In Defense of The Umpires
Give The Umps a Break
A recent brawl at a tee ball game and several other instances prompted me to write a little piece on umpires. The main point of not blaming the umpires is to quit making excuses for your children. This discusses the importance of not using the umpires as a scape goat and let your child take accountability for his/her failures. Also, to let them know it is okay to make mistakes.
I am not trying to preach here, but I really need to get something off my chest. After a recent altercation at a T-Ball Game after a bad call (yes a T-ball game), I feel like there is something that needs to be addressed. Parents and coaches need to give these youth umpires a break. When I played baseball, I was not the best sport, and as a result, I got tossed from a few games. As I got older, I found that blaming umpires was more of an excuse and a defense mechanism for losing and/or not performing.
The Ump Cost Us The Game
I am around youth baseball tournaments quite a bit and always hear “This umpire cost us the game”. Did the umpire give up 11 runs? Did the umpire not hit the ball? My son complains about umps sometimes. Recently he complained about a strike 3 looking that was an inch outside. My response to him was that he should probably protect with two strikes. He also complained about being called out at first base when he appeared to be safe. My response to him… hit it out of the infield next time.
MLB Umpires Miss Calls
Do umps make bad calls throughout the course of a game? Absolutely! A recent study showed that umpires are missing the strike zone by a whopping 42% rate. (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-strike-zone-is-imperfect-but-mostly-unchanged/) Granted most of these are only missing the zone by a half inch or less. Think about that for a minute, umpires at the highest level make a lot of mistakes. Then why do we expect our youth umpires to not miss calls?
Let’s discuss what you are really doing. It is okay to be competitive and want to win, but when you deflect all responsibility on an umpire it sounds like excuses. Excuses result in your kids not being able to perform at a high level. I am all for coaches sticking up for their kids, lifting them up after a bad call and letting them know there isn’t anything they can do about it. Maybe even have a brief conversation with the umpire. The main thing is control the controllable and move on.
Instant Replay in Youth Baseball
Is there Instant replay in youth baseball? Recently, I ran a tournament and the following Monday someone sent a video with a slo-mo video and the caption, “Safe Or Out”. I took the time to analyze the video and it appeared the umpire did in fact make the right call. Even if he didn’t make the right the call, who cares? It happens. The call isn’t getting overturned. Expect bad calls. Move on. Additionally, posting grainy videos and screenshots on Facebook does nothing, but make you, your team, and organization look foolish.
I really think we need to change the way we think about youth baseball and how we treat people that are providing a service for your kids to be able to play. There is an umpire shortage for a reason. What once was something done as a hobby for a little extra money, has now become more trouble than its worth. Before you start harassing an ump, pretend like he/she is your kid, dad, grandpa, etc. and show a little empathy. Also, quit making excuses.
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