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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 04:44am
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Critique, Please

Background: Senior amateur league whose players are aged 17-50+. We have an evolving rule set, which is based on MLB. There are only 4 teams in this league so everybody knows everybody. For the most part, it is a fairly easy going bunch, depending on who is umpiring.

About two weeks ago team A's pitcher hit a couple of Team B's batters whose manager complained to the umpire that the pitcher should be removed because he was dangerously wild. When the teams were changing sides, Team A's coach spoke to the plate umpire about the possibility of retaliation, but was rebuffed by the umpire as nothing to worry about.

As B's coach had feared, the first pitch landed in the middle of the batter's back. While the batter was recovering, B's coach made a few comments to A's pitcher who offered his own comments in return. B's coach who was in the 3rd base box, turned to his dugout and asked "when is this guy [the pitcher] up again?" The pitcher bolted from the mound toward the coach and was tackled by his third baseman. Shortly after A got their pitcher to the dugout, he ran back onto the field with a bat, but fortunately, was restrained by several of his teammates. At that point, the president of the league ran onto the field issuing suspensions for both A's pitcher and B's coach. Both served a one game suspension.

Last night, I had the plate with the same teams in the second game of a best of 3 league finals. I wasn't present at the previous game, but I did know the story well. This time, different pitchers, but all the characters were the same. Team A's (previously suspended) player was hit by pitch in 3 consecutive at bats by 3 different pitchers. No other batters on either side were hit by pitch.

After the second time his player was hit, Team A's manager approached me and suggested that his batter appears to be targeted. I didn't think that Team B was intentionally throwing at the batter and told him that the pitches were just a little in, but nothing obvious. In fact, I think the 2nd one was the result of the pitcher trying hard not to hit the batter and losing control of his nerves.

On the first two occasions, the batter clearly stared down the pitcher as he slowly went to first. I moved out in front of the plate and shadowed the batter toward first - and was very happy when he finally dropped his bat. (I wasn't at the previous game, but I was very familiar wih the details what happened.) He never gave any indication that he was going to go toward the mound, but the recent history gave me concern, which is why I shadowed him toward first.

On his third at bat, he was hit by pitch again and I was even quicker to get out front and more obviously escorted him toward first. By this point, I was overwhelmingly surprised the batter didn't go "postal," but he continued on to first without anything more than an angry toss of the bat. At that point I issued a warning that the next hit batter (on either side) would result in an ejection of the pitcher and his manager/coach.

Team B's manager, who had previously been suspended for his unhappy interaction with the batter who had just been plunked for the third consecutive time, came rushing out to object to my heavy handed response. I told him that I had the responsibility to manage the game, and given the recent history between these teams, I had a concern for safety. He argued that none of the errant pitches were intentional, the game was not close to being out of control and that I was questioning his integrity. I stood by my decision. We had another few words of explanation of the technical details of who would be ejected and then we continued the game. After my warning, no more batters were hit by pitch over the remaining 4 innings.

I still don't believe any of the pitchers were intentionally throwing at the batter, but after the same batter is hit by pitch in 3 consecutive at bats, it seemed like I needed to do something to keep things from exploding. My question: Does it sound like I was heavy handed in issuing a warning to both teams? Also, should both teams have received the warning?
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 06:55am
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"For the most part, it is a fairly easy going bunch,"

Would hate to see how it went if they were strangers.
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 07:41am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
My question: Does it sound like I was heavy handed in issuing a warning to both teams? Also, should both teams have received the warning?
No. Yes.

And, imo, it should have been addressed after the first time the player was hit (note that by "addressed" I don't necessarily mean an official warning).
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 08:03am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
Background: About two weeks ago team A's pitcher hit a couple of Team B's batters whose manager [complained]... B's coach made a few comments to A's pitcher who offered his own comments in return. B's coach who was in the 3rd base box, turned to his dugout and asked "when is this guy [the pitcher] up again?" Last night, I had the plate with the same teams ... Team A's (previously suspended) player was hit by pitch in 3 consecutive at bats by 3 different pitchers. No other batters on either side were hit by pitch.I didn't think that Team B was intentionally throwing at the batter ...
Hello, Pollyanna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
On his third at bat, he was hit by pitch again At that point I issued a warning that the next hit batter (on either side) would result in an ejection of the pitcher and his manager/coach.
About two HBPs too late.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
Team B's manager, who had previously been suspended for his unhappy interaction with the batter who had just been plunked for the third consecutive time, came rushing out to object to my heavy handed response.
Heavy handed? He and his pitcher should have been dumped. He should have been thanking you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
After my warning, no more batters were hit by pitch over the remaining 4 innings.
Q.E.D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
I still don't believe any of the pitchers were intentionally throwing at the batter
Still in lah-lah-land are we, Pollyanna?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
My question: Does it sound like I was heavy handed in issuing a warning to both teams? Also, should both teams have received the warning?
You were not "heavy handed." You were issuing the prescribed penalty for their actions. You were just a little bit too late ... er, make that a lot too late. Knowing the history (which you don't have to admit to the coach), the warnings - yes, to both benches - should have occurred after the first HBP. Ejections after the second HBP. Even granting the benevolence of "benefit of the doubt," all doubt should have been erased by the second HBP.
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 08:33am
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I still don't believe any of the pitchers were intentionally throwing at the batter.

