Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to get the Umpire to give you an edge

First of all, let me start by saying that Umpires do not cheat.  Let me be clear about this:  UMPIRES DO NOT CHEAT. Period.  And it's not necessarily because they all follow a strict set of ethical guidelines.  It's because they just can't.   Even if they want to.  What do I mean?   We've been conditioned to "call them as we see them", and it's almost a reflex, and we cannot call something different.
Let me give you an example:  I once was put in the unenviable position of having to umpire a game my son was participating in.  To avoid any perception of bias, I had it clear in my mind that if he was involved in any close play, I was going to call it against him.  As luck would have it, he was involved in 2 close plays.  Both at home plate.  In play #1, he was the catcher, and on a wild throw to 3rd base, the runner tried to score.   I was ready for a close play and had it in my mind that I was going to call him safe.  The runner could have probably scored easily standing up. But he decided to slide.  And a few seconds later the ball reached the catcher at the plate.  Who tagged the runner.  Whose slide had stopped about 3 inches short of the plate.  I instinctively called him "OUT!".   Which drew lots of groans from the crowd... and a visit from the Coach.  Couple of innings later had a similar play, with my son the runner on 3rd base.  He's in a rundown, and it's obvious he's going to be put out unless the defense throws the ball away.  He finally commits to run home, and the catcher is standing there with the ball, blocking most of the plate.  My son slides in, getting his legs around the part of the plate the catcher had blocked, and the catcher tags him high.   Throw has him beat by 10 feet, but the catcher took his time tagging him and he was safe.  Again, even though in my mind I was going to call him out because it would be a lot easier and avoid any argument, by reflex I called him "SAFE!".  I tried to cheat and I couldn't.  
Anyhow, I got off on a bit of a tangent there... I was going to talk about how you CAN get the Umpire to be on your side and give you some breaks, without cheating, but that's going to have to wait until my next post tomorrow.

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