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Obstructed View


bobtheump210

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18U fall ball game yesterday and working 90' by myself. BR hits a little duck snort down the RF line about 30 feet behind the bag. I also have plate responsibilities with R3 tagging. The OF slopes down/away from infield. I have RF, 1B and 2B all converging and the latter two plus the runner in my line of sight. I lose the ball as it drops below player head level on the horizon.

I took a guess it was fair. My guess is I was wrong as the fielders let up their effort when the ball hit the turf. This was the first time I have encountered such a severely obstructed view.

I am thinking I don't want the player's reaction to dictate my response, but it may be the best indicator. Should I have waited for them to react? Or, are there other techniques I may have used?

All help is appreciated.

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This is what happens when teams only want to pay 1 Umpire to work a game. Even though it still would have been your call.

In my opinion it would have been best to wait a couple of seconds and watch the reaction. I am sure if it was fair you would have seen the fielders hustle after the ball.

But really it is still a guess. Just make a call and stick with it.

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Bob,

I concur with Jax.

Even in 2-man, you're not going to get a good look at this one the way it developed.

Whether solo or 2-man, I would encourage you to bust up the 1B line to get the best look possible (Couldn't tell from your description whether you "hung back" in the plate area or not) because fair/foul is your first priority on this call, and you might be able to make a "lean" or one-step adjustment at the last minute to get an unobstructed view. Or you might still be blocked from seeing it. I assure you that regardless of what you do, this will not be the last time you are unable to actually see some critical element of a play you are responsible for making a call on.

As JAX said, don't be in a rush to make the call. Observe the fielders' initial reaction to the ball landing and use that, along with your view of the ball's trajectory before it landed to make your "best guess" as to whether it landed fair or foul and then stick with your call.

So, how did the defensive HC react? Did he come out to "discuss" it?

JM

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Bob,

I concur with Jax.

Even in 2-man, you're not going to get a good look at this one the way it developed.

Whether solo or 2-man, I would encourage you to bust up the 1B line to get the best look possible (Couldn't tell from your description whether you "hung back" in the plate area or not) because fair/foul is your first priority on this call, and you might be able to make a "lean" or one-step adjustment at the last minute to get an unobstructed view. Or you might still be blocked from seeing it. I assure you that regardless of what you do, this will not be the last time you are unable to actually see some critical element of a play you are responsible for making a call on.

As JAX said, don't be in a rush to make the call. Observe the fielders' initial reaction to the ball landing and use that, along with your view of the ball's trajectory before it landed to make your "best guess" as to whether it landed fair or foul and then stick with your call.

So, how did the defensive HC react? Did he come out to "discuss" it?

JM

Observe the runner and 1B coach too. You might just get a unanimous decision to use.

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I am thinking I don't want the player's reaction to dictate my response.....

Actually, that's a great way to make this call. There are times, with a short crew, where you're completely blocked out. Look for the initial reaction. If that's not a good clue, signal it Fair. The thinking is, give the benefit of the doubt to the guy who hit the ball, not the guy who didn't catch it. Plus, if you happen to have partner on the other side of the diamond, you can always unwind a Fair call, but not a Foul one.

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As for letting the players and coaches make our calls, I have to admit I do it at times too. Specifically on HR/GRD situations. This Saturday we had 3 dingers over a silver chain link fence. 2 I really couldn't tell if they bounced before or after the fense. I delayed my call and let the fielder tell me.

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As for letting the players and coaches make our calls, I have to admit I do it at times too. Specifically on HR/GRD situations. This Saturday we had 3 dingers over a silver chain link fence. 2 I really couldn't tell if they bounced before or after the fense. I delayed my call and let the fielder tell me.

I was in that boat some years back, either a JrLL or SrLL, can't remember, but I had a linedrive shot over the LF fence. I called it a HR and the DM had a fit. It was a plain chainlink fence and really hard to call but I was pretty confident I had it. The manager wanted me to ask the F7 if it bounced or not. :jerkit: I told him not way am I polling the outfield, it's a HR, let's play. He yells to his F7 asking if it bounced. The F7 said no, it went over. :yippie: I would have tossed the manager for trying to show me up but I was having too much trouble not laughing at him.

