16. As for the (college) games I have worked that have been televised, I never have a clue. Hopefully, one is so focused on the game that one even forgets that the cameras are there (that has certainly been the case for me). I certainly don't have the time during a game to try and figure out which camera has the red light on and then determine if that camera is focused on me. As you can see from my (logo/avatar/whatever-its-called) on this website, my wife captured that picture as she was watching at home on her laptop. And, as you can see, I had no clue that the camera was on me.
  17. Reads as a solid ejection. Good job. I'd just add that if you're sending him to the parking lot, make sure he is under adult supervision. You may think this is weird, but he is still a minor (16). If he becomes so distraught over the way the game went and does something to himself (for example, commits suicide) you could face liability. I know the odds are small, but we have a rule in South Carolina high school because it apparently happened several decades ago. If a player gets ejected from a South Carolina High School League baseball game, he stays in the dugout. If he can't behave in the dugout the umpire can have the player removed one of two ways: (1) an assistant coach leaves with the child (to the bus or school building) OR (2) the head coach certifies that the child is being released to his parents/guardians or to another school person (principal, athletic director) who is responsible for the child.
  18. The ball became dead...when they shot the cow. (Sorry, couldn't help but post this little saying from umpire school.)
  19. You missed one: politics. (Unless that was covered by your "etc.") LOL
  20. The second base umpire told me (and the other hundred or so students at his umpire school) that he missed the dropped ball call. As I recall Joe telling the story, he went up to Haller (who had nothing to do with the play) between innings and asked him for his opinion about the no call on the possible interference by Jackson. Haller said (to paraphrase), “you guys got that right, but you kicked the SH*# on the intentional dropped ball.” Brinkman said he never even thought about an intentional drop ball until Haller brought it up. Brinkman said he became dejected after speaking to Haller and worried the rest of the game that he was going to get raked over the coals for missing that call. He said he was very relieved when all the post-game discussions centered around the possible interference by Jackson (because he knew they had gotten that correct) and the possible intentional drop was never raised.
  21. And every MLB umpire I have spoken to about that play believes that crew got that call correct (although they missed the intentional drop prior to this throw). They believed that Reggie turned to avoid being hit in the front, rather than him turning to intentionally be hit by the ball. The point being: if the MLB umpires' belief that the Jackson play was not interference is correct, then Grandal's play was definitely not interference because Jackson did a hell of a lot more than Grandal.
  22. My biggest issue (as an association assignor/past President) is the closely related, "that's not how we did things in (insert geographic location)!" The implication being that our association is doing things incorrectly because that's not how said umpire's prior association in said umpire's previous geographic location did things. I live in one of the fastest growing areas of the country (South Carolina). We have people (and umpires) who move here from all over the country (especially the northeast and upper midwest). Every year we get a number of "new" umpires who want to join our association. They provide us with resumes that state they have umpired high school for numerous years, have worked the playoffs for numerous number of years, etc. In other words, they submit a really strong umpiring resume for working high school baseball. And, we are genuinely excited to have them (I think every association in the country in this day and age would be glad to have them as we all want to grow.) Unfortunately, I know in the beginning of the year that a number of them will wash out "because we don't do things the way they did it back in (insert geographic location)." For example, one year we had a guy quit because he was adamant that back in Michigan the base umpire in a two-man (baseball) crew had to wear a ball bag. I told him that he cannot wear a ball bag on the bases (nor could he go to the mound and brush off the rubber). He was adamant that he had to do these things and that we were wrong and he left. Other times they argue and argue because we do not use the FED mechanics manual (we've been using the PBUC/MilBUD manual for 20-years with great success). Other times they complain because we assign a specific umpire to the plate and another to the bases each game...and they are not allowed to switch. And, there are a million other reasons, and I've heard them all: complaints about what uniforms we wear, how we assign umpires, our training requirements, our testing requirements, etc. All of those topics have been the subject of a sentence uttered by a new umpire which ended with, "...that's not how we did it back in _______________!" A lot of these guys will give up working in our high school association and will go work travel/rec ball where there are no evaluations nor standards which allows them to do whatever they want. I just don't get the mentality of an umpire coming into our association (or any association) of 70+ members and thinking that we should be doing things the way things are done back in Texas (or wherever) because, "by GOD, that's where I'm from and that's how it should be done!!!" The bottom line is, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." If I, personally, were to move to another state tomorrow and I desired to start umpiring in my new state and the local high school association told me that they strictly follow the FED mechanics manual, (after laughing under my breath) I would say "okay" and would never say another word about it. I'm afraid that too many of us in my hypothetical situation would say, "well, back in South Carolina we would never use these stupid FED mechanics!"
  23. I can only add that on Type 2 obstruction, professional baseball has wanted "time" called when an obstructed runner is subsequently tagged out (if still "protected" by the umpire at the time he was tagged out). It doesn't matter if all playing action had not ceased. This was how it was taught in umpire school in 1997 and this is set forth in the sixth edition of the Jaksa/Roder Manual (which was our umpire school textbook). I even put a bold underline under that passage in the J/R so that I would remember it as the "exception" to the rule on our umpire school test.
  24. And just to add to it: I am very, very familiar with that Sox/Cubs play. I've had it saved as a video file for years as I use it to teach obstruction, type 2. I have used it for nearly 15-years to teach both (1) that a runner can be protected returning to a base and (2) when to call time on type 2 obstruction. I have picked apart this video over and over and over again for years. So, I immediately knew that the reasoning they gave at the end of the play was wrong. And, this is the second time in two years that I have posted a comment on closecallsports.com pointing out that their interpretation was wrong (or not fully correct)...only to not receive no reply (or, in the case of yesterday, have my post marked as "spam"). I'm done with commenting on their pages.
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