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Guest Coach Bill

Ump admitting wide strike zone.

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Guest Coach Bill

We have an umpire from hell that we seem to get every third tournament. I promise you I'm not an ass and have never been kicked out. (For the record - I always show umpires high respect when playing.) I believe most umpires are not partial and want to make the right call. We have one that is known throughout our organization of always going against our teams. I didn't believe it until seeing it for myself and being flabbergasted. It's quite ridiculous. No matter how many complaints, he's always there and has been for years. He proudly gives this speech before every game of how he calls a wide strike zone. Last time I asked him "so I know what to tell my kids, how wide are we talking?"  Surprisingly, he told me a ball. (Well by the way - I can't stand this - but I'll normally accept it and just play on.) Well he is so awful, I want to make a point next time we have him. If he gives this speech I'm going to ask him again, "are we still talking a ball out?" "Any other of your own rules you use that we should be aware of or is it just a ball out?" So this time I want to properly protest even if I lose. I'll take out my $100 bill, because I want to make a point. When and how should do it? I can't find anywhere where the ump has "his strike zone." 

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1 hour ago, Guest Coach Bill said:

Quite frankly, that's not how you hit. You don't extend your arms until after contact. In a proper hitting position your hands are close to your body and a small kid is slightly more inside an adult, but maybe only an inch or two. But no, he can't reach a ball like that swinging the bat properly without completely hugging the plate and/or by having his swing falling apart and ultimately creating a bad habit. And when you call the same pitch a ball inside - he can't hug the plate. If you were taught to hit reaching for a ball with your arms extended, that's why you are umpiring. 

Coach, these kids are 10 and 11 years old.  They should be learning how to play the game , how to think about the game.  Again, they aren't going to learn any of that during a walk fest.  I will not be part of that if I can help it.  Swing away and play baseball.  Once the pitchers can consistently find the zone, then you can teach the finer points of swing mechanics, IMO.

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15 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

Good luck hunting your white whale.  Remember, though - it also ended badly for Ahab.

Spoilers, man! I'm 70% through the audiobook. :censored2:

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1 hour ago, Guest Coach Bill said:

I know it's super hard for an umpire to stay focused for 160 pitches for 6 games on a Sunday. I know you're going to miss some. That's baseball. But I need to take a stand against this guy in a more obvious way. He's not fair to our kids or parents and he's an embarrassment. I respect what you guys do. I do.  I understand you have this umpires code, but he's the type that makes you look bad.

I know it's super hard for a coach and players to stay focused for several 7-inning games on a Sunday. I know you're going to miss some swings, grounders straight to you, and can-of-corn fly balls. That's baseball. But there's some teams out there. They aren't fair to me, my partners, or other umpires working out there; these teams are an embarrassment. I respect what you teams do. I do. I understand you have this code, but these teams are the type that makes all baseball look bad.

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Wow, around here, Varsity coaches will be mad if you're not calling pretty much chalk to chalk. They don't want that tight of a zone for pitchers that should be able to hit their spots. Especially when it's under 35 and snowing.

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17 minutes ago, yawetag said:

Spoilers, man! I'm 70% through the audiobook. :censored2:

The movie is 63 years old, for [redacted's] sake!!  You got enough internet to get here, doncha??

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5 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

The movie is 63 years old, for [redacted's] sake!!  You got enough internet to get here, doncha??

Movie? You do realize it's a book, right?

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2 hours ago, Guest Coach Bill said:

Let me clarify, He's does a little older and lower ranked divisions and I've coached much older ball including high school, but I've witnessed it at 10u and 11U Select Majors (my 10u team will play up). I'm dreading that we may have him again this year, it's that bad. Our parents pay good money and don't deserve his treatment.

 

 

I think I spotted the problem.

If you're coaching 10 year olds but focused on what the parents deserve, I'll suggest you're in the wrong line of work.

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3 minutes ago, yawetag said:

Movie? You do realize it's a book, right?

I"m just pointing out that, if you want to just squeak by, getting the story complete before, say, THE ENTIRE WORLD spoils it for you, you might .... speed up the process a touch.

Just saying.

