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Guest Eastsider

Site Supervisor

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Guest Eastsider

Hi guys. Long time coach, but first year site supervisor for a CYO baseball field which host teams from a number of different schools at a number of different age groups (NFHS rules apply with a few exceptions). I try very hard to provide the best possible playing field and overall atmosphere possible. Our season just ended and the person I took over for at the request of the school athletic boosters have a bit of a debate. I always meet with the umpires and coaches before they have their meeting and supply a little info to them such as: 

• The back stop is secure (many in our league are not)
• The fence line extended is the out of play line and is marked in yellow, foul lines are marked in white. Coaches please help keep your fans (often sitting in lawn chairs) behind the yellow lines
• A professional first aid bag is at the scorers table if needed
• A complete rule book for the league is at the scorers table (usually only let the umps know this)
• We have a scoreboard which I run, I will do my best to keep it accurate at all times, Umpires of course are the official word
• Our games are two hours, the board has a count down clock, there should be no question as to how much time is left, it starts on the officials "Play Ball" and doesn't stop other than for significant delay (rule look up, lengthy field repair, rain, medical emergency)
• Bases are secure but will disengage on hard slides (many in our league are not staked or otherwise secured)
• Umpires, there is a bottled water provided for each of you
• No field repair will be done unless requested by the umpires (none was ever needed this year!)
• Each team is to supply a game ball, I have a couple extra in case someone forgot or we lose them
• Coaches, please make use of the fenced "on deck" area instead of having your next batter on the field
 

I know much of the above should go without saying, but we do have a number of first time coaches who don't always get it. Former site guy says I am way overstepping the boundaries and should never be heard and that I really don't even have to show up for the majority of games. I had no complaints from umps (many compliments) but a few that gave me a quizzical look. Did I go too far in the new role?

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I'd rather not have you do that. Most of that stuff is generic. Like to keep the plate meetings short and sweet. Umpires can figure all that stuff out. 

Nice thought though. 

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Agreed that that is too much for a plate meeting. Your yellow lines for dead-ball territory is relevant, but that should be covered by the umpires rather than by site personnel. Everything else, if you wanted to be nice, could go on a laminated paper and zip-tied to the fence in the dugouts.

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Great information, but could be sent out at the beginning of the season, or tournament to all involved.

 

Or -- send it out a week or so in advance to those participating, if this is some sort of league -- "To umpire A, Umpire B, Coach V -- Just confirming that we have a game scheduled on  xx/xx/xx beginning at hh:mm.  I wanted you to be aware of some information at our field:  (include list, maybe add any special parking information.)  We look forward to having you here.  Please let me know a good number at which to reach you in case weather forces us to change our plans."

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EDIT: (After reading all my fellow umpires' answers, and now interpreting the context) – Ohhhhh... "meet with the umpires and coaches before their meeting" is what you refer to as the plate meeting? Ohhhhh... Yeah. No. We (umpires) don't need you to be there or seen/heard from in any pre-game official capacity. If you were to keep the UIC (see below) informed, or informally notify the umpires as they arrive on site prior to the game, that's more than sufficient. But once the umpires take the field, please see Suggestion 2 (below).

See, I read through the OP as this was a general meeting / gathering before the season or tournament even started, detailing your site to an assembled group. I didn't read it as you are doing this on a game-by-game basis, which if you are (were), is waaaaaaay more than you need to. With that said, the following post applies to this topic as if you're taking this on a per-season or per-tournament basis. Sorry for the confusion.

---------------------------------- Original Post Follows ----------------------------------

You are not unlike any thorough or reliable Site Director (SD), Tournament Director (TD), or League Director (LD) many of us have worked for over the years. Because no one team is the "home" team, you recognized that you as SD are responsible for the definition and upkeep of the ground rules

Please clarify your acronym of CYO. This jumps out to me as "Call Your (or Yer, depending on where you are) Own"... which may be why you have some folks looking at you funny. More than a few people don't embrace change, and espouse the phrase "We've done it this way this long, why change it?". They also foist the motto "If it ain't broke don't fix it" upon you, which itself is a cheap excuse for refusing to consider progress, improvement or change. Obviously, there has been some change – the "former site guy" is not the current site guy; thus, you should be at liberty to at least consider other changes to serve, suit or are subject to your role as SD.

