Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

The Little League games I umpire for use mostly volunteer umps. There are about 8 real umps and some kids from 13 to 18 thrown in. The rest are dads from the teams. The dads are not from the team that is playing, but they are dads.
Last night I was teamed with a young blond kid who was umping first base. Honestly, he was terrible.  He was in all the wrong positions, he missed 4 calls, he was making calls that were not his.  I would have done better by myself. I am going to insist these kids go through a Umpire Boot Camp" next year. That goes into detail what they need to do and what position they need to be in.

The game was a Minor A game to boot, these were 10 year old kids. The pitchers couldn't throw strikes, even when I expanded the strike zone. The catchers took off their gear in between innings like there was no rush to complete a game.  I had to tell the one kid, "keep your gear on." It was a long knee busting night.

But, let's go to the coaches mistakes.  A young man laces a shot to right center that falls in for at least a double, batter/runner misses first base by 2 feet on his way to 2nd. The outfielders bobble the ball  around and batter runner goes to third, and then coach at third waves him home. Let's call it an in the park Home run.  (Instead of double with 2 errors) The ump at first was watching the ball, not the runner. He never saw him miss first base. His job there is to watch the runner and know where the play may be made, not watch the ball bobble around the outfield. So the coach wants to appeal the first base miss. He comes to me and says, "I want to appeal first base." I reply that it's not my call. He yells to the first base ump, that he wants to appeal first and the ump says safe. Done.  (BUT) But you all should know that a coach CAN NOT appeal a play.  Only a player can appeal it.  So the ump should have said nothing to the coach. Inexperience, plain and simple.  So in between innings, the head coach of the team asks me what I saw, and I tell him, BUT I also say it would be hard to take away the kids "Inside the Park Home run"! These young kids get 20 bucks to call these games, and they do a terrible job in my opinion. I will lobby for training. 

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