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The umps cost us the Game...

posted Mar 26, 2012, 7:01 PM by Steve Gill   [ updated Mar 30, 2012, 9:48 AM by Ray Hughes ]

“The umps cost us the game…!”

That phrase was heard a couple of times the other night after a loss.  The surprising part was the phrase came from the mouths of a couple of my 7 year old players. 

All too often we are reminded that as coaches and mentors that our every word, whether said directly or listened to in passing makes an impact on impressionable ears.  Never in the history of baseball can one game be pointed out that the loss was indeed the fault of the umpire.  While it may seem that way during a game, a booted ball by the second baseman or the misplayed fly ball by the centerfielder is usually a leading factor in the defeat.  How we handle those mistakes as coaches is how you will be viewed by your peers and parents.

Proverbs 19:11 says…”Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense”.  The umpires, opposing coaches and fans are all there for one reason…the game of baseball.  Now how those umpires, opposing coaches and fans conduct themselves is another topic.  We as coaches for Dierker’s Champs shoulder a larger burden than most.  It is widely known in Cy-Fair baseball circles that we are to conduct ourselves with the greatest of composure.  So here are a couple of tips that work for me.  Trust me, three games into this season, I have been tested:

1)      Remember the umpires are normally folks that work a full time job as well.  While they have to be certified and are paid for their time, typically a bad day for them can go to a catastrophic day if a coach comes running at them yelling.  I have found that by simply approaching with a smile (and I know that it is hard sometimes) can immediately disarm a potential volcanic situation. 

2)      Be inquisitive and polite.  Ask the umpire “Would it be okay to ask for help on the call from your partner?”  The always popular…“Man, can I get some help here?” can be taken a couple of ways and both of those are usually bad.   If the umpire is already on the defense they probably feel like they are about to be ganged up on by you and other umpire or even worse, they know that you  are on to their plot to overthrow your baseball empire (hahaha!).  In either case, the worst thing that he or she can say is no.  We like to be polite when things go our way, but remember lead by example.  Thank you very much and God Bless you (I used that last week in our loss, the umpire stood there mouth open and didn’t know what to say) is a great way to defuse the situation.

3)      Before each game at homeplate, say “Thank you for your time.”  You would be amazed at the looks you will get.  Secondly, get to know their names.  You will find that a conversation with someone not called “BLUE” is a lot easier when you address someone by their name.

4)      Finally, remember your facial expressions and body movements sometimes speak louder than the loudest voice.  I am not a small guy.  Running at you with my arms waving and a stern look on my face is not perceived well.  It is something that I struggle with.  Before you react, count to three, call time, then walk onto the field.  It works.

The bottom line is that it is just a game, the score of our teams game is not going to solve the ongoing hunger issues in third world countries, or the ever growing cost of gasoline at home.  We are not professional coaches and we are definitely not going to be on ESPN with highlights of our antics with umpires and opposing teams.  But we can definitely be etched into the mind of our kids with our demeanor.  Be that coach that they remember as someone that affected their lives for the positive. 

Keep up the good work!

Coach Steve