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  1. I am NOT interested in a covid debate. The fact is, my league has mandated some practices, such as one umpire, and it's irrelevant whether I agree or disagree with them. I'm required to follow them, and they are not up for debate. I don't care what anyone's opinion on the covid situation is; I have my own opinions, and one of the great things about baseball is we can turn off the "real world" for a while. Please DO NOT COMMENT ANY FURTHER on your opinions regarding covid. This forum has been great up to this point, but if it goes political, I'm gone. I get inundated with political crap as it is. As to those who have provided the sought-after advice, thank you. As always, you have given me concrete ways to improve.
  2. One of my mentors warned me that at the levels I'm umpiring, neither the coaches nor the parents know the rules very well. I've found that to be very true. Batter hits a lazy fly ball just a few feet up the 1st base line, clearly in foul territory. Catcher ditches the mask and goes to make the catch, but it hit his glove (clearly in FOUL territory), bounced off, and rolled into fair territory. I called it a foul ball. Some idiot mother in the stands with the Most Annoying Voice Ever kept shouting for TWO INNINGS, "IT ROLLED FAIR! IT ROLLED FAIR!" She. Would. Not. Shut. Up.
  3. I'm getting good feedback on my strike zone's consistency, and I'm getting a lot better at calling those curves to the outside corner I posted about a while back. So I'm very happy about that. What I'm lacking right now is the ability to track the ball when it makes contact with the bat. Of course if it's hit into play I can see it just fine, but if the batter fouls directly into the dirt at his feet or hits his own foot/leg with the ball, I'm missing it. Twice now I've had batters swing, I hear the "ting," and lose the ball for .001 seconds. The next thing I see, it's dribbling into fair territory in front of the plate, so I give the mechanic for a fair ball. The runners are confused, but start running to first (I know I messed up when they look up at me all confused). Yesterday I was working a 12 year-old game using only one umpire. That's the kicker -- we're using only one umpire for social distancing, but I'm behind the plate in this particular league (I'm working with two leagues). If I had a partner to confer with, it would be easy to overturn myself. What happened yesterday, after standing there all confused for a few seconds, the runner took off to first because I signaled a fair ball. The defense turned a double play to end the game (top of the last inning, home team ahead by 2 runs). The batting team's head coach politely appealed that the ball had hit the runner's shin when he swung (he was still in the batter's box). I told him, "I didn't see it, hold on a minute," and instructed the defense to stay on the field. I spoke with the defensive team's head coach, and he admitted the ball had struck the batter's shin. This, by the way, was a championship tournament game. I like this coach. I announced, "It's a foul ball guys," and set up the runners as they had been prior to the pitch and added a strike to the count. We continued the game and they ended up getting two more outs to end the game with the win. As I was leaving the field, I told the defensive team's head coach, "Thanks for your honesty on that one, coach. I didn't have a partner to talk to. And your kids are watching you and learning about more than just baseball." I made sure his kids heard me, too. It all turned out fine because the defensive team's head coach was a honest and a sportsman, not because I got the call right. So how do I track the ball on contact????
  4. I think knowing oneself is vital to umpiring, or any endeavor for that matter. I know myself better than a lot of people know themselves, and I think I have a fairly accurate picture of how people see me (according to research, this amount of self awareness is very rare, by the way, and it comes from a *TON* of leadership training I've undergone over the years, 360 degree feedback mechanisms, etc.). If you were to see me in person, you would immediately know that I am military, and you may even ascertain that I am also a retired police officer. I carry myself like both. I simply LOOK and ACT like both, and the whole world knows it. I've been in uniform since I was 17 years old (yes, this is legal as long as you graduate from training before your 18th birthday so you can immediately deploy to combat, if needed), and now that I'm middle aged, has moulded me more than anything else. Once I was walking around in New York City in civilian attire, when an NYPD cop spotted me and yelled, "Hey buddy, how long you been on da job?" He just knew. "On the job" is a euphemism for being a cop, by the way. I have a habit of watching people, checking deep corners, looking over my shoulder, and especially watching peoples' hands (they kill you with their hands) and body language, just like every other cop in the world. Normally I would be carrying a concealed gun, which cops can also spot, but didn't have one because I was traveling. But he still knew, just by the way I carry myself. Another time I was getting a tattoo (my first and only), and the artist was regaling me with stories of life inside the penitentiary. Two and one-half hours into this three hour tattoo, and he spun the chair around to look me in the face (the tattoo is on the back of my shoulder), and asked, "You're a cop, aren't you?" When I asked how he knew, he replied, "You can spot us. We can spot you, too." He did a great job on the ink, by the way. I live and work in a military town, was a cop in the same town, and was active duty Army in that town before that. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, they inevitably ask, "So what unit are you in?" since there are several bases here. Even though I switched to the Reserves to start my law enforcement career (yeah, I've retired from that one but am still in the Army!), they still know. All this to say, knowing my own personality, your technique -- although rather awesome -- would not be received the same way if I used it. It would be perceived completely differently than when you did it. No one would laugh, and they would all talk about how the umpire was sarcastic and "baited" the coach into an argument so he could heave him. So even though that tactic is rather artful, I'm going to skip it.