(And besides, considering movie effects of the mid-50s, it's not that bad!)

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I don't talk umpire mechanics while watching Harry Potter; when I come here, I don't want to hear Dumbledore dies. :tantrum:

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The word Elite has been used too many times in this thread to describe 11U baseball... 

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I am not trying to sound like an apologist for your umpire.  But I'd like to present my take on this issue.

If any part of the ball goes through any part of the zone, it's a strike.  If it doesn't it's a ball.  But geometry has a lot to do with it.

What is the handedness of the pitcher and the batter?  And what level is it?  60' diamond means the pitcher is closer to the batter than 90' and that angularity matters a lot!

Assume 60':  A RHP against a RHB will miss the inside pitches.  Why?  No way could the ball have crossed the plate.  But a RHP to a RHB might get an outside corner because the angle from the pitcher's arm to the catcher's mitt might have included a bit of the zone.  Similarly, a LHP against a RHB will have the opposite angularity differences.

It does not matter where in the box the batter stands.  It does not matter where the catcher catches the pitch.  You have to ask the question where was the batters vertical zone w/r/t the plate.

In younger leagues, the pitchers have little pace on the ball.  So it may be coming in high, cross through the zone, and get caught on top of the dirt.  Guess what?  That's a strike!

A pitcher who can bring it actually makes your zone calls easier.  And where you set up matters!  You must give the low-outside strikes to the pitcher is he earned it.

Now in 90' ball, those angles are a lot less wide.  Thus, your zone will be easier, but the same philosophy applies.  Any part of the ball goes through any part of the zone........

I never use the term "a ball width on each side."  Geometry from the mound to the plate and the pace of pitch make a book strike easier to call than you  think.

The zone is what it is.  Deal with it.  Consistency is better than being good!

Mike

Las Vegas

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50 minutes ago, LRZ said:

Dumbledore dies?!!!!!!

Oh, [redacted], now you've done it, @yawetag.  You've just crushed a dude.

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36 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

Oh, [redacted], now you've done it, @yawetag.  You've just crushed a dude.

You said yourself to speed it up. :cheers:

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Bruce dies at the end of Jaws, too.

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3 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

(Quoted post edited to save space.)

My turn.

Now that I know what the age range is, I can properly snort my beverage out through my nose at some of this.  Imma let you talk about "elite" players and all that, because you're on a roll, but when you're talking about 10 and 11 year old kids - nah, dude.  Just ..... no.  I have no doubt there are good players - it's always the way of things - but let's not Roy Hobbs these guys.  (I mean, 2 K/inning can happen with a terrible pitcher, if the hitters aren't all that great, too, so there you go.)  And, to overemphasize a point ..... 9, 10, and 11 year olds.  Dude.  Dude.

Speaking strictly for myself, I'm perfectly open to the idea there's bias.  There are two problems, though.  One, you gotta PROVE it to others, not just say "he DOES have a bias agin' us."  It's got to be something you could show.  And two, if you're talking about the traveling circus of tournaments that goes from town to town, is there really anyone in charge of that?  More than likely, there are different "promoters" that run these deals from weekend to weekend, and there's no organization that ties them together, so any blanket ban or something wouldn't work on him, even if you CAN prove something.

I'm glad that you can accept a half a ball out of the zone!  I, and the rulebook authors, are pretty relieved.  Now, once you accept that just the edge of the ball swiping the black - ie, THE WHOLE BALL BASICALLY NOT BEING IN THE ZONE - is *also* a valid strike, you're golden.  Yes, I'm being really SH*#ty here, but since you hate this dude so very much, you're ready to leap over anything he says, and believe that a ball that clips the black is a "wide zone."  It is not.  That's a strike zone, per rule and/or interpretation.

And again, I want to say again he's inviting some of this on himself, by saying ANYthing like that at the plate meeting.  I also will tend to give more than a ball to the outside, especially down in that age group, if I work them.  But I'm sure as hell not saying anything to you about it.  Why?  Because "elite" or not, no one likes a walk-fest.  And I have learned, in my hundreds and hundreds of games, ways to lower the odds of that happening. 

