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    HS, MS, CYO
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  1. I had a play that was a routine yet close force out at third to end an inning. The 3rd base coach wanted me to get help . I told him, "Coach, my partner is 90 feet away, and I'm right here. I have the better look." If there was a pulled foot, sure I'd consider getting help. But not for this play -- especially after my partner and I agreed in our pregame that we wouldn't seek help from each other solely to placate a coach. This works for clued-in coaches. In one instance, I used this in a basketball game while reporting a foul by adding, "She slid into the airborne shooter." The coach that was about to ask about the call decided he had what he needed to know (or realized he wasn't going to win an argument over the call) and returned to the bench without saying a word. I also like @lawump's suggestion about using shorter statements. "He's on/off the bag!" followed by the appropriate call conveys what needs to be known in a concise manner. This is a good example where less words works best.
  2. I've officiated 8 years of basketball and 3 years of softball. Depending on my work situation next year and any feedback I get this year from partners that also work the sport, I might consider adding cross country for next fall.
  3. I wonder why the author is writing an article in 2020 about an incident that happened just over seven years ago . The date stamp on the video is 10-5-13 (or 2013-10-05 for the benefit of anyone visiting from outside the USA). I recall seeing this video posted elsewhere shortly after the incident took place. Perhaps he just now discovered the video? But yeah, that was both egregious and disgusting to watch.
  4. I had 3 softball games last month when a colleague needed me as a sub after an unexpected family situation came up. Barring a similar situation this month, I probably won't umpire again until the school season in Spring 2021. In the meantime, I'm curious to see what kind of basketball schedule, if any, I end up with for the Fall and Winter.
  5. "He's screwing us just like he did yesterday!" -- This was said about me by a fan in response to a routine force-out to end their team's half of the first inning. The best part: This happened at a softball tournament's consolation game -- a tournament where I didn't umpire any of the previous day's games . I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud.
  6. @The Man in Blue & @beerguy55 - Thanks for your thoughts and reminder that some situations can be no-win no matter how gracefully we strive to handle them. You're right that there are coaches who correctly realize that someone working solo because of an unanticipated no-show or last-second change may miss something just because of the inherent limitations of having one umpire and they handle those situations with class. Those coaches that don't get it and want to die on that sword likely find themselves warned, restricted, or tossed.
  7. I can see this as a possibility if social distancing was required next season (Spring 2021 and beyond) with a solo umpire because of the fact umpires are already stretched thin in many areas and there's a vested interest in keeping them as healthy as possible. Otherwise, I think it's a 50/50 toss-up at best. I wish I had thought about saying something similar this weekend. The second umpire assigned to the softball games was a no-show. So, the umpire I eventually replaced had to do the first three games solo. Having arriving early with the games behind schedule, he asked me to be the BU for the next game before he had to leave for the day. This meant I worked solo behind the plate for the day's last two games. While I can't say for certain such a comment would have prevented a coach from arguing a call he disliked, it would have been good to have that to fall back on and it'll be something I add to my toolbox moving forward. In terms of COVID frustration, I couldn't help wondering if this was the first tournament experience of the year for all involved parties. Goodness forbid an umpire be less than perfect when the players are also showing rust indicative of their first games in a long time .
  8. I was asked by a colleague to take a couple of softball tournament games he can't work due to a last-second conflict. I was told we will be using standard 2-person mechanics (PU behind the catcher, BU at A, B, or C as appropriate). Although the entity running the tournament posted guidelines for coaches/players regarding the handling and cleaning of balls and equipment, there was nothing there for umpires. Here is what I intend to do: As a BU, I will use hand sanitizer between half innings if I have to touch a ball or anything else contacted by others. As a PU, I'll use hand sanitizer between every half-inning. I'll also use hand sanitizer between games and again after my final one before removing my gear for the night. Once home, I will take a shower before doing anything else.
  9. Another thing the OP should keep in mind is that umpires might not even know of a potential conflict until teams show up for a game -- especially in a tournament's bracket play where it's not known in advance who will play which games in the elimination or championship stage. At that point in time, it's difficult at best to move umpires around to avoid the conflict; there's the possibility that an umpire switch intended to resolve such an unexpected conflict might end up creating another. Hand in hand with @noumpere's comments, assignors strive to do all they can to schedule games so that no umpire has a conflict of interest. With the shortage in many areas, though, all it takes is one umpire to be sick, injured, or unavailable due to work or emergency to create an opening in the schedule that may need to be filled by someone with a potential conflict of interest simply because nobody else is available -- especially during the regular season. Most governing bodies, especially for high school competition, have their own conflict of interest rules for post-season assignments. Additionally, @SeeingEyeDog probably has the most practical advice: Know the relevant conflict of interest rules that apply to your assignors and situation, and speak up when you have a clear conflict of interest or potential one. Let whomever assigns the game(s) decide if it's enough of a conflict to necessitate alternate arrangements.