  5. To clarify, I've worked a lot of games this summer and don't bother posting about games where I showed up, did my job, and went home. I already have a few coaches who say, "Oh good, it's you" when I show up. So what you're reading about are the outliers.
  6. mac266

    Fair or foul

    This game is NOT football. It does NOT matter where the fielder was, whether his feet, etc. were in fair territory, in the air, etc. It matters where the BALL was in relation to the foul line. If it was in foul territory when touched (even in the air -- imagine the foul line extends to the sky infinitely), the ball is immediately dead if not caught and is foul.
  7. OBR, with league modifications. 12U. This is the same game I posted about the catcher failing to make the grab in foul territory. No outs and no one on. Batter hit the ball into play, blooper to shallow center field. The center fielder grabbed the ball on a hop and threw hard to first to attempt to get the out. However, he overthrew it. The runner touched the bag, and as he turned to go toward 2nd, was trucked by the 1st baseman who was chasing down the overthrown ball. In my judgement, there was nothing malicious about this -- they were 12. He simply lost situational awareness of where the runner was as he was focused on the ball. The runner, despite having initially started toward second, turned and came back to first after he got back up (he had been hit pretty hard). I've been studying umpirebible.com and their "rule myths" link, so I knew this one: The notion that a runner must make an attempt at the next base to be awarded it on an obstruction call is a MYTH. In my judgement, he would made it safely to second had he not been obstructed. So I ruled it an obstruction and gave him 2nd base. I was a little surprised that no one from the defense argued with me. It seems like coaches argue this one all the time.
  8. OBR with league modifications. 12U. Runner on 1st, one out. The batter hit a fly ball straight up the elevator shaft, maybe 10 feet down the 1st base line and slightly into foul territory. It was about a foot into foul territory when the catcher tried to catch the ball. The ball bounced off his glove -- AND WAS OVER *FOUL* TERRITORY WHEN CONTACT WAS MADE -- and then hit the ground and rolled into fair territory. I'm not asking about the rule. I know the rule: I put up both hands and called, "FOUL!" Any time a defensive player touches the ball in foul territory, the ball is dead and it is a foul ball since the catcher didn't make the catch. I was a little amazed that the batting team's coach didn't know the rule on this one. He appealed, and I explained the rule to him, while some idiot woman in the crowd kept yelling at me, "IT ROLLED FAIR!!!" Oh my goodness, she was annoying. I ignored her, and she kept saying it repeatedly. Between innings I spoke to the head coach about his fan. I didn't bother reminding him that league modifications allow umpires to eject spectators (yes...Oh yes, they do!), but I'm sure he was aware of the thinly-veiled threat. I assume he said something to her because she didn't say a word for the rest of the game. Funny, I came home today and quizzed my own 13 year-old, and he knew the rule.
  9. Thanks for the warning, but I already figured that. Don't forget, I'm a retired cop (not a rookie...RETIRED...retired early, but retired nonetheless). We were taught early about "attitude tickets" and "attitude charges," etc. I suppose that would be along the same lines. My skin is quite a bit thicker than the average rookie umpire, I imagine.
  10. New guy question: What is an FYC?
  11. I'm not on Facebook, but I googled his name and found a news article where a Samsung satellite had crashed in his yard (same name, anyway, and in Colorado Springs). Do you know how to reach him or does he have a web site for his clinics?
  12. Thank you...that is very, VERY close to me. As to the multiple graduate degrees, I'm actually a little BEHIND the average for my rank. The third one will put me on par, and I'm trying very hard to make the next rank before I retire.
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