Umpires refuse to work Taunton Little League Games

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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Jul 19, 2005
17,557
But catching the ball during that havoc is exactly a skill that they need to learn. I mean, there are routine fly balls in little league baseball, but they don't really start until 11-12-ish, and as kids go up through baseball the havoc is still there, it just takes other forms (4 kids in totally different positions screaming "Throw the ball here!!!!!" as parents yell different directions from the stands as just one example." "Letting the defensive player off the hook" is absolutely not the goal of the rule. I am not trying to be a dick to the kid who has a hard time fielding a pop up, but learning that skill is important at that level.
The havoc I was referring to was for the baserunners who would be forced to go from "that's a can a corn...he's definitely got this" to "oh shit there is no way I'm making it to third." The fielders are going to try to catch the ball whether the ump calls IFF or not.

Teaching "the right way to run the bases" at age 10-12 and under is a bit of a folly, IMO. If running the bases properly was a real goal, then stealing wouldn't be allowed at that level (I could go on and on about this, ftr. Personally....I would advocate that kids at that level in rec only be allowed to steal for one or two innings per game. But that's just me). You can't get those kids to master running the bases, you can just teach them how not to make huge mistakes. Reasonable people can absolutely disagree here.
Yeah...I am going to totally disagree with the notion that teaching good baserunning is folly. Starting at age 9 we spend significant amounts of practice time working on it and continually reinforce good techniques during games and it pays huge dividends as the season progresses and the players get older. Getting out of the box fast, running through first, taking a turn, running out a double, tagging up, going halfway, IFF, sliding, secondary leads, picking up the base coaches, etc. are all covered.

Given the lack of control of the pitchers and the inconsistent ability to catch the ball I agree that steals can be a problem. We manage this by limiting the number of steals at this age. The team is allowed 3 and individual players are limited to 2 per inning.

I would way rather kill the IFF rule for kids under 10-12, but there is a sense in parents and often a few coaches that it is the only rule that makes the game legimitate.
Agree to disagree.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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The havoc I was referring to was for the baserunners who would be forced to go from "that's a can a corn...he's definitely got this" to "oh shit there is no way I'm making it to third." The fielders are going to try to catch the ball whether the ump calls IFF or not.
So they are basically learning a skill that is going to be a part of baseball for the rest of the time they play, only it will get about 10-15 feet deeper with every year. And the fielder works on making the catch. I’m nissing the problem.

Yeah...I am going to totally disagree with the notion that teaching good baserunning is folly. Starting at age 9 we spend significant amounts of practice time working on it and continually reinforce good techniques during games and it pays huge dividends as the season progresses and the players get older. Getting out of the box fast, running through first, taking a turn, running out a double, tagging up, going halfway, IFF, sliding, secondary leads, picking up the base coaches, etc. are all covered.
None of what you have listed above is meaningfully impacted by the removal of the IFF, and this is your entire justification for the IFF. I’m hoping that as you wrote this you realized the absurdity of your position.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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Jul 19, 2005
17,557
So they are basically learning a skill that is going to be a part of baseball for the rest of the time they play, only it will get about 10-15 feet deeper with every year. And the fielder works on making the catch. I’m nissing the problem.



None of what you have listed above is meaningfully impacted by the removal of the IFF, and this is your entire justification for the IFF. I’m hoping that as you wrote this you realized the absurdity of your position.
Apparently I am doing a shitty job of expressing my thoughts on this because your interpretations of what I'm trying to say are way off.

I'll reiterate what I said above. Agree to disagree.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Apparently I am doing a shitty job of expressing my thoughts on this because your interpretations of what I'm trying to say are way off.

I'll reiterate what I said above. Agree to disagree.
Assessing a fielder’s likelihood of making a catch and how to respond to that in the basepaths is a skill that moves to the deep infield/shallow outfield by HS and beyond. Does
that clarify?
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Jun 26, 2006
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Just had an ump blow this call in a high school game. Bases loaded, pop-up to the shortstop. Ump calls infield fly, but our SS does the drop-it-on-purpose thing and the runners freak out and start running for nonreason. SS fires home and the ump calls the runner out on a force before our catcher has a chance to put a tag on!

That’s the last out, so our kids run off the field. I gather them up, tell them the last out was a gift and explain IFF and why there was no force, etc. Then the ump sheepishly comes over while their pitcher is warming up: “I screwed that up.”

