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Calling "time!" all the time!

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I see this is Little League a lot, largely because people see it in the pros, and they misunderstand what's going on or NOT going on!

Kid slides safely into 3B.  Coach and kid are begging me for time so he can stand up and dust himself off.  My tendency is to do the following:  "Throw the ball back to the pitcher!"  THEN, when play is really relaxed, I'll grant time.  I had one animated coach really get into my face about NOT calling time when he asked.  I told him the following:

The umpire is NOT the 10th defensive player nor is he the third offensive field coach.  I noted that this particular team did a lot of clever (and legal) base running things when  they caught the defense napping.  What if the third baseman throws the ball over the pitcher's head?  Had I called time, I would have denied the offense a chance to take advantage of that miscue.  In other words, "Lighten up, Francis!"

I had one team where F6 would be the cutoff man on a play from the outfield.  He'd come into the infield with his hands up asking for time.  Not only did I say No!, I told his coach that he needed to cut that out.  Why should I kill they play just to make it easier for the defense to reset when maybe they can't throw worth a flip in the first place?  Again, I'm not the 10th defensive player, and I'm not going to kill they play to make things easier for the defense until the play is relaxed.

Don't get me started on batters doing the "George Foster Wave" asking for time when he and the pitcher are playing a cat and mouse game!

There are legitimate times to call Time!  But just doing it to make life easier to try to stop further potential action is unsporting IMO.  The ball players need to get the ball back to the pitcher and get to "relaxed play" before Time needs to be called.

Mike 

Las Vegas

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I work some middle schools in the area that do the “time because I’m in the infield with the ball now” thing.  When I work with new partners, I discuss this in our pre-game and “suggest aggressively” that they don’t call time unless there is a reason to.  Just because they ask doesn’t mean you have to give it to them.

I agree with @kylejt though.  I don’t tell them anything.  I just look at them and I might give a shake of my head to acknowledge that I heard them but am not granting time.

With runners, I will typically will tell them “there is no ball” or “you’re good” rather than grant time just for them to get up.  If the fielder is just holding a tag incessantly and unnecessarily, then I’ll call time.  If the fielder is just lurking with the ball, I wait to see where the play is going to go.

 

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Many times, calling Time saves time in the long run (if that makes any sense). It gets things moving, and calling PLAY is quite simple. It's a judgement thing, and something that comes with experience, I guess. 

 

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Also worth noting that sometimes, ball on the infield is relaxed play. Let's say you just had a play at the plate, and a runner cruised into third. Once the runner has shown me he's not gonna be stupid and try for the plate, I might call time to clean the plate (in this example it was one of those slides that used the plate as it's lovely assistant in a magic trick) before the catcher has thrown it back, especially at higher levels. Worst case scenario, you prevent a clown show on the throw back to the pitcher, but that's highly unlikely.

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The unnecessary calling of time is one of my pet peeves. Keep the ball live. By all means kill it when necessary. But just sliding into a base is not always necessary to call time or bringing the ball back to the infield. It will make for very long games. 

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6 minutes ago, Umpire in Chief said:

The unnecessary calling of time is one of my pet peeves. Keep the ball live. By all means kill it when necessary. But just sliding into a base is not always necessary to call time or bringing the ball back to the infield. It will make for very long games. 

I did a tournament this weekend at the 10U level.  Coaches (correctly) drilling into their kids that if a tag is being applied and not being released, call time.  So, like so much that is new, it was being used all the time.  Most of the time I'd just tell the fielder to get it back to the pitcher and play on.

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I reply with "Why?" when they ask for time and it's not for an obviously good reason.

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If it's a slide that dislodges a break away base, and (other) play is relaxed or non existent, I will grant it.  Like @yawetag, I ask "Why?"

 

I came back to add that I did...............have a runner leg out a triple, looked at me and said "time blue?"  I looked at my wrist where one would normally where a watch, clearly not having one on and kind of shrugged my shoulders and said.........I'm guessing around 5:15 ish?  After a few good chuckles, I granted it.

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On 8/25/2019 at 1:07 PM, kylejt said:

Many times, calling Time saves time in the long run (if that makes any sense). It gets things moving, and calling PLAY is quite simple. It's a judgement thing, and something that comes with experience, I guess. 

We have a team in our area who is coached to ask for time as soon as a hit to the outfield comes back to the infield and play is relaxed. When I wouldn't grant it, the infielder would jog the ball back and hand it to the pitcher. *sigh* So I started granting time, just because it's faster than not, even if it is ridiculous.

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The way I do it is I wait until any "play" is over.  If the fielder is holding the tag on the runner I wait until he has stopped doing it. If he stands there not holding the ball on for more than 2 seconds ( my head count 1 2 )  and he does not make an attempt to tag a runner who is on the ground I will grant the runner time.  However if he turns and throws the ball back to the pitcher I do not grant time.  To me that's get up and get ready kid.

