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Discussion: Why dont teams get to rate umpires ?

Posted Discussion
Nov. 6, 2009
Eddie 12
Men's 50
14 posts
Why dont teams get to rate umpires ?
If the Umpires are allowed to help rate our teams in there placement, souldnt we have a say in how good of a umpire they are?
Nov. 7, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4387 posts
Excellent idea... too many only do part of the job.

Calls on too high or flat, 6.14
Getting out to cover the bags, instead of standing back behind the plate, part of the job,
Making calls understood, verbally or by hand gesture, 7.5
PPR done correctly, 6.17
Enforce the batters box, use or removal of, Obliterating the batters box (removing it), 7.3 (1)
Inspect bats when HR or a PPR hit ball call is made, 3.4(6)
Enforce the weather rules for wind & sun, 6.16

Book re:
Distance to Fences, 2.5, leaves out mens. Only mentions Women's.

Rule book should include rules for umpires, if for no other reason other than a checks and balances.
Nov. 7, 2009
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
Eddie12 theres a very simple reason why we dont rate umpires. They dont take criticism well.
Nov. 8, 2009
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Some don't, but if you ever watch a game they deserve a LOT less criticism than the teams they are umping. 99% of games are lost the by the players, NOT the umpire.

Aren't we all getting to old to just whine?
Nov. 8, 2009
butch17
Men's 55
415 posts
I agree most but not all deserve less criticism. I agree 99.5% of the games are lost by players but here is the difference they get paid we do not.
Nov. 8, 2009
db14
91 posts
Hey Dirty or Gary or ? I believe you stated above "Aren't we all getting to old to just whine?" You may wish take a bit of your own advice and give us ALL a break and QUIT your incessant and nauseating WHINING regarding the use of someone else's technology regarding Senior bats!
Nov. 8, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4387 posts
Teams also take "criticism" in the fore of "ratings," and we are paying for quality refereeing which is not in all circumstances given.
Umps do indeed deserve respect, but that also should be & needs to be "earned" through the quality of they're officiating.
We, as the ones paying for this "service" (even though indirectly) should have a say in how those chosen are or should be considered for the job. Not just who is available at the time.
Nov. 8, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4387 posts
Should be FORM.. instead of "in the fore of "ratings...
Nov. 8, 2009
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
The best umpires are the ones who facilitate the game rather than become a noticeable part of it. Here's to all of them who hustle to make sure they get a good look at the plays and are consistent in calling balls and strikes.
Nov. 8, 2009
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
taits, I don't see the ratings as "criticism" at all. Sounds like most teams want to be rated as low as they can get away with so they can win something. Most, though I know not all, want to avoid serious competition and would rather be rated lower than actually work to improve themselves or their teams.

Now I do agree that they are being paid and as such do have a responsibility to work hard during the games. No question there.
Nov. 8, 2009
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
As an umpire, in the beginning I had a mentor who gave me two things to think about and work on every time he watched me work. It's a very simple thing to do and it continually promotes improvement. When I'm able I try to do the same for others.

I believe there were many excellent umpires in Phoenix this October but none of them worked any of our 8 games. Most of the best umpires were sitting at home around the country. Why would they spend their money to get to Phoenix and feed themselves for 10-12 days, share a room provided by SSUSA with a stranger, to work 3-4 games a day ($75-$100) and return home with little to show for it? The locals can afford to do it if they can take time off work and some will do the travel because they love the profession. I suspect too many do it for the prestige. Sorry, working in Phoenix does not mean you're one of the best umpires. In fact it’s clear it’s not a requirement. Locally, some customers consider me one of the best. In Phoenix I might only be adequate.

I would be willing to pay $40 more for team entry if SSUSA would subsidize the travel expenses of the best umpires around the country. The best umpires as decided from within should be evaluating and mentoring when not working. The rest should be required to observe the best in order to learn and improve.

The total cost of umpires for Phoenix is already huge, maybe 25% of total revenues. The only way to improve this service is to spend more, and either charge more or take from administration & staff, facilities and/or balls. Like anything it's a balancing act.

I believe it is important to understand the nature of umpiring and the customer service aspect. Umpires are the most frequent point of contact for those of us who "purchase" softball. How do we feel when we contact customer service for any organization and they let us down?

Ray Starwalt was on-site and available when I needed him in Phoenix. Ray works hard and understands all of this, even if he would not agree in every case. We’ll be talking this winter.

The bottom line is the bottom line. As customers of senior softball we are generally not willing or able to pay the cost of grade-A umpires. If we were willing and able it would already be so.

