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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 12:18am
JEL JEL is offline
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I've Seen It All!!

Had a school program for the youngest rug rat tonight, so had to miss out on games. After the program, we went to a neighboring town to eat. On the way back home I saw the lights and of course had to check things out. There was a 13-15 yr rec game in progress. One team was from home (mine), and were visiting the other city. The 13-15 leagues of both play inter-city, and I have called this same game twice this year. Definitely the best two teams in the league.

Of course from here on out, names have been omitted to protect the guilty!

When I realized who was playing, I then began to "evaluate" the umpiring crew. What a sight! They both were wearing shorts for a fastpitch game. I could have overlooked that, but...the plate guy had on a six stitch hat under his purple mask, BACKWARDS. The bill was laying on his neck! At least the BU didn't have on a backwards hat, he didn't have one on at all! I guess a hat on him would have clashed with the work boots he was wearing.

The PU with the purple mask at least had on color coordinated shingaurds. They were purple also! The kneesavers were your basic black, so I suppose they were OK (yes he actually was using the kneesavers, I mean sitting on 'em). Never was a strike, hammer, or any indication given. He would point out the foul balls though. The count was every so often, but balls on the right, strikes on the left! I always indicate the balls with my hand holding the indicator, that's how I keep my left and right apart. Well he did the same, had his indicator in the "balls" hand, musta just put 'em on the wrong arms!

The BU, (we'll call him Otis, you remember Otis Campbell from Mayberry?) was generally in the proper position, and the calls were fair, but the costume he had on (shirts were not tucked in on either) really detracted from the job.
When the PU pulled his mask (it rarely came off) I found I owed him some sympathy, there was a huge growth of some sort in his bottom lip. Not sure what it was, probably coulda' spit it out though!

To all the Henry's, Bernies, Frank's, Dicks, (who nixed my bootleg ASA beanie at Nationals) and others throughout the years who have stressed the appearnce aspect of umpiring....Thanks, tonight really illustrated the point!

Oh yeah, I have seen this group call before. This wasn't a spur of the moment need an umpire thing, that may be understandable, they are always that unkempt! You've only got one chance to make a first impression, be sure it's a good one!
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 07:48am
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I too hate the poorly dressed official. Just looks, for lack of a better word, podunk.

As a related aside, we just approved the wearing of navy shorts by the umpires for this weekend's tournament, as many of the umpires will be working 8-10 hours and it's likely to be over 100 again. But at least we will match, and shirts WILL be tucked.
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 08:22am
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In my ASA association, only about a third of the umpires give even a nod to dressing properly. Only a tenth are consistently correctly dressed. For the rest, it's gym shorts (ankle socks are a stylish complement), blue t-shirts, protective equipment outside the clothing, work boots, sneakers, backwards hats, no hats, wrong hats, multicolored belts, sweat pants.

I think that before the game, some members do check with their partners, though, to see that they match:

"I'm going with the blue gym shorts with the white stripe down the side, brown work boots, white ankle socks, no hat, blue short-sleeve polyester dress shirt from Wal-Mart, red-and-white belt with large brass buckle."

"Great. I'll do the same."
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 08:24am
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I do not understand that mentality either...although a lot of it can be blamed on the 'anybody can umpire' attitude.

I am assuming that by Bernie, you mean Profato...OUR Bernie (the late Bernie Berman, NYS UIC for many years) always stressed appearence also. We have continued this policy, especially in hs, down through the years. As a result, we get more compliments when we do summer ball tourneys on our professionaism, and dress. It really does help!
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 08:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcrowder
As a related aside, we just approved the wearing of navy shorts by the umpires for this weekend's tournament, as many of the umpires will be working 8-10 hours and it's likely to be over 100 again. But at least we will match, and shirts WILL be tucked.
Oh...come on now. How many games have you called in 100+ degrees wearing the proper pants? You are in Texas, and Texans are supposed to be able to handle the heat!
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 08:48am
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the 'anybody can umpire' attitude.

Amen. Last week, after a travel FP game, guy about 40 comes up to me and asks, "Hey, do you guys need umpires? I mean, it looks pretty easy."

"Easy?" I responded.

"Well, maybe the plate would take some work."

As I drove home, I felt rather positive about what had happened. I figured I must make it look easy.
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 08:57am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skahtboi
Oh...come on now. How many games have you called in 100+ degrees wearing the proper pants? You are in Texas, and Texans are supposed to be able to handle the heat!
I've called 3-4 hours in 100 degrees in regular attire several times. 6 hours once or twice. But with the league's permission, we decided not to make the umpires endure that for 8-10 hours (I'm personally out there for 12 hours, but I will not be having to wear the mask or call balls and strikes for all 12 hours... should be fun).
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 08:59am
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JEL: NO!, you haven't seen everything!

