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tales from behind the plate -- blown call or not???


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So there I was...

 

...I was working the plate in an 18U game.  My partner on the bases happened to be my mentor, who is trying to help me get to the collegiate level in umpiring.  Despite me being middle aged, he has umpired longer than I've been alive. 

 

Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out.  The batter hit a line drive to right center field and the runner on second came around third and sprinted for home.  The right fielder got the ball and threw a laser to the catcher.  I got into position, using a "wedge" theory on the catcher's inside hip.  The throw was perfectly on line (I love working these highly skilled games instead of Little League!), and I have to tell you, this was a TOUGH call.  Ball to glove, glove to tag.  BUT, the tag was high on the runner's chest, who was sliding feet first.  With the tag that high on the body, it usually means the feet were at the plate before the tag was made, and I'm reasonably certain that's what happened.  I called him safe.

 

The defensive coach was extremely upset, arguing, "He slid right into the tag!"  But the runner's feet were four feet beyond the tag, and the tag happened two feet prior to home plate, meaning the feet beat the tag by two feet.  It happened so fast, without the benefit of instant replay, I'll never know for certain.  I just called what I saw.

Same inning.  The batter's timing was off and he swung a little late at the pitch, but made contact.  The timing of the swing put a curve to the ball's flight.  It was going up the 1st base line but arching towards foul territory.  The 1st baseman reached out to make the catch, and from 90 feet away I saw the trajectory of the ball alter severely just as it reached the glove, indicating he had touched the ball with his glove.  It flew foul by at least 10 feet and landed, but I signaled fair because he had touched it while it was still over fair territory.  The coach, who didn't see the ball change direction and only saw it land foul, went ballistic.  Two runs scored on that hit. 

 

The coach was so mad at me he was cursing.  In frustration, he picked up a baseball and threw it at the wall inside his dugout.  I let him vent for a few seconds, but when he made no signs of quitting, I gave him "the hand" and said, "Coach, that's enough."  In the unwritten language of umpires, that means you're very close to being ejected, and one more word gets you an early trip to the locker rooms.  The coach had been coaching for a long time, and he knew the unwritten rule (unlike the coaches of younger-aged kids!  I hate those guys!). 

 

At this stage, I keep wondering if the player actually did touch the ball, or if the vector change was caused by the weird spin imparted by the bat.  I'll never know.

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Been there.  You’re never going to be certain in these instances.  Too fast, too close, or just too complicated, the umpire will NEVER be perfect because the game is perfectly imperfect!!

 

I would STILL rather see the game played without any replay and CERTAINLY without technical enhancements!!

 

 I grew up watching and playing and later coaching and umpiring!!  My personal opinion is that little has changed for the better with the advent of replay and I could be happy if there was never another call overturned by means of technology!!

 

This is one game that SHOULD have remained totally human!!!

 

 

 

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As an aside!  Fifty years or more ago, there was an experiment with “electric eyes” in place of the home plate umpire! 
 

The calls were deadly accurate, but fans were turned off by the experiment!

 

Final analysis of the games played with the electronics in place showed the folks couldn’t yell at the “electric eye” and it took a major chunk of the fun out of the game!!

 

It was no fun yelling, “Kill the eye!!” :o :lol:
 

 

Edited by Blackwater 53393
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At one point in my first job out of college during a conversation with another supervisor, I referred to our boss’s wife as the “skinny blonde”.  The boss heard about it, smiled, and said, “You call’em like you see’em.”

 

It’s all you can do or are expected to do.

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27 minutes ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

Put this over on the Wire as a WTC thread and it’ll run for 6 pages. 

I had hopes, but have never dug into all the subtleties on the rule books for that game.

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2 hours ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

Put this over on the Wire as a WTC thread and it’ll run for 6 pages. 

WTC's are down to only 6 pages on the WIRE?:o

 

They are getting down right reserved in their dotage over there.<_<

 

Cyrus, I've got no problem with the fair/foul call.  If the ball reacted like that near the 1st basemen's glove, then it didn't do it because of magic.

 

The problem with the tag call that I can see is that you saw the tag but assumed the timing of when he hit the plate compared to when the tag was made.  Since I didn't see the play, I can't say whether it was the right one or not.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and say your calls were both correct. 
 

You’ve worked enough games  at a high level that your first instinct is probably right. 
 

Even if wrong if it takes slow motion frame by frame replay analysis to see if The call is right and you’re looking at it in split-second with the naked eye it’s hardly a “blown” call. 

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4 hours ago, Cyrus Cassidy #45437 said:

and from 90 feet away I saw the trajectory of the ball alter severely just as it reached the glove, indicating he had touched the ball with his glove.

 

There is your answer.  A change such as you describe will only result from something touching the ball.

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