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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 02:56am
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There was an earlier thread about calling a Balk with R3.

Many umpires stated that they believe in Preventative Umpiring, or Coaching, to prevent such an occurrence, if possible. There were also some who said they take the situation into consideration.

Before I talk about Preventative Umpiring, let me say that I think “taking the situation into consideration, and how it will effect the outcome of the game,” to be completely wrong. Read any umpire manual in publication. Know where will you read that we are supposed to CONTROL the outcome of a game. I am being very literal here, and not talking about inconsequential events in a game. Like overlooking a base coach who is a few steps out of the coaching box.

Although I believe in the spirit of Preventative Umpiring at the lower levels, it is an EXTREMELY touchy thing.

If you are going to give CHANCES to players for not knowing, or breaking the rules, you better be VERY subtle about it. And nobody besides you and the player, or the catcher if he is the go between, should know about it.

Things you need to consider if you practice this…

If you are going to give a pitcher a second chance on a particular way of balking, are you going to give them a chance on EVERY possible way they could balk ?

If you give the starting pitcher one or more chances, are you going to do the same with every relief pitcher ?

What if team A pitchers balk a few times, you are giving them chances, and Team B’s pitchers don’t balk one time ? Did team B get a fair chance to win the game ? Especially if they lost by 1 run, and they had R3 on during one of the balks you gave team A a chance on ?

So, you are giving both teams chances on balks, or any other highly visible rule. Are you going to make sure you give each team an even number of chances ? What if the game ends before you can even it up, and the losing team had been given less chances ?

Do you really think nobody knows your giving chances ?

As soon as one, or both of the coaches finds out you gave even one chance, they will expect more. How do explain to them that his team has used up all their chances ? His next question is going to be; How many chances do you give a team ? Have you been giving the other team changes also ? If you say Yes, now you are really in deep, because he is going to want to know how many. If you say No, the coach will think you are a liar, and be watching you 100 times closer than he had been.

So you can see, in general, it is much easier to just enforce the rules.

Personally, I find I have enough to do to properly manage a FAIR game. I will work subtly with a catcher, if I feel I can get a way with it, if a pitcher is CLOSE to balking. But…On the 90’ diamond, See a Balk – Call a Balk. I am talking about balks you are sure of, not the ones that may be a balk. Is there a score ? Will it affect the game ? Don’t know, don’t care.

Remember, if you saw the balk, so did someone else, and that someone else expects you to call it, even if it is the offending teams coach. Why, because when the other team balks, he wants to have confidence that you WILL call it. It may win HIM the game.

I absolutely CRINGE when I call an obvious balk during a Varsity game, and then my partner tells me between innings that he would have let that go the first time. GET OFF THE FIELD, I’ll finish the game myself (with less problems) !

If you want to coach, COACH. Do us all a favor, since we need more good coaches out there. I don’t mind doing a few extra games to cover for you.

This is just one person’s opinion. Something that, so far, we have been able to protect from those who would take that right away from us.

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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 07:16am
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The problem with the original post is that the instructors were AAA umpires. Things are very different in the Minors (as in MLB). Many of the "understood" things that they do just do not fit with the games us "Charlie’s" do. The knowledge that they offer can't be beat but caution needs to be exerted with what they say.

That said, I also agree that I have all to do to call a FAIR game. In order to do that, I cannot give breaks or let things go. I've always stated that if I call a balk, it's because the blind guy in the 15th row screamed it first! To me balks are like outs, if I see it, I'm calling it!

I also agree with not injecting myself into the game. I am no longer a coach or a player so I have only one job on the field and that is to officiate. In lighter moments, I've discussed plays and situations with players and coaches but when the ball is live, it's all business. Many may not agree but simply put, when I go home, I go home with myself and that person is the worst critic that I know!

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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 08:53am
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"Preventative Umpiring" isn't ignoring a balk, or giving a "warning" when a balk has occurred. It's reminding a player of the rule and / or letting him know he's getting "close to crossing the line" before it happens.
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 09:28am
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Quote:
Originally posted by nickrego

There was an earlier thread about calling a Balk with R3.

Many umpires stated that they believe in Preventative Umpiring, or Coaching, to prevent such an occurrence, if possible. There were also some who said they take the situation into consideration.

