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First Fan Ejection

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I was working a 9U select game last Saturday, and from the moment I called the first strike the coach was on me about my zone. My zone was actually quite consistent, but I had had issues with this team's coach before, and he insisted I wasn't giving his pitchers the close pitches because I was "holding a grudge". Keep in mind we are always completely professional and impartial. I didn't do much about the coach's complaining because he did not say anything obscene or personal. But after the team had batted in the top of the 1st, a fan came up to the backstop fence and started complaining. He ended up saying "do you know how F-ing terrible you are?" at which point I warned him to watch his language (pursuant to my league's policy). He proceeded to grab the backstop fence, shake it, and make a loud growling sound, at which point I proceeded to eject him from the complex. Now in any other situation, I would have gone to the coach and asked him to control his fans, but he was not going to be of any obvious help, and the action and profanity was vulgar enough to warrant an ejection without coach intervention. The team ended up losing the game, and the coach of course had words for me and my partner at the end, but he was not ejected.

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9 minutes ago, tpatience said:

These guys are complaining at a 9 year old game? Wow

My two favorite quotes from yesterday are "good pitch, you barely missed" on a pitch at the batters eyes and "these kids are 9 not 18"

Same game. Same coach. 

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Must be something in the water this weekend. I heard multiple stories of fans being ejected from just one big tournament here. One from the field next to ours. Another field on our set should have tossed fans for profanity but didn't. This tournament had 8u - 12u. It was a nightmare tourney.

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55 minutes ago, tpatience said:

These guys are complaining at a 9 year old game? Wow

My thoughts exactly.

 

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My advice - find a new league.  That's INSANE behavior over that age group and the league should really drop the hammer.  My only real advice would be to shut down the coach immediately, as his actions are inflaming the fans. 

As an asside, I went back and did a 10U game for the first time in ages last week and was shocked at how hard it is to call balls and strikes at that level.  The kids are 3.5 feet tall (so the zone is tiny), the ball comes in with arc, and the kids dive out of the way of anything anywhere near the inside corner.  Catchers don't know where to set targets, so you can have a pitcher hit the target but because of the high target and arc on the 38 mph pitch, it crossed the plate at the batters eyes.  But because the catcher caught it in the zone, everyone will groan or worse.  And a pitch at the knees may end up in the dirt if your catcher is back a little too far, so again, you should strike it but if you do everyone loses their damn mind about how 'that pitch was in the dirt, hows that a strike!'... Finally,  if you call anything resembling a rulebook zone, 2/3 of plate appearances are walks, but if you expand it you are "cheating the kids," which is reasonable because they aren't going to be able to reach an outside pitch with their little 27 inch bats. 

These kids deserve good, competent umpires (as long as everyone behaves), so I am not saying don't work kids this little - just know that you cannot please everyone (or anyone) with your zone at that age. 

 

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2 minutes ago, MPLSMatt said:

My advice - find a new league.  That's INSANE behavior over that age group and the league should really drop the hammer.  My only advice would be to shut down the coach immediately, as his actions are inflaming the fans. 

As an asside, I went back and did a 10U game for the first time in ages last week and was shocked at how hard it is to call balls and strikes at that level.  The kids are 3.5 feet tall (so the zone is tiny), the ball comes in with arc, and the kids dive out of the way of anything anywhere near the inside corner.  Catchers don't know where to set targets, so you can have a pitcher hit the target but because of the high target and arc on the 38 mph pitch, it crossed the plate at the batters eyes.  But because the catcher caught it in the zone, everyone will groan or worse.  And a pitch at the knees, may end up in the dirt if your catcher is back a little too far, so again, you should strike it but if you do everyone loses their damn mind about how 'that pitch was in the dirt, hows that a strike!'... Finally,  if you call anything resembling a rulebook zone, 2/3 of plate appearances are walks, but if you expand it you are "cheating the kids," which is reasonable because they aren't going to be able to reach an outside pitch with their little 27 inch bats. 

