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Fan behavior towards opposing coaches/team


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Here's what happened: 12U Little League game with the home team crushing the other team pretty hard. A lot of pass balls and stealing home. One voice from the crowd says something like "You gonna just keep letting them run coach?" A couple minutes go by with another pass ball and same voice says something along the lines of "Have some class, tell your guys to stop running." After the play was over, I call time and address the away spectators and say "You cannot talk about the opposing teams coach, we're not doing that." The coach came out and asked what I said to the fans and I told him, and he said he'd keep an eye on the parents. They kept ragging on me throughout the game, but there was nothing else towards the other coach from what I could hear besides some groans. Anything I should've done different? Keep in mind I could not see who was saying it but it was the same voice, and I'm still in high school so I'm not really the most intimidating person, though I try and put on my "stern face" and voice lol.

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What you do differently:  Don't talk to the fence. If there's an issue - and I'm not completely convinced there's one here - you'd talk to the coaches.  To the home coach:  you *might* say someth

Not for disciplinary reasons, no. Someone else's job (AD/home coach for school games, TD for tournaments, head coach for others). Depending on the situation, I might enlist the coach's help ("can

+1, all points. For whatever reason, a lot of daddy coaches seem to have bottomless pits of empty souls that require constant validation from children's games that they're worthwhile human beings

What you do differently:  Don't talk to the fence.

If there's an issue - and I'm not completely convinced there's one here - you'd talk to the coaches.  To the home coach:  you *might* say something about "how about calling off the dogs, skip?", but you could certainly say "hey skip, you're starting to raise a lot of bad feelings here, and it might lead to some on-field issues."  To the away coach:  "you need to get your fans under some kind of control here."

But talking to the fans directly is just gonna lead to more bad things than good, in general.

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11 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

If there's an issue - and I'm not completely convinced there's one here

Agreed. The problem, if there is one, is not the fan, but the conduct of the home team. A fan/parent calling out the other team to display good sportsmanship? Not a problem in my book.

"You gonna just keep letting them run coach?" A couple minutes go by with another pass ball and same voice says something along the lines of "Have some class, tell your guys to stop running." The parent was not "ragging on" you but addressing the opposing coach. If it does get personal--"Hey, blue, do something."--that's a different story.

HokieUmp offered good advice about talking to the home team coach in a calm, positive way.

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11 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

What you do differently:  Don't talk to the fence.

If there's an issue - and I'm not completely convinced there's one here - you'd talk to the coaches.  To the home coach:  you *might* say something about "how about calling off the dogs, skip?", but you could certainly say "hey skip, you're starting to raise a lot of bad feelings here, and it might lead to some on-field issues."  To the away coach:  "you need to get your fans under some kind of control here."

But talking to the fans directly is just gonna lead to more bad things than good, in general.

+1, all points.

For whatever reason, a lot of daddy coaches seem to have bottomless pits of empty souls that require constant validation from children's games that they're worthwhile human beings. No lopsided victory is ever enough to satisfy these awful specimens.

That's not illegal in baseball, just bush and unsporting. 

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13 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

What you do differently:  Don't talk to the fence.

If there's an issue - and I'm not completely convinced there's one here - you'd talk to the coaches.  To the home coach:  you *might* say something about "how about calling off the dogs, skip?", but you could certainly say "hey skip, you're starting to raise a lot of bad feelings here, and it might lead to some on-field issues."  To the away coach:  "you need to get your fans under some kind of control here."

But talking to the fans directly is just gonna lead to more bad things than good, in general.

Thanks for the advice, I've never had this situation before so I didn't really know the best way to go about it. Would it be better to talk to the coach right away or wait between innings? 

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1 hour ago, LRZ said:

Agreed. The problem, if there is one, is not the fan, but the conduct of the home team. A fan/parent calling out the other team to display good sportsmanship? Not a problem in my book.

"You gonna just keep letting them run coach?" A couple minutes go by with another pass ball and same voice says something along the lines of "Have some class, tell your guys to stop running." The parent was not "ragging on" you but addressing the opposing coach. If it does get personal--"Hey, blue, do something."--that's a different story.

HokieUmp offered good advice about talking to the home team coach in a calm, positive way.

Ok, I guess I thought it was a bigger problem than it was. If it does get to something personal, for example "Hey blue, do something," should that be addressed directly to the fans or ignored like any other quips from the stands? Is there ever a point where you should address the spectators personally? Thanks for the advice.

