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Gray-New Gloucester Little League

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Feb, 2016

Umpires are needed

 If you would like to volunteer please contact us!  

The contribution of time and the devotion of the Little League umpire often go without reward, if not unnoticed. As a representative of the Little League Program, a movement that serves youth around the world, and has earned wide respect for its integrity and discipline, the umpire occupies a unique role. Likened to a police officer, the umpire must command respect and enforce the rules of the game. The umpire must also have knowledge of children and make every effort to be a good ambassador for Little League. 

Decisions by umpires are frequently questioned, a privilege long enjoyed by people who watch baseball. Umpires can, and do, make mistakes and should be the first to admit it should a misinterpretation of a rule occur. There are times when the inexperienced umpire may attempt to "even up" a bad decision. This is poor policy. 

The umpire should be sure a pitched, batted or thrown ball has reached the fielder's glove and the play is complete before making a call. Every play must be completed before the final call is made. 

An umpire should be conveniently "deaf" at times and should see and hear only that which is necessary while on the field of play. Every umpire should review his or her attitude occasionally and determine if it is in the best service to Little League. 

Become a Volunteer Umpire

The following attributes are most important when carrying out the essential duties and responsibilities of umpiring: 

Understanding: This is vital as far as the players are concerned. The umpire must study, and know the rules and regulations while also studying the Little Leaguers whose reactions do not always coincide with the adult. 

• Mental Attitude: In baseball, it is characteristic for players to question the umpire at times regarding decisions. Before reprimanding a player for something said, the umpire should attempt to let the player see a willingness to assist with the problem. 

 Cooperation: A willingness to take time to answer a player when there is a question, whether it is on the playing field or off. Gain the player's confidence and good will. 

 Conduct: The Little League umpire should lean towards accommodating some things that occur on the field. Managers should not set a bad example by rushing on the field and causing a disturbance. When this does occur, the umpire should be the one to set the example by remaining calm and exercising good judgment. 

 Appearance: It is not necessary for the umpire to have the very best clothing, but he or she must be clean and neat. Shoes should always be shined and the umpire's cap worn. Sport shirts and trousers of dark-blue material are the normal Little League attire. Leagues should acquire and maintain umpires equipment for use by the league's umpires. 

New Umpires: 

In Little League, there are many umpires who lack experience. When an experienced umpire is working with a new umpire, every effort should be made to assist the new official with the fine points of the position. 

Remember, the game is what the umpire makes it. YOU are part of the game. YOU are important to the game, but YOU are not more important than the game.

Controlling the Game: 

  When calling balls and strikes, permit the catcher plenty of room, but get as close as possible without interfering. See Rule 5.09 (b), umpire interference can occur. 

  Wait until the ball is in the catcher's mitt before calling the pitch. 

  Call the pitches what they are. Some catchers will attempt to assist in umpiring by calling out balls or strikes. Politely remind them you are the umpire and will call the pitches. 

  When catchers pull pitches over the plate, warn them to stop. When catchers do this, they are acknowledging the pitch was not a strike and are attempting to influence the umpire or inflame the fans. 

  Wait until the ball settles before calling it a fair or foul ball, unless it touches a person or object. Batted balls can strike in foul territory and still become fair balls and visa versa. 

  Time should not be called before a play is completed. Catchers often ask for time following a base on balls. Do not grant it until the batter/runner has reached first base and ceases to move forward. 

  When the play is completed, then call it. Prompt action saves many arguments. 

  A critical play could unintentionally be nullified if time is called too soon. Every umpire should be aware of this and avoid calling “time” or “foul ball” too soon. 

  Calling "time" too often will extend the time of the ball game. Many solutions are being sought to speed up a game. Limit the use of “time” to only when necessary. 

  Watch the ball! Do not move away from a play too soon. The adage "keep your eye on the ball" can save embarrassing moments, particularly if a ball is dropped. 

  If a ball is "live", never touch it. This will seldom occur, but always be alert and allow players to field or throw it. 

  When a judgment decision is made, no explanation is necessary. Explain a decision only when an interpretation of a rule is in doubt. 

  On an appeal play, make no decision unless an appeal is made properly. Get set for the next play. 

