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I @#$@%@$ this up #2


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I didn't want to hijack @HokieUmp's thread on his misfortune.  But I got one of my own this weekend that I need therapy for.

Hi everyone, my name is BlWizzRanger.  Here is my story.

12u Tournament Pool Play game.  Bottom 5. 2 out.  Bases loaded. D3K.  I, as the BU, hollered 'BR is out' echoing my PUs call.  My PU was a 19yo, soft spoken, first year ump (like me) whose voice didn't resonate past home plate. In fact, on most every foul ball call where it mattered, I had to echo his call so that the BR could hear half way to first. I have no issues with vocal projections.  So I echoed his call in a big way.

So who did all of the coaches take ire with?  Yep, me.  I had a fruitful discussion with the HHC/OHC about the call and, though I admitted I booted the call big time, we weren't going to change it.  I even told him to protest it knowing full well it would be made right but he didn't want to put up the protest fee.  He went to discuss the situation with the TD and the TD held firm that unless he posted the Protest fee (which he would have gotten back),  no change was going to be made. And it wasn't. 

(either way I am up sh!t's creek here. Probably just trying to save me some of my ass from getting chewed from the other team if I had changed the call)

Anyways, lets just say tempers were simmering... Moving on...

Next half inning, VAC/1BC, loses his #^#$# when my partner called a 3rd strike as the catcher's glove hit the dirt.  It was low to a caterpillar.  the VAC starts at the box and goes ballistic to the PU.  I throw him out as he is half way to HP and I catch up to him about that time.  The VAC was 300 lbs.  He starts bellying me up.  He starts kicking dirt at me. Finally, the 3BC gets in between and struggles to get him off the field.  My PU didn't leave the area from behind the plate.  The game ended with another low to a caterpillar call where other coaches, who knows, maybe a parent, tried to talk with the PU.  I moved in between the PU and the other coaches trying to remove the parent from the field, but nothing further came about.

The score was 9-3 at the time on both incidents.  No other runs scored.

Guess who we had the next game?  The home team.  I spoke to him about the call before the home plate meeting and he was more cool about it since he won the first one.  Funny how that happens.

My morale of the story?  Mentally prepare better between pitches on the possible scenarios that could occur.  Get better timing.

Signed on this date, 5/25, that the above is a true story with no exaggerations.  BlWizzRanger.


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I don't mean this as a criticism, BLWizzranger, but I got the impression that you were overly assertive about protecting your partner. If he never has to stand up for himself, he will likely never learn to do so. My suggestion: instead of taking over by echoing his calls loudly, talk to him, either between innings or after the game. 

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For me, this post highlights the main issues happening in youth sports and why we have such an officiating shortage (in most/all sports, not just baseball).  It's 12U.  And they expect MLB umpires.  And believe me, I have seen pitches at 12u that actually cross at the strike zone and end up in the dirt by the time they get to the catcher due to lack of velocity and catchers playing too far back.

My son was umpiring a 13U game a couple weeks back, HPU, I was his BU, and coaches were bitching about strikes that were in the channel (outside plate, inside chalk), and I finally had enough.  I told the coach, I am done listening to you.  I umpire college and in D3 and JUCO college, we go edge of chalk (inner edge) to edge of the chalk, and you're out here complaining about one-ball width in 13u?  Get over yourself"

We struggle to have enough good umpires at the higher levels (varsity HS and above), and people scream and belly-up umpires at 12u for calling a low strike?

One of these days, when I have a youth tournament where I know the coaches and fans just bitch about everything (we know which teams after enough games), I am going to call my D1/D2 strike zone, all game, to every pitcher, and when they bitch about 45 walks in the game, I am going to tell them "this is what you always want every game I have worked for you before...nothing off the plate called, nothing remotely below the knee called, here you go"  Doubt it will help, but maybe someone will get the point.

So you kicked a call at 12u, in your first year umpiring.  GOOD.  You learn better from your mistakes.  I can tell you 100 different rules that are correct and how to apply them.  You might remember a fraction of them.  But when you kick the rule and screw it up?  You will remember it the rest of your life how to properly fix it.

