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22 hours ago, MadMax said:

With so many tournament games formatted to time limits, I’d rather a BU wear a timepiece / watch than carry a phone. The phone is too much of a temptation to check / use between innings or during lulls. I’m particularly fond of a stopwatch, but there’s an advantage to using a timepiece that has a countdown timer. Whatever form it is – handheld, wrist, heck, I’ll even take an egg timer – it is crucial to keep accurate time. Do not approximate, do not round up or round down, and do not shave time.

Well, unless it's a 7 run game (mercy rule was 8), you're a minute or two before the time limit, and you (and/or your buddies) have 5-6 games going on that field throughout the day on tight time schedules (say a 1:45 limit with games every 2, or 2:00 limit with games every 2:15), and perhaps you're already behind. In that case I may (and have) say we're out of time. Save everyone another 15-20 minutes (or worse, you could have the team up 7 score 7 more in the top half), pushing the following game late, etc., for a game that's already over, or at least is over 99% of the time). It's just a summer baseball tournament, of which these teams have 100 games. Take the time when you can get the time.

If it's a close game? I'll never do something like that. I'll say "well we have 40 seconds left, so go ahead and start the next inning."

This is why I never announce a start time, I just say I have a timer going and go from there. Flame me if you will, but to me this is just smart, and paying it forward to other crews, other teams, field maintenance, and even parents who really don't want to watch another inning in a 7 run game.

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4 hours ago, Biscuit said:

I actually disagree. I do not being my phone to the field, and would not unless there were no onsite administrators, and I needed to have it invade of emergency. 

The issue is not that I think you're checking a text, or Snapchat, or whatever, but it can look that way. I've also worked with partners that were checking texts etc (I've also known of a youth umpire taking a hit on a vape in the field, but that's a totally different level). It just looks really bad. It's also less discrete than checking a watch. 

I've never worn a watch.  I carry a phone that shows me the time on the splash screen.  I take it out, check the time, and put it back.  Just like if it was a fitbit or a watch.  It's my timepiece.  

I agree with you about umps that are checking their messages or texts between innings.  But I'm not using my phone that way. 

Maybe I should get a holder with a fob ring on it so I can attach my phone to a watch fob and take it out that way.

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22 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

Maybe I should get a holder with a fob ring on it so I can attach my phone to a watch fob and take it out that way.

For the same cost (or less) you can get a watch or timer that looks a lot more professional.

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3 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

This is why I never announce a start time, I just say I have a timer going and go from there. Flame me if you will, but to me this is just smart...

I’m not going to flame you... this is smart. I actually take it a step further. At the close of the plate meeting, I click the button on my/our (crew) stopwatch right in front of the coaches.

Invariably, an assistant coach or designated scorekeeper or “book baron” will inquire with, “What was our start time?”. I’ll answer, after quick checking the stopwatch, with, “45 seconds ago”. Oh sure, I might give them a clock-standard time, but I emphasize that we are on a timer/stopwatch, and that we (the umpires) have the official time.

I do not shave time. I have worked with guys who do, and it’s gotten them into trouble eventually. Despite not fooling with the timepiece, I’m not immune to outbursts of idiotic, unwarranted grief. On one particular, memorable USSSA 13U game, I clicked the stopwatch in front of both coaches. 2 hours later, time expired as the HT batter hit into what became the 3rd Out. I fished out my stopwatch, and saw 2:00:25, and called the game as complete. This one dad for the HT went certifiably _apesh!t_, claiming I was “robbing the kids of playing baseball, but you’re (I’m) still getting paid!!! You’re robbing them!!! And getting paid!!!”. He was visibly shaking and pacing back and forth like an agitated animal. I held the stopwatch up towards the HC, speaking through him towards the griping parent, “Look at it! The time reads 2:00:45. I can’t fast forward a stopwatch!!

Evidently, we started at ~ 7:58am. The parents were under the assumption we started at 8:00am, “‘cuz that’s what the schedule said.”

2 hours ago, agdz59 said:

Maybe I should get a holder with a fob ring on it so I can attach my phone to a watch fob and take it out that way.

Now now, no need to be cheeky. :P Some of my fellow Vultures use their phones, while others have Apple Watches, FitBits, or those Samsung “Watches”. As I said, I don’t have a problem with a colleague using a phone – often for scheduling and coordination issues – in a discrete manner, because I know (at least trust) that he will not be caught unawares when I’m about to put the ball back in play. Or, he’s going to go to the fence and turn his back to check between innings instead of standing there at A after the 3rd out and promptly fish out his phone.

