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Discussion: What Calls Can Be Questioned and Reviewed by Tournament Director

Posted Discussion
June 6, 2019
DonC13
Men's 50
9 posts
What Calls Can Be Questioned and Reviewed by Tournament Director
I am putting this question here to get a for sure ruling, for any future situations, on what calls a Manager can question and what calls can or cannot be referred to the Tournament Director (TD) for review. My understanding is that a Misinterpretation of a playing rule can be but a Judgement Call cannot be questioned. If there is a 2nd umpire the umpire making the call can ask for input from the other umpire. Like when a ball is dropped on a tag play and the umpire making the call is blocked from seeing the ball come out and the other umpire has a better angle and seen the ball come out. The 2nd umpire can tell the umpire what they saw and it can be changed. Now for my question...Our situation was a fair call on a ball hit down the 3rd baseline that hit the ground past 3rd base On or Near the chalk line on the foul side. At the time of the hit, it was called fair and 2 runners scored and the batter got a triple. At this point, if the ball was actually fair or foul is irrelevant. The Manager asked for a Rule review by the TD. I believe that a Fair/Foul call is a Judgement call and should not be allowed to be reviewed by the TD or changed once made weather right or wrong. The umpire felt that the call was wrong and told that to the TD and the TD overturned the Fair call and reset the game to No Pitch. The best term I ever heard for questioning a judgment call is that a Judgment Call is like ringing a bell it cannot be un-rung. Sorry for such a long post and thank you in advance.
June 6, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Hi DonC ... I'm going to take a run at the definitive answer on this one becuse [1] I was the lead Director at Golden Eagle on Sunday morning and [2] was fortunate, with only 20% odds over five fields going simultaneously, to have seen the play in question from a perspective looking straight down the third base line from the fence ... The nature of the controversy was not the umpire's judgment of whether or not the ball landed in foul territory ... Everyone in the park knew it did, despite her signaling a fair ball ... The protest was for a misinterpretation and resultant misapplication of the rule governing that fair/foul call ... When the umpire was asked why she signaled it "fair", her explanation was: "..Because it was inside [or "over", she tried both versions during the debate] the bag in fair territory when it passed third base.." ... Since the ball had not yet touched the ground, either fair or foul before passing third base, that determination is irrelevant ...

Your preamble on what may (rule) and may not (judgment) be the subject of an appeal/protest is precise and accurate ... In this instance, however, we were dealing with the former and not the latter circumstance ... The umpire DID admit that the call was wrong, and she changed it, but only after the proper interpretation and application of the rule was explained to her ... Was it an unfortunate situation at that point in the game? ... Absolutely! ... Was it the correct call, even though it took a while to get there? ... Again, absolutely! ... I suspect she will never make that rules application mistake again in her career, and it's unfortunate your team was involved in her educational experience ... On a related note, we do appreciate the professional manner by which your team handled the ruling ... This was destined to have exactly a 50% approval rating when it happened, we just didn't know which team was going to be on either side of that line! ... Thanks for writing ...

June 6, 2019
coop3636
407 posts
Hey
I want to put in my 2 cents
I have over the years had three "do overs"
The TD could not make a decision so both teams (for the sake of time) agreed on a " do over"
makes no sense, but it happens (2 were in national tournaments)

On the question above, a judgement call can NOT be (should not) reviewed by the TD.
The ump made a bad call, you just have to live with it. (as long as it is a judgement call, book rules are different)

Just my 2 cents
coop3636

ps, if we start getting the TD to make decisions on judgment calls, it wont be pretty..lol
June 6, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Agreed, coop3636, on a conceptual basis ... But we did NOT review a judgment call here ... Once the umpire was challenged by the defense, and based on her immediate voluntary explanation, the defense lodged the protest ... We appropriately offered the proper rule interpretation and application of that rule to her ... Upon further reflection, she (not us) changed her call to the correct one ... Had the "offended" team not said a word, we certainly wouldn't have, either ... And had the umpire said "..The ball caught a part of the line.." [despite everyone in the park knowing it landed clearly foul], that would have also resulted in the silent approach from us ... But once she opened the door with the obviously incorrect rationale for the call, the rest was both easy and required ...

