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Coach Ball Things That Make You Go ... HUH?


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15 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

So, I used to do the whole, "Gentlemen, if you have a question on a call, please ask for time, wait for time to be granted and then approach the umpire that made the call and ask your question. If we need to get together to further adjudicate your call we will and we ask that you return to your dugout and we'll give you our final ruling."

I'm in the camp of don't do this, ever. In fact, it is a mission of mine to eradicate it from every umpires plate meeting, for a number of reasons.

Coaches aren't listening at the plate meeting anyway, they want to get the game going. Keep the plate meeting short and sweet, a couple of minutes is plenty of time.

A good plate meeting, with some modifications if necessary, is as follows:

1. Introductions. 2 Line ups. 3. Field or ground rules. 4. Done. Some organizations want changes given to the scorekeeper (LL), so you can mention how you want those done. If there are time limits, mention those, as well. (Usually travel ball.)

Coaches also should know how to approach umpires on a play. If they don't, they are going to get a lesson from me very quickly. The plate meeting is not a rules clinic. I cannot stand when plate umpires start bloviating about all sorts of stupid things such as, but not limited to: sportsmanship, it's for the kids, a diatribe about safety, etc.

By using the aforementioned verbiage about coming out on call, you've just told the coach that they can question every call, and they also now believe that you will get with your partner every time they ask. That is what they hear, and that is what they expect. Now they are just going to fish for calls on every ruling they don't like.

I can't tell you how many times as a BU, that I grit my teeth when the PU says this. Then invariably, a coach will come out on a straight judgment call, and expect me to go to my partner for "help". And then I have to explain to them that it's my call, and I'm not going for help. Sometimes it's a longer discussion with varying degrees of sternness on my part, depending on the coaches. And I will usually get, "you guys said you'd get together on calls." (Because that's what they heard.) And yes, it has resulted in an ejection at times.

So no, IMO, umpires should not say this, and remove it from their repertoire if they do.

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Thank you, [mention=5547]mac266[/mention]! I read through these and thought, "I just see three missed ejections here..."
So, I used to do the whole, "Gentlemen, if you have a question on a call, please ask for time, wait for time to be granted and then approach the umpire that made the call and ask your question. If we need to get together to further adjudicate your call we will and we ask that you return to your dugout and we'll give you our final ruling."
Then I had a veteran umpire in my association tell me in post-game, "Don't tell them how to come out and talk to us at the plate meeting. When you do that, you are already introducing the notion in their heads (and ours) that we are going to miss calls!"
Anybody have any feedback on whether or not this should be a part of plate meetings? Is it situational?
~Dawg

Yes, remove it from your pregame.

JohnnyCat is right.

Intros, lineups (if you’re req), ground rules (hell, this one can go 99% of the time, too), handshake and a “good luck.” That’s all you need. Include any items req by local leagues, associations, etc. But hopefully those are minimal, too.
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Thanks, @JonnyCat...my #1 thing I wish the LEAGUES would do when they speak to coaches as a group, is yes...EXPLAIN to them what can be appealed, what cannot be appealed and how you appeal it in such a way so as not to draw an immediate ejection. As you said, those who don't understand the procedure are quickly educated by the umpires during games. It would likely take 20 years to adjust the culture one inch because everything is centered around whether or not a coach wants to take exception to a call that did not go their way.

I legit had a coach last year come out on a close tag play at the plate asking me if I could go to my partner. I just said, "Coach, that's my call. I had the perfect angle and distance to make that call. My partner is 70 feet away with his own responsibilities. If you continue, you will be ejected..."

He approached me calmly after the game and apologized and said he thought every call could be appealed to another member of the crew. I just kept walking and said, "Coach, we'd never finish an inning if that were true...". Suddenly, a light bulb went on...

~Dawg

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I have to say I am kind of torn on this.  I agree that coaches only hear what they want to hear and that plate meetings are border-line useless.  I also understand the notion that calling attention to things like this or working a single-umpire game "plant the seeds" ... but I don't think I agree with it.  The seeds of stupidity are not planted at home plate.  Those seeds were planted a long time ago.

Depending on the level of the game, I don't think a little quick education hurts.  I absolutely agree with @SeeingEyeDog that this really should be done by leagues in advance during training for coaches.

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FWIW, I give the speech with on how to approach us and what to approach us with for 3 reasons:

1- It sets the expectation of how they can talk to us.  Anything done outside of that gets a short leash for ejection.

2- It sets the list of things we are allowed to discuss with them to a short list (question about what we saw, or the rules we are applying).

