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Cyrus Cassidy #45437

Tales from Behind the Plate - EJECTION

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Yesterday I was umpiring a 12 year-old game.  I gathered early on that there was already some bad blood between the two teams when the home team head coach immediately started chirping complaints about the visiting team.  During the first at-bat, he yelled out, "Hey blue, they're using illegal bats!"  He was already angrily addressing me, as if I could spot a 1/8" difference in bat size with the naked eye.  I paused the game and checked, and sure enough, they were using 2 3/4” bats.  I know there was bad blood because a) there is no way he could visually see the difference between a 2 3/4" bat and 2 5/8" from the dugout, if I have to read the label to be certain, so there was obviously some history with this and b) he was already mad.
 
At the plate meeting previously, the visiting head coach did not know some of the league rule modifications; the season is nearly over and he claimed not to know the league mods.  That tells me he either didn't bother reading them, no umpires have been enforcing them ALL SEASON LONG (unlikely), or he claims ignorance of the rules to gain an advantage.  I always make sure to go over the league modifications at the plate meeting, even this late in the season, because I have found that to be an occasional occurrence.  So right off the bat I'm thinking the visiting team is going to be my problem child, but I was wrong.  

After getting the visiting team to remove all their 2 3/4” bats, we continued the game.  In the bottom of the third inning, the home team had runners on 1st  and 2nd when the visiting team catcher let a pitch go past him.  R2 tried to steal third, but the catcher got the ball and threw to third.  I had moved slightly into fair territory to make the call but was still close to home (single umpire system due to social distancing), because the play happened so quickly.  I saw the throw beat the runner and the baseman made the tag before the runner’s foot touched the base, and I called him out.

The home team head coach was also the third base coach at the time, and he asked for time.  I gave him time, and he immediately started yelling, “You can’t see that from there!"

I replied, “Coach, there’s only one of us, I'm doing my best.”

The coach continued, “You’re letting them influence your call.  Just because they (pointing at the visiting dugout) say he’s out doesn’t mean he’s out.”  

I replied, “Coach, I’m half deaf; I can’t hear what they’re saying anyway.”  
 
PAUSE:  In 2003, I was part of the ground invasion of Iraq.  War is loud.  In addition to the approximately 100 firefights I've been a part of, I once had an incoming mortar round land 10 meters from me.  Every single piece of shrapnel miraculously missed, and I was completely unscratched.  According to the book, however, the shock from the explosion alone should have turned my brain into mashed potatoes and killed me.  But it obviously didn't.  My ears started ringing, and in the 17 years since they haven't stopped.  So I live with a constant noise.  While I technically haven't lost much of my hearing, the ringing drowns out what is being said, and most people sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.  I've learned to read lips and conversation is often interrupted with "WHAT?"  Hearing aids won't help; I'm told it will merely magnify the ringing.  According to hearing tests, my actual hearing loss is minimal, but sounds get drowned out by the ringing.  It's easier to explain, "I'm half deaf" than it is to tell the whole story, because the effect is the same -- I know someone is talking, but I don't know what they are saying.  

BACK TO THE GAME:  The coach replied, “BULLSH*#!”
 
There are two egregious problems here:  1)  He's using profanity at a children's game, an immediate cause for ejection.  2) He's calling me a liar.  Not only is this a personal attack of the most severe sort, but it minimizes or deletes the entire sacrifice I made, explained above.  I didn't ruin my hearing by smoking weed while traveling around the country in a van with my rock-and-roll band.  I did it fighting the Republican Guard and everything they stood for.  Agree or disagree with what we did in Iraq, that year was probably the very purpose for which I was born.  At the very least, it was the purpose for which Uncle Sam spent years and millions of dollars preparing me for, and I did my duty and I did it well.  I will not allow that to be taken away from me.  Ever.  
 
Secondly, if you guys knew me personally, you'd know one thing:  I hold integrity as the single most important character trait any person can have.  Calling me a liar is one of those buttons that make me go nuclear, because it simply isn't who I am.  In my former law enforcement profession everyone knew this, whether they were attorneys from both sides, judges, other cops, and even suspects.  Even people who don't like me will tell you I always tell the truth.  I worked the bulk of my career in high crime areas, and even gang bangers would admit I always told the truth.  It's who I am, and something about my own character that I protect in actions, words, and even thoughts.  
 
So, cussing at a kids' game + calling me a liar = "COACH, YOU'RE GONE!"  
 
He kept cussing at me for a minute, but was slowly making his way towards the gate while doing it.  At this point my patience was absolutely zero, so I reminded him, "Coach, the next step is I rule the game a forfeit.  Leave now before I do it."  He kept jawjacking but moved faster and left the game.  

There were no further problems during the game and all of the remaining coaches for both teams were polite and sportsmanlike with each other and with me.  The team I suspected may be a problem was never a problem.  

