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umpire interference

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14U, OBR with league modifications.  This year we are using only 1 umpire and calling balls and strikes from the mound, for social distancing (as a new umpire, I'm very frustrated with this; in my other league we are calling from the plate and I'm very confident in my ball / strike calls, but getting the height right from the mound is a challenge). 

Runner on 1st.  I don't remember how many outs but it doesn't affect the situation.

The batter hit a line drive directly at me, and I couldn't move fast enough to get out of the way.  It struck my thigh HARD (you should have heard the sound, and the resulting “ooooooh” from the crowd…and my pasty white leg is a gigantic rainbow right now); I think it was going at least 90 mph.  I immediately gave the mechanic for "time," and announced, "TIME, DEAD BALL, DEAD BALL" because the second baseman was trying to field the deflected ball.  I then announced, "Umpire interference, batter-runner, take 1st." 

I know I called it correctly.  Rule 6.01(f) Comment: “Umpire's interference occurs…when a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder...

A previous rule, under rule 5.06(c)2, specifies when a ball is dead, and declares a dead ball on umpire interference when:  "A fair ball touches a runner or an umpire on fair territory before it touches an infielder including the pitcher, or touches an umpire before it has passed an infielder other than the pitcher; runners advance, if forced."

Because it states, "runners advance, if forced," I know I made the call correctly by awarding 1st to the batter-runner. 

However, the defensive coach, who was the consummate whiner that challenged every single close call, (Every. Single. One), argued this call, too.  I’m not even sure what he wanted me to do; he just argued for the sake of arguing.  I think he was just using me as a scapegoat because his team was getting blown out. 

I had my son, a 13 year-old with a better head for the game than anyone I’ve ever known, in the crowd because he neither had practice nor a game of his own that day.  I wanted some unadulterated feedback about my umpiring, and I know if I’m doing something wrong he’ll waste no time telling me (he’s a teenager – in his mind, EVERYTHING I do is wrong). 

His feedback:  Of three close calls that all happened to go against the same team, he thinks I got them all right.  He thought I missed one pitch that I called a ball (he was sitting directly behind the plate).  I’d say that’s not bad. 

But he overheard one of the parents on the Whining Team say, “There’s no such thing as umpire interference” as he grumbled about my poor call.   

Wow.  When I got started this year, I was warned by some mentors that coaches don’t know the rules as well as they think they do, and parents know even less.  I actually work with a guy who played high school baseball and had no idea about the infield fly rule.  He is my age (40s) and questioned when the rule was invented because he had never heard of it.  He thought it must have been instituted after his time on the diamond. 

“1895.  I looked it up yesterday,” I told him.

The look of confusion on his face was priceless. 

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4 hours ago, mac266 said:

 

Congratulations.  I'd say you definitely got it right. 

To be honest, there are good coaches out there too.  From my experience, as the level of ball rises, normally the baseball-IQ also rises for coaches, players and even fans.  This is not always true, but is true more often than not in my personal experience.  

This is also why I refuse to do anything below 14U.  It is just not worth it to me to have to deal with fans, players or coaches who do not know enough about the game to offer even an honest response/argument to a perceived missed call. I'm amazed how many youth coaches do not understand infield fly rule, dropped third strike/caught third strike, foul tip is a live ball when less than 2 outs, etc. 

If I know a friend in a real pinch, I may help with his 10U travel team only because I know they are going to blow out the other team in an hour and it's almost always an easy $50.  But I'll be honest, I hear more from the stands and coaches at lower levels than I ever get at higher levels. 

For example, I did four 14U Ohio Elite tourney games on Saturday and was only questioned on one call,  a slide and swipe tag at third going away from me after I had a play at first (I was in C).  I didn't see a tag (runner and F5 were both going away from me) and called it 'safe',  the DC immediately comes out asking if I would get help. My partner had a better angle from the halfway point between 3rd and home and said he saw a tag, so I point to third and make the out signal after our conference.  The OC then asked my partner what he saw and didn't argue, so he at least understood with 2 man mechanics that's all we could be expected to see/do.  I've had similar plays at lower levels that ended up in far more arguing from the coaches along with loud fan antics/demonstration, but this one was settled with a mild, 30-second conversation.  The entire play, conference and explanation didn't take a full minute. 

