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hey_blue
05-10-2008, 03:53 AM
Had a weird situation tonight. (Freshmen HS game working the plate)

First inning, first batter, first pitch (a ball) I hear a fan behind me and to the left barking loudly..first pitch! I kinda chuckle to myself, but the same fan proceeds to call EVERY pitch along with me and whine and bark. Well, I kinda look to the side as I'm resetting my indicator after out #2, and was completely stunned when I noticed it was the head coach the entire time! Next batter flies out second pitch for 3rd out and between the 1st inning I didn't see the coach. First batter, first pitch bottom of first (his team is now batting- but Asst coaches are doing 1st and 3rd bases) he is in the hole and again he barks about the first pitch being low.

I called "time", removed my mask, walked over and told the coach sternly I will not listen to his mouth any longer while he continues to argue balls and strikes EVERY pitch, every batter. I said this is your official warning. He mutters with a shocked look," I got you blue", and stopped it completely.

The game went very smooth from here out. After the game, he came up to me and apologized. He said my zone seemed very tight for a freshmen game but I was very consistent for both teams. I told him thanks, ..and..coach did you even realize you started on me with the first pitch. you never stopped after that first pitch to even watch and understand where my zone was established. you literally barked on every pitch..

he said " yes, but i only realized that, after you told me to zip it and I am honestly sorry, I really did ride you ever pitch from pitch one. I would have told me to shut up too."

did I handle this correctly in your opinion?

again, i feel I have a much tougher time with games lower than Varsity(or JV). I think many feel my zone is too tight.

plain and simple, I call strikes, strikes and balls, balls.

as always, i appreciate you guys feedback. thanks in advance

cana_blue06
05-10-2008, 04:34 AM
Yes, you should have warned him about arguing balls and strikes. But that can be as simple as saying "Hey, We're not going there today" or "Skip, we're not talking about pitches" etc, etc. You don't need to tell him you're sick of listening to him, might be a bit antagonistic. If you're putting an end to it, it's obvious you've had enough of him..You don't need to declare it his "official" warning. All warnings are official. Period.

Yes, mask should have probably been off in this situation. However, how far towards him did you walk? You don't want to be looking like the aggressor. Rule of thumb is to never leave the dirt circle behind home plate when handling situations like that...

I think you handled it well. If there's no other issues after the warning, you must have done something right :P

Richard_Siegel
05-10-2008, 04:35 AM
It is best to learn the expected strike zone for each level you work and call that expected zone. It keeps the game moving more pleasantly and with little chirping. If you hear anyone yealling at you in the way you described you need to take a look right away to see who it is. Take the appropriate action depending on if it is a player, assistent coach or a head coach, or a spectator.

hey_blue
05-10-2008, 05:19 AM
thanks Richard. I read a lot of your posts and really value your opinion since I feel your views are solid. so I wanted to know, for this age group, "what is the expected strike zone" wider by two balls?

it just feels so weird calling a ball...a strike..it just feels like im punishing the batters and forcing them to swing at bad pitches..

I mean don't get me wrong, my zone isn't the size of a shoe box or anything, but In my years, you will hear it from fans no matter what. They want you to "widen" it up, sure when their team is in the field...call that same pitch well off the plate when they are batting and they freak..

so I just try to be consistent and call strikes and balls as if my brain had the QuesTec system in it, I have always called them the same..the only adjusting to my zone depends on the batters size and the how this in turn relates to his zone as he strikes at the ball. I even "think strike" for each pitch unless it proves to be a ball.

I really think this has to do with the fact I played baseball all my life even through college and was always a 'hit for average' batter with a knack for not swinging at anything outside the zone.

but obviously im a little worried i call underclassmen games different that most umpires that do exercise a much more finagled zone for the age group.

robbyrudd45
05-10-2008, 07:03 AM
remember... Strikes = Beer. More intricately:

Strikes = Outs
Outs = Innings
Innings = Games
Games = Money
Money = Beer

So in short... Strikes = Beer.


Haha. But, amusing saying aside, we should all be a pitcher's umpire. You see the pitcher and catcher every inning. You see the batter every 3. Work for your pitchers and catchers. hey_blue, your games, I'm guessing, run about 2h 30m to 2:45 because of your tight zone. When you call strikes the game flows so much more easier and it's not a total walk-fest and a pitching change merry-go-round.

Just try broadening your strike zone next game a little bit. A half a ball or so on the perimeter. The coaches will love you. You won't hear as much as you do now as long as you keep it the same for both teams. I've never heard a coach tell me "Robby, you're calling way too many strikes today." When you call strikes the "Woooo's" and groans from the dugout subside a little more.