ShaneV
Nov. 9, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Interesting concept--players rating umpires.
That being said an interesting debate can emerge. What would be some of the things that players look for that they feel would make a good umpire? What are some of the things players feel would merit judging one to be a bad umpire?
As both a player and an umpire (a crew chief) I have my ideas. I'm willing to read, learn and apply what others think. Have at it...
Thanks in advance
Nov. 9, 2009
Lecak
Men's 55
1012 posts
A good friend of mine is an umpire and a very good one. His perspective which I share is that he hated to umpire the lower divisions of any softball tournament. When he umpired the lower divisions he told me he was always out of place, had to make to many close calls, had to try and untangle messes the teams got themselves in. His logic which I witnessed first hand the lower division teams rarely hit the cutoff, rarely made the routine play etc. etc. He was always guessing what the players were going to do. He loved the upper divisions because the play was crisp, the ball was always where it should be and the runners did the right thing. In the uppers he was a good umpire and the lowers he struggled.
Nov. 9, 2009
Paco13
373 posts
Stick, I do both play and ump. I try to ump knowing what I like to see as a player...hustle, interact with the teams, try to be in possition etc. However, everything goes down the drain if a call does not go the teams way. Imagine that you are playing Black jack and UR winning U love the dealer to death...Now the same dealer bust U few times...U go from loving him/her to hate him/her in a second, I guess that is the same with our little part time job...One game UR great the other UR awful.
Nov. 9, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Very true Paco13. Hustling is a very important part of umping. Your right in that one perceived bad call can label you an awful ump. Everyone remembers the one bad call!!
Nov. 9, 2009
DMac
Men's 60
185 posts
An ump once told me that you look with your eyes but you see with your heart. On a close play the team at bat wants the runner to be safe so he looks safe. The defense wants the runner to be out so to them he looks out. That is why we need an umpire.
That said, I think there are only three things you can get on an umpire for:
1. not knowing the rules
2. not hustling
3. having a horrible attitude
Nov. 9, 2009
butch17
Men's 55
415 posts
I believe if an umpire is consistant, hustles, knows the rules, and has a good attitude that is all you can ask.
Nov. 9, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Good points DMac and butch17. Do either of you feel it's OK for umps to kind of kibbutz or chat a bit with the players?
Nov. 9, 2009
DMac
Men's 60
185 posts
Absolutely, Stick, as long as he doesn't get personal or let the talk distract him from his job. Umps and players should not be adversaries and over the years I have met many umpires that I have come to like as umps and as people.
Nov. 9, 2009
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
DMac - As players you're right, we all
have a built-in bias, seeing the result
we want to see. After umpiring for a
time, we get better at losing the bias.
As in MLB we still miss a close one
once in a while.

Lacek - I agree with your friend that
lower classifications can certainly be
a challenge. Upper ball is another
kind of challenge with their egos.

stick8 - I was taught to be very
careful "fraternizing" with teams and
players. It's risky to appear too
friendly or that you might have
favorites. I've made friends as an
umpire but that should only follow
gaining respect for the job you do
and should not be blatant while
working or in uniform.

Generally the #1 challenge I see and
have to deal with as an umpire and UIC
is working multiple organizations.
It is difficult to keep the rules for
each straight in your mind. One of our
umpires in Phoenix had sox with ASA
printed on them. A big no-no!

ShaneV
Nov. 10, 2009
Garocket
Men's 55
157 posts
If umpires are to be rated it should be with a few guidlines. Number 1 is it should be done fair to the umpire the same way as it should be done fair to the teams
Teams should not be rated on 1 game or 1 tournament. Neither should umpires However umpiring is the only job that people expect you to be perfect the 1st game and get better with age

Coach's and players should really take a long look at the umpire in general.
1 Does he dress like an umpire, look like an umpire, talk like an umpire, act like an umpire, all of these things go into being a great umpire.

I have umpired at the highest levels of softball all the way from park and recreation youth t-ball to the Men's Super ASA Nationals and the one thing that umpires must relize is that park and recreation game is just as important to those players as the Super National is to those players.

Knowing the rules before you ever go out on the field is a must. You as an umpire should feel that there is nothing that can happen on that field that you do not know the rule and how to apply it.

Umpires should know the difference between black and white and sometimes grey is not bad as long as it is not giving one team an advantage over the other

Hustle, Hustle, Hustle. You might not see it the way others do but NO reason not to be close on the play. I alway teach in my umpire clinics to Hustle with you head and you will not need to depend on you feet as much. Always think like a ball player should think and I say SHOULD THINK is because sometime ball players do not think. If a runner is on 1st and a ball is hit to the outfield the ump should start walking toward 3rd base that way when he sees there is going to be a play at 3rd he is already over half way down there and just a few quick steps and he is in postion, instead of staying behind homeplate until the ball is thrown then he is not fast enough to get in postion.
Always respect the game and the players, Never down anybody, because you would not want to be downed either. Talk to players and coaches but keep it a part of the game not a distraction from the game. Always use Sir or madam or coach.
Use an umpires voice during game but not over bearing. A weak voice sends a signal to players and coaches that this umpire may be weak on difficult decision or weak to confrontation.

