Ask The Ump?

thavoice

Well-known member
Coach H,
I presume you are doing fall ball games?

Was talking to a 22 yr old type of the weekend who is coaching some fall ball locally and he was talking about winning games etc etc.

I had a little talk with him that winning fall ball games is the least important aspect of the game, and he couldnt really understand.

I coached one fall, followed it for a couple years prior to see if I wanted to do it when games were local. I feel that fall ball is being severely misused in sooooo many areas and it is ashamed.

Kids need to work on their deficiencies, first and foremost. A few I always tell about is a kid who HS coach wanted him to work on his change. So 33% of his pitches has to be a C, sometimes we even did every other pitch.

Kid with great speed, but TERRIBLE jumps. Got on base...stole. no matter the situation.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Coach H,
I presume you are doing fall ball games?

Was talking to a 22 yr old type of the weekend who is coaching some fall ball locally and he was talking about winning games etc etc.

I had a little talk with him that winning fall ball games is the least important aspect of the game, and he couldnt really understand.

I coached one fall, followed it for a couple years prior to see if I wanted to do it when games were local. I feel that fall ball is being severely misused in sooooo many areas and it is ashamed.

Kids need to work on their deficiencies, first and foremost. A few I always tell about is a kid who HS coach wanted him to work on his change. So 33% of his pitches has to be a C, sometimes we even did every other pitch.

Kid with great speed, but TERRIBLE jumps. Got on base...stole. no matter the situation.
Yes, I have been umpiring several Fall ball games and even a couple of smaller tournaments. I really haven't seen a big difference between Summer and Fall...you have some players/team/coaches who clearly are about development, and you have some that are clearly about winning. <Shrug> I just umpire and stay out of it.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I worked a small tournament the other weekend and my first assignment was the 10U division, only to find my first game (of 3) was between a 9U team and a 7/8U team. The coach of the 9U team argued with me on about 8 different things, including when I knocked the catcher over on a dribbler, and he argued for a balk on a 7 year old pitcher.

It is what it is...as I said in the "travel team" thread, before you spend money, research what you are spending it on. Personally, my thought is, if "winning" and being perfect is so important, why are you in these joe-schmo tournaments beating up on crappy teams? You should be traveling to play in the premiere events.

But I agree with you....for me, the only thing that matters in terms of not focusing on development is where you might be scouted, IF you are at that level.

Some game on the community park field is not being attended by a scout, so for gods sake, let the kids have fun and learn something.

Varsity games, top of the line showcases, okay, play for the win, play smart. Anything else, develop yourself
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Yes, I have been umpiring several Fall ball games and even a couple of smaller tournaments. I really haven't seen a big difference between Summer and Fall...you have some players/team/coaches who clearly are about development, and you have some that are clearly about winning. <Shrug> I just umpire and stay out of it.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I worked a small tournament the other weekend and my first assignment was the 10U division, only to find my first game (of 3) was between a 9U team and a 7/8U team. The coach of the 9U team argued with me on about 8 different things, including when I knocked the catcher over on a dribbler, and he argued for a balk on a 7 year old pitcher.

It is what it is...as I said in the "travel team" thread, before you spend money, research what you are spending it on. Personally, my thought is, if "winning" and being perfect is so important, why are you in these joe-schmo tournaments beating up on crappy teams? You should be traveling to play in the premiere events.

But I agree with you....for me, the only thing that matters in terms of not focusing on development is where you might be scouted, IF you are at that level.

Some game on the community park field is not being attended by a scout, so for gods sake, let the kids have fun and learn something.

Varsity games, top of the line showcases, okay, play for the win, play smart. Anything else, develop yourself
This is the time of the year to work on what your weaknesses.
Plain and simple.

I could go winless in a fall ball season, and if I felt the kids all worked on what they needed to then I would consider it successful.
 

umpire16

New member
Yes, I have been umpiring several Fall ball games and even a couple of smaller tournaments. I really haven't seen a big difference between Summer and Fall...you have some players/team/coaches who clearly are about development, and you have some that are clearly about winning. <Shrug> I just umpire and stay out of it.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I worked a small tournament the other weekend and my first assignment was the 10U division, only to find my first game (of 3) was between a 9U team and a 7/8U team. The coach of the 9U team argued with me on about 8 different things, including when I knocked the catcher over on a dribbler, and he argued for a balk on a 7 year old pitcher.