Good luck hunting your white whale.  Remember, though - it also ended badly for Ahab.

Bravo.  It's sounded like sniveling since the OP.

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Guest Coach Bill
3 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

(Quoted post edited to save space.)

 

I'm glad that you can accept a half a ball out of the zone!  I, and the rulebook authors, are pretty relieved.  Now, once you accept that just the edge of the ball swiping the black - ie, THE WHOLE BALL BASICALLY NOT BEING IN THE ZONE - is *also* a valid strike, you're golden.  Yes, I'm being really SH*#ty here, but since you hate this dude so very much, you're ready to leap over anything he says, and believe that a ball that clips the black is a "wide zone."  It is not.  That's a strike zone, per rule and/or interpretation.

 

Where did I say that a ball that clips the black is a wide zone? Please show me. I perfectly understand the strike zone and that the ball just needs to graze a piece of the edge. I'm saying, I accept a half ball outside of that. If you're calling strikes a whole ball outside of that - you're a bad umpire. Period. This guy will be up to two balls outside of that and call strikes and I'm not exaggerating. Is he the only one? No. I've seen it before as we all have. Can someone tell me the rule where it says, "widen the strike zone if you feel like it?" I'll tell my players to swing a ball off the plate with two strikes and they can place a ball where a ball outside the zone is. And, yes, they can hit it. 

I get your point with 10 and 11 year olds - but my point is these pitchers, including ours, don't need that help. They throw hard and can throw 60% strikes with a normal strike zone. When they are also getting a ball plus on the inside and outside, it's becomes a game of who is going to get the one or two hits, or hit a batter or walk. When I say 2k's an inning, this is pitching against some of the top ranked teams in the country, not teams that can't hit. 

So do you actually think calling a true ball or more outside is good? 

 

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5 minutes ago, Guest Coach Bill said:

Where did I say that a ball that clips the black is a wide zone? Please show me. I perfectly understand the strike zone and that the ball just needs to graze a piece of the edge. I'm saying, I accept a half ball outside of that. If you're calling strikes a whole ball outside of that - you're a bad umpire. Period. This guy will be up to two balls outside of that and call strikes and I'm not exaggerating. Is he the only one? No. I've seen it before as we all have. Can someone tell me the rule where it says, "widen the strike zone if you feel like it?" I'll tell my players to swing a ball off the plate with two strikes and they can place a ball where a ball outside the zone is. And, yes, they can hit it. 

I get your point with 10 and 11 year olds - but my point is these pitchers, including ours, don't need that help. They throw hard and can throw 60% strikes with a normal strike zone. When they are also getting a ball plus on the inside and outside, it's becomes a game of who is going to get the one or two hits, or hit a batter or walk. When I say 2k's an inning, this is pitching against some of the top ranked teams in the country, not teams that can't hit. 

So do you actually think calling a true ball or more outside is good? 

 

Bill... NO ONE and I mean NO one calls just the plate outside of MLB and AAA. Teach your kids to adjust and quit complaining.... You've asked for an answer and you've got it. Either accept it or don't, but quit beating the horse. 

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Guest Coach Bill
3 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

Bill... NO ONE and I mean NO one calls just the plate outside of MLB and AAA. Teach your kids to adjust and quit complaining.... 

So what rule book do you go by?

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3 minutes ago, Guest Coach Bill said:

So what rule book do you go by?

Ahh you’re one of these guys... how about this. Fly me out to your next tournament. Get me a hotel room and $25 per diem.Pay me my standard $150 7 inning game fee and I will call the plate for you. We will also wave the time limit... 

Then we will see how much you like the plate called.

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Guest Coach Bill
4 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

 

If you can't hit a pitch that is three inches off the outside corner, you can't hit.  

I actually agree with you here. Tell me how many guys can hit a a good fastball 3 to 5 inches in and keep it fair without getting jammed other than Miguel Cabrera. And quite frankly, I have less of a problem with a little on the outside than I do when they seriously widen the inside. 

