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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 02:10am
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NCAA ball vs. Fed Ball

I'm getting ready for my first official college game on Friday (that has been pushed back two weeks due to weather), and thought I'd get some thoughts from a few of the members here. It's JUCO ball, and I've worked Legion and similar leagues with similar aged players, but I still have a few butterflies that come along with any "step up." So from those who have done the same, what are the more subtle differences (not talking rulebooks or some such) between umpiring HS/Legion and college ball?

Last edited by DonInKansas; Sun Feb 18, 2007 at 05:03am. Reason: Schedule change....(again)
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 03:16am
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just have confidence in the step up. not that a lack in confidence is any more acceptable at a lower level, but ive found that college coaches and players will eat you up quicker if you show anything but confidence in your calls. if you call a balk, call it with confidence and stick to it. dont call it then look confused and keep your head down because you second guessed yourself. let that happen and you'll be done before you started. players are usually smarter and will pick up on that very quick, same with coaches.

handling situations becomes a bigger part of the game at this level, so think ahead. dont let something blow up -- things happen faster in college for a reason, its a natural progression with bigger and smarter players. you'll catch on and see how it works and how it needs to work.
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 11:26am
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Don't tighten your strike zone that much since you moved up a level. I did this when i moved up to HS varsity my first game and it was trouble. I talked about the same thing to guys who do college and they said the same thing.

Especially if you're young, walk on the field like you own it and keep the same swagger you have while doing a HS game. Remember, it's YOUR field- act like it.
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 12:04pm
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The intensity rises. The game is faster. You have to anticipate more because players will make plays that HS players will not make. You need to show confidence in your ability and look the part. If you are new the coaches and players are looking for anything to pick you apart. Players will likely talk more to you (not disrespectfully) at that level.

Ultimately you have to experience this to know what it is truly like. Just understand that many things that you do at the HS level will not work. Good luck and most of all have fun.

Peace
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 12:32pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge
The intensity rises. The game is faster. You have to anticipate more because players will make plays that HS players will not make. You need to show confidence in your ability and look the part. If you are new the coaches and players are looking for anything to pick you apart. Players will likely talk more to you (not disrespectfully) at that level.

Ultimately you have to experience this to know what it is truly like. Just understand that many things that you do at the HS level will not work. Good luck and most of all have fun.

Peace
The coaches will test you, certainly. They're used to seeing the same guys year in and year out and you're fresh meat who they need to get to know. My first season working college ball in Wisconsin, I had a coach ask me about a DH situation. I gave him a quick, but concise answer and found out later from my partner that this coach is one of the few to know the rule inside and out. I've had no problems with this guy. It was a test.

One of my regular HS partners slipped in his first year and said "DH for the pitcher" during the lineup exchange and, well, that pegged him as a HS umpire. Same if you ever say a word about re-entry. He's an outstanding umpire, but for that particular coach he's going to have problems for a while, likely.

I'm in my fourth season here now and I feel I finally "fit in" completely -- that is, I can go to any of the schools in the three conferences I work and not be the "new guy" anymore. Part of that is that there's been some coach churn, part is due to conference realignment, and part is due to me working the past 3 seasons.

But the biggest part is knowing my stuff and showing up and recognizing that it's just a baseball game and I just need to work it to the best of my ability, confidently.

Call strikes. High strike, strike at the knee, both corners. This ain't D-I and don't expect the pitching to be stellar all the time.
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 01:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAump
Both teams will chew UP your strike zone during the game. Do NOT react to comments from the bench. At this point, they know more than YOU. Until you learn to handle those obvious situations, do not attempt to address the comments from the peanut gallery. Keep your eyes on the field and your ears down. Focus on the strike zone, timing and think of the tremendous feedback your getting from both teams. Work on that strike zone all game long. If you follow this advice, by the end of the game, you will have become a better umpire.

If you follow this advice the entire season, you will be gladly accepted by the coaching and playing fraternity. If you get annoyed and begin to react to those catcalls, imagine a million people watching who haven't heard a thing. If you let those catcalls affect the quality of the rest of the game, you're now open to making a mistake later in the game. Concentrate on your job and let the bench jockeys have their way today. Focus on the things that will make you better.

