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If you haven't heard of it, there's a subreddit called "Am I The A--hole?  I have one of those situations involving umpiring, and we need content, so why not?

So I like working games, and I'm generally not all that fussed over the level of ball.  I think I'm pretty good at what I do, but I'm content to top-out at HS ball for the most part.  But I'm starting to narrow my range a bit, because I get tired of the little dudes.  THEY'RE okay, actually, but just the lack of skill, the coaches (who ALSO sometimes could use a skill infusion), and the parents, frustrate me.

Things are winding down, and there's some tournament this weekend.  The person trying to get guys tells me it's mostly gonna be in the 4(!) to 8 range.  There might be some 12s Saturday, but he's not sure, and some softball - but I would umpire that with baseball rules, so I've already ruled that out.  So I've turned him down, even though I know they need guys.

I'm just at a point where I've said I don't want to go lower than 12.  I'll work 10s (in the Pony world, I think that's Mustang), but that's more to help someone out than to actually WANT to do that.  It means a dead weekend if I don't, but I think I'm okay with that.

Am I The A--hole for doing that?  Is it okay that I'm setting a "age/level" standard for myself now?  Does the fact they're in need change that answer?

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20 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

If you haven't heard of it, there's a subreddit called "Am I The A--hole?  I have one of those situations involving umpiring, and we need content, so why not?

So I like working games, and I'm generally not all that fussed over the level of ball.  I think I'm pretty good at what I do, but I'm content to top-out at HS ball for the most part.  But I'm starting to narrow my range a bit, because I get tired of the little dudes.  THEY'RE okay, actually, but just the lack of skill, the coaches (who ALSO sometimes could use a skill infusion), and the parents, frustrate me.

Things are winding down, and there's some tournament this weekend.  The person trying to get guys tells me it's mostly gonna be in the 4(!) to 8 range.  There might be some 12s Saturday, but he's not sure, and some softball - but I would umpire that with baseball rules, so I've already ruled that out.  So I've turned him down, even though I know they need guys.

I'm just at a point where I've said I don't want to go lower than 12.  I'll work 10s (in the Pony world, I think that's Mustang), but that's more to help someone out than to actually WANT to do that.  It means a dead weekend if I don't, but I think I'm okay with that.

Am I The A--hole for doing that?  Is it okay that I'm setting a "age/level" standard for myself now?  Does the fact they're in need change that answer?

I don't see a problem.  I know that after 25 years I don't really enjoy putting up with unruly parents and coaches any longer.  I can only imagine how good ball is at the 4 year old level.

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4 minutes ago, umpstu said:

I don't see a problem.  I know that after 25 years I don't really enjoy putting up with unruly parents and coaches any longer.  I can only imagine how good ball is at the 4 year old level.

ESPECIALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! :no: 

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43 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

If you haven't heard of it, there's a subreddit called "Am I The A--hole?  I have one of those situations involving umpiring, and we need content, so why not?

So I like working games, and I'm generally not all that fussed over the level of ball.  I think I'm pretty good at what I do, but I'm content to top-out at HS ball for the most part.  But I'm starting to narrow my range a bit, because I get tired of the little dudes.  THEY'RE okay, actually, but just the lack of skill, the coaches (who ALSO sometimes could use a skill infusion), and the parents, frustrate me.

Things are winding down, and there's some tournament this weekend.  The person trying to get guys tells me it's mostly gonna be in the 4(!) to 8 range.  There might be some 12s Saturday, but he's not sure, and some softball - but I would umpire that with baseball rules, so I've already ruled that out.  So I've turned him down, even though I know they need guys.

I'm just at a point where I've said I don't want to go lower than 12.  I'll work 10s (in the Pony world, I think that's Mustang), but that's more to help someone out than to actually WANT to do that.  It means a dead weekend if I don't, but I think I'm okay with that.

Am I The A--hole for doing that?  Is it okay that I'm setting a "age/level" standard for myself now?  Does the fact they're in need change that answer?

Not at all.

Thankfully, my association only does HS, its summer equivalent, and higher ball. Even with that, I will not take sub-varsity games unless my assignor is absolutely out of options--not because they don't deserve good umpiring, but because my game suffers if I have to jump between levels. An example of this was two years ago--I had done a late-season series between two strong D2s (both made regionals that season) then had to do a 10th-grade game the day after. No harm in doing that once in a while, but I really felt out of place.

