Today started with our test corrections from yesterdays exam. Bill and I tied with one missed question each, so it was the proverbial Vegas push on the bet. I actually think that may have been our last regular exam, with only the final on Saturday remaining. I was pleased to get a 95% on this test because I was unsure about all the rules covering suspended game and double headers. I guess I knew more than I thought. Today marked the last lesson in rules study. We have gone through and dissected the entire OBR rule book and almost all of the PBUC umpire manual. Our last section was rule 9.05, general instructions to the umpire. One thing MiLB stresses to its umpires is the importance of off the field conduct. Of course, on the field behavior is very important, but sometimes what you do off the field can have larger ramifications at times. The school stresses that their umpires must be professional, courteous, well dressed, and above all, remind them that they are a representative of MiLB and their behavior must reflect that level of responsibility. Jeff Nelson was in class today offering words of wisdom,and he brought up an interesting point. He said to be careful when in a restaurant because you often don’t know who is around, who might know you, and beware of people with ulterior motives. They said that when you are working in a small town, the people there will know you’re not from there, and they probably will know you are the umpires for their minor league team. Jeff told us, interestingly enough, to be wary of people asking too many questions about players. Although I think this may be more of a issue in MLB, but he said gambling can be a big problem, and people may try to get insider information from you. Again, another aspect I would have never thought of. He said to also be careful of who you are talking about when dining out, as you never know who might be within earshot. Very insightful information and good advice even outside of baseball.
Other than the final exam on Saturday, I’m not sure what the 3 remaining classroom days will consist of. We will meet tomorrow, Saturday, and Monday in the classroom as normal, and Tuesday will just be about a half a day of field work. After that, it will be the banquet on Tuesday night, and individual meetings on Wednesday where they will offer advancement to the evaluation course for some select students. We also found out that Jeff Nelson and Ted Barrett will be guests at the banquet and will offer us a Q&A session. Looking forward to that.
On the field and in the cages was more of the same. Just worked on field reps and cage work. They started to add in some scenarios in our reps.In the cages they added in some batting out of order situations and runners stealing with backswing interference. On the field, we started getting “managers” coming out to question calls. It adds a whole new dimension to the field work, and they are trying to simulate game conditions that you may face not only in MiLB, but at almost any level. It’s a good learning experience, but it adds some more stress to the reps. The instructors are great though and they don’t let things get out of hand. They really are working hard at making us better. I thought my field work was better today, but I could have done better at a couple things on the plate reps. All in a days work I guess, and tomorrow I’ll come out blazing again.