@yawetag is right... I and several of my colleagues favor stopwatches, and use this model:

0480.jpg

Or, if you want an inexpensive countdown timer & stopwatch, this is $10.99 at Amazon:

Amble Stopwatch, Countdown Timer and Stopwatch Record 20 Memories Lap Split Time with Tally Counter and Calendar Clock with Alarm for Sports Coaches and Referees https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L8PSTC9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ifadDbTGZQK2B

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There I was.......

Fall Ball, LL Majors.  We had the plate conference 5 min prior to the scheduled game time.  After the plate conference, the two managers went off and had some kind of seance or something!  Might have been talking about the Sunday Club Ball, or some other thing.  (Stock market?  A great restaurant?  Heck, I don't know!)

Absolutely nothing was going on!  Defense didn't take the field; first batter did not come out.

I waited and waited and waited.  I tossed a ball out to the mound.  I waited some more.  Then I counted off 8 "constructive" warmup pitches.  The next thing I said was, "Lets have a batter!"

I was going to to award the game by forfeit to the team that answered that call first!  Well, a batter emerged, and the defense took the field, and so we started.

No way was I going to entertain any BS from the defensive team about not giving them time to warm up. We started when I said "Play!"

And throughout the game, I kept them hustling on and off the field.  

Punish stupidity whenever possible!

Mike

Las Vegas

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My fitbit versa has a countdown timer app. Not included, but I can set it to vibrate, so I know when the game ends without having to keep looking at it. That said, I try to keep the games moving.

Had a LL asst. coach, complain that I wasn't giving their catcher enough time to get ready, so he, the coach,  had to warm up the pitcher. I told him, he's got 4 other kids in the dugout that can do that. He told me, they didn't know how to catch. I said, Great, here's a chance for them to learn. I then let his manager know that although I won't be restricting that coach, I don't want to see him out of the dugout. We finished the game in 1:39. The asst. coach stayed in the dugout. 

I did coach a MS game, where the other team's pitchers were throwing picks on all our runners. We had one runner taking a 2 foot lead off 1B, and they tried picking him 12 times in one AB. This happened about 20 times in the game. I know it's not illegal, but talk about making a travesty of the game. Nearly a 4 hour game. 

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One of my favorite topics and it has been very interesting to see the variety of opinions.  As we are in the era of timed games (for those of us who work youth games) and pedometers/health trackers, I’ve been wondering if the culture on watches will start to change.

Many of you have touched on the reason you shouldn’t use your cell phone — even if you are adverse to temptation, the perception can be that you are on your phone.  If you MUST use your phone for a timer, go buy a belt clip and attach it to the fence so you can see the timer.  Clip it to the fence and do NOT take it off until the game is over.

Believe it or not, the issue with wearing a watch is similar.  If you are out there looking at your watch every couple of innings ... periodically becomes “constantly” to the agitated fans and then YOU are screwing their kids because you are just wanting to get out of there.  Obviously you had better things to be doing and it is a shame because it is all about the kids!

A stop watch seems viable, but it is a little bulky IMO.  More importantly, nobody can see it in your pocket and you could bump the buttons.

Scoreboards with timers are great!  Assuming the scorekeeper doesn’t drop his snow cone on the control box and fry it or kick the cord out.  (Yeah, that one is a stretch, but I’m on a roll ...)

The complexes I do most of my games at provide kitchen timers that are already clipped on to the fence for us.  Coaches can check it as they walk by, I can (generally) see it without having to walk over and be obvious that I am checking it.  You run the risk of an errant foul ball smashing it, but I’ve only seen that happen once.  (It was pretty spectacular.)

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One thing I still am unclear on is why watches are frowned upon, but stopwatches are encouraged, and deemed more professional. In a timed game, you have to have some time keeping device, and a watch seems like the most discrete (barring a score board timer) option. 

If the reason is "because that's what's been done", I can accept that, but if there is a reason, I'd love to know

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12 hours ago, Biscuit said:

One thing I still am unclear on is why watches are frowned upon, but stopwatches are encouraged, and deemed more professional. In a timed game, you have to have some time keeping device, and a watch seems like the most discrete (barring a score board timer) option. 

