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Finally Happened to Me


834k3r

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Last night I was behind the plate for both games of a AAA (minors) LL game (9-11U). I know, I know...many of you don't do games at that level, but it's my way of paying back LL for my son's years of playing. Plus, it's fun to be part of the district and state tournaments. But I digress.

Game 1 was proceeding well for the age level. HT F1 (who honestly should have been playing majors) was pitching well (he was throwing strikes) as long as he wasn't trying to be cute. VT batting, R2 and R3. BR hits a ball to F6, who throws to 3B (because LL). As the play is going on at 3B, R3 runs home. F2 is standing on top of the plate, waiting for the ball, and HT F1 comes toward home to seemingly back up the play. Nope. F1 also straddles the baseline and as R3 passes him, he gives a "low key" hip check on R3. Not enough to cause R3 to lose his balance, but definitely changed his running path. R3 scores without a play at the plate, so no OBS to call. I thought about ejecting F1, but judged the hip check wasn't malicious. The VT fans (one or two in particular) were incensed about the hip check, but I looked at their stands and put up my hands like "calm down, I'm handling it." Went to go to F1 to sternly tell him he can't do that, then went to go talk to HT HC and told him F1 needed to settle down and that I considered ejecting F1. Assistant coach (who I shouldn't have even talked to) started a loooong (too long, if I'm honest) but idiotic discussion about how his players are "supposed to defend a play at the plate" if they can't block the path to the plate. "They can't without the ball, coach." After that play and the following discussion, the rest of the game proceeded swimmingly. After the game, my partner (who's a very new, soft spoken and at times indecisive umpire) said that player did something similar in a previous game:  "he nearly tackled the runner." So now we have a history with a player.

Game 2 was a good game for the most part. I warned both teams in the first inning to not throw their bats; bats were thrown to the backstop, halfway to the mound, and one hit the catcher (not hard, no injury thankfully). The game from there was clean until the bottom of the 5th. HT is behind by several runs and has R2 and R3, 2 outs. BR hits a ball to F5 then throws his bat and hits me square on the shin guards. F5 fields the ball and throws to 1B, but not in time to retire BR. I call time, declare the BR out for throwing his bat (as directed by the rulebook following a warning). 1B coach starts mouthing off as he's walking away from the coaches box. I explain the rule that after a warning, the next thrown bat will result in the BR being called out. 1B coach continues to jaw at me about things like a "chintzy call" and "letting the boys play.' I again explained its in the rulebook. By this point, I'm still next to the 1B line, and he's storming off nearly to the 3B line continuing to yell about how it's a terrible call. I made the ejection mechanic and said "you can watch the rest of the game from the parking lot." Coach stormed around the dugout for a few seconds and said, "don't worry, I'm leaving. I'm going to come right behind the backstop." I told him anyone who's ejected has to go to a place where they can't be seen or heard from the field. He stomped out of the dugout, across the sidewalk, and put both feet into the parking lot. "I'm in the parking lot where you told me to go." I again reiterated that he can't be seen or heard from the field; he turned and walked off.

So personal critique is I know I shouldn't have been talking to anyone else but the head coach, especially in the first game. The winning team in game 1 could be in the championship (which I'm scheduled to crew), and so I'll make a point to pre-game their player and potentially warn the coach at the plate meeting (especially with the history of aggressive physical OBS).

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9 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

Excuse my ignorance, but which particular rule book has a batter out for throwing the bat.  Local league rule?

As far as I knew LL it's an ejection (or give the coach a chance to make a sub).

I do know some leagues and tourneys make this type of modification.

It's a fair point. We have it as a local add-on (along with the runner must slide at home if there's a play at home). I should have clarified better. I would say declaring an out is still viable under LL rules (9.01(c)).

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9.01.c from the 2023 RIM:image.thumb.png.babe1a3ac80c2ab032299bdb6875f24f.png

2 minutes ago, 834k3r said:

We have it as a local add-on (along with the runner must slide at home if there's a play at home)

Thank for adding that. I have to ask though, were these games at a single league or district level? Reason I ask is that it's deep in TOC season here (district level) and I am curious if your entire district adopted local adds.

