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How could I have handled this better?

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Low-level summer ball, 14U. As is customary in this area and this league, umpires do not keep a lineup or get involved in scoring in any way. Close game, with home team batting in bottom of 7th. I'd heard offhand that visitors were up 1 before the inning, but again, I didn't really pay much attention to it.

Visitors get a base runner on 2B and 3B with two outs. There was a wild pitch, with R3 scoring easily. The entire home bench pours out of their dugout in celebration, saying it was a walk-off. By now, R2 is between 3B and home and it's just chaos. Coaches are already arguing with each other near home, the offensive team is on the field, dogs and cats are living together, so I kill it - we're not getting some weird cheap out with that circus going on. It took a bit but finally got both teams and their coaches in their dugouts, calling for both books.

Naturally, the home 'book' isn't a book at all, it's that Gamechanger app on a phone. The visiting book is using Gamechanger and a paper book. I ask both sides what they had at the top of the 5th, the earliest I thought we could reasonably Zapruder and reconstruct. After a lot of scrolling and staring at phones, we found that the discrepancy was in the 2nd inning - home book had 4 runs, visitors had 3 runs. Apparently, the two score keepers never talked to each other between innings and coordinated anything. I didn't think there was a chance in hell of reconstructing anything 5 innings later, so I decided to go with home book and declared the game over.

This caused a kerfuffle with the visiting scorekeeper, who expressed a certain opinion on the field. I said "That's enough" and very quickly exited. While changing, the scorekeeper approached us quickly and somewhat aggressively, demanding a conversation. I was in no mood for such a conversation at that point and told him to back off, which he pretty much did (or at least halted) and continued to demand an explanation. After a few heated words, it calmed down and I tried to tell him there's no way we could piece it together 5 innings later and that scorekeepers needed to coordinate, but he didn't want to talk to me at this point. My partner pretty much echoed the point, so I let him handle it and the scorekeeper departed.

In hindsight, I should have called both coaches together and explained the decision before making a public declaration like that. But was there anything else that could have been done? Should I have tried to go hitter by hitter in the 2nd inning from the books? There was no hint or suggestion of shenanigans, just that home book had 4 and visitors had 3.

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No scoreboard!  In general, the home book is Official.  The visiting scorekeeper needs to check inning by inning to verify the score. He/she didn't, Game over!

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33 minutes ago, scrounge said:

Low-level summer ball, 14U. As is customary in this area and this league, umpires do not keep a lineup or get involved in scoring in any way. Close game, with home team batting in bottom of 7th. I'd heard offhand that visitors were up 1 before the inning, but again, I didn't really pay much attention to it.

Visitors get a base runner on 2B and 3B with two outs. There was a wild pitch, with R3 scoring easily. The entire home bench pours out of their dugout in celebration, saying it was a walk-off. By now, R2 is between 3B and home and it's just chaos. Coaches are already arguing with each other near home, the offensive team is on the field, dogs and cats are living together, so I kill it - we're not getting some weird cheap out with that circus going on. It took a bit but finally got both teams and their coaches in their dugouts, calling for both books.

Naturally, the home 'book' isn't a book at all, it's that Gamechanger app on a phone. The visiting book is using Gamechanger and a paper book. I ask both sides what they had at the top of the 5th, the earliest I thought we could reasonably Zapruder and reconstruct. After a lot of scrolling and staring at phones, we found that the discrepancy was in the 2nd inning - home book had 4 runs, visitors had 3 runs. Apparently, the two score keepers never talked to each other between innings and coordinated anything. I didn't think there was a chance in hell of reconstructing anything 5 innings later, so I decided to go with home book and declared the game over.

This caused a kerfuffle with the visiting scorekeeper, who expressed a certain opinion on the field. I said "That's enough" and very quickly exited. While changing, the scorekeeper approached us quickly and somewhat aggressively, demanding a conversation. I was in no mood for such a conversation at that point and told him to back off, which he pretty much did (or at least halted) and continued to demand an explanation. After a few heated words, it calmed down and I tried to tell him there's no way we could piece it together 5 innings later and that scorekeepers needed to coordinate, but he didn't want to talk to me at this point. My partner pretty much echoed the point, so I let him handle it and the scorekeeper departed.

In hindsight, I should have called both coaches together and explained the decision before making a public declaration like that. But was there anything else that could have been done? Should I have tried to go hitter by hitter in the 2nd inning from the books? There was no hint or suggestion of shenanigans, just that home book had 4 and visitors had 3.

I would have compared all the half-innings. Once you found the discrepancy, it shouldn't have been difficult to determine what was accurate and what wasn't.

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I've worked in a Little League with similar setups for the past several years. The home scorekeeper is official, and the electronic scoreboards are rarely used. I agree with you that you're not likely to reconstruct the second inning at the end of a game, and it sounds like you handled a crappy situation pretty well.

FWIW, I typically ask the scorekeepers to check with each other twice: once at the third inning, once after the next-to-last inning (eg, after the fifth for a six-inning game). I don't want to know the score; I just want to know that they agree. If there is a scoreboard, I might ask them if they agree with the board at the same inning markers. 

I also confirm any potential score/no-score decisions at the end of an inning with both books immediately.

Good luck avoiding this in the future!

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What if the discrepancy was brought to your attention at the beginning of the inning?  You would make the effort to help the score keepers determine the source, would you not?  To a reasonable degree, right?  And then come to a decision - either the HT's book stands, or things are corrected.   Don't treat it differently just because it's the end of the game (potentially).

Once you found the inning where the discrepancy lies it should have been pretty easy (most of the time) to determine which book was right.  Because at that point, whether on paper or in Gamechanger, you can actually narrow it down to exactly which runner is the difference.   

