Umpires (and fans maybe?) Helping Umpires

CoachHoversten

Active member
As an umpire of many years (several just doing local rec games, to OHSAA certified, to getting in with a crew of almost all college umpires doing high-level tournaments), I rarely complain about other umpires. I know how hard the job is, and we don't have enough umpires to be trying to run anyone out of the profession, but there comes a time when someone just needs to vent. But instead of attacking anyone or making this a thread where people b**** about umpires (respecting that the "Ask the Ump" is not the place for it), let's try to attempt to make this positive and use this thread to offer tips, strategies, ideas, that have helped us become better so others can learn too. Maybe not every one will work for every person, but I have learned so much when I was being critiqued and basically being told everything I was doing wrong.

I am not a master of the rulebook, something I continue to strive to be better at (as evidenced by my being wrong a couple times in the "Ask the Ump") but I am pretty darn good at mechanics. After watching my son, and some of his friends, striking on called pitches that the catchers are diving at and blocking, I just can't not vent a little. We are all human and make mistakes, but that is just bad, and comes across as blatantly disregarding the integrity of the game.

So with all that said, here are some of my most helpful tips I have learned, and hopefully others will chime in not just with complaints, but about ways to improve.

1) Slow down - This is my #1 rule and I have been told by many coaches that it is very easy to distinguish the inexperienced and even HS umpires from experienced and/or college umpires by how quickly they make the calls. I thought I was a pretty good umpire when I got in with the college crews, only to be ripped apart (politely) for making calls fast. My response? "It makes me seem sure of the call". Their response? "No, it makes it seem like you made up your mind before the pitch or play even finished". I get that a pitch might look borderline low (especially when kids aren't throwing hard and the ball arcs), but if you are making up your mind before the pitch is complete, then you aren't tracking the pitch...when the catcher blocks the ball...its a ball. If the batter is out at first, he will still be out in 1 more second. Slow down.

2) Angle is more important than distance - It is easier to make a call from 90 feet at the proper angle than it is from 40 feet at a bad angle. This is especially important for umpires that work a game solo. It is impossible to always get out to the bases, but you CAN move from behind home plate. It looks really bad when you stand behind home plate and make the calls on the bases, and it looks really bad when you get the call wrong back there. If you hustle and get in position, people can generally live with a missed call; but a missed call from behind the plate gets no justification because it is always assumed you missed it because you didn't bother or care to move.

3) Don't verbalize every call - There is no reason to yell "strike" when a batter whiffs at a pitch or "out" when an outfielder catches a lazy fly ball, or "foul" when a ball is hit into the church parking lot. I am training my son on umpiring and I explained to him "if you holler foul ball on the obvious ones, no one will believe you when you emphasize it on the banger down the line. Your calls should reflect the closeness of the play.

4) Communicate Communicate Commmunicate - Be vocal with your partner (in a 2 person crew). One, it makes it more fun, and two, you become better and more comfortable. Say "John, I am at third" or "I am staying home" or "I'm on the ball"

5) Be Professional - Most games now-a-days pay $50 to $60 cash under the table for 2 hours. At $50 for the game, you are being paid the equivalent of $33 per hour at a tax-paying job, so act like you would at a "normal" $33/hour job. Wear nice clothes (not raggedy pants), clean your shoes, hustle on the field to be in position, and be friendly and approachable, but professional. Don't act like you are the boss-man of every kid and coach, it doesn't impress anybody.

6) Don't miss the easy stuff - Again, no one is perfect, I am not and don't expect you to be, but be good enough not to miss the calls that everyone in the world can see. If the catcher blocks the ball, it's a ball. If a kid is out by 3 steps, don't call him safe. Know the "basic rules", don't call a kid safe b/c he wasn't tagged when it is a force out (saw that last week, kid coming back to bag on a caught line drive). Every call that is bang-bang is going to upset 50% of the people in attendance, so try to get the call right, but everyone will forget that call momentarily because no one can say with any more certainty than you that the call was wrong even though their biased opinion says it was. But the ones that everyone sees and the whole fields blows up because you missed it? That's on you 99% of the time. Usually due to lack of hustle or awareness, which you can't do at $33 an hour.
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Well-known member
I would add, when you make a call especially calling balls and strikes and you call a strike, I want to hear it. Don't need to yell but call the game from belly, trust me, you won't lose your voice. Call infield fly rule especially for the young teams, don't just signal and ask for the ball on close tag plays, it will save you some embarrassment.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Own the call.