If you are blocked on a call or did not see the entire play don't be too proud to ask your partner. If you are working 2 or 3 man mechanics. If only 1 man mechanics never work more that 2-3 games in a row. There is no way you can do the teams and the game justice out there after 2-3 games. No matter how young or fast you are the mind and body will slow down after a few hours if you ump the game the way it should be umpired there will be no question that you did your best and most all the time the teams will respect that even if they do not agree with all of your calls.
Rating umpires should never be DID I AGREE WITH HIS CALLS. But raing an umpire should be did he do his job the best that he could and was he in postion. Did he handle the game and players in a professional matter. If he did all of this the likely hood of him getting most of the calls correct is much greater than not that he did you and your team a solid job

There is one word that will always make a good umpire and that word is PRIDE
If he has pride he will do a good job and see that the teams gets what they paid for
Nov. 10, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
DMac, good point about chatting with players. I tell my crew a little camraderie with the players/coaches doesn't hurt but refrain from getting too carried away.
ShaneV, excellent point about getting too close to teams. I think that bodes especially true in tournament games.
To both of you, where do you feel the line is drawn between just liking an ump and respecting an ump?
Nov. 10, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Garocket, thank you for your thoughts and wisdom!! I can tell from your words you are an experienced umpire who we all can learn from.
You make an excellent point about looking like an ump, acting like an ump, talking like an ump. It's like that old saying "you never get second chance to make a first impression."
I also agree when you elluded to youth t-ball to the highest levels. I also have run a similar "gauntlet" that you have and I can tell you first hand the teams involved from low level to the majors expect (and deserve) the same effort. That's because to the low level teams do feel this is their "world tournament" or a particular league is their season, so to speak. Heck I'll even go so far to say the money that a low level rec team pays is worth the exact same as what Resmondo or Dan Smith pays.
Your right on about pride. I've found the best umpires love umping. They are the ones who look, act and talk properly. They're the ones who will hustle, take the time to get it right. You won't see them working more than 2 or 3 in a row before taking a break.
I'm curious to know how you would handle players and/or coaches who consistently argue your balls and strikes plus every call you make. At what point do you draw the line and say enough is enough? Thanks in advance
Nov. 10, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Stick.
Nothing better than a good ump
and I find the umping is getting better
the last couple of years
but I haven't thought much about why.
I come from the school that it was
bad sport to attack umpires, ever,
and can destroy your own team momentum or chemistry as I have witnessed a lot in senior ball.
Going at an umpire usually makes them
more likely to retaliate and hold it
against you and your team.
I think the best players/pitchers
adjust to the umpire instead of trying
to make them adjust.
Make your point if you want
then let it go and move on.
They're human and make mistakes
just like you.
Even though it's more dramatic
it'a almost never an umpire or the last
hit/error that wins or loses
any game, any more than any of the other plays and calls.
The game is made up of a zillion
plays that determine it's character
and outcome
and a lot of times going at the umpire
comes from guys who can't take the heat for a loss and want to blame it
on someone else.

Umping should not be singled out
any more than any other aspect
of a game for influencing its outcome.

Rating umpires could be a good idea
as players get rated for their performances and most think that
feedback is good and vital for continued
good performance.




Nov. 10, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Thank you for your thoughts Einstein. You make some very valid points. I note the one that specified the best players/pitchers adjust to the umpires. This is so critical in tournament ball. How many players have you both played with and against that failed to make the necessary adjustments and cost your team games? I've seen it so often.
In your experiences have you ever felt that you, being a pitcher, had a role in possibly working an umpire to change his/her strike zone? And if so how did you go about that?
BTW, it seems that some senior players are also umpires, which is good. I beleive those that have never umped before should at least experience it, especially those who are the most critical of umpires. It's a whole different side of the game or as we like to call it "the dark side".
Nov. 10, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Great question.
I think getting umpires to care
which is the way I like to function
as much as possible
makes them more apt to listen
to whatever you have to say to them.
You can respectfully ask the ump
if that pitch was too high
and he'll get the message you thought it wasn't and he's more apt
to consider it.
So much of what we do on and off the field are judgment calls
and when you go at an ump
he might think
you're attacking his judgment
and want to punish you.
Or you can unearth an umpire
and then he'll go which ever way
the wind blows and the game
can become out of hand
and less enjoyable to all.
I think umping is a microcosm
of the real world.
What works best for a variety of reasons
is being respectful and caring toward
people in all matters in and out of
senior softball.
Nov. 10, 2009
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
Lecak & ShaneV, it should never matter what division an umpire is calling, he is there to call balls and strikes and safe or out per the rules set forth by the SSUSA or whoever is the governing body of the tournament. He should call the play not guess or anticipate whats going to happen.
I agree with the thought that Umps can never win, they have the toughest job on the field.
Nov. 10, 2009
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
This is without a doubt one of the best
threads I've ever read on this message
board. Thanks for all the great
insight!

