Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Being an Umpire

Oct 4, 2018
1,195
113
I was asked to ump a game.

I said yes.

A very friendly game between two teams in our travel org. No one bothered to hire an ump for the game as we usually do, so they asked me since I used to coach these teams and know all the girls and parents well. 12U game.

Man, was that stressful.

First, I called it alone and from behind the pitcher. Now that made it pretty easy to tell if pitches were inside or outside, but high and low was tough. I think I did pretty well but have heard that I called two strikes that were too high and one that was too low. Five inning game, so that's not too bad.

I totally missed a call at first. I was so focused on seeing if the ball beat the runner on a close play that I didn't notice that the first baseman pulled her foot until after I made the call. I should have changed my call but kinda froze and just let the out stand.

Two close plays at home, both of which I called out. Coaches agreed with those calls.

So even when almost every player and parent in attendance was a friend, it was still amazingly stressful. And hard. I almost lost track of the count so many times. A few girls put the ball in play and saved my butt as I wasn't sure if it was 1-2 or 2-1 (as an example). With everything you're monitoring and saying the count to yourself you still lose track of the count. I thought I was getting old and senile at times.



Anyway, no desire to do that again any time soon.

You umpires have always had my respect. This certainly added to it.
 
Nov 18, 2015
768
43
Somewhat similar experience as well - I took a one day training course, and was the field ump for what I think was a 13-15YO league baseball game. Probably blew one call on a steal of 2B, and then had to reverse an out call I made on another steal when I realized the SS was reaching down to pick up the ball from the ground. As I recall, the defensive coach wasn't all that happy - I don't know if he was expecting me to ignore the fact that the ball had magically appeared on the ground?

That was my one and only paid experience, and will always affect how I interact (and defend) the umpires and refs in any game.

I may still slip up every once in a while and mutter an opinion at a youth game, but I usually reserve the true rants for the comfort of my own home. Or from the upper deck of a stadium. :)
 
Jun 7, 2019
142
28
I've always thought that I had an advantage, having spent so many years as a coach and an umpire. When coaching, my experience as an umpire always kept me respectful, and appreciative of the difficulties encountered when umping. Only got tossed once in 20 years of travel and 19 years of HS varsity - and that was intentional! (I'll have to tell that story one day.) And now, while umpiring, I have a healthy respect for coaches, making sure that I always act professionally and give it my best every game, having had many umpires who were a disgrace to their profession because of their horrible attitude.

I've always maintained that every coach should be forced to umpire some ball games, and every ump should have to coach some games with umpires with bad attitude. Gives you a whole new perspective.
 
Jun 1, 2015
338
18
I think it would be a FANTASTIC idea for all coaches (especially HS coaches) to go through the umpiring certification courses (1 or 2 if they felt that was enough) just to appreciate what goes into making a "good umpire". I know in my own case - I started out at 16 years old, umpiring local youth baseball/softball games. After 14 years of doing that, I decided to venture into HS officiating (and at the time was a 4th-year rec. ball head coach). After officiating HS ball and travel ball, not only do I have a lot more respect for the officials I used to be pretty abrasive toward in my earlier time, but I've also toned myself down a TON as a coach, and also tolerate less from coaches as an official (without having a hair-trigger - I've yet to eject anyone in my career). It made me appreciate understanding the rules and not just jumping when something doesn't go my way because my initial thought is, "What would I have done if I'm the blue?" It's made my coaching AND officiating experiences much less stressful overall.
 
Oct 19, 2019
58
18
The people with the best view of balls and strikes, a foot being pulled, a missed tag, etc seem to be the people who stand down the 3rd base line.
 
Oct 3, 2011
2,914
63
Right Here For Now
Did it for a friendly round robin tourney within our org. I personally didn't find it stressful at all. Parents of both teams bitched, pissed and moaned as they always do, but again, I didn't care since I was there for the girls and did the best I could for them. I told each group before each game, if one of them thought they could do a better job, I'd happily sit on the sidelines and heckle them worse than they did me. The one time it got bad, I went over to the bleachers, pointed to the father that was the loudest and said, "You're up!" I didn't hear a peep from either side the rest of the game.
 
Nov 22, 2019
69
18
Minnesota, USA
I think it would be a FANTASTIC idea for all coaches (especially HS coaches) to go through the umpiring certification courses (1 or 2 if they felt that was enough) just to appreciate what goes into making a "good umpire". I know in my own case - I started out at 16 years old, umpiring local youth baseball/softball games. After 14 years of doing that, I decided to venture into HS officiating (and at the time was a 4th-year rec. ball head coach). After officiating HS ball and travel ball, not only do I have a lot more respect for the officials I used to be pretty abrasive toward in my earlier time, but I've also toned myself down a TON as a coach, and also tolerate less from coaches as an official (without having a hair-trigger - I've yet to eject anyone in my career). It made me appreciate understanding the rules and not just jumping when something doesn't go my way because my initial thought is, "What would I have done if I'm the blue?" It's made my coaching AND officiating experiences much less stressful overall.
Probably be just as beneficial if not more to require parents to ump a game. lol
 
Jun 1, 2015
338
18
Probably be just as beneficial if not more to require parents to ump a game. lol
We're umpires, not miracle workers. You'd be lucky to get maybe one dad/mom on a sideline that knows even 35% of the basic rules aside from "strike zone", "safe/out and fair/foul" among others.
 
Top