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If anyone here is an umpire, question about start times of baseball/softball

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Smallpotatoes, May 3, 2014.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Over the part few years, I've noticed many of the high school baseball and softball games around here tend to start earlier than their scheduled starting times. The one I went to today was supposed to start at 4 and the first pitch was at 3:50.
    It seems the policy is, when everyone is ready, start the game;don't wait around until 4 just because that's when it's supposed to start.
    How common is this? If anyone here is an umpire, have coaches or ADs ever asked you to start games early?
  2. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I know that in the primary league we cover, even if the JV games end quickly, they insist on a 7:30 p.m. start for varsity in football and basketball. Makes sense, after all the start time has been in the paper all week ...
  3. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Because divisions in RI are based on talent and not location, this happens often, especially at night games - a team from the south with with a 45-minute drive (that's an eternity in Rhode Island) will get to the field a little early and ask to start early to get them home sooner.
    I showed up for a hoops game at 6:45 for a 7 p.m. start and the first half was near the midway point. The team I covered requested it because they were a regional school and some of them lived 20-25 minutes away from the school so the coach didn't want them getting in at 10.
  4. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    The only times I can remember baseball/softball games starting earlier than scheduled was if big rain or thunderstorms were on the way and they wanted to better their chances at getting in enough innings to make it official.

    Semi-related: I covered an American Legion game one summer a few years ago. Light rain, but lots of lightning, and the umps kept pushing the start time back. Finally, with the rain starting to pick up and the lightning maintaining, they take the field and the ump starts the game. First pitch is a ball, the ump sends everyone off the field and the game is called. I presume that had something to do with getting paid?
  5. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Any time a game started 5-10 minutes earlier, I loved it. It got done that much earlier and if one is covering a game he/she should be there in plenty of time so if they start if 5-10 minutes early it doesn't make a difference.
  6. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Spring sports always seem to have a laissez faire attitude to start times wherever I worked as well.
    I have been to a few girls basketball games that started 30-40 minutes early because the JV start time was early because there was no freshman game to start and they didn't know the other school didn't have a freshman team until they showed up.
  7. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Active Member

    Our basketball games during the week have a listed start time of 7:30 p.m., but they really start 20 minutes after the JV games — almost always later.
  8. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    This. A thousand times this. If you aren't in place, ready to go at least 15 minutes before something is scheduled to start, you are late. When I was still in the business, I always arrived 45 minutes to an hour before kickoff/tip/first pitch/whatever. I talked to people, got my lineups, got all my own business set, and in the final minutes before something was to start and everyone else was scrambling around, I chilled and waited to begin. If something started 5-10 minutes early, that was 5-10 minutes earlier I got home.
  9. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    Try this one on for size: I arrive at 4:30 for a 5 p.m. softball game that was moved to 7 p.m. without either school notifying me so I'm stuck in the middle of no where waiting for 2 1/2 hours for the game to start.
  10. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Over 30 years or so of covering preps, I have seen the following patterns:

    1) Some schools and leagues are more anal about it than others. I have dealt with schools/leagues who insisted that games start precisely at the scheduled times, and others who were adamant all events should get under way ASAP.

    2) Sometimes it depends on day of the week and distances of competing teams. I've seen examples where one or both teams have a long drive (couple of hours or more) to get home; on a weeknight they usually want to get on the bus ASAP.

    3) Light is also a factor for afternoon sports, especially early in the season when light only lasts to 7:30 or 8. In that case, refs, coaches and ADs usually want to get everything played early.

    4) ADs and principals sometimes get pushback on the other end, particularly with afternoon sports where parents may leave directly from work and go to the game, only to find it is already in progress, or over, by the time they get there. Usually some fiery phone calls to the AD follow.

    5) Things also depend if you are playing a doubleheader/tripleheader; if there is a freshman and JV game before the varsity, everything gets thrown into a jumble if one or both games go OT.

    6) And, sometimes, it also depends if the game is being broadcast. I have covered some hoops games where the freshman and JV games got over 1:30 before the varsity, but the AD just said, "we are being carried on WANK Radio; we tip off at 7:05 sharp. If we sit around for two hours, we sit around for two hours. Maybe these guys will do some homework."
  11. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    A start time is a start time. If you schedule at 5 PM, that means 5 PM. That does not mean 4:45 PM. If you want to start at 4:45, you schedule the starting time as 4:45.

    I have plenty of work to do at the office, enough to where I can't skip out of the office at 3:45 to be at the field by 4:15 for a 5 PM start. I need to be at the office until 4:15 so I can get more work done and arrive at the field at 4:45, 15 minutes ahead of first pitch. I should not have to worry about the game being in the bottom of the first when I arrive at 4:45 for a game scheduled to start at 5 PM. And it's also a big middle finger to every working parent/fan that can't cut out of work early.

    Am I supposed to show up at work a half hour early every day in spring on unpaid time just so I can get to the field at 4:15?
  12. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    "If you aren't in place, ready to go at least 15 minutes before something is scheduled to start, you are late."

    It was Joe's preference to get there 45-60 minutes early. Very smart approach, it gives you a cushion should you encounter unexpected traffic, etc., that delays you. It also can guarantee you a seat in a crowded press box.

    He did not say that worked for everyone. But as he (correctly) if you're not there 15-20 minutes early, then at some point, given the fluidity of starting times for prep athletics (especially in the spring and fall, when weather is involved and games sometimes do start 5-10 or even 15 minutes early) you will get caught with your pants down, and also quite possibly annoy other reporters/game officials, etc., by asking them what happened as you try to catch up.

    Some people in this profession have learned something over the years. It's your decision whether you want to take their advice or not.
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