The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 11

The Proper Way to Make a Substitution The situation may arise where a coach may enter a pinch runner (a substitute) and, during the announcement to the ump, say “and I’ll reenter the starter”. No good! Especially if the team bats around in the same inning wherein the starter must reenter at the second instance. (If the substitute stays in to play during the protracted inning, he will be an illegal substitute). The correct method is for the coach to finish the inning and THEN announce the reentry of the starter for subsequent innings. The Proper Way to Appeal a Call Umpires feel the area of “Asking for Help” is the biggest issue they have with coaches. The proper procedure is for the contesting coach to appeal to the umpire making the call for help from his partner. THAT umpire then has the right to either accept or decline his request. If he accepts the call for help, he will go to his partner(s) and discuss the play. Some umpires have an attitude that they made the call and how could anybody possibly disagree with his call. More than likely, he would then decline the coach’s request for assistance. Many umpires do not have a problem going to their partner and asking him what he saw during the play (they feel that four eyes are better than two). But some umps DO have that problem of overturning their call — Most don’t. Umpires watch the “bigs” on TV and, unfortunately, MLB umpires do not ask for help between themselves….maybe they should………..since high school umps most likely try to emulate them. A good umpire should not be opposed to hearing another umpire’s opinion on a play. During the umpire’s discussion of the appealed play, it is important for the coach to stay away (literally stay away) from the discussion and accept the final decision. In some situations umpires come together and appear to be discussing the play when, in actuality, the ump may say “where do you want to eat after the game”. He will then turn to the inquiring coach and tell him that the play was discussed and the play stands. A coach should never appeal a JUDGEMENT call unless he feels a ball was dropped (or caught) by a fielder or some other circumstance occurred that prevented the calling-umpire from seeing the total play. Check swings are certainly appealable but only if the field umpire is in the correct viewing position to make an intelligent call. Whether a pitch is swung at or not is a judgment call. Some people believe that “breaking the wrists” and “the bat went past the plate” will automatically define a strike. They do not. Umpires use those actions as factors, but factor are all they are. It is purely a judgment decision. Whatever the situation, it is obvious a coach will probably not be pleased with every decision made but the important thing to remember is that once the umpire has asked for help, then that call will stand and nothing the coach says will overturn the call. Maintaining Spectator Control Spectator control is an area that is important. A coach has much more influence over his schools’ fans than the umpire. Normally if a coach asks fans to quiet down they usually do. By doing so, the coach will definitely improve the relationship with the umpire. As indifferent as an umpire should be about the outcome of a game, there could be a call made that may be influenced by the conduct of the spectators. This article is here to help coaches understand the proper procedures to follow during a game.