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My summation and opinions. 

Announcing Time: 

  • First coming up I was taught to announce time as the BU on time limit games. i.e. "Start time 12:05" 
  • I evolved and love the stopwatch method. It eliminates the, "By my watch we still have X minutes" argument. 

Devices:

  • Wrist watches: I really don't have a problem with an umpire wearing a watch. I don't do it. I highly recommend PU's not wear one, but if my partner is wearing a watch it doesn't bother me. Unless we've been told explicitly not to wear one.
  • Fit-Bits/ other fitness trackers: I have had these on the field, but primarily in my pocket. It still seems to calculate steps pretty well, but obviously can't get heart rate, and other features being in my pocket. But I will admit,  I have worn one on my wrist under a long sleeve or jacket a few times. It's along the lines of a wrist watch, I generally won't wear it on the field.
  • Pocket stop watches. These are the way to go in my not so humble opinion. Loop it through your belt and in your pocket. You can find them from $5 to $10. With the amount we invest in our uniforms and equipment what's another $10, really?
  • Phones: That's where I draw the line. No phones on the field, even as a time keeping device. I again must admit, I have done it but it was out of desperation (still no excuse) when neither my partner or I have had another time keeping device. It looks extremely unprofessional. Yes, you may be looking at it for the time, but the umpire haters (coaches, players, parents) see you checking your texts or playing a game, or who knows what else. Reality be damned. 

Jewelry:

  • The only piece of jewelry I own is my wedding ring and that stays on. As others have said I'm an adult and I can be responsible if I take a hit and because I was wearing it I now need to get my finger amputated. 
  • Other visible jewelry: I'm against umpire's wearing other visible jewelry.
    • Visible piercings, absolutely no, Take them out.
    • Rings other than wedding rings, no not necessary. I know some people wear a religious signet style ring, fine if you must. But just bling no.
    • Neck laces, If you can bury them under your shirt fine, but once again no bling. 
      • Side note I was at an umpire camp and one of the MLB instructors was asked about him wearing Phiten necklaces. His reply was his kid gave it to him and he wears it. 

Arm bands/ awareness bands:

  • I have no problem with these, in moderation.  Many of us have causes which are personal to us, whether its lymphoma awareness, prostate cancer awareness, breast cancer awareness, autism awareness, and the list goes on and on. 
  • That's where I do have a problem. Some people have ave many of the silicone bands up your wrist(s). Sure this one is for your mom, this one is for your dad, this is for your aunt, this is for your dog, this one is for your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate. It gets absurd. 1 great, 2 meh, 3 really???, 4 + no way. 

Medic alert type bracelets, no problem. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 3:33 PM, MadMax said:

Is this Ms. Garner an umpire evaluator?

Fitbits and other smart-wearables are all the rage. I’ve taken a greater interest in getting an Apple Watch (I suppose I could just go with a basic FitBit, but why not go whole-hog?) once my crewmate told me that he’s putting in 4,000 – 5,000 steps on one of our recent 9-inning games!! My health and fitness has become a paramount to me now that I’m 44 and starting to feel the effects of a “hard sports life” as a catcher, goalie, and snowboarder.

I don’t mind the “awareness” bands. We’re human, after all. I lost a GF to cancer when we were in our twenties, and one of my Vultures lost his son to a knock-down, drag-out bout with bone cancer, so you better believe that we – as an umpire community and brotherhood (as we claim so often) – will be commemorating that kid and his tenacity with a bracelet at the very least. Maybe even a wristband and/or a patch on our shirts. Heck, I’d wear an orange innertube around my middle if it brought “awareness” to the war against cancer that we’re all immersed in.

How about these past two events (three, if we count Memorial Day) in the Major Leagues? Wherein professional umpires are wearing not only non-black hats, but also arm/wristbands, often on both arms?! And lest we forget the “white band campaign” that the MLB Umpires undertook, collectively, just last year?

But yet we have a few particular umpires (on here) who get all bent about a simple Father’s Day armband! (Not you, @Jimurray )

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.

I'm late to the party, but last fall I started wearing my Samsung Smart Watch versus carrying a small watch in my ball bag, The Samsung looks like a normal digital watch, except it stays dark unless i prompt it, or when the alarm goes off:

1) By the rules, Umpires are REQUIRED at the tourney facility here and in most travel leagues here to keep the time

2) The countdown timer on it has basically eliminated any arguing that there was still a minute left or whatnot: if the alarm goes off before the inning is over, that is the last inning, no arguments. If it goes off seconds after the third out is made and sides are being switched for the start of the top, we are playing the inning.

