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Old Tue Dec 12, 2006, 04:32pm
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Beer and Slow Pitch

As I have stated before here I’m a long time baseball umpire but I’m fairly new to softball (1 year HS & some adult slow pitch).

This past weekend I umpired a Toys-4-Kids slow pitch tournament with 72 teams. Tournament rule #3 said “No beer allowed” and teams caught drinking will be kicked out of the tournament. I asked the TD prior to the start of my first game exactly what he expected me to enforce. His response was “If they’re drinking in the dugout kick them out but before you do call me and make sure that they have paid me their money.” So before every game I told the coaches to keep the beer out of the dugouts. The park rangers tossed 1 team playing on a different field and the cops were called twice by a couple of my fellow umpires but I had no problems.

I did have one coach request that I go into the other team's dugout and "sniff" their cups because they had beer in them. I refused and he threatened to pull his team from the tournament. I told him to either to pull his team or go back to the dugout but I wasn't going to "sniff" any cups.

My first game started at 9am and the beer was already flowing. My question is:

Is this “normal” for adult slow pitch tournaments? If so, how do you (or would you) guys handle it?
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Old Tue Dec 12, 2006, 05:18pm
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That is not normal where I do games. The fields we use are owned by the city park districts and drinking is prohibited within the parks. Anyone caught with alcohol is ejected from the game and required to leave the park or the police are called. None of the leagues that I do even resemble the so called 'Beer League', that is until the teams go to the bar afterwards.
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Old Tue Dec 12, 2006, 05:38pm
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Did you kick them out because they wouldn't give you any?
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Old Tue Dec 12, 2006, 07:05pm
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thats why I don't do adults .......

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Old Tue Dec 12, 2006, 08:59pm
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Definately not normal in slow pitch in my area. The no beer rule.. if it exists.. is not enforced.
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Old Wed Dec 13, 2006, 12:59am
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Beer and Softball go together........

At least in Mens softball that I have ever seen over the last 15 odd years. I took a few years off and came back a couple years ago to work as an umpire in a league run by a city park/rec department. The competition was very good on a couple nights (3 of the top 15 teams in the state in one league). Anyway, the city rule states no drinking during games. Players caught were to be ejected. So I was enforcing this rule and getting a bunch of grief.

Make a long story short, I call the director off the league and we are talking a bit and I tell him about the problem that I am having. He says dont worry about it. I said to him - You have a rule on your books that states no player shall be allowed to drink alcohol during the game. If I let some one play who has been drinking and they get hurt, who's insurance covers the suit? Mine or the city's, since all umpires were made employees of the city and are paid by the city. He again responded not to worry about it.

Well I kept the email response stating that, finished out the year and didnt do games last year for him because of it.

All of that aside, we have softball bars up here that run leagues and serve right to the field. Tournaments have beer carts set up in the middle of a four field hub. To see teams not drinking while they are involved in the tournament would be the uncommon site.

Frankly, I hate it! It is one reason why I will be cutting back my schedule this year and doing more youth.
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Old Wed Dec 13, 2006, 08:11am
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We have a couple 'friendly' tournaments here that are known as beer fests. They are co-ed tournaments (that is to say they have both genders but do not follow the ASA rules) with two divisions; one is for teams that want to compete, the other for the pure enjoyment factor. Umpires are assigned to whichever division they are willing to work.

You know going in what the status is and teams sign tournament wavers relieving the umpires and association from any responsibility. When I worked slow pitch, these were some of the most enjoyable tournaments I would work. The softball was terrible, but these people had more fun than should be allowed on a diamond. You never knew what to expect and your general duties were to remind teams when they had to change from offense to defense. In these tournaments, I have never witnessed a player or fan being beligerant because they are there to goof off and have fun.

On the other hand, in league play and regular tournaments, what happens away from the field is not our responsibility. Once you are in the dugout and on the field, no alcohol, period. Only once in my 20+ years have I had an issue with an inebriated player where the team did not address the problem before I had to. That is to say, they were drunk when they arrived and when they started to get out of control the team removed them from the field because of the inappropriateness.
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Old Wed Dec 13, 2006, 10:48am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme
I asked the TD prior to the start of my first game exactly what he expected me to enforce. His response was “If they’re drinking in the dugout kick them out but before you do call me and make sure that they have paid me their money.”
As if it really matters, what money are you talking about ?
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There is something wrong with a Tournament Director that wants his umpires to do this type of housekeeping.

Whether the tourney fees, or the umpire fees, need to be collected, the money should not be a factor in immediately removing such a team.

Or, am I missing something (again) ?
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Old Wed Dec 13, 2006, 11:25am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mick
As if it really matters, what money are you talking about ?
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Tourney fees
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Old Wed Dec 13, 2006, 11:44am
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One of the reasons that I don't do SP around here is that many of the complexes are privately owned and do allow drinking during games. So, yes, around here beer and SP seem to be a fairly normal event.
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