It is what it is...as I said in the "travel team" thread, before you spend money, research what you are spending it on. Personally, my thought is, if "winning" and being perfect is so important, why are you in these joe-schmo tournaments beating up on crappy teams? You should be traveling to play in the premiere events.

But I agree with you....for me, the only thing that matters in terms of not focusing on development is where you might be scouted, IF you are at that level.

Some game on the community park field is not being attended by a scout, so for gods sake, let the kids have fun and learn something.

Varsity games, top of the line showcases, okay, play for the win, play smart. Anything else, develop yourself
This is the time of the year to work on what your weaknesses.
Plain and simple.

I could go winless in a fall ball season, and if I felt the kids all worked on what they needed to then I would consider it successful.
Both stances here are very true. I am working fall games, mostly to stay in it, get out of the house, etc. Quality is so-so, but what is most impressive is the fact coaches of both teams usually just free sub, bat the whole order, etc. It's competitive, but also a learning experience and that is what matters for most of these teams. There was one jerk of a coach who thought he was in game seven of the world series (he watched from the parking lot courtesy of my partner, which was warranted) but mostly it's been a good time. I find this especially true this fall since spring was a wash and summer depended on where you were and what tourneys happened.

I can't say for sure quality compared to summer. To be honest, I've been at this long enough where it's hard to compare anymore and nothing honestly surprises me. Heck, last fall a JUCO team 'beat' (and I use that loosely given the way it was played) a D2 College team. So were they better? Was the D2 team worse? Who knows.

The only exception is pitching. This summer and into the fall, pitching has been awful. I attribute this to a lack of a spring and the usual stuff that happens there. But the number of missed spots, consecutive balls in the dirt, etc. is atrocious. Sometimes I hear "this kid is a prospect" and I wonder who is watching him. Not my problem though!
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Both stances here are very true. I am working fall games, mostly to stay in it, get out of the house, etc. Quality is so-so, but what is most impressive is the fact coaches of both teams usually just free sub, bat the whole order, etc. It's competitive, but also a learning experience and that is what matters for most of these teams. There was one jerk of a coach who thought he was in game seven of the world series (he watched from the parking lot courtesy of my partner, which was warranted) but mostly it's been a good time. I find this especially true this fall since spring was a wash and summer depended on where you were and what tourneys happened.

I can't say for sure quality compared to summer. To be honest, I've been at this long enough where it's hard to compare anymore and nothing honestly surprises me. Heck, last fall a JUCO team 'beat' (and I use that loosely given the way it was played) a D2 College team. So were they better? Was the D2 team worse? Who knows.

The only exception is pitching. This summer and into the fall, pitching has been awful. I attribute this to a lack of a spring and the usual stuff that happens there. But the number of missed spots, consecutive balls in the dirt, etc. is atrocious. Sometimes I hear "this kid is a prospect" and I wonder who is watching him. Not my problem though!
Love the free subbing! The kid who needed to work on steals, I put him on base often to work on his jumps. It is one thing to work on it on the side, a whole another thing in game action.

One kid sorta balked at the whole change up thing......until I showed him an article about a local kid who got sent from High A to Low A with the sole purpose to work on this change up.

but i digress....and fall baseball wins matter!
 

Mutant

Member
Have any of you ever removed the players from the field because of fan behavior? A couple weeks ago, I was working a fall league game and the field beside me was like a war zone. It seemed every call there was an issue. I do know a couple was ejected but every call the name calling was directed at the umps. The fans at my game were even watching their fans behavior. There game was done before me, and the umps were probably mid twenties. I’ve never seen it happen, just wondering if anybody has taken the players off the field until fan behavior is under control?
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
I have never personally been involved in a game in which it had to happen, but yes, last Summer I was at Mount Union for a tournament (HS aged) and I was due to work the next game, so was watching. Fans got so unruly that the umpires (3-man crew) threw out the entire fan base for the team. Every single one had to leave or game was forfeited. Lot of threats were made, physical included, so I had someone call the police. Absolutely ridiculous that people could be that way at a baseball game.

As for your particular situation you saw, my guess is the umps are not "properly trained". Sounds like it got way beyond the point it ever should have. I personally never interact with a fan (other than a friendly exchange) in a negative way. A few times I have heard some fans go beyond what is appropriate, I have told the coach of that team "if I hear that fan again, one of you is being thrown out of the game, and I never talk to fans". They get the message and it is handled.

