Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't Allow Rain to Stop Your Game

When one or more of my games are rained out, I curb my disappointment by trying to make the most of the down time. I’ve gotten into the habit of heading to an interesting web site – even if I only have a few minutes -- to test my rules knowledge.
The Interactive Baseball Rule Quiz Generator has a few set quizzes and a feature which randomizes questions in sets up to fifteen. They’ll score your quiz and when you answer incorrectly, there’s an explanation provided. All questions answered come with the rule reference.

Remember, you never know what situation will come up the next time you hit the field!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


UMPS CARE is a non-profit established by Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires that provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need.  It's one of the best baseball-related organizations and the leadership is terrific.

Their youth-based programs allow professional baseball umpires to enrich the lives of at-risk youth and children coping with serious illness.  The group provides memorable baseball experiences, supports pediatric medical care, and raises awareness for foster care children waiting to be adopted.

UMPS CARE is currently holding an online auction with a wide variety of items up for bid.  With more than 100 items available, here's just a sample:

President Obama Signed Jersey

2010 All-Star Game Tickets

Assist the Phillie Phanatic at an UMPS CARE Event

Batting Practice with Game Ticket Experiences

Signed Memorabilia from Rod Carew, Goose Gossage and Nolan Ryan!

If you're interested, head to UMPS CARE Auction.  The auction is live through March 22nd. It's a great cause and the items and experiences offered are right in our wheelhouse!

For mor information on UMPS CARE, check out their website: UMPS CARE

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Bucket Full

I didn’t realize it until my partner had a problem but I should have seen it earlier.

I was in the field this weekend for the second game of two, the only day this week that the rain allowed us. The pre-game meeting progressed nicely until I heard those ominous words. “You won’t have any trouble with us,” one head coach. That’s an attention-getter, a phrase that should go un-said. Hmmm….

The third inning score was 12-6 in this Major Rec (11-12 year-olds) game when the team that was behind scored a few quick runs. The pitcher was struggling with control and a 2-2 pitch his coach “wanted” was a ball – and the “oohing” and “ahhing” began. “Where was that pitch?” the coach asked. My partner signaled both high and outside. The coach shook his head and waved his hand in disgust. The batter ultimately walked and the end of the inning saw the score stand at 12-9.

Between innings this assistant coach stood from his bucket seat and said, loud enough for parents to hear, “You’re squeezing our pitcher.” To my partner’s credit, he stood firm and responded that he’d tell him where a pitch was but there will not be a discussion of balls and strikes. That’s when I realized our mistake.

The coach returned to his seat on his bucket, on the home plate side of the on-deck circle, much too close to the action. We should have noticed earlier and moved him further away but he had been quiet up until then. After this mini-confrontation it was obvious that we could have prevented some of this bench jockey stuff.

There’s a saying among umpires – don’t pick up the dirty end of the stick. It reminds me to think ahead, to not put myself or my partner in a position that could develop into something more. We should have noticed earlier and taken care of it. This wasn’t much of an issue but it could have developed into something. Maybe it was that his team continued to hold the lead that saved us from the hassle of something more but you can’t plan on being that fortunate.

I don’t mind allowing a bucket for one coach. I’ve coached long enough to know it’s a comfortable way to see the game and it can help you be a better coach. What I don’t like is someone taking advantage and this coach seemed to be doing just that. The onus was on us and we allowed him the benefit -- but it won’t happen again.