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5 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

This is also why I refuse to do anything below 14U.  It is just not worth it to me to have to deal with fans, players or coaches who do not know enough about the game to offer even an honest response/argument to a perceived missed call. I'm amazed how many youth coaches do not understand infield fly rule, dropped third strike/caught third strike, foul tip is a live ball when less than 2 outs, etc.

I've run into this already, but I'm new, so I take all assignments down to 8U (neither of my two leagues has umpires below that). 

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I don't tolerate extending "arguing," which is always pointless. "Coach, on this kind of umpire INT, the ball is dead immediately, and runners are awarded their advance base." If he says, "That's not the rule!" I'll move on: "Anything else? Let's play ball." I've explained the rule—which he's perfectly entitled to hear—now we get going again.

If he wants to get into it about whether that's a rule, I decline: "Coach, I've explained the rule. Please return to the dugout now so we can play ball." Then I'll warn, then eject, if he won't comply. I'll accompany all this with a walk back toward the dugout: he wants to keep engaging with me, and he'll have to move to do that.

Any shouting, etc. short-circuits all this, and we'll move right to warnings and ejection. I'm not listening to that crap.

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1 hour ago, maven said:

I don't tolerate extending "arguing," which is always pointless. "Coach, on this kind of umpire INT, the ball is dead immediately, and runners are awarded their advance base." If he says, "That's not the rule!" I'll move on: "Anything else? Let's play ball." I've explained the rule—which he's perfectly entitled to hear—now we get going again.

If he wants to get into it about whether that's a rule, I decline: "Coach, I've explained the rule. Please return to the dugout now so we can play ball." Then I'll warn, then eject, if he won't comply. I'll accompany all this with a walk back toward the dugout: he wants to keep engaging with me, and he'll have to move to do that.

Any shouting, etc. short-circuits all this, and we'll move right to warnings and ejection. I'm not listening to that crap.

I still haven't learned the art of knowing when to toss a coach or just de-escalate.  In this particular game, the coach argued every single close call, but didn't prolong any one engagement long enough to justify an ejection.  Once I told him, "That's enough, coach, let's play ball," he went back to the dugout.  He also didn't attack me personally.  One that came closer to a personal attack was, "That's TWICE!" while claiming I screwed up two calls against his team (my kid said I was right on both).  But I still find it hard to eject someone over that comment. 

On this umpire interference call, I'm not even sure what he wanted me to do.  I KNOW that rule, and I shut it down immediately.  He complied, so no toss.

The funny thing is, the other team's coach got so annoyed with how this coach was constantly badgering me that he started chirping at him ("My God, do you whine about EVERYTHING?!?!?").  The two of them started going at it from across the field (never physically close enough to fight, just jawjacking).  They wouldn't quit when I first yelled at them; I had to stand between them to interrupt their line of sight to each other.  Then I issued a warning to both coaches and got the game going again.  After the warning, there was no more monkeybusiness.  I definitely would have ejected the first one (and the second one, for that matter!) who would have violated it. 

So, FYI, I am a retired police officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, and past battalion commander.  I only say that to mention I'm *NOT* hesitant to use my authority.  Having someone falsely accuse me of being wrong, of being biased, or using me as a scapegoat is pretty much par for the course, especially in my former occupation.  If I rolled my eyes any harder every time I heard one of those, I'd be able to see my brain. 

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Don't allow the coaches jaw jacking at each other either.  What a WONDERFUL example that sets for the players. :sarcasm:

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Mac, as you will learn from these forums and experience, everyone handles situations differently. I would go so far as to say there is no right or wrong way...so long as you keep control of the game and don't let it get ridiculous--like arguing every inning, or allowing a discussion to last more than 30 seconds total.  As stated above, coaches, like umps, have their own personality.

Most of the time arguing coaches are a result of two things: losing or ignorance. When a coach calls time and approaches me the first thing I say is "coach how can I help you". Ill give him 10 seconds to state his complaint, I'll respond with my answer and we are moving on.

