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Discussion: Good umpires / bad umpires

Posted Discussion
Oct. 24, 2013
stick8
1326 posts
Good umpires / bad umpires
As a branch off from the thread "Vegas Umpires" I believe it's safe to say we've all experienced bad umpires and good umpires at various times thru the years. It sounds as if posters on here regard Tommy (from Northern California?) as a model umpire. Here in Michigan we have an umpire who is generally regarded in a similar vein as Tommy and it's definitely not me--lol. I'm sure this is true most everywhere. Players always like to say 'he's terrible" or "we got him??" Or "we got a good ump today"
Anyone remember the show from the 1970's "The Match Game"? When the contestant had to match the last answer from a panel member (to win the $$$)it seems as if the contestants always chose Richard Dawson to match. Why him? Contestants seemed to trust Mr Dawson would likely match their answer. I sense this same feeling with Tommy--players seem to have trust in him to do a good job umpiring their game. (if the show I referenced wasn't the match game, feel free to correct me)
In spite of the fact that umpires do miss calls what are some of the characteristics that, in your estimation, would lead you to believe someone to be a good umpire and someone to be a bad umpire?
Please share your thoughts.
Oct. 24, 2013
Caveman
Men's 50
64 posts
I would say my first characteristic would be good knowledge of the rules, second, an umpire that hustles and gets themselves in a good position to see the play and make their call and stay with the play until time is called. Finally, one that if approached in a civil manner, is willing to explain the reason for their ruling without being condenscending and telling the player/manager to shut up and play.
Treacy Elliott
Sacramento Saints 60's
Oct. 24, 2013
the wood
1096 posts
I know who Tommy (Nor Cal) is as he has done several of our games over the past year. He is the gold standard, IMO. Dave Barnes (from LV) is another one.
While they and other good umpires have a lot of commonality, it is my feeling that the number one characterisitc that I take with me is 'attitude'. Two years from now I won't remember their mechanics or their ability to quote the rule book. But I will damn sure remember their attitude.
Were they approachable? Did they seem to react to everything said regardless of to whom it was said? Did they waste time telling us of their many attributes?
I do appreciate hustle and I do appreciate knowledge. But it's their attitude that means the most to me. Both Tommy and Dave have awesome attitudes... in addition to their other qualities.
We actually had a guy call a strike while the ball was 8' in the air. It ended up hitting 6-8" behind the mat (didn't change the call). He actually bragged about this as his way of showing us who was boss. He did know the rules and he did hustle. I hope to never see him ump our game again. This occurred in LV in April.
When you have an attitude like that, what difference does hustle and knowledge make?
BW
Oct. 24, 2013
Caveman
Men's 50
64 posts
I have played against Tommy and he also does umpire NCSSA tournaments. He works tournaments that I run as well. A professional through and through.
Treacy Elliott
Sacramento Saints 60's
Oct. 24, 2013
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
I second the thought on Tommy! IMO when the umpires are friendly and don't make themselves bigger than the game, I know for myself I overlook a bad call way easier than if it was a umpire Nazi making the call. I Know we have a lot of Umpires in NCSSA that interact with a lot of us players and it makes for a more pleasant experience for all of us.. Seems to me that the friendly umps have easier times of it in the heat of the battle with the close calls.. Players tend not to go off on umpires they respect..
Oct. 25, 2013
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2735 posts
I place an umpire's personality and disposition right up there with knowledge of the rules. As a first baseman I usually have much interaction with the base umpire. If he misses a call or makes a call that isn't within the rules I usually don't get upset if he talks about it and is willing to discuss it between pitches with me. A biggie with me is when they sometimes admit that they missed a call.
In my opinion it's bad when they miss or make the wrong call and then won't talk about it.
Oct. 25, 2013
#19
Men's 60
252 posts
I was always of the impression that an umpire that hustled and got into good position was acceptable, until last weekend ... I played in a tournament where our umpire, and we had him for all of our games, hustled for good position but exhibited very poor judgement on his calls ... These calls included ones that benefited our team and ones that didn't ... If you can't make a correct call, all the hustle and positioning in the world won't make one a good umpire.
Oct. 25, 2013
neck10
513 posts
stick im glad you said michigan & not southern mi.we have two or three umps here in traverse city that are pretty good they keep the games flowing & dont have much if any arguments between them or team on team.I usually try to help them I love it when a batter hits a ball to short guy on first ,runner going to second out by a mile but rsther close at first the guy hitting the ball running to 1st base wants to argue about how safe he was how bad the ump missed the call if that guys on my team I just tell him the ump didnt hit the weak stuff to short cant believe how quick that shuts the guy going to first up!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct. 25, 2013
stick8
1326 posts
Neck thanks for your response! As an ump I normally don't say anything like that to a player if they are contesting a call. There was one time I veered from that and what you elluded to reminds me of that story. About 3 years ago i was umping an end of the year loco-yoco mens tourney. In my last game of the day this team was getting beat rather soundly in a losers bracket game. The shortstop (whom I know pretty well and had asked me to play in this tourney) made about 4 errors, hit into 2 double plays and third strike foul-an absolutely brutal game. In the last inning I made a call he apparently didn't like and he lost it. He was cussing me out which naturally caused me to toss him--which he probably wanted. After the game was over I had just got my bag off the fence when he approached me and decided he was going to be "last word lucy". He really let me have it--amongst many other derogatory things he called me the worst umpire in the world. That's where I veered off--I got a bit confrontational and told him "I may be the worst ump in the world but I didn't hit into those double plays, third strike foul and I didn't make all those errors." His exact words to that were "well you not being very professional" To which I replied, "what did you expect? I'm the worst umpire in the world" Then I walked away.
Oct. 25, 2013
stick8
1326 posts
Thank you all for your responses!! Very informative. It seems as if umpires who display a pleasant, friendly and courteous attitude while umping is high on the list for being a good umpire--in addition to hustle and rule knowledge.
Does this indicate that old adage to be true that people are treated like they treat others?
Oct. 27, 2013
Wayne 37
216 posts
Dress professionally, act professionally, and hustle at all times. (I know it can be hard when you've been out there all day, and it's hot)

Learn from mistakes. Remember experience is often a mistake you won't make twice. Read the rulebook. Don't bring a rulebook onto the field with you though. Be assertive on the close calls. Be verbal so all can hear on the field. (Don't yell). Shut down all the unnecessary bullshit. Keep the game moving. Get them in, and out as quick as possible. There is more, but let us not overload a greenhorn.

I'm just giving my input based on my experiences from umping HS baseball. Hope this might help someone.
Oct. 27, 2013
Wayne 37
216 posts
Forgot to add. The less you say on the field, the less you have to backup later. Are you paying attention, neck10?
Oct. 27, 2013
garyheifner
370 posts
Caveman

Great answer, my thoughts exactaly. And, if he is doing what you said, I may not like a bad call but I can live with it and move on.
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