If the reason is "because that's what's been done", I can accept that, but if there is a reason, I'd love to know

Because a watch is on your wrist and a stop watch is in your pocket. If you want to put a watch in your pocket, I've got no problem with that.

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16 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Believe it or not, the issue with wearing a watch is similar.  If you are out there looking at your watch every couple of innings ... periodically becomes “constantly” to the agitated fans and then YOU are screwing their kids because you are just wanting to get out of there.  Obviously you had better things to be doing and it is a shame because it is all about the kids!

 

15 hours ago, Biscuit said:

One thing I still am unclear on is why watches are frowned upon, but stopwatches are encouraged, and deemed more professional. In a timed game, you have to have some time keeping device, and a watch seems like the most discrete (barring a score board timer) option. 

If the reason is "because that's what's been done", I can accept that, but if there is a reason, I'd love to know

 

See above ... it is the perception of an umpire glancing at his wrist for the time, not the timer.

 

I would also add that the type of watch being worn plays into the perception as well.  Something with a great big watch face and a wide gold or silver metallic band will seem more distracting and far less professional than a smaller, inconspicuous solid flat-black athletic style or Fit-bit style wrist adornment.

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3 hours ago, yawetag said:

Because a watch is on your wrist and a stop watch is in your pocket. If you want to put a watch in your pocket, I've got no problem with that.

 

At our [NFHS state association] clinic this year, it was stated that the base umpires at the state tournament the previous year were using watches (kept in their pockets) to time the 60 seconds between innings and the state association was considering adopting this as an acceptable practice.  I haven’t head any more about it though.

For those that use stopwatches, do you feel that the size and knowing it is a stopwatch gives any certain impressions?  For example, glancing at your wrist watch gives the impression of being hurried or not wanting to be there.  Does using a stop watch give the impression that you are being anal and rushing the players (when you are actually just trying to keep them on track)?  It may not, I’m just curious with your experiences if anybody has made any comments.

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5 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

 

At our [NFHS state association] clinic this year, it was stated that the base umpires at the state tournament the previous year were using watches (kept in their pockets) to time the 60 seconds between innings and the state association was considering adopting this as an acceptable practice.  I haven’t head any more about it though.

For those that use stopwatches, do you feel that the size and knowing it is a stopwatch gives any certain impressions?  For example, glancing at your wrist watch gives the impression of being hurried or not wanting to be there.  Does using a stop watch give the impression that you are being anal and rushing the players (when you are actually just trying to keep them on track)?  It may not, I’m just curious with your experiences if anybody has made any comments.

If there's a state (or NFHS) guideline for timing between-inning breaks, then I don't care what impression it gives - they want 60 seconds, they'll get 60 seconds. I'll stand there with the timer in my hand; not necessarily staring at it for the whole 60 seconds, but casual glances after about 30 seconds, then looking at it more closely when we're at 10 or less.

As for looking at it for game-timing reasons, there's no reason to even glance at it until there's roughly 20 minutes left. In most cases, I can time that closely enough. After that, it's checking between innings. As the base umpire, I can do this while heading to my between-inning position and have it back in my pocket within a few seconds.

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5 minutes ago, yawetag said:

If there's a state (or NFHS) guideline for timing between-inning breaks, then I don't care what impression it gives - they want 60 seconds, they'll get 60 seconds. I'll stand there with the timer in my hand; not necessarily staring at it for the whole 60 seconds, but casual glances after about 30 seconds, then looking at it more closely when we're at 10 or less.

As for looking at it for game-timing reasons, there's no reason to even glance at it until there's roughly 20 minutes left. In most cases, I can time that closely enough. After that, it's checking between innings. As the base umpire, I can do this while heading to my between-inning position and have it back in my pocket within a few seconds.

Me, and most of my partners here in Michigan (MHSAA) who are on the bases use stop-watches.  For me personally..... I don't start it when the 3rd out happens, I start it when the team starts coming out to the field.  I'll glance every so often, but at 45 seconds.......I start walking towards the A position.  This is pre-gamed, and lets my partner know that he's got 15 seconds left on the minute time frame.   It typically works very well, and "2" is being yelled by the catcher far sooner than my 45 second walk-warning

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If we don't allow Little Leaguers to wear jewelry, it's a little hypocritical for the umpire to have a watch on his wrist.

If you need to follow the time, put a sports watch in your pocket.