I tell him I know and we go confer with the other coach, who’s all kinds of confused. He’s pissed at his kids for running, so we decide to split the baby: We give them an extra run, but we keep the out.

No, that doesn’t really make sense, but it kept the game moving…
 

Archer1979

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Assessing a fielder’s likelihood of making a catch and how to respond to that in the basepaths is a skill that moves to the deep infield/shallow outfield by HS and beyond. Does that clarify?
What age do you think the IFF rule would be appropriate? The reason I ask is that for T-Ball, we obviously didn't call it (coaches ump'd, kids were allow to over run all bases). I honestly can't tell you whether or not we did it for 3rd and 4th graders. The umpires were usually kids from the local high school baseball teams. However, by that time, we spent a considerable amount of time in fielding drills so catching pop-ups were more the rule than the exception.

But I know that at the 5th and 6th grade level it was called. At that level, we had certified umps that didn't have middle or high school games to ump that day and made some serious coin doing it. We pretty much had to go by their standard.
 
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Archer1979

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Just had an ump blow this call in a high school game. Bases loaded, pop-up to the shortstop. Ump calls infield fly, but our SS does the drop-it-on-purpose thing and the runners freak out and start running for nonreason. SS fires home and the ump calls the runner out on a force before our catcher has a chance to put a tag on!

That’s the last out, so our kids run off the field. I gather them up, tell them the last out was a gift and explain IFF and why there was no force, etc. Then the ump sheepishly comes over while their pitcher is warming up: “I screwed that up.”

I tell him I know and we go confer with the other coach, who’s all kinds of confused. He’s pissed at his kids for running, so we decide to split the baby: We give them an extra run, but we keep the out.

No, that doesn’t really make sense, but it kept the game moving…
This is a great story. Zero chance our local high school would have come to that compromise.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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What age do you think the IFF rule would be appropriate? The reason I ask is that for T-Ball, we obviously didn't call it (coaches ump'd, kids were allow to over run all bases). I honestly can't tell you whether or not we did it for 3rd and 4th graders. The umpires were usually kids from the local high school baseball teams. However, by that time, we spent a considerable amount of time in fielding drills so catching pop-ups were mor ethe rule than the exception.

But I know that at the 5th and 6th grade level it was called. At that level, we had certified umps that didn't have middle or high school games to ump that day and made some serious coin doing it. We pretty much had to go by their standard.
I have to be honest, I don’t know for sure anymore as I haven’t been close to youth baseball in nearly a decade since my son stopped playing. I feel like the point where it becomes feasible that the infielder COULD turn the DP and is 90+ percent likely to catch any and all “ordinary” fly balls happens between 10 and 12, but I might be off.
 

Archer1979

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I have to be honest, I don’t know for sure anymore as I haven’t been close to youth baseball in nearly a decade since my son stopped playing. I feel like the point where it becomes feasible that the infielder COULD turn the DP and is 90+ percent likely to catch any and all “ordinary” fly balls happens between 10 and 12, but I might be off.
Ok. Similar situation for me. I remember that my older boy missed a pop fly to the outfield at the 3rd/4th grade level. He was one of those players that did all the wrong things mechanically but still managed to make the plays. Didn't this one time. Had to spend about a half hour after that game to "practice". He started to do things the right way after that. 3rd and 4th grade is where we typically worked on those things.

To be fair, it was a JV game. Not sure it would have been as civil if varsity level.
That makes sense then. JV games were a lot less tense. My younger son was a tweener for a year between JV and Varsity. Typically, kids would get called up during the JV game when the Varsity coach realized he was short players. Always fun to see half the infield and that day's starting pitcher changing in the woods from their JV to Varsity jerseys.
 
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BigJimEd

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Jan 4, 2002
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Just had an ump blow this call in a high school game. Bases loaded, pop-up to the shortstop. Ump calls infield fly, but our SS does the drop-it-on-purpose thing and the runners freak out and start running for nonreason. SS fires home and the ump calls the runner out on a force before our catcher has a chance to put a tag on!

That’s the last out, so our kids run off the field. I gather them up, tell them the last out was a gift and explain IFF and why there was no force, etc. Then the ump sheepishly comes over while their pitcher is warming up: “I screwed that up.”

