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Everything posted by mac266

  1. Whelp, it looks like I'll be calling JuCo in the spring, so I need a pitch timer. I just got this from our friends at Ump-Attire: https://www.ump-attire.com/Products/FB-2540/RefSmart-Universal-Game-Day-Umpire-Referee-Timer Anyway, the instructions are easy and I have it configured for baseball (20 and 120 seconds). But my question is, for those that use it, how do you protect it inside your gear bag? It doesn't seem all that substantially built, so banging around inside my gear bag might mean I won't have a timer when game time comes!
  2. Let’s say you’re on the plate and the batter is crowding the plate so much that he is literally standing in the strike zone. I know he does not get first on a hit by pitch (and different rule sets adjudicate this differently—that’s not my question). Do you tell him before he gets hit that he’s in the strike zone and won’t het the base? Or do you avoid coaching him and let it play out?
  3. I love the new magnetic buckles on the sides instead of the metal "T" hooks I have on my Wilson Gold. But there are two new chest protectors, and I don't really understand the difference between them, other than the $50 difference in price.
  4. College summer league. The pitch was probably in the low-mid 90s and came in high and tight. The batter dove backwards and fell over. He didn't quite move fast enough, and I heard a faint "tick" as it went by his head. From the ground, he said, "It hit me, it hit me!" I told him, "I know" and awarded the base. It was such a weak touch that NO ONE outside of the batter, the catcher, and me could have possibly heard it. This went against the home team and it was the largest crowd I have ever worked (800-1000 spectators), and it also happens to be the worst "booing" I've ever received But I heard it touch the helmet, so I know I'm right.
  5. This is the key phrase. The way it was taught to me was that any movement which impedes, hinders, obstructs, confuses, or interferes with the defense's ability to make a play is interference. But if he stays completely still, he has not moved. "Any movement" could be as little as leaning toward the play, or taking a step, etc.
  6. So....you do realize that isn't officiating as much as it is acting, right? I don't have anything against it (in fact, I watch it from time to time), but presenting it as officiating is a bit off.
  7. "Time" and "foul" are the only two words we should use that stop play.
  8. Yep. I've now worked five games with that particular team and they haven't questioned a single thing since then. I knew what they were up to so I just used my ex cop's de-escalation techniques
  9. How does a guy apply for one of these scholarships???
  10. I'm in EMDR therapy for PTSD and have a heavy bag in the basement
  11. Remember, that bullet referred to the college summer ball coaches, but the ejection story was about the youth coach. I didn't give all the details on the college summer ball for that reason. These guys did everything correctly -- asked for time, waited for time, and then came out to speak with me. No one in these games was even remotely close to being out of line. They were passionate, but not out of line.
  12. I'm totally not joking. I have PTSD from combat and from law enforcement (treated and doing just fine, thank you). To me, umpiring is a way to focus my hyper-alertness and energy; it's an escape from always looking over my shoulder, visually checking every person I see for weapons, noting exits, reading body language for threats, etc. Plus, I have loved the game since I was little. It's a few hours where I'm just in love with the game and not worried about evil. It is genuine therapy for my PTSD. HOWEVER, evil is still real. Just because I have a few hours when I don't have to think about it does't mean it has disappeared. I was umpiring a college summer game last week in Nebraska. I had the plate, and when I work the plate everything outside the foul lines is completely tuned out. I seriously have no idea what people are saying because I'm so focused. And to be honest, this was the fastest game I've ever umpired and I wanted to be ready for anything. This was a close game with a lot of close calls (post game video review showed we got ALL of them right!). There was a lot of talk coming from the benches, but I truly had no idea what they were saying. If the ball is live, I'm focused on the ball! Between innings, the home team assistant coach approached me and told me the visiting team was making racist comments about the home team's center fielder, who was black. Despite a law enforcement career in which I spent almost my entire career in the ghetto and came to hold a very dim view of humanity, I have to admit I was a little shocked. He then told me what they said, which I will NOT post here. Suffice it to say, there was no room for interpretation; they were blatantly racist statements. I approached the visiting team head coach and told him about the accusation. I said that I had not heard the remarks, but if I had, the offender would already be gone. He said nothing and walked away. NOTE: I'm also a trained interrogator, and have been trained in reading body language, micro-expressions, etc. This is not voodoo; it's science, and I have been documented to be more accurate than a lie detector (93% per occurrence versus 77%, so I'm significantly better than a lie detector!). This guy's micro-expression and body language told me one thing: The accusation was true, and he knew who had said those terrible things. Even though the courts have found me to be an "expert witness," it's not in a baseball rule book. I'm not ejecting on that one, but I laid down the law, nonetheless. I'm new to this college summer league and I'm hoping to use it to break into umpiring in the NCAA, so I didn't want to become "That Guy" after my first game with them. But, racist remarks are very severe. Think about it -- I dedicated two careers to standing up for people who can't stand up for themselves. My spiritual beliefs are grounded in the idea that every human being is made in the image of God, and therefore has value. These acts were more than a simple insult; they were an attack on the fabric of what it means to be human. I simply can't stand for that. I called the assignor and told him what happened, and then told him my plan for the next game: If I hear it (and I tend to hear a lot more when I'm working the bases), I'm ejecting the offender immediately, no warnings. If I don't know who said it, I'm asking the dugout. If they happen to tell me, I'm ejecting the offender. If they don't tell me, I'm ejecting the head coach because he's responsible for their behavior. The assignor agreed, and then he called someone at the league and each team owner. I'm told each team had a come-to-the-divinity-of-your-choice meeting. Later that day, I was sitting in my hotel room going through my mental preparations for another fast-paced game, where I would be on the bases. I kept thinking about the injustice of it all, and it made me sick to my stomach. I mean that literally. I wondered if I was coming down with something or if it was being incensed at this whole affair. It was definitely the latter. It also didn't go away the entire game because I had no way of knowing what would be said next. To be honest, I was LOOKING for racist comments. We had some close plays (also 100% correct on post game video review!), but I was more worried about some idiot in a hood. There was a lot of bench jockeying again, but no racist comments. It's been nearly a week and I'm still angry about it.