It sounds like you are doing a lot of youth baseball. Remember that you, as an ump, will get a reputation, like a coach. You may be doing 6-year-olds right now. In four years they will be 10 and the parents/coaches have watched you for four years now, on and on. In fact, I'm umping high school/college kids that I remember from when they were 8.  They know if your a good ump, they know what they can get away with. Heck they know my strike zone before we start. You should be striving for them to say "I'm glad your doing our game". Youth baseball is NOT high school or college baseball. You cannot ump a youth game as you would a college or HS game--mainly because NO ONE knows the rules beyond basic baseball. You cannot discuss rules with someone that does not know them--don't waste your time. 

From your posts it sounds like you are doing a fine job to me.

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48 minutes ago, aaluck said:

Mac, as you will learn from these forums and experience, everyone handles situations differently. I would go so far as to say there is no right or wrong way...so long as you keep control of the game and don't let it get ridiculous--like arguing every inning, or allowing a discussion to last more than 30 seconds total.  As stated above, coaches, like umps, have their own personality.

Most of the time arguing coaches are a result of two things: losing or ignorance. When a coach calls time and approaches me the first thing I say is "coach how can I help you". Ill give him 10 seconds to state his complaint, I'll respond with my answer and we are moving on.

It sounds like you are doing a lot of youth baseball. Remember that you, as an ump, will get a reputation, like a coach. You may be doing 6-year-olds right now. In four years they will be 10 and the parents/coaches have watched you for four years now, on and on. In fact, I'm umping high school/college kids that I remember from when they were 8.  They know if your a good ump, they know what they can get away with. Heck they know my strike zone before we start. You should be striving for them to say "I'm glad your doing our game". Youth baseball is NOT high school or college baseball. You cannot ump a youth game as you would a college or HS game--mainly because NO ONE knows the rules beyond basic baseball. You cannot discuss rules with someone that does not know them--don't waste your time. 

From your posts it sounds like you are doing a fine job to me.

Excellent points here and good advice. 

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3 hours ago, mac266 said:

I still haven't learned the art of knowing when to toss a coach or just de-escalate.  In this particular game, the coach argued every single close call, but didn't prolong any one engagement long enough to justify an ejection.  Once I told him, "That's enough, coach, let's play ball," he went back to the dugout.  He also didn't attack me personally.  One that came closer to a personal attack was, "That's TWICE!" while claiming I screwed up two calls against his team (my kid said I was right on both).  But I still find it hard to eject someone over that comment. 

On this umpire interference call, I'm not even sure what he wanted me to do.  I KNOW that rule, and I shut it down immediately.  He complied, so no toss.

The funny thing is, the other team's coach got so annoyed with how this coach was constantly badgering me that he started chirping at him ("My God, do you whine about EVERYTHING?!?!?").  The two of them started going at it from across the field (never physically close enough to fight, just jawjacking).  They wouldn't quit when I first yelled at them; I had to stand between them to interrupt their line of sight to each other.  Then I issued a warning to both coaches and got the game going again.  After the warning, there was no more monkeybusiness.  I definitely would have ejected the first one (and the second one, for that matter!) who would have violated it. 

So, FYI, I am a retired police officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, and past battalion commander.  I only say that to mention I'm *NOT* hesitant to use my authority.  Having someone falsely accuse me of being wrong, of being biased, or using me as a scapegoat is pretty much par for the course, especially in my former occupation.  If I rolled my eyes any harder every time I heard one of those, I'd be able to see my brain. 

I can't recall specifically who said it, but on this site a contributor noted that if you let one coach drone on about various complaints the other manager (who has been minding his P & Qs)will see this and think he needs to get in the mix on behalf of his team. Then you have both managers chirping, either at each other or at you. In either case that is a losing proposition. If you shut it down early, you can focus on the game and get them to focus on coaching their kids and not offering you opinions on how to umpire. Based on your military background you probably understand the term "Peace through strength" and I would encourage you to use your strengths early and often to shut down whining/complaining/etc...

