Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #5
TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: Instructional Memo #5
League play has begun at several of our institutions with others beginning their league schedule shortly. The chase for a league championship and playoff spots are on the line and the intensity will rise. Neighborhood rivalries will be rekindled in some leagues and others will welcome prominent programs from other regions of Southern California. Umpires are to remain professional in all aspects of dealing with authorized personnel (players, coaches and administration) and most of all, be approachable. Approachability is one thing we can all strive to improve on as we move forward this season. A few updates from our observations…
Pitch Counts: A reminder that monitoring pitch counts is the responsibility of the participating teams. The umpires are there to ensure that both teams are exchanging information, but the ultimate responsibility for recording pitch count data is up to the head coach of each team (CIF Blue Book, Article 1501). If the pitch count of a pitcher is in question and a team wishes to protest, then the plate umpire will still lodge the protest and resume the game from that point.
Protests: If a game is played under protest, please note in an email to Sandy Purtle and myself the inning, score, placement of runners, the ruling on the field and the grounds of the protest. I commend those who have done this already and this just serves as a reminder for our umpires.
“Getting the Call Right”: Our observation team is noting several instances where umpires have properly exercised a crew conference. They have handled the situation extremely well as they have identified the situation as one that might require the crew getting together. More importantly, they have rendered the decision quickly and explained the decision in a reasonable manner to the offended head coach when an initial ruling was changed. They have notified a head coach when a conference is initiated: “Coach we will get together, but I need you to return to the dugout (or coaching box).” If a ruling is not changed, that same head coach may not come back out for another explanation or otherwise he will be ejected. Please make sure we are using the term: “Coach, if you come back out to argue this then you will be ejected” as a preventative tool in these situations. We commend those crews who have committed themselves to following this protocol and our coaches who understand our willingness to “Get It Right” while also realizing the accountability measures in place on both ends.
Returning Runners and “The Last Time By:” A returning runner shall retouch the bases in reverse order (8-2-2). If a runner correctly touches a base that was missed (either in advancing or returning), the last time he was by the base, that last touch corrects any previous baserunning infraction (8-2-6L). In a game last week, we had a crew correctly call a runner out on appeal for the 3rd out for failing to retouch 2nd base (he had initially touched 2nd base and was headed for 3rd when the batted ball was first touched by the Centerfielder) on his way back towards 1st base. A runner tagged up from 3rd and scored before the appeal at 2nd was made, thus a time play (8-2-6h). Well handled!
Fair/Foul Decisions: When a batted ball is threatening a foul line (in flight and/or on the ground) umpires should be straddling the line and pointing the direction (fair or foul). Too many times have we seen umpires not using this mechanic on plays that are close. This leads to further uncertainty for coaches and players. Do not get lazy with this mechanic in simple situations, because it will become costly to all involved in more complex situations.
We are 1/3 of the way through the regular season. There is still a lot of baseball to be played. Have we been a good partner? Have we exercised proper mechanics? Have we done what’s right for the game? All things we must ask ourselves as officials after every game. A big thank you to the schools that have asked questions, sent video and commented on our performance so far. Let’s continue to get stronger together!