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What I Know And Remember About Baseball - You As Blue

Jan 25, 2008
The biggest problem that a Little League faces is many leagues use purely volunteer umpires. If an umpire has taken the time to become proficient (attended clinics, discussion boards, feedback, mechanics) and invested in quality clothing and equipment, then they most likely is going to work games where a there's a little to no compensation. Coaches will quickly recognize the casual umpire and make requests to have them work any other game then theirs.

Volunteers whose hearts really are not into it can find it a convenient excuse to quit if being an Umpire is too demanding. In a league where the umpire roster is short, having one quit during season can dismantle an entire schedule. If you take the challenge, bear it out. Talk with the league administrator if things are going poorly. Simple solutions may be available that make your life as an umpire fun again.

Some of the best volunteers can come from the nearest military installation. There are a lot of young, energetic troops who work hard to rise in rank. One of the things that gives them an edge up on the competition is a record of community service. If you have a military source like this nearby, try tapping into it by advertising in the bases newspaper. If you happen to score the services of a servicemen, be sure to send along a thank you to the base commander for allowing his troops to participate in the community and the good work your volunteer has done for you.

Whenever you accept the duties of being an umpire, get to the local clinics and meetings as often as possible. Not just the umpire ones, but the coaches clinics and meetings as well. Here you will not only find information on the rules and mechanics of the game, but you will also be in close contact with the Team Administrators, Managers and Coaches. When they see you there, confidence will rise during season as you both have leaned the same and should be on the same page with respect to the rules and details.

During the game or at the pre-game meeting, stating negative things at the plate meeting like, No arguing judgment calls, sets the game off on a poor note, and make you seem unapproachable. It is the job of the league coordinators to see that coaches are taught this concept, and they can also read it in the rule book just like we can. But the reality in young teams with young coaches and parents is that all the rules are not always followed to the letter.

Be kind with your words and spend some time before the game to create a list of replies. Then where an inexperienced coach might have no idea that arguing calls involving judgment is not allowed, you can calmly point this out to the coach when he first tries to argue a judgment call.

Even though the rules state arguing calls involving judgment is not allowed, it will happen all the time. It is a part of the game and it actually is allowed up to a point. Often the coach just wants to heard and he knows, the umpire is not going to change his call. It is up to the umpire to let him state his case and then promptly ask the coach to go back to his bench. Once the coach refuses to go back to his bench, you can now play the, arguing calls involving judgment is not allowed, card and warn him that he had better go.

Common across the country, when doing a lower level game, remind the coaches, If you have a question about a call that is made by myself or my partner, feel free to ask in a courteous manner and we will be more than happy to answer.

Generally at upper level game, this subject is not even brought up. But with all things, we start at the bottom and work our way to the top or at least to our level incompetence. This is where we as umpires are working outside of our comfort level and causing ourselves excessive stress as well as pushing the envelope with the teams we work for.

It is not feasible that all umpires can perform at all levels. If you are having fun with the 15U recreation league but the 15U competitive leagues end up in recurring arguments with Coaches; drop back to where you are having fun. This is the key element we express to all the players and should also apply to us as well.

When asked a polite question about a rule interpretation I may have made, or about the location of a tag or something trivial like that, take the time honor it with a response to the fan that inquired, depending on my location relative to the location of the question-asker. Screaming across the diamond is not a good way to communicate, but a brief word through the backstop, action and time allowing, is alright.

If the fans are just complaining and whining about calls, do not even look over there. But if I hear a, Did he tag him blue? a quick yes, and the location. This will stop the inquisition instantly. It also confirms to the fans that you are conscious of them as well as the game. Lower level games are full circle participation. Do not engage discussion with fans, just quick answers when it is convenient for you.

Loads of fun or a complete nightmare. It is up to you. The more you involve yourself the greater the confidence, skill and fun you will have. Showing up because you said you would without the background to take control of the game will lead you to a miserable experience.
About the Author
Mr. Dowdy is the father of 3 and after re-entering competitive baseball with his oldest that lead to frustration of finding suitable glove, he became an Official Distributor for NW Kelley USA Baseball You can also visit Hirsch Group LLC for more news/tips/articles on the subjects of baseball, construction, building codes and more that most will find a quick way to fall asleep. Thanks for reading my article!
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