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I like your call,

 

But if the ruling states before it passed an infielder  ... weren't you behind the pitcher?

 

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55 minutes ago, Mad Mike said:

the term "Peace through strength"

I had always heard it as "peace, through superior firepower".

LAUNCH the coaches, let the kids play.:insertevillaughhere:

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I'm reading thru OBR and this caught my eye

 

  (d)  Unintentional Interference

In case of unintentional interference with play by any person herein authorized to be on the playing field (except members of the team at bat who are participating in the game, or a base coach, any of whom interfere with a fielder attempting to field a batted or thrown ball; or an umpire) the ball is alive and in play.

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4 hours ago, mac266 said:

One that came closer to a personal attack was, "That's TWICE!" while claiming I screwed up two calls against his team (my kid said I was right on both).  But I still find it hard to eject someone over that comment. 

For me, this is an automatic ticket to the parking lot. This isn't arguing the call, this is calling you a cheater. And I'm not a redass by any stretch.

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So Ok why do 5.06  and 6.01d  say the opposite thing?

 

 (6)  A fair ball touches a runner or an umpire on fair territory before it touches an infielder including the pitcher, or touches an umpire before it has passed an infielder other than the pitcher; runners advance, if forced.

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4 hours ago, ArchAngel72 said:

So Ok why do 5.06  and 6.01d  say the opposite thing?

 (6)  A fair ball touches a runner or an umpire on fair territory before it touches an infielder including the pitcher, or touches an umpire before it has passed an infielder other than the pitcher; runners advance, if forced.

I'm not sure what you think conflicts, but I'm guessing it's the two provisions in your most recent two posts in this thread. 

The term 'person authorized to be on the playing field' (aka 'authorized persons') refers to ball kids, media, and anyone else not on one of the 3 teams who belongs on the field. It does not refer to umpires, who are covered in their own (two) interference rules. The rule address the case of a fair ball down the line (for instance) striking a ball boy or girl who's trying to get out of the way.

If the ball kid intentionally picks up the ball, that's a different rule: dead ball, umpire decides what would have happened.

If I have your question wrong, please rephrase.

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10 hours ago, mac266 said:

I still haven't learned the art of knowing when to toss a coach or just de-escalate.  In this particular game, the coach argued every single close call, but didn't prolong any one engagement long enough to justify an ejection.  Once I told him, "That's enough, coach, let's play ball," he went back to the dugout.  He also didn't attack me personally.  One that came closer to a personal attack was, "That's TWICE!" while claiming I screwed up two calls against his team (my kid said I was right on both).  But I still find it hard to eject someone over that comment. 

Almost always dump for this comment. Counting calls is not acceptable. Not only is he questioning your competency, he's trying to get under your skin. Don't let that happen. And when you do toss for this, just think in your head, "you won't be around for the 3rd one!" :lol:

On this umpire interference call, I'm not even sure what he wanted me to do.  I KNOW that rule, and I shut it down immediately.  He complied, so no toss.

The funny thing is, the other team's coach got so annoyed with how this coach was constantly badgering me that he started chirping at him ("My God, do you whine about EVERYTHING?!?!?").  The two of them started going at it from across the field (never physically close enough to fight, just jawjacking).  They wouldn't quit when I first yelled at them; I had to stand between them to interrupt their line of sight to each other.  Then I issued a warning to both coaches and got the game going again.  After the warning, there was no more monkeybusiness.  I definitely would have ejected the first one (and the second one, for that matter!) who would have violated it. 

Dumping the A$$hat coach earlier would have avoided this situation and made for a better experience for everyone else. Dumping jerk coaches almost always results in a more pleasant game. And believe me, most of the time, everyone else is happy you dumped the jerk and often they wonder why it didn't happen sooner. No one is ever upset when an a-hole has to leave the game, except for the a-hole himself.

So, FYI, I am a retired police officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, and past battalion commander.  I only say that to mention I'm *NOT* hesitant to use my authority.  Having someone falsely accuse me of being wrong, of being biased, or using me as a scapegoat is pretty much par for the course, especially in my former occupation.  If I rolled my eyes any harder every time I heard one of those, I'd be able to see my brain. 