You SHOULD be making your mistakes at 12u, that's what helps you get better so you don't make them later when you're doing HS varsity, college, big summer tourneys, etc.

Keep doing your thing, keep asking questions, learn from your mistakes, and welcome to the umpiring brotherhood

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I agree with @LRZ. We all have to be there for our partners. But, the manager needs to approach the umpire who made the call. And the umpire who made the call should be the one who first engages the manager with the question about the call. Obviously, this is a judgement call and I have a justified ejection as described here. Again, let the PU make that ejection...THEN you come in and start corralling the manager off the field. The non-ejecting umpire should also be clarifying with the remaining coaching staff who specifically is now the manager.

I try to have a short memory when it comes to managers, coaches and players. Obviously, every league has known people who are problems and each of us have people we have had problems with. I certainly am situationally aware of who is on my baseball field but, I don't allow previous experiences to dictate future actions. What's in the past is best left there.

If you come to a plate meeting of a double header and a manager tries to talk about something that happened in the previous game, we simply don't discuss that. Finally, be aware of your local rules. Some leagues stipulate a one or multi game suspension following an ejection. That might mean a player or coach ejected in the first game of a double header may not be available in the second game.



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6 hours ago, LRZ said:

I don't mean this as a criticism, BLWizzranger, but I got the impression that you were overly assertive about protecting your partner. If he never has to stand up for himself, he will likely never learn to do so. My suggestion: instead of taking over by echoing his calls loudly, talk to him, either between innings or after the game. 

No, I understand what you are saying... Its probably that I have a son of simular age...

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5 hours ago, BLarson said:

So what would have happened if they did protest?

Bases loaded.  2 outs.  D3K.

Where do they go back and restart?

Yeah, I don't know. I would assume you could do that.  I took it as the 3K was done, the ball was dropped, and then my error.  The 3K did happen so I think it was prudent to call it.

But, I wish I could have said to the the coach, as an explanation of sticking to the call, what would have happened?  I echoed the BR out as he was 10 feet from the plate and the catcher was reaching for the ball.  Would he had thrown to first? Would he have aired mailed it?  Would he touched HP?  Would he had beaten the R3 to home?  

No one knows.

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Lots to unpack here and lots of good advice given so far...

I do want to point out that a coach cannot file a protest for a missed call, just the misapplication of rules.  I believe you inadvertently provided the most valid defense by saying you missed the call.  At that point, he couldn't protest.  You didn't misapply the rule, you just blew the call. 

I don't think I would have brought up the protest option, but I would have gone the route of your last comment (and been slightly smart-@$$y): what was going to happen coach?  No we don't know ... the kid could have thrown the ball into the outfield and 3 runs could have scored ... or a UFO could swooped down and abducted your baserunner as he ran down the line ... but the best odds are that nothing beyond a routine out was going to happen, so that is where we are at.

As for protecting young plate umpires, I agree.  I have two kids that I brought into umpiring and countless other "youngins" that I have worked with.  There is a fine line that this thread is dancing around.  Just like parenting ... yes we want our young ones to learn to stand on their own, but we also have to know when to step in (and how to step in).

Riding a rookie umpire on his strike zone is something that should have been stopped early, not allowed to fester.  That is where I would have stepped in, not on the echoing of calls.





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2 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

yes we want our young ones to learn to stand on their own, but we also have to know when to step in (and how to step in).

I've only worked once with a youth umpire once (LL Majors/12U. I was PU and he was BU). He kicked a call at 2nd (F4 gloved but dropped the ball and he called Out too quickly). Stands were riding him ruthlessly as DHC went out (properly and calmly) to discuss. I know "don't talk to the fence" but I couldn't help it. I lit them them up. "That's a 14 year old kid you're berating"; "No, we're just talking"; "No, you're being rude and mean spirited". I can only hope I woke up at least one parent.

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