These kids deserve good, competent umpires (as long as everyone behaves), so I am not saying don't work kids this little - just know that you cannot please everyone (or anyone) with your zone at that age. 

 

Can I like put this on a flyer and hand it out at every game 10U and under I work because this perfectly describes calling balls and strikes at this level. Bravo

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I worked a 9u game this weekend  and it sounds exactly the same

25 minutes ago, MPLSMatt said:

My advice - find a new league.  That's INSANE behavior over that age group and the league should really drop the hammer.  My only advice would be to shut down the coach immediately, as his actions are inflaming the fans. 

As an asside, I went back and did a 10U game for the first time in ages last week and was shocked at how hard it is to call balls and strikes at that level.  The kids are 3.5 feet tall (so the zone is tiny), the ball comes in with arc, and the kids dive out of the way of anything anywhere near the inside corner.  Catchers don't know where to set targets, so you can have a pitcher hit the target but because of the high target and arc on the 38 mph pitch, it crossed the plate at the batters eyes.  But because the catcher caught it in the zone, everyone will groan or worse.  And a pitch at the knees, may end up in the dirt if your catcher is back a little too far, so again, you should strike it but if you do everyone loses their damn mind about how 'that pitch was in the dirt, hows that a strike!'... Finally,  if you call anything resembling a rulebook zone, 2/3 of plate appearances are walks, but if you expand it you are "cheating the kids," which is reasonable because they aren't going to be able to reach an outside pitch with their little 27 inch bats. 

These kids deserve good, competent umpires (as long as everyone behaves), so I am not saying don't work kids this little - just know that you cannot please everyone (or anyone) with your zone at that age. 

 

I worked a 9u game this weekend  and it sounds exactly the same 

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Come on now.  Let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  These are 9 year olds.  Don't you realize that colleges are watching these guys already and preparing to hand out scholarships?  If they don't verbally commit by the time they are 10, who knows what school they could go to.  Shoot, the 11/12y/o group are ready for the 1st round of the draft......Just ask ANY parent.:bang:

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I think something's becoming clearer to me, with some of these recent posts.

I've wondered a little why local "house" leagues - LL, Pony - are getting smaller and 'weaker' (in skill level) overall.  And it's because of the travel team phenomenon (thank you, spell-checker!), I know.  People think that's the way to getting better for their school teams, getting looks from colleges, making it to The Show, whatever.  I think it's a load of crap, sold by guys that are probably skimming big money from the process, but who am I, 60 Minutes over here?

That's the obvious part.  I think the other part is:  when you're playing travel ball, it's the freaking Wild West.  For coaches AND parents.  Oh sure, there's some alleged sanctioning body somewhere that is also soaking money up like a sponge putting on tournaments and declaring regional and national champions, but there's no real authority.  No TD is ever dropping the ban-hammer on one of his cash cows, and when you go from place to place wreaking havoc, no one knows in the new town what kind of horse's ass you were last weekend.  At least in school ball, an EJ gets you another one game ban, minimum.  For this traveling circus, not so much.

And so the local leagues get drained.

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14 hours ago, jpk015 said:

I had had issues with this team's coach before, and he insisted I wasn't giving his pitchers the close pitches because I was "holding a grudge". Keep in mind we are always completely professional and impartial. I didn't do much about the coach's complaining because he did not say anything obscene or personal.

How is him accusing you of "holding a grudge" anything BUT personal?  He is accusing you of cheating and should have, at a MINIMUM, been warned for this comment, and possibly should have been ejected on the spot.  This kind of comment should never be ignored.

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1 hour ago, HokieUmp said:

I think something's becoming clearer to me, with some of these recent posts.

