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Old Sun Jan 07, 2001, 12:34am
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A noble man in blue recently asked on another board “What kind of coach would pay $50 to post to an umpire board?” It seemed to me that it was asked derisively. “Typical umpire,” says me to myself. My answer – “A Smart One!”

Let’s start with a very basic premise, that one must know the rules of the game in order to properly coach it. From the very basic “How do you get an out?” to “What is a balk?” and the ever popular “Interference/Obstruction” rules, one cannot teach the players how to play if one does not know the rules of the game. And, perhaps more importantly, why risk the scorn of all (except Ol’ Smitty of course) by yelling out “The hands are part of the bat!” when a few minutes of constructive browsing will let you know you should just shut up?

So some of us take the time to at least peruse the rulebook to get a feel for the basics. Here we find, for example, that a batter-runner is out if he or first base is tagged before he touches the base. So, we merrily watch one sunny day as our fine shortstop makes a great play in the hole, fires to first, but just too late. But wait! The runner missed the base! He didn’t “touch the base!” He’s out!!! Why is that *%$(&^% umpire signaling safe?!?! After reading and participating on the boards, we now know. He missed the base fer shur, but a missed base is covered by the appeal rule, and not by the rule we knew was right. NOW we know how to react AND how to teach the players to react (and, if necessary, the basis for having a more objective discussion with a lesser trained umpire.)

By now we realize that there is a LOT more we need to know about the rules and what to expect from the umpire’s calls.

We also need to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. To do this, we need to know a bit about the philosophical approach of “the umpire.” Where else to find out than by reading their discussions as to how they approach the game, and their dealings with coaches. We can discover that they actually do have personalities. We find that they range from the relaxed to the anal-retentive. We learn why “you blew that one” will get you tossed but “how did you see it?” will keep you around. We cringe at their “stupid coach” statements, then discover that, for the most part, it’s only the newbies or wannabees that use the phrase. The trouble is, what’s the guy that’s here today? We thus learn that we need to “scope out” the umpire early on to determine if he’s a member of the “it’s my field” camp or a bit more laid back. And we want to learn the easy way, not the “watch from the car” way.

We also learn that the umpire has a tough job, one where half the people there think you’re wrong on every close/tough call. We gain a better appreciation of the umpire’s job and what he faces performing it. We learn when it’s time to get the league UIC to have a refresher course for his staff too . . .

Hey, we’re here to play the game. We don’t need no stinking arguments. We prepare the players, we need to prepare ourselves too. This place is a great place to learn.
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Old Sun Jan 07, 2001, 09:42am
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Well written, Rich. I question, however, how many coaches really would pass the "premise" of the post. That premise being, that they, the coaches, know the rules. Many know the basic ball/strike, fair/foul, safe/out concepts, but may not know much of detail regarding obstruction, interference, etc. Some (certainly not all) have learned a little diplomacy in properly discussing issues with officials.

I work a mix of HS ball and mens league. Therefore, I would suspect most have probably been around game more than the volunteers of the youth leagues (and likely know more). Yet, I've seen things as basic as not knowing when they're in an infield fly situation. Teams thinking they are because of an R1 and less than 2 out. To me, it doesn't say much for coach. I realize that, being in Texas, I will run into many baseball coaches at HS level who are in that baseball position only because they are a great defensive back coach in the fall season, and they need to keep busy in the spring.

I feel the point that you accept as the premise of your post, is indeed, one of the major weaknesses that I personally see in coaches. Perhaps if they would make greater effort to better know and understand rules, it would aid them in their coaching of players and overall success and performance on the field. It certainly beats teaching or allowing a player to protect R1 stealing 2nd by pretending to swing so hard so he can fall over plate to make it more difficult for catcher. I see that all too frequent, and from the same teams. (just an example)

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Old Sun Jan 07, 2001, 02:02pm
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Emotion

I think that coaches as well as umpires should try to see each others job from the others shoes. It is so true that on every close call, half like it and the other half think you are crazy. One of the reasons this happens is because, unlike umpires, coaches and players react based on emotion. They prepare and play hard, so when a close call goes against them, they react on emotion instead of logic. Often, after a game I am sure that the situation will be clearer when rehashed by players and coaches.