Even if you are wrong.


MOST people dont know the rules, or are not paying that close attention, or see a play as going either way and if an umpire makes a loud, discernible, confident, decisive call and owns it then most let it be.

If one is tentative, makes a weak call like they left their balls in their wife's purse, that is when fans, players and parents are not very confident in your ability and will continue on arguring.


Oh, and no rabbit ears.

Please, no rabbit ears. Turn down those hearing aids.


That is just my own experience as a coach, player and fan and also talking to a number of umpires such as the one eyed up from Chillicothe (Max McCleary...check out his book..) and Jimmy Joyce who was a MLB umpire.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Oh, I personally I do appreciate proper mechanics, such as which hand to signify 'taking your base' on a walk/hpb and even the ole full count.

Some of the worst umps, who had terrible strike zones, would use the same right hand to signal strike, and take your base and then they wonder why coaches and players get confused what they are calling.


but that is just me. I dont have 20/50 vision (yet) so I am unable to "pass" the eye test to be an ump!


How some can continiously miss calls on the field but as soon as the BP catcher, or foul ball chaser, does not have on a helmet they are johnny on the spot calling that!!!!!!!!

To be quite honest though the last few years I have been pleasantly surprised by the umpiring. On all these stupid travel teams I really do not care who wins the games so I see them more objectively than most parents who think that Thursday at 9AM pool play is game 7 of the WS.

I think one of the big issues is fatigue. I see guys doing 4-6 games in a day. I know a shortage prompts it, and/or the organizer likes it as it is less people he needs to coordinate with, but often times the heat and long days get to some of these umps
 

rossford_resident

Active member
Not a big fan of the high strike at younger age groups. I am usually sitting off to the side of the plate where you can see the ball relative to the batter as it crosses the plate. Balls at or a little below the knees are still hittable. The ball at shoulder level or above is often not - and yet I see that call made all the time. I realize younger pitchers struggle to throw strikes, but it's discouraging for kids to get rung up on pitches that are unhittable.

One of my kids basically quit playing baseball after 9U because he was small for his age and struck out constantly on balls that were called strikes when they crossed the plate at eye level. Couple that with a 6'2" coach who threw BP while standing up from 54' away and insisted he swing at everything...just totally wrecked his confidence.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Not a big fan of the high strike at younger age groups. I am usually sitting off to the side of the plate where you can see the ball relative to the batter as it crosses the plate. Balls at or a little below the knees are still hittable. The ball at shoulder level or above is often not - and yet I see that call made all the time. I realize younger pitchers struggle to throw strikes, but it's discouraging for kids to get rung up on pitches that are unhittable.

One of my kids basically quit playing baseball after 9U because he was small for his age and struck out constantly on balls that were called strikes when they crossed the plate at eye level. Couple that with a 6'2" coach who threw BP while standing up from 54' away and insisted he swing at everything...just totally wrecked his confidence.
Here is the thing.......I would not suggest having many, if any, tournaments and games at the 9U level with kids pitching.
*Strikeout.
*Walk.
*Wild Pitches.
*Passed Balls.
*Very little hitting.
*Very little fielding.
*Baserunning consists more on advancing on pitches the catchers cannot handle.

Very little value in having kids pitch at that age. There is no probative value in doing this.
I have been to nephew's games in a diff town that does this and the games are miserable. The kids and parents hate it as a whole.

Fast FWD to my local town and they have park workers pitch and/or have more coach pitch sort of thing. Our ole ball coach put an end to in in the 70s or so.


I believe wholeheartedly that this hurts a program more than it helps. If you want to get into a tournament or two as a why not, then I guess that is OK but for 9 year olds to play a bulk or all of their baseball season pitching to one another is detrimental all the way around. Kids want to give up pitching, kids hating the game because the zone has to be so big.