Now If a player slides in and knocks the safety bag off and the rest of the field is done ( no runners moving ) I call time without waiting for anything else to occur as the bag is off.   I get the bag reset and then of course give "it" back to the PU and assume my position 

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16 minutes ago, ArchAngel72 said:

If he stands there not holding the ball on for more than 2 seconds ( my head count 1 2 )  and he does not make an attempt to tag a runner who is on the ground I will grant the runner time

I've had this too!  Great call out.  I usually tell the fielder.........."He's still safe", and they pick up on that pretty quick and throw the ball back to F1.

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I'm not sure where the idea of not granting time came from, and being militant about it. For me, killing the play at the right time saves time in many situations. 

Do what you wish, and what works best for you. 

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There is a balance which has to  be found between wasting time calling time too much and wasting time by being stubborn and not calling it.  But at some point, kids need to realize that this isn't MLB and you don't get time for every little thing. You need to learn to walk up or climb the ladder when they want to hold the tag on you. The umpire's aren't there to bail you out.

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Here's when I call time:

  • When someone requests a conference.
  • When I'm required to by rule.
  • When the pitcher is stalling and the batter asks for it.

That covers almost every time I call it. 

Keep the ball live. It keeps the flow going.

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I have to agree with Matt, adding one other bullet point:

  • When BR, upon reaching on a double or triple, has to remove a piece of equipment

Other than that, it's only when it's obvious that someone needs a few seconds to gather themselves (tie shoelaces, walk off that jammed finger).

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Catchers are always asking for time to relay signs to defense in R3/R1 situations.  I'll usually grant it the first time, then tell them we need to keep that ball in play the rest of the game for that - no further explanation unless asked.  

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I've umpired for 13 years and have never seen a runner attempt anything when F2 was giving signs to his infield.

I'm keeping the ball live.

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On 8/27/2019 at 10:28 AM, kylehutson said:

....the infielder would jog the ball back and hand it to the pitcher. *sigh* 

Reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon where the catcher walks out after every pitch and hands the ball to Charlie Brown, the pitcher, with some words of advice or encouragement. When Charlie Brown asks him why, he replies, "Because I can't reach the mound."

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15 minutes ago, LRZ said:

 

Reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon where the catcher walks out after every pitch and hands the ball to Charlie Brown, the pitcher, with some words of advice or encouragement. When Charlie Brown asks him why, he replies, "Because I can't reach the mound."

Or Smalls in The Sandlot jogging it in from outfield.

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On 8/27/2019 at 9:52 AM, ArchAngel72 said:

The way I do it is I wait until any "play" is over.  If the fielder is holding the tag on the runner I wait until he has stopped doing it. If he stands there not holding the ball on for more than 2 seconds ( my head count 1 2 )  and he does not make an attempt to tag a runner who is on the ground I will grant the runner time.  However if he turns and throws the ball back to the pitcher I do not grant time.  To me that's get up and get ready kid.

Now If a player slides in and knocks the safety bag off and the rest of the field is done ( no runners moving ) I call time without waiting for anything else to occur as the bag is off.   I get the bag reset and then of course give "it" back to the PU and assume my position 

 

I may be misreading your situation ... but the way I am interpreting it, I would think the opposite.

If the fielder is holding the tag relentlessly (and the runner isn’t moving), he is “forcing” time and is going to lose his opportunity because I’m calling time (unhappily).

If the fielder releases the tag but keeps the ball ... no way am I calling time (unless there is a need beyond convenience).  He still has an opportunity to make a (or another) tag or even try to pull a “hidden ball trick”.  To me, there are still plays to be made in this case.

 

Last night I had a first baseman holding an incessant tag on a pickoff attempt on a runner at first.  The runner was asking for time and I actually felt compelled to tell him “no”.  I don’t usually say anything, but there was an astute runner on third base who was scoring while we stood around and twiddled our thumbs.

 

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How long does it take to point to the pitcher, and say "Play"? vs. prolonging things by not calling TIME. 

 

I used to be in the same camp as many of you, as it was beat into me to NOT grant time whenever requested. Then I figured out that it actually takes more time to not grant it in many cases. So as long as I'm not putting either side at any sort of disadvantage, I'm now granting more often than I did before. 

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“The game shouldn’t have a clock on it” but if I can call time and get out of here quicker ... :sarcasm:

My thought is that killing it is providing an advantage when you are not making the defense throw the ball back to the pitcher.  You may be taking a chance to run away from the offense or you may be taking a chance to make a play away from the defense, but you are depriving somebody of a potential play.

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If you're working games where throwing the ball back to the pitcher is a dicey situation (really little kids, I guess), then don't call time. 

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