  10. I work at an accountant's office for a sole proprietor. Presently, I'm working from home, but I worry how long that might last with all of our small business bookkeeping clients all shut down and not paying us for now. Luckily, our tax preparation has remained on par with any other year. Small businesses have been hit very hard with the state's current restrictions and I fear some may still struggle for the rest of the year if and when they resume full operations -- our office included if we don't get our full revenue stream back any time soon. If my current job were to end any time soon, either from COVID-19 related reductions, or my boss making good on her talk of finally retiring, I'm not sure what will happen because now isn't the best time to be trying to find a new job. I also know officials who use their money as emergency savings or supplemental income that helps pay some of their bills. Those that have already lost games this spring and face the possibility of losing games this summer and/or fall will eventually feel a noticeable hit to their budgets even if they have a primary job -- especially if they get hit with any unexpected major expenses now. My parents, being retired from different areas of healthcare, are most concerned about a second wave. I don't know enough to know how legitimate the concern over a second wave is and how much is merely media frenzy. Neighbors seem to be making do the best they can as they seem to grasp that most of whats going on is out of their control. Even though my city is only averaging 5 deaths per 10 000 (0.05%) at present, I'm okay for now with waiting things out until the rate of change in deaths in both the region and state decrease enough to allow business and activities to gradually resume in tiers with tiers being rolled back if and when the rate increases sharply again. I feel this is probably the most realistic approach to balance public health with people's need to function and support their households. It's probably not surprising since I've always been a realist who prefers facts, logic, and numbers over emotions and hype. Having worked for a number of small businesses over the years, my biggest concern is that the longer people are hindered in their ability to support their households or operate their businesses, the more louder the demands will be to open everything back up at once even if it's not yet the best decision. To put it more succinctly, a veteran official I respect once told me during a basketball game's intermission that officials need to balance flow of the game and player safety at the interscholastic level without compromising either. We need a similar balance in managing the pandemic and getting people back to work. As an aside, this was supposed to be my fourth season of softball and second season of baseball. I was especially looking forward to whatever baseball games I might have received this year so I could work at improving my baseball strike zone and mechanics while getting more comfortable with the differences between the two sports.
  11. I couldn't find anything definitive apart from talk about prorating numbers for businesses that started in the middle of 2019 and operated less than 12 months. What I did find stated consistently on some of the sites I checked was that most, if not all, of the money has already been applied for.
  12. I received a job-related e-mail today and, according to the formula, loan amounts for self-employed/contractors are based on the net income appearing on Schedule C and not gross receipts. Five twenty-fourths of my 2019 net income -- using the formula (NI / 12) x 2.5 -- came to less than the minimum $1000 amount, so I'm out of luck even though my actual net income for the 2.5 months of Spring 2019 exceeded that. The months where I had little or no officiating income apparently worked against me when averaging out for the entire year. Apparently, the extra $500 is only for dependents age 16 and under. Perhaps this is because the age limit is also 16 and under to claim the child tax credit that can be claimed on an individual (1040) return?
  13. The one thing that seems to be a sticking point at first reading is that requirement that 75% of any amount received be used for payroll. From the SBA Site: I'm curious how "payroll" will be interpreted for an independent contractor. Umpires working as independent contractors don't have employees working for them, so the requirement that 75% of any amount be used towards payroll could be a potential sticking point in received loan forgiveness. However, one link (archive) I found researching the issue suggests that net earnings from self-employment would qualify as payroll costs, but I'm not quite how one would demonstrate the money received replaces net earnings. Does it have to be spent on personal expenses? Can it simply be deposited in the bank and left alone? How the SBA would wants this documented appears to be the $64000 question. I'm also curious how one would calculate the amount of lost income. If it goes solely by actual games cancelled, some umpires might not have received enough games this year to exceed the $1000 threshold before their season was canceled. If umpires can take what they made in January-March and annualize that amount, or use prior years' numbers to calculate what they'd lose this Spring, that might help those who otherwise might not meet the threshold.
  14. My first Spring game is presently April 20 and my schedule has been slowly filling through May. The optimist in me is pleased, but the realist in me wonders if or when these games might be canceled should our governor declare school out for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year.
  15. Recently, someone in a different forum I frequent posted something from a local newspaper about the declining numbers of officials in my state. Apparently, we lost 140 baseball umpires and 90 softball umpires statewide compared to a year ago. The article also featured my baseball/softball assignor who stated what most officials that work for him already know: he goes crazy in the Spring spending hours trying to do his best to adequately cover baseball and softball. Last year, it wasn't uncommon to get at least one call a week stating that my softball game at school X was being changed to a baseball game at school Y or vice versa. On a couple of occasions, I was even called to say my partner was needed elsewhere and I'd be working solo. If we somehow manage to have a spring HS season here this year, I expect the umpires in my group will be stretched quite thin -- more so than last year -- trying to cover all the games. I have no plans to leave baseball (or softball, either) at present. If that were to change, it would have nothing to do with what's happening this Spring. Even if my job situation were to change in a way that would make me unavailable for 4:00/4:30 PM weekday game times, I'd still continue to register for baseball and softball because there are plenty of weekend games here that need to be covered such as non-league HS baseball doubleheaders, sub-varsity HS softball tournaments, and CYO baseball/softball. However, I could see older umpires or any other umpires already debating their future not wanting to come back with the lack of games this spring being a contributing factor in the decision.
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