How many legit strikes does a 9 yr old kid get to hit in a 2-3 hour game? Not many. Do it a different way and you will have much more real baseball that the kids learn.
 

rossford_resident

Active member
Here is the thing.......I would not suggest having many, if any, tournaments and games at the 9U level with kids pitching.
*Strikeout.
*Walk.
*Wild Pitches.
*Passed Balls.
*Very little hitting.
*Very little fielding.
*Baserunning consists more on advancing on pitches the catchers cannot handle.

Very little value in having kids pitch at that age. There is no probative value in doing this.
I have been to nephew's games in a diff town that does this and the games are miserable. The kids and parents hate it as a whole.

Fast FWD to my local town and they have park workers pitch and/or have more coach pitch sort of thing. Our ole ball coach put an end to in in the 70s or so.


I believe wholeheartedly that this hurts a program more than it helps. If you want to get into a tournament or two as a why not, then I guess that is OK but for 9 year olds to play a bulk or all of their baseball season pitching to one another is detrimental all the way around. Kids want to give up pitching, kids hating the game because the zone has to be so big.

How many legit strikes does a 9 yr old kid get to hit in a 2-3 hour game? Not many. Do it a different way and you will have much more real baseball that the kids learn.
From your mouth to God's ears. Tell that to the parents who think their kid will fall behind if he's not playing "travel" as an 8 year old, though.

When I was a kid way back when 4 balls = you got to hit off a tee. If you swung and hit the tee it counted as a strike. At least the ball was in play for most of the 18 outs.

Now, the travel league around here plays HS rules at 9/10 with kids leading off and stealing bases. Counterproductive, IMO, as the whole concept of force plays is pretty much eliminated from the game and it becomes: walk, steal 2nd and 3rd, score on a WP.

Coach/machine pitch and an adult or older kid capable of catching the ball at first base would be a huge improvement, IMO - as well as playing true Little League rules with no advancing as a baserunner at 10U or below.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
From your mouth to God's ears. Tell that to the parents who think their kid will fall behind if he's not playing "travel" as an 8 year old, though.

When I was a kid way back when 4 balls = you got to hit off a tee. If you swung and hit the tee it counted as a strike. At least the ball was in play for most of the 18 outs.

Now, the travel league around here plays HS rules at 9/10 with kids leading off and stealing bases. Counterproductive, IMO, as the whole concept of force plays is pretty much eliminated from the game and it becomes: walk, steal 2nd and 3rd, score on a WP.

Coach/machine pitch and an adult or older kid capable of catching the ball at first base would be a huge improvement, IMO - as well as playing true Little League rules with no advancing as a baserunner at 10U or below.
I just dont see why places keep doing it, I really dont. As a dad by all means have your 8-9 yr old pitch to you on the side. We had a plate and a set up in our side yard.

"Perfect" one level before you move up. I see too many kids, and programs, who rush kids up to next levels before they get the handle on where they are at. It may work for some of the "elite" players but for a program as a whole it just does not bode well most times.

A weight lifting correlation I used before is this:
*If someone lifts one rep on a bench press at a certain weight, do you move him up to the next or do you wait until he can do multiple reps and sets and then move up?
 

Red14

Well-known member
As an umpire of many years (several just doing local rec games, to OHSAA certified, to getting in with a crew of almost all college umpires doing high-level tournaments), I rarely complain about other umpires. I know how hard the job is, and we don't have enough umpires to be trying to run anyone out of the profession, but there comes a time when someone just needs to vent. But instead of attacking anyone or making this a thread where people b**** about umpires (respecting that the "Ask the Ump" is not the place for it), let's try to attempt to make this positive and use this thread to offer tips, strategies, ideas, that have helped us become better so others can learn too. Maybe not every one will work for every person, but I have learned so much when I was being critiqued and basically being told everything I was doing wrong.

I am not a master of the rulebook, something I continue to strive to be better at (as evidenced by my being wrong a couple times in the "Ask the Ump") but I am pretty darn good at mechanics. After watching my son, and some of his friends, striking on called pitches that the catchers are diving at and blocking, I just can't not vent a little. We are all human and make mistakes, but that is just bad, and comes across as blatantly disregarding the integrity of the game.

So with all that said, here are some of my most helpful tips I have learned, and hopefully others will chime in not just with complaints, but about ways to improve.