3) it tracks my steps, my miles, and my heart rate during the game(s) = very cool

4) phones do look shady to me.. Its asking for trouble, i think.. are you looking at how much time is left or are you checking messages/social media?

If I look like an inexperienced newbie, so be it. Hopefully I convert most newbie haters by the end of most games...

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On 7/8/2019 at 10:27 AM, Umpire in Chief said:

Jewelry:

  • The only piece of jewelry I own is my wedding ring and that stays on. As others have said I'm an adult and I can be responsible if I take a hit and because I was wearing it I now need to get my finger amputated. 
  • Other visible jewelry: I'm against umpire's wearing other visible jewelry.
    • Visible piercings, absolutely no, Take them out.
    • Rings other than wedding rings, no not necessary. I know some people wear a religious signet style ring, fine if you must. But just bling no.
    • Neck laces, If you can bury them under your shirt fine, but once again no bling. 
      • Side note I was at an umpire camp and one of the MLB instructors was asked about him wearing Phiten necklaces. His reply was his kid gave it to him and he wears it. 

As the coach of girl's softball teams - it gets interesting when umpires want those embedded nose rings to come out (or other "non-standard" piercings) - some of which are almost impossible to remove in any short period of time...it gets ridiculous when I see UIC's and TD's rule that as long as there's a piece of tape over it it's not "visible".

Instead of a focus on safety tempered by practicality, it becomes an exercise in CYA.

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It shouldn’t have to come out in a short period of time ... it should come out before she hits the field.

 

That said, I think I have finally figured out where the notion of “covering with tape makes it OK” come from ... USSSA and their verbiage in their rules and rule interpretations which contradict their own rule.

 

And I fully agree that the jewelry rules are more about CYA than actual player safety.  If it was about player safety, the rule would be simple: NO.  I’ll admit I gave up on it this year.  Until USA or USSSA say “NO” I am no longer trying to place my own interpretation on their screwed up rules written to try to accommodate men’s beer leagues and 10u girls softball.  Their rule says it may be OK, then it is OK.  

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Heh I worked a 10U tourney game last Saturday whew 95 degrees and a cluster getting it going cause the VT was short 1 player.

 

Anyway  my partner shows up 20 min before game time the DA told me she was sending a "new" guy to me to get his feet wet on tourney stuff.

 

Yep shows up 3 earrings in one ear 2 in the other.

I looked at him and said I got nothing against jewelry but I have to tell these kids they cannot wear it. I hate to say this but we need to be a good example and lead by it. Would you please remove those for the game.  Good sport he was he did so.  After that I helped him out with giving him a proper hat and a counter which he had neither. 

before the game we went over more than just basics we went over what I expected of him for mechanics in the field   and positions.  after the game the UiC that showed up and I offered him tips on cleaning up what we observed and more pointers on what to do in the field on the bases.  he seemed very receptive all while he was smoking a cigarette .. sigh  Im in my truck soaking in AC from my sweat soaked position taking in gatorade as fast as I feel I can and hes huffing a cancer stick .. well one thing at a time..

anyway I was very happy he lost the ear bling so easily.. I hope to help him out some more as this tourney season goes.

 

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On 7/9/2019 at 3:09 PM, The Man in Blue said:

It shouldn’t have to come out in a short period of time ... it should come out before she hits the field.

The problem is, every tourney we run across is different, or handled differently, and the language and standards are different...in one season, we played 90 games before someone brought it up...hard to be prepared and know in advance it needs to come out when you don't find out about it until the plate meeting of game 91 in the season.   And the solution, to solve the "safety" problem, is to cover it with tape.

Kind of like going through airport security and having that dangerous tube of toothpaste removed from your bag, and dumped into a garbage can surrounded by 1000 people.

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I get what you are saying about 90/91 times beerguy ... but it shouldn’t be a shock or surprise and should not be met with any resistance.  The rule doesn’t say “If 90 out of 91 umpires don’t say anything ...”  It’s very easy to be prepared when you know what the rule is, and you should know what the rule is.  You (should) get the same book the umpire does every year.

Yes, umpire #91 just became “that guy”.  NOT because he was wrong though, but because the 90 before him either didn’t want to deal with it or didn’t see an issue with it.

As I said, my approach has changed.  I was “that guy.”  But now, until the orgs want to provide a firm YES/NO, I am no longer going to deal with it.  Stupid stuff, like the “tape solution” you present aren’t helping anybody.  (NOTE: the “tape solution” is a USSSA thing as their rule expressly says “exposed jewelry”; it is not a viable solution in USA.)

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