My compliments to the umpires

Well, I’ve certainly been known to whine about the competence of umpires from time to time. So I thought it might be a nice gesture to talk about some very good umpiring I saw at the end of the 2007 season.

Our Mundelein Thunder 16U fastpitch softball team played at the Northern Nationals in Owensboro, Kentucky. It was our first experience with Nationals of any sort for a number of reasons, and I have to say it was an enjoyable one.

During the coaches’ meeting the organizers talked about how their umpires had earned the right to be at this event, just as the teams had. Yada, yada, yada I figured. But when we got out to the games I changed my tune. This was an extraordinary group of individuals.

The most telling event occurred during our first game. We had runners on second and third with fewer than two outs. A ground ball was hit to the opposing shortstop, and as per our standing orders my runner on third broke for home. The shortstop got the ball and threw to the plate, a little too late from where I was standing. But the HP blue called my runner out. It looked to me like he’d blown the call, but it’s not the kind of thing you can argue very effectively. Since we had a lead I didn’t want to go “work him for the next call” either. That’s when an amazing thing happened.

The HP umpire with no prompting from anyone called time, and went out to confer with the field blue. After a brief conference the umpire actually reversed his call! He said the runner was safe. And she must’ve been because the opposing coach didn’t argue it either.

My assistant coach talked to the field umpire later and asked about the play. He thought maybe the HP umpire had been confused about whether there was a force on or something. But no, the field ump said the HP ump told him that he hadn’t seen the play and asked what the field ump saw. The field ump saw what I saw and that’s why the run counted.

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. I’ve run into plenty of umps who won’t reverse a call when it’s clearly a rules issue. This one changed a judgement call.

That’s pretty much the caliber of officiating we saw all week. If all the blues were as conscientious and well-trained as this group us coaches would definitely be able to cut back on the Maalox. Kudos to them for learning their kraft so well.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on September 7, 2007, in Rules and Umpires. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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