1) Slow down - This is my #1 rule and I have been told by many coaches that it is very easy to distinguish the inexperienced and even HS umpires from experienced and/or college umpires by how quickly they make the calls. I thought I was a pretty good umpire when I got in with the college crews, only to be ripped apart (politely) for making calls fast. My response? "It makes me seem sure of the call". Their response? "No, it makes it seem like you made up your mind before the pitch or play even finished". I get that a pitch might look borderline low (especially when kids aren't throwing hard and the ball arcs), but if you are making up your mind before the pitch is complete, then you aren't tracking the pitch...when the catcher blocks the ball...its a ball. If the batter is out at first, he will still be out in 1 more second. Slow down.

2) Angle is more important than distance - It is easier to make a call from 90 feet at the proper angle than it is from 40 feet at a bad angle. This is especially important for umpires that work a game solo. It is impossible to always get out to the bases, but you CAN move from behind home plate. It looks really bad when you stand behind home plate and make the calls on the bases, and it looks really bad when you get the call wrong back there. If you hustle and get in position, people can generally live with a missed call; but a missed call from behind the plate gets no justification because it is always assumed you missed it because you didn't bother or care to move.

3) Don't verbalize every call - There is no reason to yell "strike" when a batter whiffs at a pitch or "out" when an outfielder catches a lazy fly ball, or "foul" when a ball is hit into the church parking lot. I am training my son on umpiring and I explained to him "if you holler foul ball on the obvious ones, no one will believe you when you emphasize it on the banger down the line. Your calls should reflect the closeness of the play.

4) Communicate Communicate Commmunicate - Be vocal with your partner (in a 2 person crew). One, it makes it more fun, and two, you become better and more comfortable. Say "John, I am at third" or "I am staying home" or "I'm on the ball"

5) Be Professional - Most games now-a-days pay $50 to $60 cash under the table for 2 hours. At $50 for the game, you are being paid the equivalent of $33 per hour at a tax-paying job, so act like you would at a "normal" $33/hour job. Wear nice clothes (not raggedy pants), clean your shoes, hustle on the field to be in position, and be friendly and approachable, but professional. Don't act like you are the boss-man of every kid and coach, it doesn't impress anybody.

6) Don't miss the easy stuff - Again, no one is perfect, I am not and don't expect you to be, but be good enough not to miss the calls that everyone in the world can see. If the catcher blocks the ball, it's a ball. If a kid is out by 3 steps, don't call him safe. Know the "basic rules", don't call a kid safe b/c he wasn't tagged when it is a force out (saw that last week, kid coming back to bag on a caught line drive). Every call that is bang-bang is going to upset 50% of the people in attendance, so try to get the call right, but everyone will forget that call momentarily because no one can say with any more certainty than you that the call was wrong even though their biased opinion says it was. But the ones that everyone sees and the whole fields blows up because you missed it? That's on you 99% of the time. Usually due to lack of hustle or awareness, which you can't do at $33 an hour.
This could honestly be printed on a poster and handed out to every young umpire. This nails it.

I've always told people - fans - coaches - friends that EVERYONE should umpire at least once. Go down to your local ball diamond and volunteer to do a game. I'll guarantee you no one will stop you. And just see how hard it is. You can know baseball / softball real well, and it's still not easy. My go to with youth baseball and softball is call a big plate. No one likes a walkfest. Make the kids swing the bat. As they get older, then you can slim it down some.
 

Mutant

Member
I’m always looking to improve as an umpire. Some times I struggle with the high strike and the outside corner on a left handed hitter. I find it more difficult with lefties if I’m in the slot and do better more directly behind the catcher. Any advice is appreciated.

my biggest complaint is when my partner doesn’t hustle. If you can’t take a runner from first to third please just let me know.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
I’m always looking to improve as an umpire. Some times I struggle with the high strike and the outside corner on a left handed hitter. I find it more difficult with lefties if I’m in the slot and do better more directly behind the catcher. Any advice is appreciated.

my biggest complaint is when my partner doesn’t hustle. If you can’t take a runner from first to third please just let me know.
mutant; two things:

1) I completely agree about the hustle. I once was on bases with runner on first; clean hit down left field line. I got the touch of second and first and took batter into second. Throw went to 3B with close play and HPU was at the plate, everyone looking at me to make the call (presuming they don’t know it should have been his). So I said safe bc I didn’t see it and coach was upset. I didn’t throw my partner under the bus, he did apologize earlier.

my advice? Make sure you cover this in pre-game with your partner, EVERY TIME. And signal it on the field and make them signal it back that they will be there.Signal it five times if you have to before they see it, and be verbal. He should be saying “I’m at third” and if you don’t hear it, you can verbalize (with your back to him) “are you at third?” If the play allows it, you can take a peek too.

ill be honest, it is a trust thing. I worked with someone today I’ve known and done many games with and we both know the other will always be there. We signal and talk out there but I’ve never once had a worry they wouldn’t be there for me.

