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Unread 05-10-2008, 03:53 AM   #1
hey_blue
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Default was this handled properly?

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
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Unread 05-10-2008, 04:34 AM   #2
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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
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Unread 05-10-2008, 04:35 AM   #3
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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.
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Unread 05-10-2008, 05:19 AM   #4
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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.
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Unread 05-10-2008, 07:03 AM   #5
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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).
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Unread 05-10-2008, 12:46 PM   #6
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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
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Unread 05-10-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: was this handled properly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey_blue
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.
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Unread 05-10-2008, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hey_blue
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
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Unread 05-10-2008, 10:18 PM   #9
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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.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 02:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: was this handled properly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hey_blue
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?
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Unread 05-12-2008, 02:20 AM   #11
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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.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hey_blue
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.
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Unread 05-22-2008, 06:31 PM   #13
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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.
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