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ArchAngel72

when they don't call something

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OK Im frustrated.

myself and another D1 umpire drove down to Bristol to "root" on the team from NH that was playing in the regional finals.  So me this year I had umpired a lot in Goffstown so yeah I "knew" or had Ump'd a lot of these kids most of their season and playoffs and then All Stars.  I don't feel I had a bias towards them but yeah I felt good about them advancing as far as they got.

 

So situation in Sat game  1st inning it was noted from the stands that the RI team when a runner was on 2nd that runner was signalling the batter which way the catcher was in regards to the plate.  This is considered unsportsmanlike conduct as it falls in with stealing signs.  SO 3rd inning it gets pointed out to the PU and the very next pitch YEP kid on 2nd is caught relaying signals to the batter.  However only thing that happened was he and the coaches and that team got a warning.

This to me goes DIRECTLY against Tourney Playing Rules #3 section e.

Quote

e. Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager, or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field. If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play. The stealing and relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location is unsportsmanlike behavior. If, in the judgment of the umpire this behavior is occurring, those responsible including any player(s), coach(es), and/or manager shall be ejected from the game.

 

This does NOT say anything about warning or umpires discretion on penalty.  It clearly states "SHALL BE EJECTED"

 

So why is this a big deal?  Because the player that got caught was the RI teams starting pitcher.  Him being removed would have caused a completely changed outcome.

I honestly think NH has a valid reason for protesting the outcome of that game.  

Its too late now but something different should have happened IMHO

To state plainly also. I do not blame the PU, I think he took direction from the Umpiring staff that was at the game.  Which I think they blew this one.. sorry I just do.

I thought the crew that was on the field did a great job other than one screw up with a pop up with the 2nd baseman that SHOULD have been an infield fly rule but no one called it then he bobbled the exchange ( least thats what was called or so we saw from the stands) and then the hilarity ensued.

But PU was pretty solid all day, maybe 1 or 2 calls that we questioned but  1 or 2 in a game.. yeah that's nothing  just a note that well there was 1 maybe 2.

Anyway my point is that kid should have been ejected and maybe the coach. maybe..

So it all happens right at around 30:50 is the start of it  Gtown alerts the PU to the problem..

game  

 

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Take off your fan cap and put on your umpiring one. Now, look at this in an impartial, unbiased view.

Now, take your umpire cap off and put your fan cap back on. Imagine your team was the one possibly stealing signs. The umpire ejects them. How would you react?

To me, reading the catcher's signals and location isn't "stealing" signs. It's the catcher's job to make sure he's masking the signs from being seen. Now, if you've got a guy sitting in center field with binoculars and a two-way radio, sending information to the dugout, that's "stealing" signs. If you've obtained a copy of the team's sheet they wear on their wrist - that's stealing signs. And those are subject to ejection. But an R2 staring in and telling his batter what he sees - that's no more illegal than the defense trying to figure out the offense signals from the base coach.

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21 minutes ago, yawetag said:

Take off your fan cap and put on your umpiring one. Now, look at this in an impartial, unbiased view.

Now, take your umpire cap off and put your fan cap back on. Imagine your team was the one possibly stealing signs. The umpire ejects them. How would you react?

To me, reading the catcher's signals and location isn't "stealing" signs. It's the catcher's job to make sure he's masking the signs from being seen. Now, if you've got a guy sitting in center field with binoculars and a two-way radio, sending information to the dugout, that's "stealing" signs. If you've obtained a copy of the team's sheet they wear on their wrist - that's stealing signs. And those are subject to ejection. But an R2 staring in and telling his batter what he sees - that's no more illegal than the defense trying to figure out the offense signals from the base coach.

I quoted the rule.

Allow me to quote it again

e. Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager, or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field. If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play. The stealing and relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location is unsportsmanlike behavior. If, in the judgment of the umpire this behavior is occurring, those responsible including any player(s), coach(es), and/or manager shall be ejected from the game.

How do you qualify "relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection AND OR LOCATION"    not to be stealing signs AND or Unsportsmanlike conduct.   It says it in the Tourney Rule book in black and white.

 

 

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A good part of officiating is understanding the spirit of the rules, which leads to the concept of preventive officiating. The first time I see something like what you describe, and knowing that rule, I'd probably warn the kid and his manager. Unless the rule states that no warnings can be given, an immediate ejection is, imo, too severe a penalty, too OOO.

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Didn’t we have this conversation here?  It may have been another forum ... I’m getting confused.

