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Del Rey American Little League

How to Argue with an Umpire

Things Managers Should Understand:

  • Little League Baseball is a leadership development program through the game of baseball. To the best of your abilities, demonstrate how to be a leader in all actions on the field, including when you have a disagreement with an umpire.
  • You may not question judgement (e.g., ball, strike, safe, out, fair, foul), but can question how a rule is/is not enforced, whether an umpire saw something (e.g., foot off base).
  • It is all about respect. If you give it, you will get it. The umpire is a volunteer who is doing the best that they can. If we do not treat them with respect, we will lose these valuable volunteers. If you have an issue with an umpire, please reach out after the game to the DRALL Umpire-in-Chief to discuss your concerns.
  • Wait for an umpire to grant you time before coming onto the field to discuss a call with an umpire.
  • Don't show up the umpire or grandstand. You're there to make your point, not put on a performance for the crowd.
  • If asking an umpire, a question, be specific (e.g., Bad Question – “I think that the other umpire had a better view/angle, can you please go ask him/her for help.” Good Question – “I think that the first basemen’s foot was off first base, can you check with your partner to see what they saw.”).
  • Control your anger, no matter how ticked-off you are. Most umpires will listen to arguments, none should listen to you yell at them.
  • Recognize when it is futile. Some umpires are a legend in their own mind, or don't understand they might have kicked one. When this happens, resist the urge to get the parting shot in.
  • Go to the right umpire. Not to the oldest one, the plate umpire, or the one who you feel will side with your opinion. Go to the one who made the call. No other umpire should overrule another.
  • Modify your approach to the age of the umpire, especially if there is a Jr. Umpire. Just the fact that you are an adult is intimidating. Don't be condescending, and don't use your age. Just be factual and treat him as a competent doing-his individual best. DRALL has a zero-tolerance policy with respect to mistreatment of a youth umpire.
  • If you paint an umpire into a corner, or try to intimidate the umpire, you've likely either shut him up or gotten him into defensive position. Either way he's not listening to you, and you're not going to persuade him to change his mind. Which should be why you're out there.
  • The word which will often get you ejected immediately is the “Y” word (i.e., “You” as in "You made a terrible call," or "You are a terrible umpire." Talk about the call, not the individual who made it. "I think that call is wrong" is factual; "You got the call wrong" is personal.
  • You're stuck with the umpire for the rest of the game. Don't moan, bitch and gripe for the next 2 hours. Don't play mind games with the umpire - chances are it will get him thinking too much. That call is history, what you're really interested in are the calls for the rest of the game. And rattled umpires sometimes do not make good calls.
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