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More trouble with a base coach...


SeeingEyeDog

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Brothers, I am clearly doing something wrong here because I am continuing to run afoul of base coaches...

So, today I'm working bases for a hotly contested 18U travel game. It's regular season, not a tournament or showcase...and these teams were gettin' after it. Great pitching, lots of swings, 2 great catchers each with multiple pickoffs, great defense...and the cherry on top was my partner's generous strike zone.

I'm in B...and the base coach (an adult, allegedly) pops off with, "C'mon, Blue! That's a balk right there! All day! Let's go!" I did not see a balk or I would have called it. I ignore him. A few batters later and he pops off again wanting a balk. I call time and jog over and say, "Coach, that's enough outbursts about balks. We're watching and if we see a balk, we'll call a balk. Please consult with your manager if there's anything further today and have him bring it to me or my partner." He said, "OK." and we returned to play.

A few innings later, same team at bat and the game tying run is on first. We have the pitcher on the rubber, the batter is in the box and the ball is live. Just before F1 leans in for the sign, I get the same first base coach asking for the count. My partner does nothing. I tap my hat asking him for the count, just as F1 leans in. My partner again does nothing, the pitcher delivers and the batter grounds into an inning ending double-play.

On the changeover, the first base coach shouts to their manager, "I dunno', John...I tried to be polite, I guess I wasn't polite enough."

I jogged over and calmly said, "Coach, I heard you and I tried to get the count for you pre-pitch but, we have runners on with the pitcher, the catcher and the batter ready to go. We provide the count when and where we can as a courtesy but, we're not going to call time in a situation like that and disrupt the rhythm and tempo of the game to give the count."

And he just said, "Ok, I guess but...I really needed to know the count there, situationally." and that was the end of it.

Ok, brothers...your turn...I'm here to learn...what could/should I have done to get a different outcome? Was there even a different outcome available? If this is a JV or Varsity game, does that change my engagement? If so, what do you have there, please?

~Dawg

 

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38 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Brothers, I am clearly doing something wrong here because I am continuing to run afoul of base coaches...

So, today I'm working bases for a hotly contested 18U travel game. It's regular season, not a tournament or showcase...and these teams were gettin' after it. Great pitching, lots of swings, 2 great catchers each with multiple pickoffs, great defense...and the cherry on top was my partner's generous strike zone.

I'm in B...and the base coach (an adult, allegedly) pops off with, "C'mon, Blue! That's a balk right there! All day! Let's go!" I did not see a balk or I would have called it. I ignore him. A few batters later and he pops off again wanting a balk. I call time and jog over and say, "Coach, that's enough outbursts about balks. We're watching and if we see a balk, we'll call a balk. Please consult with your manager if there's anything further today and have him bring it to me or my partner." He said, "OK." and we returned to play.

A few innings later, same team at bat and the game tying run is on first. We have the pitcher on the rubber, the batter is in the box and the ball is live. Just before F1 leans in for the sign, I get the same first base coach asking for the count. My partner does nothing. I tap my hat asking him for the count, just as F1 leans in. My partner again does nothing, the pitcher delivers and the batter grounds into an inning ending double-play.

On the changeover, the first base coach shouts to their manager, "I dunno', John...I tried to be polite, I guess I wasn't polite enough."

I jogged over and calmly said, "Coach, I heard you and I tried to get the count for you pre-pitch but, we have runners on with the pitcher, the catcher and the batter ready to go. We provide the count when and where we can as a courtesy but, we're not going to call time in a situation like that and disrupt the rhythm and tempo of the game to give the count."

And he just said, "Ok, I guess but...I really needed to know the count there, situationally." and that was the end of it.

Ok, brothers...your turn...I'm here to learn...what could/should I have done to get a different outcome? Was there even a different outcome available? If this is a JV or Varsity game, does that change my engagement? If so, what do you have there, please?

~Dawg

 

I don't think i would have reacted, or gave attention to, anything in those sits.

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I’d tell him if the count is so Important that not knowing it is detrimental to them situationally, perhaps he should pay better attention.

