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Incidental Contact at 1B, how'd we do?


ErichKeane

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Working with a really experienced partner, I'm PU, he's on bases.  Bases empty <2 outs, grounder to the left side of the infield.  F3 is a BIG kid, BR is a SMOL kid.  As BR is getting to the base, the ball is pulling F3 up/back, so all 3 get there 'at the same time' more or less.  BR 'bounces' off F3 thanks to the collision.  F3 ends up dropping the ball at his feet, BR bounces off F3 and at about a 45 degree angle away from the plate in fair territory.  As BR starts to walk slowly back to the base, defensive bench starts yelling at F3 to tag the runner, and F3 picks up the ball and goes to tag BR.  BR sees/hears this, takes off for 2B, and is tagged out.

OHC is obviously REALLY mad at my partner for this, is granted time, and comes across from 3BC, on his way by, he asks me, "did you see that play?", which i obviously said 'yes'.  Apparently he told my partner I agreed I had seen 'interference'.  They discuss for a minute, and my partner comes over for a conference.  He asks if I saw RLI, and I said no, but was confused, since why would the OHC be asking about something to get his runner out earlier?

My partner stated that he didn't see Obstruction, which I did not either.   At this point, we decided that BR was protected back to the base, as he never made a move to 2nd, until he turned to run to 2B.  My partner signals 'out', and the coach is upset. 

He walks up to me to explain, starts on about 'incidental contact' and how that should mean 'dead ball'.  I tell him yes, we DID consider it incidental contact, but that does not mean dead ball, it just means it wasn't interference or obstruction.  He asks about 'how they can just tag him' after the collision, where I state what we agreed upon, which was that he could have returned to the base safely, until he broke for 2nd.  There were some perhaps profane mutterings that I chose to not hear, and told him to get back to 3BC, we needed to continue.

The head of his club, who I'd sent away in the last conversation, telling him that he wasn't the coach at the meeting, so I couldn't discuss it with him there, came up between innings to ask for 'clarification' as to what he could teach his kids.  I entertained it between innings (though let it go longer than I should have).  He insisted that we should have called it dead 'because of the confusion', and I just kept repeating "thats not what we're supposed to do.".

Overall, other than a little bit of grumpiness, that game went well, and ended as a 1 run ballgame!  There was 1 more disagreement on a pulled-foot with the same HC, but the kid got picked off the next play, so a few 'oh, just a makeup call!' from one side of the stands and "ball don't lie!" from the other side, and that one went away.

 

 

BONUS/funny-ish story:
Earlier game in the tourney, coincidentally, same HC.  2 of his club teams are in the semi-finals, against each other (interestingly, the 12U team was 'playing up' against the 13U team, and ended up winning/going to the finals!).  Bases empty once again, grounder in the infield.  Throw takes F3 directly in line with my partner, who bangs him out.  OHC asks my partner to chat with me, and I tell him he pulled the foot by quite a bit, so we change to a 'safe' call.   

DHC (same guy from above!) shoots over to me, and asks what I saw.  I tell him, I saw a clear pulled foot, so we called him safe.  He asks, "Well, the play was there, how the heck could you have seen that from y our position THERE (pointing to the plate).  Me; "Because I wasn't THERE, I was 1/2 way up the line, so I can help catch that exact play!".  Him: "Oh... well, ok then..."

He comes up between innings and says he asked the 1BC (remember, same club!) who told him that we nailed it, and he said, "its crazy you could get that right..."

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Do NOT allow coaches to discuss calls with multiple umpires. As he is coming out (I presume he called for time and waited for time to be granted...), and he asks you, "Did you see that play?" the only thing you should say is, "Coach, please speak with the umpire who made the call...". Yes, I hope you saw that play. Yes, I hope you have an opinion about what you saw but, Coach has to go to your partner first and THEN it is your partner's decision about whether HE wants to come to YOU at which point he will ask you about the play. Or...maybe not. Maybe all he wants to talk to you about is "Ginger or Mary Anne"...

If you are the partner here, when you are done speaking with the Coach you tell him to return to his dugout. Then he can come to you for a discussion of the play. Once a final decision has been made, the umpire who made the call then goes to the negatively impacted Coach of that call and announces it, then goes to the opposing Coach and announces it.

As for the play itself...you say "all 3 get there at the same time". You say, "BR bounces off F3" and "F3 drops the ball". You don't say what rules. I'm not sure if that matters but, I don't work LL so I don't know if they have something different for this. I read the whole thing 3 times and you don't say when or if BR ever touches the bag.