As a good umpire you simply call the game, emotion should not cloud your judgement. Unlike a player we do not want the call SOOOOO Much! Umpires simply call what they see. Coaches and Players need to understand that.
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Old Sun Jan 07, 2001, 04:46pm
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That's why most of the major college conferences who have the coaching staffs fill out umpire evaluations following a weekend of baseball are asked to wait 24 to 48 hours to fill out the evaluations. After they have a chance to sit back, take a few deep breaths, talk about certain situations with the rest of the staff, and not have the emotion of the moment as a factor, they are more able to do something useful with an evaluation. The good ones do.
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Old Sun Jan 07, 2001, 06:24pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Ives
A noble man in blue recently asked on another board “What kind of coach would pay $50 to post to an umpire board?” It seemed to me that it was asked derisively. “Typical umpire,” says me to myself. My answer – “A Smart One!”

Let’s start with a very basic premise, that one must know the rules of the game in order to properly coach it. From the very basic “How do you get an out?” to “What is a balk?” and the ever popular “Interference/Obstruction” rules, one cannot teach the players how to play if one does not know the rules of the game. And, perhaps more importantly, why risk the scorn of all (except Ol’ Smitty of course) by yelling out “The hands are part of the bat!” when a few minutes of constructive browsing will let you know you should just shut up?

--[snip]--

We also learn that the umpire has a tough job, one where half the people there think you’re wrong on every close/tough call. We gain a better appreciation of the umpire’s job and what he faces performing it. We learn when it’s time to get the league UIC to have a refresher course for his staff too . . .

Hey, we’re here to play the game. We don’t need no stinking arguments. We prepare the players, we need to prepare ourselves too. This place is a great place to learn.
So, Rich, can I convince you to move to Australia? We could use some of that attitude of yours over here. I was incredulous to learn that our Level 1 (Basic) and Level 2 (Advanced) coaching courses have absolutely ZERO rules knowledge content. As a consequence most of our coaches, even at the highest level, have NEVER picked up a rule book, in anger or otherwise. As we continually work to dispel myth after myth they are eventually learning when not to argue and what not to argue about, but I'm darn sure they still don't know how or why.

It just amazes me that such a large group of people believe they can teach someone to play a game without knowing the rules of the game. Rich, you are MY kind of coach. I hope my fellow umpires appreciate your efforts to prepare yourself for the game you teach. Those efforts will eventually improve our lot as umpires immensely, too!

Cheers.

[Edited by Warren Willson on Jan 7th, 2001 at 05:28 PM]
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Old Mon Jan 08, 2001, 11:02am
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rich Ives
[B]A noble man in blue recently asked on another board “What kind of coach would pay $50 to post to an umpire board?” It seemed to me that it was asked derisively. “Typical umpire,” says me to myself. My answer – “A Smart One!”

By now we realize that there is a LOT more we need to know about the rules and what to expect from the umpire’s calls.

Hey, we’re here to play the game. We don’t need no stinking arguments. We prepare the players, we need to prepare ourselves too. This place is a great place to learn.

Rich to me it's really amazing the animosity that exists between Coaches / Umpires. When a coach asks a question, the umpires think that the coach is asking so that he can "Cheat" (ala CoachB on the latest eTeamz thread), Hence they hardly if ever will post on the umpires board again. The Coaches feel that umpires are not "Human" but void of emotion and do not want to hear them at all.

More meetings between coaches and umpires need to be held so that the coach is EDUCATED on the rules and both parties can work for the betterment of the program.

Most of us have wore 2 hats (coaching and umpiring) and you think we would give more "slack" to a coach, but in a way we are harsher.

From a coaches point of view it does help to know what umpires will ALWAYS call from that which is suspect. This makes for a more consistent game. In basketball, players are taught - never reach around a player and go for a steal Why? - Because they will ALWAYS get called for a reach in foul irregardless if they made contact or not - That is a given and aids the baskeball coach in teaching his players how to play proper defense.

If coaches and umpires would work together instead of separate IMO, we would have a better game.


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