Also I wasn't aware LL rules allowed for those specifics to be modified. Not arguing. Curious.

4 minutes ago, 834k3r said:

I would say declaring an out is still viable under LL rules (9.01(c)).

I don't personally agree. The RIM stop just short of saying we shouldn't but it doesn't draw the bright line so I understand the viewpoint.

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16 minutes ago, Velho said:

I have to ask though, were these games at a single league or district level? Reason I ask is that it's deep in TOC season here (district level) and I am curious if your entire district adopted local adds.

We're in our final week at the local league level. Championship games for both AAA and Majors is Thursday (we get a late start up here by Canada).

16 minutes ago, Velho said:

Also I wasn't aware LL rules allowed for those specifics to be modified. Not arguing. Curious.

It was a local rule set developed, published, and sent to all the coaches by the local LL Board. In doing some quick online research, our local league seems to be only one of several that allow for the BR to be called out following a warning.

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My $.02 and a cup of coffee will get you a cup of coffee.

You had OBS at home, even though there wasn't a play happening. Point and announce 'that's obstruction'. You don't have to blow out anyone's ear drums, but I would make it loud enough for both the defensive players to hear it. By not acknowledging the act of obstruction, you do a couple of things: the defense may believe that you are unobservant and not going to catch obvious infractions, they may think you are indecisive and willing to let improper acts slide. I would 100% have addressed the hip check when it occurred, and more loudly to make sure the offender knows I saw it.

As for the bat throwing... LL will not sanction an out on that infraction, however, as we all know, many leagues create their own house rules without them being approved. if this has been an all season rule and only internal teams are playing in this game, then there should be no conflict. Under LL rules, you really only have 2 options... ask the coach to bench the kid for the remainder of the game or eject them, that is really the only options.

And don't rely on 9.01(c)... A knowledgeable coach, especially if you are playing other outside teams will put a P in the book and they will most likely win any protest for a misapplication of the rules, especially as we go deeper into TOC's and All Stars.

Last... thank you for addressing the bat throwing, no matter the outcome. Kids flinging bats is dangerous and it amazes me how many umpires will ignore it, especially at the lower levels where we should be addressing it.

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17 minutes ago, Mudisfun said:

Last... thank you for addressing the bat throwing, no matter the outcome. Kids flinging bats is dangerous and it amazes me how many umpires will ignore it, especially at the lower levels where we should be addressing it.

In my TOC Minors (10U) game Saturday I had a kid (the biggest 9 yr old I've ever seen) chucking his bat. First time into my shinguards (no F2 contact) and I spoke to the coach. Next time flung it so hard it bounced off the backstop and land ten feet away. I told the same coach again "he's got to hold on to it. He dented the backstop that time". Manager came out "where did he dent the backstop?!?" - apparently I was so authoritative that game they took me literally - LOL.

Manager was supportive. That's when I found out he was 9 and had just started playing this year. They'd have put in AA but someone would have gotten hurt. When he hits the ball he pounds it.

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47 minutes ago, Mudisfun said:

My $.02 and a cup of coffee will get you a cup of coffee.

That's an important caveat--the cup of coffee must be purchased in advance. :wacko:

47 minutes ago, Mudisfun said:

You had OBS at home, even though there wasn't a play happening. Point and announce 'that's obstruction'. You don't have to blow out anyone's ear drums, but I would make it loud enough for both the defensive players to hear it. By not acknowledging the act of obstruction, you do a couple of things: the defense may believe that you are unobservant and not going to catch obvious infractions, they may think you are indecisive and willing to let improper acts slide. I would 100% have addressed the hip check when it occurred, and more loudly to make sure the offender knows I saw it.

I used the mechanic (point and call), but the hip check was odd and noticeable enough the VT fans took extra exception. As I said, I did talk sternly directly to the player.

Quote

if this has been an all season rule and only internal teams are playing in this game, then there should be no conflict.

Yep; been in place all season. The board distributes the local rules addendum before the start of the season.

