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NateWalter

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  • Location
    Missouri

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  • Your Association Name
    USSSA
  • Occupation
    Pastor
  • Types/Levels of Baseball called
    USSSA, Middle School, High School
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  1. Which is why you should do the courtesy of texting your partner before the game!
  2. I did a tournament a few weeks back, and as I pulled in for the day, I noticed there was an umpire parked, in a lawn chair, just kind of chilling out before the madness all began. As I began to pull in next to this fellow umpire, I noticed he was taking up four parking spots. He was well over the line to his left and very far ahead of the line in front of him. Four parking spots. Mind you, this was a busy tournament with a lot of teams, and not a lot of parking spots. I kindly point out to him that he's taking up four spots, and he held a dismissive attitude about it, so I just drove to a different part of the lot and geared up there. While I was getting ready to gear up, I send a text to the number I was given for my partner for the day... it was him. This was gonna be a fun day! (Sarcasm) To no one's surprise, the guy who didn't care about parking lines also didn't care about what constituted a strike zone (13U/14U tournament); or uniform rules, or time limits, or, well, anything. He was there to collect a paycheck and go home. Throughout the day, I could hear parents and coaches lament the lack of parking for this tournament, and then I heard it... someone pointed it out: "some jerk took up 4 spots back there!" And I was really nervous they would figure out the identity of this "mysterious jerk"... my partner and I were already getting enough guff from his careless attitude about anything baseball related, especially his strike zone, which was just whatever he felt like calling that particular inning (or at-bat). If they knew that HE was the one taking up four spots, I think there'd be chaos. As far as I could tell, nothing ever became of it, thankfully. If someone did know, they kept it to themselves and we were spared of the drama from this whole situation. Ladies and gentlemen, here's the moral of the story: as umpires, we set the tone. From the moment we pull into the parking lot to the moment we leave, we represent the entirety of our profession. How you interact with others, conduct yourself, and yes, how you park your car, can (and does) reflect on the rest of us. End rant.
  3. Unless they are genuinely deceiving or making it difficult to see the ball, I wouldn't make an issue of white/grey laces on the glove. Some of these kids (and their parents) have no idea that those could even be an issue and they buy a glove that the kid thinks looks really cool. Often, coaches don't educate players & families on what's acceptable, so making the kid find another glove (especially a lefty) could be a challenge.
  4. Our plate meetings are usually the following: did you exchange lineups? Here are issues we need to address (usually a rules issue in our league) and then we flip for home/away. The issue of DH came up as each coach disclosed they were going straight-9 with a DH.
  5. Weird, dumb double ejection in 14U baseball. Both teams decided they were going to go with straight-nine lineups and substitutes in our weekly league (they don't have to. As umpires in this league, we don't even keep the lineups)... well, the discussion at the plate meeting was surrounding the designated hitter and we ended the meeting thinking that both coaches understood how the DH worked and what it meant for substitutes. Apparently, it was not understood. Fast forward to the 4th inning, Team A is ahead by 3 runs and makes a pitching change. The kid who was slated at the DH is now warming up on the mound. The previous pitcher is out of the game. Everything should be up to speed. Team B's coach comes to me and starts questioning whether new pitcher can be in the game. I told him yes. He kept disagreeing. He saw our league director, so to appease him, we brought the league director in to make a decision. Now, mind you, this was between innings. The kids were warming up, and now, we have to stop the game to get a ruling on procedural moves and the kids are just waiting around and parents getting agitated. The league director, myself and my partner conference, and we tried to keep the coaches away so we could come to a decision. While making a decision, the coaches begin shouting at each other. The director quickly makes a call so we could tend to this new situation... the new pitcher was allowed to stay in the game. But as my partner and I tried to get things settled, the coaches were still shouting at each other. Team B's coach offers his choice form of the F-word, and my partner runs him. In response, Team A coach then shouts his favorite form of the same word, and invoked the other coach's mother into it... so I run him. The league director did a marvelous job getting them to head out to their vehicles and allowing us to move the game along. All regarding a lack of understanding and agreement on how to use the DH. So dumb.
  6. I commend you for ejecting calmly and moving on. The kid already made a mistake. Everyone saw it, and he'll likely have some consequence for it. No need for the umpire to draw more negative attention to the guy. And as others have said, part of the reason you likely didn't receive guff for the ejection was that the parents, coaches, and other players had no reason to argue. They saw what the kid was doing. And it's a good chance that the kid was breaking his own team's rules, so you just made it easier for the coach and parents to do what they need to.
  7. Yes. I don't want my "well, what was the behavior of the umpire" discussion to dismiss the fact that what happened was still 100% unacceptable. I just think this kind of stuff can be avoidable. As us umpires work on being better with our calls, our mechanics, our people management skills, our attitudes, and our demeanor, we can make the game better and make the outcomes better for us as we do our jobs.
