This was my 6th baseball game as an umpire, and happened earlier this evening. OBR with league modifications for age groups (none of the modifications are relevant to this discussion), ages 8-9.
Runner on first, 1 out.
The runner took off for second just as the batter swung (league modifications require him to wait until the ball reaches the plate before he can leave the bag). The batter *barely* made contact with the ball; I heard a faint *ting* from the metal bat, and the ball went sharply and directly into the catcher's glove. I GAVE THE MECHANIC FOR A FOUL TIP (swiping the back of my hand) AND SIGNALED STRIKE.
The runner who was stealing made it to 2nd without the catcher even throwing the ball. Then the DEFENSIVE ASSISTANT COACH started yelling for the runner to return to first. He was yelling at the opposing team's player (who was 8 or 9 years old!), but I intervened. "Coach, the ball is live on a foul tip. He stole the base and gets to stay there."
The ASSISTANT coach (in my area, appeals must be made by the head coach; this is probably true in most places) stormed out of the dugout and started shouting at me about how a foul ball is dead and the runner must return.
I replied, "Coach, the ball is live on a foul tip. A foul tip is different than a foul ball."
He didn't use any of the "magic words," but kept shouting at me about how the ball was dead on a foul ball, not realizing the difference from a foul tip. I told him, "Coach, we're not going to argue about this anymore," and when he kept yelling, I finally said, "Coach, you're restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game." Then I turned away from him and stood behind home plate. He went into the dugout like he was told.
I probably could have ejected him, but I'm satisfied with how I handled it. Between 1/2 innings, he was in the dugout pouring through the rule book. Then he yelled out to me, "Hey blue, come here, I want to show you this."
I said, "Coach, we're still not going to do this."
"I want to show you this."
"Coach, stop. That's enough, not another word." Undoubtedly he was looking up the rule on how a foul ball is dead. BUT IT WAS A FOUL TIP!
I probably could have tossed him then, too. But I didn't.
My question comes from the next inning. When that same team was on defense again, the head coach (NOT the assistant coach I had restricted to the dugout) came out with a catcher's mitt to warm up his pitcher. The catcher was still getting his gear on. As he walked past me, he mumbled, "You could learn a thing or two" under his breath.
I chose to ignore it. I wasn't rattled by the assistant coach's idiotic behavior, but I have to admit the head coach carrying on the argument an inning later made me angry. I almost gave him the heave-ho, but I chose to ignore it instead. Here was my reasoning:
1- No one else in the ball park heard it, whether players, fans, or coaches. I figured it would appear that I was taking revenge on the team for a different coach's behavior, since no one knew that the head coach had just lipped off to me, or that I was hot-headed.
2- I figured if he needed to vent frustration, fine. That comment was personal, but not severe, and if saying it let him vent his frustration then perhaps he wouldn't feel the need to express himself anymore. Apparently I was right, because he didn't bother me the rest of the game.
3- As a new umpire, I didn't want to make a name for myself as being "that guy" who escalates things. I thought my approach served to de-escalate the situation.
But, my question for you experienced guys: Would you have ejected the HEAD COACH for making that comment? I'm satisfied with how I handled the assistant coach who thinks a foul tip and a foul ball are the same thing, but what about the head coach who mumbled the insult under his breath?