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The Man in Blue

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Everything posted by The Man in Blue

  1. @KayTup ... Nobody noticed the strike call with the left hand first?! 😁 The slot is more about protection than getting a perfect look (though it does give better odds of an unobstructed look). This is why umpires will want to creep out behind the catcher. Keep in mind "line of fire" principals. The "line of fire" is the direction in which a projectile (or hazard) can travel. Your best protection is standing out of the line of fire, not behind cover. By positioning yourself basically in line with the batter, you are taking yourself out of the line of fire of a foul ball (as much as possible, anyway). Yes, you will feel exposed when the catcher moves to the outside, but you are actually exposing yourself more by following that catcher. Think about the direction a foul ball travels ... how often have you seen it go behind the batter (barring a pop up, of course)?
  2. I think this is probably the route I need to attack more. Like I said, the "networks" (cliques) are tight around here, so it is hard to get in. I know a lot of umpires around here, but most of them run the same circle. Maybe I just need to be more vocal about what I am looking for. Like I said, I would like to work more out of the area, so I may be looking in the wrong places. The other possibility that I think is the case, is that a lot of those other opportunities that exist in other areas just don't exist around here. (Legion Ball, adult leagues, collegiate summer leagues, etc.) We do have a summer college wooden bat league (Prospect League), but I read they are using graduates from one of the camps/academies ... I forget now. It's been a while since I looked.
  3. I appreciate the encouragement! I know getting off work earlier (prior job I had flexibility most of the time) will be helpful, but the drawback is the drive. I live just outside Springfield. It's a good sized area, but most of the work is in the smaller towns around the area (30+ minute drives). I don't mind the drive at all, just the timing. It may work out! This year I will still be in Mississippi though. I'm still learning the lay of the land down there. I will PM you about teaching ... it has been ... uh, interesting ... this first year.
  4. I should have been a little clearer about our seasons ... In Illinois it is middle school baseball/softball in the "fall" (August-September) and high school baseball/softball in the spring. In the last few years we have just started to see "late fall" games/tournaments popping up on the travel side. Summer ball is "travel ball" for both, but we don't have a lot of baseball around here. We probably have more than I realize, but softball has filled my schedule so I hadn't really looked too hard. As far as high school, advancing to post season is not a goal of mine. I checked out of the politics of that a long damned time ago. (Both the human politics and the "statistical" politics.) What I enjoyed most was working games in places where I was at work that day, as much a 2-3 hours away from home, but I won't be able to to do that in the future. I also officiate volleyball, but that is not a priority of mine. The high school season starts the same time as MS baseball/softball, so I do not take any volleyball until later. MS usually starts after the holidays, with a local 5th & 6th grade church league playing on weekends after that. When it comes to volleyball, I prefer low level and MS games that are much more laid back. And ... you do NOT want to see me dance, especially not competitively. 😁
  5. I have had many changes in my life since I started umpiring about 10 years ago. As I read posts here from many of you (and yes, I do love you guys even when I am obstinate!), I realize how different each of our umpiring lives/careers are. With that, I'm looking for some sage advice of where my umpiring career could go next. As I said, I am roughly ten years in and love it. I am mid 40s, so any hope of an actual "professional career" has past me by. Pre-pandemic I was working in the neighborhood of 100-150 games a year (peaking around 200 a few years ago). I reached those numbers through lots of weekend tournaments (as I'm sure many umpires do). My work schedule in my previous career made it so I could do a significant number of school contests (HS and MS, V and JV, softball and baseball), but many were pick-ups as I did have to travel locally/regionally for work. That travel did open up some opportunities to work games further from home than I normally would have been able to do. I am making a career transition to teaching, so I know that will have an impact on my ability to work school contests. On the softball side, in the summer, I have mostly worked USA Softball for the last several years. 10u to 18u, working up to state tournaments almost every year. I would travel a few weekends each summer, but usually within 90 minutes of home. In my home area, there are very few opportunities to work college games (few colleges and the local assignors are not good at bringing in new people -- I won't get out that soapbox at the moment). My career change will probably limit that as well (due to the travel needed). On the baseball side, again, I work V and JV in the school season. In the summer, we don't have many large tournaments (or quality leagues) in my home area; softball takes up most of the facilities around here. This past spring/summer I worked exclusively baseball (mostly 12u - 16u) as I was in Mississippi and managed to hook up with a couple of assignors there. Again, college opportunities are slim to none in my home area (or I just haven't found the right crowd yet). As I said, my life has changed quite a bit in the last few years. Kids are grown, career change that will give me summers off (but limit me other times of the year), and a desire to start looking at advancing my career somehow. I will be in Mississippi one more year, then I will most likely be returning to Central IL. Some of my broad opinions of umpiring in Central IL (does NOT apply to everybody here, but is an overarching pattern)-- information on camps/clinics is given out on a "need-to-know basis" rather than broadly publicized to bring in new umpires; same with scheduling and getting games. The guys and gals in this area are generally great to work with, but very few will help you advance as it takes away from their potential games. "Leadership" (assignors and UICs) is more about power and being the guy in charge than training, recruiting, and promoting. SO ... What sage advice do you have? Where can my road go and how do you suggest getting there? Give me your best and worst advice! 😁 Edit to add: some personal goals: improve my knowledge and abilities, find new levels and new places to work, travel some more in the summer, etc.