In the event an entire fan base was abusive in nature, I would do the same thing but put more emphasis on the kids. Something like "Coach, I have had enough. You have a choice. Either your fans keep yapping and your boys forfeit this game, or your fans don't say another word for the rest of the game and your boys play". If he sides with the fans over the players, that would tell me I have nothing to feel guilty about making their team forfeit
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Just wait for it, its coming......................
I have been umpiring for quite some time, so I am not too worried.

That said, I am curious to hear AllSports chime in on this, with the difference between handling this at the HS level and the college level. If you are doing a college game, is there any recourse for a verbally abusive fan or fan base? Do you even say anything to the coach? I know you never say anything to the fan(s)
 

Pinto14

New member
Sorry, Coach. I was referring to another poster that usually hits the baseball threads. From what I have gathered reading your posts I am sure you will not have any issues.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Sorry, Coach. I was referring to another poster that usually hits the baseball threads. From what I have gathered reading your posts I am sure you will not have any issues.
I did not mean it like “I’m so amazing that’s why”, I meant I’ve done a lot of games and not really seen it. Obv I can’t control how a group naturally is towards officials. I just shut it down as soon as it starts getting “worrisome” so it doesn’t get to that point,

I’m still curious what AS would say about college level though
 

Mutant

Member
Thanks Coach. I agree the young umps let it get out of hand. I love the look on a coach’s face when you tell them to have their fans knock it off or your gone.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Thanks Coach. I agree the young umps let it get out of hand. I love the look on a coach’s face when you tell them to have their fans knock it off or your gone.

Haha, I have to admit, I did not learn that "trick" until I started working with NCAA umpires the last couple of years during the Summers. I have seen umpires throw out fans, I have seen umpires yell at, point at, warn, fans. I usually just ignore "side comments" but then learned that trick. Coaches are responsible for their teams and fans (at least at HS and below) and their team can forfeit a game for the behavior of one of them.

The worst I have had was a 14U championship game with my 14 year old son doing bases for me (he is very good for his age). One fan was just brutal, so I calmly called time, walked over to the coach (his team was in field so coach was in dugout) and said "if I hear one more word from that fan, I am throwing you out of this game" and he said "which one". I looked at him like "seriously" and he took care of it.

That guy yelled a bunch when game was over, but he was quiet during the rest of the game at least.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Rules Question for AS....

Do you know why it is okay to "act like" you are catching a thrown/batted ball to deceive a runner but it is not allowed to fake a tag?

To clarify, I am not questioning the fake-tag, I ALWAYS call that obstruction and believe in that rule whole-heartedly (not that what I believe is relevant to the application of the rules)

But I remember in my playing days acting like I was fielding the relay throw to keep the batter from advancing to 2nd on a throw home, I see plays where a runner is straight-stealing 2nd and a ball is hit behind them and SS will act like he is catching a throw to keep the runner from going to 3rd.

Why is this not obstruction but a fake tag is?

Just curious
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Another question AllSports...when a pitcher does a "spin move" on a pick-off to first, but their pivot foot ends up behind the rubber, do you consider this a 1-base or 2-base award if the pick-off throw goes out of play?

In other words, the pitcher doesn't step off, turn and throw, but in one motion spins and throws, but their back foot went from parallel to and touching the rubber to behind the rubber in the course of the spin move.
 

Mutant

Member
I had this twice a couple of weeks ago, same kid, I was plate ump. Batter bunts and tosses or pushes his bat forward so it lands in the grassy area, almost hitting the ball both times but it didn’t. The catcher had to jump over the bat both times. I called batter interference both times. From behind the plate it was obvious the batter was doing it on purpose instead of just dropping his bat.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
I had this twice a couple of weeks ago, same kid, I was plate ump. Batter bunts and tosses or pushes his bat forward so it lands in the grassy area, almost hitting the ball both times but it didn’t. The catcher had to jump over the bat both times. I called batter interference both times. From behind the plate it was obvious the batter was doing it on purpose instead of just dropping his bat.
This is what AS would call a HTBT play (had to be there), but it "sounds" like you got the calls correct. The mere presence of the bat is not interference in of itself...no more than if dropping it in the box or tossing it towards their dugout on way to first and the bat ends up in the way.

But based on what you described, it reads as if the batter was intentionally trying to hinder the play of whoever would field the ball, so sounds like you got the call correct.

Wonder if AS is on vacation...hope is somewhere sunny and warm over this cold dark place!!
 

AllSports12

Moderator
I have been umpiring for quite some time, so I am not too worried.