Now, as far as umpires are concerned, there are four things you can do as SD to make a lasting (positive) impression:

  1. State up-front how payment is done, and then pay umpires that way every time on time. 
  2. State up-front the ground rules of the (your) field(s), the ruleset used, the rules modifications that are being applied... and then stay out of the umpires' way. Make it clear that Rules Interpretation issues are to be cited and audited with "the book" in hand (you as SD are not the point of reference, no matter how well you know that book), and that judgement calls are not subject to protest or appeal (to you outside the fence). This segues into... 
  3. Support the umpires in their decisions, judgements and rulings, including Ejections. If you as SD are present, and one of the coaches gets tossed, it doesn't matter if he's a new coach or a buddy of yours you fish with in the offseason, you must enforce, unambiguously, your Ejection and Removal procedures (some sites I've worked at have different "out of sight, out of (umpire's) mind" methods, but whatever they are, they cannot be ignored or softened). Build into your system that Ejections are reviewed by a panel or group for any longer-term penalties, but for that game or day, you must support your umpires on Rulings and Actions such as these. 
  4. If you have any regular, responsible umpires, consider a process of making / designating one of them Umpire In Chief (of your site). He becomes the hinge-point between you (and your site staff) and the umpires, especially in regards to rules adjustments (there will be some), ground rules issues, umpire standards of decorum and behavior, etc. (example: One particular umpire repeatedly has terse interactions with coaches on and off the field; engage the UIC to formulate and mitigate a solution instead of involving yourself solely and directly with the umpire in question).

I would not see any of this as "overstepping your bounds"; instead, I see this as "getting with the times". I'm rather emphatic about these points because in my travels I've seen some well-run outfits (Perfect Game, for example) and some unabashed trainwrecks that I would never work at or for again.

This parting story will address why your role as a defined SD is so important. A site back in Wisconsin is host to several leagues, organizations (the local high schools, plural) and tournaments. The SD, Alan*, manages all 8 fields of the complex, is on-site from sun up to lights off, and coordinated his (the complex's) own league and tournament structure. Other area leagues lease time on his fields because of how well they are maintained and the convenience of multiple fields and amenities. One such League is run by Tom*, who is a still-active coach. His League is very attractive to umpires, because it is cash-at-plate and he grants us a lot of latitude in game management and taking assignments (some embrace it, some abuse it). One of my good friends and colleagues, Evan*, was working the first game of a doubleheader at this site complex. So, it's Alan's site, but Tom's league. Evan has reason to Eject a coach named Bruno*. Bruno does not like nor care for this Ejection, and while he does leave the confines of the field, he promptly calls Tom as soon as the fence gate closes. Thinking that Bruno will abide by the Universal Rules of Ejection Ettiquette, and no longer able to see him amongst the immediate attending fans, Evan gets the game underway. A half-inning later, he has to pause the game because who does he see off to his right, hovering near the fence gate? Bruno. Evan reminds Bruno he has to be in the parking lot. Bruno fires back, "I called Tom. I told him everything. He said I can stay and run the second game." "No way, not happening," replied Evan. It got tense. Alan, who always seems to be in the right place at his complex, stepped in and addressed the coach, "We need you to leave and remain in the parking lot." "But that's my team in my game!", snapped back Bruno. Other words were exchanged, but to paraphrase the summary, Alan said, "But this guy (Evan) said you're done, so you're done for the day. That's my park's rules, and if Tom has an issue with it, he can call me."

* - names have been changed

Edited by MadMax
Did not interpret the context correctly, and gave an answer more applicable to the SD role in general, not game-specific
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I don't have any problem with this at all...quite the contrary, I commend you for your thoroughness. I would agree, though, that the plate meeting is not the time or place for this. Let the umpires and coaches have that time for themselves - they have their own business to attend.

However, if you printed the above on a card and met with each time upon arrival (I assume both get there at least a half hour early or something), then it's entirely appropriate to brief them at that time. Give them their facility briefing upon arrival to the facility, and then the pre-game meeting can go off as intended.

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