Personally, I don't know why any game below, say, 10YO needs umpires. 

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NTA.

You have no obligation to work all age levels. Once I started high school, I decided I wouldn't work anything lower than middle school.

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6 hours ago, LRZ said:

There is something unseemly about umpires at a 4 y/o game.

Someone has to change their diapers when the get go second base!  :)

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6 hours ago, Matt said:

Not at all.

Thankfully, my association only does HS, its summer equivalent, and higher ball. Even with that, I will not take sub-varsity games unless my assignor is absolutely out of options--not because they don't deserve good umpiring, but because my game suffers if I have to jump between levels. An example of this was two years ago--I had done a late-season series between two strong D2s (both made regionals that season) then had to do a 10th-grade game the day after. No harm in doing that once in a while, but I really felt out of place.

Personally, I don't know why any game below, say, 10YO needs umpires. 

More than likely those 10th grade coaches were happy to see a good umpire.  I don't mind working freshman and jv ball.  

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9 hours ago, Matt said:

Personally, I don't know why any game below, say, 10YO needs umpires. 

Matt, we may not agree on much, but we are 100% in agreement here.

8u does NOT need umpires.

6u does not need to exist.

4u ... are you high?

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I understand your thinking and have to constantly remind my assigners that I will only work 60/90 fields. I will work sub varsity if the HS assigner needs me. I don't want to deal with rules or mechanics differences because of the size of the field. Personal choice. My roots are in LL ball starting at 8u, but I don't want to deal with it anymore.

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@HokieUmp I think it may be our roots in VA where the mind set was you took what you were assigned and didn't b!tch about it and that helped you move up the ladder that makes you ask the question.

Now you're at the level where you want to be no problem declining on age group. 

I completely agree that the parents and coaches are the problems at the non-shaving age level. I can put up with the lack of playing ability that goes along with the age, but I can actually find some of this endearing and some of the best parts of these games, if I'm in the right mood...

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I work LL (all levels that require a player to pitch), HS, and a AAABA tournament in Johnstown.  Basically from 9y/o to 22 y/o.  I've often been asked what age I prefer to work.  The answer (along the lines of what @Umpire in Chief eluded to) is two fold.  I enjoy both ends of the spectrum. 

As a general rule the better the ball (higher levels), the game calls itself. 

However, to be on a 60' diamond with 9 & 10 y/o players watching them learn, can be quite entertaining and exhilarating at times.  For example: R1, batter hit ground ball to F6.  Now, logically thinking, they flip/toss/throw the ball to F4 covering 2B.  A 9/10y/o??   HA!  There ain't no tellin' where that ball is going next.  Maybe to 3B.....maybe to F2.  WHO KNOWS!?!

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Younger kids will quickly remind you that while you can anticipate a play, you should never react to that anticipation.

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I am giving serious consideration to declaring this next year that I won't work for anybody not on a 90/60 field. It's not that I don't enjoy it - it's that the required differences in mechanics throw me off and I don't think I'm doing as good of a job as I should be.

I'm still going to continue with the rec ball in my small town, since I'm the UIC there.

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A Salty, but funny story from this year:

i get assigned a LL game out east here on LI, which had a start time after a Varsity HS game I had plate for, so my assignor for the LL knew i was out there and asked if i wanted to pile on a decent fee for an easy LL game solo after my HS game, and I gladly accepted.

I show up and it's sub-minors, so maybe 8 and 9 year olds, with coach pitch after 4 balls before 3 strikes.... So you know the level of ball...

Anyhow, about 3rd inning or so, after a half inning I am standing on the 3BL while the pitcher throws his 5, with the team to be on offense in the 3rd base dugout and I hear this conversation behind me:

"Hey Johnny, guess what penises are really for"

"What are they for?"

"You stick it in a girl's vagina and make a baby"

"NO WAY!!"

"WAY!"

"Hey Nick, Guess what penises are for!"

I turn around, probably with a shocked look on my face, and catch the coaches eye, who has his jaw dropped to the ground in shock also..

He yells "BOYS! Stop that talk now and concentrate on the game here! Baseball talk only!"

