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Thread: Interesting umpiring decision

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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Interesting umpiring decision

    Last night in our slow pitch softball game I saw the umpire make an interesting decision. The team we were playing had a kid, maybe about 16, who was obviously not on the team for his bat. He played ok defense, but I got the impression that he was there to give them enough players to field a team, since they had nobody on the bench. Anyway, the first time he came up he struck out, the second time up he hit a weak foul ball with two strikes, and the third time up he swung and missed for strike 2. (We start with a 1-1 count.) So I have the kid in a 1-2 hole and he hasn't hit anything fair the whole game. I grooved the next pitch right down the middle and he took it. Assuming I had the strike call, and the third out, I started to walk off the field and the umpire called it a ball. I threw the next pitch in the same location, got the called strike three, and then walked off the field. I walked by the umpire on the way to the bench and asked him, "What was wrong with the pitch before the third strike?" The umpire's response..."Nothing was wrong with it. It was a perfect pitch. I just wanted to give the kid a chance."


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    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Regardless of what level you play at I have a problem with that. If the league is competitive enough to have umpires they need to be fair at all times.

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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Quote Originally Posted by Herd Fan View Post
    Regardless of what level you play at I have a problem with that. If the league is competitive enough to have umpires they need to be fair at all times.
    That was what I thought as well. The game needs to be called as it is, but maybe that game will teach that kid not to stand there and take pitches down the middle. The problem I had was this. It was pretty windy and the pitches were really moving. Throwing strikes was a real challenge because you had to aim off the plate and let the wind move it over. I had warmed up on that field, so I had it judged pretty well and I wasn't having too much trouble throwing strikes, but I did walk one guy because the wind kept changing on me and a couple of them didn't break as much. Anyway, lets assume the worst and I walk this kid. Then the top of the order comes up again and maybe they get a rally going. All because the umpire wants to give a poor hitter a second chance. Luckily that didn't happen and we won the game, but it could have turned out differently.

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    So long old friend rotnoid's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Yup. Bad call. I've been on some pretty bad softball teams over the years and we'd actually have been upset had we been the one that got the "chance." That team knew when they put him up there to bat that he was most likely an out, I don't see the point. Unfortunately, though there aren't many impartial umpires in that type of league.
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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Ha Ha. I feel for ya buddy. That reminds me of a time long ago when I umped a Babe Ruth level baseball game. This one pitcher who could barely even get the ball to the plate was facing the biggest kid in the league. Well, the hitter got hit by a pitch, but he made no effort to get out of the way, in fact his just dropped his arms waiting for the pitch to hit him. Well, I ruled that he didn't make an effort to get out of the way so it was just a ball.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Quote Originally Posted by BigKlu View Post
    Ha Ha. I feel for ya buddy. That reminds me of a time long ago when I umped a Babe Ruth level baseball game. This one pitcher who could barely even get the ball to the plate was facing the biggest kid in the league. Well, the hitter got hit by a pitch, but he made no effort to get out of the way, in fact his just dropped his arms waiting for the pitch to hit him. Well, I ruled that he didn't make an effort to get out of the way so it was just a ball.
    Oh I make that call all the time. If you think the batter gets mad not being able to advance to first, imagine how mad the batter gets when he drops his arm in the strike zone and you call it dead ball strike and make the batter stay there.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Yeah, there have been times when I've umped kids games and I let the strike zone get bigger just to lessen the bleeding of a walk-fest and get the kids swinging.

    But a adult softball league, the time is over for umps trying to affect the play on the field. Call 'em as you see 'em.

    Pay attention to the open sky

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    Yeah, there have been times when I've umped kids games and I let the strike zone get bigger just to lessen the bleeding of a walk-fest and get the kids swinging.

    But a adult softball league, the time is over for umps trying to affect the play on the field. Call 'em as you see 'em.
    Oh yea, if the games outta hand you need to open that strike zone big time or the game will drag on forever.


    The dumbest thing the softball umpire did was admit he didn't call it a strike for whatever reason. Why admit to a coach or player something that you did when it is only going to make them mad? I do my best never to have to talk to a coach or player during a game, the game goes much, much easier if you dont.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    In my one year of umpiring little league baseball, i had a kid like that at the plate, he was completely overmatched, he swung at the first two pitches and missed badly. He looked like he tried to check his swing on the the third and it was close, but i ruled he held up in time.
    The other team was halfway in their dugout(a couple of kids i remember actually had gotten there before they realized i called it a ball.

    I simply remember the kid looking back at me like "Why did you make this longer than it had to be."
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    Bread Gloves Razor Shines's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Oh yea, if the games outta hand you need to open that strike zone big time or the game will drag on forever.


    The dumbest thing the softball umpire did was admit he didn't call it a strike for whatever reason. Why admit to a coach or player something that you did when it is only going to make them mad? I do my best never to have to talk to a coach or player during a game, the game goes much, much easier if you dont.
    The thing that bothers me is the lack of general knowledge of the rules. I do games from ages 12 on up to 18 and it's shocking how little a lot of these coaches know about the rules, even in travel leagues. I absolutely dread a situation like: 2 outs a man on first and two strikes on the batter with a catcher who drops a lot of balls. Because I know that one of the coaches is not going to know that the runner can still advance even though first base is occupied. And I hate having to stop games to explain basic rules to the coaches.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Quote Originally Posted by OldRightHander View Post
    Last night in our slow pitch softball game I saw the umpire make an interesting decision. The team we were playing had a kid, maybe about 16, who was obviously not on the team for his bat. He played ok defense, but I got the impression that he was there to give them enough players to field a team, since they had nobody on the bench. Anyway, the first time he came up he struck out, the second time up he hit a weak foul ball with two strikes, and the third time up he swung and missed for strike 2. (We start with a 1-1 count.) So I have the kid in a 1-2 hole and he hasn't hit anything fair the whole game. I grooved the next pitch right down the middle and he took it. Assuming I had the strike call, and the third out, I started to walk off the field and the umpire called it a ball. I threw the next pitch in the same location, got the called strike three, and then walked off the field. I walked by the umpire on the way to the bench and asked him, "What was wrong with the pitch before the third strike?" The umpire's response..."Nothing was wrong with it. It was a perfect pitch. I just wanted to give the kid a chance."

    If your team is winning in a blowout, I don't mind the ump doing this, because the outcome of the game wasn't in doubt. But if the game is "close" (less than 10 runs), he should call the game the right way.
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    Member NJReds's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    In general, umps in slow pitch leagues hate the 'backwards k' ... but oddly enough, they also tend to widen the strike zone for those hitters that consistantly try to work a walk instead of hacking away.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Should have hit the ump with the next pitch and yelled, "Now that was a ball!"
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    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    Was the umpire CB Bucknor or Angel Hernandez?

    Makes all the routine posts.

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting umpiring decision

    I once had to contend with softball ump that had a grudge against me. It was a coed tournament, so a walk to a male batter meant that the next batter (a female) got to take first base, as well. (For those unfamiliar with coed, the rule is to prevent teams from walking males to get to female hitters.)

    Based on his "judgment", I walked the first three male batters I faced (hitters 1, 3, and 5). That meant that hitters 2, 4, and 6 (females) automatically took first base, so two runs were walked in, the bases were loaded, and nobody out in the first inning. I had not walked more than one or two batters (total) all year, and these pitches were grooved as perfectly as could be. Yet these players were walking on four pitches.

    At that point I handed the ball to the first baseman and asked him to try to please this man, which he apparently did. The walks stopped. Since this was a church league tournament, I decided to not confront the guy then or even after the game. I always planned to ask him about it later, however. I haven't had that chance yet.


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