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2 hours ago, Scissors said:

Is there ever a point where you should address the spectators personally?

Not for disciplinary reasons, no. Someone else's job (AD/home coach for school games, TD for tournaments, head coach for others).

Depending on the situation, I might enlist the coach's help ("can you help me..."); in others, I'll go directly to a directive. "Coach, we're suspending play until you get your fans under control." This is especially effective in time limit games (for the team that's behind, which is usually the team with bîtching fans).

If he fails to do it, warn, then eject. We have authority over participants, not anyone outside the fence, and by rule we may eject anyone who fails to comply with a directive. (Local rules might authorize umpires to deal with fans, but that's a permission not a requirement—I'll let coach be the bad guy.)

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On 11/8/2020 at 9:51 AM, Scissors said:

Thanks for the advice, I've never had this situation before so I didn't really know the best way to go about it. Would it be better to talk to the coach right away or wait between innings? 

Personally, I'd wait for between innings.  You can pretend to be looking at a lineup change, or some other bullcrap reason.  But even if there's not subterfuge, it's at least a more discreet moment.  Part of the whole kabuki we do is "don't show me up" - in both directions.  To me, if you go in the middle of all that, you're kind of "calling him out" for everyone to know.  Which then lets the magpies on the wire chirp more.  (Also, if you do it in the middle, the team/coach getting crushed has their pride further insulted, and they bizarrely take it out on *you*.  I know, that sounds weird, but people are strange, man.)

What part of Virginia?  NoVa?  I lived in Williamsburg, and umpired primarily for EOA, based out of the Norfolk side of the James River.

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55 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

Personally, I'd wait for between innings.  

Ok so keep it more discreet, got it. Sounds like a less confrontational option.

 

56 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

What part of Virginia?  NoVa?  I lived in Williamsburg, and umpired primarily for EOA, based out of the Norfolk side of the James River.

Yep, Fairfax County.

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Yep outside the fence is not your area.. 

 

I want myself want to kick them out but I been told as others here have Tell the coach of that side and let them handle it. If its a tourney talk to the TD and let them handle it. Unless it comes onto the field then its out of your AoR.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know this is already an "old" post, but in the interest of full disclosure - and to narc myself out - I will say that I ended up violating my own edict.

Two Sundays ago, there was a guy that ran his mouth the whole time.  I really didn't care, because it just washed over me, and it was entertaining - mostly talking up players on one team, giving fake stats, etc.  But about three innings in, in the middle of a throw to first off a squibber, an air horn blasted out.  And I already get cheese about players that like to yell things at those "opportune" moments - I don't say anything, or sanction, but it pisses me off.

So I went back to the fence and demanded to know who had the air horn.  They may have ID'd Big Mouth, but I just kept going.  I said "I can't believe I actually have to say this, but you don't do that in the middle of live play.  That SH*# ends NOW."

Point was made.  I turned back to the game.  His biggest take from that was - and I'm paraphrasing - "he did a swears."  To save face at the time, he asked "Why do you have to use a colorful metaphor, sir?"  (Had I wanted to keep THAT going, the thought that sprung into my head was "You used neither of those words correctly;  that wasn't even a metaphor, and you have NO IDEA how 'colorful' I can be.")

Turns out?  That guy wasn't even a fan of that team, or really any other (he was at a later game or two as well, with his commentary).  Just some white-windowless-van kinda guy hanging out.

But the lesson for this comment is:  I got away with it.  That could have gone badly wrong for me.  I mean, the air horn nonsense ended, so a win there;  but it could have gotten just uglier and uglier.  Even though TDs and their reps tend to be about as useless as  it gets, once the checks are cashed, they should be the ones dealing with that crap.

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Nobody asked me but...

If some clown is setting off an airhorn as described here...

I am calmly calling time and calling my crew and both managers together far from the fence and stating that in the interest of player, coach and umpire safety, the game will not continue until the airhorn(s) are secured in the dugout.

If it's a game with a time limit, then I remind them of the time limit. Either the airhorn is secured or we hit the time limit and we go home.

If it's a game without a time limit, then I tell them they have 5 minutes to secure the airhorn. If we are unable to secure the airhorn in that time, I will again gather crew and managers and announce the game is suspended. I will book the inning information, count, outs, etc. and the crew and I will go home and contact our association authority and let them sort it out.

As someone famously said, I don't do it for the money but, I wouldn't do it for free...

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

~Dog

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