We both laugh at each other, the catcher on the field throws down, and the coach of the other team comes over to the 3B side to let us know about some subs (like I even care at this age). So I tell him " You may want to stay away from this side, the dugout talk is getting salty here"

Same game, one kid comes up to bat, doing the whole routine of knocking dirt from his cleats, adjusting his batting gloves, spitting, and digging in, then tells me "Hey Mr. Umpire, keep the strike zone real for me please"

THAT is why I will take the younger age levels!

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I think we need to get the youth leagues to start pulling their internal parents back into officiating. We are losing so many umpires out there for so many reasons... age, injury, booming economy, treatment of officials and a myriad of other issues that our ranks are thinning out... 

As a LL UIC, I laugh out loud at parents who tell me we should just pay for umpires. I ask them where this mythical spring of paid umpires happens to be, especially since outside of LL, I am one of those guys... Tell me where these magical creatures hide!

So many of us got into this business because we were volunteered to umpire our kids games. A few of us decided to get better and opened a rule book, went to a clinic and stepped up. Trying to outsource all of these youth games, in my mind, is a self defeating process... we fail to grab those 3-5 guys and gals a year who would become 'Umpires' and stick with it in exchange for taking the easy road and just out sourcing. What happens when there is no 'out source'?

Sorry to hijack your thread... I agree with not wanting to work these super small kids and setting a standard for yourself.

I did something like 15 9u games last season... why? My daughter was playing and how can I beg people to cover those games if I am not willing to do so? Lead by example. But when it comes to wanting to work those? Man... I would rather work the Majors game if LL, or the Varsity game if HS... 8u? painful.

 

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1 hour ago, The Man in Blue said:

But if we pay them, it’s OK to yell at them!  :sarcasm:

Are you my boss?

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On 11/11/2019 at 11:45 AM, Mudisfun said:

Sorry to hijack your thread... I agree with not wanting to work these super small kids and setting a standard for yourself.

I did something like 15 9u games last season... why? My daughter was playing and how can I beg people to cover those games if I am not willing to do so? Lead by example. But when it comes to wanting to work those? Man... I would rather work the Majors game if LL, or the Varsity game if HS... 8u? painful.

 

What's interesting about the scenario that I was describing is they don't really NEED me at those younger games.  I literally DID have a choice.  For reasons that I can't quite wrap my head around, the littles have more than enough dudes to cover.

As it played out, there WERE 14U games on that Saturday.  So I ended up violating a DIFFERENT rule of mine - the "don't work too many F*#King games in one day" rule.  We've talked about it before here, but I've NEVER been an advocate of working a ton in a day - there's Just. No. Way. you're that good by games six/seven or so.  But there were some ridiculously short time limits, so I agreed to work two, take two off, then do three to end the day.  Things changed about 214 times that day, and I ended up going two, taking one off, and working the last four.

(Weirdly, I felt decent at the end, physically.  But my legs were getting heavy, and I was sick-to-death of bad baseball and some of the participants, too.)

But I was only there because they were doing an older group.  But for the littles, and the softball games?  Plenty of guys.

Now - in line with the other topic, where I objected to the tone because of the "SH*# don't stink" thing - I WILL say that I had a bit of a 'tude about some of these guys.  My SH*# didn't stink, in my mind, when I matched up with a lot of them.  My partner that day for my six was a lovely guy;  but he was a terrible umpire.  At least, he did a lot of things a "trained" guy wouldn't do.  So I fought a lot of mixed emotions during the day.  (I don't know what this part means, in any big picture way - I'm trying to avoid doing any work, so I just started typing away.)

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Not at all.............I actually think I have extended my career by not doing games under the 14-15 yr old age group. At one time I was that guy wold would work any game played with a white ball and red stitches.....

The level of play,  the "over the top" coaches and parents,  working games solo, being mistaken for the backstop did me in.........    

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Perhaps some of us that have the choice of working or not working the small field games can feel good about choosing to not work them by recruiting and mentoring a few guys willing to work kids games.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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On 11/25/2019 at 2:29 PM, KenBAZ said:

recruiting and mentoring a few guys

This is the key right now. Nation-wide shortage of officials across all sports. 

The flip side of the problem I believe I read in a recent Referee FB post, that the retention rate among new officials is so low, partially due to the abuse they endure. SO we have a real catch 22.

 

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