I know this first hand because I used to have a tight zone. I stretched it out a little more and things have gotten exponentially better. So my advice based on that would be to broaden your strike zone a little (even for varsity).

hey_blue
05-10-2008, 12:46 PM
Robby,

Awesome post. I really appreciate the friendly tone and how you can relate; that you had a tight zone. I guess it's something I will have to work on. I honestly have been told for so long my zone is extremely consistent (tight but consistent) and was very happy without issues and always worked this way. It is only now ....starting to call more underclassmen games... I feel I am struggling. I think I know why i have such a hard time broadening my zone...It sounds weird but follow me.

When it is exactly the zone it looks, feels black and white with strikes and balls(since I get to use the plate), but when trying to broaden it, I really don't have anything to measure with since the ball is out and off the plate so I tend to get more confused as "was that a half ball? a ball and a half?" i just know it was off, but I should call strike..see what I mean?

in the short I understand what you guys are saying, I just need to watch my partners zone even closer when I'm working the bases in the underclassmen games so i can improve. thanks again for the post, I wish I could call a game with you and watch first hand. take care

ShoNuff
05-10-2008, 04:04 PM
Had a weird situation tonight. (Freshmen HS game working the plate)

First inning, first batter, first pitch (a ball) I hear a fan behind me and to the left barking loudly..first pitch! I kinda chuckle to myself, but the same fan proceeds to call EVERY pitch along with me and whine and bark. Well, I kinda look to the side as I'm resetting my indicator after out #2, and was completely stunned when I noticed it was the head coach the entire time!

I called "time", removed my mask, walked over and told the coach sternly I will not listen to his mouth any longer while he continues to argue balls and strikes EVERY pitch, every batter. I said this is your official warning. He mutters with a shocked look," I got you blue", and stopped it completely.

Great job of stopping the chirping early and documenting an official warning. You may want to reconsider the phrase "I will not listen to his mouth any longer."

Why was the coach allowed behind the backstop? Keep the coaches either in the dugout or in their coach's box unless a time out has been called.

The game went very smooth from here out. After the game, he came up to me and apologized. He said my zone seemed very tight for a freshmen game but I was very consistent for both teams. I told him thanks, ..and..coach did you even realize you started on me with the first pitch. you never stopped after that first pitch to even watch and understand where my zone was established. you literally barked on every pitch..

he said " yes, but i only realized that, after you told me to zip it and I am honestly sorry, I really did ride you ever pitch from pitch one. I would have told me to shut up too."

did I handle this correctly in your opinion?

While it was nice of the coach to apologize, I would not get into the habit of chatting with coaches post game. Usually nothing good comes from this conversation.

robbyrudd45
05-10-2008, 08:56 PM
When it is exactly the zone it looks, feels black and white with strikes and balls(since I get to use the plate), but when trying to broaden it, I really don't have anything to measure with since the ball is out and off the plate so I tend to get more confused as "was that a half ball? a ball and a half?" i just know it was off, but I should call strike..see what I mean?



Think of it this way. When you see pitches that "just miss" your zone by a little, call that a strike! You see how much the pitched missed by before, now that same pitch you used to call a ball because it was slightly outside the zone, call it a strike from now on. You still have the plate for reference- so when you see them miss the corner by a little, call it a strike instead of a ball. So just say that pitches that 'just miss' your old zone are now strikes in your new one. If you ever have to 'sell' a ball call, just call it a strike!


Strikes = Beer

cgump3
05-10-2008, 10:18 PM
I think one problem we all have is that we have a lot of throwers and fewer pitchers. Don't make these guys throw strikes, let them.

You can make that plate wider by using the batters box lines. The ball stays inside these lines the batter still can hit the ball. Get a few chirps early, but they go away when they see you are consistent there.

We get paid for strikes and outs. Balls and safes are free.

BlueSkies
05-12-2008, 02:15 AM
First inning, first batter, first pitch (a ball) I hear a fan behind me and to the left barking loudly..first pitch! I kinda chuckle to myself, but the same fan proceeds to call EVERY pitch along with me and whine and bark. Well, I kinda look to the side as I'm resetting my indicator after out #2, and was completely stunned when I noticed it was the head coach the entire time!
How should it be handled if it really was a fan outside the fence making thoses noises after every pitch?

bigblu2u2
05-12-2008, 02:20 AM
I like to ask the coach "Are you argueing balls and strikes?" in a non combative nature. He can really only say "No". I smile and say something like, "Great, then I won't be hearing any more about balls and strikes. Play Ball!". I don't hear anything after that usually, because they get the hint. As far asyour zone, just make sure that you see the ball get caught before maing your decision. That is priority 1. Richard does have great posts.

bobjenkins
05-12-2008, 01:23 PM
thanks Richard. I read a lot of your posts and really value your opinion since I feel your views are solid. so I wanted to know, for this age group, "what is the expected strike zone" wider by two balls?