Before I talk about Preventative Umpiring, let me say that I think “taking the situation into consideration, and how it will effect the outcome of the game,” to be completely wrong. Read any umpire manual in publication. Know where will you read that we are supposed to CONTROL the outcome of a game. I am being very literal here, and not talking about inconsequential events in a game. Like overlooking a base coach who is a few steps out of the coaching box.

Although I believe in the spirit of Preventative Umpiring at the lower levels, it is an EXTREMELY touchy thing.

If you are going to give CHANCES to players for not knowing, or breaking the rules, you better be VERY subtle about it. And nobody besides you and the player, or the catcher if he is the go between, should know about it.

Things you need to consider if you practice this…

If you are going to give a pitcher a second chance on a particular way of balking, are you going to give them a chance on EVERY possible way they could balk ?

If you give the starting pitcher one or more chances, are you going to do the same with every relief pitcher ?

What if team A pitchers balk a few times, you are giving them chances, and Team B’s pitchers don’t balk one time ? Did team B get a fair chance to win the game ? Especially if they lost by 1 run, and they had R3 on during one of the balks you gave team A a chance on ?

So, you are giving both teams chances on balks, or any other highly visible rule. Are you going to make sure you give each team an even number of chances ? What if the game ends before you can even it up, and the losing team had been given less chances ?

Do you really think nobody knows your giving chances ?

Personally, I find I have enough to do to properly manage a FAIR game. I will work subtly with a catcher, if I feel I can get a way with it, if a pitcher is CLOSE to balking. But…On the 90’ diamond, See a Balk – Call a Balk. I am talking about balks you are sure of, not the ones that may be a balk. Is there a score ? Will it affect the game ? Don’t know, don’t care.

OK, I need to clarify some things, because you don't seem to understand what I mean by preventative umpiring. As I said, I have a set of articles coming up soon looking at this issue and others involving coaching and umpiring and when the two collide.

First, I NEVER said ignore a balk. What I say is this. If a guy is coming close to balking, let him know. For example, a guy is close to not stopping and the offense is *****ing, let everyone know that you are watching it and it isn't a balk...but very close! If they aren't *****ing, I subtly do this. I send the catcher, or as I said in the other post, between innings someone sent the messge. The dummy never headed my words and I balked him twice in a playoff game at a National Championship.

The irony is that you ramble on about not doing this and then say you will work with a catcher if the pitcher is CLOSE to balking. Isn't that exactly what I am advocating?

I see this no diferent than what we do in other sports. For example, when I worked basketball, I would often talk to the players under the basket as they were jockeying for position. I would let them know when they are getting close to fouling, then if they did nothing, bang...foul. Hockey, same issue in front of the net.

What preventative umpiring or officiating does is allow the players to determine the game.

Other situations that I use this. As I said before, if the runner is *****ing about the lefty steping toward first, I will tell the runner (and the coach there) why the pitcher isn't balking. It prevents the bigger argument after he gets picked off.

After a guy misses a base and they are going to appeal. If the ball has stayed alive and someone asks me if they have to have the pitcher toe the rubber, I will tell them the rule. I am not telling them what to do, just what the rule says. The smart team will just throw the ball to the base, thus eliminating any chance of a stupid balk.

What about the neighborhood play? I give latitude, but will quickly let a guy nkow if he is close to going outside that by saying, "Hey, don't cheat TOO much on that double play. Any further and you won't get that call."

So, to summarize, I NEVER advocated ignoring anything. What I advocate is to be more active in administering the game. This is not black and white and we need to let the players know when they are in the grey area. What this does is prevent them from breaking the rule and us having to administer it, which you know will lead to an argument.

Blaine

[Edited by NSump on Feb 8th, 2006 at 09:31 AM]
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 09:54am
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I don't think Nick was disagreeing with you, Blaine. There still seemed to be some people in the other thread that felt you should ignore a balk in different levels and in diferent situations for some reason. As I recall someone suggested that the race and social status of the players somehow entered into the equation which is ridiculous.

See a balk, call a balk.


Tim.
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 10:48am
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To NSump:
I wasn't singling your comments out. I was responding in general to some of the statements I read in the entire thread, that I do not agree with.

To Bob Jenkins:
I agree with your definition of Preventative Umpiring, and as you read, use it myself - sparingly.

To BigUmp56:
You are correct.
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 01:59pm
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I agree with Blaine. Being a fellow Canadian umpire we are taught to do the exact same thing as Blaine metioned. Advise quietly but don't not call a balk because he hasn't been warned. If you see a problem that may lead to a balk correct it.