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Its amazing how many local LL establishments pull in "by laws" and add things or subtract things but never send it up to the District level for them to send it to the regional level for things to ACTUALLY be approved. 

No one usually gives a rats behind about it locally but you get some places that will do things like this which at the regional trainings they express they specifically DO NOT WANT.    They understand the safety aspect of it but they want the coaches to get the training done on it. 

 

Heh we got one local league that 12U does not do dropped 3rd strikes... No skin off my nose but talk about a playoff nightmare for those kids getting into Allstars  they are at a major disadvantage a lot of them cause they are not used to it.

 

anyway  my 2 cents  teach the kids, don't discipline them like that for throwing the bat, and trust me I have taken a good handful if not 2 handfuls to the shin guards or hips or sides..

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Re: the thrown bat.  I'm a softball ump that does mostly USA (old ASA) rule based leagues and tournaments.  We don't have a thrown bat rule unless it causes interference (call the out based on it being INT) or unsporting behavior (no out, but warn/eject).  One of the local leagues has added a rule that you will be called out if you do it and a second offense is an ejection.  I've called the out multiple times similar to how the OP did, per the rule.  There was grumbling about how it didn't affect the play, blah blah, etc, but that's the rule.  I have made the ejection once.  The following year, they took the "shall be ejected on the second offense" and made it, "may be ejected if it's flagrant".  Probably because the kid I ejected was the kid of one of the league commissioners :)

Anyway, overall, good job OP on your handling of some tense situations.  If you're like me, you're working out ways to handle it better in the future, and that's how we grow.  Keep it up.

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For LL tournament play beginning this year, teams will use continuous batting order (except Seniors). Hopefully the level of play is high enough there won't be much bat throwing, but I'm curious how you all would handle the 9.01(c) RIM recommendation that the offending batter be subbed out. Can't sub them out of CBO. Do we go straight to warn/eject?

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2 hours ago, BDad said:

Hopefully the level of play is high enough there won't be much bat throwing, but I'm curious how you all would handle the 9.01(c) RIM recommendation that the offending batter be subbed out. Can't sub them out of CBO. Do we go straight to warn/eject?

If it was truly bad enough (and unintentional by the batter) you could go to the batter begin "injured" when they come up to at bat. As long as there are more than 9 players, it's not an out or BOO. Just a skipped batter.

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On 6/6/2023 at 12:01 PM, 834k3r said:

It's a fair point. We have it as a local add-on (along with the runner must slide at home if there's a play at home). I should have clarified better. I would say declaring an out is still viable under LL rules (9.01(c)).

You can't use 9.01(c)!  9.01(c) is for situations not covered by the rulebook.

6.05 covers how/why a batter can be called out and throwing the bat is not one of them. 

Also, you can't have a local rule that contradicts the LL Rulebook (Yes, I know many leagues do).

As others have said, warn then eject or warn and give the manager the opportunity to remove the player.

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On 6/6/2023 at 12:32 PM, Mudisfun said:

Last... thank you for addressing the bat throwing, no matter the outcome. Kids flinging bats is dangerous and it amazes me how many umpires will ignore it, especially at the lower levels where we should be addressing it.

The primary reason they don’t address it is – who wants to Eject a 9-year old?? Who wants to enact that, confront the coach, and potentially confront (more like, be confronted by) the kid’s parents after the game?? 

Ejectable offenses (at that age) like (truly) malicious contact, or vulgar language at an opponent (“his older brother says it all the time, just not as loud, Blue.”) where everyone witnesses it are far less contentiously received than a slung / flung bat, which many the casual fan and coach miss because everyone, naturally, is watching the ball. A reprimand (warning) is seen as too light; an ejection, too cruel and harsh. So an Out it becomes… 

… except, that Out is a disservice to baseball, and to the kid’s teammates. 

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11 hours ago, MadMax said:

The primary reason they don’t address it is – who wants to Eject a 9-year old?? Who wants to enact that, confront the coach, and potentially confront (more like, be confronted by) the kid’s parents after the game?? 

