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Everything posted by StatsUmp

  1. The smarter kids/players usually key in on what's being called and adjust accordingly. I had a similar experience in my baseball debut when I called a low outside strike in the bottom of the last inning. The ODB said, "He's been calling it all day, you have to be ready for that!"
  2. I believe @Gilhas been saying in his ejection videos that this would be a big help. It looks like we'll get to see how this works out.
  3. Umpires are supposed to be impartial arbiters of the game. A uniform covered with corporate sponsor logos gives the appearance that the necessary/expected impartiality may no longer exist due to corporate influence. In short, it looks bad even if it's done with the most harmless of intentions. It's not something I personally would want to do if at all possible..
  4. Could the rules committee made it any more obvious that this appears to be a rule change made for the sake of having a rule change ? Even the POE titles sound more interesting than the rule change.
  5. This largely depends on any state, league, or local rules that may cover suspended games. Some may allow the game to resumed at the point of interruption. Others may require the game to begin anew (0-0, top of the first). In a summer league, it may be possible and easier for all involved that the suspended game is declared no contest and a makeup game starts from scratch simply because player availability changes more often week to week than it would for a school team -- making it difficult for a team to resume the game at a later date if too many players in the lineup at the time of suspension are unavailable.
  6. Use your natural timing and make the call as you would for any other pitch. One suggestion I read/heard somewhere to help with timing is to let the catcher catch the ball, think yourself, "It's a..." and then call ball/strike as appropriate. YMMV.
  7. For better or worse, discipline following an ejection or incident is totally up to the league's staff, BOD, or whomever has that authority. While you're free to disagree with the ultimate disciplinary decision, @MulletUmpTheSecond, it's likely that there's little you can do about it short of civilly expressing your concerns (which may get little more than a canned, "Thank you for your input," response). Both Jonny and LRZ are right. If you feel that the league doesn't adequately back up umpires when they have to take care of business, it's time to do some soul searching and decide if it's worth working in that league. When I was a relatively new softball umpire, a recreational league in which I played a different sport was looking for new umpires. I considered applying until there was an incident where someone from a losing team threatened the umpire after the game. Despite having a rule that stated teams showing poor sportsmanship would be disqualified from the season-ending playoffs, the league still allowed that team to have a playoff spot. I figured if threatening an umpire wasn't poor enough sportsmanship to disqualify a team, I didn't want to find out what the threshold was and I politely declined when someone later suggested I follow through with applying for one of the umpire openings.
  8. In Michigan, umpires had the option of handling balls or letting the home team be responsible for them this year. In the first game I umpired this season, I opted to let the home team handle them. In all subsequent games, my partners always chose to handle game balls, so I eventually did the same for the rest of the season because I felt like I was the odd person out. In those games, I sanitized my hands between games, after games, and even between half-innings when I was able after putting a different ball into play.
  9. I'm not sure how rare these for veteran umpires, but I had follow-through interference and backswing interference in separate games this year. In the case of the former, the coach against whose team I made the call thought I was MSU when I made it. It felt good to check the rule book after the game and see I got the call and its enforcement correct.
  10. Having recently been struck by foul balls behind the plate and a line drive in the field, I can understand how scary it is when any umpire goes down. I hope Ron recovers quickly with no lasting negative effects.
  11. I can't recall where I learned it from, but I was taught to ask a partner a yes/no question whenever possible when asking for help. In your example, I'd likely ask my partner, "Was the first baseman pulled off the bag on that throw?" This lets your partner know what exactly you need help on and give you an immediate yes or no answer in reply. I'll also agree that one should not ask a generic, "What did you see?" type question because it can easily lead to an answer that's not useful to the situation that prompted the request for help and unnecessarily prolong the discussion.
  12. In my penultimate game of baseball during my rookie season (and only one so far), my strike zone seemed crappy no matter how hard I tried that day. After the game, I chalked it up to this being the one awful game I seem to have as a rookie in each sport I've officiated so far. Late in the game, I had a pitch deflect off the batter's bat and hit the upper edge of my mask where it rests against my head. I can't say for sure if I had any sort of concussion; at minimum though, it was more of a challenge to stay focused on plate duties for the rest of the game than it already was. Thankfully, I had enough wits to later warn the HC who just had to have the last word after he disagreed with two straight calls that didn't go his way. Lesson learned: If I got hit by a deflected foul ball like that again, I'd ask for a trainer to come check me out before continuing. I had a similar experience after my second season of basketball where I let an assistant coach say way more to me than he should have been allowed to say. In that sport, the adage, "The only technical fouls you regret are the ones you don't call" seems to hold true. Sometimes it takes a situation such as that to motivate you to become better in dealing with troublesome coaches, players, etc.
  13. Those are female crickets, so you won't even hear any chirping (because only male crickets chirp) . My officials association has done Zoom meetings for football and basketball. So, I believe it may do the same for baseball and softball. Even if the COVID situation here improves significantly between now and March/April, I believe the school whose auditorium or cafeteria we'd normally use as a meeting site may still not want to let anyone in after hours that doesn't have an absolute need to be there.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. "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.
  19. @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.
  20. 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 .
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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?
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