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Umpire in Chief

I turned the fans against me.

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There is a Jr. Legion team I have had a lot so far this season, not helping the matter they are from the rural county I live in and know many of the players and parents either directly or because my kids play with their younger kids. Our county only has 1 high school and it's only AA at that, so you get the picture that were in a small community. I'll refer to them as the blue team.

My prior games with them they have "loved" me, if for no other reason than by contrast to any number of my partners who they have loathed.

I'm working a tournament about 50 miles away from where I live and notice they are going to be one of the teams I will have. The game before ours went extra innings and my partner and I are sitting in the shade away from most spectators. Then I was spotted. A couple of friends/parents/spectators came up to me and told me they were glad that they have me again and told some stories of how they have been "screwed" by other umpires. I don't say much back to them. Mainly just nodded and smiled.

I will also say the parents of this team are some of the loudest, most into it (even if they don't know what they are talking about) spectators you will ever have.

First 3 innings their team is loosing and they are making all sorts of comments. My partner comes to me between innings and says, "These fans are ruthless. It's crazy, but I love it" I told him this was par for course, but it will get worse.

I had a banger at the plate and banged out the runner (who lives across the street from me), and got my first shower of their scorn. Between innings I was being yelled at and for the first time in my short career they were using my name rather than blue. It was actually quite unsettling.

Next inning they had a huge inning and put six on the board. In that inning they had a couple of calls go their way by both my partner and I and now we are on their good side again, once again using my name. But now the parents on the other side are getting upset in thinking they were getting hosed and now are getting more vocal as the game is now tied. The other team's (I'll call them gold) fans are trying unsuccessfully to be louder. I can see how the gold team's parent's and fans might feel they are being hosed with the praise they're laying on me and using my name. They are actually cheering me. I pretended not to notice and played in my line up card holder which was empty.

Next half inning some things don't go gold's way and a particularly loud gold parent yells, "Come on Warren, you're letting them bring you to their side."

The Gold team goes back on top, then the blue and the gold regains the lead in the top of the 7th.

Bottom of the 7th with 1 out and Blue down by 2 and runners on 2nd & 3rd, we have a passed ball. R3 tries to score, but the pitcher comes to cover the plate and gets the ball and is waiting for the runner who tries to slide between the pitcher's feet, and while the tag was high (which is what I believe the coaches and fans saw they were far enough up the line that the tag was first) and I bang him out. The fans on both sides are going crazy for different reasons.

The Blue Asst coach who was in the first base box charges up the line yelling, "He was under the tag!"

I told him, "The tag got him."

He continues and I repeat the same thing.

He then yells, "That’s the third f:censored:ing call you've blown tonight!"

Buh-bye…:smachhead:

Now the blue team fans are going absolutely nuts, hollering anything and everything they can think of.

Next two batters reach on errors to load the bases and the last blue batter takes it up to a full count, the fans on both sides are now in full frenzy louder than anything I'd encountered before.

He gets a cockshot and puts it to the bottom of the right field fence scoring 3 runs. It was pure crazy. As I go to pick up my water bottle which was against the fence near the blue team they didn't say a word to me, which I preferred, but one parent came right up to the fence and yelled at me "We still beat you blue!" Boy did I want to say something, but refrained.

I honestly hope not to have that team or their Sr. Legion team any more this year. I really did not like the way things may have appeared by them using my name. I'm actually going to talk to the ones I know as I happen to see them and ask them not to do that, which may mean they will do it more.

When I woke up this morning the first thing I did is go out and look at my cars & trucks to make sure they were alright, because you never know. But all was good.

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Thought you were going to end it with "When I woke up this morning I realized it was just a nightmare"....lol

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This is exactly why I don't fraternize with anyone. I walk on the field and talk to coaches only. May talk to F2. But, that is the extent of it.

I am glad I umpire in a county which I don't live it. It has paid off before. I had a coach yell at me "It's East Cobb against West Cobb." And, I was at the West Cobb's field and they didn't like a call I made. I told him "I live in Douglas County so it make no difference to me." I felt like continuing the statement with "And, I don't like any of you." But I didn't b/c I figured it wouldn't be taken as a joke so I refrained.

I'm glad I am not in that situation so I can walk off and not worry about a thing.

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There is a Jr. Legion team I have had a lot so far this season, not helping the matter they are from the rural county I live in and know many of the players and parents either directly or because my kids play with their younger kids. Our county only has 1 high school and it's only AA at that, so you get the picture that were in a small community. I'll refer to them as the blue team.

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I feel for you warren.............and its just that reason I dont umpire in my local school district for HS games......

probably not an option for you,. but Ive been there brother.......hearing your name called down from the stands from people who are your "friends".........then having them try and talk to you after the game, just chaps my hide......

I dont do "home cooking"...........

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My only thought....

Your FIFTY miles from your home turf...

You admit to a relationship...good, bad or otherwise with your "local area" team...

You admit again that you see they are on YOUR list of scheduled games...