There's no "one" answer for this -- it varies by region and league.

If "all" coaches / players / partners say that your zone is too tight / low / wide / .... for a particular level, then it probably is.

MSPChris
05-22-2008, 06:31 PM
My first question in this situation would be what is the HC doing behind you?

I'm pretty sure he's not allowed back there. He can be in the dugout or on the field, but not behind the backstop.

I think if I had been in that situation we would have never even got to balls and strikes. My first response would have been to send the coach back to the dugout.

Toolman
05-23-2008, 01:43 PM
If I was the BU and you didn't notice that it was the coach, I would have called time and told coach he could not stand there, that he had to be in the dugout. I have done this before.

archangel14
05-23-2008, 05:03 PM
Yes, mask should have probably been off in this situation. However, how far towards him did you walk? You don't want to be looking like the aggressor. Rule of thumb is to never leave the dirt circle behind home plate when handling situations like that...

Most fields being somewhat standard, it seems that most us us can tell if comments are coming from fans behind, or the dugout area. I got the initial impression from the OP that a fan was complaining(big deal), so since it turned out to be the HC, then he was probably in an area he shouldnt be. In that case, I am walking over and dealing with it. The "aggressor" rationale is out the window....

Dylan035
05-24-2008, 04:18 AM
First inning, first batter, first pitch (a ball) I hear a fan behind me and to the left barking loudly..first pitch! I kinda chuckle to myself, but the same fan proceeds to call EVERY pitch along with me and whine and bark. Well, I kinda look to the side as I'm resetting my indicator after out #2, and was completely stunned when I noticed it was the head coach the entire time!
How should it be handled if it really was a fan outside the fence making thoses noises after every pitch?

Good question, looks like some people missed it.

MSPChris
05-24-2008, 05:08 AM
First inning, first batter, first pitch (a ball) I hear a fan behind me and to the left barking loudly..first pitch! I kinda chuckle to myself, but the same fan proceeds to call EVERY pitch along with me and whine and bark. Well, I kinda look to the side as I'm resetting my indicator after out #2, and was completely stunned when I noticed it was the head coach the entire time!
How should it be handled if it really was a fan outside the fence making thoses noises after every pitch?

Good question, looks like some people missed it.

I don't think anyone missed it, Dylan, it's been asked and answered dozens of times.

If it's a fan barking like that -- there is not much you really can do. Your first and best option is to ignore it as completely as you can.

You should be relying on the staff at the game site to keep the crowd in order -- HS staff, AD, league officials, tournament officials, etc.

Umpires have often posted about situations where there is *no* staff on site -- they are the only official. In that case, you must make each team's manager responsible for their fans.

"OK Coach, the guy in the lawn chair -- him right there -- yes. He needs to go, and you need to take care of it before the game can continue." (Do that as a LAST resort.)

ExCop
05-24-2008, 10:30 PM
Umpires have often posted about situations where there is *no* staff on site -- they are the only official. In that case, you must make each team's manager responsible for their fans.

"OK Coach, the guy in the lawn chair -- him right there -- yes. He needs to go, and you need to take care of it before the game can continue." (Do that as a LAST resort.)

That's a fascinating position, Chris. Do you have an OBR cite to support it? The home team is responsible for ensuring the safety and fitness of the field, sure, but loudmouth fans?

MSPChris
05-25-2008, 01:15 AM
That's a fascinating position, Chris. Do you have an OBR cite to support it?

Try reading the forums in here, doofus. Like I said in my original reply, asked and answered plenty.

Do you really need a rulebook citation to show you how to manage a game and unruly fans?

Wait... I take that back. You probably need a rulebook citation and a whole lot more to manage a game properly.

ExCop
05-25-2008, 01:47 AM
That's a fascinating position, Chris. Do you have an OBR cite to support it?

Try reading the forums in here, doofus. Like I said in my original reply, asked and answered plenty.

Do you really need a rulebook citation to show you how to manage a game and unruly fans?

Wait... I take that back. You probably need a rulebook citation and a whole lot more to manage a game properly.

Yeah, knowing all those pesky rules is sooo annoying! Better just to make stuff up as you go, eh Chris?

Better look up doofus in the dictionary BTW. It means "a stupid incompetent person". You know - like an umpire who can't be bothered to learn the rules.

bobjenkins
05-25-2008, 02:00 AM
Umpires have often posted about situations where there is *no* staff on site -- they are the only official. In that case, you must make each team's manager responsible for their fans.

"OK Coach, the guy in the lawn chair -- him right there -- yes. He needs to go, and you need to take care of it before the game can continue." (Do that as a LAST resort.)