 

The debate was had as to whether signaling the catcher’s position was stealing signs.  What if the coach’s signs being sent in include h location?  Now you are stealing signs.

My guess ... and it is just that, my guess, is that the ambiguity of the rule led the umpires to say “we aren’t ejecting because we don’t know if this falls under the rule.”  Note in the rule it says 

If, in the judgment of the umpire this behavior is occurring, those responsible including any player(s), coach(es), and/or manager shall be ejected from the game.

Since the rule is ambiguous at best, I think they took the correct course of action.  Until LL changes the rule so that it provides a specific definition of “stealing signals” then the rule will always be up to a judgment call.

Ideally, the rule wouldn’t exist ... but if it should exist, it should ban communication to the batter with reasonable parameters, not try to outlaw a vague action.

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1 minute ago, LRZ said:

A good part of officiating is understanding the spirit of the rules, which leads to the concept of preventive officiating. The first time I see something like what you describe, and knowing that rule, I'd probably warn the kid and his manager. Unless the rule states that no warnings can be given, an immediate ejection is, imo, too severe a penalty, too OOO.

Its in the Tourney Rules.  Every Coach at this point of the tourney should KNOW them and understand them.

I get what your saying if during the season I saw this happen I would probably give the coach and team a warning, However the rule book states "SHALL BE EJECTED"

 

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1 minute ago, The Man in Blue said:

Didn’t we have this conversation here?  It may have been another forum ... I’m getting confused.

 

The debate was had as to whether signaling the catcher’s position was stealing signs.  What if the coach’s signs being sent in include h location?  Now you are stealing signs.

My guess ... and it is just that, my guess, is that the ambiguity of the rule led the umpires to say “we aren’t ejecting because we don’t know if this falls under the rule.”  Note in the rule it says 

If, in the judgment of the umpire this behavior is occurring, those responsible including any player(s), coach(es), and/or manager shall be ejected from the game.

Since the rule is ambiguous at best, I think they took the correct course of action.  Until LL changes the rule so that it provides a specific definition of “stealing signals” then the rule will always be up to a judgment call.

Ideally, the rule wouldn’t exist ... but if it should exist, it should ban communication to the batter with reasonable parameters, not try to outlaw a vague action.

 

Look at the video attached.  The umpire was alerted to the issue he, observed and clearly stepped out because of what he saw as that issue. He stepped to the back stop and spoke with the officiating crew ( UIC and crew, Its Frank and Doc)  then he warned the coach and told him to talk to his player ( best guess by what transpired)   Again I'm not blaming the PU, I'm saying that the guys behind the fence let it go and they should have enforced it.  If it were reversed and it was Gtown out there and I was the PU I would have tossed him.    

and Yes I am that impartial.

Also 1:13:20   that should have been IFF.   2nd basemans camped under it and catches it messes up the transfer and all heck ensued.. 

 

 

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@ArchAngel72 I can understand your frustration, but I agree with @yawetag, I've probably got nothing for this. IMO sealing signs in this manner wouldn't rise to the level of unsportsmanlike behavior. It's just a bad rule.   

For me to enforce the rule as written, the runner would have to be extremely blatant yelling, "Inside" "Outside" etc... If they have their own signals, I'm not touching that with a 10 foot pole - That's the dirty end of the stick. Because if they aren't ridiculously blatant, how do I know what they're signaling or if that signal relates to the pitch or pitch location. I can make a pretty good guess, but can't say for certain.

But because:

  1. It is a written rule - as bad as it may be
  2. They were this blatant 
  3. It's only the 2nd inning

I'd probably practice some preventive umpiring. I'd probably have a discrete talk with the offending coach first, before issuing any warning. 

But both teams have to protect their own signals and if you use weak signals or otherwise get them stolen, that's not an umpiring issue. 

 

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1 minute ago, Umpire in Chief said:

@ArchAngel72 I can understand your frustration, but I agree with @yawetag, I've probably got nothing for this. IMO sealing signs in this manner wouldn't rise to the level of unsportsmanlike behavior. It's just a bad rule.   

For me to enforce the rule as written, the runner would have to be extremely blatant yelling, "Inside" "Outside" etc... If they have their own signals, I'm not touching that with a 10 foot pole - That's the dirty end of the stick. Because if they aren't ridiculously blatant, how do I know what they're signaling or if that signal relates to the pitch or pitch location. I can make a pretty good guess, but can't say for certain.

