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Any baseball umpires here? I have a question for you.

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Smallpotatoes, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    At the Legion game I covered last night, it was about 2 minutes before the game was scheduled to start and the umpires were nowhere in sight.
    We were told they were at their cars, changing.
    Then, right before the game was scheduled to start, they took the field.
    I've seen this happen quite a few times, and I've heard coaches (both high school and Legion) comment about it and say how annoying it is.
    I know umpires and officials in most sports are instructed to leave the field and head straight toward the dressing room or their cars right after a game for obvious reasons, but are umpires also instructed not to take the field until the last possible minute and if so, why?
  2. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    I don't have any answers for you other than that many legion fields don't have anywhere for the umps to change and the umps generally don't take the field until after warmups, just in time to exchange lineups and yell play ball.

    Most of the time, the umps have to work their real jobs right up until game time -- I guess that could be the reason...
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I umpired high school/Legion ball for a few years, and youth ball for a few more. We weren't instructed, per se, to take the field at the last minute, but there's no reason for an umpire to be on the field 20 minutes before the game unless it's to check out parts of the field where they might be some quirky ground rules. It only invites fans/parents/assholes that much more time to make snide comments.

    If coaches find it annoying, tough shit. As long as the game starts at its scheduled time (I don't care how early your team gets ready, the game starts when it's supposed to start), they should STFU.

    When the umpires take the field, the game should be ready to start. Bring the coaches together at the plate, exchange lineup cards, go over ground rules or rules interpretations, they do their requisite bitching for a bigger/smaller strike zone, and play ball.
  4. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I've also seen high school games start early. While I do everything I can to get to games on time and it's a matter of personal pride for me not to be late, there have been times when I've been hung up in the office, arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, and the game is already in the bottom of the first.
    I think in some places, the umpires are told when everyone's ready to go, go. Don't wait until 4 just because a game is supposed to start at 4.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    And that's exactly why they should wait. Not for media members covering the game, of course, but for anybody. The game is supposed to start at 4. Don't start it at 3:50, no matter how many people say, "Oh, go ahead, everybody looks ready." That's unprofessional on the part of any umpire who caves in to his/her own laziness or the coaches/fans who try to push it.
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    I do youth league games and get on the field about five minutes before, to exchange lineup cards, go over ground rules and get the home team on the field so the first pitch is at the scheduled time. I've done some two- and three-day tournaments, where teams are playing two or more games a day, and if they want to start early and are ready, fine by me.
  7. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    With both associations that I've been with, we've been instructed to take the field after infield from both teams. During that time, we were supposed to be checking the equipment in the dugouts and going over our game.

    In Indianapolis, we would be fined if we weren't at the field 30 minutes prior to the game. In the parking lot with our partner changing and going over things. Down here in Georgia, they weren't as strict.

    Personally, I hated to be there last minute. I need to stretch and stuff and like to go over things with my partner. Everyone has different styles and that needs to be covered.
  8. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    As a 20-year umpire, i think some of the responses have been dead on. Most umpires for high school and daytime (prior to 6 p.m. starts) games leave jobs early in order to get to games. There are rarely places to dress, so they are out by our cars, getting dressed and making certain we are on the same page with play coverages. And there have been umpires cited by local cops for getting dressed in parking lots, even with no dressing rooms provided.

    In high school games, they should arrive on the field 10 minutes prior to game start in order to check equipment (bats and helmets). The pregame conference should start 5 minutes prior to gametime and the game should begin on time.

    If weather is looming, they are sometimes asked to start a game early in order to have a chance to finish the game. Coaches would rather get a game in on the scheduled day than try to reschedule it, when you consider what's involved in rescheduling -- busses, fields (in places where they are shared), finding an open date, getting umpires.

    Even though I understand frustration of writers/parents/others when a game starts early, when i umpire, i don't do it for those people. It happens at the request of the participants and is in the best interest of all involved. It's at most five or 10 minutes, because the other team got there about the same time I did, and that's as quick as we can get ready. If a reporter is showing up at a game that close to official game time, then they were already running late.

    In response to the original post, there is no normal reason the umpires shouldn't be on the field at the 10-minute prior to game time mark. If they are worried about heckling, etc... then they are in the wrong business.
  9. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I was supposed to cover a high school playoff game at a local juco gym. Got there about 30 minutes before scheduled tip, and just caught the losing coach as his bus was pulling away. They decided to play the game a couple of hours early. Had to copy the losing coach's book and track down the winning coach when he got back home, in the prior-to-cell-phone days.
  10. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Matt, funny you should bring up the heckling issue. Last night, the base umpire ejected two fans and threatened the home team with a forfeit. I don't remember the heckling as particularly abusive. No profanity and I've certainly heard worse. Seemed like the umpire was going out of his way to get into it with some of the fans, but that's a topic for another day.
  11. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    I checked my rulebooks. Nowhere does an umpire have the right or rule support to eject fans. Now the home coach (during school year, game administrator) is responsible for fan behavior... Umpire can stop a game until a problem is fixed.

    But I worry about the game and let administration worry about the fans. If it gets nasty (which in today's society it does)... I take steps to let them take care of it...
  12. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    In a Legion game, where there is no AD or site director, who would qualify as the administration?
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