June 7, 2019
DonC13
Men's 50
9 posts
Dave...Thank you for the full and detailed response. I now understand your side of it. It is very scary that an umpire working a tournament this big and important, a TOC, did not know this basic rule. Maybe there needs to be a test or re-testing for umpires to make sure they know the basic rules of our game.
June 7, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Thanks DonC ... And your observations are, again, spot on ... This umpire was a "traveler", who came from the Pacific Northwest ... The UIC's endeavor to maximize their total games (and revenue potential) if they are willing to stay on for the last session, a theory with which I concur ... She will improve with experience, but this was her first time working with us and we had no preconception of her skill set ... I had a constructive encouragement-based talk with her after the day was done and suggested she continue to work as much as she can and treat this as a learning experience ... I also told her that this level of play and speed of the game had her at a bit of a disadvantage, and she agreed ... We all "live and learn" every day on the fields, so hopefully all will be on an upward curve in the future ... Again, thanks for bringing this one up for discussion ...

June 7, 2019
coop3636
407 posts
Dave
I have a question... or statement
A judgment call cannot (should not) be overturned UNLESS the other umpire is asked for help by the 1st umpire that made the call.. The team CANNOT ASK FOR HELP. (on a tag, dropped ball. etc)
On a fair or foul ball that is called wrong, I cannot see anyway (even if the ump said she made a mistake) being overturned by a TD, or even by the umpire. that's like changing a strike/ball call.
Just my 2 cents worth.

also, teach umps that when you make a call like that, stay with your call. Even if you have to just say" I missed it, but it can't be changed")

I umped for many years and have said that more than once. It usually makes the situation tolerable, not right but tolerable.
Every ump makes mistakes, you just have to live with bad judgement calls.
Book rules, on the other hand, I will fight to the end of time if I think I'm right.
coop3636
June 7, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Brett, here's your answer: You are 101% wrong on this one, and it only took three words into your statement to get there ... This was NOT a judgment call ... Never was ... The umpire made a misapplication of a rule, which the defenders appropriately and correctly appealed and ultimately protested ... The misaplicatipn by rule was signaling fair because the ball was over fair territory when going over third base without having touched the ground first in front of the bag ... She did NOT call it fair because her judgment was that it landed in fair territory ... She, and everyone else in the park, knew it first touched the ground in foul territory beyond third base ... She misapplied the rule, and that's a total no-brainer ...

But let me give you the closest analogy I could think of ... Same situation, but ball is hit deeper into the corner in the air ... It hits the pole and she calls "Foul ball!" ... Offense says (probably very loudly), "WHY??? .. It hit the pole!" ... And she says "It hit the foul pole, so it's a foul ball" ... As a manager, you would be out of the dugout faster than George Brett on the pine tar call and screaming "But it's really a FAIR pole, it's a FAIR pole, it's a FAIR pole!!! " ... You protest, and what would you expect the TD to do? ... EXACTLY the same thing that happened Sunday .. You've got a loser on this one, Brett, so long as you insist this was a judgment call ... Using the word "foul" did not convert a misapplication of the rule into a judgment call ... I would rule the same way, to quote you: "..until the end of time.." on it ... CASE CLOSED ...

June 8, 2019
coop3636
407 posts
Hey Dave
I reread the original post
In my opinion, that post is referring to a judgement call.

"Our situation was a fair call on a ball hit down the 3rd baseline that hit the ground past 3rd base On or Near the chalk line on the foul side. At the time of the hit, it was called fair and 2 runners scored and the batter got a triple. At this point, if the ball was actually fair or foul is irrelevant. The Manager asked for a Rule review by the TD. I believe that a Fair/Foul call is a Judgement call and should not be allowed to be reviewed by the TD or changed once made weather right or wrong. The umpire felt that the call was wrong and told that to the TD and the TD overturned the Fair call and reset the game to No Pitch


fair/foul ball is a judgement call. maybe I am reading it wrong. It was not a rules question, it doesn't say if it was really fair or foul.(on or near the chalk line on the foul side) This sentence makes me think its a judgement call..