2) With the lefty batters, I completely get it, I had the same issue. My advice?

be slower on your call. What do I mean? Give yourself an extra second to process, track the pitch, and make a good judgement on the pitches you know you struggle with.

put your eye level just above the top of the strike zone and don’t move. If the pitch is above your eyes or “blows you up” (right into your vision) it’s a ball. If it’s below your eye-line then it isn’t high.

on the outside, depending on when the catcher sets up, maybe can take a peek at where his glove is lined up in relation to the corner and then track pitch into his glove. Did he set up on corner and have to reach out a little? Then you’ve got a ball unless you are going wide on purpose (young ages or game is out of hand) or maybe a lefty pitcher curveball that crossed plate on way out.

hope this helps a little
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Mutant, just re-read your post and I am not sure if you meant BU take runner from 1 to 3 or HPU. I’m assuming you meant HPU bc that’s his runner at HS and college level
 

Mutant

Member
Field ump in A batter going for a triple. Had it happen twice 2 weeks ago. Partner pulled up at second while batter busts his for three. Both plays were close. After the first time, apologized, then bottom of 7th happened again. Shame on me.

ive really worked hard the past couple of years slowing down my calls. When I was evaluated that was the only real knock he had on me. Said I call balls to quick.

question, if I set my eyes right above the strike zone and keep them locked there, won’t it be difficult to track the pitch from his hand?

I do appreciate the advice
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Oh wow, yeah that’s BU all the way, and it isn’t even that hard to stay ahead of them as you can stay in the “working area”.

I am a bit confused by your question, sorry if I am just mis-understanding. Why would it be hard to track the pitch? Wherever you choose to set up, you don’t want to move no matter what as it plays tricks on your eyes.

If you don’t line up just above top of the zone, then you’re either really high up or probably too low. If you get down at the top of the catchers head, it’s impossible to track the low and/or low and outside pitch. You lose sight of it 100% of the time about 2 to 3 feet from the catcher.

If you have to pick one, set up higher rather than lower. But I had read about the eye level “trick” from an MLB umpire, bc when guys are throwing 90+, getting your eyes “blown up” is a very real thing, and that quick wince makes you lose sight of the ball, so if it happens, you know it’s a ball.
 

bucksman

Moderator
Four baseline tips, they apply to any sport being officiated:
**proper position
**proper coverage
**proper mechanics/signals
**proper rules application

These are all controllable things that you can do as an umpire to enhance your credibility for those moments the game will "test" you.

The eye level trick is something I've been taught as well for calling balls & strikes. Eyes at the top of the zone, split the inside corner with your nose (weird set-ups from catches can make the inside corner slotting dicey). I will admit that necessarily doesn't help with the outside corner, and yes outside corner with a LH batter is harder than the one with a RH batter.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
The outside corner pitch when a lefty is up is tough for one reason.....

We don't see it often enough. 80% of our ball and strike calls come with a RH at the plate.

Repetition is the only way to get this to become as comfortable as when a RH is up. The umpire can help him/herself out by seeing as many pitches as they can from the slot on the left side of the plate. That will necessitate them seeking out practices of teams and asking to call pitches, whether it's during BP or simply when pitchers are getting their work in.
 

BASESWIMPARENT

Well-known member
From your mouth to God's ears. Tell that to the parents who think their kid will fall behind if he's not playing "travel" as an 8 year old, though.

When I was a kid way back when 4 balls = you got to hit off a tee. If you swung and hit the tee it counted as a strike. At least the ball was in play for most of the 18 outs.