But because:

  1. It is a written rule - as bad as it may be
  2. They were this blatant 
  3. It's only the 2nd inning

I'd probably practice some preventive umpiring. I'd probably have a discrete talk with the offending coach first, before issuing any warning. 

But both teams have to protect their own signals and if you use weak signals or otherwise get them stolen, that's not an umpiring issue. 

 

My mistake I said 2nd it was the 3rd and in the 1st and 2nd they had already done the same thing at least 2 other times.  basically what I saw from my seat and I was sitting in the reserved section on 1st base. the runner on 2nd would relay the catchers position to the batter by putting a hand in one direction or another.  Something that I also heard from Gtown parents was that the 1st game they played on Thu?  RI was doing the same thing and no one called them on it.

 

Now all that said It being a written rule in the LL handbook, specifically called out for Tourney play.  Which NE Regional clearly is.  Why is it something people want to ignore?

To me thats like the clear IFF rule that should have been called in the 5th which was not. Why I don't know If I were the RF line guy I would have called that or pointed so PU called it.   Im sure 1BU and 2BU were busy watching tags.

My opinion is using hand signals is just as blatant as using voice to yell.  There is no delineation between one method or another with regards to  "relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location"

 

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Ok, there HAD TO BE A REASON the guys behind the fence played this out as a WARNING.

Until we know that reason, this discussion will go in circles forever.  You've received many alternatives as to possibly why it happened, but again, we'll never know unless we were there, OR if someone here knows who was behind the fences.

We understand your point of view, we've given possible reasons why .....

Not sure I want this turning into a beaten dead horse scenario ;) 

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I'm gonna take a different tack here.  Instead of joining in the discussion of whether it should be called or not, and SH*#ty-end-of-the-stick, etc, my question is this:

Why in God's name does the LL Rulebook even have such a stupid-ss rule, written in such a stupid-ss manner, in the first place?!?

To elaborate:  signs and signals have been part of the game of baseball, if not from the beginning, then from a LOT longer than any of us here have been part of the game.  Why does LL have some full-of-itself, upholder-of-morals rule written in?  Is the stealing of signs considered the "gateway drug" of criminal behavior?  Has there been a direct connection made between relaying pitch selection and meth use?  Am I missing something here?

Three actual baseball points:  1) Knowing what pitch is coming, and/or where it might be, doesn't translate into the ability to actually hit it well.  Still gotta have skill.  2) That's why catcher signals to the pitcher are a little more complicated than just giving one number.  3) Where's the clause in the LL Rulebook about stealing the 3B coaches signs and relaying them to the rest of the defense?

Sorry, this is a non-issue to me.

  • Haha 2

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12 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

Why in God's name does the LL Rulebook even have such a stupid-ss rule, written in such a stupid-ss manner, in the first place?!?

*pulls out LL reasons list*

I'm gonna go with safety on this one. We've overused "consistency" and "lowest common denominator" too much this past week.

And, in case it wasn't obvious: :sarcasm:

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30 minutes ago, yawetag said:

@ArchAngel72, you haven't taken that fan cap off yet, have you?

 

I already stated this... So where is my fan cap in that?

Quote

 

 Again I'm not blaming the PU, I'm saying that the guys behind the fence let it go and they should have enforced it.  If it were reversed and it was Gtown out there and I was the PU I would have tossed him.    

and Yes I am that impartial.

Also 1:13:20   that should have been IFF.   2nd basemans camped under it and catches it messes up the transfer and all heck ensued.. 

 

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Even conceding that the rule, inane or not, was violated, I have no problem with the issuance of a warning. If the conduct continued and was ignored, that I have a problem with.

In just about every game I watched, I was amused by the (1) head-shaking on called third strikes, and catchers (2) holding pitches or (3) drawing balls into the strike zone six inches. None of that nonsense seemed to draw any response from any PU. I got the impression that umpires were hesitant to address questionable behavior, let alone eject, perhaps on instructions?

And while we're discussing that game, I don't think that IFF was so clear; the kid went pretty far into the outfield to get the ball. Maybe, maybe not. IMO.

But Pfeffer is some ballplayer.

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17 minutes ago, ArchAngel72 said:

I already stated this... So where is my fan cap in that?

Then I'll make a suggestion: rather than coming in here and blaming umpires and site administrators, make your posts more neutral and in a place to learn. Not everything in the rule book, no matter the level, is black and white. Coming here with an open mind (which you didn't) will make you a better student.

