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View Full Version : Other Sports My baseball umpire buddy told me something I can't believe....


DRU
09-20-2011, 03:25 AM
Could use some of your feedback on this because I'm still a little bit shocked by it.

A buddy of mine has been umpiring baseball (little league through high school ball) for about 10 years.

He was at my house the other day watching SportsCenter and we got to talking about bad calls on quick, bang-bang plays. I made the comment that "a tie goes to the runner" and he laughed at me and said "a tie doesn't exist."

I thought he was simply going to reverse my statement and say that in those situations he would call somebody out. Fine, as long as you do it that way every time, I said.

He went on to say, though, that no. The call would depend on how the play was setup. Did the fielder bobble the ball and cause it to be a close play? Did he come in for a slow grounder, bare hand it, and fire it across the field for a close play. On the first, he'd call the runner safe. On the latter, he'd call the runner out.

I was stunned by this. As an umpire, he's telling me that with the same exact thing happening on his end, he'd call the play differently depending on what happened prior to that. I kept trying to say, hey, did the ball beat him or not? Who cares of the guy bobbled it, the same thing happened on the other end...the ball beat him or not. He says, no, the same thing did not happen. If the guy wouldn't bobble it, it wouldn't have been close, so that's not the same.

We got into a heated discussion about it and he kept saying "ask any umpire. They'll tell you the same thing I'm saying."

I basically kept trying to push the fact that the instant in time that the foot hits the bag and the ball hits the mit at the same time...if you hear that pop and see the foot hit at the same exact time, that's a tie. You gotta call that one way or another based on how you would personally call a tie.

His view is that is not the case at all. There is no tie at all. The development of play is what will allow him to make his call. He just couldn't understand why I had a problem with that.

Thoughts?

Elwaysux
09-20-2011, 03:42 AM
Been years since I umpired but once a ball was hit my focus was to get myself in position to make the call. I don't know that I could tell you if the ball was fielded cleanly or not because I was focused on the ball/runner arriving at the base.

DRU
09-20-2011, 03:57 AM
Been years since I umpired but once a ball was hit my focus was to get myself in position to make the call. I don't know that I could tell you if the ball was fielded cleanly or not because I was focused on the ball/runner arriving at the base.

I made that point to my buddy, that first of all you shouldn't even know what happened outside of the play at your base, and if you do it shouldn't matter. He did remind me, though, that at their level there are only 2 umpires so that's a little bit tough, and he also tried to throw in there that it's human nature to watch what's going on around it.

I'll even concede that. I guess my big surprise is the fact that even though the same thing happens on his end (the ball either beats the runner, the runner beats the ball, or it seems to happen at the same time) he'll call it differently.

He says that's just the human aspect of the game. That it's just like a home plate umpires with different strike zones. I couldn't disagree with him more.

Ebolapox
09-20-2011, 06:35 AM
the human aspect is bullshit. get some fucking robots that can do a perfect job, plz.

Bane
09-20-2011, 06:37 AM
HGH changes everything.

Old Dog
09-20-2011, 06:43 AM
He's right. You're taught that there is no such thing as a tie. I don't know that I buy off on what happened on the other end having anything to do with it though. Maybe that's how HE calls it, but to me if it looked like a tie, it was an out.

Old Dog
09-20-2011, 06:45 AM
I made that point to my buddy, that first of all you shouldn't even know what happened outside of the play at your base, and if you do it shouldn't matter. He did remind me, though, that at their level there are only 2 umpires so that's a little bit tough, and he also tried to throw in there that it's human nature to watch what's going on around it.

I'll even concede that. I guess my big surprise is the fact that even though the same thing happens on his end (the ball either beats the runner, the runner beats the ball, or it seems to happen at the same time) he'll call it differently.

He says that's just the human aspect of the game. That it's just like a home plate umpires with different strike zones. I couldn't disagree with him more.

Human nature has nothing to do with that. On the infield, you're taught to watch the ball. If you have a first base umpire who spends most of his time watching first base and only first base, it's only a matter of time before he catches a wild throw from a shortstop right in the ear.

Amnorix
09-20-2011, 06:55 AM
He's right. You're taught that there is no such thing as a tie. I don't know that I buy off on what happened on the other end having anything to do with it though. Maybe that's how HE calls it, but to me if it looked like a tie, it was an out.

But tie goes to the runner, so why isn't it safe if it looks like a tie?

rageeumr
09-20-2011, 07:00 AM
I think this is probably commonplace. Any play you see in the majors that's Web Gem worthy is going to get the out call if it's close.

Old Dog
09-20-2011, 07:21 AM
But tie goes to the runner, so why isn't it safe if it looks like a tie?

Where have you ever read in a rule book that a tie goes to the runner? Answer: Nowhere....there are NO ties.

Real answer, there are 54 outs in a nine-inning game, if it's close enough to call him out, we only have 53 to go. Right thing to say, probably not, but I assure you that there are umpires out there that think exactly that way.

Short Leash Hootie
09-20-2011, 07:27 AM
the dude is a $20 per game umpire...take that for what it's worth

Simply Red
09-20-2011, 07:28 AM
You shoulda kicked dirt on him

King_Chief_Fan
09-20-2011, 08:35 AM
Let's see your buddy make the big time with BS like that.