This is a HTBT but, as described...I have an out. The collision should have been given a safe mechanic and a "That's nothing..." It looks horrible because of the size difference but, as described, I have a baseball play here. And...you can add that after the play, "Time! That's nothing! That's a baseball play."

In closing, do NOT allow ANY coaches to EVER discuss with you, "What should I teach my kids?" That is NEVER an umpire's job. Of course, we would never say something to a coach that would lead to someone intentionally getting hurt but, imagine the ess-storm if you told the coach how to "teach" his kids, someone gets hurt and now they are telling their authority, "Well, this umpire here told me to do that and this..." NO! Do not get into those discussions! Just simply tell the coach, "Coach, that play is over. We are not here to instruct you on what to coach your players."

~Dawg

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3 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Do NOT allow coaches to discuss calls with multiple umpires. As he is coming out (I presume he called for time and waited for time to be granted...), and he asks you, "Did you see that play?" the only thing you should say is, "Coach, please speak with the umpire who made the call...". Yes, I hope you saw that play. Yes, I hope you have an opinion about what you saw but, Coach has to go to your partner first and THEN it is your partner's decision about whether HE wants to come to YOU at which point he will ask you about the play. Or...maybe not. Maybe all he wants to talk to you about is "Ginger or Mary Anne"...

If you are the partner here, when you are done speaking with the Coach you tell him to return to his dugout. Then he can come to you for a discussion of the play. Once a final decision has been made, the umpire who made the call then goes to the negatively impacted Coach of that call and announces it, then goes to the opposing Coach and announces it.

As for the play itself...you say "all 3 get there at the same time". You say, "BR bounces off F3" and "F3 drops the ball". You don't say what rules. I'm not sure if that matters but, I don't work LL so I don't know if they have something different for this. I read the whole thing 3 times and you don't say when or if BR ever touches the bag.

This is a HTBT but, as described...I have an out. The collision should have been given a safe mechanic and a "That's nothing..." It looks horrible because of the size difference but, as described, I have a baseball play here. And...you can add that after the play, "Time! That's nothing! That's a baseball play."

In closing, do NOT allow ANY coaches to EVER discuss with you, "What should I teach my kids?" That is NEVER an umpire's job. Of course, we would never say something to a coach that would lead to someone intentionally getting hurt but, imagine the ess-storm if you told the coach how to "teach" his kids, someone gets hurt and now they are telling their authority, "Well, this umpire here told me to do that and this..." NO! Do not get into those discussions! Just simply tell the coach, "Coach, that play is over. We are not here to instruct you on what to coach your players."

~Dawg

Thats good guidance, thanks!  I DO need to work on the "you have to talk to my partner about that", absolutely (among the rest of what you said).  I'll try to keep that in mind for the future, that level of dealing with coaches is challenging, I like to be personable/approachable with them and friendly, so its a tough line to draw.

Ruleset is OBR (with some inconsequential to this story modifications).  As far as the touch of 1B, I didn't think it mattered without an appeal :D Once he 'passed' the base, he's fine, right (at least without an appeal)?  I believe he DID touch the base, but I was further away/it was my partner's thing to call.

 

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No, it doesn't matter without the appeal. As PU, you should still try to get a touch there if you can. Some times, we can't. If you are routinely not getting a touch at 1B, you may want to pull off the 1B line slightly, but not too much.

Yes, we all want to be personable and approachable. But, talking to umpires is a procedure that needs to be followed for exactly the reason you showed us. The non-ruling umpire should not be talking to a coach because that could give the coach additional ammunition, fuel or information for his discussion with the ruling umpire. Umpiring...it's the little things we do and don't do that can really impact the baseball game.

~Dawg

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2 hours ago, ErichKeane said:

OHC is obviously REALLY mad at my partner for this, is granted time, and comes across from 3BC, on his way by, he asks me, "did you see that play?", which i obviously said 'yes'.  Apparently he told my partner I agreed I had seen 'interference'.

This is a standard setup: PU is visibly nodding "yes" to one question, and coach reports it as a different question. Rats gonna rat.

Either say nothing and walk coach to your partner, or loudly provide a more substantive response, "yes, I saw the play!" so partner can hear your statement.

For all codes, when the contact occurs beyond the base, the runner is safe (pending appeal). It's not OBS, because the BR is not trying to advance—no hindrance = no OBS. And it's not INT, because the runner is already safe, so there's nothing to hinder. 

I recommend signaling "safe" and verbalizing "That's nothing!" (and not, "That's a baseball play!" which is not an umpiring term, might mean different things to different coaches, and fails to communicate what we want, since both OBS and INT are (illegal) baseball plays as well).