I might just be reading too much into it.
\Either way, always good to bicker with you
coop3636

ps.. it doesn't really tell you which umpire told the TD it was a bad call..lol
June 8, 2019
B.J.
709 posts
coop3636.. I'm with Dave on this.. in the OP the HP umpire apparently did not know what a fair/foul ball was.. she said it passed over 3rd base in the air in fair territory and then landed foul-- never touching the ground before 3rd.. therefore she misinterpreted a rule and that should be overturned by the TD or UIC..

coop.. yes a fair/foul call is definitely a judgement call but sometimes umpires don't hesitate for that much needed second and let the info. that they are actually seeing and processing get to the brain..lol and for some of us that is a longggg process..

in your scenario of the overturned fair/foul ball to a do over.. I would NEVER DO A DO OVER (the ball is either fair or foul) and I have never read of any such rule in any softball rule book.. again in your scenario the umpire said he made a mistake on the call..

here is a ruling from an ASA/USA slo-pitch tour. that was talked about a few years ago when a HP umpire blew a call and he knew it right away.. he called foul ball on an apparently obvious fair ball that actually hit the outside edge of the 3rd base bag .. the offense asked for the UIC for a rules interpretation (smart ask by their mgr.) the mgr. asked why a ball was ruled foul when the ball hit the outside of the bag.. the HP umpire admitted he mistakenly called foul ball.. the UIC explained that the fair/foul rule was misinterpreted so the HP umpire invoked RULE 10, 3C.. the outcome was the HP umpire awarded the batter 1B and any runners forced to advance advanced.. SSUSA uses RULE 1.55 PROTESTS

June 8, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Brett ... As long as you cling to the false premise that she JUDGED the ball fair rather than the actual reality that she RULED it fair due to not knowing and/or properly applying the governing rule, you will remain incorrect ... Often we're almost required here to use the disclaimer "..I wasn't there and didn't see the play.." ... Not this time ... Two T.D.'s (one was me) and a regional U.I.C. were observing this game (really the umpire) ... We were standing about five feet above grade for the sunken diamond and were looking straight down the 3rd base line ... Couldn't have asked for a better accidental perspective ... We sort of looked at each other after the call, but said and did nothing ... We also remained silent during and immediately after she explained to the defense's manager why she called it fair ... We became involved only when that manager appealed and asked for a Director ... The rest is as detailed above ...

Oh, the umpire who told the T.D.'s it was a bad call was the plate umpire herself after the rule and its application were explained to her and she had a moment to reconsider what she saw in that context and to rule accordingly ... Despite what it may have looked like, or conclusions by those who only got to read about it here, this was never a judgment call ...

June 9, 2019
coop3636
407 posts
OK
I concede..lol
coop3636
June 9, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
No worries, coop! ... Everything you typed about judgment calls was accurate ... This one just wasn't one of those creatures!
June 10, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 65
708 posts
May I post without chico senior's permission? When you call a ball foul you can't un-ring the bell. Changing a fair call to foul is permissible.


[[[here is a ruling from an ASA/USA slo-pitch tour. that was talked about a few years ago when a HP umpire blew a call and he knew it right away.. he called foul ball on an apparently obvious fair ball that actually hit the outside edge of the 3rd base bag .. the offense asked for the UIC for a rules interpretation (smart ask by their mgr.) the mgr. asked why a ball was ruled foul when the ball hit the outside of the bag.. the HP umpire admitted he mistakenly called foul ball.. the UIC explained that the fair/foul rule was misinterpreted so the HP umpire invoked RULE 10, 3C.. the outcome was the HP umpire awarded the batter 1B and any runners forced to advance advanced.. SSUSA uses RULE 1.55 PROTESTS]]]


The umpire didn't misinterpret the rule. I'd get a new UIC.
June 11, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
NOPE ... Wrong (again) Wayne ... This incident was not a judgment call, but a rather easy one to decide for a misapplication of the rules ... She did not JUDGE the ball fair (everyone in the park, including the umpire, knew it first landed in foul territory, and she said so), but rather improperly RULED it fair because it was over fair territory when passing 3rd base without having hit the ground ... You are about a week late to class on this seminar, so maybe spend a moment and read back through the thread? ... It's obvious what happened, and we had the luxury of actually being there and seeing the play ... A total no-brainer decision ...
June 11, 2019
chico senior
Men's 60
125 posts
Wayne - You have my permission to continue your incorrect interpretation of SSUSA rules. I suggest you find new sources for help rather then your current sources.
June 11, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 65
708 posts
No Dave, I'm only wrong because I don't adhere to your perception. Since she ruled it fair and it was changed it to foul, I have no problem with that. Easy call to change and dang sure not a misapplication of rules.

It is still a judgment call that can be corrected where I come from and the umpire's lack of knowledge when making a judgment call is not a misapplication of the rules.

