Baseball Umpires’ Learning Blog

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“What other rule would you like me to ignore today, Coach?”

I have  good umpire friend down in Florida who has been a long-time official with the Treasure Coast Officials Association. I was impressed with the question I heard him ask a coach who was grousing about a call, “What other rule would you like me to ignore today, Coach?”  His words came to mind yesterday as I was researching old umpire manuals.

In 1875 The Robert  M. DeWitt Publishing Company of New York pubished DeWitt ‘s Baseball Umpire’s Guide , a Complete Book of Instructions to the Umpires of the Professional and Amateur Arena, edited by Henry Chadwick. As I was reading through the Guide, the following paragraph leapt off the page.

“The duties of the Umpire in Base Ball are, first, to correctly interpret the laws of the game. Secondly, to see that the contestants do their work on the field and at the bat fairly and as the rules of the game require. Thirdly, to decide all disputed points of play which may occur during the progress of a match game. What he cannot do, however, is to refuse to enforce any section of the code of rules under which he is empowered to act in the postion.

That is precisely the point my friend was referencing when he asked the dissenting coach,  “What other rule would you like me to ignore today, Coach?” Nothing has changed in the umpire’s code of ethics with respect to rule enforcement  in the past 135 years. We are not hired to pick and choose the rules we will enforce and those we will not enforce. We are hired for our knowledge of the rules and our ability to enforce all of them impartially. There is a fine line between not enforcing any section of the code of rules under which we as umpires are empowered to act and being a walking rule-book-accident waiting to happen. That is another reason we are hired; to employ common sense as we facilitate the game through its innings. To the extent that we walk that tightrope carefully, we will be upholding the best demonstrated practices of great officiating, and will have provided the players, coaches, and fans with the oversight of the game to which they are entitled.

Have a great spring, you all, and enjoy your time on the field.

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Commentary, Official Interpretations, Reading Resources | 4 Comments

Preparing for Another Season

Below is handout that you can download and read. It was prepared for the Eastern Maine Baseball Umpires Association and given out to members at their first meeting/clinic in the University of Maine Mahaney Dome. These comments organized into a Do’s and Don’ts format should give you some food for thought. Please feel free to respond to my comments and suggest other things that should be included.

Kimball’s Umpire Fundamentals and Commentary

March 19, 2008 Posted by | Commentary, Reading Resources | 1 Comment

New Online Resources — MyReferee and NASO ONline

Referee Magazine and, an online officiating assignment service, haved teamed up to present information and resources for sports officials. Go the website below to sign up for your free access.


Any officials that already receive assignments on TheArbiter.Net can access this resource by clicking on “My Referee” in the bottom left corner on the start page after logging into your Arbiter account. Otherwise, just register by giving some personal information. I will eventually add the link to the blogroll.

NASO ONline is another resource that I discovered today. It seems like it will be especially helpful to those who are involved in leading associations. Click on the logo below to go to NASO ONline.


June 7, 2007 Posted by | Association Improvements, Commendations, Reading Resources | Leave a comment