Ejectable offenses (at that age) like (truly) malicious contact, or vulgar language at an opponent (“his older brother says it all the time, just not as loud, Blue.”) where everyone witnesses it are far less contentiously received than a slung / flung bat, which many the casual fan and coach miss because everyone, naturally, is watching the ball. A reprimand (warning) is seen as too light; an ejection, too cruel and harsh. So an Out it becomes… 

… except, that Out is a disservice to baseball, and to the kid’s teammates. 

As someone who regularly umpires LL games, there are ways to handle bat throwers in an manner which typically does not include EJ's. Not saying it is not an option, but normally we don't have to get to that point. And @MadMax, you are right... people don't want to EJ 9 year old kids, so they come up with this call them out reasoning, which like you, I do not agree with.

Obviously tell the coach, but I also address it with the player. Hey Johnny, you know when you it the ball, you threw the bat and hit the catcher in the stomach? We can't have that, so this is your warning. If that happens again, we have to remove you from the game. Can you help me out here next time you are at bat? 

Of course the next time he comes to bat, I remind him... Johnny, I want you to do me a favor this time. When you hit the ball, take 2 steps and then drop the bat. Just drop it. Can you do that for me? More often then not, this works and we start on the road to recovery... But occasionally it does not, in which case I then get to walk to the manager and tell him he only is leaving me 2 choices: The manager can sit Johnny for the remainder of the game, starting now (put your last batter or last out on the bases), or I have to EJ him. 99.999% of the time, the coach takes option 1 which in my experience has the expected reaction; the player is upset, normally cries and starts to understand that he needs to make an adjustment.

 

 

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On a second egregious thrown bat (after a warning on the first), I have actually told the coach to replace the BR from the bases for a courtesy runner, if you will.  I didn't eject him, but, made him aware that the next step will be for him to be removed and not to come back.

I mean, what is an out to the player for throwing the bat when he gets an out, on average 7 out of 10 times when batting anyways?

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17 hours ago, MadMax said:

The primary reason they don’t address it is – who wants to Eject a 9-year old?? Who wants to enact that, confront the coach, and potentially confront (more like, be confronted by) the kid’s parents after the game?? 

Ejectable offenses (at that age) like (truly) malicious contact, or vulgar language at an opponent (“his older brother says it all the time, just not as loud, Blue.”) where everyone witnesses it are far less contentiously received than a slung / flung bat, which many the casual fan and coach miss because everyone, naturally, is watching the ball. A reprimand (warning) is seen as too light; an ejection, too cruel and harsh. So an Out it becomes… 

… except, that Out is a disservice to baseball, and to the kid’s teammates. 

I had a case last year where I was watching a friend of mine coach a team in a rec league and the umpire gave the team a warning about throwing the bat, and that he'd call the batter out.  Between innings my friend calls me over to the fence and asks if that's correct.   I told him "no", it's not an out...but think twice before arguing because the proper penalty is ejection....so, be sure this is a hill you want to die on.  Coaches better be prepared in how they want to frame their conversation when this comes up.

I think it's just one more example of a thing that should be covered in those "beginning of year league meetings" - you often have new coaches and new umpires (or a representative of new umpires) at those discussions.  It's something that comes up all that time at the younger levels, especially in recreational leagues.  So be proactive about getting everyone on the same page.   Let coaches know they will be asked to sub out the player who continues to do it.    You also have seasoned umpires that tend to go rogue on this issue...they get on their little power trip about ensuring nobody throws bats on MY field during MY game because MY rule is the batter is out...and inexperienced coaches don't know any better.

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On 6/7/2023 at 9:14 PM, MadMax said:

The primary reason they don’t address it is – who wants to Eject a 9-year old?? Who wants to enact that, confront the coach, and potentially confront (more like, be confronted by) the kid’s parents after the game?? 

Probably no one wants to eject a 9 year old.  But, good or bad, as an umpire, have to enforce the rules.

 

On 6/6/2023 at 12:27 PM, eddieq said:

The following year, they took the "shall be ejected on the second offense" and made it, "may be ejected if it's flagrant".  Probably because the kid I ejected was the kid of one of the league commissioners :)

Welcome to the real world.

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