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I am sitting here thinking about how hard it would be to call an 18U game with one umpire. You had the guy on third that added a little wrinkle to it all. Based on what you said, if I were by myself in this situation I would probably try and prioritize what I was going to do. In this case, I would have probably busted it up the 1b line and tried to position myself to quickly get a look at the R-3. Kids will give it away a lot of times but you have some pretty savy ones who may try and sell it and do a darn good job of it. But as some said, watching the players around you will sometimes give you another clue to help make the call. It can be hard as heck sometimes even with a two man crew. I remember a few years back I was behind the plate and there was no one on base. Kid hits a ball behind the second baseman. I am coming out but still am blocked. My partner had hooked in and watched the touch at first and as the kid is diving for the ball my partner had a view of the no catch and pointed down to let me know it was dropped. To be honest would he not helped me out, I would not truly have known for sure. This kind of stuff happens on a ball field with even two man crews practicing perfect mechanics.

I have to believe that people that are unwilling to pay for two umpires have to know that things like this are going to happen. hey you did the best you could with what you had to work with at the time. Is it common in some of your guys areas to only have one umpire? Wow this would present some challenges.

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In the situation described, I don't think another umpire would have helped but that being said I try to avoid one man if at all possible. I have done some on the small diamond but never on the big field.

There was a situation this weekend where an umpire didn't show up for a LL Minors game and me and my partner had a LL senior DH. We talked over if one of us should pull off and go do the minors game but decided not to.

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Come on now. One man is an adventure. Sure, you've got to haul ass out there, and guess a lot of times, but folks seem to appriciate it. One man on the big field is actually easier than the small diamond, as the bigger kids make the predictable plays, and you don't get surprised a lot.

I don't blame you for waiving off the LL minors game, though. As it's, IMO, the hardest game to umpire. Unpredictable, low skill levels, clueless coaches, and insane parents. The only saving grace is the comical kids. One man on the big diamond is a cake walk compared to this. Well, execpt for regular season Juniors LL. That's usually pretty awful ball.

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I am thinking I don't want the player's reaction to dictate my response, but it may be the best indicator. Should I have waited for them to react? Or, are there other techniques I may have used?

There is a science to this. Many times you can wait for their reactions. There's only one of you...ball has priority...make your call and stick with it. I work a lot of 1 man where I live and I work my ass off to have the best strike zone possible, then I hustle to get the best angle when possible and make sure I always see the ball before I make a call, and let the chips fall where they may. You're not going to get them all correct in one man. The teams appreciate it when you hustle and have a good strike zone, if you do that, surprisingly you'll get most of your calls right.

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I am sitting here thinking about how hard it would be to call an 18U game with one umpire. You had the guy on third that added a little wrinkle to it all. Based on what you said, if I were by myself in this situation I would probably try and prioritize what I was going to do. In this case, I would have probably busted it up the 1b line and tried to position myself to quickly get a look at the R-3. Kids will give it away a lot of times but you have some pretty savy ones who may try and sell it and do a darn good job of it. But as some said, watching the players around you will sometimes give you another clue to help make the call. It can be hard as heck sometimes even with a two man crew. I remember a few years back I was behind the plate and there was no one on base. Kid hits a ball behind the second baseman. I am coming out but still am blocked. My partner had hooked in and watched the touch at first and as the kid is diving for the ball my partner had a view of the no catch and pointed down to let me know it was dropped. To be honest would he not helped me out, I would not truly have known for sure. This kind of stuff happens on a ball field with even two man crews practicing perfect mechanics.

I have to believe that people that are unwilling to pay for two umpires have to know that things like this are going to happen. hey you did the best you could with what you had to work with at the time. Is it common in some of your guys areas to only have one umpire? Wow this would present some challenges.

I once worked a 9 inning first round college tournament game with a deaf team as one of the teams. Talk about tough, you have to call the strike, slap the catcher in the ribs and then worry about any runners. Not a pretty day.

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