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422 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Mar 15, 2014 12:30 AM by Jon Brend RSS
Jon Brend Rookie 5 posts since
May 30, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 11, 2014 12:45 PM

LL Umpires need to change

I have been an umpire for the last 16 years. I have worked games from U9 to High School and mens leagues. Last night at our weekly umpires meeting we had a discussion about LL umpires. We all pretty much agreed that last years LL umpires at Williamsport were the worst we had ever seen. The lack of conventional mechanics, the bombastic way of making routine calls like simple balls and strikes were so overbearing that it made watching these umpires a travesty to the profession. One of our members was selected for the LL Big League World Series a few years ago. He said it was a horrible experience. He said a couple of the umpires were picked because they were the friends of their league presidents. He also said half of them knew nothing about positioning and basic mechanics. One guy even brought a dusty old balloon chest protector. LL needs to look at the way they pick and train these people. The old boy network needs to change or we will see more of this in Williamsport.

  • Manny_A Legend 841 posts since
    May 25, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Mar 13, 2014 3:30 AM (in response to Jon Brend)
    Re: LL Umpires need to change

    Wow, pretty early in the season to be bashing Williamsport umpires, isn't it?  I take it you weren't selected again?

     

    Yes, it's a flawed system.  Umpires are selected based upon their dedication to their local leagues.  Some of them have volunteered 20 years or more exclusively for LL instead of joining an association and getting paid to umpire.  They have a life goal of making it to a LL World Series instead of making thousands of dollars to help pay for a new car or family vacation.  So what if they have quirks that make umpires cringe?  If they don't get the proper training in their local leagues and districts, should they be shunned despite all of their dedication to the kids?  And how often do they work four-man games?  Do you think maybe their mistakes were caused by not being familiar with four-man?

     

    Have you ever worked games in front of tens of thousands of fans, and millions more watching on global television?  Do you think the nerves may cause you to do something completely wrong in terms of positioning and mechanics?  Hell, I've been umpiring girls fast-pitch softball for the past nine years after working LL baseball for about ten years before that, and I was selected to work the 18 Gold National Championship in Clearwater, FL last summer.  My pucker factor was pretty high down there for those games, and the crowds were no bigger than what you see in a high school regular season game.  I made two or three gaffes on the field because I was not an expert of three-man mechanics.  I chased a fly ball that wasn't in my area of responsibility.  And I got caught out of position to see a tag attempt because I anticipated the play was going elsewhere.  It happens.

     

    Yeah, those men and women aren't always the best umpires in youth ball.  But they deserve to be there from all the work and time they have put into it.  But they're human, and get affected by the jitters at that level.  I know I would.

     

    One of the reasons I stopped doing LL baseball was because I got tired of getting nailed behind the plate with pitches that catchers couldn't catch.  If I continued to do it year after year in order to finally make it to a World Series, I might've changed over to a balloon protector as well.

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