I agree that umpires must do their best
to work every game as though it is the
most important game the players have
ever played in. I agree that lower
levels can be a challenge to maintain
your undevided attention. I've heard
umpires tell players "Hey this is just
Rec." Bad idea! Upper ball is tough
at times because the best players will
often do everything they can to
intimidate. Your pride and confidence
are the only things that will save you
in some situations.

On fraternizing, I focus on the job and
seldom initiate friendly interaction.
When players or coaches initiate, only
then I quietly let them see that I can
be very frank as well as friendly.
This way, good realtions can result yet
there's no appearance that I'm trying
to make friends. I didn't start umping
to make friends.
Umpires are like cops. Most of the
time you don't want them around, but
when you really need one, you hope
they're there and you hope they're good at what they do.

Finally, I believe umpires should rate
umpires. That's how it was done when
I started and I continue to teach,
evaluate and mentor as was done for me.
I need to keep that committment to the
brave souls that work for our orgs.

Garocket is clearly a shining example
to follow!

ShaneV
Nov. 11, 2009
JohnBob
Men's 60
248 posts
Before the PPR I had very little to complain about the Umps,but the way this rule was worded it was a nightmare for Ump's and coaches. Seem like no 2 umpires called it the same way and in the finals of 60 major in Phoenix ump doing the plate said any ball hit close to pitcher was a DBO. I told him this was our 9th game in tourney and rule reads and called in the other 8 games that pitcher had to be in box plus had to be hit for DBO to be called and how could he change this on his own. TD was called over and he was told to call rule the way it was worded,this really did happen.
I feel that umps that play or have played this game do the best job. I know in senior ball with the CR and special rules makes it hard but most do a great job.
Nov. 11, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Einstein again thanks for your wisdom. I guess your thoughts can be summarized by saying you want the ump to be on your side and while you may disagree with some of the calls it's best to be friendly and respectful toward them. If bad calls are made do you find it easier to talk about it to an ump that you personally know or one that you don't know?
E4/E6, excellent point about umps having the toughest job on the field. In a one man system the ump is actively involved in every play whereas being a player your not. Do you think umpires tend to call more strikes and outs then there actually are?
Nov. 11, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
If there's a relationship and it's positive that's the best.
Mistakes will be made in any game
with any ump but the positive relationship yields the best results
on the whole, inning to inning
and game to game.
We're not talking about stealing calls.
We're talking about having the umpire
respond positively to you and your
valid concerns.
I think it's important to let the ump
know if he's made a mistake
but to do it respectfully
and then go on.
You catch more flies with honey
than vinegar.
Nov. 11, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
i've been in the ump's shoes so i understand whats going on here.i would always hustle,try be consistent in balls and strikes called.i wasn't hard to talk to as long as you were respectful.didn't have a prol with asking my partner for help if it was a call that wasn't a judgement call.
now as a player i want the same back.if i ask where a pitch is,i'm asking b/c i need to know how to move it into your strike zone,don't get all in a uproar about it.i usaully try and do it with a hand signal,touching shoulder or pointing in or out.
umps now remember you are only gonna please 50% of the people on a call.LOL
Nov. 12, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
ShaneV thanks for your input. I absolutely agree other umps should rate umpires.
I also officiate high school and college basketball. Would you believe where I'm at in Michigan the coaches rate the high school officials? My 2 partners and I could call a great game and one of us could make a call in last part of the game that a coach may not like costing his/her team the game. Then because of that one call we are subject to a bad rating. Bad system we have here and hopefully it'll be changed.
I also agree with your point about telling players it's "just rec ball." It may be a lower level but never say that! Just like we play for Phoenix and other world tourneys that low level rec league is what many of those players play for.
Nov. 12, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Mad Dog thanks for your input. Indeed it is true that if an ump makes a close call 50% of the players (team A) will agree and 50% (team B) won't.
I'm curious when you say you have no problem asking your partner for help on a call if it wasn't a judgment call. Aren't all calls an ump makes a result of their judgment? Besides balls and strikes, perhaps you can list some examples of what your referring to?? Thanks in advance.
Nov. 12, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
stick8,it would be the missed tags or not touching a base(fielder or runner).things of that nature.never would i overturn my partner on a call of his that was of,did the runner beat the throw or tag,thats his call, and it should be,and he is most likely closer to it than me anyways or i would be making the call.
also one thing i think needs to be brought up and that is field safety,sun in pitcher's eyes,rain,bad care of field,something that can be a real hazard to the safety of the players.
it wouldn't be a bad idea to get some input from the player's for rating the umps,but don't let it be the total system to rate them.
Nov. 12, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Rudy the ASA umpire
who does a lot of SSUSA games
is a terrific umpire
and always has been.
It was a couple of years ago
I think in Phoenix when apparently
some player/coach from another team
saw me greeting/hugging Rudy
when we'd first seen each other
for the weekend and said something to the director that he didn't want
that umpire calling the game between
his team and mine
and it was done.
Rudy comes up to me and said he was pulled from our game because
we're friends.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
I said to Rudy that are they trying to say that if the ump and anyone on the field are friends than an ump/any ump
can't be impartial or fair???
I said to Rudy that this could be taken
as a lack of confidence, totally undeserved, in his ability to be fair
and impartial.
We both shrugged our shoulders
and walked away with me
still in disbelief.
Nov. 13, 2009
MaverickAH
59 posts
I play & also umpire. There may not be a formal system of teams rating umpires but I stronly dispute the idea that upires are not rated. In tournaments, in leagues they are constantly rated either by tourney/league officials, their UIC or informally by teams. You just don't get to do late tournament rounds if you're not a good umpire unless there is an availability problem. Bad umpires usually go the way of bad teams...... Gone early!

