Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why you can’t win even when you’re right

As a Coach I have had a few situations where I've wanted to pull out the rulebook, wave it in an umpire’s face and show him that he is wrong, but as you know if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll never get away with that. My approach as a Coach, and the one I prefer as an Umpire, is to calmly discuss the rule and the interpretation of it. I know if I back the ump into a corner, he’ll become defensive and may change his explanation of the rule, to a judgement call... something like this:
Coach: the batter doesn’t get a base if he is hit by a pitch that he swings at.
Ump: Yes he can.
Coach: No, look it up, it’s rule 6.08 (b).
Ump: Well, it doesn’t matter because in my judgement he didn’t swing the bat anyways.
Coach: (walk back to dugout)
As a Coach I have learned that the way to avoid the above situation, is to approach the Umpire in a polite soft-spoken manner, and always give him a chance to save face. If he doesn’t change the ruling, then you can calmly quote the rule number and suggest that you may play the game under protest. Sometimes umpires will mumble something about if they had a copy of the rulebook they could quickly look it up, but without that their call stands. At that point, you can offer the fact that you have one in your dugout (ALWAYS have the book in your dugout. NEVER bring it out into plain sight). I have encountered this situation a few times and everytime the umpire ended up agreeing with me amicably. Only once did an Umpire actually come towards my dugout and look at my rulebook. In that instance he reluctantly changed his call. As you might expect no close plays were called our way the rest of that game. :(

1 comment:

  1. I am an umpire and have been a coach.I agree, The best way to question an umpire is to question his reason for the call...not the call. If he gives the wrong rule interpretation then you have your protest.

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