Just saying, "I missed the call because I didn't know the rule." is a cop out. No she blew the call. Experience is often a mistake you don't make twice. I'm sure she learned from her experience.

We get crappy umpires that don't know the rules all the time and have horrible judgment. So what's the big deal?

I agree with DonC13, this was no misapplication of the rules, just an inexperienced umpire that doesn't know the rules.

The only seminar I've seen was on the job training for an umpire. Read carefully. I have no problem with the call on that play beings changed to FOUL. Easy fix and nobody got hurt or penalized. Send runners back to their bases and add a strike to the batter's count.

Misapplication of rules as an excuse. UH HUH.
June 11, 2019
B.J.
709 posts
Dave, suggestion... there should be a close the thread rule lol .. once the rules question is answered CORRECTLY close the thread before Mr. Baseball has a chance to give his baseball answer
June 11, 2019
Garocket
Men's 55
258 posts
Wayne I think Dave explained the situation pretty good. The umpire misapplied a rule. She said as long as it went by third in fair territory that it is a fair ball. And we both know that is not true, rule misapplied. So many younger umpires get the bounding ball rule mixed up with just a line drive that goes over the base fair. Lets just say she will not miss that one again.
June 11, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Sure picking at a lot of nits here, Wayne! ... She (eventually) got the call right, and (unfortunately) there was on the job training involved .. I have no problem with people learning from bad experiences ... I would love to have perfection from umpires (and players and managers and directors), but that's likely an unreasonable expectation for guys/gals our age playing a game that is basically designed for 12-year old girls ...

It doesn't change the fact that she RULED wrongly, and corrected it, as opposed to JUDGING wrongly and having someone else improperly try to influence her changing that judgment ... And what's the difference between not knowing the rule and guessing wrongly as opposed to simply misapplying a rule she thought she knew, but didn't? ... Yep, NO difference at all ... Gawd, this is wearying! ...

June 11, 2019
Mulewhipper
Men's 55
128 posts
Dave's original post on this, precisely and eloquently explains the ruling. If you are arguing this explanation…you are only here to argue, please move on.
June 11, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 65
708 posts
So having a slightly different opinion is picking nits now? A little childish there on some's part. coop3636 wasn't picking nits, who I agree with, but I am?

I personally don't care what the call and the outcome of what happened was. Some people just have to have EVERYTHING their way.

I wasn't trying to pick nits. You're simply talking down to me, as usual, and trying to instigate an argument in my book.

Yeah, that does get wearying!
June 11, 2019
chico senior
Men's 60
125 posts
Wayne - You’re a real piece of work. This has nothing to do with someones opinion on a rule. This has nothing to do with having to have everything their way. What is has to do with is getting the call correct according to the rules. Why don’t you confer with all your so called experts on the subject and get back to us. I’d really like to hear from some of these so called experts - ex pro and college umpires - you keep referring to.They would not be working at those levels if what you claim they have told you regarding most of the things you have commented on over the last few months. They would be out of a job and be working their way back up the ladder starting with Little League.
June 11, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 65
708 posts
Calm down, Sling Blade.

Chico - Now you're picking boogers. I never said anything about getting the call right. They did get the call right in the end. I just don't agree with the reason of changing the call because of a MISAPPLICATION OF THE RULES.

Try being sober before you go on you're next rant, okay.



June 12, 2019
TimMcElroy
691 posts
Name calling and personal attacks. Beyond rdiculous. Please close this thread and put this guy out of his misery.
June 12, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2843 posts
Congratulations, Wayne, on yet another successful THREAD KILL ... Just a couple of entirely appropriate random thoughts on the way out the door for this one ...

• You appear compulsive about being the "..gotta have the last word guy.." here way too often ... That's probably OK, but only if your posting content is appropriate ... Once again, it wasn't ... Disparaging comments and name calling is unacceptable ... Stop it, effective immediately ...
• The tournament staff at the site of this circumstance in Reno was comprised of two long-term members of the National Rules Committee and a Regional U.I.C. who has been an invaluable contributor during five of the six most recent Committee sessions at the annual convention ... They nailed it, including by consensus of others contributing here, including the originator of the thread ... You didn't ...
• The inescapable conclusion that comes to mind is the only ones who might possibly have had a worse performance day yesterday than you did are the members of Thailand's national women's soccer team ...

We're done here ... ** THREAD CLOSED **

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