Dr. Facebook Fever
09-20-2011, 08:41 AM
I've done a little little league umping... been a long time... but I always went by the possibly unwritten rule that a tie goes to the runner and would always call it that way. I've never ever heard it your friends way and in fact that would piss me off too. The call is safe or out imo. It doesn't depend on what an infielder did on the way to getting the ball to first.

4th and Long
09-20-2011, 08:56 AM
He's right. You're taught that there is no such thing as a tie. I don't know that I buy off on what happened on the other end having anything to do with it though. Maybe that's how HE calls it, but to me if it looked like a tie, it was an out.
You are incorrect. I ran an umpiring crew for many years. If the batter/base runner arrives before or at the same time the ball is caught by the fielder at any bag, the runner is declared safe.

The bullshit your buddy is doing is nothing more than sandlot rules. I'd fire his lame ass if he was on any of my crews.
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Nickel D
09-20-2011, 09:11 AM
Ask the ultimate first-base umpiring source: Don Denkinger.

Old Dog
09-20-2011, 09:19 AM
You are incorrect. I ran an umpiring crew for many years. If the batter/base runner arrives before or at the same time the ball is caught by the fielder at any bag, the runner is declared safe.

The bullshit your buddy is doing is nothing more than sandlot rules. I'd fire his lame ass if he was on any of my crews.
Posted via Mobile Device

It isn't my buddy, but that is not the point.
If you umpired and you know the rulebook you must certainly know that "baserunner ties" is not addressed.
The rule book does say, however (in rule 7.1)

Rule 7.01:"A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out." BEFORE he is out, not at the same time.

suzzer99
09-20-2011, 09:47 AM
Technically it's impossible for the ball and the runner to reach at the exact same time. There is no quantum time, so there will always be a finer measure that will distinguish the two. Just saying.

Phobia
09-20-2011, 09:51 AM
There is no tie. I don't know about all the other crap he's saying but I always know when I'm dealing with a moron... he keeps talking about a tie going to the runner.

OnTheWarpath58
09-20-2011, 09:59 AM
the dude is a $20 per game umpire...take that for what it's worth

Bingo.

DRU
09-20-2011, 12:22 PM
He's right. You're taught that there is no such thing as a tie. I don't know that I buy off on what happened on the other end having anything to do with it though. Maybe that's how HE calls it, but to me if it looked like a tie, it was an out.

That's what I was thinking. If a "tie" goes to the field instead the runner, fine. I can handle that "human element" in that some guys will call it one way and others will call it another. As long as they're consistent, that's fine.

That's not how he does it, though, so again, I was just a little shocked by that.

DeezNutz
09-20-2011, 12:24 PM
No such thing as a tie, and what happens in the field is irrelevant. It's all about step/catch or catch/step. Now, the point about the bobbled throw is a totally different animal. The fielder must have clean possession of the ball.

Once the ball is hit and you know where the play will transpire, you're not watching the ball. Rather, you're getting to an angled position to get the best view of the play, which should mean that you're safely out of the way of the ball and the fielder/runner.

BillSelfsTrophycase
09-20-2011, 12:24 PM
Replay is coming, purists be damned. It started with the home run replays


Human element<<<<<<<<<<Getting the call right

DRU
09-20-2011, 12:27 PM
Technically it's impossible for the ball and the runner to reach at the exact same time. There is no quantum time, so there will always be a finer measure that will distinguish the two. Just saying.

I don't know. The fact that I had 2 winners on my ticket contest that rolled over the same thing on my web site at the exact same time, down to the millisecond, tells me that 2 things can happen at the same time.

I know that's not really the point here, though. The point here is that I've always understand it as the umpire watches the foot/bag and listens for the pop of the glove. If those 2 things seemingly occur at the same time, you make a call based on how you would personally call a "tie".

You seem to agree with him, though, that there cannot be a tie. As such, what factors would you use to make a call on a play like that where it's so close you can't really tell what happened first?

DRU
09-20-2011, 12:28 PM
No such thing as a tie, and what happens in the field is irrelevant. It's all about step/catch or catch/step. Now, the point about the bobbled throw is a totally different animal. The fielder must have clean possession of the ball.

Once the ball is hit and you know where the play will transpire, you're not watching the ball. Rather, you're getting to an angled position to get the best view of the play, which should mean that you're safely out of the way of the ball and the fielder/runner.

So what call would you make if you see the foot hit the bag at the same time you hear the pop of the glove?

DeezNutz
09-20-2011, 12:32 PM
So what call would you make if you see the foot hit the bag at the same time you hear the pop of the glove?

You get in the best position and trust your gut reaction. As others have said, there's never going to be a tie. Not exactly.

Think about the precision is takes to umpire a ML game. How often do close plays seem indiscernible to the naked eye? Yet the umpires must make a call, one that they believe is right.

Apply the same principle to all levels. #1 rule: get into position. From there, trust your eyes/ears. See the play. Pause (literally about one second) and make the right call (in your eyes).

listopencil
09-20-2011, 01:15 PM
So what call would you make if you see the foot hit the bag at the same time you hear the pop of the glove?


