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The Short Umpire

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About The Short Umpire

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    Pony, Club Play, HS
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  1. I really appreciate this question. The two answers already posted reflect the binary pretty well and both sides have valid arguments. I will begin by saying that this is not just a question that baseball officials ask, (I also do wrestling and it’s probably harder to advance to Varsity Wrestling than it is to the Majors! ). In the response to the OP, I can say specifically that advancing from LL to HS has been particularly difficult because I didn’t have someone to help me do it. Figuring out the questions to ask and person to ask them to can be difficult. I didn’t know what the process would be like or what I needed to do. This is particularly frustrating considering the shortage of umpires around here. I understand the limitations on this suggestion, but one thing I have never seen is an umpire scout. In all my years of doing pony and club play, I have never seen someone out scouting for umpires to move up. Again, I know that time is money, but I think it might be beneficial if HS official’s associations made it a position (like they do with evaluators, or association president) I think it would do a lot if the associations would just send a formal representative to local LL/Rec Leagues to find some prospects of kids who would do well/ are interested in moving up. I think the argument about the need for “time” is a subjective requirement. I agree that someone should not expect to excel at a level above their skillset. I also believe we shouldn’t expect perfection from someone on their first try. It is crucial to remember that people need to be challenged in order to improve. An example that comes to mind is my older brother of 10 years. Whenever something breaks at his house he calls me to come fix it. When I ask him why he doesn’t just look up how to do it on Youtube, he says, “Dad always told us that if you’re gonna do something, then to do it right and do it right the first time.” He interprets this as, “I don’t know how to do it right so I just won’t try.” I know that this is not what my dad meant by that, but a similar thing happens when someone is constantly told, “You just need more time,” the person tends to interpret it as “You’ll never be ready.” The solution is stop using time as an excuse to not giving someone higher level games. If someone isn’t ready then they aren’t ready. But they need to be given legitimate criticism. If you’re in a position of leadership then really tell someone what to work on. The goal should be to get people through as quickly as possible. The idea should be to help get as many high level officials as we can. Instead of insisting that only the “best” aka “the oldest” officials get the best games, it should really be the best. The job is already hard enough as it is, and it shows in the shortage. If someone is willing enough to do the job then we as a brotherhood should do what we can to keep them in it. The pay is already not that great, so why should someone be stuck doing JV, that pays even less, even though they are ready to move up? Time is not a great reason to hold someone back. I will also say that it cannot all be put on assigners, it is essential to market and network yourself. You need to get yourself and your name out there. If an assigner doesn’t know you they can’t assign you confidently. But again the assigner has a responsibility to know the people in their chapter. So on this matter there is a shared responsibility. Anyway, that’s my thoughts. Take em for what their worth. I don’t say any of this to get down on the guys who are put in leadership in their chapters. I know that they already work tirelessly. I just throw out these ideas as a fresh set of ideas for something to try incase what you’re already doing isn’t working.
  2. I just found someone today that had the tools to chop the throat guard. I can report back that it is indeed a hollow steel. I was hoping for Titanal... however it’s still a really lite mask that is well worth the money, imo. I just dropped the chopped mask off to get powder coated, along with an All-Star magnesium throat guard. (The guy acknowledged the risks with powder coating magnesium and said he could do it no problem.) Cant wait to pick it all up!
  3. I can get that for sure! I’m 5’ 5” and have the neck length to prove it! I forget that taller guys have longer necks. The built in throat guard has always been long enough to cover my entire neck, I’ve just worn the throat guard to protect against a ball bouncing underneath/behind the mask. I guess that is what has always worried me the most, behind the plate.
  4. @JSam21 That’s kinda what I was thinking. Like I said, I get the gripe. It can get really annoying to not be able to look down as much. I just wonder if it really does add anything extra, since it doesn’t hang in a position that would protect the throat. A lot of people on this forum have insisted on the need of a throat guard to “clink” against the chest protector. @wolfe_man You’re right! I didn’t even notice that his does look more rounded out. The one’s I’ve seen have come to more of a point like the built in throat guard. I like that you used a question mark to note that he’s using Wilson pads! hahaha
  5. So I know that Chris Guccione’s chopped mag throat guard has been brought up in the past, but I’m watching the Red Sox and Blue Jays right now and it looks like he’s now zip-tied the throat guard forward, to the throat guard on the mask. Thoughts on this? I mean it’s better than nothing, and I understand the beef that some people have with wearing a throat guard, so I appreciate him trying to compromise but is equipment really doing it’s job in this position? I mean he’s been around a lot longer than me so I’m not trying to be critical, just trying to figure out what’s what.
