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 MLB recently requires base coaches to wear "batting helmets"(after the Coolbaugh incident)...
 Has there ever been discussion of base umpires wearing such protection? or do they already wear inserts?

 

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I don't know of any discussion or any umpires who wear any head protection while on the bases.

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Mr. Phu Bai, if you mean any official discussions between MLB and the umpires union I cannot tell you for sure. My guess is that it has probably happened. The minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh died in July 2007 after being struck by a line drive while he was in the first base coach’s box. I would be shocked if that incident did not spark any discussion of safety measures. I have found a blog posted on a Facebook page belonging to Ump-Attire dated November 2009—here’s an excerpt—

Umpire Base Helmets as an Option

November 19, 2009 at 10:00 AM

No one would ever question that you absolutely need a umpire mask or helmet when umpiring behind the plate at any level. But what about in the field? The talk about base helmets for umpires began after base coaches started being required to wear them a few seasons ago. Would umpires be next?...

***

And, I know it isn’t baseball, but there is at least one cricket umpire who wears a helmet.

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Base coaches are seldom watching the ball, which puts them at greater risk for being hit.

Umpires are always watching the ball, which lowers their risk of being hit. 

Much less reason to require base umpires to wear helmets.

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Ironically there is an article right here on U-E that talks about base umpires wearing helmets. It’s written by Warren (whoever that is) and can be found in the Articles/Equipment forum dated August 28, 2009. It is an interview with Jim Kirk of Ump-Attire and the pertinent portion of the interview follows:

Another safety topic we discussed was flapless style batting helmets for base umpires. We both seem to agree that this is a direction that the NFHS will eventually head the question mark is on when. I personally do not feel batting style helmets are necessary for umpires. While every year many umpires are injured by batted and even thrown balls and we do not have any means to protect ourselves like the fielders, our paramount duty is to know where the ball is. This is our defense. We are paying the most attention to the ball of anybody on the field. Base runners and even coaches are not watching the ball intently and from a coaching standpoint base runners should not be watching the ball while running the bases. So the base runners should indeed wear a helmet. For the coaches I personally feel they should and this year have seen a Legion coach take one to the helmet who loudly joked, "Oh, that's why I have to wear this thing."

I even say that umpires shouldn't be mandated to wear a helmet after seeing a dear friend and great umpire go down with a cracked skull after being hit by a thrown ball. He has made a full recovery and now wears a hockey helmet (not an HSM - he also is a hockey ref) on the bases. He will be the first to admit that this was a result of him turning before the fielder released the ball. His injury was preventable, but there are going to be injuries which are just unavoidable and that's a risk everybody involved in the game is at from the players, to the coaches, to the umpires. But there needs to be a balance of protection and practical.

Now even though I am against wearing helmets as an umpire when the rule ultimately comes down I will wear a helmet. Begrudgingly, but I will wear it. Apparently, there are some umpires out there who are already wearing them

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15 hours ago, maven said:

Base coaches are seldom watching the ball, which puts them at greater risk for being hit.

 

Barf!

How can you coach runners if you don't see the pitch and where the ball was hit? 

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8 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

Barf!

How can you coach runners if you don't see the pitch and where the ball was hit? 

Not well. Thanks for making my point.

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11 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

Barf!

How can you coach runners if you don't see the pitch and where the ball was hit? 

Sorry for a sidetrack ...
:ranton:
I may have told this story here before, but ... back when I was running a local league, we made the decision to eliminate umpires at the coach pitch level.  Coaches (and parents) had become way to competitive for an instructional program and were treating teenage kids so poorly that we couldn’t get any one willing to do it.

At the board meeting where we announced it, one coach was particularly incensed.  I informed the coaches they would be making the calls on the field and would need to work together for the sake of the kids, not themselves.  

This coach loudly asked “What if I don’t agree with the call?  Who am I supposed to yell at?!”  

I asked pointedly, “Why are you yelling at anybody while coaching 6 and 7 year-old kids?”