3- It gives us an opportunity to show that we're approachable under the right circumstances, which I find goes a long way to improving our discussions on the field.

In general, I've had better luck with coaches when I've given some level of speech than when I haven't.  I realize they rarely listen to what we say, but by the end of the day giving the same speech to the same coaches (during tourney ball!) or the end of a season, it seemed to sink in for htem.

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4 hours ago, ErichKeane said:

FWIW, I give the speech with on how to approach us and what to approach us with for 3 reasons:

1- It sets the expectation of how they can talk to us.  Anything done outside of that gets a short leash for ejection.

2- It sets the list of things we are allowed to discuss with them to a short list (question about what we saw, or the rules we are applying).

3- It gives us an opportunity to show that we're approachable under the right circumstances, which I find goes a long way to improving our discussions on the field.

In general, I've had better luck with coaches when I've given some level of speech than when I haven't.  I realize they rarely listen to what we say, but by the end of the day giving the same speech to the same coaches (during tourney ball!) or the end of a season, it seemed to sink in for htem.

I haven’t attributed any “luck with coaches”, whatever that means, to a pregame. I only know that when we are done in 1 or 2 minutes and I ask any questions the coaches are happy to break up and some are surprised they don’t have to stay there listening to whatever. It doesn’t belong at the HS level but happens. It doesn’t belong at college or pro and doesn’t happen. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 8/26/2022 at 1:28 PM, BLarson said:

I'm always surprised how ADAMENT every coach is when they tell me what the rule is.

This what cracks me up and angers me at the same time.  I cannot take it when a coach tells me "the rule".  99% of the time the only thing he is "telling me" is that he hasn't even opened up the rule book.  

The older I get the less I put up with that nonsense. The second he tells me "the rule" I send him to the dugout and turn around and walk away.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Worked a majors LL (12U) game last night on the worst field we have locally (complete dirt infield, hard as concrete, weeds all over it). BR hits a bouncing ground ball down the 1B line (remember the field's as hard as concrete). F3 (well, the whole team, honestly) has zero interest in playing defense to get the ball. About two feet in front of the bag, the ball bounces (in fair territory) up, over the bag, and lands in foul territory behind the bag. I'm 1BLX and as the ball bounces over the bag I point the ball fair.

DT HC comes out and says it was foul.

I paused, thinking "are we really having this conversation," but explained the ball bounced over the bag which is in fair territory.

LL coaches should have to take rules tests like we do for FED games.

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On 8/26/2022 at 1:28 PM, BLarson said:

I tried by best to explain 1 base on overthrow isn't a thing and finally said:
If you want, go ahead and protest, let's get the UIC on the phone and let's take care of it.   He says no and we proceed.

Later in the game he came over and said he looked it up and I was right.
I also had 3 other sperate parents (from both teams) come up and tell me I made the right call.

Yeahh I awarded 2 bases and people were scratching their heads. FED it's One base if a pitcher pitches or picks out of play though...

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I know this is a "coaches thread" (maybe @Thunderheads can retitle the thread for all acts and comments of gross ignorance?) but I had a couple recently.

Legion Juniors game yesterday. Bases loaded, 1 out. IFF called. F6 failed to make the catch (still not sure how he missed it). R2 took off for 3B and was tagged out. During the pause between innings, a parent asked me why the runner was called out because an IFF only makes the BR out.

LL majors game earlier in the week. Bottom 6, 2 outs, HT is trailing. Batter has a 1-2 count. Pitch comes in and it's a clean foul tip right into the catcher's glove (yes, I was surprised, too). I give the mechanic, gather my water bottle and start walking off the field as the teams shake hands. Some player's grandpa said, "that batter got a piece of the ball, why is he out?" "That's the difference between a foul and a foul tip," I said and walked off.

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13 hours ago, 834k3r said:

LL majors game earlier in the week. Bottom 6, 2 outs, HT is trailing. Batter has a 1-2 count. Pitch comes in and it's a clean foul tip right into the catcher's glove (yes, I was surprised, too). I give the mechanic, gather my water bottle and start walking off the field as the teams shake hands. Some player's grandpa said, "that batter got a piece of the ball, why is he out?" "That's the difference between a foul and a foul tip," I said and walked off.

People calling a foul ball a foul tip just because they only got a "small piece" of it is one of those things that drives me batty.  Ask my kids.  We will be watching a game and see a dinky foul ball and they will cut me off saying, "We know, it's not a foul tip".  They see my face light up when a legit foul tip is given the mechanic and called correctly, too.  There is probably some psychological diagnosis for my vehement response to that.  Probably "curmudgeon".  

