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Old Tue Jul 13, 2004, 12:23am
SF SF is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 186
I head out to the fields tonight for a doubleheader. Now this is the last week of league play before the league playoffs begin, so coaches are getting more tense. But for some reason my UIC decided tonight was the night to assign a rookie ump to work with. In this association, rookies work pitching machine for at least their first half year. This means no knowledge of two man mechanics, no knowledge of working plate. There are clinics they have to attend to learn that stuff, but apparently this girl had not. (I mentioned C position in our pregame, and she says "what's that." gulp.) The first game is 14U, 2nd division (the low tier of travel teams and some really good rec teams) and I have the plate. We have a brief rules clinic before the game and I hope for the best. It went fine - a couple of! calls, but other than that it was fine.

But then we head back to the dressing room before the second game starts and the field supervisor (we play at a complex that consists of 5 sections of field over a couple miles, so the UIC kinda roams, and every sections as their own mini UIC) tells me my partner needs to do the plate for the next game, but he says it will be a 10U 2nd div game, so I think, allright, much better than it could be.

But then, of course, I see the two best teams from 12U 1st div heading out to the field. Two very competitive, skilled teams with very fast pitching. Not what I would want to be my first game. Apparently, the field supervisor was looking at the wrong day, but he still wants my rookie partner to gear up and take plate for these two teams.

We head out, do pregame, and start the game. My partner is calling a zone maybe 6 inches by 6 inches. But the pitcher gives up trying to get anything around the corners, just blows 'em right down the middle, visitors score 6 run limit and home team comes up to bat. Home team coach mentions to partner that he wouldn't mind having the strike zone a little bit bigger, that she can even start this half inning, he doesn't mind if it hurts his team a little. So she opens it WAY up. Pitcher's first pitch gets away from her, hits the plate but my partner calls a strike. Pitcher bounces 3 more pitches off the plate for 1 ball, 2 strikes and gets the strikeout. Inning continues like this until home teams catcher (3rd batter) strikes out on a pitch that was several feet over her head. Home team coach puts hand on his head but says nothing, partner looks at him, bursts into tears and runs off field.

UIC shows up about a minute later, says that we are going to start the game over, he'll take field and I need to gear up for plate. He explains it to coaches, who both laugh but have no problems. The game ends up being a great one, both teams pitchers had double digit strikeouts and home team wins 2-1. Coaches, players, parents are all great sports.

But home team coach quietly says to me, while his team is batting, on a called strike that bounced in the dirt twice - "how was that a strike?" I mumbled something about her having a better angle. But what do you say when everyone knows your partner is messing up that badly out there? What can you do to stop it? Man, what a mess...
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