Maybe I just need to vent... but I just think it stinks a hundred times over when the umpires make blatantly lousy calls that end up costing kids a championship game. A game that they deserved to win.
Maybe I'm wrong and you can clarify something for me.... here's just the two most awful calls of the game. Were the umps right? Wrong?
1st scenario: Kid A is stealing 3rd base. The 3rd baseman is blocking 3rd with his foot. Kid A slides into 3rd base causing pain to the 3rd baseman's toe. The 3rd baseban bobbles the ball, never lays a tag on Kid A. The umpire calls Kid A out. When the manager comes out to question the call, the umpire explains to the manager that he agrees that the 3rd baseman didn't tag the kid, but that "the 3rd baseman's foot isn't a part of the bag and since Kid A stepped on his toe, then Kid A is out." HUH? Let me just say that since it was the bottom of the last inning, the next pitch, the batter hits a screaming line drive that would have scored the winning run had Kid A not been called out.
2nd scenario: Team A is out in the field now (the team that Kid A is on). There is a runner on 2nd base. Game is tied. Two outs. The batter hits a line drive to left field. The left fielder throws it and hits the cut-off man. The cut-off man turns and throws the ball to the catcher. The throw is not on the money. The catcher has to move to his left in order to catch the ball. When the catcher catches the ball, he is standing in the baseline and the runner who was on 2nd base has rounded 3rd base and is trying to come home. The catcher lays the tag on the runner. The runner never touches home plate. The umpire calls the runner safe because he says the catcher was "obstructing home plate." Let me just say that at the bottom of the same inning when Team A was up to bat again, and the other team had a play at home, their catcher was standing in front of home plate and Team A's runner had to go into home plate around their catcher, and the umpire doesn't make the same call.
I know it's just a game. In the big scheme of life, it doesn't matter. It was just an awful way for a championship game to end -- with the game being given away to one team by the umpires. That's a hard lesson for the "losing" team to have to learn. Makes me wonder if the umps were in cahoots with the coaches on the other team.
When asking a rules question the first thing you need to tell us is what rule set things are being played under Another important factor is the age group. 6 y/o's are going to be judged differently that 16 y/o's.
That all having been said, based upon your description (and only your description) the calls could be wrong. The manager has a remedy however, and that's to protest the call. Did he? If not then some of the blame lands on him.
As an umpire myself, Scenario 1 is incorrect. Runner is out as long as the 3rd baseman tagged him/her with the ball before he/she reaches base. The third baseman may block the bag once he is making a play on the runner. The umpire must what to make the call once the play has been completed. Sounds like the ball was still loose which would have given the runner or defender a chance to make a full play.
Scenario 2: Runner is out, because as you stated the catcher had the ball and was blocking the plate. Does not matter if the catcher was in the base path or not. Once a defender has the ball that base/plate becomes his/hers. Other then that it's the runners.
Cranberry is spot on with the reply.
If the manager did not protest the call via the protest procedures he/she did not carry the issue through the proper channels to truly resolve the issue.
We have had similar situations occur in our league and sometimes protests do not come to the right or expected resolution, but at least the item can be discussed to ensure that it does not continue to occur. What we as parents need to do is to use the unfortunate situation as a learning experience to ensure that our children understand that this is probably not the last time something like this will occur so we can build them up to be prepared for additional life experiences.
The Blue blew one on my son when he called him out on a play at 1st that wasn't even close. Later, the blue said, "I knew he was safe. I wanted to say "safe." But all that could come out of my mouth was: "HE'S OUT!" He made an obvious make up call the next inning.
What's BS in our league is when they have 2 brothers, 1 as ump and the other as ref and their little brother (12) is playing.... Now guess who they are going to tend to side with??? Oh and I forgot, the dad is the teams coach!!!
Something like that happened when I was coaching my 6 year old in a 6U soccer game. We had a horrible team, but I had the kids work on the basics. During the last game of the season I found that my little underachievers were leading 3-0 against the best team in the age group which somehow included 3 club players. The other team was very upset that we were leading so they started playing dirty. The game was supposed to last a total of 40 minutes, but continued on. I had 2 players on the sidelines crying because of the fouls and was short 1 player on the field during the unexplainable overtime. When they scored the go ahead goal, a couple of the fathers of the opposing team, in a disgusting display of unsportsmanlike conduct, ran out on to the field to take a picture of their kids. The game was 15 minutes overtime when the opposing team scored their fourth goal. It turned out the referee was the opposing coach's daughter. The kicker is no one was supposed to keep score!
If the scenario you describe is accurate, you're right - it's wrong that umpiring should decide a game. Having coached in situations like that though, there are some positive things that can be taught...for example, Team A undoubtedly had other chances in the game to make a key hit or a key play that would have rendered the umpire's blown calls meaningless....in baseball you always have chances. Also, as some others have pointed out, life sometimes hands out unfair breaks, and yet we all have to deal with them and move on.....harsh for kids, but part of life also. In things like balls and strikes, we all know every ump has a different strike zone - we coach our kids to pay attention to and learn the strike zone for the umpire....if our team is in the field for the first inning, the catcher is responsible for bringing this back to the dugout to share....if at bat first, the 1st 2 hitters (if they don't get on) are key - they have to tell the next hitters what to expect.
In addition, though there may not be anything that can be done at the moment, the league has leverage in who it hires to umpire games. Our league actually does pay higher rates than some local recreational leagues in order to get more consistent umpiring. We include the umpire booking agent in our board meetings, so that we can share feedback about umpires in his organization and so he can help us improve our league - we've gotten some great feedback on speeding up and smoothing out games, and some tips to give to individual coaches that have helped us improve the league. And yes, we've gotten some weaker umpires out of the rotation, so we don't have to deal with them. If the league views umpiring as just a cost of operations, and has an adversarial relationship with the umpiring staff, well you get what you pay for. If your league doesn't place enough importance on good umpiring, get involved with the board and try to change that view...
The umpires always do a bad job against the losing team. Been a LLBB blue since 1974 and a basketball official since 1984. Being 50 plus years young I still get complaints from coaches, players, parents about the job that younger less experienced umpires do on the field. I remind them that back then I was doing their games and they complained of me. Sorry to say----
but it is NOT a kids game anymore. Thank You for your time. Raul Rene Garcia aka "Beaver" firstname.lastname@example.org Texas District 24.
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