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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jun 14, 2005, 01:11pm
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I also officiate basketball. In that sport there are many "No Calls" that are considered correct officiating and the mark of a good basketball official. Contrarily, unexpected calls, at the best are the sign of a rookie, and at the worst are the sign of an official with poor basketball judgement.

All this discussion about balks has got me wondering if baseball doesn't also include "no calls?"

If no one is expecting a call. Should I jump and vociferously make a technically correct call and then penalize accordingly? Do some of the balk situations fall into this category of unexpected calls? As runners mature and get more efficient, they notice more detail and perhaps smaller things in the pitcher's actions. Are the runners more likely to be deceived by smaller details? And hence should the umpire call balks for smaller illegalities?

Does the recent NCAA game ending balk call fit into this category of "unexpected?" I have not seen the replay but I would guess that there was no one jumping up and down yelling, "That's a balk!" until the umpire complied and made the call. The pitcher surely didn't think he was deceiving any runners - he was trying to load the bases and I'm guessing R3 was probably standing on 3rd, or very close to it, not attempting to advance but waiting for him to finish the pitch-outs.

So back to the question at hand, "If no one else notices, or cares, should I?" Do you? Baseball is definitely a different sport from basketball and perhaps the "unexpected" calls are truly expected, or at least accepted as part of the game. Different from basketball, does making the unexpected, but technically correct calls, constitute being a good baseball umpire?

What say you?
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Old Tue Jun 14, 2005, 01:34pm
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In my mind, yes it does. Typically most baseball players and coaches do not know the rules, but we umpires do. If I know there is a violation of a rule, I will say something about it whether it p!$$es anyone off or not. My job is to know the rules and enforce them whether it is expected or unexpected, known or unknown, understood or misunderstood. Just my opinion, so others will probably disagree to some extent.
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Old Tue Jun 14, 2005, 01:56pm
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In my area we have some "grizzed vets" skippering the good teams, these guys know the rules....you will get your sh!t called...soyou better be on the ball.

I do, DTTB, think you can get away with more in basketball due to its obvious much more continuous action, baseball is more of a play, reset, then play...kinda like football. Sweep play to right, LT is holding(15 yards from play) who cares?? Newer coaches will *****, but come on....POE says to work the advantage/disadvantage angle
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Old Tue Jun 14, 2005, 02:03pm
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Constant improvement

In the business/technology world, you are bombarded with the pressure to always be making improvements. You tighten your specifications to makes a better product. Down the line others that use your improved product can create improvements in their product line. Living standards increase when you have the pressure of constant improvement.

I think that this is what is happening in sports officiating (as it should). If we allow sloppy rule adherence, that's what we'll get. But if we demand tight specification for baseball (players/coaches/umpires), we'll get an improved game. This improvement will trickle down all the way to youth baseball.

Will there be times when the specs are too tight for the situation, perhaps. Will there be times when the spec tightening gets put horrible in the lime-light...its going to happen. But put aside the way this one game ended, if the end result is that there are less bounce sets, then the game is improved for all.

We all have to decide if a no-call is appropriate for the level that we're in. Being over-officious at a lower level doesn't have the same game raising benefit that a televised NCAA game does. But even at the lower levels if we allow sloppy play, that's what we'll get until we again tighten the screw.
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Old Tue Jun 14, 2005, 02:12pm
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Downtown

Tony:

Being a veteran official in basketball and baseball at very high levels my opinion is: "I am not sure the two sports are comparable."

Where basketball has a clear acceptance of advantage/diadvantage I am not sure baseball follows those lines.

While my strike zone maybe the shape of an egg rather than a true rectangle isn't really stepping off a very high curb.

I mean we let base coaches stray from their assigned coaches boxes but I never need to worry about "how much contact is OK in the post."

We can discuss balks to death on these sites. I follow the Cece Carlucci philosophy that I only call balks that every one sees. Does that mean I would not have called the famous IBB balk of the other night, who knows? -- If I was there, working under Dave Yeast and he had told me to get serious and call balks I would HOPE I would have had the stones to call that specific balk.

Contrary to Matt's post above I don't think baseball players, coaches and fans know rules any less than any other sport. I don't think baseball rules are any more complicated and difficult than any other sport. Therefore I don't think it is my job to call something strange . . . it is my job to know when one of those obscure rules are broken and how to manage that issue.

Your question really is not new . . . it is simply another way of asking are the "letter of the rule" guys correct or are the "common sense and fair play" correct.

