Thursday, May 31, 2012

Douche of the Day: Attention Seeking Umpires

Youth baseball teaches many lessons like teamwork, sacrifice, fair play, and giving your best effort. The nature of baseball is mostly about failure and coping with disappointment, especially at the youth level. Even the best players will often fail more than they succeed, whether pitching, hitting or fielding. For the most part, parents, coaches and teammates forgive failure and encourage the child to try again.

"That's ok, Johnny! You'll get 'em next time!"

Baseball is a team sport that allows for individual achievement. What a great life lesson! Each player gets his turn at bat and a chance to perform in the spotlight. For a child, that time can be stressful. With everyone watching the pressure to succeed can be intense for a kid. To ridicule or embarrass a child for failing to hit a baseball, what Ted Williams once called "the hardest thing to do in sports," is not only mean, it is the act of a bully. Yet this is exactly what is happening on many youth fields.

Lately there has been a rash of umpire videos in internet news showcasing youth league umpires with over-the-top strike three mechanics. Here is an example at a 10U baseball game:

The commentary in these news articles is generally something like, "entertaining, but is this appropriate for youth baseball?" Let me answer that:


Exaggerated strike three calls are a part of adult baseball. Who doesn't like MLB umpire Tom Hallion and his uppercut strike three call? It's great entertainment. However, umpire theatrics have no place in youth baseball. Unfortunately, many amateur umpire scour YouTube looking for unique punch out calls that will add a little flair to their games. YouTube is full of amateur and untrained clowns flailing around. The danger is that the inexperienced umpire gets the idea that an exaggerated call is the norm. It's not. Even at the big league level mechanics like Hallion's are rare.

There is nothing wrong with being unique, but when it crosses the line into embarrassing a child, it has gone too far. Remember, even umpires are a role model at the youth level, so what does a zany strike three call teach? Nothing good.

Don't be an attention whore and a douche umpire. Develop a professional and crisp strike three mechanic and leave the clowning to other idiots.
MLB Umpire Adrian Johnson

1 comment:

Warren said...

Completely agree Pete. There is no place for this in little kid games. You're not cool doing a huge punch out on a 10 y/o. SMH

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