I tell him I know and we go confer with the other coach, who’s all kinds of confused. He’s pissed at his kids for running, so we decide to split the baby: We give them an extra run, but we keep the out.

No, that doesn’t really make sense, but it kept the game moving…
Should be a dead ball if dropped on purpose unless it drops untouched.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
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There was all kind of chaos when dropped-third-strike was introduced in U14 softball this spring. Like IFF, no one understands it well enough to apply it in real time, which includes the imps snd coaches.
 

CR67dream

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Oct 4, 2001
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Wow, this morphed into a really great discussion. My kid's little league days are 10 years past now, but I coached all the way through, and man, has this brought back memories.

As far as the IF rule goes, our league implemented it at the minors level, which is normally 8-10 year olds, many of whom won't, due to other interests or lack of desire, be around by the time they would get to the majors. I really couldn't stand the rule at that level. You have kids with virtually no knowledge or skills mixed with kids who are there with a purpose, and it's mostly a complete clusterfuck. 8 year olds are facing live pitching for the first time after their coach pitch days, and most 10 year olds made the majors in our town due to need/numbers. It was a really hard level to coach at, as the participants were so varied in both skill and maturity. Also, anything in play is an adventure and far from routine. Let them learn to hit, run, throw, play different positions, but don't bog them down with rules that are unnecessary to the basics. We discussed and taught the rule, but as coaches we knew that in the heat of play that would probably all go out the window, so we took the responsibility upon ourselves to have our base coaches coach it in real time when the situation arose. I will say our lead umpire was great and taught his umps to use common sense on what a routine play was and why the rule exists. There were a few gripes about it not being called, but the answer was always that it was not routine. They'd call a can of corn every time, but on those we kept the kids glued to their bases. Still hated it.

Once in the majors, though, I think it's time to teach it and learn it. The skill set at this level was strikingly different, and those that were there because they chose to be, while others went on to lacrosse, spring soccer, or who knows what. It is the introduction to playing the game at a truly competitive level, and it makes sense to me to introduce some of the finer intricacies of the game at that point.

The dropped third strike is also tricky, and thankfully we didn't have it in the minors. As my kid did a lot of catching, it was definitely a more personally tough transition once he moved up, but it didn't take long for him, and most of the catchers in the league, to get up to speed and make the plays mostly routinely. I'll never forget one game when we were clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, they had the bases loaded with two outs. I called out to my son that with two down, a dropped third strike would have everyone moving, but all he had to do was step on the plate if it hit the ground. I also told the pitcher that if strike three was swing and a miss that went to the backstop, cover the plate and that it was a force, so just make sure to catch it and don't worry about a tag. Our lead umpire was behind the plate, same guy I mentioned above, and he pulled up his mask, looked over to our dugout and said "Instruction! I love it!" with a big smile on his face. The rule never came into play, the game ended on a clean swinging K, but I'll never forget how good that feedback made me feel in real time.

Anyway, thanks for the memories, guys, glad I opened this thread this rainy morning.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
17,557
Wow, this morphed into a really great discussion. My kid's little league days are 10 years past now, but I coached all the way through, and man, has this brought back memories.

As far as the IF rule goes, our league implemented it at the minors level, which is normally 8-10 year olds, many of whom won't, due to other interests or lack of desire, be around by the time they would get to the majors. I really couldn't stand the rule at that level. You have kids with virtually no knowledge or skills mixed with kids who are there with a purpose, and it's mostly a complete clusterfuck. 8 year olds are facing live pitching for the first time after their coach pitch days, and most 10 year olds made the majors in our town due to need/numbers. It was a really hard level to coach at, as the participants were so varied in both skill and maturity. Also, anything in play is an adventure and far from routine. Let them learn to hit, run, throw, play different positions, but don't bog them down with rules that are unnecessary to the basics. We discussed and taught the rule, but as coaches we knew that in the heat of play that would probably all go out the window, so we took the responsibility upon ourselves to have our base coaches coach it in real time when the situation arose. I will say our lead umpire was great and taught his umps to use common sense on what a routine play was and why the rule exists. There were a few gripes about it not being called, but the answer was always that it was not routine. They'd call a can of corn every time, but on those we kept the kids glued to their bases. Still hated it.