WHY NOT get together with the tournament UIC or Directors and get the heck off that game well ahead of the potential ST storm you KNOW [by your own post] IS GOING TO HAPPEN….again….good, bad OR otherwise….

THIS is the ultimate in “preventive officiating”.

Dude….you painted yourself into a corner…and had to wait for the freaking paint to dry!

I've been fortunate enough to go work tournaments "out of area" and have at times come across teams from "my area" on the tournament game schedule....and as a "preventive strike"....whether I knew the teams or not....pursued swapping games with another umpire...

That happens quite often at places like Dreams Park or those like venues...

Scuzz

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It was a tournament up in VA and it was completely random that I got their Sunday night second round game. I'd been assigned the game for a while well before the teams made it to that point.

I didn't acknowledge anything the fans on either side said the whole game.

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My only reason for chiming in here:

You said the first base coach charged down the line to argue a call at the plate.

Unless he is grabbing a player to "save" him from being dumped, he has zero leash here. Think Rob Drake and the Cubs first base coach on that call in Chicago a couple years ago.

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Warren.

I always try and remember this. Leave on the side of the winning team if possible and MOST IMPORTANTLY. If both sides are yelling at you during a game, you are doing a hell of a job....John

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Like I always say fastest way to get tossed when I'm your ump is to count calls on me. When I hear "That is the third one today" Or "Twice you blew that, twice" All I want to say is "Really coach? Well why are you bunting with your fourth hitter in the third inning of a 6-5 game? Don't you think that you should play for a big inning? And what about when you called for you infield to play in with one out in the first and you had base loaded? Why not play for the double play? Those are your two blown plays right there so I guess we are even!" But I instead give them the Woosh! See you later big boy. Don't count calls.

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Like I always say fastest way to get tossed when I'm your ump is to count calls on me. When I hear "That is the third one today" Or "Twice you blew that, twice" ...[snip]... But I instead give them the Woosh! See you later big boy. Don't count calls.

Well, that might be a little tricky. I don't disagree with that philosophy, but it would seem that our association (the one to which UIC and I belong) doesn't fully share that feeling. At this time, that's all I'll say about it.

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Well, that might be a little tricky. I don't disagree with that philosophy, but it would seem that our association (the one to which UIC and I belong) doesn't fully share that feeling. At this time, that's all I'll say about it.

Share what feelings? About counting calls? I thought that was on of the magic 13 that people always talk about.

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There is a Jr. Legion team I have had a lot so far this season, not helping the matter they are from the rural county I live in and know many of the players and parents either directly or because my kids play with their younger kids.

Warren from my experience no matter what kind of game you call Teams need a "different look"

It's not a good idea to umpire the same team(s) many times.

I had that in HS one year. Out of the 20-25 Varsity games I did I had one school 7/8 times.

FWIW: Do NOT umpire a lot of games involving this particular team. Let's say you had this team 8-10 times already. Next year I would cut that in half at the very minimum.

Also, I echo another poster, if possible (I Know sometimes it isn't) switch assignments with another umpiring crew once you KNOW you will have this particular team.

Your type of OP is all too common when umpiring many games with a local team in which you have ties. It's a "catch 22" as you found out.

Pete Booth

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One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to "manage your career".......and by that it was meant to:

Manage the number of games you do...

Know when to book off a game...

Manage the number of times you do one team... (dont become the home teams umpire)

Manage the ratio between base/plate games...( I usually wanted the plate)

Manage the level of baseball you do...(do better baseball, not just more baseball..my personal objective)

try it......

Edited by Stan W.

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Share what feelings? About counting calls?

Yes.

I thought that was on of the magic 13 that people always talk about.

I do/did, too.

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Here's why I will give the hook automatically on "counted calls": When they tell me I've blown X calls, they take away my option to issue a warning for arguing the call at hand by arguing multiple calls at once. The warning for the current one get's passed over because they are arguing another play (or plays) from earlier in the game as well... So in effect, they are leading me through all four steps (ignore, acknowledge, warn, eject) with one statement - WHOOSH!!!!!!

1) INGORE: obviously, his argument on previous play(s) was/were ignored at the time, or he might not still be there

2) Acknowledge: we do this on the initial argument of the current play (before he tells us how many bad calls we've made)

3) Warn: is taken away by dredging up a play or plays from earlier in the game moving us on to...

4) EJ: he has presented a ticket to the parking lot, and it is our duty to punch it for him.

The guy is double-dipping his arguments, taking all the rope we give them to hang themselves and tying it around his neck and jumping off the cliff for us.

Edited by catoblue

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Well, that might be a little tricky. I don't disagree with that philosophy, but it would seem that our association (the one to which UIC and I belong) doesn't fully share that feeling. At this time, that's all I'll say about it.

Let me get this straight

Your association DICTATES to the umpires how and whom they can EJ?

Unless you need the money REAL bad I would NOT work for such an association. The association as a whole is siding "with the enemy"

An umpire association is supposed to have it's members back not the "other' way around.

