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Losing interest


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On 5/6/2023 at 9:47 PM, Thatsnotyou said:

Though you have to focus on the bases, it’s not nearly to the same level as behind the plate. On the bases you’re mostly watching the game, waiting for action (after thinking about rotation or situation). Behind the plate you have to be mentally locked in every single pitch. Have to know every single count. Guys plate dodge because they don’t want 7 innings of being locked in to every pitch, especially with the risk of one gross miss sinking their credibility. 

With all respect, I disagree.

There's something to watch every pitch from the bases as well--especially so on any game on a big field, but even down to the 40/60 fields. If I'm in the field, if I'm in B or C I'm watching the pitcher intently once he steps on the rubber. Even in A, I'm watching the batter, because I never know when there's going to be an appeal of a swing. On the 40/60 fields, I have to watch the runners to make sure they're not leaving early. Then I have to be thinking about different rotations, which bases will have tag plays, where I should go with a fly ball, whether IFF is in effect, etc.

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7 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

 

Let me ask, how do you guys handle this with coaches?  It is a major faux pas to throw your partner under the bus, but what do you do when they are actively diving under the bus every opportunity they have?  (This weekend was ... interesting ... for me.)

 

I can't say I've had to do this often, but I basically have told the coach that I didn't have as good a look as the other ump had, and that it's his primary responsibility. It's not a great answer, but I will not throw another umpire under the bus, and will actively try to pull my partner out from under said bus--because I've been on both sides.

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I am one of those who lost interest. There was a combination of factors that killed my baseball career, though I still am active in officiating other sports.

First, I got into officiating as a college student. That meant that I had a relatively open schedule that can handle the crazy times that games start at. I also could work anywhere in the DC Metro Area, because public transit is good. Getting Uber or Lyft rides, or carpooling could fill in the gaps at those times when I have to reach a field that is off the public transit grid. This is important, because as I finished my undergraduate classes, I started thinking about getting jobs, and how compatible officiating is with work. Baseball is notoriously bad in that regard, because games can start as early as 2:30.

Second, I got good at all the sports I can officiate in, but there are two sports where I have advanced the furthest: football and basketball. I tried advancing in baseball and volleyball, but I could not get past the high school level in either sport. The assigner I was working with at the time told me that I would not have a chance to move up to or in college baseball, because of the large amount of ex-pro umpires in the college baseball ranks. In football, I made it to the junior college/D3 level thanks to getting in touch with the local chapter and attending their tryout camp. I made it to semi-pro basketball by trying out, and I am currently trying to get to junior college and/or D3 basketball.

The third factor is one everyone can relate to: the ennui of doing repeated bad games, often with partners who go through the motions. 13U and 14U games are the first time that baseball players play on the full-size field after spending most of their careers on the Little League field, so quality of play will be uneven. As the base umpire, I would not have much to do, because the pitchers would be throwing many walks. Steals would not be competitive, because 13U and 14U catchers do not have the arm strength of JV and varsity catchers. As a result, actual rotations are rare, even though they were extensively covered in training. At high school games, sometimes there are good matchups that require umpires to actually work, and 3-person playoff games provide some novelty, because the umpires actually have to think about where their partners are and what they are doing.

Because I got tired of working bad games with no chance of advancement, and I was concerned that work would limit my availability, I decided to stop umpiring baseball.

 

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29 minutes ago, ilyazhito said:

The assigner I was working with at the time told me that I would not have a chance to move up to or in college baseball, because of the large amount of ex-pro umpires in the college baseball ranks.

Yup. The Purge. The Purge is real. 

And the coasts are heavily saturated. 

 

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22 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Yup. The Purge. The Purge is real. 

And the coasts are heavily saturated. 

 

I've still been advancing with no pro experience or pro school. If your goal is Power 5 or bust, then yeah, you probably won't get there. But you can still work pretty high level college baseball. Also, you can't get there if you don't at least try. 

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On 5/8/2023 at 1:08 PM, 834k3r said:

With all respect, I disagree.

There's something to watch every pitch from the bases as well--especially so on any game on a big field, but even down to the 40/60 fields. If I'm in the field, if I'm in B or C I'm watching the pitcher intently once he steps on the rubber. Even in A, I'm watching the batter, because I never know when there's going to be an appeal of a swing. On the 40/60 fields, I have to watch the runners to make sure they're not leaving early. Then I have to be thinking about different rotations, which bases will have tag plays, where I should go with a fly ball, whether IFF is in effect, etc.

My point is that you’re just watching the actual pitches, not calling them. On most pitches, there isn’t a decision to be made on the bases. On the plate, it’s seemingly every pitch. 
 

To put it another way, I’ve never come off the bases mentally exhausted. I’ve come off the plate mentally exhausted plenty of times. It doesn’t mean the bases are easy. But it doesn’t require the same level of focus and decision making (by pure number). 
 

Rotations, base touches, tag plays, if there is IFF…you’re still doing that on the plate too. 

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On 5/8/2023 at 2:36 PM, JSam21 said:

I've still been advancing with no pro experience or pro school. If your goal is Power 5 or bust, then yeah, you probably won't get there. But you can still work pretty high level college baseball. Also, you can't get there if you don't at least try. 

I have no pro school. This past weekend I had an NAIA Conference Championship weekend. So ya, if you put in your time and pay attention, you can definitely work high level games 

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I am speaking purely anecdotally, but I believe the advancement ladder is heavily influenced by geographic opportunity.  I've bitched and moaned many times on here about it, so I won't go down the dirty path.  Suffice to say, where I am at in Illinois I would be lucky to do JUCO or D3 (my son started doing those this year).  Had I stayed in Mississippi where I was, I'd easily be working up the ranks quickly simply because there are opportunities in abundance.

Pro school isn't something that is even an option any more.  It is purely by selection and invite now.

 

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On 5/8/2023 at 1:01 PM, The Man in Blue said:

Let me ask, how do you guys handle this with coaches?  It is a major faux pas to throw your partner under the bus, but what do you do when they are actively diving under the bus every opportunity they have?  (This weekend was ... interesting ... for me.)

That's the issue.  What do you do?  I try never to 'throw him under the bus' but sometimes I will explain that we are trying to accommodate every game with two officials and sometimes that means using folks that are still learning.  You can pretty much 'fix' anything that happens IF you have coaches that are reasonable.  Like in my example above, BOTH coaches know what the result of the play would have been had there been no screw up.  The problem is that the coach on the 'losing end' usually will pitch a fit.

Bottom line...I just do the best I can to fix it.

 

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  • 2 months later...

We're all told at some point that we can no longer play the children's game.  We just don't know when that's going to be.  Some of us are told at 18, some of us are told at 40.  But we're all told. 

                                                                                                                ~Scout in the movie Moneyball.

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On 5/8/2023 at 11:14 AM, 834k3r said:

Let me ask, how do you guys handle this with coaches?  It is a major faux pas to throw your partner under the bus, but what do you do when they are actively diving under the bus every opportunity they have? 

About the best you can do is just tell the coach, "It's his call, go talk with him."

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