  6. That is where I was driving to, @LRZ. You said it much better than my tapdancing around. IMO, it does the magic thing of saying things without saying them. IMO, it says "I understand you may have seen it differently, but here is how I saw it. End of discussion."
  7. Thanks again Mr. Wendelstadt ... is it “COMPLETELY” or is it “WITH HIS CORE BODY”? Those are two very different things. 🤨
  8. If he is engaged with the rubber, it is a pitch. He better deliver it with a legal motion. If he disengages it is not a pitch. Just an aside … these little interjections from the site make me chuckle! Is this a new feature?
  9. I know this isn’t quite what the OP was asking, but this is a debate on another forum that I frequent ... Interference is an immediate dead ball. If you have interference it should be called IMMEDIATELY, not waiting to see what happens on the back end. On that forum there are a couple of different scenarios posted where the umpire did NOT make the interference call, the defense successfully made the play, and afterwards the umpires said it was interference. In one case it changed who the lead off batter was the next inning, in the other case the umpires erased a double play erroneously. Barring an immediate call, I can only surmise there was no interference as was evidenced by the successful play. If I did not make an immediate call, I am not going back (barring a conference with my partner — but still one of us should have called it).
  10. Maybe it’s just me, but I have never and would never use the word “judgment” with a coach. Especially not prefaced with “my.” IMO, “judgment” sounds like “There are your facts and his facts, and here is what I am deciding to settle the difference.” Probably just my overly grammarian brain.
  11. Maybe it goes back to my catching days, but I didn’t want an umpire trying to carry on a conversation with me. Pay attention to the game, not my social life. 😁 As for the selling issue (THAT’S NOT FRAMING!) ... why are you guys coaching the catcher?
  12. The travesty happened when a clock was put in the game. (I know this question is weather-related, not necessarily time related.) That said, I would be very hard pressed to invoke such a penalty when the clock was added into the rules. As long as a team is doing it within the rules ... It drives me nuts when the fans and a coach will start complaining “they’re stalling!” Of course they are. There is a rule that added time into the equation and they are using the rule. I may or may not have responded once with “Yes he is. And he still has two legal mound visits left.” At which point the coach may have taken them both.
  13. Then you’ve never heard the coach on the losing end of that 16-0 game. (Hint: his team is awesome, so it must be something else.)
  14. Maybe more disturbing than distracting ...
  15. He can pitch as quietly or as noisily as he wants with a knee brace on.
  16. It takes some getting used to, but even I came around on that eventually. 😉
  17. OK, some of that stuff ^^^ I will do! 😁 I thought we were talking about the whole pre-game poker-buddy routine.
  18. The fastest way I can think of to get your team out is to have the batter place a foot on home plate and make contact. Or refuse to get in the box and take the strikes on delays.
  19. I do not like the word "warn" in my vocabulary. Not in a baseball/softball game and not in my classroom. "Warning" means "you can do this up to this point" and is all too often followed by ... no action which makes the whole thing moot. To paraphrase the process mentioned above, I'd go more like informal acknowledge/acknowledge/restrict (depending on code)/eject. Acknowledge and warn could be considered the same, but I am never using the words "I am warning you." That is a threat and an escalation. This is a game; it doesn't need threats.
  20. If it was that bad, the catcher should have sent the CR in before the ball hit him. 😜
  21. I see umpires do this with actual rules all the time. 😁
  22. Despite @MadMax's claim to the official usage of a term I have NEVER heard used in my 40 years around the game (10+ years of umpiring, another 10+ years of coaching and running a local program, and another 10+ years of playing, and some down time in there) ... The only "Book It" I am familiar with is ...
  23. "You can finish it if you want to. I've got another game to get ready for."
  24. I'm rude. My pregame conversation is "Play ball!" and I NEVER pick up a player's equipment. I'm there to do a job, not to make friends and clean up after kids. I can do that at home. OK, I'm not that bad. But I don't buy into the whole introduce yourself and establish a relationship. If the kid talks to me, I will certainly engage. The last catcher who came out and did the whole introduction bit with me was headed home with his parents before the second inning. He came out and did the sweet act, and within three pitches was bitching up a storm. His first at bat he looked at three pitches right down the middle and threw his bat and his helmet. The crowd thought I threw him out and I wasn't correcting them. (No, I didn't say a word. Coach benched him and the parents pulled him out of the dugout -- applause to coach and parents!) Other than that, yes ... keep a ball ready and give the catcher time when he needs it (even if he says he doesn't).
  25. Don't shoot the messenger @MadMax! 😁 I remember the Atlantic League testing it, then saw this when I read the article about limiting pickoff attempts ... https://www.mlb.com/news/baseball-rule-changes-tested-in-minor-leagues-in-2021 THE “STEP OFF” RULE (ALL HIGH-A) This change is aimed at increasing the number of stolen-base attempts and, perhaps, the stolen-base success rate. By forcing pitchers to fully step off the rubber before attempting a pickoff, the move by left-handed pitchers -- think Andy Pettitte -- to raise the right knee up in the delivery and then throw to first is eliminated. Snap throws followed by the step off are prohibited. When this rule was tested in the Atlantic League in 2019, runners were more ambitious with their leads and more successful with their stolen-base attempts. Conceivably, this change could have an impact on the pitcher-hitter dynamic, as well. If the pitcher is more mindful of the running game, he may throw more fastballs in the zone, leading to more offensive action.
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