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Shut a game down

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There was a comment about needing some liveliness to this part of the forum.  I think I might have something that'll get people talking.  How does essentially ejecting nearly every player from the game sound?

[I'm sure there will be disagreement with the way this played out.  All I will do is tell the facts as I know/saw them, and let it go from there.  I'm the base umpire for this game.]

Two good teams, both about .700 winning pct.  Private schools.  1-1 game, top-7, R1, R2.  Ball gets hit up the middle, coach is sending his runner.  Turns out to be a bad idea, because F8 gets it in there quickly, and the runner is meat.  He tries to get around, but is tagged out.  The players both go to the ground - my partner said it looked like the runner may have kinda pulled F2 down (I may have misunderstood what he was saying).  Regardless, F2 decides he needs to "front" the runner when he gets up and does that "towering over" the kid thing.  Between that, and the subsequent push F2 gives, he's ejected.  That's the easy part.

Because testosterone is better than a drug, EVERYone decides to come to the dirt circle area.  Luckily, with my partner trying to create a space, the coaches working to separate, and me moving around the dirt circle throwing Dad Voice at players to make them hold their ground, no one got together and started throwing hands or anything.  I think we really caught a break;  either that, or they all were thinking "oh SH*#, now what do I do now that I'm out here??!?"  Either way, I'll take it.

At this point, my partner puts the baseballs on the plate and says "that's the game."  At that point, we've ejected pretty much every player - for leaving their position or the dugout to participate in a confrontation.  About the only ones that wouldn't be part of that, to me, were the runner (he was at the circle, so he was "where he was supposed to be" and didn't push back), F1 (since he was there to back up the throw), and guys that were in the home team's bullpen who wouldn't have had time to get through and out of the dugout.  We certainly didn't have enough to continue, so that was that.

That's how it played out.  My partner called the game, gave the ruling based on that particular HS rule, and I backed his play.  The initial contact that started it all wasn't malicious, and looked more awkward on both parts than anything else.  It was the aftermath that got things rolling.  The rulebook backed us, and I DO feel like that was the right thing to do:  the teams had played earlier in the week, with some implication of some heat then;  there was a slide at 2nd early in the game that was dubious (uncalled for FPSR, as the back-end of the DP was made), and my partner said there was some chirping at the plate at times.  So, I'm not sure that getting everyone back to the dugouts, and trying to get a result in the bottom of the 7th or extras, with everyone's hackles up, would have the smart choice.

So, I'm well aware, based on that last sentence, there was at least one other way to do this.  We could have continued the game minus the ejected F2.  But as I said, not sure that was a good option.  And, my partner had had a MC a week or so ago, and there was some of that "leaving position" stuff that DIDN'T get penalized or anything;  not sure if our higher-ups chastised him or otherwise commented on it, but that was likely on his mind when THIS happened.

So I know there may be some feelings, perhaps strong ones, that we OOO'd that.  So be it.

Surprisingly, there was little to no pushback by the coaches.  One didn't seem sure of that rule, but his biggest statement was just "it's a shame we don't get to see how this would have played out."  (For the record, he's not wrong on that.)  Even the fans, given what I've experienced so far in SA, didn't seem to have much to say when they realized it was over.

Not sure of the aftermath:  in the series of phone calls that took place between us and the two main assigners/board members/whatever, there was a "you don't need a report."  (I'm not completely convinced we have their full support.  I had a sentence said to me like "that's how the book has it, but you might have made a more common sense" and then we cross-talked, and it was mentioned to me how the schools pay a fine per EJ.  This was between a Catholic school and the home school looked like a small college campus - I'm pretty sure both places could absorb that hit, if it came down to that.  So this might come back to haunt us.)

I'll leave it at that, and you may fire away.

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I don't question your actions at all.

And not making a report? No way I'd agree to that. I'm not advocating a report for every player, but definitely one on F2, and then an overall report detailing the actions after what he did. Be clear that players left the dugout and their positions, no other MC or fighting was observed, and all were ejected for violating 3-3-1p. Thus, there were not enough players to continue the game (4-4-1f) on both sides, so the game was called.

Leave it up to the state association to decide what to do now.

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If they don't back you up on this, screw them. It's literally in black and white in the NFHS book that if you leave the bench area/dugout to participate in a fight/confrontation, you are subject to ejection. 

"-p. leave their positions or bench area for the purpose of fighting or physical confrontation.

  1. PENALTY: The umpire shall eject the offender from the game..."

This is why state associations are a meme... :shakehead:

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To quote Tom Hiler... "do what is defendable, do what is right."

You guys did exactly what is in the book. Both defendable and right.

Not filing at report is neither.

Submit the report and let them deal with it.

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I’m good with it. If you don’t eject, how do you prevent this in any other game? “They won’t eject all of us, let’s just go out there.”

Common sense would have been both teams staying in their dugouts. They caused it. 

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I’m not disagreeing with the call, the only thing I don’t like is your partner putting the balls on the plate and saying “that’s the game,” without talking to you or getting everyone back in the dugout.  Such a momentous decision shouldn’t have been made without a crew consultation.  IMHO, you guys should have gotten everyone back in the dugouts, then spoken to one another and confirmed that the game needed to be terminated, and then called both head coaches to home plate and tell them your decision.  

Announcing that decision before everyone is back in the dugout could be like throwing a match on a keg of gasoline...only instead of going after each other, both teams could go apeSH*# at the umpires.  Remember, the testosterone is off the charts.  Get everyone out of there first, talk to each other, then handle business.