Example: Team is getting blown out and F1 is losing it. He steps on the rubber after giving up a 2-run double and is set well before the batter is ready. Two things may happen A) Quick Pitch or B) He will set twice. Call time sweep the plate and have the catcher go out and settle him down.
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 03:42pm
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If you weren't implying that race and social status entered into the equation, then what did you mean when you said my disdain for not calling a balk was because I umpired only rich white kids?

This was my position.

Quote:
Originally posted by BigUmp56
For J/V and Frosh games we call the balks. These players have all had at least one or two years on the big diamond and should know how to play the game.
Tim.
This was your reply.

Quote:
Originally posted by PWL
I guess every kid you umpire grows up in white suburbia America with parents who shell out dollars so their son can play on the best team. Get the best coaching. You assume too much. How much pitching experience do they have? Are they too excited? How much coaching have they had?
Your statement is absurd. What do you expect an umpire to do? Interview each pitcher as he takes the mound on what his past coaching has been.

I can hear you at the mound.

"Son, how much pitching experience have you had?"

"If you're nervous I'll be a little lenient on you when it comes to balks."

"Have you had good pitching coaches before?"

If there are thing's that should be taken into consideration that aren't as ridiculous as what you mentioned on why to not call a balk when you see it, I would love to hear them.


Tim.

[Edited by BigUmp56 on Feb 8th, 2006 at 03:49 PM]
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 04:22pm
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PWL:

The attacks add nothing to the conversation. So please STFU.

Now you have a choice. Either add something, attack me, or STFU.

Blaine
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 08:29pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by BigUmp56
If you weren't implying that race and social status entered into the equation, then what did you mean when you said my disdain for not calling a balk was because I umpired only rich white kids?

This was my position.

Quote:
Originally posted by BigUmp56
For J/V and Frosh games we call the balks. These players have all had at least one or two years on the big diamond and should know how to play the game.
Tim.
This was your reply.

Quote:
Originally posted by PWL
I guess every kid you umpire grows up in white suburbia America with parents who shell out dollars so their son can play on the best team. Get the best coaching. You assume too much. How much pitching experience do they have? Are they too excited? How much coaching have they had?
Your statement is absurd. What do you expect an umpire to do? Interview each pitcher as he takes the mound on what his past coaching has been.

I can hear you at the mound.

"Son, how much pitching experience have you had?"

"If you're nervous I'll be a little lenient on you when it comes to balks."

"Have you had good pitching coaches before?"

If there are thing's that should be taken into consideration that aren't as ridiculous as what you mentioned on why to not call a balk when you see it, I would love to hear them.


Tim.

[Edited by BigUmp56 on Feb 8th, 2006 at 03:49 PM]
Tim, don't take this the wrong way, but why do you let this guy get to you? He knows how to push your button and you fall for it every time???????????

Most of the posts here are you two going at each others throat. I hope you both handle your games more professional than you handle your posts. (Shaking my head)
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 08:40pm
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Good point, Ice.

The reality of it is no one talks face to face with people the way this person addresses others without consequences.

I'll do my best to ignore him.

Tim.
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Old Wed Feb 08, 2006, 11:27pm
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Be careful giving any warning/advice even to younger players. It can and will be construed as favoritism.
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Old Sun Feb 12, 2006, 08:50pm
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i am very interested about this topic. first of all, sorry for my bad english, i'm an italian baseball umpire in league a2 (serie A2). two years ago we haved a great discussion about balk. at ours annual umpire convention we haved a great american umpire, gus rodriguez,who told us the same who lots of you have just said...see it, call it. but unfortunately italy is not usa, i mean balk is a dangerous argument, especially with kids. there is a lot of umpires here who don't knows when it's a balk and when not. i'm talking about very close balks. i think u have to separate seniors from kids. in seniors games i absolutely never give any kind of warning about balk, it's not my job, i'm not a manager. the most important thing to remember is... never wait the 9th inning to call the first balk. if u are sure that pitcher does it, call it! as soon at possible, so u'll should'nt have problems in the rest of the game.and if you call a balk, be sure to be able to explane WHY you called it. with kids is completely different, i use to be ...mmm.. blind? right word? ehehehe but i use to talk with instructor-manager at the end of the inning, he will have time to correct wrong movements of younger pitchers. and balk is not contempled with boys of 6 to 10 years old.
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