Now, sarcasm aside (but not really), if it isn’t the head coach, I’m telling him we aren’t discussing anything and the next time he makes a fool of you for all to hear he is gone.

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11 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

"C'mon, Blue! That's a balk right there! All day! Let's go!" I did not see a balk or I would have called it. I ignore him.

The problems start here. Right or wrong, we can't allow that, and it's more likely fishing for a call. "Knock it off, now."

11 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

I call time and jog over

Now, instead of ejecting him for violating the instruction you should have given, you look like his lap dog. Not only is fishing allowed today, but he gets you to come to him.

11 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

On the changeover, the first base coach shouts to their manager, "I dunno', John...I tried to be polite, I guess I wasn't polite enough."

This, we can ignore. It's mere venting. 

11 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

I jogged over

That's not ignoring. Did you offer him a backrub while you were over there?

You said you were busy officiating the game, which they already knew. They probably knew the count just fine, and were just trying to disrupt F1's rhythm. I expect they had some laughs back in the office about how in your head they were.

Answer questions, ignore statements. But don't ignore disruptions.

It seems to me that you might have an issue with caring too much (that is, at all) about whether and how much coaches like you. None of them like you. Some hate you. That's OK, because you don't have to listen to the whiney kids or their parents.

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Maven already said this, but I think it bears repeating (and emphasizing). Don't run over to a coach, especially not an AC, and especially not to discipline (which is what a warning is). 

Now of course, a manager coming out when he is permitted to is a different story. If he's calm as he comes out, I have no problem with you meeting him half way, but you should NOT go the whole distance. Additionally, there are ways to have conversations with coaches that don't make you look, like Maven said, like their lapdog. Call them over and pull out your lineup card, or catch them in-between innings as they are walking past you. Just don't go to them.

These situations should have been handled from the spot you were when they occured. "C'mon, Blue! That's a balk right there! All day! Let's go". Depending on the temperature of the game, I might respond something like "I don't have a balk/That's not a balk" (depending on if I know what they want to be balked) or "Hey! None of that." Regardless, that's definitely an inappropriate comment for a base coach to make, so If they come back with something, I'm shutting it down for sure (but again, the temperature of the game determines the exact response). Importantly though, I didn't move. The coach was in the wrong, so I don't care if everyone hears the exchange, he was the aggressor.

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This might just be a matter of personal style, but, to me, your interactions with that coach were all way too long. "Coach, that's enough. That's not a balk" or "Coach, that's not a balk. Knock it off."

For me, in the context of what transpired before that, the change-over shouted sarcasm would have elicited a warning. He was showing you up.

 

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First, I think you handled it pretty well.  The fact is, only the manager has any standing with the umpires.  He's the guy who handed you the lineup and shook you hand at the plate conference.  The coaches need to use their chain of command if they have a beef.

I'd give a warning to the manager that his coach was out of line and let him handle it.  

How many times do you get a first base coacher try to make a SAFE call when you have a banger?  He could be guilty of interference if the defense reacts to him rather than to you.

Mike

Las Vegas

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Thank you as always, brothers...

Where I'm also struggling is this business of yelling across the field instead of approaching players and managers. Not everyone who yells has their blood up. Sometimes people yell to be heard across a ballfield and its misinterpreted as anger. I was trained that an umpire should not escalate. We merely respond to what those on the field choose to do and say.

When I have remained in place (on the plate...dirt circle, in the field...in place) to handle these kinds of situations, I was told by leadership not to yell across the field because that is perceived as escalating. Approach people calmly and use a normal tone and firm voice regardless of their tone. Then the perception is...THEY are being unreasonable.

And yet, this clearly isn't congruent with what other very experienced and veteran umpires have said here...

Yes, I try to be liked. It's important to me I am liked. That's who I am. And I wasted way too many years of my life not wanting to be liked and I didn't like the person that attitude turned me into. Maybe that'll mean I don't reach my umpiring aspirations...but, it will allow me to reach my human aspirations and respect and care for my fellow human being even when they are not being respectful to me.

~Dawg

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2 hours ago, Catch18 said:

You want to start banging INT outs every time a coach says or flaps his arms safe? Best of luck to you.

