Back in the 100% column on our balk test, however, Bill also got a perfect score so I didn’t get to squeeze a dollar from him. Todays test was on situation management, things like where to go after a called third strike to end an inning, how to handle coaches in certain situations, and what authority you have on the field. Today’s lesson covered game preliminaries, line up cards, ground rules, and substitutions. Pretty standard information, although they emphasized starting the games on time. They also covered suspended games and how you have to be careful when deciding when to end games for weather conditions. Because there can be some financial ramifications for ball clubs when games are rained out, not to mention re-scheduling concerns, the umpires are instructed to work with the clubs GM and coordinate when to call the game. Although there are guidelines in the rulebook, minor league baseball is a big business and apparently teams have insurance for rain delays that don’t kick in until a certain amount has fallen. Not to mention keeping the fans in the park for more concession sales. Sometimes the GM’s want you to wait a while before calling a game so that they may cover themselves financially. I never even thought of this nor did I realize what kind of financial problems a rainout could cause. Another interesting POE was regarding plate meetings, and I know this topic has been discussed on Umpire-Empire and other boards as well. At conclusion of the plate meeting, they instruct their umpires to ask managers if they have any questions. I personally do not ask that question at my plate meetings, and since I won’t work minor league baseball, I probably never will. I don’t have an issue with asking, I just prefer not to. I know this has been a debate among umpires so I found it an interesting point.
Todays field work incorporated ground balls to the infield and base hits with bases loaded. We have now covered all possible base runner combinations, but there is more to add. Today we worked on time plays some more, and added in catchers interference. Tomorrow, I think we will work on tag ups with bases loaded, and then I think it will be situationals from here until the end. There is a lot to master with the two man system and we don’t have that much time to get it right. It’s been a long week and I have to admit today I finally hit the wall this afternoon. Although my early field reps and cage work were good, I just kind of ran out of gas at the end. Although nothing went horribly wrong, and I lucked out with some easier situations on my last field reps, I didn’t feel sharp. I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, and I’m sure all of us here have felt it or will feel it at some point. I know its just from fatigue, and Sunday can’t come soon enough. I need a day off! Nothing new to report in our cage work, we continued to work on check swings and the strike zone. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the strike zone they want us to call. I wish this zone was taught at every clinic, particularly to High School umpires. This was one POE that pleasantly surprised me. Not much else to report so I will keep it a little short tonight. Time for bed and some Advil!