If you've taken the time to find out which inning had the discrepancy it probably wouldn't take too much longer - a minute or two - to figure out why there's a discrepancy.   Anything more than a minute or two then you probably just have to go with the HT book.

In all likelihood, HT scored a run after the third out that shouldn't have counted.  (or, less common, VT cancelled one that should have counted)   Since it's GameChanger, a lot of scenarios would not even be possible to enter, so it shrinks the possibilities and should make it easier to figure out.

In the case of a WP - probably easy to fix - if HT's book is right, game over.  If VT's book is right, return R3 and continue on.

If you can't figure out which is right then HT score stands, but I think it's worthwhile to spend a minute to try to figure it out..if it can't be interpreted then VT screwed up - their scorekeeper should be verifying score with home score keeper on a semi-regular basis.

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Agree with this. If you know what inning it is, it doesn't really matter if it was the 6th or the 1st - you're just finding the inning, and walking it through batter by batter. Most likely, someone is going to go "whoops, I counted the runs wrong here (didn't color in the diamond or whatever)" or "oh that's right he didn't score" or something. If they can't figure it out and piece it together correctly after a couple minutes, then fine, HT book is correct. But simply saying "there's no way we're going to piece together 5 innings ago" doesn't make sense. If you were going off of memory, sure, I'd agree with you. But you're not. There's a book that recorded what happened.

Though the books messed up the score, I don't think this was handled too well. Give it a try next time, at the very least. If it's going nowhere, then not much you can do.

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I'm not sure people are giving credit for @scrounge putting it together - he DID say something like "after much scrolling and staring at phones," after all.  And they DID find the discrepancy.  It sounds like there was no agreement as to WHY one side had 3 versus 4 runs.  But he went with the home book, as most would.

Where *I* would pick at this scenario is the "scorekeeper approaching us in the locker room"** business.  I realize this is going to loop back towards the "Swearing" thread from last week or so, but the ONLY allowable sentence here is "Get the F*#K out of here right about now, or we're dialing 911."  Or some variation thereof.

While it's good and lovely that he calmed down, he should never have been there in the first place, and should be Shut Down immediately.  And I know a 911-call is a threat, but I'm okay with that, because hopefully that cuts through the loss-rage for him to go "Whoops, this is serious."  AND, hopefully this person isn't inclined to invite legal trouble over a 14U ballgame.  I'm glad you got him to go away without too much fuss, but for me at least, even making the approach is Over The Line, and they neither deserve nor get an explanation.

(And yes, I've used this technique on an AC that wanted to come bitch at a partner about balls and strikes and whatnot after a game.)

 

** "locker room" being defined as "standing behind our cars before God and country."

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Preventative officiating ... if there is no scoreboard, I typically will keep an “official’s unofficial” scorecard and record each half inning.  I don’t share that with anyone as I don’t want them asking me the score, but it helps me keep track mainly for run rule reasons.  I will, every few innings, check with the two books, alternating which one I ask and then letting them know they match.

I agree with HokieUmp, I think Scrounge found the error but wasn’t going to try to rehash the inning for the teams to duke it out.

 

Zapruder it ... love it.

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Indeed, I could have been more clear, thanks. There wasn't an obvious error like counting the same runner twice or counting an inning-ending ground out when the batter didn't make it to 1st. I do agree with the criticism that I should have gone thru closer and gone batter by batter - I do regret that. But at that point, it was one scorer arguing with the other scorer and the asst scorer mom getting shrill and...well, I'd had it. I admit it, I had a bit of a "f@## it" moment and figuratively washed my hands of it at that point. 

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4 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

I'm not sure people are giving credit for @scrounge putting it together - he DID say something like "after much scrolling and staring at phones," after all.  And they DID find the discrepancy.  It sounds like there was no agreement as to WHY one side had 3 versus 4 runs.  But he went with the home book, as most would.

Where *I* would pick at this scenario is the "scorekeeper approaching us in the locker room"** business.  I realize this is going to loop back towards the "Swearing" thread from last week or so, but the ONLY allowable sentence here is "Get the F*#K out of here right about now, or we're dialing 911."  Or some variation thereof.

While it's good and lovely that he calmed down, he should never have been there in the first place, and should be Shut Down immediately.  And I know a 911-call is a threat, but I'm okay with that, because hopefully that cuts through the loss-rage for him to go "Whoops, this is serious."  AND, hopefully this person isn't inclined to invite legal trouble over a 14U ballgame.  I'm glad you got him to go away without too much fuss, but for me at least, even making the approach is Over The Line, and they neither deserve nor get an explanation.

(And yes, I've used this technique on an AC that wanted to come bitch at a partner about balls and strikes and whatnot after a game.)

 

** "locker room" being defined as "standing behind our cars before God and country."

I’ve used the 911 threat a couple times in the parking lot. Wasn’t joking, actually put the phone in my hand and showed it to them. Told them to leave me alone or I’m calling the police and I’ll let them deal with it. I’m not about to be assaulted in a parking lot and I’m not up for an argument. 

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I started carrying my gun with me after a fellow UMP was attacked with a bat in the parking lot years ago after a game. I know some will view this as extreme but so is taking a bat to the head. 

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4 hours ago, Dotteump said:

I started carrying my gun with me after a fellow UMP was attacked with a bat in the parking lot years ago after a game. I know some will view this as extreme but so is taking a bat to the head. 

I think that’s reasonable, certainly. Especially after how close it hit home for you. You just never know. 

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I carry a "coach be cool" stick in my truck........... Some call it a collapsible baton

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I just carry the last coach who approached us in the parking lot ... that’s right, in my trunk, bound and gagged with duct tape.  When that parent or coach starts to approach, I just open the trunk and stare at them.  :wacko:

 

 

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