Light travels faster than sound. There is no tie. Runner got there first.

Ace Gunner
09-20-2011, 01:19 PM
your ump buddy is an ass.

DRU
09-20-2011, 01:19 PM
Light travels faster than sound. There is no tie. Runner got there first.

Maybe that's where "tie goes to the runner" comes from..?? I'm a science guy, so that makes sense to me. Seems to be the opposite of what most are saying, though. General consensus seems to be that if you feel it's a "tie" you call the runner out.

My buddy actually said "I get paid to call outs" and somebody else eluded to that same thing in here already.

I used to simply think that if I asked an umpire "why did you call that guy out/safe" I'd get a pretty straight forward answer. Seems now that a whole lot more goes into that call, which is interesting to me.

RaiderH8r
09-20-2011, 01:32 PM
You are incorrect. I ran an umpiring crew for many years. If the batter/base runner arrives before or at the same time the ball is caught by the fielder at any bag, the runner is declared safe.

The bullshit your buddy is doing is nothing more than sandlot rules. I'd fire his lame ass if he was on any of my crews.
Posted via Mobile Device

Yep. Call'em as they come. I don't give two monkey farts how the ball was fielded, whether or not I blew a call earlier in the game, whether or not another ump on the crew wasn't making calls I agreed with. Doesn't matter. My job is to make the best call I can on every play according to the rules. An ump owes that to the players and the game.

ElGringo
09-20-2011, 01:44 PM
Light travels faster than sound. There is no tie. Runner got there first.

I was thinking about this as well...but since light travels faster than sound, wouldn't that mean the pop of the glove you heard happened first. Extreme example, but work with me. If it takes a sound a second to get to you, the action that created that sound happened 1 second ago. It takes the light .5 seconds to get to you, and the action you see happened .5 seconds ago. The sound occurred first, runner is out.

DRU
09-20-2011, 02:04 PM
I was thinking about this as well...but since light travels faster than sound, wouldn't that mean the pop of the glove you heard happened first. Extreme example, but work with me. If it takes a sound a second to get to you, the action that created that sound happened 1 second ago. It takes the light .5 seconds to get to you, and the action you see happened .5 seconds ago. The sound occurred first, runner is out.

Ha, yup. A little deeper thought process on that and I'd have to agree! That's a little more involved than I would think most would worry about, though. I think that's why it ends up being called a tie and people deal with that however they deal with it.

It's exactly how I'm hearing umpires deal with that scenario that's surprising to me. All these years I just assumed it was as easy as calling a "tie" one way or another. Apparently, it's not.

Groves
09-20-2011, 10:31 PM
Things done with style are superior.

In this case, it gets you the tiebreaker call.

whoman69
09-20-2011, 11:25 PM
Sounds like your buddy is a horrible ump. You try to make the call to get it right, not make the call based on style points. Does he double as an NBA ref?

DJ's left nut
09-20-2011, 11:30 PM
I've actually always viewed it the same way, but I guess for a different reason.

Technically speaking he's right - there's no such thing as a tie. Even if it's on a purely molecular level, somebody got there first. Even if it has to be parsed out to billionths of a second - sooner or later there is a winner.

My position has always been that the umpire should simply do the best he can to get the call right. As such, on a bang/bang play, I'll defer to the umpire. If that umpire calls the runner out, I'm comfortable believing that the umpire simply believed that the ball beat the runner (even if it was close as all hell).

Your buddy is right, but for the wrong reason. There's no such thing as a tie.

RippedmyFlesh
09-20-2011, 11:30 PM
Sounds like your buddy is a horrible ump. You try to make the call to get it right, not make the call based on style points. Does he double as an NBA ref?

I have seen MLB umpires do this. They anticipate the play.
Kind of like not following through swinging a golf club.

CrazyPhuD
09-21-2011, 12:57 AM
Bah I was always taught the rule. If it's close and the runner is the home team he's out. If it's close and the runner's the visiting team then then he's safe.

13and3
09-21-2011, 06:37 AM
Who gives a shit, baseball blows monkeyballs. The sooner you middleaged baby boomers realize it, the sooner we can put that dog of a sport to rest.

NaptownChief
09-21-2011, 09:49 AM
He is a horrible ump. Their job is to call the result the best they can see it. He reminds me of a lot of the horrible judges in the judicial system. Their job is to interpret the law but many of them now think they deserve the right to legislate from the bench.

4th and Long
09-21-2011, 10:04 AM
It isn't my buddy, but that is not the point.
If you umpired and you know the rulebook you must certainly know that "baserunner ties" is not addressed.
The rule book does say, however (in rule 7.1)

Rule 7.01:"A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out." BEFORE he is out, not at the same time.
If you want to be a real stickler, here's the way it's suppossed to work.

There are no ties and there is no rule that says the tie goes to the runner. But the rule book does say that the runner must beat the ball to first base, and so if he doesn't beat the ball, then he is out. So you have to make the decision. That's why umpires are paid the money they are, to make the decision on if he did or if he didn't. The only thing you can do is go by whether or not he beat the ball. If he did, then he is safe.