Now, the travel league around here plays HS rules at 9/10 with kids leading off and stealing bases. Counterproductive, IMO, as the whole concept of force plays is pretty much eliminated from the game and it becomes: walk, steal 2nd and 3rd, score on a WP.

Coach/machine pitch and an adult or older kid capable of catching the ball at first base would be a huge improvement, IMO - as well as playing true Little League rules with no advancing as a baserunner at 10U or below.
I like the T approach because it keeps the game moving and you cam work on skills in the field
 

Bugsy8875

Member
One thing I started several years ago when I got back in was to keep a journal. It's a small file on my computer that I type up small notes on of things I learned, reminders, etc... Sometimes I get right to it when I get home so I don't forget. It's a great tool to use at the beginning of a season. I always try to learn something or improve on something every game out.

Another thing that helps me greatly is I remind myself that I was a player and a coach. I recall the umpires I wanted working my games. Hustle, mechanics, humble and communication. I can honestly say, I have never thrown anyone out or even so much as a warning. I try to set a tone early at the plate meeting and I am mostly rewarded with coaches/players that will talk to me rather than yell and get upset. I get to do some good baseball, so the coaches and players know the game too.

Not every game is great, but overall, it has been pretty rewarding for me getting back into it.
 

Bugsy8875

Member
Oh, and no rabbit ears.

Please, no rabbit ears. Turn down those hearing aids.


That is just my own experience as a coach, player and fan and also talking to a number of umpires such as the one eyed up from Chillicothe (Max McCleary...check out his book..) and Jimmy Joyce who was a MLB umpire.
One of my favorite lines from a coach when I was working the plate. He yelled out to his catcher and asked if the plate was round because I wasn't calling the corners (According to him..lol). I had a huge smile on my face behind my mask from that one and even told the catcher to relay to the coach that was a good one. :)
 

thavoice

Well-known member
One of my favorite lines from a coach when I was working the plate. He yelled out to his catcher and asked if the plate was round because I wasn't calling the corners (According to him..lol). I had a huge smile on my face behind my mask from that one and even told the catcher to relay to the coach that was a good one. :)
"if you'd have one more eye you would be a cyclops"

Inevitable at home games someone would have a dog near the backstop/dugout.
Bad calls, dog barks, ask ump if that is his seeing eye dog.....

My buddy was coached in the GLCL for a number of years. They used to get two free ejections before any suspension and he would use them at times to fire up his team.

Two of my favorites:
1. Ump tells him "One more word out of you and you are gone". Coach walks away, turns and says "WORD".

Gets tossed.

Second one.
Miserable season. He goes out to argue a call that really wasnt that bad. The ump was a good buddy of his. They argue, and the ump tells him "I am not throwing you out of here no matter what. YOu will go out to my truck, drink all our beer before the game is over:.


Good times....good times.....
 

Bugsy8875

Member
"if you'd have one more eye you would be a cyclops"

Inevitable at home games someone would have a dog near the backstop/dugout.
Bad calls, dog barks, ask ump if that is his seeing eye dog.....

My buddy was coached in the GLCL for a number of years. They used to get two free ejections before any suspension and he would use them at times to fire up his team.

Two of my favorites:
1. Ump tells him "One more word out of you and you are gone". Coach walks away, turns and says "WORD".

Gets tossed.

Second one.
Miserable season. He goes out to argue a call that really wasnt that bad. The ump was a good buddy of his. They argue, and the ump tells him "I am not throwing you out of here no matter what. YOu will go out to my truck, drink all our beer before the game is over:.


Good times....good times.....

I had a coach come out to me in the bottom of the 7th, his team down a run and i had a banger at 1B for the first out. Here comes the coach walking quickly calling time and I say to myself, "Oh boy, here we go"... coach got close to me so no one would hear him and said, "That was a great call"... I tend not to laugh or smile... He said, "I need to come out and look like I am arguing so the parents don't give me crap for not sticking up for their kids on close calls"... I said ok and we talked for about 30 seconds about the game and how he was upset at his team... and he walked away. After the game he looked over at me and said "Thanks Blue" with a wink and nod... never forget that moment. :)
 

rossford_resident

Active member
One of the towns in our local rec league uses HS kids to umpire. This would be fine with me, except that their hometown coaches essentially call the game from the dugout/3rd base coaches box. One even called time in the middle of our pitcher's motion last night to tell the umpires to call a balk.