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I gotta be honest, I think we're being a little hard on Bill. It does really sound like this umpire sucks, but, and this is to Bill, the question posed in the OP is flawed. You shouldn't address this with the umpire. Go to tournament director/umpire assignor and, with video proof of how bad he is, tell them you no longer want him to work your games. Will it change anything? Honestly, probably not, but it's the best you can do. I'll bet you that his assignor knows he's not great. If he's been around for awhile, and he's still primarily doing games at that age level... There may be a reason (not bashing all umpires at that level. Some prefer that level, and there's nothing wrong with that). 

I'll tell you what won't help. Trying to "show him up", as you said. It won't do anything for you other than maybe get yourself ejected, make him dislike your team (adding to the bias if it's really there), and make you look like a jerk. There's only one real solution, and that's to pay for better umpires. Good luck getting your parents and enough other teams to agree to that. 

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Guest Coach Bill
7 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

Ahh you’re one of these guys... how about this. Fly me out to your next tournament. Get me a hotel room and $25 per diem.Pay me my standard $150 7 inning game fee and I will call the plate for you. We will also wave the time limit... 

Then we will see how much you like the plate called.

I bet you're proud of that fancy-smancy ring up move you do.

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Back on point. Though several of you have given me a good laugh.

All associations have "That umpire." Due to umpire shortages some associations/TD's get stuck with that guy and his antics may be known, but if it comes to not being able to fill a spot or using "That guy" they will often use him and pray for the best. They will generally work him at the lower levels, like the 10-11 y/o you mention, where he can presumably do the least damage. You writing about his pregame speech, pretty much tells me he's "That guy." 

My first suggestion is to have a conversation with the TD about using this guy. Make sure the umpire association you work with knows you'd prefer not to have him. These are the people with the most control of using the umpires. Find out if he's freelance or being assigned as an association. A freelancer might be harder to avoid, but if he's assigned through an association, find out from the TD which associations they use before you register. I've had coaches tell me before they find out where the umps are coming from when registering. Let them know you're playing at an elite level and you don't want them using second rate umpires. I don't know specifically about your area, but around here there are seemingly numerous tournaments in that age group every weekend. Take your business elsewhere. Just remember you may end up paying more. My local association, for example, is the most expensive in the area, but we have the best training of the other 2 groups and because we pay more we get more umpires coming to us. Not to say we don't have "that guy" because we probably have several of "those guys." 

Protesting, would be a waste of your time and money until you have a true misapplication of the rules. Strike zones and other judgement calls are not protestable. 

As for the zone, at the 10-11 y/o level any umpire has to be out there looking for strikes; and yes, that does mean expanding the zone from the textbook definition. The key is good umpires know how to expand the zone without being ridiculous. I'll bet good money that the umpires you like best and look forward to them working your games are also expanding the zone, they just know how to do it well and don't make a spectacle out of letting people know what they're doing.

The judgement of the umpire's zone is something that pitchers and catchers will have to deal with at all levels; recognizing an umpire is calling a particular zone or location and not only  working with it but taking advantage of it. This umpire is getting the high ones,  this guy is giving a little extra on the outside, or this guy is being tight on the inside. Use these things to your advantage. I've heard catchers telling their teams what to expect from the ump.  I've even had a D-II catcher tell me once after I called a strike on the corner, "I knew you'd like that." acknowledging that if he hits that spot he knows I'm going to call it. 

I hope this helps. 

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And Bill, I'm gonna try to explain the reaction you're getting here. You have to understand that you're coming in with an anonymous account, trashing an umpire, and asking other umpires how to make that umpire look bad. We're gonna get a little defensive under those circumstances, and we tend to protect our own. I have no problem saying an umpire sucks if he does and is unwilling to learn or change (which, if what you're saying is true, is the case for this guy), but many umpires do, and you can't fault them for that!

Another thing you have to understand, is that coaches are often the worst part of our jobs, especially at select ball levels. Many (But certainly not all. We have a few coaches on this board, @beerguy55 and @Rich Ives for example, who provide very valuable information and are very knowledgeable) are completely ignorant of the rules, baseball, and reality. They scapegoat us, and yell at us. Now, there are some that are great to work with, and cause no problems, but they're overshadowed by the less savory ones. Combine all this with the above, and you can start to see why your post may have been taken the way it was

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