As for the BR's decision to advance: I read that as unrelated to the contact, and instead connected to the impending missed base appeal. If we kill it, we deprive the defense of the opportunity to appeal the missed base (by effectively protecting the BR back to 1B where he can correct his error during the dead ball). 

2 hours ago, ErichKeane said:

The head of his club, who I'd sent away in the last conversation, telling him that he wasn't the coach at the meeting, so I couldn't discuss it with him there, came up between innings to ask for 'clarification' as to what he could teach his kids.

 

48 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

In closing, do NOT allow ANY coaches to EVER discuss with you, "What should I teach my kids?" That is NEVER an umpire's job.

Just on this piece: it's important to understand what this "head of club" means. He's assuming that the only options for the runner are to stop running or crash the fielder. But that's a false choice. Merely saying "not my job" does not adequately address the problem, and in practice sounds like a cop out.

Collisions occur because one player moves unexpectedly into the path of another. MC—deliberately colliding with an opponent—is much rarer than unintentional collisions. The key word is "unexpected"—how could anyone conceivably coach players to respond to the unexpected? 

My response to that question is something along the lines of: "Teach them that unexpected collisions happen in baseball, and to do their best to avoid injuring anyone including themselves." This response has the virtues of being true, realistic, and sporting.

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2 minutes ago, maven said:

This is a standard setup: PU is visibly nodding "yes" to one question, and coach reports it as a different question. Rats gonna rat.

Either say nothing and walk coach to your partner, or loudly provide a more substantive response, "yes, I saw the play!" so partner can hear your statement.

For all codes, when the contact occurs beyond the base, the runner is safe (pending appeal). It's not OBS, because the BR is not trying to advance—no hindrance = no OBS. And it's not INT, because the runner is already safe, so there's nothing to hinder. 

I recommend signaling "safe" and verbalizing "That's nothing!" (and not, "That's a baseball play!" which is not an umpiring term, might mean different things to different coaches, and fails to communicate what we want, since both OBS and INT are (illegal) baseball plays as well).

As for the BR's decision to advance: I read that as unrelated to the contact, and instead connected to the impending missed base appeal. If we kill it, we deprive the defense of the opportunity to appeal the missed base (by effectively protecting the BR back to 1B where he can correct his error during the dead ball). 

 

Just on this piece: it's important to understand what this "head of club" means. He's assuming that the only options for the runner are to stop running or crash the fielder. But that's a false choice. Merely saying "not my job" does not adequately address the problem, and in practice sounds like a cop out.

Collisions occur because one player moves unexpectedly into the path of another. MC—deliberately colliding with an opponent—is much rarer than unintentional collisions. The key word is "unexpected"—how could anyone conceivably coach players to respond to the unexpected? 

My response to that question is something along the lines of: "Teach them that unexpected collisions happen in baseball, and to do their best to avoid injuring anyone including themselves." This response has the virtues of being true, realistic, and sporting.

"Head of Club" is : this is a club-team, so the Club brought ~6 teams across age groups to this tourney, so I had a HC (of this team), PLUS the top-level-guy of the Club, both on the bench.  Head of Club is a nice guy who is really understanding of umps, and I have some history with him where he's been fantastic, so I DO perhaps give him better leeway than others.

SO, After the discussion with my partner, the result of the initial play was non-controversial I think, the coaches didn't seem to have a problem with that part.  What they DID have a problem with was what happened 'after'.  I don't think anyone thought an appeal play was in play (I BELIEVE I saw a foot touch, but I was a bit further away), but that he was 'not on the base', so he was running afraid of being 'tagged'. 

I considered this to be the same as when a BR runs through a base (sans collision!), and F3 turns to try to tag him during the over-run.  The difference being, his 'over-run' wasn't down the line, it was at a 45 degree angle (thanks to the collision).  I suspect that angle is what confused the Defensive-bench/encouraged them to BR, and confused the BR enough to not know what was going on.

Thinking more, I suspect the coaches were doing more of a grasping-at-straws for how to not have that out, which is why they went through "Interference" (sic), all the way to, "why didn't we call time?".


When Head-of-Club came out, I'd explained he should teach his players to return to the base if they didn't think they'd made an attempt at 2B, and trust/hope that the umps see it the same way, but he went right back to we should have called Time-out because of the confusing situation. 

ALSO note, the collision was 'minor', neither player showed any injury/hint of, and neither went to the ground.   F3 was basically unmoved, BR had his trajectory changed significantly.

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I agree with 99% of what @SeeingEyeDog gave you.  I would add a slight tweak though, especially if we are talking younger age levels.