I have a similar story to this. My first three years of umpiring, I worked at a local rec league. This league was formed of teams from several fields around the area of the city I lived. The field I worked was the only one in a predominately-black, lower-income neighborhood. Any good player from the area was picked up by teams at the other fields, leaving the teams here to barely have a fighting chance to win a game. The other teams were typically summer travel team players using the spring league to warm up for their "better" team.

In my third and last year with the league, I was working a game. In the 2nd inning or so, while his team was up something like 9-0, the away team coach comes up and the following conversation ensues:

Coach: Hey. They don't have straps on their helmets.

Me: OK.

Coach: What are you going to do about it?

Me: What should I do about it?

Coach: Well, I think you should forfeit the game.

Me (looking him in the eyes): Coach, you want me to walk over there, inform their coach and players that I'm forfeiting the game because they don't have straps, and then walk off the field? All of this while you're winning 9-0 after one time at bat, knowing you're probably going to walk away after three innings with a rule-run victory?

Coach: Yep.

Me: I think I'll just remind them after the game to have the straps for the next game.

Coach: You're not going to forfeit the game?

Me: Nope. I'm going to let everyone play the game.

Coach (somewhat chuckling): I was just joking with you.

Narrator's Voice: He wasn't joking.

 

The point of that is to show that while rules are there, they aren't always strictly enforced. You'd be much better off in your growth if you begin to soak in what you're reading here.

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2 minutes ago, yawetag said:

The point of that is to show that while rules are there, they aren't always strictly enforced. You'd be much better off in your growth if you begin to soak in what you're reading here.

You made my point, what you are talking about is a local rec league.

 

What I was talking about was a New England Regional Final to go to Williamsport 

IMHO  when the rule is in the actual rule book at that level it should be enforced.  I feel its in bad judgement to put out a "tourney level of play rules section" if your not going to actually use it.

The rule for the season is "the local league may adopt" specifically to that section of "stealing signals" 

sigh.  Am I pissed as a fan  yeah. I felt it changed the possible outcome of the game.

 

Am I upset as an umpire.  well yeah at that level of play anything that is beyond my "judgement" which is the rule written I should enforce.   The PU imho judged there to be signalling going on.  otherwise why stop the game.  So there it is in his judgement something against the rules went on and THAT is deemed by the book to be unsportsmanlike.  the end quote is "SHALL BE EJECTED" 

If you all don't like it write to your DA's and ask them to change the language

anyway my 2cents is made.

I'm still trying to rile someone up on the IFF that they missed.

 

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41 minutes ago, ArchAngel72 said:

IMHO  when the rule is in the actual rule book at that level it should be enforced.  I feel its in bad judgement to put out a "tourney level of play rules section" if your not going to actually use it.

 

As with any written rule you have to look at interpretations that go with it.  Does this quote make you feel any better?

"If, in the judgment of the umpire(s), this behavior is occurring, both the player and the manager may be ejected from the game. It is the discretion of the umpire to decide if the action is blatant and consistent to the point where ejection is warranted."

https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/hey-blue-protesting-unsportsmanlike-conduct/

Edited by johnpatrick
clarity
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7 hours ago, ArchAngel72 said:

Well isn't this just funny. It heard it happened in the softball tourney.  Low and behold there is our own Man in blue talking about it.

https://discussfastpitch.com/threads/player-ejected-little-league.36979/

 

Small world eh

 

 

I said I couldn’t remember which forum ... it was the other one.  :Facepalm:

Good to see softball getting some love!

I said the same thing over there.  The rule as written says “stealing signs”, it does NOT address relaying the catcher’s set-up position.  It is a horrendous mistake by Little League NOT to include specific definitions for this rule.  It is even more unfair to place the onus on the umpire to decide if the runner was just relaying a position or actually decoding signs.

Now, after eating crow over there, I did say that my interpretation of what LL is wanting would be that communicating any info to the batter is in violation of the spirit of the rule that Little League has implemented.  However, I also stated that is NOT what the rule says.

Until LL gets its act together on the wording, I am good with the umpires either ejecting or not ejecting.  You got hung up on the SHALL EJECT but you keep overlooking the first part of the sentence: If, in the judgment of the umpire(s), this behavior is occurring ...  Since LL is not defining what “this behavior” is, then it is completely the umpire’s decision as to what constitutes stealing signs.

Had the runner yelled “fast ball!” or flashed a #1, then I agree it is stealing signs.  Since he is just communicating an observation on where the catcher is, I don’t think it is stealing signs.

It may sound as if I am waffling ... I am not.  I am saying the rule is written so vague that you can interpret it either way.

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