Umpires are human beings. With that said they are not all the same. They all have different peronalities & tendencies. One oversight most teams make is to scout other teams but not scout umpires. You can get an advantage if you know your umpire & his habits.
Nov. 13, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4387 posts
Scouting teams\players and Umps, very true.
I have always done it. I watch for where the players hit & if they pull, go middle, have power, etc.
With umps, I watch the pitch calls and where or if he goes out to make the play calls for the bases or from behind the plate. I listen & watch hand gestures as well. He should be able to be heard and clear. There is a lot you can learn about the ump who is scheduled for your games. But I also believe they are or can be impartial.
Nov. 13, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Thank you for your take MaverickAH. You make an excellent point about scouting umpires. Perhaps from your experiences it's been done but this is something which from my experience, has never really been done.
I recall back in the day playing B and A level ball two of our extra guys always went out and charted games of our potential opponents--if we had never played them before. Not once did they evaluate the umps. Perhaps you can further add but I see this as mainly a strike zone issue. Traveling over the country we definitely encountered some different strike zones that we were not really prepared for. It definitely called for adjustments on our part!!
Presuming the association is the same, why is it in your view that different umpires have different versions of the strike zone?
And also do you play for the Seacrest Mavericks as your screen name suggests? Thanks in advance for your input.
Nov. 13, 2009
green rocket
51 posts
Shane V, excellent points all the way around.

I do pride myself as an umpire that hustles. Always. I try to maintain respect to all the ballplayers no matter what division I might be officating.

As far as being friends to the ballplayers, that's for later on after the game. If I'm going to be around you guys in a non-officating capacity, I take off my uniform and hat so I don't look like an official anymore.

With the strike zone, I tell everyone before the game, it's my strike zone: my six and my twelve. And keep it consistant!

I love a pitcher who starts a game with a very high pitch. He's testing me right away to see if I call the ceiling and I love to establish it early on.

Also that two strike pitch that he's trying to fool the batter and umpire at the same time. I'm ready for you!
Nov. 13, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Green Rocket, I love it!! Especially the part where they test you right away. The old saying "give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile" might apply to that.
If you are a player do you find that some umpires change their strike zones as the game goes on? If yes why do you feel that is?
Nov. 13, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
GR, stick,,,, i always start with the hi ones in my warm up just to let them know i have it when pitching,:):).i'll tyhrow 1 or 2 at least 15' up so the 12' or maybe 13's don't look as hi and i can get a strike LOL.

yes i have had an ump change strike zone during the game, and it frustrates(sp) the hell out of me.
Nov. 14, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
LOL Mad Dog that's interesting. 6'-12' is quite a range in arc. I mostly ump USSSA and the stated rule is 3' from the release to 10' from the ground. In NIT tourneys it seems as if the pitch has a hump umps won't call it flat. If it goes above 7' it's too high.
Do you find that many umps adjust to the pitchers as the game goes on?
Nov. 14, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
hardly any will from what i've seen stick,especially in usssa.like you said if it gets over 7-8' hi they won't call a strike, but will let the one that barely gets 2.5' off the ground be called a strike.
Nov. 15, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Dog,
You joined mad dog for recalcitrance
and contra-indication.
If you don't like it
it's gotta be good.
Keep up the good work.

