THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
This year, I had the pleasure of umpiring a consolation game in high school baseball tournament. The game featured two varsity teams from nearby who were facing off after being eliminated from championship contention. I felt very honored that I would be given this opportunity after 11 years of service to high school umpiring.
During the game, there was a close play that occurred at the plate where my partner made the right call, albeit a dicey one. The coach of the team that was not pleased by the call came out to argue with my partner, who did check with me to make sure that we agreed on the call (and we did). After trying to explain to the coach why we were sticking with the original call made (which was the proper call), the coach decided to end the argument with a parting shot at my partner. "That's why you're working a consolation game!"
In the world of officiating, making personal comments towards an official is grounds for immediate ejection. People can disagree with the call without calling your ability as an official into question. Further, why is it necessary to even go there? Do people actually feel insulted when a call goes against their team? If so, there are deeper issues in play!
Regardless, a word to the wise: don't make it personal with officials. Most officials will be happy to explain their calls and certain adjudications to you. In fact, some officials enjoy the company and the conversation! After all, officials don't have any friends on the field, so chatting with someone over a call can be like having tea with a friend!
The epilogue to my story? My partner didn't eject the coach. After the game, I asked him why, thinking I would have tossed him immediately. His answer? "If I have to stay and watch a game that bad, he's going to sit there with me!"
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.