That said, I am curious to hear AllSports chime in on this, with the difference between handling this at the HS level and the college level. If you are doing a college game, is there any recourse for a verbally abusive fan or fan base? Do you even say anything to the coach? I know you never say anything to the fan(s)
Collegiately, you have someone in charge who will handle things for you. Point them out and tell the site admins.... "that guy is leaving".... They'll handle it for you.... It would be an extremely rare occurrence to get a manager involved in something like this.

For High School, it's on the Head Coach to handle his fans/supporters. If he doesn't, the outcome will not be good for him. Accountability and ramifications are always a motivator. 99% of the coaches will support you.

Summertime ball, depending on where you are, it's a grab bag of what you do to handle the idiots. I personally would not engage someone, rather I would suspend the game until the idiots were handled the way they needed to be handled (either shut them up or they leave). The game doesn't re-start until you are then satisfied. Many places won't be of much help because they view those idiots as cash cows, so pull the teams off the field until the matter is resolved.

It's why I stopped doing summertime stuff many, many years ago.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Rules Question for AS....

Do you know why it is okay to "act like" you are catching a thrown/batted ball to deceive a runner but it is not allowed to fake a tag?

To clarify, I am not questioning the fake-tag, I ALWAYS call that obstruction and believe in that rule whole-heartedly (not that what I believe is relevant to the application of the rules)

But I remember in my playing days acting like I was fielding the relay throw to keep the batter from advancing to 2nd on a throw home, I see plays where a runner is straight-stealing 2nd and a ball is hit behind them and SS will act like he is catching a throw to keep the runner from going to 3rd.

Why is this not obstruction but a fake tag is?

Just curious
Pure and simple...... safety

The Rule Book definitions of a Tag and Fake Tag are...

"A tag out is the put out of a runner, including the batter-runner, who is not in contact with his base when touched with a live ball, or with the glove or hand when the live ball is held securely therein by a fielder"

"A fake tag is an act by a defensive player without the ball that - simulates a tag"

What you describe (a deke) is perfectly legal as it is the runner's or base coach's responsibility to know where the ball is. No attempt to put out the runner is being made, therefore the likeliood of that runner sliding (safety issue) is virtually non-existent. That fake tag will more than likely cause that runner to slide when he should not have to.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Another question AllSports...when a pitcher does a "spin move" on a pick-off to first, but their pivot foot ends up behind the rubber, do you consider this a 1-base or 2-base award if the pick-off throw goes out of play?

In other words, the pitcher doesn't step off, turn and throw, but in one motion spins and throws, but their back foot went from parallel to and touching the rubber to behind the rubber in the course of the spin move.
Where he foot ends up is irrelevant.

If he disengages before the makes the throw, it's 2 bases.
If he spins, it's 1 base as his foot ending up off the pitcher's plate is not the result of disengaging.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
I had this twice a couple of weeks ago, same kid, I was plate ump. Batter bunts and tosses or pushes his bat forward so it lands in the grassy area, almost hitting the ball both times but it didn’t. The catcher had to jump over the bat both times. I called batter interference both times. From behind the plate it was obvious the batter was doing it on purpose instead of just dropping his bat.
If you feel the act hindered, impeded, obstructed or confused a fielder attempting to make a play, then yes, you can rule Offensive Interference.
 

umpire16

New member
In NCAA, there should be a site person in charge of game administration including crowd control. The Crew Chief should deal with them directly. Sometimes, at sub D1, that may be the head coach. If it gets to it, the conversation should be simple, individual, and take place between innings. A conference coordinator of umpires should be made aware immediately after a game if a situation is not handled. While you don't often hear about the results, I can tell you they are addressed by supervisors. Much is on video now too, so there is that.

Every situation is different of course. In nine years of NCAA, I had to invoke the administrator once as crew chief. There was a clearly drunken student in the stands. He was loud and it was not over the line, but when it got there (won't get into why here) I addressed it immediately. The administrator ushered him out and we moved on with the game without delay. This is a very slippery slope.

In HS, as AS said, it is the coach's responsibility. Most times a quick conversation about the fan behavior will take care of it. He is right though, if it is not taken care of, again call your assignor and inform them. I've evaluated a number of games over the years and watched behavior not be taken care of by a head coach. And an AD is not going to be very happy when he get's the call from the assignor about it. OHSAA contests are required to have an administrator on site, if not you should file a report with Columbus.