Nov. 15, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Oops.
Right comment.
Wrong thread.
Nov. 15, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
well stupid is as stupid does,waa can someone pay your way to seattle,doh guess not,you need to be someone of worth.
Nov. 15, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Mad Dog that's true about USSSA arc. Around here a 9-10 ft arc on a Wednesday nite league night is a strike but not so on the tournament weekends. Do you think the accepted USSSA tourney arc as we both described gives the advantage to the pitcher or the hitter?
Nov. 15, 2009
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Just curious. What makes you guys think your judgement of the pitch heights is correct and the umps are wrong? You have special measuring sticks in your eyes?
Nov. 15, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
stick,i think it depends on the pitcher.i have seen a couple who can bring the real low fast one that is real hard to hit.me i've been a 6-12 pitcher most of my life,hardly any usssa type pitching.i like to go up so it does bother me sometimes,and have had actually it do me in,i don't throw that lo fast one.we play a lot of usssa out here in texas so i am learning to throw it,i've built a PVC strike zone that i can throw to here in my yard.ASA has just adopted the 6-10' arc,thats gonna open up a can of worms as far as i'm concerned.personally we should go back to the old days,wood bats,no limits.
Nov. 15, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Dirty that's an interesting question. I can't speak for others but from my experiences most umps I've had as a player where I live are pretty consistently correct in that regard. Sometimes it's a different story when I go out of town to play. As long as it's called two ways I'm OK with it. Irregardless of all that I have a bat that costs $300 or so--I'm up there to swing the bat!
I beleive I read you are or were a pitcher. In your experiences were there certain umps that you knew beforehand you'd have to make adjustments from the usual way you might pitch?
Nov. 15, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Mad Dog I agree that a good low arc pitcher can have a major advantage. Since I still play USSSA with the kids along with senior ball I find it's almost like two different games. With the 40 core 325 compression ball along with the non-ultra bats (although bat shaving is an issue) a good pitcher alone can get your team into Sunday in a USSSA nit tourney. In Senior ball with the livlier ball and ultra bats the pitcher is almost like a pin~ada!! If your team doesn't hit chances are your pitcher won't help your team get to Sunday. Do you think a good 50 or even 55 team could do well playing USSSA tourneys, say at the D level?
Nov. 15, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
stick a couple 50 teams do play over here,b/c we don't have the number of senior tourney's to play in,they do ok,but rarely will win any thing of any caliber.the 55's usaully play E if they are looking to play some tourney ball.its a little harder for us when we go against the kids.i still play a lot with the kids to stay in shape,or reasonable in shape.
Nov. 16, 2009
Omar Khayyam
1000 posts
Very interesting thread. I think everyone admires the ump who hustles, who knows the rules, who is consistent. I want to chime in on changing arc height in the course of a game. It happens!

I like to start with a bit illegal high pitch, just to see what the ump will allow. If O.K., I live up there. If not, I bring it down to legal to see if the ump recognizes this. If not, I've got trouble with a weak ump.

What bugs me is an ump that will give you the high pitch, but not the minimum. If a team starts hitting my high and deep pitch, I start pitching low and short. A good ump will recognize it is still legal. A poor ump will start calling low pitches illegal because he is used to my high pitch.

I have seen umps change their perspective in a game. One, when the game is lopsided and the ump just wants to get it over with. Two, when the ump sympathizes when my team is getting blasted and he wants to help achieve some balance and gives me more latitude. Three, when batters whine about the arc, so the irritated ump gives them even more to gripe about by loosening his standards. Four, when the sun becomes a problem and the ump, without making it official, starts calling the high arc illegal. Five, when the wind kicks up and the ump starts being more generous with the strike zone so it doesn't become a game of walks. It happens, sometimes understandably, sometimes not.
Nov. 16, 2009
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
stick, absolutely! You find out early what kind of arc you can use with certain umps, as well as how far you can push the envelope on quick pitching and various other borderline deliveries. Most umps are consistent. You might not like exactly how they call balls and strikes, height, motion, etc. but you adjust or you don't do very well.
Nov. 16, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3938 posts
omar i think your hitting the nail on the head with your post.for me the better umps will stay on course with thier calls,if its a strike in the 1st,it should be a strike in the 7th.i have pitched in games where the zone changes almost every inning.also make sure its the same for both sides,yeah i love the whinning hitters,with them i'll go even higher to see if the ump has finally gotten PO'd at them for continuely whining about pitches.LOL,also with these umps,i'll tell my guys to shut up b/c i want to be able to go up if he is gonna allow it.doesn't make me to popular in my dugout,but hey i'm the one pitching not them.
i can see an ump having a little lattitude in blow out games,but don't go crazy with it.
Nov. 16, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Dirty, not being a pitcher I'll take your word for it. When I played B we had a pitcher for one year who if the ump was giving him the low pitch, he was a great pitcher. If the ump didn't he would never adjust and it was walk after walk which equated to losses. Thank God most of the umps we had gave him the low pitch!! Do you find that if a pitcher questions the basis of the umps balls and strike calls in a respectful manner most umps will explain their basis for their calls?
Nov. 16, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Omar, thank you for your analysis. Allow me to give you my take as an umpire on your 5 points. 1)I do that quite often but I will indicate beforehand to the team that's ahead that the strike zone has become bigger, IOW, swing the bat!! 2)Kind of intertwines with #1 3)I get this quite often in league play. Most times they don't fully understand what the arc limits are. Explaining it in a short and easy way for them to understand can solve their dilemna. I'm not into giving lengthy, detailed explanations of the strike zone. They can refer to the rule book or league rules for that. If they get overbearing, obnoxious and irritable their strike zone just got smaller and I won't tell them that. 4) Never had that dilemna although we can move games to another available diamond if we choose to 5)I can understand that to a degree but to me, unless your up by a ton of runs, a strike is a strike whether it's Rusty Baumgartner or your neighbor. A good pitcher should be able to adjust to weather conditions and most do.
With regard to #3 do you feel most umpires tend to take too much heat from players without warning them or even tossing them?
Nov. 16, 2009
Omar Khayyam
1000 posts
Stick, to be honest, I kind of sympathize with the players if I am throwing an illegally high arc that the umpire is allowing, but the occasional moan from the dugout or the look from a batter is part of the game and most umps shrug that off. But when an individual batter is complaining about every pitch (even legal ones because he doesn't like high pitches), I think the umpire should warn him...and toss him if it keeps up. Umps hate it; other players are irritated; get rid of the guy.