That's a fascinating position, Chris. Do you have an OBR cite to support it? The home team is responsible for ensuring the safety and fitness of the field, sure, but loudmouth fans?

why in the world would there be an OBR cite for this? OBR is written for major league baseball, and (1) there are fewer issues for umpires to deal with concerning fans and (2) there is always "game management" available.

What Chris suggests is exactly the right procedure in most youth amateur leagues -- and one that is taught to many umpires and written in many "league administrative manuals."

ExCop
05-25-2008, 02:05 AM
why in the world would there be an OBR cite for this? OBR is written for major league baseball, and (1) there are fewer issues for umpires to deal with concerning fans and (2) there is always "game management" available.

What Chris suggests is exactly the right procedure in most youth amateur leagues -- and one that is taught to many umpires and written in many "league administrative manuals."

There is no OBR rule explicitly permitting the ejection of loudmouth fans. Umpires operating under OBR who attempt to make such an order, and subsequently enforce it with sanctions against a team, will lose on protest.

If you are going to eject fans, be sure there is a local association rule that permits it, or that your game is governed by a rule set that provides for it.

We have a lot of power out there. It stops at inventing rules. Sorry.

MSPChris
05-25-2008, 02:17 AM
blah blah blah

it's easy to see why you're so highly regarded by fellow umpires

KenGibes
05-25-2008, 03:13 AM
There is no OBR rule explicitly permitting the ejection of loudmouth fans.

You are 100% absolutely correct. However, the umpire DOES have the ability to suspend the game until whoever is responsible for the field deals with the unruly spectator.

Like it was said above, this is used as a last resort. But it is the way umpires are taught to act in most, if not all, youth baseball organizations.

ExCop
05-25-2008, 11:21 AM
There is no OBR rule explicitly permitting the ejection of loudmouth fans.

You are 100% absolutely correct. However, the umpire DOES have the ability to suspend the game until whoever is responsible for the field deals with the unruly spectator.

Like it was said above, this is used as a last resort. But it is the way umpires are taught to act in most, if not all, youth baseball organizations.

Ken, I'm switching from "troll-bashing" to inquiry mode here:

I know OBR allows us to deal with spectators on the field, spectator interference and allows us to suspend play - and even forfeit - if physical safety becomes an issue due to (among other things) fans.

Leaving game management techniques aside, is there a rule that allows us to suspend play until a merely loudmouth fan is "dealt" with? It would likely be very effective - by delaying the game and focusing the blame for the delay on the fan, you make him the object of ridicule for everyone (players, coaches, other fans). Like most bullies, they simply cannot stomach being stood up to.

My concern is this: big travel tournament, coaches who know the rules and tell you "No" when you order one of their fans to be "dealt with". What now? In the absence of some positive authority to act, we're pretty much stuck with our necks way out there. So, if there's something we can hang our hats on in this sitch, let's hear it.

Thanks.

bobjenkins
05-25-2008, 12:07 PM
There is no OBR rule explicitly permitting the ejection of loudmouth fans.

You are 100% absolutely correct. However, the umpire DOES have the ability to suspend the game until whoever is responsible for the field deals with the unruly spectator.

Like it was said above, this is used as a last resort. But it is the way umpires are taught to act in most, if not all, youth baseball organizations.

Ken, I'm switching from "troll-bashing" to inquiry mode here:

I know OBR allows us to deal with spectators on the field, spectator interference and allows us to suspend play - and even forfeit - if physical safety becomes an issue due to (among other things) fans.

Leaving game management techniques aside, is there a rule that allows us to suspend play until a merely loudmouth fan is "dealt" with? It would likely be very effective - by delaying the game and focusing the blame for the delay on the fan, you make him the object of ridicule for everyone (players, coaches, other fans). Like most bullies, they simply cannot stomach being stood up to.

My concern is this: big travel tournament, coaches who know the rules and tell you "No" when you order one of their fans to be "dealt with". What now? In the absence of some positive authority to act, we're pretty much stuck with our necks way out there. So, if there's something we can hang our hats on in this sitch, let's hear it.

Thanks.

In any organization, there are "playing rules" and "administrative rules." Sometimes, the umpire gets involved in the "administrative rules."

In the specific case you mentioned ("big travel tournament"), there is likely game management around (the tournament committee, etc.). There is also likely some comment in the tournament rules to the effect that "coaches are responsible for the behaviour of their fans."

Another example would be MLB's requirement that base coaches wear helmets. That's not in OBR, but the umpires enforce it.

dash_riprock
05-25-2008, 12:28 PM
Just stop the game until the jerk leaves. EVERYONE will want him out of there. You don't need a rule for that.