The coach scoffed, “Well ... I don’t know how you expect me to see the play and make a call.  I’m too busy focusing on coaching my players.”  :shakehead:

Probably inappropriate, but I replied “And that brings us right back to my last question: why are you yelling at anybody about a call on the field?  That behavior is exactly what we are trying to get rid of.”

I know I have an odd perspective on many things, but why do coaches think their job is to blindly argue for the benefit of their team?:rantoff:

That feeds back to the point ... an umpire should be indiscriminately focused on the action before him/her.  An umpire has free range to move about the field and is taught proper positioning not just to provide the best look at a call, but also for safety.  That said, accidents can happen.  However comparing an umpire to a coach who is restricted in movement/location and focused on many other things happening on the field, is a poor comparison.

I’m not going to say an umpire shouldn’t wear a helmet if she/he prefers to.  Mandating it is a silly and unnecessary move though.

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3 hours ago, maven said:

Not well. Thanks for making my point.

You missed mine - the coaches ARE watching the ball.

 

BTW, if you as an umpire are always watching the ball how do you see what the coaches are doing. :)

 

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On 1/25/2020 at 8:39 AM, maven said:

Base coaches are seldom watching the ball, which puts them at greater risk for being hit.

Umpires are always watching the ball, which lowers their risk of being hit. 

Much less reason to require base umpires to wear helmets.

 Anyone wear a cup when working the bases???

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On 1/24/2020 at 12:58 PM, Phu Bai said:

 MLB recently requires base coaches to wear "batting helmets"(after the Coolbaugh incident)...
 Has there ever been discussion of base umpires wearing such protection? or do they already wear inserts?

 

Recently? Phu, you and I have differing definitions of “recently”. Mike Coolbaugh’s accidental, albeit tragic, death occurred in 2007, in a Minor League game. MLB decided in that offseason to implement helmets for base coaches for the 2008 season. That’s over a decade in helmets; that’s not recent.

Besides, let’s look at the context for the directive. Coolbaugh was in a AA Minor League game, wherein the sightlines may or may not have been optimum, although Dickey Stephens Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas looks to be a quite “complete” stadium. Coolbaugh was coaching first base, and as @maven has stated, and many other baseball participants will attest, base coaches are not always following the ball. There are times when a coach may fixate on the pitcher, or the F3 (holding his runner on), or on F4/6 at TOP, especially if there’s a steal attempt or hit & run on. And, that lingering moment may make all the difference in the world in terms of reaction to a batted ball, which it ultimately did in Coolbaugh’s case. Coolbaugh was struck in the neck (not the head, or in a spot that a batting helmet otherwise covers), and died of a cerebral hematoma within an hour. If he had been wearing a helmet, might he have ducked or reacted differently? We never will know.

Should umpires, though, be required to wear helmets (hard hats) in a game? No. Certainly, if an umpire chooses to wear one, so long as it is in keeping to uniform tolerances (black or navy, when appropriate; unadorned, etc), then that’s his/her choice, and really, an assigner, evaluator, colleague, or partner really shouldn’t criticize or deride them for that choice.

But mandating it? Especially given that existing helmets are ill-suited for wearing as long-span “hard hats” (not well ventilated, cheap plastic, doesn’t breathe, hot, etc.)? Not happenin’.

Do I wear a helmet as a hockey official? Oh gosh yes. Even though I’m only doing peewees, and I’m not very likely to get a puck to the head, I’m not that proficient a skater to trust myself to not hit the ice or smack into the glass.

I snowboard with a helmet on. I bicycle with a helmet on. Am I ever going to wear a helmet or hard hat while on the bases as an umpire? Nope.

What’s annoying me is that NFHS seems to be on the verge of mandating helmets for Base Umpires not as a means of increasing protection (our well being), but of reducing liability (their bottom line). It is Item-A-Number-1 on my job (as an umpire) responsibility list to know the status and location of the ball. In 13 years of umpiring, I have not been hit by a batted ball (yet... I’ll concede, yet) while a Base Umpire. And, only once, in a 12U game at CDP no less, have I been hit by a thrown ball. It was my third year, the throw was slow, and I turned waaaaay too early. But, will NFHS implement a training regime, either in fitness or technique, so High School umpires are able to safely and effectively move about on a field?