I agree on "do not tell the coach what to teach his kids" but I would offer that discussing the rule with the coach later so he understands it and can teach his kids is different. 

I did a tournament this weekend and ended up on 9u games for the last three (I was not happy about that, but I'm also not that big of a cry baby).  In the final game of the day (semi-final for the tournament), I was BU and we had a kid who kept coming set before ANYBODY was ready -- the batter, the plate umpire, and even his catcher -- and starting to throw as soon as the batter was in the box.  (My partner was mediocre and wasn't taking care of this.)  9u had no lead offs and no balks.  I started pre-emptively killing it so he didn't hurt somebody.  I would tell him, "Step off" and he wouldn't do it, so I killed it as soon as he started to move from the set.  The kid was getting mad, the coach was getting mad, and the kid's dad was getting mad.  They kept yelling "The batter is in the box."  I tried explaining the batter (and the umpire and the catcher) all need to be alert, not just "in the box."  They wouldn't have it, so I just kept killing it.  I couldn't call a balk by the tournament rules.  I believe I counted 32 times.

After the game, the dad and the coach asked if they could talk to me and we had a good conversation.  I didn't tell them how to coach the kid, but gave them an understanding of what we look for and, more importantly, why it matters.

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40 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

I was BU and we had a kid who kept coming set before ANYBODY was ready -- the batter, the plate umpire, and even his catcher -- and starting to throw as soon as the batter was in the box.

I had this over the weekend as well in 12U. It's my local LL so I called the DHC out to the mound as I explained to F1 he has to wait a beat after I say 'play' to start pitching (he was anticipating when I would say it and was working to release the ball as soon as I got the first syllable out). It fortunately worked (though he was repacked next time around after 40+ pitches in his 1 inning).

This was NOT travel ball. Not sure I'd try it there (but then, that's why I don't do travel ball. 😉)

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Thank you, @The Man in Blue for that 1% reminder. Yeah, I'm not saying don't discuss a rule. I would just specifically avoid a question that involves my opinion as an umpire about what I think he should do with his players. A coach should be able to infer from a discussion of the rules and what we would adjudicate or how we would adjudicate a game situation how then to instruct his players to avoid violating that rule.

As an aside, I would also never say this to a coach out loud but, baseball rulebooks are available to anyone...case books, too I believe. When I coached, I read them...maybe that's why I don't coach anymore...

~Dawg

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2 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

As an aside, I would also never say this to a coach out loud but, baseball rulebooks are available to anyone...case books, too I believe. When I coached, I read them...maybe that's why I don't coach anymore...

 

I agree and I have directed coaches where to find them at times.  (Politely, of course!) 

I'll add another wrinkle to that ... Which rule book?  Purely anecdotal, but when it comes to anything other than school ball, coaches don't even know which set of rules they are playing by.  They don't even realize there are differences.  If they do, the tournament does something goofy.  

The tournament I worked this weekend was put on by a travel program as one of their fundraisers.  It was unsanctioned, but they were using USSSA rules with some of their own things tossed in (e.g., one balk warning per pitcher).  USSSA uses OBR as its base.

Here is where the perfect storm converges ...

12u, I am on the bases.  Pitcher commits his first balk.  I yell "BALK!" and he delivers the pitch which is cranked for a 2-run triple.  The defensive coach tries to get us to take the hit away.  "But you called a balk!  That's a dead ball!"  Sorry coach, OBR keeps the balk live (even though they say it is dead).  I agree that if it was school ball he would be right.  I tell the pitcher what he did and we move on.  

On the very next pitch, the pitcher commits his "second" first balk by blowing through the pause again.  I yell "BALK!"  I come in and, for the second time, tell the pitcher he has to pause when he comes set.  Then I say, "That's his warning!"  Now the offensive coach is mad because he wants his runner from third advanced.  Sorry coach, he gets a warning AND ... OBR keeps the ball live on the balk (even though they say it is dead).  Since the runners and the batter-runner advanced, that nullifies the balk.  If there was no balk, we cannot have a balk warning (tournament rule).  Since we could not have a warning, this was his first infraction for a warning.  Runner stays put.

Fun in the sun.

Added Balk Bonus Fun: Runner on first.  The pitcher loses the ball on the pitch.  It pops up in the air, hits the mound, and rolls towards third base.  The third baseman comes running over and picks up the ball to prevent the runner from advancing.  My PU looks perplexed and calls, "Balk?"  We weren't questioning the balk, we knew it was.  The question was, do we issue a warning for that?  Or de we call that since it was a fluke and not something that was consciously done?  We decided the rules said they get a warning on the first balk, so we issued the warning.

  

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