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On 3/31/2019 at 9:51 AM, lawump said:

I’m not disagreeing with the call, the only thing I don’t like is your partner putting the balls on the plate and saying “that’s the game,” without talking to you or getting everyone back in the dugout.  Such a momentous decision shouldn’t have been made without a crew consultation.  IMHO, you guys should have gotten everyone back in the dugouts, then spoken to one another and confirmed that the game needed to be terminated, and then called both head coaches to home plate and tell them your decision.  

Announcing that decision before everyone is back in the dugout could be like throwing a match on a keg of gasoline...only instead of going after each other, both teams could go apeSH*# at the umpires.  Remember, the testosterone is off the charts.  Get everyone out of there first, talk to each other, then handle business.

I'll wear that.  There's no doubt we were lucky that it hadn't gotten so bad - once the initial "bull rush" was headed off, things got calm pretty fast, and as we talked, players drifted back away (helped by ACs).  The decision-making part of the proces wasn't QUITE as instantaneous as I first described it, but we also didn't consult all that long, either - mostly because I fully agreed with the decision, and what it was based on.

I'd SAY "we'll handle it better next time," but I'm REALLY hoping there isn't a 'next time' to be had.

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On 3/29/2019 at 2:02 PM, yawetag said:

I don't question your actions at all.

And not making a report? No way I'd agree to that. I'm not advocating a report for every player, but definitely one on F2, and then an overall report detailing the actions after what he did. Be clear that players left the dugout and their positions, no other MC or fighting was observed, and all were ejected for violating 3-3-1p. Thus, there were not enough players to continue the game (4-4-1f) on both sides, so the game was called.

Leave it up to the state association to decide what to do now.

It turns out we not only did one report, we got to do *two*.  Each.  I'm not sure why the local leadership said on the night "you don't need a report," unless that was more along the lines of ".... at this moment" sort of sentiment.  Because the next day, we were sent a link to the TAPPS form (that's the group that handles private school sports), and by Saturday, we had an email with a link for a TASO form (that's the state officials group - our "union," as I lovingly (sic) refer to it.

And we BOTH had to do one.  So we went from no reports to a total of FOUR. 

Good times.

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You definitely made me eat my words on this section being slow!

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On 4/2/2019 at 3:43 PM, Mudisfun said:

You definitely made me eat my words on this section being slow!

MLB has already reached the ejection number they waited until mid May to hit. And it's only mid April. Why should we be any different. Lol

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It's hard to understand the person who told you that there was some other common-sense solution available. If you had decided to warn both teams and play on, then you've just sent the message that clearing the benches is OK now. Why is it that the teams didn't follow "common sense" by just staying in their dugout.

Similarly: someone telling you not fill out a report is the sound of possibly the same someone trying to avoid an uncomfortable enforcement of a well understood rule.

Also, this situation is very unusual, sure maybe you should have put both teams in their dugouts before terminating the game but in my view that's a fine point, you got things 99% right and it took moral courage to end it right there and not puss out on the rules.

Good for you and that will teach them not to do that again.

It is interesting how a game can be calm one minute and then a collision or something similar can light everything up.

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On 4/19/2019 at 11:06 PM, Vumpire said:

It's hard to understand the person who told you that there was some other common-sense solution available. If you had decided to warn both teams and play on, then you've just sent the message that clearing the benches is OK now. Why is it that the teams didn't follow "common sense" by just staying in their dugout.

We are talking about kids here. We KNOW that the last thing they have at times is "common sense."

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I see no problem with the decision you and your partner made.  I think continuing to play may just have been setting things up for a complete blow up.

The only observation I have is that you mentioned that there was "chirping at the plate."  Was that player to player?  Given their recent history and that things seemed to be getting testy, some preventative officiating may have been in order.  Between innings, call the head coaches to an area behind the plate and have a quiet, private conversation telling them what was observed and that they better calibrate their players before things cross a line.

Just my $0.02.  

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3 hours ago, conbo61 said:

The only observation I have is that you mentioned that there was "chirping at the plate."  Was that player to player?  Given their recent history and that things seemed to be getting testy, some preventative officiating may have been in order.  Between innings, call the head coaches to an area behind the plate and have a quiet, private conversation telling them what was observed and that they better calibrate their players before things cross a line. 

At the risk of "avoidance," I can't really address exactly what it was.  This was something my partner mentioned to me, and since it's been a month since it happened, I don't remember when he told me.  I FEEL like it was part of the post-game discussion of all the [bleepy] events at the end, and he said something about it.  He's fairly experienced, so I don't know that it got to a level he felt like needing addressing.  I heard nothing, and didn't even see anything at the plate that would have hinted to it.

Having said that, here in Texas there seems to be more .... commentary, for a lack of a better term, by teams.  I suppose not TECHNICALLY addressing them directly, but c'mon.  I'm not stepping in, for a couple reasons:  one, it's not like it's one-sided, as every team seems to be talkative;  two, at least it's not the damn singing and chanting they do in softball;  and three, not a single partner (almost always someone from the area, or at least a long-term official in the area) has either mentioned it in conversation with me (pre- or post-game), nor addressed a team about what they say - meaning, it looks to be part of the "local culture," or whatever.  But I can't help but think there'd be a not-insignificant percentage of observers that would consider it "bench-jockeying" by Fed standards.

It's strange, adjusting to a new area.

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