Crickets.

4 hours ago, Phu Bai said:

 Anyone wear a cup when working the bases???

No way, no how. 

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31 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Recently? Phu, you and I have differing definitions of “recently”. Mike Coolbaugh’s accidental, albeit tragic, death occurred in 2007, in a Minor League game. MLB decided in that offseason to implement helmets for base coaches for the 2008 season. That’s over a decade in helmets; that’s not recent.

Besides, let’s look at the context for the directive. Coolbaugh was in a AA Minor League game, wherein the sightlines may or may not have been optimum, although Dickey Stephens Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas looks to be a quite “complete” stadium. Coolbaugh was coaching first base, and as @maven has stated, and many other baseball participants will attest, base coaches are not always following the ball. There are times when a coach may fixate on the pitcher, or the F3 (holding his runner on), or on F4/6 at TOP, especially if there’s a steal attempt or hit & run on. And, that lingering moment may make all the difference in the world in terms of reaction to a batted ball, which it ultimately did in Coolbaugh’s case. Coolbaugh was struck in the neck (not the head, or in a spot that a batting helmet otherwise covers), and died of a cerebral hematoma within an hour. If he had been wearing a helmet, might he have ducked or reacted differently? We never will know.

Should umpires, though, be required to wear helmets (hard hats) in a game? No. Certainly, if an umpire chooses to wear one, so long as it is in keeping to uniform tolerances (black or navy, when appropriate; unadorned, etc), then that’s his/her choice, and really, an assigner, evaluator, colleague, or partner really shouldn’t criticize or deride them for that choice.

But mandating it? Especially given that existing helmets are ill-suited for wearing as long-span “hard hats” (not well ventilated, cheap plastic, doesn’t breathe, hot, etc.)? Not happenin’.

Do I wear a helmet as a hockey official? Oh gosh yes. Even though I’m only doing peewees, and I’m not very likely to get a puck to the head, I’m not that proficient a skater to trust myself to not hit the ice or smack into the glass.

I snowboard with a helmet on. I bicycle with a helmet on. Am I ever going to wear a helmet or hard hat while on the bases as an umpire? Nope.

What’s annoying me is that NFHS seems to be on the verge of mandating helmets for Base Umpires not as a means of increasing protection (our well being), but of reducing liability (their bottom line). It is Item-A-Number-1 on my job (as an umpire) responsibility list to know the status and location of the ball. In 13 years of umpiring, I have not been hit by a batted ball (yet... I’ll concede, yet) while a Base Umpire. And, only once, in a 12U game at CDP no less, have I been hit by a thrown ball. It was my third year, the throw was slow, and I turned waaaaay too early. But, will NFHS implement a training regime, either in fitness or technique, so High School umpires are able to safely and effectively move about on a field?

Crickets.

No way, no how. 

  Just think what would be happening in major sports if OSHA ever gets really involved!

 

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8 hours ago, Phu Bai said:

 Anyone wear a cup when working the bases???

Yes. I used not to do so, but as U1 in my first D1 stint, I had a pickoff throw miss F3 and tick the bottom of my scrotum. That ball traveled fast, and it was close enough to convince me.

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5 hours ago, MadMax said:

In 13 years of umpiring, I have not been hit by a batted ball (yet... I’ll concede, yet)

And now it'll happen within your first week of umpiring this year.

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10 hours ago, Phu Bai said:

 Anyone wear a cup when working the bases???

 

Yes, two of them actually … but probably not what you are thinking … this is slow pitch softball protective gear.

 

the-simpsons---trinkhelm-mit-schlauch-du

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10 hours ago, Matt said:

Yes. I used not to do so, but as U1 in my first D1 stint, I had a pickoff throw miss F3 and tick the bottom of my scrotum. That ball traveled fast, and it was close enough to convince me.

Couldn't the ball tick off F3's glove and just as easily hit you in the (other) head?

