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Get Serious!
By Roland Wiederaenders
June 27th, 2013

An umpire's understanding of the game advances in fits and starts. It's the experience of working the games, of living through the plays, the calls made judging the outcome of the plays, and the reactions of coaches/players/fans to the judgment calls. This is the well-fertilized ground in which an umpire grows.

No umpire was ever born. He didn't pop out fully formed. No umpire was ready for the big leagues the day after he started in the little leagues. It's commonly called "serving your time and paying your dues." It's the process every umpire endures on his way from the first game he calls to the last game he ever works.

Along the way, he will use different rules and better mechanics. That's a good thing. On the other hand, certain rules and mechanics can bedevil an umpire's development. His progress can hit stumbling blocks.

This article starts with one of the stumbling blocks Jim Evans conquered, 6.06c. Then with a couple of observed examples, I'll suggest that the 6.06c Approved Ruling could get better.

Play ball....

Stop Me if You've Heard This
By Carl Childress
June 26th, 2013

When I was growing up, on radio and for a time on TV (until I met this girl from the wrong side of town) my family and I listened and watched several famous comedians. From the best down, there was Jack Benny, Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, Bob Hope, and then there was ....

Red Skelton. I never liked him. But he was in a movie that everybody else liked, and from it he took a phrase that became his tagline: "I dood it!"

He used it when he had done something particularly stupid.

Fall ball in South Texas has plenty of guys yelling: "I dood it!"

Go inside to see what I mean.

The Catcher's Balk
A different view
By Jim Porter
June 25th, 2013

The year was 1899, during the infamous Dead Ball Era, when the earliest form of the catcher's balk first appeared in the professional code. At that time, baseball's growing pains were being felt with horrendously boring games. So many rules offered so many different angles and varieties of strategy that teams would try to outthink one another, rather than outplay.

Click the title to see why the "catcher's" balk is important to the development of the rules.

All About the Strike zone — Part VI
Hold yer horses!
By Roland Wiederaenders
June 24th, 2013

Good timing comes from "proper use of eyes," which is a patented phrase in my book. New umpires show their ragged edges and tense nerves more at the plate than on the the bases. Like Haydn's "Surprise Symphony," measured patience can become music to the listening ears of coaches, players, fans, admirers, and detractors.

If given a choice, I'd lay even money that women would elect to have babies about two days after finding out they've become pregnant. Procreation would be more fun, and production with a safe delivery would be less wearing. It wouldn't be very patient, however. No telling what would happen to the world population increases. And, for today, that's my theory about why gestation is more than a simple lesson in patience. Persistent patience precedes production.

Working the strike zone tool, an umpire can be ever so nattily dressed and composed. If his timing is not patient, he'll break the zone. No one will be happy! PUOE, PUOE, PUOE: "Proper use of eyes" is the method for reaching the nirvana of a patient presentation.

Play ball....

Don't Ask, Don't Tell
By Carl Childress
June 20th, 2013

There was a policy in the US armed services that they wouldn't ask a soldier's sexual orientation and he / she wouldn't broadcast it. Didn't work very well there. Fails miserably on the diamond.

Fact is there are times when you'd better keep your mouth shut, like Haldeman clamming up about Pres. Nixon.

But there are also times when you'd better be singing, like Monica Lewinsky tattling on Pres. Clinton.

Click the title to see what I'm talking about.

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