  Appeals are intended to keep the defense on the alert. DO NOT assist by making a decision before the appeal is made. 

  You may get hit if you stand in fair territory when calling plays at home plate. Almost all plays around home plate can be called from a position in foul territory. Make every effort to avoid any interference. 

  Get into position quickly when a ball has been batted or thrown. Be alert and move fast. Hustle makes a big impression and helps you. 

  Do not make decisions on the run. Stop in time to get set and then call the play. Your vision can be blurred if you are on the move. 

  Be sure bases are secure and positioned, as they should be. Unless bases are in exact position, difficult situations can develop. 

  When getting into position, be sure you are not obstructing the view of a fielder. Always check with a fielder who may be in back of you. 

  Get as close to every play as possible without getting in the way of the play. Always try to be looking into a play, avoid your vision being blocked out. 

  Hustle out to the outfield on fly balls to assure a proper "catch." A trapped ball off of the ground or fence is not an out. 

  Try to anticipate the next play before it occurs, but do not assume it will happen 

•  When there is no doubt about a call, make it routinely; but when a play is close, give the action necessary to imply there is no doubt that it was exactly as you called it. Everyone admires the umpire who indicates certainty and authority. 

  Make your calls in fair territory at first base except when the pitcher is covering the base, or when a batted ball is fielded by the first baseman, pitcher or catcher near to the first base line. The best position to call such a play is in foul territory, about ten feet toward home from first base. 

  Be sure to line up with runners on base when a fielder is about to catch a fly ball, to make sure the runner does not leave too soon. With runners on first or second, leave third base to the home plate umpire. 

  Never be without a rulebook. Use it when necessary. It is better to refer to the rulebook to settle a dispute than have a protest and find you were wrong. 

  Hustle, Hustle, Hustle!! This is the attitude of a good umpire. 

Helpful Hints for the Little League Umpire: 

  Every game is a new game. Don't worry if you have had a bad game. Review it and try to analyze your mistakes. 

  Patience, is not only a virtue, it is an essential. The umpire controls the environment. If he (or she) loses his temper, he loses control. 

  Umpires function as a team. They should not be critical of each other on or off the field and should support each other as necessary. 

  Umpires should keep themselves physically fit. 

  Calls should be made firmly and without hesitation. Umpires who are exhibitionists detract from the game and do nothing to improve it. 

  Umpires may be requested to explain a decision but should not become involved in an argument about it. 

  Plate umpires should make sure the next batter is ready as soon as the pitcher has finished warming up. Delays can ruin a good ball game. It is up to the umpire to keep players hustling and the game moving. 

  Umpires should always be alert to field conditions that may call for special ground rules. 

  Umpires should see to it that managers, coaches and players are in their proper places during a game and that equipment not in use is removed. 

Calling a Game 

When a decision must be made about calling a game due to weather conditions, darkness or other factors, all umpires involved should confer before a decision is reached. However, it is the prerogative of the umpire-in-chief to make this decision on his/her own. 

What is Expected of the Little League Umpire: 

Umpiring has long been recognized as a key responsibility assumed by volunteer personnel in the Little League program. It is an activity that requires more than just knowledge of the sport. 

Every umpire must know the rules, and should possess personal characteristics that inspire leadership, respect and confidence. In dealing with youngsters, the Little League program must seek out personnel with these qualifications. The umpire, like the manager and coach, should set an example for youngsters to emulate. 

As the individual in charge of the game, the umpire must, as the only adult on the field, maintain the mantle of leadership and respect from all concerned. In this effort, an understanding of the ways and manners of youngsters is essential. All are different and all should be treated as individuals. Every effort should be made to encourage the youngster's friendship and knowledge that the umpire is one who can be counted on for help. 

A good personal appearance adds much to the umpire's stature. As such, every effort should be made to be properly and neatly attired in order to lend dignity and authority to the position. 

The umpire must be a student of the rulebook. Because Little League rules differ from those of conventional baseball, these differences are important, as is the use of good judgment in making decisions. 


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Gray-New Gloucester Little League

GNGLL P.O. BOX 1236 
Gray, Maine 04039

Email Us: [email protected]
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