Non-HS ball - good luck. As AS said, stop if necessary. Walk off, get in your car, leave and call your assignor. No sense in engaging the stupidity of cash cow events.
 

bucksman

Moderator
umpire16: unless something has recently changed, only football and basketball require for an administrator to be on site. In many an occasion during baseball (or other non-FB/BK) contests, the head coach IS the administrator-in-charge.
 

CedarBuck92

Active member
umpire16: unless something has recently changed, only football and basketball require for an administrator to be on site. In many an occasion during baseball (or other non-FB/BK) contests, the head coach IS the administrator-in-charge.
Obviously cannot speak for everyone but I know the local high school has moved to requiring an administrator to be onsite for all games from Jr High up. If there are multiple events going on there still may be only one administrator depending on the events, so the administrator may not be at the event at that exact moment.
 

cshs81

Member
Pure and simple...... safety

The Rule Book definitions of a Tag and Fake Tag are...

"A tag out is the put out of a runner, including the batter-runner, who is not in contact with his base when touched with a live ball, or with the glove or hand when the live ball is held securely therein by a fielder"

"A fake tag is an act by a defensive player without the ball that - simulates a tag"

What you describe (a deke) is perfectly legal as it is the runner's or base coach's responsibility to know where the ball is. No attempt to put out the runner is being made, therefore the likeliood of that runner sliding (safety issue) is virtually non-existent. That fake tag will more than likely cause that runner to slide when he should not have to.
A1 hits ball in gap. Rounds 1st . As he's heading towards 2nd the SS is next to the bag acting like he's ready to receive the throw for a tag. Runner slides. Ball was still being picked up at fence by outfielder. Legal deke? I'd say by the rulebook it would be legal.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
A1 hits ball in gap. Rounds 1st . As he's heading towards 2nd the SS is next to the bag acting like he's ready to receive the throw for a tag. Runner slides. Ball was still being picked up at fence by outfielder. Legal deke? I'd say by the rulebook it would be legal.
acting like you are receiving the ball is legal, acting like you are tagging is obstruction. The runner and/or base coach should be aware of where the ball is.

that said, 3 of the 4 sides of the bag I’m getting obstruction for blocking or impeding path of the runner. The sides facing 3rd, 1st, and RF are all in the way of the runners path.

only if he’s on the side facing left-center field can you let that go
 

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
I don't believe I posted about this one previously but it is something that has always rubbed me the wrong way since it happened.

Ball hit to 3rd base. Ball is thrown wide to the inside of 1st base. First base coach backs up to the fence as ball gets passed the first baseman. First baseman runs to get the ball that bounced back off the fence. Batter/runner is already on their way to second base. Runner from second base is now trying to score. First base coach returns from the fence and stands between the first baseman and homeplate. First baseman starts to throw the ball but tries to hold onto it to avoid hitting the first base coach and ball slips out of his hand.

With all that said, could interference be called on the first base coach? He left the box and then returned to it in the middle of the play? Would it change the call if he was actually hit by the ball. Would it matter if the coach did it on purpose?

I won't name names as that doesn't matter but this was a team that cut alot of corners with some bush league plays throughout the game. Watching the video back, there were a number of things that looked like taught plays. Their first baseman hitting the runner with an elbow as the runner rounded the bag. Their runner elbowing the catcher as they came home with no obstruction of the plate. Quick pitching. Calling out pitch locations.

Just venting a little about a game played in the Summer. Sometimes you see things in videos that you didn't see the day of the game.
 

umpire16

New member
NFHS 3-2-3
ART. 3 . . . No offensive team personnel, other than the base coach, shall be near a base for which a runner is trying so that a fielder may be confused; nor be on or near the baseline in such a way as to draw a throw; nor shall the base coach or members of the team at bat fail to vacate any area needed by a fielder in his attempt to put out a batter or runner.

If a thrown live ball unintentionally touches a base coach in foul territory, or a pitched or thrown ball touches an umpire, the ball is live and in play. If the coach is judged by the umpire to have interfered intentionally with the thrown ball, or interferes in fair territory, the interference penalty is invoked

Sounds like this is what applies here (italics). If the coach was in the area needed, he interfered. Though a put out was not being made directly (rather the INF was trying to throw home, to me that is an attempt at a putout and he can be called for interference and the proper penalty applied.

If it is thrown, and hits him, play on unless intentional Alot of ambiguity here without seeing it, and I'm sure called on the field is an argument.
 
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