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DEALING WITH UMPIRES


Love 'em or hate 'em, umpires are a part of the game.  Most are former players, coaches and parents from the stands and have a thorough understanding of the rules and a profound love for the game.  They are just as human as the players, coaches and spectators and do all in their power to get every call right.  It's inevitable that umpires will sometimes get a call wrong and what follows on this page is a set of suggestions for dealing with such situations:

 

This is the BIG one...... 


9.02 (a) Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.

Rule 9.02(a) Comment: Players leaving their position in the field or on base, or managers or coaches leaving the bench or coaches box, to argue on BALLS AND STRIKES will not be permitted. They should be warned if they start for the plate to protest the call. If they continue, they will be ejected from the game.


So what if you think the umpire has made a mistake that is not "judgement" based?
......Appeal the decision to the umpire who made the call .

9.02 (b)If there is reasonable doubt that any umpire’s decision may be in conflict with the rules, the manager may appeal the decision and ask that a correct ruling be made. Such appeal shall be made only to the umpire who made the protested decision.

 

9.02 (c) If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it. If the umpires consult after a play and change a call that had been made, then they have the authority to take all steps that they may deem necessary, in their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they are reversing, including placing runners where they think those runners would have been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call, disregarding interference or obstruction that may have occurred on the play; failures of runners to tag up based upon the initial call on the field; runners passing other runners or missing bases; etc., all in the discretion of the umpires. No player, manager or coach shall be permitted to argue the exercise of the umpires’ discretion in resolving the play and any person so arguing shall be subject to ejection.

9.02(c) Comment: A manager is permitted to ask the umpires for an explanation of the play and how the umpires have exercised their discretion to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that the umpires are reversing. Once the umpires explain the result of the play, however, no one is permitted to argue that the umpires should have exercised their discretion in a different manner. The manager or the catcher may request the plate umpire to ask his partner for help on a half swing when the plate umpire calls the pitch a ball, but not when the pitch is called a strike. The manager may not complain that the umpire made an improper call, but only that he did not ask his partner for help. Field umpires must be alerted to the request from the plate umpire and quickly respond.  Managers may not protest the call of a ball or strike on the pretense they are asking for information about a half swing.   Appeals on a half swing may be made only on the call of ball and when asked to appeal, the home plate umpire must refer to a base umpire for his judgment on the half swing. Should the base umpire call the pitch a strike, the strike call shall prevail. Base runners must be alert to the possibility that the base umpire on appeal from the plate umpire may reverse the call of a ball to the call of a strike, in which event the runner is in jeopardy of being out by the catcher’s throw. Also, a catcher must be alert in a base stealing situation if a ball call is reversed to a strike by the base umpire upon appeal from the plate umpire. The ball is in play on appeal on a half swing. On a half swing, if the manager comes out to argue with first or third base umpire and if after being warned he persists in arguing, he can be ejected as he is now arguing over a called ball or strike.


What if your appeal is rejected and you still feel that you have a valid case?
.......Advise the umpire-in-chief that you will continue under protest. 

4.19 PROTESTING GAMES

Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire’s decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final. Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning the game.

Rule 4.19 Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged  is application of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office.


*** Lynnhaven Protest Rule - Any game protest must be submitted in writing to the appropriate division Vice President within forty-eight hours of the occurrence.  The person lodging the protest must make his or her intention to protest  known to the Chief Umpire of the game after the play or rule in question took place but before any resumption of play.

In MLB protests are rarely upheld.  In fact, this is so rare that only two protests have been upheld in the past thirty years.  This should tell you that the umpires usually get it right.  

The last successful protest involved a rain-shortened game between St. Louis and Pittsburgh in 1986. The Cardinals led the Pirates 4-1 in the top of the sixth inning when the game was called. The umpire in chief, John Kibler, called the game after two rain delays that lasted 17 and 21 minutes, with two pitches thrown in between. The Pirates protested, because the rules require the umpires to wait at least 75 minutes before calling a game after a first delay and 45 minutes for any subsequent delay. National League President Chub Feeney ordered the game completed; St. Louis won anyway 4-2.

 

The most eventful protested game of somewhat recent vintage was the infamous "pine tar" game. George Brett hit a two-run homer for Kansas City in the top of the ninth. Yankees manager Billy Martin argued that Brett's bat had pine tar too far up the barrel. Plate umpire Tim McClelland agreed and called Brett out.

The Royals protested the game, and AL President Lee MacPhail upheld it, saying that having pine tar more than 18 inches from the handle was no advantage to the hitter and that the umpires should enforce the rule by asking a hitter to clean the bat, not by calling him out for using it.

When the game resumed a month later, Martin ordered pitcher George Frazier to make appeal plays at each base, claiming that Brett had missed the base while running out his home run. The umpires gave the safe sign, and Martin went out to argue, pointing out that these umpires had not worked the original game and could not know if Brett had touched the bases or not. But crew chief Dave Phillips pulled a letter from his pocket with a notarized statement from the original umpires, attesting that both runners had indeed touched 'em all. Four batters later, the Royals had their 5-4 win.

 

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