If you want to save money on real umpires/give your kids some experience - great. I'm all for it. I wouldn't even mind if the adult working the bases told us the kid behind the plate would focus on balls and strikes and he would handle just about everything else. When you go that route, however, you really need to let the kid call the game and accept whatever happens. Total BS, IMO, to stop the game three or four times because you want to correct the umpires (and, believe it or not, have every changed call go in your favor).
 

Bugsy8875

Member
One of the towns in our local rec league uses HS kids to umpire. This would be fine with me, except that their hometown coaches essentially call the game from the dugout/3rd base coaches box. One even called time in the middle of our pitcher's motion last night to tell the umpires to call a balk.

If you want to save money on real umpires/give your kids some experience - great. I'm all for it. I wouldn't even mind if the adult working the bases told us the kid behind the plate would focus on balls and strikes and he would handle just about everything else. When you go that route, however, you really need to let the kid call the game and accept whatever happens. Total BS, IMO, to stop the game three or four times because you want to correct the umpires (and, believe it or not, have every changed call go in your favor).
Whoever is in charge of that league needs to address this. Umpire shortage is real and good young ones are needed. We have some young guys work with us and it has been great. I always find it interesting to see certain coaches try to take advantage of younger umpires. It really bugs me.

Quick story. We had two of our younger guys working an 14u game. Word got back that a coach of a team was really giving the guys a hard time. Next time we had a game to cover for this coach, he sent a veteran umpire (Me) with a younger guy. The coach who was giving our younger guys a hard time was as quiet as a church mouse towards us the whole game.... My take away was he saw two younger guys and tried to take advantage of them. Not a good way to conduct yourself. Pretty classless.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
One of the towns in our local rec league uses HS kids to umpire. This would be fine with me, except that their hometown coaches essentially call the game from the dugout/3rd base coaches box. One even called time in the middle of our pitcher's motion last night to tell the umpires to call a balk.

If you want to save money on real umpires/give your kids some experience - great. I'm all for it. I wouldn't even mind if the adult working the bases told us the kid behind the plate would focus on balls and strikes and he would handle just about everything else. When you go that route, however, you really need to let the kid call the game and accept whatever happens. Total BS, IMO, to stop the game three or four times because you want to correct the umpires (and, believe it or not, have every changed call go in your favor).
Our LL also has HS kids doing the games.
All the teams are from the same town though so you dont have the sort of issues and all in all surprised how well the coaches take it.
 

rossford_resident

Active member
Whoever is in charge of that league needs to address this. Umpire shortage is real and good young ones are needed. We have some young guys work with us and it has been great. I always find it interesting to see certain coaches try to take advantage of younger umpires. It really bugs me.

Quick story. We had two of our younger guys working an 14u game. Word got back that a coach of a team was really giving the guys a hard time. Next time we had a game to cover for this coach, he sent a veteran umpire (Me) with a younger guy. The coach who was giving our younger guys a hard time was as quiet as a church mouse towards us the whole game.... My take away was he saw two younger guys and tried to take advantage of them. Not a good way to conduct yourself. Pretty classless.
I am absolutely all for younger umpires getting experience and adjusted my expectations accordingly back when I was coaching. One community in particular around here is notorious for parents standing behind the backstop and trying to intimidate the HP umpire: lost a game once when a younger ump called the winning run out at the plate in the bottom of the 6th when the ball was 20 feet up the first base line. The parents had been on the kid all game and he was too scared to let them lose the game (in my opinion). When I pointed out that the catcher didn't have the ball he consulted with the base umpire and then called the runner out for running out of the baseline while rounding 3rd.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
I am absolutely all for younger umpires getting experience and adjusted my expectations accordingly back when I was coaching. One community in particular around here is notorious for parents standing behind the backstop and trying to intimidate the HP umpire: lost a game once when a younger ump called the winning run out at the plate in the bottom of the 6th when the ball was 20 feet up the first base line. The parents had been on the kid all game and he was too scared to let them lose the game (in my opinion). When I pointed out that the catcher didn't have the ball he consulted with the base umpire and then called the runner out for running out of the baseline while rounding 3rd.
That's on the gutless wonders who run the leagues.
 
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