I wore a cup on the bases.  I did get hit in the upper back by a throw, (that could just as easily of hit my head) but never wore a helmet.

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1 hour ago, noumpere said:

Couldn't the ball tick off F3's glove and just as easily hit you in the (other) head?

I wore a cup on the bases.  I did get hit in the upper back by a throw, (that could just as easily of hit my head) but never wore a helmet.

I've had my nose broken by a batted ball, and that was the best outcome with where it hit me (square on the cheekbone and pushed my nose aside.) Higher, it would have been a broken orbital bone at a minimum, lower and it would have been reconstructing my (non-existent) smile.

You do bring up a valid question--why protect one and not the other? In my case, I use composite risk management. I feel that there is a significantly low enough potential frequency of hits to my head to mitigate the more serious consequences that they bring and that using a helmet as a risk control does not lend enough benefit. Others may come to a different conclusion. 

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On ‎1‎/‎25‎/‎2020 at 8:10 AM, Senor Azul said:

Ironically there is an article right here on U-E that talks about base umpires wearing helmets. It’s written by Warren (whoever that is) and can be found in the Articles/Equipment forum dated August 28, 2009. It is an interview with Jim Kirk of Ump-Attire and the pertinent portion of the interview follows:

Another safety topic we discussed was flapless style batting helmets for base umpires. We both seem to agree that this is a direction that the NFHS will eventually head the question mark is on when. I personally do not feel batting style helmets are necessary for umpires. While every year many umpires are injured by batted and even thrown balls and we do not have any means to protect ourselves like the fielders, our paramount duty is to know where the ball is. This is our defense. We are paying the most attention to the ball of anybody on the field. Base runners and even coaches are not watching the ball intently and from a coaching standpoint base runners should not be watching the ball while running the bases. So the base runners should indeed wear a helmet. For the coaches I personally feel they should and this year have seen a Legion coach take one to the helmet who loudly joked, "Oh, that's why I have to wear this thing."

I even say that umpires shouldn't be mandated to wear a helmet after seeing a dear friend and great umpire go down with a cracked skull after being hit by a thrown ball. He has made a full recovery and now wears a hockey helmet (not an HSM - he also is a hockey ref) on the bases. He will be the first to admit that this was a result of him turning before the fielder released the ball. His injury was preventable, but there are going to be injuries which are just unavoidable and that's a risk everybody involved in the game is at from the players, to the coaches, to the umpires. But there needs to be a balance of protection and practical.

Now even though I am against wearing helmets as an umpire when the rule ultimately comes down I will wear a helmet. Begrudgingly, but I will wear it. Apparently, there are some umpires out there who are already wearing them

Correct me if I am wrong... but Warren is Umpire-In-Chief's old handle on here under his real name. 

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

I've had my nose broken by a batted ball, and that was the best outcome with where it hit me (square on the cheekbone and pushed my nose aside.) Higher, it would have been a broken orbital bone at a minimum, lower and it would have been reconstructing my (non-existent) smile.

You do bring up a valid question--why protect one and not the other? In my case, I use composite risk management. I feel that there is a significantly low enough potential frequency of hits to my head to mitigate the more serious consequences that they bring and that using a helmet as a risk control does not lend enough benefit. Others may come to a different conclusion. 

I agree with that -- probability of occurrence * cost of occurrence -  cost (e.g., discomfort) of prevention

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20 hours ago, JSam21 said:

Correct me if I am wrong... but Warren is Umpire-In-Chief's old handle on here under his real name. 

I think @Senor Azul was trying to be funny. I could be wrong, though.

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6 hours ago, yawetag said:

I think @Senor Azul was trying to be funny. I could be wrong, though.

I apologize if he was... Maybe I've been conditioned to take everything he posts as very serious and pure information since there seems to be some sort of research or citation in every post he has.

Edited by JSam21
gif was misinterpreted and removed

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Most posters here absolutely refuse to like any of my posts. Most posters here never thank me or show any gratitude whatsoever or even acknowledge my posts. Yet I am far and away the most quoted contributor on this site. And I am far and away the most mentioned and mocked.