Once in the majors, though, I think it's time to teach it and learn it. The skill set at this level was strikingly different, and those that were there because they chose to be, while others went on to lacrosse, spring soccer, or who knows what. It is the introduction to playing the game at a truly competitive level, and it makes sense to me to introduce some of the finer intricacies of the game at that point.

The dropped third strike is also tricky, and thankfully we didn't have it in the minors. As my kid did a lot of catching, it was definitely a more personally tough transition once he moved up, but it didn't take long for him, and most of the catchers in the league, to get up to speed and make the plays mostly routinely. I'll never forget one game when we were clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, they had the bases loaded with two outs. I called out to my son that with two down, a dropped third strike would have everyone moving, but all he had to do was step on the plate if it hit the ground. I also told the pitcher that if strike three was swing and a miss that went to the backstop, cover the plate and that it was a force, so just make sure to catch it and don't worry about a tag. Our lead umpire was behind the plate, same guy I mentioned above, and he pulled up his mask, looked over to our dugout and said "Instruction! I love it!" with a big smile on his face. The rule never came into play, the game ended on a clean swinging K, but I'll never forget how good that feedback made me feel in real time.

Anyway, thanks for the memories, guys, glad I opened this thread this rainy morning.
The biggest challenge I've had coaching dropped third strike is getting players to understand that the ball does not have to be dropped for the rule to come into play and there's no way I'm going to be one of those fucking pedants who insists on calling it an Uncaught Third Strike.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,945
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Wow, this morphed into a really great discussion. My kid's little league days are 10 years past now, but I coached all the way through, and man, has this brought back memories.

As far as the IF rule goes, our league implemented it at the minors level, which is normally 8-10 year olds, many of whom won't, due to other interests or lack of desire, be around by the time they would get to the majors. I really couldn't stand the rule at that level. You have kids with virtually no knowledge or skills mixed with kids who are there with a purpose, and it's mostly a complete clusterfuck. 8 year olds are facing live pitching for the first time after their coach pitch days, and most 10 year olds made the majors in our town due to need/numbers. It was a really hard level to coach at, as the participants were so varied in both skill and maturity. Also, anything in play is an adventure and far from routine. Let them learn to hit, run, throw, play different positions, but don't bog them down with rules that are unnecessary to the basics. We discussed and taught the rule, but as coaches we knew that in the heat of play that would probably all go out the window, so we took the responsibility upon ourselves to have our base coaches coach it in real time when the situation arose. I will say our lead umpire was great and taught his umps to use common sense on what a routine play was and why the rule exists. There were a few gripes about it not being called, but the answer was always that it was not routine. They'd call a can of corn every time, but on those we kept the kids glued to their bases. Still hated it.

Once in the majors, though, I think it's time to teach it and learn it. The skill set at this level was strikingly different, and those that were there because they chose to be, while others went on to lacrosse, spring soccer, or who knows what. It is the introduction to playing the game at a truly competitive level, and it makes sense to me to introduce some of the finer intricacies of the game at that point.

The dropped third strike is also tricky, and thankfully we didn't have it in the minors. As my kid did a lot of catching, it was definitely a more personally tough transition once he moved up, but it didn't take long for him, and most of the catchers in the league, to get up to speed and make the plays mostly routinely. I'll never forget one game when we were clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, they had the bases loaded with two outs. I called out to my son that with two down, a dropped third strike would have everyone moving, but all he had to do was step on the plate if it hit the ground. I also told the pitcher that if strike three was swing and a miss that went to the backstop, cover the plate and that it was a force, so just make sure to catch it and don't worry about a tag. Our lead umpire was behind the plate, same guy I mentioned above, and he pulled up his mask, looked over to our dugout and said "Instruction! I love it!" with a big smile on his face. The rule never came into play, the game ended on a clean swinging K, but I'll never forget how good that feedback made me feel in real time.

Anyway, thanks for the memories, guys, glad I opened this thread this rainy morning.
Funny. My run in with an umpire (mentioned on page 1) was a dropped third strike force out. Bases loaded two out. Dropped third strike and catcher throws it into right field. Three runs score. Problem was that in gathering up the ball before throwing to first, the catcher stepped on the plate. My “that’s a force” declaration was poorly received. My after the play attempt to give a rules interpretation was admittedly out of line and unwelcome.

One of those “but someone was wrong” moments that seem more important at the time than they really are.