No!  Just I want the coachers to coach, and I'll do the umpiring!  If I call "OUT" loud enough, it's never going to be a problem.  Just don't need the coacher waving his arms like a SAFE signal and sounding off "SAFE!" when I just banged his BR out.  It is possible that the defense may react to that.  (Never seen it.......) but it's possible.

Yeah, don't go looking for trouble.  But explaining that the coacher's actions may be interfering with a play and he needs to knock it off should be sufficient.

Mike

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10 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

No!  Just I want the coachers to coach, and I'll do the umpiring!  If I call "OUT" loud enough, it's never going to be a problem.  Just don't need the coacher waving his arms like a SAFE signal and sounding off "SAFE!" when I just banged his BR out.  It is possible that the defense may react to that.  (Never seen it.......) but it's possible.

Yeah, don't go looking for trouble.  But explaining that the coacher's actions may be interfering with a play and he needs to knock it off should be sufficient.

Mike

You're missing the point. There is no rules basis to call interference even if they do react.

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4 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Thank you as always, brothers...

Where I'm also struggling is this business of yelling across the field instead of approaching players and managers. Not everyone who yells has their blood up. Sometimes people yell to be heard across a ballfield and its misinterpreted as anger. I was trained that an umpire should not escalate. We merely respond to what those on the field choose to do and say.

When I have remained in place (on the plate...dirt circle, in the field...in place) to handle these kinds of situations, I was told by leadership not to yell across the field because that is perceived as escalating. Approach people calmly and use a normal tone and firm voice regardless of their tone. Then the perception is...THEY are being unreasonable.

And yet, this clearly isn't congruent with what other very experienced and veteran umpires have said here...

Yes, I try to be liked. It's important to me I am liked. That's who I am. And I wasted way too many years of my life not wanting to be liked and I didn't like the person that attitude turned me into. Maybe that'll mean I don't reach my umpiring aspirations...but, it will allow me to reach my human aspirations and respect and care for my fellow human being even when they are not being respectful to me.

~Dawg

It's very possible your leadership isn't as knowledgeable as some here. It's also possible they want that due to particular things germane to your area.

Not caring about being liked isn't an issue of interfering with your aspirations...it's a necessity. Trying to appease that desire for affirmation means that there are parts of your job you are not completing. It's not that you have to be unlikeable, but you cannot put effort into being likeable and perform this role at the same time. Keep in mind that in most cases, utterances towards you are impulsive and only noticed by the utterer if you respond. It's often not about you, just them.

Also, as said before, there's almost never a reason to interject in conversation between members of the same team--you'll get accused (often with merit) that you're looking for trouble. I can think of one example I've had that's an exception, and the situation is very similar.

VT had a traditional coaching staff, with a manager, 3BC, and 1BC, with their dugout on the 1B side. I have come very close, but not quite, to dumping the HC and/or others on that team in multiple situations. HT pitcher was doing something they didn't like (I don't remember what it was) and it was obvious that they didn't agree with my non-calls. 3BC would say things after a pitch regarding it, but I ignored it (hint, hint.) The next inning, he approached me as he was coming out and asked if he could ask a question, to which I responded in the affirmative. He asked if it was a balk if the pitcher did (whatever it was they thought he was doing) and I replied that it was. He then stated that the pitcher was doing that, to which I told him that I did not have him doing that, and that the question had been answered and now had turned into a discussion that was over. I turned around and walked away.

Coming in after that half, someone in the dugout asked 3BC from across the field what I had answered. He said, "He said it's illegal, but he's not going to call it." I immediately got the HC's attention and did the lineup card trick (which I hate, because I want people to see the bullSH*# that's causing it.) I said, "Brian, what he just said I answered was not true." Brian then asked me why I was paying attention to his team and going into his dugout (which I expected.) I told him that he was going to hear about it, think that I had said it, get pissed off, and then both our jobs would be harder--it was just a matter of making life easier for both of us. 