Mike

Las Vegas

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7 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

If we don't allow Little Leaguers to wear jewelry, it's a little hypocritical for the umpire to have a watch on his wrist.

If you need to follow the time, put a sports watch in your pocket.

Mike

Las Vegas

While a part of me understands that logic, ...the other part of me says 'no' ...as we serve and are involved in the game in a totally different way than the players.  AND... never been told at any clinic or association meeting that we can't wear anything.

 On your other comment, ... NO reason for an umpire to wear a watch on the field.... stop watch, of course :nod: 

ALL THAT SAID .....sorry, don't want to get this too far off topic!  BAD MODERATOR, BAD BAD!:BD::banghead:

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40 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

If we don't allow Little Leaguers to wear jewelry, it's a little hypocritical for the umpire to have a watch on his wrist.

If you need to follow the time, put a sports watch in your pocket.

Mike

Las Vegas

I agree with this wholeheartedly Vegas.  Be the leader, set the example.

I mostly work softball where it is more prevalent.  It drives me up a wall when an umpire makes players remove jewelry (as they should) but the umpire is wearing earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, etc.

Admittedly, my wedding ring is the only jewelry or adornments that I wear, and it usually doesn’t come off, even for a game.

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1 hour ago, yawetag said:

If there's a state (or NFHS) guideline for timing between-inning breaks, then I don't care what impression it gives - they want 60 seconds, they'll get 60 seconds. I'll stand there with the timer in my hand; not necessarily staring at it for the whole 60 seconds, but casual glances after about 30 seconds, then looking at it more closely when we're at 10 or less.

As for looking at it for game-timing reasons, there's no reason to even glance at it until there's roughly 20 minutes left. In most cases, I can time that closely enough. After that, it's checking between innings. As the base umpire, I can do this while heading to my between-inning position and have it back in my pocket within a few seconds.

I agree ... if they want us actually timing between innings, we obviously need something to do it with.  Where we have to be careful is in selecting that timepiece, how we use it, and the perceptions that go with.  What you describe sounds completely logical to me.

As for the game clock, I still like something on the fence that the coaches can see as they pass by.  Cuts out a lot of questions in my experience.  I do like the base umpire to carry something as a back up though.

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1 hour ago, Vegas_Ump said:

If we don't allow Little Leaguers to wear jewelry, it's a little hypocritical for the umpire to have a watch on his wrist.

If you need to follow the time, put a sports watch in your pocket.

Mike

Las Vegas

 

1 hour ago, The Man in Blue said:

I agree with this wholeheartedly Vegas.  Be the leader, set the example.

I mostly work softball where it is more prevalent.  It drives me up a wall when an umpire makes players remove jewelry (as they should) but the umpire is wearing earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, etc.

Admittedly, my wedding ring is the only jewelry or adornments that I wear, and it usually doesn’t come off, even for a game.

:ranton:

The players are children. The rules prohibiting jewelry in LL and NFHS are safety guidelines designed to protect the player. 

Jewelry is not illegal in OBR or NCAA. Those players are adults who allegedly can make reasoned decisions on their own well being.

Last I checked, I am an adult and I can wear or not wear jewelry (including a wedding band) as I see fit. I choose to not wear any bling. You may choose otherwise. That's what adults do.

 :rantoff:

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I get what you are saying Kevin, and maybe there is a distinction to make ...

Like I said, I work mostly softball in the summer.  USA Softball, USSSA, and organizations of that ilk write one rules set and try to be so grey that it applies to adults and children (terrible idea, IMO).  So those umpires fight that battle constantly.

I would much prefer they either said “Yes, you can wear jewelry” (ala NCAA) or “No, you absolutely cannot wear jewelry” (ala NFHS).

While you can make the adult/child distinction, I still think we should lead by example in the situations that say no (or situations where we say no).

I was a strict “no jewelry” guy.  My logic was similar — you can wear it when you turn 18 and play NCAA.  However, this summer I gave up on it.  If USA Softball doesn’t want to firmly say NO, then why should I care.

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10 hours ago, Vegas_Ump said:

If we don't allow Little Leaguers to wear jewelry, it's a little hypocritical for the umpire to have a watch on his wrist.

 

And the player base coaches have to wear helmets but the adults do not.

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I fervently believe that we need to keep context in mind on an issue like this.