I've wondered a little why local "house" leagues - LL, Pony - are getting smaller and 'weaker' (in skill level) overall.  And it's because of the travel team phenomenon (thank you, spell-checker!), I know.  People think that's the way to getting better for their school teams, getting looks from colleges, making it to The Show, whatever.  I think it's a load of crap, sold by guys that are probably skimming big money from the process, but who am I, 60 Minutes over here?

That's the obvious part.  I think the other part is:  when you're playing travel ball, it's the freaking Wild West.  For coaches AND parents.  Oh sure, there's some alleged sanctioning body somewhere that is also soaking money up like a sponge putting on tournaments and declaring regional and national champions, but there's no real authority.  No TD is ever dropping the ban-hammer on one of his cash cows, and when you go from place to place wreaking havoc, no one knows in the new town what kind of horse's ass you were last weekend.  At least in school ball, an EJ gets you another one game ban, minimum.  For this traveling circus, not so much.

And so the local leagues get drained.

HAMMER HITS NAIL! I would add TDs don't give a rat's arse about the umpires and you've got umpires who do this kind of thing for a living so it gets complicated real quick.

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2 hours ago, grayhawk said:

How is him accusing you of "holding a grudge" anything BUT personal?  He is accusing you of cheating and should have, at a MINIMUM, been warned for this comment, and possibly should have been ejected on the spot.  This kind of comment should never be ignored.

It's a comment he's made multiple times in every game that I have umpired with his team playing. The head umpire instructed me to ignore it so I did just that. I did, however, warn him when he came up to me at the conclusion of the game and called me a "disgrace to the umpiring profession". He quickly shut his mouth after I warned him.

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14 minutes ago, jpk015 said:

It's a comment he's made multiple times in every game that I have umpired with his team playing. The head umpire instructed me to ignore it so I did just that. I did, however, warn him when he came up to me at the conclusion of the game and called me a "disgrace to the umpiring profession". He quickly shut his mouth after I warned him.

Well, at least we see where ignoring it has gotten you.  We promote what we permit!  Your head umpire may want to rethink his stance on this kind of behavior.

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2 hours ago, jpk015 said:

It's a comment he's made multiple times in every game that I have umpired with his team playing. The head umpire instructed me to ignore it so I did just that. I did, however, warn him when he came up to me at the conclusion of the game and called me a "disgrace to the umpiring profession". He quickly shut his mouth after I warned him.

Ignore your chief, because he's wrong. 

Any youth league is what everyone makes it.  I got a jump start from the losing coach last night.   Because we've spent years cultivating the experience we want the kids (and families, and volunteers) to have.

But I definitely agree with everyone who says to not work leagues or travel that don't control the madhouse.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

Steve

 

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Stevis is right: it is what the league will allow. I've worked travel "select" tournaments where, after I've EJ'd a coach, he went directly to the TD. The TD listened quietly to him rant about how bad I was, and how he would never come here again, yada yada. When he was finished, the TD said, "Did he eject you? There's the gate". Those are the leagues that have as many Umpires as they need. You get a TD who considers teams "customers" and lets them abuse the employees (us), you end up with a League that can't find Umpires.

Nobody's got a gun to our heads out there. If the League/TD/UIC?BOD doesn't back you up, time to get out of Dodge and find another saloon.

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6 hours ago, jpk015 said:

It's a comment he's made multiple times in every game that I have umpired with his team playing. The head umpire instructed me to ignore it so I did just that. I did, however, warn him when he came up to me at the conclusion of the game and called me a "disgrace to the umpiring profession". He quickly shut his mouth after I warned him.

Dude...... DUDE.  When you work a game with this guy again, launch this guy at the first comment.  In fact, you should be in danger of tearing your rotator cuff, you should launch him so fast.

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I had had issues with this team's coach before, and he insisted I wasn't giving his pitchers the close pitches because I was "holding a grudge". Keep in mind we are always completely professional and impartial. I didn't do much about the coach's complaining because he did not say anything obscene or personal.