Funny enough, after the game I was moving to a different diamond for my next game, and I saw one of my son's coaches.  We started talking, and I learned he had a younger kid on the visiting team.  He had been sitting right in front of third base when the incident happened, so I asked him if I had been right on the out call.  To be frank, I was only about 75% certain when I made the call; my angle wasn't the best.  He told me he thought the call was right, so I felt a bit vindicated.
 
Even if I was wrong (please note the difference between being wrong and being a LIAR), was it worth acting like a total jackwagon and setting a very poor example for 12 year-olds?  Go take a shower, coach.
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A solid call; and, an appropriate ejection.

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And thank-you for your service.

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Coaches will push back on umpires. Once you establish the pecking order they will get back to playing ball. I played ball until I was 37, we respected a no nonsense umpire that didn't play favorites. You did the right thing.

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When a coach(anyone in authority) lets his/her ego get in the way of reasonable behavior, they have betrayed the team they represent. Those of us who have been down range are exceptionally sensitive to betrayal, it is the kingpin of emotional trauma, and the reason so many of us hate politicians.

You did the right thing, did it professionally and your reputation is honored by others. I would bet a year of pay the coach you ejected has never been down range.Well done

 

Imis

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Cyrus, I couldn’t do that job. Good on you. 
 

Just watching the butthead coaches and their antics when my daughter played little league was enough for me to want to wring some people’s necks. 

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Sounds like the guy is used to abusing people to get his way and isn't used to anyone standing up to him.  You done good.

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I umpired one season when I was 16. Supposed to be little league starting with minors who weren't on the regular little league. But one time they scheduled me to do a couple of adult mens softball games. Not fun for a 16 year old ump.

 

My brothers middle league team (13 to 15 year olds) had a makeup game. At our umpires meeting a couple of others said they'd do the game.  My dad and brother went to the game. The umps didn't show up and dad came and got me to umpire. Brother got 2 or 3 consecutive hits and I could hear the players "no wonder his brother is th he umpire" complaints. His last at bat I called him out on the last pitch and everyone said i screwed him over. One summer of that was enough.

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I'm enjoying your baseball posts.  Better than MLB these days!  :D

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Cyrus,

First of all...... THANK YOU for your service and sacrifices.

 

I think you made the right call on the coach ejection.   BUT, if you were not FULLY sure of the out, you should have called the runner 'safe'.

What do the rules say about these 'close calls'?

 

Thats just my opinion.

 

P.S. - I also have a service connected hearing disability.   But, I don't have ringing like you do.   My problem is that

I can't hear a blame thing.  

True Story:  in one of my hearing test to determine my disability rating, the Tester ask me.... "are you around any loud noises".

 

In which I replied..... "how in the world would I know.    I don't hear anything".

 

..........Widder

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

I think you made the right call on the coach ejection.   BUT, if you were not FULLY sure of the out, you should have called the runner 'safe'.

What do the rules say about these 'close calls'?

 

The rules say he is either safe or out; the rules do not dictate how an umpire makes the decision.

 

Umpire training says to do your best.  With 2, 3, or 4 umpire systems, each umpire has specific responsibilities.  The umpire whose job it is makes the call, and then may consult with the other umpires to see if they saw it differently.  Only the umpire who made the call can overturn himself; not even the crew chief cannot force him to.

 

But in a one-umpire system, there is no one to consult.  

Edited by Cyrus Cassidy #45437
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

I think you made the right call on the coach ejection.   BUT, if you were not FULLY sure of the out, you should have called the runner 'safe'.

What do the rules say about these 'close calls'?


By that criteria, you give a significant advantage to the base runner, which by definition hurts the fielding team. 
 

I umpired a number of years in various youth and adult sports. SASS is the only activity I know of where guidance is given as to what degree of certainty is required to call a hit or miss. And since the same rule is applied to every shooter, that a miss is called only when there’s positive indication of a miss, then it is a fair rule. 
 

Every other sport relies on the official’s best judgement at the time of the play. The ultimate goal is to call a fair game within the rules as they’re written. 

Edited by Charlie Harley, #14153

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59 minutes ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:


By that criteria, you give a significant advantage to the base runner, which by definition hurts the fielding team. 
 

I umpired a number of years in various youth and adult sports. SASS is the only activity I know of where guidance is given as to what degree of certainty is required to call a hit or miss. And since the same rule is applied to every shooter, that a miss is called only when there’s positive indication of a miss, then it is a fair rule. 
 

Every other sport relies on the official’s best judgement at the time of the play. The ultimate goal is to call a fair game within the rules as they’re written. 

 

And I agree Charlie.   BUT..... in SASS, we have 3 spotters and a TO to make and assess calls.    Baseball has only 1, and according to

the info Cyrus gave us, the official call maker can not be over ruled by the other Umps on the field.

 

In some circumstances, its a judgement call when it isn't a clear 'out' or 'safe'.     I was just wondering what the rules state (or allow)

in these circumstances.   Obviously, one team will think its a fair call..... the other team won't.

 

..........Widder

 

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24 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

  Obviously, one team will think its a fair call..... the other team won't.

 

..........Widder

 


... and that’s baseball.  :)

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