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Bit of a rant....


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:ranton:

This may not be new to some of you.  I apologize if I'm bringing up "old news."

I was at a regional PONY tournament last night.  I've done PONY for a number of years, off and on, both in Texas and Virginia, and I think I generally prefer it to LL.  But since I'm mostly as "have gun, will travel" kind of umpire, I move from gig to gig, crushing dreams wherever I roam, so I don't really pay attention a lot of times to the post-season of the different orgs. 

So I'm there this week, working mostly the Pony (14u) and Bronco (12u) divisions, with the odd Mustang (10u) game.  We had sectionals last week, and it's been fairly smooth - other than the rain we're getting belted with this week.  But one of the things that was added at this regional level, starting last night, I believe, was the Shetland division.

IT WAS 4U.  THAT'S F-O-U-R.

Now, don't get me wrong - I think the little ones are friggin' ADORABLE.  And there are enough motor skills needed for baseball, that it takes a long time to develop, so why not start early?  And if we were just talking about "regular season" stuff, I say "Sure!  Let 'em play!  Let 'em run around, try to throw and catch, play with dandelions, what the F*#K ever!  It's good for them, and again - they're totes adorb!"

But are you SH*#ting me, with this tournament nonsense??!?  Where wins and losses are somehow supposed to then matter??  When there are players actually still in diapers out there?  And - knowing coaches in the way only umpires can - where they're possibly being hollered/yelled at??!?  How is this A Good Thing?

I know I sound naïve, but remember - I'm not generally a "house-league" umpire - I move around from gig to gig, and don't work exclusively in one or a few places, so I guess I'm not exposed to this as much.  But for F*#K's sake - there has to be a limit, or a point, where clearer heads prevail, and egos are checked at the damn door (meaning:  certain adults have to stop worrying about adding to their trophy cases), and the kids just play the game.

:rantoff:

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To quote the major-domo, Jonathan Quayle Higgins, "This is out-RA-GEOUS! Outrageous!"

I remember hearing about 8U travel ball when some of the kids on my son's team were exploring travel and thinking, "We do not need to know who the best 8U baseball team in the state is!"

4U?!?!? No...just no. No. Outrageous.

~Dawg

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2 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

I move from gig to gig, crushing dreams wherever I roam,

Awesome, I'm using that!

IMO, any tournament under 10 is a waste. One of my grandsons played in 5u tournaments this year. 5u, are you effing kidding me? They even had 2 umpires for these games. And now his coach wants to move the team up to 6u, wait for it.................to be more competitive! How much more competitive can a 6 year old get? They can't even tie their shoes! It all comes down to idiot administrators, coaches, and parents that allow and promote this ridiculousness.

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That's sad. I hope they play with a nerf ball.

And if one of these kids draws a line with his bat, showing where he thought the pitch was....

And sadder yet would be the parent's complaint to the umpire, "You oughta be ashamed! You made my kid cry!"

[Nota bene: I'm not serious.]

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HokieUmp, I'm just north of you up 35 and I was REQUIRED to assign TWO umpires to Shetland for PONY Sectionals (which is before Regionals). 

PONY actually has a "Foal" division now for 3 and 4 year olds, which because of the age cut off date means 2 and 1/2 year old kids are now playing in an organized division.  This was our first year for this program.  Every other kid after hitting the ball off the tee would chase the ball him/herself and some would cry if a defender got the ball before he/she did.  So far I have fought off any attempts to put umpires at this age group.  

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This is why kids don't want to play in their teenage years. They're playing something someone chose for them for a dozen years ago, and have realized that they don't know if they truly like it or just think they do because that's what they're supposed to do. Then when they take a year off at 14-15 to get their bearings, their still-playing cohort passes them by, making the decision permanent.

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16 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

IT WAS 4U.  THAT'S F-O-U-R.

It really gets those Lewis Black -esque brain cells in your mind churning over it*…these are 4 year olds. Plural. This means it wasn’t just one set of parents, it was multiple… and they called in and/or petitioned the tournament director to offer this!

Also, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “Who are these people??!!”

As I’ve posted before, I no longer call anything younger than 12U; even then, I stick to upper-skill-level, such as CDP. From working the hundreds of tournament games I have, I’ve identified that the younger siblings of the 13U-15U ballplayers are often having a blast playing their own loosely-defined stickball in the grass between fields, completely without officiating or any adult involvement. 

——————

“If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.”

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LL has it’s issues (oh, so many) but even for them 9U post-season tournaments are unofficial.

Aside: I was asked to do our District 9U championship plate. One team’s staff was wack-a-doodle from the start. Closet I’ve ever come to ejecting someone (other than the one I should’ve when I was a noob). I haven’t even felt like doing a game since (other stresses add to it but that game sucked something out of me). 

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2 minutes ago, Velho said:

LL has it’s issues (oh, so many) but even for them 9U post-season tournaments are unofficial.

Aside: I was asked to do our District 9U championship plate. One team’s staff was wack-a-doodle from the start. Closet I’ve ever come to ejecting someone (other than the one I should’ve when I was a noob). I haven’t even felt like doing a game since (other stresses add to it but that game sucked something out of me). 

"I don't do many, but when I do", great place to work on tracking the pitch as PU, looks like a strike, looks like a strike, hits the plate.  great place to stay focused as BU, which happens in any unskilled U game when stupid sht can happen, great place to practice game management. BTW stupid sht can happen in MLB: Umpire & Manager argue but are both wrong, a breakdown - YouTube

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24 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

looks like a strike, hits the plate.

Yep. Some amazing 44 foot baseball pitches and/or men’s slow pitch softball pitches. 

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10 hours ago, Umpire in Chief said:

Just wait for the 4U AAU/ Travel leagues...

Hell yes.  Can't have Little Johnny playing in the local house league ... he'll NEVER get scouted into a good private kindergarten from there.

Seriously though, if you are going to do travel ball, 4U is the way to go.  Kids are much cheaper to feed and entertain at 4U than 14U.  All those "kids eat/stay free" deals ... why didn't I think of this sooner!

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Just another excuse for dads who watch sports center and own a cool pair of turf shows to go out and act like they're Joe Torre.  I was in a local business the other day and one of the delivery guys talked for like a half hour on why toddlers need to be able to steal bases and learn pro rules.  It's like hey, chief, how bout we get them to run the right way first.  This is exactly why I have stepped down from every youth baseball organization I used to work for or be a board member for, including high school.

ABSOLUTELY no feel for the game.  

You did lose something.  You saw the light.  Now make sure its not the headlamp of another train coming for you.

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