How to Work With Umpires (Part 1)

By Dave Holt

A baseball umpire is in a no-win situation. Every close play and every close pitch are going to have one side or the other upset.

Umps are rarely ever going to measure up. Since we know we are going to be on the bad end of calls much of the time it is best to make the baseball umpire nearly irrelevant.

Do not take up the umpires as big issue. Swallow your medicine and hope you get the next one to go your way.

If the baseball coaches take their focus off the umpires then the ballplayers will follow suit. If the coaches make a big issue of the umpires and consistently belly ache on numerous plays during the games then the baseball players and the baseball parents are going to imitate the baseball coaches.

Baseball Parents and Players: Don’t Worry With the Umps

Right off the bat we are going to make sure our players and baseball parents clearly understand how they are to react to umpires calls.

They are not going to be shaking their heads, pouting, or say anything to the umpire. Me, as the coach, will take care of that. I will say something when it is appropriate to say.

I am really making the player’s job easier. The kids just have to play ball and realize I (the coach) will be the one dealing with the umpires.

Parents: your job is much easier too, you just have to make sure the kids get to and from the games and baseball practices and show your support by enjoying the game.

Mr. Umpire. What is Your Name Sir?

We will not be addressing the umpires as ‘BLUE’. This is just about the most disrespectful way to treat another professional.

We will find out the umpires names and address them by name during the ball games.

Me, as the coach will write the umpires names on my lineup card in the dugout so we all get to know the umpires by name.

At no time will we call the umpires ‘BLUE’.

SIDE NOTE: I did have one private high school baseball team address me as ‘Mr. Blue’. I’m like ‘hey, at least the coach told the kids to throw a Mr. or a ‘Sir’ in there.’

Helping the Umpires With Foul Balls

Introduce yourself and call the umpire by name…NOT ‘BLUE

Any time a baseball umpire behind the plate needs baseballs we will have a baseball player or extra coach hustle out to the homeplate umpire and ‘HAND The UMPIRE’ the baseballs between pitches.

NEVER roll or toss the baseballs to the umpire and make the ump pick them up or try to catch the baseballs.

Watch the professional baseball teams next time you are at a professional baseball game and see how the batboys run the baseballs out to the umps between pitches. Make sure your on-deck hitter shags the foul balls around the backstop area so the umpire does not have to stop the game to pick up the foul balls.

Baseball Parents Your Job is to Do Nothing

Umpire meeting to go over ground rules and exchange line up cards.

If you ask most kids what they want their parents to do during the game, they would say, “NOTHING”. What that means is you do not have to say anything.

The kids just want to know that you enjoyed watching them and you really hope they have fun.

You do not ever COACH from the stands,

YELL encouraging things to your kids when they do well,

or SAY anything to the baseball umpires. Now, that does not mean you cannot clap for your children when they do well.

The main point is that you just have to hand your child to me as the coach, stand back and let me do my job.

Next month: Coach/Umpire Checklist

After finishing his professional playing career Dave spent eleven seasons managing in the Red Sox minor league system helping to develop several major league ballplayers. After leaving the Red Sox Dave managed and recruited in the Independent Professional Baseball leagues. He has also coached collegiate wood bat and high school teams. His site, coachandplaybaseball.com is a wealth of information for baseball players and coaches of all levels.

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