Why in this particular case, Mr. JSam21, did you feel the urge to post that ridiculous animated GIF if not to mock me? Your apology to me (or was it to Mr. yawetag?) was sufficient and unnecessary. I don’t know why it is necessary to explain my posts when no one else has to but here goes anyway.

When I cite someone’s work I want to give proper credit because it is due. That article was signed only by a first name so that was all I was able to give. I don’t know any other poster on this site although that first name sounded familiar to me. Still I wanted to give credit but at the same time I was being a bit lazy in trying to find who it was on this site—I took a shortcut so sue me.

The reason I research my posts is twofold—I want to answer the question as best as possible because I am truly trying to help you. And I don’t want to burden you with just my opinions. Heck, my thoroughly researched replies with “pure information” are routinely challenged and/or disbelieved so why would I post any of my opinions?

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2 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Most posters here absolutely refuse to like any of my posts. Most posters here never thank me or show any gratitude whatsoever or even acknowledge my posts. Yet I am far and away the most quoted contributor on this site.

Over the past few months I have read through a ton of topics (hey, it's the off season!) in the ATU, Mechanics, and Situations forums on this site; just so I can grow in my knowledge of umpiring. I have learned many valuable things, and I for one have benefited from @Senor Azul's extensive and thorough rules posts. I appreciate the time you take to research and write them. Please keep the posts coming.

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3 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Most posters here absolutely refuse to like any of my posts. Most posters here never thank me or show any gratitude whatsoever or even acknowledge my posts. Yet I am far and away the most quoted contributor on this site. And I am far and away the most mentioned and mocked.

Why in this particular case, Mr. JSam21, did you feel the urge to post that ridiculous animated GIF if not to mock me? Your apology to me (or was it to Mr. yawetag?) was sufficient and unnecessary. I don’t know why it is necessary to explain my posts when no one else has to but here goes anyway.

When I cite someone’s work I want to give proper credit because it is due. That article was signed only by a first name so that was all I was able to give. I don’t know any other poster on this site although that first name sounded familiar to me. Still I wanted to give credit but at the same time I was being a bit lazy in trying to find who it was on this site—I took a shortcut so sue me.

The reason I research my posts is twofold—I want to answer the question as best as possible because I am truly trying to help you. And I don’t want to burden you with just my opinions. Heck, my thoroughly researched replies with “pure information” are routinely challenged and/or disbelieved so why would I post any of my opinions?

There was no intent to mock... I was just having fun with how thorough your posts are cited. It was intended to give you credit for doing the work. I have removed the gif from the post. 

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@JSam21, don't feel alone.  I called him out commending him for his plethora of knowledge and resources, and was all but chastised on here (by that person) for doing so.  As far as I'm concerned at this point, he can stop expecting a Christmas card from me.  (Yes, I had to re-write that last sentence several times .)

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On 1/28/2020 at 10:20 AM, Senor Azul said:

Most posters here absolutely refuse to like any of my posts. Most posters here never thank me or show any gratitude whatsoever or even acknowledge my posts. Yet I am far and away the most quoted contributor on this site. And I am far and away the most mentioned and mocked.

Why in this particular case, Mr. JSam21, did you feel the urge to post that ridiculous animated GIF if not to mock me? Your apology to me (or was it to Mr. yawetag?) was sufficient and unnecessary. I don’t know why it is necessary to explain my posts when no one else has to but here goes anyway.

When I cite someone’s work I want to give proper credit because it is due. That article was signed only by a first name so that was all I was able to give. I don’t know any other poster on this site although that first name sounded familiar to me. Still I wanted to give credit but at the same time I was being a bit lazy in trying to find who it was on this site—I took a shortcut so sue me.

The reason I research my posts is twofold—I want to answer the question as best as possible because I am truly trying to help you. And I don’t want to burden you with just my opinions. Heck, my thoroughly researched replies with “pure information” are routinely challenged and/or disbelieved so why would I post any of my opinions?

 No good deed goes unpunished!

 

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