How is him accusing you of "holding a grudge" anything BUT personal?  He is accusing you of cheating and should have, at a MINIMUM, been warned for this comment, and possibly should have been ejected on the spot.  This kind of comment should never be ignored.

Grayhawk as usual is right on the mark here. While I'm not going to listen to much discussion about balls and strikes, I will immediately educate a coach about the difference between calling me incompetent and biased. He doesn't agree with my zone from his poor angle, without the proper training I've had or the impartiality I bring, OK. He accuses me of cheating? Not ok, and a distinction that needs to be made clear right away. Most coaches at that level don't know better yet. If you don't help them learn you're doing everyone a disservice.

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On 5/9/2016 at 8:54 AM, MPLSMatt said:

My advice - find a new league.  That's INSANE behavior over that age group and the league should really drop the hammer.  My only real advice would be to shut down the coach immediately, as his actions are inflaming the fans. 

As an asside, I went back and did a 10U game for the first time in ages last week and was shocked at how hard it is to call balls and strikes at that level.  The kids are 3.5 feet tall (so the zone is tiny), the ball comes in with arc, and the kids dive out of the way of anything anywhere near the inside corner.  Catchers don't know where to set targets, so you can have a pitcher hit the target but because of the high target and arc on the 38 mph pitch, it crossed the plate at the batters eyes.  But because the catcher caught it in the zone, everyone will groan or worse.  And a pitch at the knees may end up in the dirt if your catcher is back a little too far, so again, you should strike it but if you do everyone loses their damn mind about how 'that pitch was in the dirt, hows that a strike!'... Finally,  if you call anything resembling a rulebook zone, 2/3 of plate appearances are walks, but if you expand it you are "cheating the kids," which is reasonable because they aren't going to be able to reach an outside pitch with their little 27 inch bats. 

These kids deserve good, competent umpires (as long as everyone behaves), so I am not saying don't work kids this little - just know that you cannot please everyone (or anyone) with your zone at that age. 

 

Thank you. I have not done a 10u game in probably 3 years but I do remember... I have 12u this weekend and I may find similar.

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I saw this post, so I wanted to say something.

I'm a coach at the organization (Affton) where the original poster works. (10u house... if he had said 10u select, I think I would have known exactly what coach!). And I have an older son who has been playing there for seven years. (He wants to begin umpiring there next fall)

80-90% of the coaches are fine - a few will get a little heated now and then, but nothing serious. Then there's the BAD 10-20% and you umpires absolutely need to crack down on them! Be quicker with the ejection and we will ALL have a better game!

One thing I'm baffled by in this organization is seeing problem coaches returning year after year. I guess the administration doesn't want to get tough with them.

This organization hires a lot of young kids (down to age 14) for umpires and they are dealing with an umpire shortage this year. I wonder why...?

Anyway, we coaches (the sane 80%) appreciate what you are doing -- stick around. Just get tougher with the bad apples and don't let them drag it out!

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After the first pitch of a 9 yr old game, and having dealt with this jack-wagon in the past and knowing it's going to continue, I would have given the warning immediately. And tell every other umpire not to look for it but, when it happens shut it down.

 

 

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Don't know if the OP is still around or not, but my 10u house team had a game this week that was on the field next to a 9u select team.

I don't know if this was the same 9u select team that the original poster was discussing, but the coaches and fans of one of the teams in this 9u select game (Sting - Brannam) were totally out of control. Very loud and apparently were using much obscenities. I was focused on our game, so I didn't know what was going on, although I could hear there was a BIG ruckus.

Our opposing coach (10u house) and several of his team's parents were upset enough about having to listen to this display that they emailed the board members about it.

I am hopeful that this team will be banned from the facility that this incident will lead our league to encourage officials to shut things down much more quickly.

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14 hours ago, bbrages said:

 9u select team.

Really? Select.... as in mom and dad selected to pay the $2,000 for Fill in the hip name of the month when the child was born the coach's yacht fund?

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