Baseball is not like basketball . . . and obviously those that post on the internet define that difference quite well.
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Old Tue Jun 14, 2005, 08:12pm
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My opinion:
Make the correct call (sometimes considered the tough call) and not the "expected" call. A "no call" is usually not good.
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Old Wed Jun 15, 2005, 12:44pm
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Re: Downtown

Quote:
Originally posted by Tim C
I follow the Cece Carlucci philosophy that I only call balks that every one sees. Does that mean I would not have called the famous IBB balk of the other night, who knows? -- If I was there, working under Dave Yeast and he had told me to get serious and call balks I would HOPE I would have had the stones to call that specific balk.
This is interesting and I'd like clarification, please. Tim C, assuming that you aren't working under Dave Yeast, would you not be calling the "bounce" set delivery a balk, even with R1 (a steal threat). Not everyone sees this illegal move, and it would be adventageous to the defense if a balk is not going to be called.

But I agree with the above statement in principle. Last night the offensive coach wanted me to go digging for boggers because F1 stepped on the rubber and remembered that he needed to go from the stretch and sloppily disengaged to get into the stretch. Offense was dominating a weaker defensive team and run-ruled them that inning...My partner and I both saw it but declined the coach's invitation.
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Old Wed Jun 15, 2005, 01:16pm
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Well,

All being said (more on that a little later) I doubt seriously if I would call a balk during an intentional pass UNLESS ift was something that was obvious or was seen by all.

I am talking out of both sides of my both here:

I wouldn't call a balk on the IBB because there was no intent to deceive and there was no advantage gained,

YET,

I would call a bak if F1 dropped the ball while on the pitcher's plate and yet there is no intent to deceive and no advantage gained.

Both sides of my mouth . . . do ya like that.

Jim Evans has said:

"if you don't like calling the rules, or don't think a rule should be called, quit umpiring, and become a coach."
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Old Wed Jun 15, 2005, 03:33pm
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Originally posted by DownTownTonyBrown


So back to the question at hand, "If no one else notices, or cares, should I?" Do you? Baseball is definitely a different sport from basketball and perhaps the "unexpected" calls are truly expected, or at least accepted as part of the game. Different from basketball, does making the unexpected, but technically correct calls, constitute being a good baseball umpire?

Tony, as TEE said you will not get a clear-cut response when it comes to Umpiring a baseball game.

The infamous balk call to end the game is one example

There are many many others.

We had a recent thread on a dropped third strike 1st base occupied with less than 2 outs. One might think that this is an easy question with an easy result

WRONG

There are those who say "The teams should know the rules so I am not going to change my mechanics simply because of this play"

Then there are those that say you should verbalize this call and let everyone know what's happening ie; Batter's out.

We can go on and on and other officials must get a real "kick" out of an umpires Forum Board

The important thing is that each SPECIFIC association follow ONE practice so that there is some sort of consistency.

I for one would like to see Umpires become more in tune to what Basketball / Hockey officials do.

I would not have a called a balk on an intentional base on balls to end the game that way UNLESS:

1. Umpiring was my career and not my Hobby AND (not and or)
2. The memorandum from Mr. Yeast was clearly understood as to what he actually meant.

What I mean by number 2 is this:

I do not know about you but I am not afraid to ask questions no matter how stupid they might seem or what people think about the question.

If I received the memorandum from Mr. Yeast, I would have asked the question

1. Mr Yeast under what circumstances are you referring to?
Should we as an association call balks during an IBB? or do we have discretion?

I am not in the association but in a nutshell, memorandums are generally issued because there is a series of complaints. I doubt the complaints on NCAA umpires not being strict with the discernable stop balk had anything to do with an IBB. It probably dealt with REAL steal situations.

In Summary, I think at least at the major league level, umpires are starting to become more like basketball/football/hockey officials.

You now see umpires "huddle" as would football officials do in order to get the correct call.

In general you will NOT get ONE answer when visiting an Umpires Forum even on some things that might seem routine.

Pete Booth
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Old Fri Jun 17, 2005, 01:34pm
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Pete Booth wrote:

I for one would like to see Umpires become more in tune to what Basketball / Hockey officials do.

--------------------------------------------

College officials maybe, but not sure. NBA officials, NO WAY. They are one of the many reasons that the NBA is totally unwatchable and uninteresting, in my opinion. I don't know protocals or anything like that with Basketball officiating, I just know the product (NBA game) is awful!! The officiating is part of the reason I don't like it. I understand they are the "best" and follow the party line.
This is from someone who grew in NC watching ACC basketball every chance I got.

Only 3 more games and my goal of not watching one second of live NBA ball in a season will come true. Then I'll shoot for two in a row.


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