Summer rec league, (about 6 towns/schools play each other) 7th/8th grade girls fastpitch game. Umpire looks like a H.S. boy. He put on shin guards with his hometown-school-colors baggy athletic shorts, (Bad enough, right) but THEN he puts on a chest protector and pulls a tank top over it! It was one of those tank tops with the REALLY low cut armpits, too. I'm thinking, "Boy, why bother with a shirt at all"?
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 10:41am
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compliment

This topic is another compliment to our association, our UIC and his predecessors; and of course to those on this forum and umpires in general.
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 10:44am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CecilOne
This topic is another compliment to our association, our UIC and his predecessors; and of course to those on this forum and umpires in general.
That is how I feel as well in regard to my association.
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 10:54am
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Uniform Rant

I don't get it. The uniform is the only thing that every umpire can consistently get right every time, but many choose not to bother. The aura of professionalism is shattered when you get a blue with pants faded to the point of light pink, along with the shirt buttons (damn things) that turn pink/purple after a year. I even cringe when I see someone with the old ASA logo (the round logo with the diamond in the middle). I know it was the logo, but there's new stuff now. Uniform purchases can be spendy, but it's all deductible, and if you get a few things each year, it's not that bad.

[/rant off]
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 11:01am
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May as well add my story.....

For the last two years, my daughter has played in a rec league sponsored and run by our church. I have called a few games in the league in that time frame and most of the coaches know who I am. The level of play is not very good, but the kids have fun and the coaches are generally well-behaved.

The league director, who is a well respected soccer official, and I have known each other for many years. I have even offered to provide trained umpires for him and train others to umpire, but he would rather do it himself. The result is that he has a "pool" of about 5-6 guys that he uses as umpires.

Most of these guys don't have a clue and look about like some of the umpires that have been described above. PU with backwards hat under the mask, one guy did buy a powder blue umpire shirt, but wears it with his jeans shorts. The shinguards are on the legs and he will occasionally wear the chest protector outside of the shirt. I have introduced myself to him and gently offered some rules help based on some of the interpretations and calls he has made during the games. I won't yell from the stands, but I will approach after the game and talk to him. There was one game last year where he called me over to the fence during a game and asked me about a ruling. He had ruled correctly, but I don't think he knew why!

I asked him a few times about joining either our HS or ASA organization and getting some formal training as he seems to enjoy umpiring and is receptive to my conversations. He has basically told me that he just wants to do this church league and feels he is doing fine.

(rant on)

Watching some of these games and seeing these types of umpires out there just irritates the h*ll out of me! I work hard and put in a great deal of time studying the rules, attending clinics, making sure my uniform looks good, and trying to be a better umpire. When the majority of people see these guys on the field, it's no wonder that the opinion of umpires is so low. Unfortunately, with all of the rec leagues, church leagues, etc., out there, there are far more of the "backward hat and work boots" umpires than those of us that take it seriously and strive to be the best at what we do!

(rant off)
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 06:00pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy
(rant on)

Watching some of these games and seeing these types of umpires out there just irritates the h*ll out of me! I work hard and put in a great deal of time studying the rules, attending clinics, making sure my uniform looks good, and trying to be a better umpire. When the majority of people see these guys on the field, it's no wonder that the opinion of umpires is so low. Unfortunately, with all of the rec leagues, church leagues, etc., out there, there are far more of the "backward hat and work boots" umpires than those of us that take it seriously and strive to be the best at what we do!

(rant off)
AMEN. 'nuff said but the board sez the message must be at least 10 characters long.
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Old Wed May 17, 2006, 07:19pm
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Im gonna rant a little more.....first of all....ditto to what Andy said.... I also think that there is NEVER an excuse to wear shorts while working FP. (Or SP for that matter.) Yup....I said it..NEVER.... You should match your partners uniform, and trust me..a FP plate umpire wearing shorts and protective gear looks like a clown (In my humble opinion.) I see WAY too many umpires at non ASA tournaments (sorry) that look like they dont give a crap. I know we cant influence every church league and rec league, but if you are working a sanctioned tournament..your dress should be right up there with your rules knoweldge and mechanics. If you look professional, you and your decisions are much more likely to be respected.
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Old Thu May 18, 2006, 07:41am
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az - normally I agree with you 100%. And with you being from AZ, I'm sure you have some experience with those 100 degree days (although I WILL say that 100 degrees and 5% humidity is hot - but 100 degrees and 95% humidity is downright awful).

But this is an exception to the rule - and we WILL match each other, with nice navy blue docker-style shorts (not tattered or old) with creases. And we wouldn't have even considered it except for the fact that due to shorthandedness, the umpire working the LEAST among us will be working for at least 6 hours, with most of us working 10, and one of us (me! yeah!) working 12.

Other than this one weekend, we are a professional looking group 100% of the time. It irks me when I see 2 of my guys looking sharp, and then look over at the adjoining baseball field and see the base umpire in ratty bluejeans and flipflops, sometimes with, sometimes without a hat. I don't think it's too horrible a sin to make this small concession to the elements on this one weekend.

And yeah, I agree it looks a little odd to wear shinguards over bare legs. But it is what it is.
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