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Subject: I LIED: "The Typical Softball Umpire" :)
From: (XT 8088)
Date: 1996/09/23




A) BigBlue49 basically wrote: The TSU tries to be prepared - know the rules, have a clean & pressed uniform, shined shoes, hussles, but most of all, tries his/her best to give the players, coaches, parents & fans the best game they can on any particular day.

B) John T. responds: The TSU calls two whoppers and large fries a snack. Shows up one minute before game time, read the rulebook back when they were a trainee, washes their uniform twice a month whether it needs it or not, tucks their shirt in if physically possible, assumes their shoes are shined because when standing up can not see them, calls close plays at second from behind home plate, but most of all tries his/her best to get the game over ... if in doubt ... it's an OUT!

The TSU must rely on sharp human senses and superior judgement to:

A) make close calls in a split-second.

B) decide what's in the brown bag that was left on the bench after a game, and whether or not it is still safe for consumption.

According to coaches and parents, the TSU may/must have some deteriorated senses that lead to bad calls. From my experience, and this is far from a scientific study, sight is the first sense that we humans lose. Because when an ump obviously MUST BE BLIND to make the call that he did, he hears every word that I mumbled under-my-breath from across the infield.

According to the pitchers parents, the TSU can ruin any promising young pitcher:

When the pitcher throws one ball in the dirt, five feet in front of the plate, and the next ball off the backstop ... it is because the UMP has an inconsistent strike zone, and she (the pitcher) is having trouble zeroing in on it!

When after four consecutive walks, and nine total in two innings .. the coach finally yanks the young pitcher ... the pitcher's parents realize that if the UMP had given her that one close strike ... she would have mowed down the side! Of course, the other team was screaming at the UMP about the six questionable strikes he gave her.

Before every pitch, the pitchers parents hope:

A) the oppossing hitter won't hit a shot over the left fielder's head.

B) thier daughter will fire a strike past the batter.

C) the batter will foul tip a ball off an exposed area of the UMP's skin.

The TSU:

A) is Consistent.

B) creates a new strike zone at the beginning of every inning.

The TSU:

A) is the first person on the field to break a sweat!

B) broke a sweat back in 1983.

The TSU spends most of the off-season:

A) In a strict physical training program so that they can stay at the top of thier profession for many years to come.

B) Drinking beer and eating pork rinds.

The TSU:

A) Takes charge of the game, and keeps everything running in a consistent, timely, safe and orderly manner. After the game, you can't remember who he was!

B) Loses control of the game during pre-game instructions, is intimidated by over-zealous coaches and parents, doesn't see bats laying in foul territory, turns any game into a three ring circus. After the game, and after the arguing stops, you wouldn't recognize him ... except for the red-jacket and top hat.

C) Takes charge of everything, who, what, where, when and how! The field, the dug-out, the stands, the concession stand, the league, the tournament, the parking lot. His power is limited to his line of site! The Gestapo of Umpiring! After the game, you scurry to the rulebook, sec. 4 rule 2.13/9-2 [application] (B) "If in the judgement of the umpire ... traffic on streets adjacent to the park ... the umpire shall detour traffic to other thoroughfares.

Concerning the TSU, BigBlue49 wrote:

<IMHO [in my humble opinion] the one "common bond" here has been the game
< of softball. If we didn't LOVE IT, we wouldn't be a part of it! All of us have/will make
<some sort of "sacrafice" to be a part of the game. Those "outside" of the
<game of softball will never know the joy & sorrow we experience.


John T. responds:

IMHO the one "common bond" for ALL (most) sports officials is: MONEY. It may not be mucho dinero, but I don't know an UMP that loves the game enough, to come out and do it for free! LETS FACE FACTS: if we went to all volunteer umpires, you and your umpire brethren would give up "PLAY BALL" for "Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order please!" ... That is if they could find pants to fit all of you!! :)

The TSU comes to the game with:

A) Face mask, shin guards, chest protector, ball-bag and clicker.

B) A chip on his shoulders, zero patience, a holier than thou attitude, and enough money to pick-up a large pizza on the way home..

Through the course of his/her umpiring career, the TSU:

A) gains experience, and get's better every year.

B) gains weight, and get's bigger every year.

In all seriousness:

The Typical Softball Umpire does a pretty decent job. Just like there are good and bad coaches, parents and players ... we must suffer through that occaisonal UMP that is probably not good at his day job either. Good UMPS often make a part-time career of it, bad UMPS get tired of the criticism and crap ... and move onto basketball where they really stink!

Every UMP and Umpire Association sets their own standards, you can (usually) tell by how they look when they walk onto the field. If you are a new UMP or a bad UMP, at least look good, maybe you'll fool some people. Look bad, poor mechanics, poor judgement = kill the ump!

Hey UMPS ... YOU ARE GETTING PAID ... and we are the one's paying you!

You are entitled to pay, and you earn every penny. I wouldn't come ref your kids basketball game for FREE either. But let's not quibble ... you may love the game and you probably have been a coach or a player ... but when that check doesn't come - niether will you! You are not volunteers and we are not required to thank you ... you've cashed the check! (We may thank you if we appreciate the job that you've done ... win or lose.)

In summation:

I appreciate those UMPS that give it 110%, because I've seen plenty that gave 75%, but the bottom line is ... I'd rather pay someone to give me 50% effort and be impartial, blown calls and all, than have volunteer UMPS!

UMPS that are in it (partly) because they truely love the game ... usually make pretty good UMPS!!!


John T.

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