The point there isn't to intervene in conversations between teammates--that's the only time I can recall ever doing it. The point is that although I was offended (and I don't use that word lightly) that 3BC would say (in so many words) that I said I wasn't going to do my job, that had nothing to do with why I took action--it was to keep the situation from starting a fire from that spark. Had I approached it from the mindset that I was upset about it, it would have made the situation worse. 

If the only reason you don't like what a participant is doing is because, well, you don't like it, it's generally not a good enough reason to do something.

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10 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Yes, I try to be liked. It's important to me I am liked. That's who I am. And I wasted way too many years of my life not wanting to be liked and I didn't like the person that attitude turned me into. Maybe that'll mean I don't reach my umpiring aspirations...but, it will allow me to reach my human aspirations and respect and care for my fellow human being even when they are not being respectful to me.

~Dawg

Ahhh .... this is very near and dear to me as I am the same way (not like I used to be, but).   It's ok to 'try to be liked' as you say.  But, as others have said, being an umpire, it's impossible.  I've always been stubborn and thought: "I know I can't please everyone, but dammit, I'm going to try" ....  I've given that up, because it's not worth trying, because in this "profession" it's impossible.

Become "liked" by doing a good job, looking the part, being approachable, hustling, etc ....  you won't feel as though you're "liked" ...but YOU WILL become respected, and that my friend is about as close as you're going to get being an umpire.  It's ok to be this way on a personal level ...you just have to realize it's unattainable as an umpire

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To hopefully add on to what the others have said here, more distinctly by Thunderheads. The question that came to mind was do you want to be liked as a person or as an umpire?  From what I have read, you are trying to be liked as a person. Nothing wrong with that. And your actions are such that you are accomplishing that goal.  However, the coaches don't seem to be giving a rat's butt if you are a liked person or not in the situation you are describing.  They are disrespecting you.  No way am I going to truly be 'liked' by a coach that I have only seen for 2 hours, I am judging the actions of his or his players, and all of the calls went against his team. 

If they subconsciously liked you or liked the color of your ball bags or weren't POS themselves, they wouldn't be disrespecting you.  In other words, you be you. You can't please everyone. If you mature as an umpire to have a slightly harder edge for the situation, that is not necessarily a bad thing. 

 

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As to the "yelling across the field" issue, there is a world of difference between an exchange, however brief, and a quick, assertive KTSO. Why engage them in a dialog? Explanations can easily lead to a "Then do your job, blue!"

You must know that that coach had no interest in your point of view--he was fishing for a call and he was baiting you. Just tell them to stop. Take a step towards the offending dugout or coach, put your hand up in the "stop" gesture, and announce, not necessarily yelling but firmly, "Knock it off!"

Approaching the dugout or the coach could be perceived as you escalating things. If coaches and players want to ratchet up situations into confrontations, they'll be the aggressors and come to you.

As for being "liked," respect--for your professionalism, hustle, rules knowledge, etc.--is more important.

 

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I too try to be discreet in my communications with coaches.  However, I also match the coach.  If a coach mentions something quietly while passing by ("Can you keep an eye for balks?") I will respond just as discreetly.  If the coach is yelling across the diamond that I am missing something, I have no issue yelling at him right back.  The coach made it "public", not me.

As for the polite comment, that is a nothing burger.

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14 hours ago, Matt said:

You're missing the point. There is no rules basis to call interference even if they do react.

Read the definition of Offensive Interference.  It discusses ANYONE from the Offensive Team who intends to confuse a fielder.

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14 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

Read the definition of Offensive Interference.  It discusses ANYONE from the Offensive Team who intends to confuse a fielder.

An offensive coach, trying to get a 'safe' call confusing the fielder?  No, ... fielder will look at the umpire every time.  Won't happen, don't ever go there.  Re-look at the definition:

"Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders, or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.

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4 hours ago, BLWizzRanger said:

In other words, you be you.

Whoa, hold on there a minute. We need to qualify that statement. 