Are we doing a MLB / MiLB / IndePro / NCAA / NAIA or sanctioned NFHS game (ie. HS Varsity), which by definition is not time dependent? Then we really don’t need a visible time piece. A stopwatch would work best in these contextual environments, because we still have to maintain and observe time between innings, or in the event of weather delays. However, there is an increased focus on health and fitness, and I wouldn’t besmirch a colleague wearing a FitBit or other similar smart watch for those purposes (counting steps, monitoring diabetic metrics, etc.). The fact that most of these smart watches are still timepieces – for which we can satisfy the timer / stopwatch function – is a convenience for their inclusion, not a detriment that rules them out.

Anyone working these levels of ball should understand that context.

It’s at these tournament / travel / academy  / league ballgames that everything gets murky. The vast majority of these are time dependent or time limited. It is therefore vital that someone is observing the time.  If the host (TD, LD, etc.) provides a scorekeeper and/or a timekeeper, then we’re off the hook. However, we simply cannot rely on the “home book”. We need a neutral asset, and often, it falls to us. Now, whether that be a stopwatch or a pocketwatch or a wristwatch, any of these carry better connotations than a smart phone... and less temptation.

Besides this, many of these tournaments and leagues use NFHS for its universality, but waive enforcement of such things as the one-piece catcher’s helmet-mask, substitutes (they bat CBO), and jewelry. Suddenly, the 12 year olds start trotting out these big necklaces (to look like their MLB idols), and 14 and 15 year olds are wearing any number and variety of wristbands. 

Little / Local Leagues get more challenging further because: A) they may be time limited, B) the umpire is often operating solo, autonomously, or without any onsite supervision, and C) the umpire is limited in their contextual experience.

It’s in these leagues and games that wristwatch use can be tolerated, but it needs to be tempered. I once was BU on a local league game wherein my PU partner, at the plate meeting, was insistent that no jewelry was to be worn at all... yet there he stands, hand on hip, sporting one of these:

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ciAzUNcKL._UX342_.jpg

71ciAzUNcKL._UX342_.jpg

Yeah, I think you just lost your credibility there, champ.

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On 7/1/2019 at 2:31 PM, Mister B said:

I did coach a MS game, where the other team's pitchers were throwing picks on all our runners. We had one runner taking a 2 foot lead off 1B, and they tried picking him 12 times in one AB. This happened about 20 times in the game. I know it's not illegal, but talk about making a travesty of the game. Nearly a 4 hour game. 

If it’s that extreme, start balking him. 

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5 hours ago, MadMax said:

I once was BU on a local league game wherein my PU partner, at the plate meeting, was insistent that no jewelry was to be worn at all... yet there he stands, hand on hip, sporting one of these:

I wear my wedding ring while telling players not to wear jewelry. Does that lose my credibility? I'm less likely to come into contact with a player than another player is.

As for devices being worn for medical reasons, I have absolutely no problem with that.

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1 hour ago, yawetag said:

I wear my wedding ring while telling players not to wear jewelry. Does that lose my credibility?

The photo of a white, bling-y Casio G-Shock is not displaying properly for some reason (can’t seem to include URL images after Warren tweaked the site).

Context.

Why or how is a young, 22(?) year old umpire going to credibly insist (I keep emphasizing this, because he kept repeating it at the Plate Meeting) that all of the 14U players were devoid of all jewelry? To two dad-coaches while he kept standing there, hand on hip, and occasionally gesturing with his blinged-out arm, on a field... that already has a countdown timer in left-centerfield poised and ready to start ticking off the 1:45 time limit?!

Context.

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On 7/6/2019 at 10:07 AM, yawetag said:

I wear my wedding ring while telling players not to wear jewelry. Does that lose my credibility? I'm less likely to come into contact with a player than another player is.

As for devices being worn for medical reasons, I have absolutely no problem with that.

 

I take off my ring and store it in my vehicle. Mines a bit loose and I don't want the wrath of God for loosing it.  Note: My wife would be the one "channeling" God's wrath.

I agree on the "Medic Alert" stuff, One of the UiC's I work with a lot introduced that to me in his presentation in one meeting, I was like ohhhh.. yeah.  But anyway I got a stop watch. Picked it up in a hurry at Models.. Eh not satisfied no count down option and buttons seem WAY to easy to hit by accident in my pocket.

Gonna keep checking around for something a wee bit better.

 

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