Let’s see how the kid reacts…
The title of this piece is a bit misleading, but nevertheless it is a question that’s asked repeatedly by pro scouts, college coaches and other interested parties of a youngster who’s trying to tough it out. And one of the most grueling “tough it out” situations is not getting calls at the plate.
For a youngster with any hope of being considered beyond the moment… the self discipline of thinking beyond that moment can mean all the difference in the world. Sounds easy I know, but it’s not.
So, who is this person that’s going to give you reason’s for tempering yourself? Perhaps a closer look at who these people arewill help you understand the playing environment that your in and hopefully how to rationalize some of your reactions to their work.
First of all, I honestly believe that there is no sports official that’s vilified more than the baseball umpire. No matter what the call. if there’s fifty thousand people in the stadium… including players and coaches… there’s got to be at least forty nine thousand opinions contrary to every call made. And if that wasn’t enough, the rules of baseball are so complex at times… pending proximity and timing plays… it’s amazing that anyone would want this job to begin with.
And let’s not forget the human condition. Sprinkle in a pinch or two of those fine qualities like shallowness, selfishness, egotistical, pettiness, sore loser, and good ole me-myself-n-I.
To prepare oneself for this kind of @#%!!, an individual starts off as a rookie umpire. He/she joins a local “board” as its called and receives a basic course in rules, umpire positioning, or mechanics as its called, and some of the protocols of officiating. Then their tuned loose on youth ball… and the learning curve begins. By the way, think it’s easy… forget it. I know of no other job, things being equal, where a person has to be absolutely perfect, right out of the gate.
Now the only way to hone one’s skills is to umpire at the basic spots as often as one can. There’s the plate – for the umpire in chief, then there’s the base umpire(s) – infield, and the outfield umpire. And on that note… the plate is a special skill that has the dubious job of dealing with you. Unfortunately, these amateur plate umpires are judged too quickly, unfairly and criticized for a skill level that they can rarely achieve. Being an amateur means just that… an amateur. And like you, they don’t have the opportunity to practice like the pros, nor is baseball the only thing in their life.
So when your in a game and you’re not getting the calls … tough it out, even if the game goes against you. BECAUSE, if you have any kind of talent, your going to progress up into a level where the officiating will be much better, and not bringing a bag full of antics with you when things don’t go your way, will serve you well.
Now, let’s say there’s a group of recruiters and scouts that have come to watch you pitch… their nested away from the crowd. As they take out their notepads and watch you perform … pitch after pitch doesn’t go your way. The main question that will be answered only by your performance will be:
“LET’S SEE HOW THE KID REACTS”. No scout, recruiter, coach recruiter is going to risk their job by recommending a hot head.
Be reasonable with your umpires… they’re amateurs just like you and
your coaches. And there really nice guys once you get to know them.