I will fully admit it – one of the points that routinely irritates me in @SeeingEyeDog‘s posts is when he (you, now that I have your eyes here, Dawg) closes a post with “you do you”. I read it as, “I’ve read all the advice that the rest of you have expressed and given, but I’m going to ignore it and not even consider the integration or application of it.” Now, I can’t change him/you, nor force him/you to accept and integrate advice. However, when within the context of someone else asking for or courting advice, and Dawg/you remark with a post “you do you”, in a way condoning the dismissal of the advice! 

So, I’m not correcting you Ranger, simply qualifying or clarifying that statement. 

@UMP45 has had some (blunt? gruff?) advice, that back in 2012/3 at the beginning of my career and presence here at U-E, gave me pause and I gave some friction to, but now realize how applicable it is. Paraphrased, it goes – “Stop thinking and behaving like a player; think and behave as an umpire” (notice that I didn’t include “like a” in that second part; more on that later). I chafed at that advice, initially, because I was a very cerebral player for 16 years. I’m also the son of an All-Michigan pitcher and coach. Of course, I wanted to be liked and appreciated, but to that, we (umpires) may be fellow participants in the game, but we will utterly fail ourselves and the game if we try to be liked. We simply won’t be liked, and we’re not performing our role if we base it on whether or not they – the other participants – like us. 

Over time (it wasn’t immediate) I cared and endeavored less to be liked; conjunctively, I gained more acumen (in the rules and my judgements thereof) and respect. Did I have to abandon my experience as a player? Not at all! In fact, it’s a distinguished tool in my skillset, such that Major League Umpires, Coaches and Players see it in how I move and conduct myself on the field. This is a foundation and building block to developing the all-important rapport so as to effectively interact with other baseball participants. I did, however, have to temper my experience (as a player), and measure and discern when and where it affects my conduct and role as an umpire. 

One of the chief elements of cultivating and developing that respect is consistency. Without even getting into the minute details of balls & strikes, or base calls, or interpreting balks (what Balk? I’ll call one when one happens!), do you like going out to do every game on your schedule? Do you like each team that shows up to play, and like each coach that walks up to the plate meeting, and like each and every catcher, or each pitcher on the mound (fact for me: I hate all pitchers), and like each and every batter that steps into the batter’s box? No! And you’re not expected to! If you liked even half of what I just rattled off, all and each time, I’d call you a liar! However, it doesn’t matter if we like it or not, we’re still going to go out an do this game on time to the best of our umpiring abilities. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like this ballpark because it has a s#!tty infield and a half-ass backstop, this is the game I’ve been assigned, and I’m going to do it like any other game. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like this catcher, or that pitcher (really?! This guy again?!), I’m going to call balls & strikes as I judge them to be… consistent. 

Lastly, an anecdote passed from the justice system – they can’t hold your silence against you (can’t quote silence).

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26 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Whoa, hold on there a minute. We need to qualify that statement. 

I will fully admit it – one of the points that routinely irritates me in @SeeingEyeDog‘s posts is when he (you, now that I have your eyes here, Dawg) closes a post with “you do you”. I read it as, “I’ve read all the advice that the rest of you have expressed and given, but I’m going to ignore it and not even consider the integration or application of it.” Now, I can’t change him/you, nor force him/you to accept and integrate advice. However, when within the context of someone else asking for or courting advice, and Dawg/you remark with a post “you do you”, in a way condoning the dismissal of the advice! 

So, I’m not correcting you Ranger, simply qualifying or clarifying that statement.

Fair enough.  But I wasn't saying dismiss the advice.  There comes a time when you have to be yourself and accept that fact. There are often times 85% of the advice matches across the opinions given in these threads. For example, hollering across the infield or the amount of jabbering/jockeying one will allow or tactics used to get a point across.  How many times has a thread here stated, in part, "I would have done this"?  I will duly note the example, but, at the end, I have got to be comfortable in doing those actions.   Me being me.  As a eleven month umpire I know I don't have the experience of most of you, but, I have experienced a lot of what crosses these threads - some before I have read the advice and some after.  I have even gotten feedback from an evaluator (so real time eval) that said I should have dumped a guy but I didn't because what they said didn't bother me in real time as much as it did the evaluator afterwards.  I am still iffy whether I should have or not, but, I am ok that I didn't.  More to learn here.  

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