Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling
There really is no good reason for you to continually and rudely comment on my personal opinions. Just state your sagely opinion on the multiple recent umpiring fiascos and try to avoid mischaracterizing my opinions.
I do not have a problem with most umpires -- only the bad ones. That is what is obvious to everyone in this thread. You just want to claim that people who criticize a particular umpire or a particular call are ignorant or just hate umpires. Instead of attacking me why don't you just state your opinion and move on? Trying to deny me my right to have an opinion smacks of desperation on your part. You can't defeat my argument so you try to deny my right to speak.
You can choose to believe I am lying about umpiring if you want. Not very classy, but you can say whatever you want. It doesn't bother me.
I have umpired a few hundred baseball games. My dad was the president of the Little League association in the town I grew up in. It was hard to find umpires so I pretty much got drafted. I umpired games mostly for players of 10-16 years of age. It was an easy way to make a few bucks for beer money. I also did some beer league softball games and a whole bunch of school soccer games. I found umpiring and refereeing to be quite easy. Learn the rules (easy), learn where to be on the field (easy), learn to handle the game (easy) and you will be fine. There is no magic necessary. It is pretty basic stuff. I made my share of bad calls no doubt. But I very, very rarely had any problems with players or coaches or "fans". I was friendly, kept the games moving briskly, and didn't try to be a big-shot. I have never had a problem getting along with people in any walk of life, including umpiring. I could go back on the field now 20 years later and I would still be just fine, but I have zero desire to do so.
Of all the various and sundry jobs and careers I have had in my life (quite a few), umpiring was probably the easiest of all of them. It was certainly much easier than learning to be a Chemist, Microbiologist, Auctioneer, website builder, magazine author, construction worker, landscaper, numismatist, Internet e-commerce business owner, computer builder and professional blogger. Umpiring was more challenging than package delivery driver, fast-food cook and lawn mowing. I have done all of those jobs professionally and some others too.
I don't claim to be an expert on umpiring. I appreciate hearing the perspective of folks who are experienced umpires. However, I don't appreciate it when people who claim to be experienced umpires say that their opinion is perfect and nobody else has a right to disagree. This has happened several times in recent umpiring threads. Nobody here on Redszone is an umpiring God whose word is infallible. I have seen some ludicrous comments from some highly experienced umpires here on Redszone and I even pointed out a couple examples. The attitude that "I am right and you are wrong because I am an umpire and whatever I say goes" is exactly the same obnoxious behavior we see all the time from umpires on the field of play. It is patently obvious to everyone that umpires are not always right. Oftentimes they are wrong, sometimes embarrassingly wrong. Some umpires are better than others. Non-umpires have the right to comment and express their opinion regarding the performance of MLB umpires without being shouted down and insulted by people who umpire amateur baseball games.
Umpiring can be a noble profession if a person is honest and non-confrontational. Unfortunately there is a large percentage of umpires who really don't have any business on a major league field because they can't control their emotions and/or because they abuse their authority. I will continue to believe that umpiring requires only some limited training and a thorough knowledge of the rulebook, but does not require any special talent or intellect. Most normal humans could be properly trained to become good umpires. There is no comparison between major league baseball players and umpires in terms of the rare talent and natural ability required to make it to the top of the game. Umpires can be fairly easily replaced, players not so much.
I'm not denying you anything. I fully support your entitlement to an opinion just as I have a right to make light of your opinion for what it is. I just think you should own up to the opinion rather than running from it. If what you were saying about only disliking the "bad ones," then you haven't really clarified you're only talking about the bad ones. But seeing as how you have indeed made comments about how bad and egotistical umpires are, it seems you're not merely singling out the minority, as one would think most are doing a good job. But you don't even seem willing to acknowledge that.
In any event, for someone so concerned with misconstruing the opinion of others, you seem to be doing the same. No one has said those who don't have umpiring experience don't have a right to an opinion. What HAS been said repeatedly is that people should temper their opinions without having the experience, training or knowledge of what it's like to do the job.
Even the difference between Little/Pony leagues and legion ball is exponential. In the lower leagues, plays develop slower and the ball is coming across the plate at a speed that's easier to see and distinguish. At the higher levels, plays are bang-bang, 50/50 on the bases and the pitches are often coming across the plate at over 90 MPH, giving only a split second to recognize and make a judgment call of whether it passes through an imaginary plane. When it's down the middle, that's certainly "easy." But most pitches at this level are not of such variety. Most are around the knees or letters and on the corners.
Now, if you think that's "easy," I truly mean it when I say you should really be making a living as a Major League umpire. Because you're a rare talent if that's easy to you. As I said earlier, umpiring is most definitely not complicated but it's not "easy." That feels like a disingenuous description in order to downplay the role/ability of umpires.
Your use of the term "often" to describe them being wrong, though, is another comment that just illustrates the point. I mentioned that these umpires grade out, most of them, around 97-99% by the technology you have so strongly supported. Yet you just said they are "often wrong." Clearly that's not the case as evidenced by their grades.
I stand behind what I say about being "nice" though. Being "nice" is just an invitation for coaches to have more wiggle room. That is absolutely true. You make them think you're nice and want to avoid confrontation at all costs, they WILL keep running their mouths, most of them. Some are truly nice guys that won't say boo. But generally speaking, being a nice guy won't stop them from being loudmouths. One shouldn't go into a game looking to be a hard(expletive), but they should most definitely be prepared to be stern as soon as coaches start chirping. If you don't nip it in the bud, it will not go away. And that's why umpires are the way they are. You almost have to carry a bit of a demonstrative, edge to you. That's the only way to keep the game under control.