Just a couple of thoughts highlighted in red.

I think you are doing well, also. Game management is a difficult thing to learn and master. It takes a lot of time, mistakes, and experience. I commend you for seeking out answers to questions and for your willingness to accept constructive help.

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@mac266you are already ahead of the game than I was regarding umpire interference on a batted ball. 

I've only had it once. And I froze on it. Thankfully my partner, who's ankle was already swelling to softball size, knew the rule.

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12 hours ago, mac266 said:

I still haven't learned the art of knowing when to toss a coach or just de-escalate.  In this particular game, the coach argued every single close call, but didn't prolong any one engagement long enough to justify an ejection.  Once I told him, "That's enough, coach, let's play ball," he went back to the dugout.  He also didn't attack me personally.  One that came closer to a personal attack was, "That's TWICE!" while claiming I screwed up two calls against his team (my kid said I was right on both).  But I still find it hard to eject someone over that comment. 
...

So, FYI, I am a retired police officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, and past battalion commander.  I only say that to mention I'm *NOT* hesitant to use my authority.  Having someone falsely accuse me of being wrong, of being biased, or using me as a scapegoat is pretty much par for the course, especially in my former occupation.  If I rolled my eyes any harder every time I heard one of those, I'd be able to see my brain. 


First, @kylehutson is absolutely correct in my book. There are a few “automatic ejections” and that is one of them.

 

Second, you may be a new umpire, but as “a retired police officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, and past battalion commander” I guarantee you ABSOLUTELY know when to de-escalate and when to dump!  Seriously though, there is a third part to that (and I believe somebody mentioned it, I apologize for forgetting who already) ... shut it down early.  Don’t even let that crap get started.

 

Welcome to the ranks!

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7 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:


First, @kylehutson is absolutely correct in my book. There are a few “automatic ejections” and that is one of them.

 

Second, you may be a new umpire, but as “a retired police officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, and past battalion commander” I guarantee you ABSOLUTELY know when to de-escalate and when to dump!  Seriously though, there is a third part to that (and I believe somebody mentioned it, I apologize for forgetting who already) ... shut it down early.  Don’t even let that crap get started.

 

Welcome to the ranks!

I think my reluctance to eject anyone comes from two places:  1) In both of the leagues for which I am umpiring (one a "developmental" league and the other a competitive travel league), the UIC has told us to do it sparingly.  One of them actually said, "Try to keep them in the game, if possible."  2) As someone said, I'm developing a reputation, and I do not want to be known as "that guy."  We have a "that guy" I've seen umpiring for years before I became one, as my son made his way through Little League.  Throughout our region he is known as "Grumpy Umpy."  Coaches, players, parents, and other umpires all know him by that.  He knows the rules and makes good calls.  The problem is, every time he rules on something, he acts like the kid is a criminal and harshly scolds him for it.  Sometimes he thinks everyone is there to see him, and puts on a theatrical show, strutting around in the infield after calling someone out.  I showed up for some umpire training, and who should happen to be one of the instructors?  Yep, Grumpy Umpy.  I asked a question and he scolded me for it.  Guess how many new umpires asked questions after that?  Holy crap, he would make an excellent scorekeeper.

I suppose in my past law enforcement career and in my Army Reserve career I have wielded actual power -- the power to take life, to take someone's freedom, violate their privacy, etc.  I was very judicious in how I used it, and had a reputation as being the most squeaky clean cop you had ever heard of.  But at the same time, there were multiple years where I led my department of 700 cops in felony arrests.  I tangled with everything from street gangs to organized crime, and there is probably still a price on my head.  I've also commanded soldiers in combat, and I faced the Republican Guard back in 2003.  In my AR career, I've noticed that whenever I transfer to a new unit for career progression, a ton of young officers and older NCOs just happen to transfer to my new unit.  I notice, and I'm both humbled by it while taking pride in it.  So I think I have a pretty good handle on how to wield power.  Comparatively, that power to remove a coach from a children's game seems rather minuscule to me.  I guess if some coach thinks his entire self-worth revolves around the success of a bunch of 12 year-olds playing a game, the problem is his, not mine.