The best advice I can offer is to find a good way to RELAX. You also don't want to appear tense, mechanical or look "like a rookie." Somehow, you got to send a message that you have played this game before. Good luck and have a great season.

I disagree. If you let them $hit in your hat from the beginning, you run the risk of getting that reputation. If there are things you need to address from the dugouts, by all means address it. These JUCO rats and coaches have NEVER been to a camp or clinic, they DON'T know more than you do. If you ever are in a game where the rats know more than you do, you are at the wrong level!

Following SA's advice may get you "accepted by the coaching and playing fraternity," if this is what you strive for, please burn your gear immediately! If you strive to be accepted by the UMPIRING fraternity, take care of your business on the field, and don't let anyone push you around.

A lot of people have played this game before, please try to send the message that you have WORKED this game before.

I wish you the best of luck.
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 01:50pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAump
Both teams will chew UP your strike zone during the game. Do NOT react to comments from the bench. At this point, they know more than YOU. Until you learn to handle those obvious situations, do not attempt to address the comments from the peanut gallery.
Don:

Can you imagine a pro umpire working his first MBL game following this advice? Can you imagine a recent PBUC grad working his first MiLB game following this advice?

No? Good.

You shouldn't follow it either. Take care of business when needed.
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 02:48pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAump
Both teams will chew UP your strike zone during the game. Do NOT react to comments from the bench. At this point, they know more than YOU. Until you learn to handle those obvious situations, do not attempt to address the comments from the peanut gallery. Keep your eyes on the field and your ears down. Focus on the strike zone, timing and think of the tremendous feedback your getting from both teams. Work on that strike zone all game long. If you follow this advice, by the end of the game, you will have become a better umpire.

If you follow this advice the entire season, you will be gladly accepted by the coaching and playing fraternity. If you get annoyed and begin to react to those catcalls, imagine a million people watching who haven't heard a thing. If you let those catcalls affect the quality of the rest of the game, you're now open to making a mistake later in the game. Concentrate on your job and let the bench jockeys have their way today. Focus on the things that will make you better.

The best advice I can offer is to find a good way to RELAX. You also don't want to appear tense, mechanical or look "like a rookie." Somehow, you got to send a message that you have played this game before. Good luck and have a great season.
For the most part, I usually agree with your posts, this is not one of those times. Ignoring a little bit of sniping, okay, maybe. But under no circumstances should an umpire show up at any level of baseball thinking that the players and managers know more than he does. Remember that players, coaches and managers will cheat any chance they get, if they didn't, we wouldn't have a job.

You've obviously worked well enough to get to this level, don't change a thing for your first game. Improve from there though.
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Old Sun Feb 18, 2007, 07:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctblu40
For the most part, I usually agree with your posts, this is not one of those times. Ignoring a little bit of sniping, okay, maybe. But under no circumstances should an umpire show up at any level of baseball thinking that the players and managers know more than he does. Remember that players, coaches and managers will cheat any chance they get, if they didn't, we wouldn't have a job.

You've obviously worked well enough to get to this level, don't change a thing for your first game. Improve from there though.
Well, thank you. I have deleted the offending post. Again, if he feels like a rock on the dock, then do what needs to be done. I usually don't try to rock the boat on the first trip out, unless I am close to shore.

Last edited by SAump; Sun Feb 18, 2007 at 07:31pm.
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Old Mon Feb 19, 2007, 12:25pm
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In a nutshell: Call strikes. (Better to miss a ball and call it a strike than call a strike a ball). If they're-a-swinging, then the coaches are happy on the college level.

Don't go crazy, but just go out there with the mindset that its a strike until in convinces you otherwise.
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Old Mon Feb 19, 2007, 08:56pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawump
Don't go crazy, but just go out there with the mindset that its a strike until in convinces you otherwise.
This is an idea I've tried to adopt at any level.

Thanks for the help everybody.....More feedback is appreciated; and I'll post a result when the games go down. Looks like 70 and sunny on Friday; very exciting in a Kansas February!
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