  6. I know it has been a month or so since anyone else replied, sorry if that qualifies as hashing up old stuff. I just wanted to add that I just put together the same rig. Ebay Adidas mask with tan Team Wendy pads. I also replaced the harness for the Ump Life neoprene harness. Finally got a chance to use it last night after having it sit on the shelf for almost a week. (My wife kept asking if I thought she was gonna hit me, cause I kept trying it on, out of giddiness.) It was a 9-10 state game for pony league. Of course it wasn't a very hard throw but I took one right to the middle of the face. (Catcher couldn't catch...) Barely even noticed it!!
  7. @umpstu I appreciate your response. I think we all know a couple kids like this, except most of the time it seems their dad is the coach not a big shot official. When other umpires say he is lazy, what kind of things is he doing to get them to say that? I'm just curious so that I make sure I'm not doing the same thing. I liked @Thatsnotyou pointing out the need to get out from behind HP.(Which on the play in question, I recall that I probably am guilty of not doing. Tonight however I worked another 13u game by myself and made sure to sprint to position on every play). But what other things are considered "lazy?" Also, I see you've listed Bermuda Dunes as your location, I lived in Desert Hot Springs for a short time and am really missing the warm weather, we had rain nearly every day of May here in Utah. Hopefully you are staying cool enough though!
  8. That is some pretty great imagery! Thank you for that!
  9. I appreciate all the feedback on this post. I should apologize though because it probably wasn't a very tasteful question. I mean I've never walked onto a field wondering if my partner was going to throw a game for one of the teams and that shouldn't be anywhere near your pre-game thought process, since there are far more important things to worry about, things might I add, that won't destroy any trust that your partner has in you. Looking at the comments has been a good reminder for me to strictly have partner's back, but not being afraid to privately and tactfully tell him when I see something he can do better at. I say that because I always hope for my partners to notice at least one thing that I need to do better. Again I am new here and have learned a lot about the trade already and hope that I will learn a lot more from this great team here. Another thing I have realized, from experience and from other threads I have read is that as an umpire you will be hyper-analyzed by everyone, so it is crucial to not do things that even give off a bad appearance, like being too chummy with one teams parents through the back stop. It's just reminded me to not do things that could be twisted to fit a narrative where someone could accuse me of being the one to throw a game. Again, not the most tactful question for which I apologize but thanks for all the great feedback.
  10. I'm not sure if you're saying it was my kid or my partner's but I certainly hope not since it was 13u ball and I'm only 23 and my partner 18. LOL
  11. 1. I completely agree. I probably didn't give quite as context as I could have, but I'm always open to being wrong, especially because from behind the plate I don't have the correct angle to really see that play. 2. I also agree. He had a great game and I don't question him, or his integrity. I've done lots of games with him and have known him for years. What I was really trying to say was that it was a weird coincidence that the only calls I would have called the opposite way were against the same kid. That being said some people would take that situation and possibly have doubts which got me to the hypothetical "what if I truly deep down suspected my partner of doing something like this?" I wasn't trying to accuse my partner, just kind of a day dream, but I should have chosen my words differently as to not give that impression.
  12. I've always believed in backing up my partner's calls. I've also always tried to assume the best intentions from the people I work with. I understand that no umpire has the right to over-rule their partner. It starts all sorts of issues that no one needs. Today however I had two games. In the first game I was PU. Ground ball to F6 who bobbles the ball but makes the throw. Runner clearly beat the ball by full 2 steps but my partner calls him out. Second game the same team is playing a double header. I am now BU. Kid who got called out in first game is up to bat. Count is 3-2. Pitch is way down and out and PU rings him up. These were the only calls all game that I thought were wrong. Now I'm not accusing my partner of anything, but I found it interesting that the same kid got the short stick twice in the same night. But I was curious if any of you ever had a game where you really wondered if you partner wasn't calling the game straight up and how you handled it? Also, like I said I've never been one to advocate overturning my partner's calls but is there ever an appropriate time to do so? I would think not, no matter how bad the call because a coach can't appeal a judgement play like that. Also this I my first post and really appreciate everything I've learned from this website so far!
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