Monday, April 2, 2012

The weekend, looking back....baseball rules and arguments......

You gotta love the forecasters and the billion dollar equipment the have access to.....well, maybe not so much.  Saturday was the final day of March, and it was slated to go out much like a lamb...sunny, 57 or so for a high, and basically rather a pleasant day.  I needed that....I was scheduled to work a varsity three-way, at Delphos St. Johns, with the host Blue Jays, and visiting Antwerp, and Lincolnview.  I was also going to work one game behind the plate, metal staples in neck and all....it was time to see how I approached it, and if I could survive.

First fly in the ointment...(1)  The Weather Forecast was WRONG!  Not only was there no sun, it never got passed the mid 40s, after starting the first game in a damp 39 degree cold and chill....basically it was lousy, and that lasted most of the day.

Second Problem...(2)  The small airbag I designed to fit under my new full face helmet/mask wasn't going to work, sure I cold have struggled with it, in game #2, but it wasn't worth the hassle....especially since I ended up only taking one ball off my body, and that was late in the game a hard foul off the top of my shoulder....it bruised, but at least it wasn't near the neck wound.

Third pain in the ass...(3) Trying to protect my throat, call the game, and then having a couple of plays that were going to cause arguments, regardless of how I called them.

Baseball Rules 101____

No matter how long you are in the game, you are going to have multiple times per year, where you and coaches are going to have disagreements....Saturday was no exception.  Games 1 and 3, where I was doing the bases went without problems....a couple of close calls, but nothing that was game changing or worth any arguments.....not so in game 2, when I was behind the plate for the first time since the State ACME Tournament last July.

Argument #1 came in the fifth inning....

With runners on first and second, down 4-1 and one out.....Lincolnview's batter rips a single into left field.  The runner on second was going to score easily...as he rounds third, his foot hits the bag, and then with the next step he trips over the third baseman's foot....down he goes.  I hold out an extended arm, getting ready to call "obstruction" on the 3rd baseman, via a delayed dead ball.   The base runner sits and stews for a few seconds, before finally getting up and scrambling back to third ahead of the throw.  

By this time, as the call was mine, I drop my arm, taking time to review the situation quickly in my mind...."Was this obstruction"?  Meanwhile the head/3rd base coach is moving towards me with his argument...I know as a former coach, I would have as well....I know what the rules say, call the obstruction, whether is was intentional or not.  That wasn't my problem...my question again was "Was this Obstruction"?  I end up saying "No"...Reason?  In my opinion the third basemen was in a proper area to take the throw...the base runner should have been watching were he was going.  He goes back to 3rd, and I am not calling obstruction.  Both the coach and his fans were not happy...but the call I made stood, I would make the same call again...other umpires, and some that are more experienced than me, would probably call it different.  I would call it the same every time, especially since I had time to review how it played out.

As bad luck would have it for Lincolnview...the next batter hits into a ground ball double play, thus ending the inning....not happy campers from that side.  Fast forward to the next inning, and things didn't get better for the Lancers.

Now down 4-2 with a runner on third and two outs....The Antwerp pitcher uncorks a wild pitch which goes to the backstop....the runner gets a late start, and the catcher hurries back to retrieve the ball with the pitcher scrambling to cover the plate.  I get into position, and a good position it was....the runner begins his slide, and it appears he is going to slide in safe...not so fast however, the catcher makes a great retrieve and toss, and just as the runner's foot nears the plate, the covering pitchers drops the glove down and the runner slides into it...."Out" is my call.

The head coach didn't say much...I am sure he is already pissed, but probably knows I am in no mood to listen to anymore....and he was right.  I got the call correct, in my mind, there was not a doubt I made the correct call.  Not so in a few fans minds...one yells out "That was awful Pat"....I turn around and see it was the former head coach of Lincolnview, I basically told him to ......well mind his own business.  Another "fan" yells, "That's the second one you missed and both against us"....once again, doing something that is the cardinal sin of officiating, I say back...."yep, and if I missed them, they are not the first or last in 40 years".

By this time, I am thinking to myself "Welcome back Pat, what the fu** are you thinking?"  Things calmed down after that, Lincolnview didn't recover and lost 5-3....I had survived my first game behind the plate.  As I was walking out the gate to take a break before game #3, I see the former coach walking my way....

"Pat, I just want to apologize, I know better than to do that"...Well what the Hell could I say?  Telling him that no way I should ever get into it with a fan....we talked for a few minutes, about his frustration with the team not hitting, and about my surgery ...problem solved.  So thinking to myself, "Since he did the right thing, I need to do likewise and go talk to the other fan".  Seeking him out, we talked for a few minutes, and sorted things out...once again, thinking to myself "Well that was different"!

In the meantime, I was greeted by one of the new umpires in our association, and we talked baseball and the calls, also a Antwerp fan, who as another Vietnam Veteran, I have downed a few with at the Kokomo Reunion, was there and we talked.  This took my mind off my neck/artery and eased the problems of game #2....game #3 went quick, Delphos completed it by defeating Lincolnview 12-2 in six innings, and after a quick rehash with my partner, and still frozen, I headed home.... just in time to watch the Louisville/Kentucky game, then the Buckeyes blow the second NCAA Semi Final Kansas...

As for the weather, it did warm up....YESTERDAY! 

Tonight at Fort Jennings, tomorrow at Continental, and I will do the bases for both of those games....I may work Thursday behind the plate with Garry at Van Wert, but then again I may not, and just wait until Saturday, when I am here in Celina with Sam for a JV double header...frankly, I still am nowhere near 100%...not even close....and it took only Saturday to make me fully realize that fact.

Back Later>>>>

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