I have even had teams where the manager comes out to question a high pitch. If done with respect to make a point, I have no problem and neither do most umps. But when a manager storms out to challenge the umpire's interpretation of a high pitch, I think it is time for a warning...and next time a tossing.

I think, addressing the point, that umps who get tougher with whiners (especially if it is the whole team) by giving the other pitcher the edge is very understandable.

I really feel for the umps. They know that most guys are playing for a good time, not a trophy or to show off for a girlfriend. They hate to push guys around. But umps still have to be respected. And too much dissing should be stopped with warnings/ejection. Otherwise, the ump's reputation will get around and others will take advantage of it.

I have never complained to an ump about his interpretation of where the arc limits are, as long as he is consistent, since I can adjust and live with it. I do complain about such umps to my team and others after the game, since I consider such umps who don't know the arc zone to be in need of further training and improvement.
Nov. 17, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Stick,
You're helping stimulate a great discussion and I would challenge
your point that there's not much a
6-12 arc pitcher can do against
hitters with lively bats and balls.
That hasn't been my experience
either pitching or batting.
The thing that marks a good team
from a great team is usually
the level of the pitcher.
Guys like Mickey Hughes, Billy from Evolution, Huber,
Flip and Randy, can have a huge impact
on very good hitters with their
control, shtick, movement, toughness
and/or smarts.
It amazes me to some degree
that a lot of very good players
still don't get the value of the level of the pitcher
in slow pitch softball.
Nov. 17, 2009
Paco13
373 posts
Einstein, you bring a great point and I must say that UR correct, a pitcher makes a big difference in a softball game. Granted the ball still comes at 4-6 mph or so??? And the do not have a slider, curve ball etc… A good pitcher that can take advantage of the arch; pitching short-dip; in and outside will win a lot of games for that team, now if that same pitcher does have a knuckle ball, curve ball and a back spin on his arsenal he is golden. A knuckle ball with two strikes is lethal...So yes they make a humongous difference.
Nov. 17, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Einstein, thanks for the props and for making a valid point. I'm not sure that I meant to say or imply a pitcher having to work with the 6-12 ft SSUSA arc can't make a difference. You are right when you point out a good pitcher can and does make a difference using that arc. The point that I should have made clearer is a pitcher has more leeway at his disposal to make a difference in USSSA type pitching as opposed to SSUSA type pitching. Pump-faking, flatter arc, a bit more speed on pitches, perhaps an umpire who will allow flatter arc, etc. Perhaps I'm a bit biased because I've played and still play a ton of USSSA? Irregardless the names you mentioned are definitely good at what they do. They can knuckle it, make use of the whole mat, curve it, use the minimum and maximum arc. I'd also put you in that category, you do very well!!
Strictly speaking as a hitter do you find that even those that are regarded as high quality pitchers will serve a "groove" or "cherry" pitch up at some point during an at-bat?
Nov. 20, 2009
Eddie 12
Men's 50
14 posts
Back to the original question " Why dont we get to rate umpires". I brought this up not to wine or complain about the way a game is called. But instead maybe a way of inproving our game. Not all criticism has to be negative. I was thinking that maybe there could be a spot for 1 to 10 rating or 5 star with maybe a small comment section on the score card. Taits I think you have some good ideas about what kind of comments that could be made to help the crew chiefs evaluate their members. Of course we all know some players will just write things like "this ump sucks" or "get him some glasses" but maybe just maybe with some constructive criticsm and positive feedback we can all enjoy a inproved game.
Nov. 21, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Eddie 12 thanks for your input. It might not be too bad for players to rate the umps but I would prefer it to be players who aren't playing in that particular game. It's a good chance they might be more objective. That being said I'm not sure players would be inclined to stay around the complex when they have breaks between their games (in tournaments). Teams playing can get a good feel for the ump as the game proceeds. But do you think one bad call at the end of a game could result in a team giving the ump a poor rating?
Nov. 22, 2009
MaverickAH
59 posts
Stick8,

I haven't been through here in a bit so I apologize for not responding sooner.