  8. My first ever ejection was with the partner I mentioned. It was a catcher who was getting really mouthy about the strike zone. After a warning, he dropped a magic word about a strike three call on his way to the dugout, and I wanted to make the demonstrative ejection... the kid deserved it. But I saw my partner have to eject a coach a few games prior, and he did so by just calmly telling them to leave. I managed to do the same. I explained to the coach and player what happened, told the player he's been ejected from the game and his day was done. It took a little bit for word to get around why the catcher wasn't in the game anymore, but I didn't have to look like the aggressor. I simply took care of it. I get there are times where you have to take care of matters and do it firmly to make a point, but I'd challenge umpires on here, especially those who do HS or younger: try to just quietly eject the next time you have to. Be calm. If the other party wants to explode on you, then they are the bad guy. Don't give anyone a reason to make you look like the jerk.
  9. I've always held the mindset that if I'm ever attacked, I want it to be 100% clear to everyone witnessing that I'm, indeed, the victim. If I lose my cool, if I make the snarky comment in return, if I push back, fight back, or bark back... I lose that benefit of the doubt. Again, I don't have a clue how the umpire in this situation handled himself in the game (or after), but I'd bet dollars to donuts that it didn't just happen out of the blue. It stemmed from something. The better we exhibit self-control, patience, and compassion, the less likely we are to be attacked, abused, or mistreated. When I first started umpiring, I frequently got paired with a guy in his late-60s. He was excellent at calming down angry coaches by letting them talk, letting them vent their frustrations or concerns, and then calmly explaining the situation. The coaches felt heard. The parents could see it. The players could see it. He treated people with respect, and it paid off for him. We never had issues in those games. Even the contentious ones (of which there were several).
  10. No, I witnessed the situation that @The Man in Blue questioned within my initial comment. Do try to keep up. As far as the umpire in Sacramento, I wasn't there. And all I have is a few seconds of context. But this kind of stuff doesn't just happen in a vacuum. I can condemn the abuse these umpires faced while also questioning the behavior/demeanor of the umpires being abused.
  11. The umpire in the truck was baiting it. I promise you, I was there. And there's no amount of "awful" or justification for it, but the way you conduct yourself at the game, the way you interact and handle coaches and parents can and absolutely does change the chance for a positive outcome as you step away from the field. I don't think this is, nor should be, remotely controversial. There are a LOT of umpires who are, unfortunately, massive jerks. To coaches, players, and parents. If you've umpired for very long, you've probably worked with one. I'm not saying it's justified to attack or abuse an umpire (or anyone) for being a jerk, but you can't just let them off the hook, either. If you're not willing to at least accept that your demeanor and how you conduct yourself changes these interactions, then we can't have an honest or reasonable conversation about umpiring.
  12. I'm just not a fan of this, frankly. Mostly because it's too heavy-handed. Telling a coach that you'll eject him because he has a kid coming out of the dugout at the wrong time is a sure-fire way to create more enmity than you need between you and the coach. Threatening to eject a coach because a few 11-year-olds are where they aren't supposed to be is over-the-top. Give him a few chances to correct his team. After all, they are still junior-high (or younger) boys. I have to remind myself of that FREQUENTLY: "these kids are teenagers... these kids are teenagers." Some coaches truly are doing their best to both coach and manage their dugout. A team that has two coaches may have both on the field during their offensive turn, and no one in the dugout to control their team, and that could be for a variety of reasons. What are you going to do? Toss out the head coach because, while coaching his team, little Cooper walked out of the dugout one too many times? If the coach is willfully defiant, or treats your request with flippancy, than sure, give out some consequences. But often enough, that just comes across as too heavy-handed and it creates nothing but more guff, more agitation toward you and it makes you look an unreasonable umpire.
  13. The problem with all these situations is we see the 30 seconds of fighting, and nothing leading to it. I was at a HS game a while back, just as a spectator, and the umpire had an awful game. He knew it. Both teams knew it. And he was just sitting in the bed of his truck, in the closest parking spot to the field interacting with fans in a negative way. He was also a jerk on the field. And it's very fortunate it didn't escalate into something bad. Without accusing this particular umpire of anything, one's demeanor and how they conduct themselves from arrival to departure matters. And having a demeanor that shows that you're patient, you're willing to listen, and that it's not about you can drastically change the outcome of how things will go for you. As far as the assault goes, I will never leave the field and go to the parking lot by myself. I go with my partner, we park next to or near each other, and we drive off at the same time. Few idiots will attack when there are two people together. If doing a one-man game (which I rarely do), I'll ask that the league director or someone that I can trust escort me to the vehicle. Sometimes I'll find a friendly parent and just head that direction with them. Watch your attitude and demeanor and don't depart from the field alone.
  14. Yes, that was the confusing, and aggravating part of it. I didn't make a big stink about it. I didn't even file a report for it. Before he left the dugout for the 1B coaching box, I just asked him to leave. If he was already on the field, it may have been more of a scene. The ejected coach was cool about it. The head coach was not.
  15. It was USSSA. And look, I'm not as big of a stickler, because he was essentially rooting on the kids. But it just started to get under the opponent's skin, which was exacerbated by a pretty big deficit. And this team has a bad reputation of poor sportsmanship, that anything they do will be perceived as wrong. But originally, I had no issue with it, as I understood the references. Most the dads at the game did too. I was impressed by some of them too! And it was very clearly done in a good-hearted fashion. But it just got out of hand, as so many things do that I had to stop it. I don't know why he insisted on continuing.
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