 

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1 hour ago, mac266 said:

1) In both of the leagues for which I am umpiring (one a "developmental" league and the other a competitive travel league), the UIC has told us to do it sparingly.  One of them actually said, "Try to keep them in the game, if possible."  2) As someone said, I'm developing a reputation, and I do not want to be known as "that guy."

This is all fine and good. "That guy" ejects randomly, often without adequate provocation. He's also a terrible umpire in other regards besides game management, though that's why he's infamous.

Coaches need to know where they stand. When I say I don't put up with any crap, I mean that I'm not shy about communicating when coaches misbehave. "Coach, you can't run out of the dugout screaming. We're not doing that today." If he does it again, eject. And so forth, for other unacceptable behaviors.

They get 1 warning: if you warn more than once, then you're training them to ignore warnings. That makes the ejection random, when it comes. When I warn, I sometimes add, "This is your ONLY warning." Communicate clearly, with honesty and respect, doing what's necessary for the good of the game.

My threshold for ABS is low: I have a job to do, and if the crap is distracting me, I'll deal with it. Life is too short to tolerate asshats.

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@mac266 ... I initially forgot to say the most important thing: thank you for your service to the country!
 

I think your experience and earned wisdom puts you in a unique position.  You have FAR more experience (and respect) for “power” than the vast majority of umpires, new and old.  My point is: THAT will serve you well.

Absolutely keep them in the game if at all possible.  Don’t be Trigger Happy Tom.  However much we don’t like it, it is indeed part of our role to educate coaches like that on what is acceptable and what is not.  Putting a stop to it early, aka: Shut That SH*# Down, goes a long way in helping to keep a coach (or player) in the game.  

Your background gives you a lot of knowledge in reading people and knowing he best ways to do this.  It may be a harsh and stern word early on or it may be “asking the coach about your line up card” while you are really telling him to knock it off.  Either way, my advice is it should not be a public display.  It should be something for him and you.  The difference is Grumpy Umpy or Red Ass Rob makes sure everybody knows the conversation is about them ... it is not.

You aren’t being a red ass or having a power trip by doing this.  You are helping everybody out, including you, your partner, the coach, his players, his team fans/parents, the other team, and most importantly, the next umpire who has this guy.  If you don’t do it, how is going to act for the 16-year old kid he has next week?  

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As stated already. Understanding when to use your "hammer" is just as important as actually using it. And as a former LEO, amongst hiur other past jobs, you have great experience in this area. More so than most all of us. You understand that there are lines that when crossed action needs to be taken. While as umpires, that action is not of the lethal or physical style, it is still action that is taken to correct an issue.

You will eventually find that point. But until then, keep an open ear and eye for when it happens. Just like your past jobs. You need a reason to eject under the rules you are working. The umpire you speak of as "Grumpy" probably does it in a willy-nilly style. Your job, is to keep everyone there... until they prove they no longer should be. And I think you know when and where that point is. You just need to hone in on it on the field.

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When I was doing pre-season cage work, I had an instructor tell my group...don't sell pitches as balls. If you have to sell a pitch as a ball? It was a strike...grab it.

The same logic can be applied to nearly every other JUDGEMENT call...to include ejections. Which under OBR is a judgement call that you will document so you can explain it to leadership post-game. And under NFHS is somewhere between a judgement call and a rule interpretation because you have the IWRE escalation structure. Oh...and you still need to document NFHS ejections too...

Under NFHS, if you find yourself asking yourself or asking your partner, "I wonder if we should have warned that coach...?" YOU SHOULD HAVE WARNED HIM! (or any other level of that IWRE structure)

Remember, what we PERMIT...we PROMOTE, whether we intend to or not. Under NFHS, when you get beyond ignore and you aren't issuing warnings, dugout restrictions and or ejections, you are sending the message to BOTH coaches, ALL the players and ANYONE else watching that game (to include evaluators from your association), that you allow "that level" of behavior and or speech on your field.

~Dog 

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