Doesn't appear your association has either yours or Warren's back based upon your statement

but it would seem that our association (the one to which UIC and I belong) doesn't fully share that feeling. At this time, that's all I'll say about it

All I can say is WOW!

Pete Booth

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Let me get this straight

Your association DICTATES to the umpires how and whom they can EJ?

Unless you need the money REAL bad I would NOT work for such an association. The association as a whole is siding "with the enemy"

An umpire association is supposed to have it's members back not the "other' way around.

Doesn't appear your association has either yours or Warren's back based upon your statement

All I can say is WOW!

Pete Booth

"The views expressed by Pete Booth in the preceding post don't necessarily reflect those of HokieUmp, Inc., or any of its associated affiliates."

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In the interest of fairness, I decided to go back to my JEAPU notes from 2008, since I knew we'd had a classroom discussion on "automatics." The following list is word-for-word from my class notes, so any errors would be mine.

Automatic EJs:

1. Physical contact (intentional)

2. Kicking/throwing dirt on or at you

3. Spitting on or at you

4. Profane language directed at you personally

5. Profane language directed at your partner

6. Throwing equipment in obvious disgust of your call

7. Questioning honesty or integrity of you or your partner

8. Drawing a line in the dirt w/obvious intent to show you up

9. Throwing objects from the dugout

10. Leaving your position to argue balls/strikes

11. Pitcher or any fielder doctoring the ball

12. Player doctoring the bat

13. Intentionally throwing at a batter

14. Batter or teammate charging the mound, getting to the dirt circle

15. (Minors only) Use or possession of any tobacco product

Of course, several of those are proscribed by rule, and #15 would hold for pretty much anything WE do. The notes there were for the pro game.

Therefore, I stand corrected - counting calls is not one of the automatics, at least not in the JEAPU world.

For me personally, in the (so very obvious) amateur world I work in, I still consider counting calls to fall into "prolonged" in the Profane-Prolonged-Personal school of thought. Simply because the player/coach/manager is bringing up the past in a new variation. And maybe also because I'm being a selective in my red-ass-edness.

Perhaps the Cliffs Notes for this post is "I was wrong, yet I am still right!"

Or something.

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Generally, you're not going to win over hostile fans. Every once in a while, however, you can do it with humor. Example; Its getting dark because storm clouds are approaching and I haven't yet removed my sunglasses. From the C position, I bang a close one at first, and now I've got the parents on that side all over me. In between innings, I removed my sunglasses,and, as I'm walking along the first base fence, I comment to the parents, " you know, your right, I couldn't see a thing with these sunglasses on." It got a lot of laughs and the rest of the evening they were on my side.

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PU29:

I must disagree. I would never use humor or make light of any situation as it relates to a situation on the field. Let alone engage the hostile unwashed masses with commentary about anything that occured inside the fences. That is a mistake, IMO, that is going to bite you some day. It is best to keep those thoughts to yourself. BTW, I am not a humorless sort. I have done amatuer standup/improv and provided material for other peoples acts. I have a simple rule-acknowledge any "Good Game Blue" comments with a nod and a simple thanks and ignore all others.

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PU29:

I must disagree. I would never use humor or make light of any situation as it relates to a situation on the field. Let alone engage the hostile unwashed masses with commentary about anything that occured inside the fences. That is a mistake, IMO, that is going to bite you some day. It is best to keep those thoughts to yourself. BTW, I am not a humorless sort. I have done amatuer standup/improv and provided material for other peoples acts. I have a simple rule-acknowledge any "Good Game Blue" comments with a nod and a simple thanks and ignore all others.

I agree. Especially, since we are not there to try to win a popularity award. It may have worked that time but you may make them more upset. Reason: you just admitted to making a mistake. What are you going to do to rectify it? And, if you make a call they don't like again, the first thing you hear is "You would have gotten it right if you had your glasses on".

Too many things can go wrong when we try to be buddies or "good ol' boys" with the participants of the game: players, coaches, and fans alike. Don't try to be funny, smart, or anything else. It undermines your credibility and sometimes, your partner's too.

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First of all, in no way did I admit to making a mistake. The joke was a reference to the common impression regarding an umpire's eyesight. A little self-effacement on occasion can put out a potential fire. I can be just as tough as the next guy. Matter of fact, for years I've been my association's enforcer. The point is, you pick your spots and you need to know when to do it. I happen to think tossing a lot of people doesn't make a good official. In 23 years I've never tossed a high school coach. I hear these guys talk about all the rhubarbs they've had and the players and coaches they've had to eject, almost on a weekly basis, some of them, and I think to myself, maybe they should look in the mirror for the source of the problem. If you come off like a hard ass 100% of the time, you're begging for problems. I'm a big believer in reciprocating the way I'm being treated. When I'm treated with courtesy and respect, I return the favor. On the other hand, if there is insistence on making it a long couple of hours for me, I know how to respond to that situation as well. Gentlemen, we ain't God. Our purpose is to ensure that neither team gains an unfair advantage. If we do that, then we have done our job.

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