Teachable Situation

3 Submitted by on Fri, 20 March 2015, 11:05

I had something happen to me in a game that has never occurred in all the years I’ve been umpiring.  It’s a teachable situation.  R1 and R2.  I’m in the “C” position and there is a ground ball hit directly at me not real hard, but not to soft.  I step up and chest the ball and as I open my gate still chesting the ball the SS is running in directly toward me fielding the ball on one hop and in one motion is setting to throw to first.  He is about 8 feet from me and I am in direct line of his throw.  I have no where to go so I bend down and try to watch the release but in fear of getting hit with the throw I duck and actually wince in fear of getting hit in the back of my head and take my eyes off of the release at the last second.  The SS fakes the throw to first and turns and throws to second.  By the time I realize he didn’t throw to first and I turn around and see the back end of a tag at second.  This happened all within 2-3 seconds.  I clearly did not see what happened at second and have no recourse but to call the runner safe.  By the immediate reaction of the defensive team I knew right away that I kicked the call.  I was hoping my plate partner saw the play.  I called time and consulted with him and told him I flat out missed it and asked if he saw it.  He did and said the runner rounded second and was tagged off the base.  We got the play right and called the runner out.

I felt I did everything technically proper, but I should have squatted with my head turned the best I could and watch the release.  It’s not a very easy position to put oneself into but by not watching the release I missed the entire play.

The teachable moment here is you can never take your eyes off the ball for one second because it can explode on you that fast.  In the end we got the call right but it certainly did not look good!



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3 Responses to "Teachable Situation"
  1. Robert Brown says:

    Dennis: You know what they say, “Surprise is an umpire’s worse enemy.” So, I guess you were pretty surprised. I think at one time or another, most if not all of us, have been caught in a bad situation. It’s just the curse of the two-man system. I remember seeing a pro game on TV some years ago when Al Clark got tied up in a rundown between home and first. I remember one of the teams was the Yankees. The runner and Al both finally were tagged.

    There were runners on first and second. The batter hit a medium fast grounder to the first baseman. Al started to trail the BR when all of a sudden the BR started to backup running into Al. All of a sudden there was a rundown with Al and the BR caught in the middle. It was funny, but ridiculous. I was like yelling at the TV set, “Just tag first.” I think Al had expected the first baseman to do just that, but didn’t.

    It was one of those wts? moments.

  2. Patrick says:

    Reading newest email about members with Velcro patches, etc… I will just say that we get some of the top pay around for umpires. We need to look the part. Spend some $ and get shirts with sewn on patches, a new hat. No excuse for not looking sharp! My .02:)

  3. Mike says:

    Guys, as a heads-up…regarding games at Frederick Community College. This past season, several weeks after a working a DH, I received, via USPS, a speed monitoring system ticket indicating that I was going 37 in a 25 mile zone at 7400 Block of Hayward Rd W/B, resulting in a $40 fine. I was completely taken by surprise because, not only did I not see a posted sign that the speed monitoring system was in place, but I did not believe I was speeding. Event though it was only a $40 fine and my time to attend a court hearing is worth more than that, I frankly though it was simply a money grab. This being the case, I disputed the ticket this past June in court. The Frederick Police Department failed to show at the hearing and the ticket/fine was dismissed. Simply put, be careful when driving through Frederick, MD.
    Mike Williams

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