It's been my experience that it's beneficial to get a good read on an umpire's temperment. Some are uptight, some are loose, some are easy to talk to, some are not, some don't respond to critcism well...... You get the idea. I've seen teams get off on the wrong foot with an ump before the first pitch is even thrown!

Maybe a particular umpire allows a higher arc. This can be beneficial if your pitcher is aware of this! Maybe a particular umpire doesn't hustle out on plays & you middle infielders can take advantage of a bigger "halo" around 2B on DP's These are some of the physical things that a team can take advantage of.

As far as the strike zone goes, it's usually the fault of the lack of proper training and/or laziness. There is nothing worse than seeing an ump point to a spot in the dirt as an indication fo a ball or strike. (Actually there is one thing worse & that is when a batter does it!)

The srike zone is a legally delivered pitch that is within the required height & clears the plate within its width the batter's front knee & back shoulder. It's essentially a 3 dimensional box & has absolutely nothing to do with where the ball hit the ground.
Nov. 22, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Maverick8 you make some very savvy points. It's been my experience that the teams I've played on didn't get the proper read on the umpires beforehand. This ties in to what you ellude to in so far as what arc they call, temperment, hustling, etc.
The strike zone appears to elicit different interpretations for different people. When I ump I always call the plate, never the batter. It makes mno difference if the batter is in front of the plate, deep in the box or even with the plate because the plate is the same. I like your explanation of the strike zone. When I ump I always have hitters point to where the ball landed challenging a strike call. I always explain it's not where it lands it's where it crosses!! I can understand lower rec league players questioning it but I get more tournament players questioning it, which amazes me.
Nov. 22, 2009
MaverickAH
59 posts
Stick, that is the proper textbook way to call balls & strikes. Bravo!

I've seen some pitchers who can really make the ball move to the point of catching the plate but having the ball land close to a foot away! It's still a strike!

One other thing I dislike are umps who change their strike zone as the game progresses. If you start off with an established strike zone, keep it consistent! I think that the only time I will adjust my strike zone is for lower rec levels where the games are more about social interaction & folks having fun. Then I will make whatever adjustments I need to within reason to make it enjoyable for all.

NEVER will I do this at upper levels or tournament/playoff games.
Nov. 22, 2009
stick8
1301 posts
Good call about adjusting the strike zone at the lower levels MaverickAH. Sometimes I'll give them a higher arc or a deeper pitch but it'll go two ways. I also do agree with you on umps changing their zones. I find that this occurs when coaches, managers, players and even spectators are riding umpires during a game. In a tournament game I always establish at the pregame conference it's my strike zone and that it'll be the same for both teams. I'm more than happy to explain why I call certain pitches strikes or other calls to players and managers who may disagree--as long as it's done in a respectful manner. I find that most times they still may not agree but they'll understand and roll with it--as slong as it's called both ways. Then you get the ones who become belligerent. I only have so much patience for those types and reach a point where I have to take a stand. As umpires we are not second class citizens!!
Your right on in your tournament ball philosophy but I might add one thing different. If Team A is blowing out Team B by a huge margin and it appears a mercy is evident I'll open up Team A's strike zone for their last at bats. But I'll tell them before the inning "the strike zone just expanded for you guys" so they're not caught off guard. IOW, swing the bat!! Most understand that.
Nov. 24, 2009
davisp77
1 posts
I ump, and also play. Umps, just like teams should be rated. That way, the best umps just like the best teams can earn their way to the major tournaments. When they go, they should be fully compensated, room, board, rental car, plane ticket and ofcourse their game fees.

Here's how it can be done:

1) Does the umpire dress properly? Because first "umpressions" count... 10 Points

2) Does the umpire have all his equipment? Indicator, Clock, Brush, Ball Bag, Backpack, extra stuff (in case something breaks or gets misplaced) 10 Points

3) Is the ump consistent? I.E. Strike Zone, Arc, Signalling, Voice, Out/Safe on close plays. If an ump consistently calls a big strike zone or calls "out" on the close plays at first, then teams/players can make an adjustment. 25 Points

4) Does the Ump Hustle? If he's one of these clowns who makes a call from behind home plate when the play is at 2nd (Behind the catcher and blocked by the pitcher), he's doing a disservice to all of the the rest of us. 25 Points

5) Does the umpire have a detailed knowledge of the rules? Or is one of these fools who never read a rulebook? 20 Points

6) Intangibles: Some guys have the right stuff, some guys don't. 10 Points

Total: 100 Points

That's a formula, it ain't perfect, but its a start, modify as y'all see fit.
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