You can almost always tell, even on TV. If it looks like a duck . . .
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 08:44am
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Given the history between the two teams, I would have issued a warning after the FIRST time the player got hit, and it would have been a stern warning (very loud, very animated). Remember, if the thought of "it was intentional" flashed through your mind, it was also going through everyone else's. It's being proactive - even if you are wrong, you are erring on the side of safety and nobody will ever accuse you of "looking for trouble". Obviously, given the history, you ARE looking for trouble in this case. Everyone will know that you aren't afraid of the situation, or dealing with it. And the odds are HBP's #2 and #3 would not have happened. Learn from it!

JJ
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 08:52am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
I still don't believe any of the pitchers were intentionally throwing at the batter,
What color is the sky in your world?
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 09:01am
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[
Quote:
QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
Background: Senior amateur league whose players are aged 17-50+.

Enough said Men's leagues at their best

Quote:
The pitcher bolted from the mound toward the coach and was tackled by his third baseman. Shortly after A got their pitcher to the dugout, he ran back onto the field with a bat, but fortunately, was restrained by several of his teammates. At that point, the president of the league ran onto the field issuing suspensions for both A's pitcher and B's coach. Both served a one game suspension.
I am surprised no one filed charges. You have a player rushing onto the filed with a bat and only a one game suspension. This player should be GONE from the League PERIOD.


Quote:
I still don't believe any of the pitchers were intentionally throwing at the batter, but after the same batter is hit by pitch in 3 consecutive at bats, it seemed like I needed to do something to keep things from exploding. My question: Does it sound like I was heavy handed in issuing a warning to both teams? Also, should both teams have received the warning?
[/QUOTE]

What you have is an out of control league. Above you said ages 17-50 meaning most have to go to work the next day and they are willing to risk possible serious injury (throwing at one another) over a rec game.

The commissioner in this league is soft. You have F1's throwing at batters, a player rushing onto the field with a bat in hand and only 1 game suspensions are being handed out.

It's a disgrace league and one in which I would not umpire.

You have to get Control over the mens leagues. The program I umpire in is UNDER control. There was one dirty player who used to "plow" over F2's (ala the PROS). he was Kicked out of the league.

Pete Booth
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 09:49am
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I agree, this league sounds out of control. I no longer work a Mens Senior League for that reason. They could'nt pay me enough to take the abuse that that league handed out. On a positive note, working that league gave me valuable exprience if I ever have to ump a prison league or a league at the loony bin.

You might consider finding somewhere else to work as well.
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 11:04am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPatrino
if I ever have to ump a prison league .


Ha!


"Hey, what league did you pitch in last season?"

"California Penal."
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 11:24am
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This is the reason my long-time association quit working adult baseball in the late 90's. Too many wanna-be stars that just b*tch, moan, and complain about anything and everything, and act like a bunch of thugs.
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 12:25pm
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A deadly combination: beer, bats and no brains
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 01:42pm
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Thanks for the replies guys.

It's interesting that so many of you concluded that our league is out of control when we have had a total of ONE incident (the one described) in 6 years of operation. The truth is, umpiring this league is quite simple, other than suffering through a lot of bad baseball and the pay isn't so good.

Some of you directly or indirectly questioned my grasp of reality, but never enquired why I think the pitchers weren't throwing at this particular batter. The main reason is that none of the three pitches were more than 6 inches inside. The batter was hit on an extended elbow all three times. He moved just enough to meet the demands of the "must make an effort" rule.

Beyond that, I know these players well. Some will scoff that I only think I know them well, but our baseball community is very small and those who are active wear many hats. We don't have the luxury of having an umpire community that is separate from coaching or playing, so we all know each other very well.

I appreciate the replies and agree that I should have given a warning sooner - probably after the second occurance, perhaps after the first, in spite of the fact that I'm certain they weren't throwing at him intentionally. And that was the real point of my enquiry: If I didn't think they were intentionally throwing at the batter should I still give a warning?

Mr. Booth, the reason that no one filed suit is that Israel isn't America and people don't usually run to court because they had an argument with someone. We don't have jury trials here, so we don't have the kinds of outrageous awards that seem to be regularly handed out in the US, thus people are less inclined to run to court.

Garth, the sky in my world is generally blue unless the winds are coming in from the desert or buildings have been bombed and are burning. In the case of the former, the sky is a dusty orange. In the latter, it's kind of smokey grey. And, no the sky is not falling as some of my fellow umpires seem to think.

Mr. Patrino, I considered finding work elsewhere, but the leagues in Gaza and Lebanon have suspended their schedules so the boys can kill each other in civil wars.

Mr. Jenkins, how would you have addressed the situation without giving an official warning? What would you say, and to whom? Thanks for your previous thoughts.
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Last edited by CraigD; Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 01:58pm.
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 02:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD
Mr. Jenkins, how would you have addressed the situation without giving an official warning? What would you say, and to whom? Thanks for your previous thoughts.
A lot depends on my relationship with the teams, and how well they (both sides) think this has been handled up to this point.

So, I might say to the catcher, "I heard you had some problems last game. I trust this has now made it even and it ends here."

I might toss the ball back to the pitcher and say in a pointed tone, "That just slipped. Right?"

Or, I might warn right away.
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Old Fri Jun 15, 2007, 02:50pm
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by LMan
Ha!


"Hey, what league did you pitch in last season?"

"California Penal."
"This guy's dead."

"Cross him off the list then."
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