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Multiple leagues / games good or bad.


Umpire942

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All umpires should (but are not required to) little league baseball.   Situations will come up more frequently and can become a better umpire for it.  But now lets say you are a veteran umpire.  You are called upon to do varisity HS , every game , through out the season, as well as state finals.  Maybe a few college level games, or mens amateur.  

As easy as little league can be, is it not doing a good service for yourself, if the next day your doing varsity game.  Calling balls and strikes can be a problem.   Are there higher level umpires, that still do little league?

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23 minutes ago, Umpire942 said:

All umpires should (but are not required to) little league baseball.   Situations will come up more frequently and can become a better umpire for it.  But now lets say you are a veteran umpire.  You are called upon to do varisity HS , every game , through out the season, as well as state finals.  Maybe a few college level games, or mens amateur.  

As easy as little league can be, is it not doing a good service for yourself, if the next day your doing varsity game.  Calling balls and strikes can be a problem.   Are there higher level umpires, that still do little league?

This is a fantastic question, and I think the answer lies at the personal level.

meaning, why are you doing those games, what can you do within them to improve yourself, and more importantly, how able are you to adjust back and forth?

First, I think it is fun to SPARINGLY “go back to your roots”.  What’s wrong with being the best umpire those 13u rec kids have ever had?  It can be fun to see kids playing for the love of the game again, rather than chasing a scholarship or draft position where one bad call has destroyed their lives (if you listen to fans and coaches). 
 

I have a friend who is in this exact boat…he is newer to college but had college postseason (conference tourney) and now doesn’t want to do HS tournaments in summer…I get it, but I also told him that those games are a chance to work on things without the stress of the game, bc the game is slower than you’re used to.  So you could take those tips you got during college and put them into action, and as you said, more “weird” rules come into play when you go down a level.

And as for the strike zone, this was my biggest worry, as I was umpiring with my son (doing 13u and below) while also doing college, but I had zero issues.  For me, I have a pretty good understanding (through many years of reps and focus) of the strike zone and plate.  I can be on a 13u game, track a pitch, know it’s on the chalk, and decide it’s a strike.

It actually can improve your timing, bc it forces you to track and decide after every pitch, something you SHOULD be doing anyways, but umpires are not when they are “too quick”.

I would just tell myself where the pitch is, decide if it was close enough to call it, and then say ball or strike.

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I was never good enough to work more than 3 levels— the level I  was comfortable, a step up where I had to be good and go by the book, and a step down where I could experiment (new stance; advanced mechanic; experimental mechanic) and still cover if I needed to 

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In my brief 5 years I have started at LL and barely this year touched some LL intermediate games as well as Babe Ruth games.  I never thought I would bump up but the local league assignor hit me with them and well sure. I been hit in the cup 6 times this week I would love to not get beat up at a game or 6.  Sadly 2 of the 6 games I got have been rainouts but yeah quality of ball was good, My zone was decent I can count 4 strikes I called a little low but yeah that was me falling into my LL minors zone which is shoulders to bottoms of the knees chalk to chalk.  I called those K's and my head went NO DUMMY this is not AAA's sigh. So yeah there is a little adjustment needed bouncing up and down But I am pretty sure at my age I wont go higher than BR, certainly not into HS ball that's for sure.

 

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I work LL & HS.  I enjoy the LL more, because it is fun to watch the kids learn from their own mistakes.  Here is the example I usually give when why I prefer the younger levels of baseball.  Same question, different answers......

HS - Runner on 1B, 0 outs.  Ground ball to SS, where is the play?  Primarily 2B, but 1B if Runner from 1st got a good jump.

LL Minors (8/9/10)- Runner on 1B, 0 outs.  Ground ball to SS, where is the play?  WHO KNOWS?!?! Maybe 3B,  Maybe to the catcher!

Definite stress reliever and good for a chuckle.........

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I work 13U Travel to 18U Travel, American Legion, HS, and some Babe Ruth now and then.

I worked LL as a teenager and I am grateful for what I learned there. But, now that I am an adult...I don't umpire for the money and I won't do it for free.

And as I have said repeatedly...I have nothing but the highest amount of respect for LL umpires, especially the adults who do work for free.

~Dawg

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I'm like @SeeingEyeDog in the regard that I do not do it for the money, but I also don't give away my services and time for free.  Nobody paid for my clinics and training.  Nobody bought my gear.  Nobody pays my annual dues to several organizations.  Nobody buys my shirts.

To me, asking me to do it for nothing is disrespectful.  I've done charity tournaments where they said "We know this is below the normal pay, but we want to give you something ..."   and afterwards I have happily torn up the check to give back to the organization, but I don't sign on if you ask me to do it for nothing.  I've turned down a particular org's National tournament offers because they lowball umpires rates and place unreasonable expectations (commit 5-7 days and maybe get 2-3 games at a cut-rate).  It doesn't work at the mechanic, the CPA, the grocery store, or anywhere else.

Yes, we should all "give back" ... but I don't give back when you are just wanting a bigger profit.

 

As for calling different levels, I will call almost anything you put in front of me.  I've done everything from 8u coach pitch (admittedly I try to avoid this like the plague now) to some dabbling in college (softball) to 18u state tournaments.  Primarily my usual work is 12u to 16u travel softball and baseball in the summer, middle school in the fall, and Varsity high school in the spring.  I don't seek out lower levels, but I won't turn them down.  I'd love to move up to some higher levels, but there weren't many opportunities where I was back in Illinois.

I don't encourage newer umpires to do lower levels if they can stay away from them.  When you are new, you develop bad habits too easily without knowing it.  When you are good enough to recognize bad habits, it helps improve your good habits.  Then you are ready to move up and down randomly.

 

 

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