  13. Like most of us, I started my umpiring career doing kiddie ball. You guys have helped me a TON, especially at first. I've been going to clinics and getting advanced guys (NCAA Division 2) to give me evaluations so I can get better, and I'm taking everything they said to heart. This year, I worked high school in the spring, but this summer season I'm working in an independent minor league as well as college summer baseball. The college summer ball has a lot of division 1 and 2 players, so the game is FAST, even faster than the indy league I'm in. This is how far I've come: I did two college summer games last week, one behind the plate and one on the bases (they are using just 2 umpires during summer league). Between both games, I had roughly 12 **CLOSE** plays and four obscure/rare rules. These games are livestreamed with a color commentator, and we were able to go back after each game and look at our close plays in slow motion and with a close-up zoom. Guess what? ******ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CORRECT!!!!!******** I'm jazzed. The coaches came out on EVERY close play and obscure/rare ruling. Sometimes they were passionate, but at no time did I ever consider ejecting anyone. They know how to approach umpires and make their case (even if they don't know the rules) without getting an early shower. When viewing the stream after-the-fact, the color commentator said, "These coaches have been all over these umpires all night," but I didn't see it that way. There is a difference between passion and being an azzhat, and azzhat gets you an early shower. So my son, whose 16th birthday is coming up, is a high school player and umpires kiddie ball. But those kiddie coaches and parents are off-the-rails crazy, and I won't let him umpire without me. He's small for his age, so he looks younger than he is. Throwing a kid out there without me would be like throwing a lamb to the wolves. So when he umpires kiddie ball, I umpire with him. Queue tonight's story. This is a Babe Ruth league, 13U. This is a "developmental" or "rec" league, hardly competitive, and the baseball is terrible. The entire thing could be classified as a "travesty to the game." They couldn't even play catch between innings. At the plate meeting, the coaches had asked that we warn each pitcher once on balks, and then call them every time afterwards. Each got a warning for not coming set. Then this happened: Runner on 2nd, I'm in C (my kid had the plate). The pitcher was engaged with the rubber, took the sign, and came set with a clear and discernible stop. Then he started his pitching motion and then STOPPED, and I mean STOPPED. I balked him and awarded 3rd to the runner. The coach came charging out yelling at me about how that's not a balk. I explained the double set and how that's a balk in every rule set. He argued (loudly yelling, not being passionate, but being an azzhat) that "IT'S JUST A WAY TO CHECK THE RUNNER!" I replied, "No, it's a double set in EVERY rule book." This went back-and-forth a few times with him getting more and more animated. Finally, when I repeated about the double set once more, he yelled, "SHOW ME!!!" I gave him a rather long leash up until that point -- charging, yelling, arguing instead of asking for a rules clarification, etc. But when he demanded I show him where it is in the rule book, while knowing I don't carry one on the field, I tossed him. He threw his hat and stomped off. I held up the game until he left the area. All game the idiot parents were heckling me about what a bad call the balk was, and how he shouldn't have been ejected. Even after working some high level ball all year, this had to be my first ejection of the season. 1- The guy is an idiot for not knowing a basic rule such as that, and 2- He's an even bigger idiot for thinking an imitation of Earl Weaver was going to get him anywhere but home early. FACT: I'm still going to do some youth ball when my kid is working, but that particular team is blacklisted.
  14. Yep, I saw it happen. Is a rabbit considered a part of the field? Do we leave it in play or rule some kind of interference???
  15. I've had a few firsts as an umpire in the past two weeks. Here they are: - Immaculate inning. - batted ball hit a rabbit that was trying to avoid it. - heart attack in the stands. - four different left-handed catchers.
  16. It sounds like you did everything right. By the way, travel ball parents and coaches are batSH*# crazy, and 11-12 seems to be the worst age for it.
  17. No, it's for the OP. He called it INT in his post and then explained OBS.
  18. Please, please, please, if you're going to umpire, know the difference between obstruction and interference.
  19. Go to YouTube and look up the "skunk in the outfield" trick play. Comments to your question: 1- The coach should learn the difference between the baseline and the base path. He meant to say the runner was out of the base path. 2- The runner establishes the base path when a play is made on him. It is **NOT** a straight line between the bases. That is why I brought up the "skunk in the outfield" play.
  20. I'm not sure if the pay is public. Let's just say it's better than high school and not as good as college. They are hiring guys in specific areas to cut their travel costs, so I'll be in Colorado Springs, Trinidad, and Roswell. The league covers a much bigger area than that, but they will have guys in each area to cover the umpiring. We will get a travel stipend and they put us in a hotel for games in the same place for multiple days in a row. We will not be working with the same partner all the time, as availability is the #1 reason assignments are made. Training: No, unfortunately. They grabbed the best guys from our high school association, and I've noticed the vast majority of us who were selected have all gone to umpire clinics and don't want to rely on the association's training as our only training. Our initial training program for new umpires is awesome for a high school association, but we do not have a mentorship program or evaluation program to continue to improve. Once you're released to umpire, it's all on you. Those of us who take it seriously go to clinics.
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