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I cannot think of the last time the foul tip thing ever came up for me.  Karma ... TWICE this weekend, one in 15u and one in 13u.  My partner and I were flabbergasted.

On another note ... Passive-Aggressive Coach Nozzle ... remember this guy is NOT your friend ...

To wrap up the plate meeting, I ask the coaches if they have any questions for us.  They say no.  Great!  Defense takes the field.  As the VTHC is walking to third, he stops to let me know he umpires, too, and then asks me about balk warnings.  I advise him we aren't issuing "an official warning" but I am usually "subtle" on the first roll-through set with younger kids. 

He says, "Good to know ... because I lost to this team before 7-6 because John -- and he's a good umpire -- didn't call a balk.  When I asked him, he said it was a balk, but he felt sorry for the pitcher.  I understand that, but I had a runner at third and it cost me the game.  So I just wanted to make sure what you are doing."

I'm thinking to myself, "You lost because of the balk?  It wasn't the 7 runs you gave up?"  Whatever.

Fast forward ... game is a decent game and the coaches were well-behaved.  Until the 4th inning.  HT changes catchers and I know I am getting a different look at the ball.  I'm trying to recalibrate, so I know I probably missed a few.  VTHC stops on his way from 3rd base to the dugout.  "I think a few of those you called on my guys were outside, and I don't think we're getting them also."  He was very polite about it.  I say, "Could be.  I'm dialing in to the new catcher.  If I missed a few, I apologize."  He says thank you and that was that.

Fast forward again and the VT is racing the clock.  They had given up 6 runs in the first inning and were almost run-ruled in the 5th, but pulled back into the game.  They take the field in the bottom 6th with 7 minutes on the clock and are down 10-9.  Their pitcher is trying to rush and cannot hit the broad side of the barn now.  He hit a batter, gives up a few base hits, and then three straight walks for a 13-9 score when the clock expires.  His last seven pitches either hit the backstop or the catcher had to jump to bring them down.

As my partner and I are walking off the field ... VTHC is telling his kids, "We should have won, you were being squeezed that last inning."  Again?  It wasn't the 13 runs you gave up (6 of which were in the first inning)?

My partner and I are in the parking lot grabbing a quick bite to eat and changing out for the next two games.  We watch the coach and his son walking to the car, still belly-aching.  The coach has his "hitting stick" in hand and is using it like a walking stick.  His kid is carrying nothing.  They get in the car still complaining.  Then we see his trophy wife coming behind, pulling the wagon with everything loaded in/on it.  Yep.  That checks out.

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So this is one... I had an almost-ejection on Saturday that I ended up being glad I was slow/flabbergasted on.  I'm in a tourney (6 games that day, 4 behind the plate) for 13U.  Working through my 1st game (I'm going to see the same team in the next game), and 1 batter is PARTICULARLY shocked on every called strike, and is being a little demonstrative to his bench about it.  Nothing directed at me, so he stays in the game.   He ends up striking out looking 3 of his 4 at bats.  On the 4th AB (a strike-out to end the inning), he is grumbling on his way back to the dugout.

Mid-way through the warm-up pitches, the coach comes out of the dugout a few feet, and says pretty loudly, "Hey Erich, I just wanted to let you know, my batter says that all of those strikes you've called on him today are balls.  I just thought you should know."  I'm mentally  flabbergasted/shocked/WTF-did-you-just-say-to-me, so don't toss him before he has a chance to add, "I obviously don't agree with him, but I think you should know.".  He comes over and more quietly says to me, "sorry for that, but I'm hoping he'll learn something".

Game ends in a run-rule, I go grab a snack, and come back to the same team.  SAME kid, comes up, strike 1 is dead center of the plate, mid-thigh.  He again complains to the dugout, and his coach says, "Yep, still a strike!".  Strike-2, same deal, "That one is ALSO still a strike".  Strike-3: "Pretty sure you've already seen that pitch be a strike today!". Hangs his head on the way into the dugout.

AB#2 and on: KID ACTUALLY SWINGS.  He grounded out once, got on due to an error 2x. 

I mentioned this to the Site Director after the game, and he told me the coach is actually SD's son!  Also, he said that the team had JUST lost about 1/2 the kids and both coaches to a different club that week, so his son took over and is working with some of their non-tourney kids and trying to get them into shape. 

They got run-ruled both games, and the coach (plus the rest of the players!) were great.  But MAN, I was a quicker-reaction-time from tossing that coach.  I mentioned to father/SD that he was about 1/10th of a second from being tossed for it, so hopefully he doesn't try to repeat it :)

 

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