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Old Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:50pm
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Fed equipment checks

With the Fed emphasizing equipment checks this year, I once again wonder why Fed softball umpires must check equipment, but Fed baseball umpires don't. I accept that I have to, and I don't have a big problem, but I still wonder why the difference. I assume that Fed baseball and Fed softball offices are down the hall from each other in Indy, and that the heads may even have lunch in the cafeteria sometimes . Really, anyone know why something that is supposedly so important is handled so differently between the sports?
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Old Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:53pm
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Originally Posted by Little Jimmy View Post
With the Fed emphasizing equipment checks this year, I once again wonder why Fed softball umpires must check equipment, but Fed baseball umpires don't. I accept that I have to, and I don't have a big problem, but I still wonder why the difference. I assume that Fed baseball and Fed softball offices are down the hall from each other in Indy, and that the heads may even have lunch in the cafeteria sometimes . Really, anyone know why something that is supposedly so important is handled so differently between the sports?
IMO, the fed is still under the delusion that bat and improper equipment is a softall problem that will not ever affect baseball
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Last edited by IRISHMAFIA; Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 02:30pm.
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Old Sat Feb 01, 2014, 12:34pm
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In HS baseball in Texas, coaches have to sign a card before the game saying their team's equipment is legal by rule and players are properly equipped.

We will still check a team's equipment if requested by the coach. If the opposing coach requests an equipment check of the other team's equipment, they have to specify the particular piece of equipment they feel is not legal.

BTW, we were HAPPY when the requirement to check equipment was dropped.
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Old Sat Feb 01, 2014, 03:26pm
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Originally Posted by nopachunts View Post
In HS baseball in Texas, coaches have to sign a card before the game saying their team's equipment is legal by rule and players are properly equipped.

We will still check a team's equipment if requested by the coach. If the opposing coach requests an equipment check of the other team's equipment, they have to specify the particular piece of equipment they feel is not legal.

BTW, we were HAPPY when the requirement to check equipment was dropped.
I hope that if there's a request that you check BOTH teams' equipment at that point.
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Old Sun Feb 02, 2014, 02:14pm
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When the NCAA stopped requiring baseball umpires to inspect equipment, I recall reading in a press release that they didn't want umpires inside the dugouts prior to game time putting themselves at risk of being subjected to critical comments from players or coaches. I guess this problem was relatively common, particularly if the crew was involved in a disputed call in a previous game.

Maybe that's the case in FED baseball as well. They tend to follow the NCAA's lead in rule changes. And as you're probably aware, NCAA softball umpires are still required to check bats before each game. So the college level has different requirements, just like in FED.
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Old Sun Feb 02, 2014, 04:23pm
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IMO, the only legitimate rationale for the umpire to check equipment pre-game is for safety issues, such as loose face guards, cracked helmets, dented bats, etc.

It is silly to think that a team that intends to use an illegal bat will present it for pre-game inspection.
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Old Sun Feb 02, 2014, 08:29pm
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
When the NCAA stopped requiring baseball umpires to inspect equipment, I recall reading in a press release that they didn't want umpires inside the dugouts prior to game time putting themselves at risk of being subjected to critical comments from players or coaches. I guess this problem was relatively common, particularly if the crew was involved in a disputed call in a previous game.
That is just as weak an excuse as ASA moving the umpires off the line between innings.

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Maybe that's the case in FED baseball as well. They tend to follow the NCAA's lead in rule changes. And as you're probably aware, NCAA softball umpires are still required to check bats before each game. So the college level has different requirements, just like in FED.
You also need to remember that in NFHS, this is a school function and as employees of the school, the coaching staff is responsible for the players welfare.

However, it should be noted that such a directive will not absolve you of any legal action.
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Old Mon Feb 03, 2014, 07:44am
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I always viewed the equipment check as a way to possibly eliminate illegal or inappropriate equipment. I never tell the team, as so many umpires do, that "you're all good" or "everything is legal." I'm not there to approve the equipment. I'm there to help screen illegal or inappropriate equipment.

At the coaches' pre-game conference (ground rules) I always ask each coach, "Are all of your players legally and properly equipped and will they remain so for the entirety of the game?"

Nothing will keep your name off of the defendant/respondent list on the law suit. But checking the equipment and in particular asking that question shifts much of the liability to the coach.

Asking the question is also helpful when Mary comes to bat in the second inning and she's wearing illegally jewelry or a helmet that doesn't meet the requirements. Then you can say, "Coach, you assured me prior to the game that your players were legally and properly equipped; so why is #4 wearing a watch; why doesn't #9 have a face mask, etc.?" They very quickly realize that they better get ahold of the situation.
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Old Mon Feb 03, 2014, 12:28pm
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NCAA last year required we checked bats between games of a double header, not just at the beginning.

Some states have said they don't want equipment checked in either baseball or softball. They believe the coaches certifying prior to game time is enough.
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Old Mon Feb 03, 2014, 03:26pm
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Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
However, it should be noted that such a directive will not absolve you of any legal action.
Whether or not you do the equip checks is immaterial. An umpire is always in jeopardy of facing legal action from any overzealous parent.
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Old Mon Feb 03, 2014, 08:37pm
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
Whether or not you do the equip checks is immaterial. An umpire is always in jeopardy of facing legal action from any overzealous parent.
Actually, I'd worry more about the insurance company.
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Old Tue Feb 04, 2014, 12:47am
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I heard bollinger is terrible to deal with.

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Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
Actually, I'd worry more about the insurance company.
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Old Tue Feb 04, 2014, 08:28am
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Originally Posted by shagpal View Post
I heard bollinger is terrible to deal with.
I have never had a problem with Bollinger, whether obtaining insurance or submitting a claim for one of the umpires in my organization. They have always been easy to talk to and eager to help.

Not saying others haven't had issues, it is not uncommon especially since many never read their policy and thing the insurance companies are supposed to act like Glinda and just solve problems with the flick of a wand.

But that wasn't the insurance to which I was referring.
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Old Tue Feb 04, 2014, 10:29am
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naso?

I heard nightmare stories for teams over on heybucket, so the claims were for teams and not umpires.

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Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
I have never had a problem with Bollinger, whether obtaining insurance or submitting a claim for one of the umpires in my organization. They have always been easy to talk to and eager to help.

Not saying others haven't had issues, it is not uncommon especially since many never read their policy and thing the insurance companies are supposed to act like Glinda and just solve problems with the flick of a wand.

But that wasn't the insurance to which I was referring.
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Old Tue Feb 04, 2014, 11:56am
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I believe the point is that when a player is injured, the parents' first thought, aside from anger, is to submit an insurance claim. When they then think of a windfall, or blame, or are contacted by an ambulance chaser, the first thoughts aren't necessarily to blame the umpires. Very often, law suits or threats of lawsuits start with other parties; and THEIR insurers immediately respond with a "share the blame" response.

In most states, as I understand it, the more parties held even partially accountable limits the liability of the other parties. So, even if the field owner should be primarily liable, their insurer wants anyone/everyone else that may have pockets (or their own insurance) added. In simple terms, if the cost is to be $100,000, they want to add people that may thrown $10,000 at it to make it go away. Add enough other people with even unlikely liability but with insurance, they can lessen their exposure.

I, also, have had good results from Bollinger, to the extent of their coverage, when working to get coverage for others (I have never needed to file myself, thankfully. They will decline coverage if the umpire (or player) files after the deadline; and they do only cover what they cover. If you understand what they cover, and file timely, they get it done.
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