Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Botched Ump penalty imposed

May 29, 2015
154
28
I know of a few folks (or one in particular) who like regale umpires at the annual clinic with stories of umpires being sued and losing everything because the umpire:

*moved a bat and caused an injury
*tried to shake hands with a player who tripped and the ump ends up with her breast in his hand
*did not kill a play when it should have been killed and somebody got hurt
*and on and on ...

I’ve not been able to verify any of these.

A quick Google search turns up very little, but it does turn up some results. Attorneys realize that you go for the pockets, so it is usually the organization/sanctioning body that is sued.
 
Last edited:
Jan 27, 2019
98
8
@MTR, you are correct and I am not trying to impose a new rule or precedent that other umpires must follow. I just believe in erring on the side of caution in this case. I have never had a girl refuse when I asked her to remove an item of jewelry, they usually apologize for having it and say they forgot to remove it. It's just my personal policy regarding jewelry, better safe than sorry.
 

MTR

Jun 22, 2008
3,332
38
@MTR, you are correct and I am not trying to impose a new rule or precedent that other umpires must follow. I just believe in erring on the side of caution in this case. I have never had a girl refuse when I asked her to remove an item of jewelry, they usually apologize for having it and say they forgot to remove it. It's just my personal policy regarding jewelry, better safe than sorry.
And when the mother comes and tells you she just paid so much to have her daughter's ear pierced and the stud cannot be removed for X amount of hours, you are going to over rule a parent (referring to rule set where jewelry is not forbidden) ?
 
Jan 27, 2019
98
8
Again, never had that scenario happen in summer tournaments. Usually we are on the heels of the high school season in which the jewelry thing has been settled in the minds of the parents. IF that were to come up I would refer the rule to the UIC for a ruling. At most tournaments the UIC is very approachable. I would ask him what the policy for the tournament is regarding jewelry. Whatever he says goes. If he leaves it up to me I would let the parent know that the rules do not forbid the jewelry but that it is not advisable. Then I have done my best to promote safety and the incident is documented with the UIC.
 
May 29, 2015
154
28
And when the mother comes and tells you she just paid so much to have her daughter's ear pierced and the stud cannot be removed for X amount of hours, you are going to over rule a parent (referring to rule set where jewelry is not forbidden) ?
Yes. If the rule set (USA) provides me that authority, then yes. USA does NOT say that jewelry is allowed, it says that it is the umpires’ discretion. My personal discretion is a clear and simple “no”. I’m not getting involved in the game of judging what is acceptable and what is not. “No” keeps me covered and lines up with all other associations.

I am certainly not going to let a parent try to bully me into allowing something that the rules require me to rule on. I’m sure they spent a ton of money on that illegal bat, too. Not using that either.

I’ve only encountered one issue with a player and jewelry. It was 16u USA. Entering the field through the dugout, I reminded the player to remove her (rather large) earrings. At the end of the first inning she passed me as she headed back to the dugout and I told her to remove the earrings. At the end of the second inning, I followed her back to the dugout and told her coach she was to remove the earrings. She started to come out to the field in the third inning with tape over them. I stopped her. I advised the coach she would be ejected if she came on the field with them in. I heard all kinds of BS at that point ... including “they are permanent”. I apologized that her softball career was probably over then, because no rule set (that I know of) below NCAA expressly allows jewelry.

The coach asked what happened if he let her be ejected, would they just play short handed? I advised him under USA rules, they had batted the lineup and an ejection with no eligible substitute meant they would forfeit the game.

It’s amazing how fast they came out. Yes, I am an a-hole.
 
Dec 11, 2010
1,978
48
DD is a rule follower but has a “do it if you are bad” attitude about jewelry. (Despite the fact that where she plays there isn’t a rule against it.)

It started when she started playing 16’s on a team that does a lot of traveling. The other players, who were all older, were wearing chokers and ear studs.

I didn’t understand it at first. I think it is a small way of saying to the world that despite their travel, playing and practice commitments, in a world that feels a little out of control, they still have some control over some things. It’s a way to say I’m a player but I’m pretty while I do it. I also think they see NCAA players wearing jewelry and want to be like them.

No offense, but when a male umpire makes a big deal out of it, it usually looks kind of small. This is the players game, not yours or mine. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about me.

If it isn’t in the rule book, why worry about it? If it isn’t in the rule book, how can you be liable? If it isn’t in the rule book, how can the player usurp your authority? You want to stay consistent across all rule sets? My God, man how do you function if you can’t look at your shirt sleeve and remember if the rule set allows jewelry or not? Do you really feel like you have to make an immediate decision on something like this? Think it over between pitches if it’s that hard to remember.

If this really worries you, here is the solution: “I did not at any time observe that the player was wearing jewelry. I’m kind of busy watching all the higher priority things I need to watch.”

This is the players game, not ours.
 
Last edited:
Jan 27, 2019
98
8
Exposed Jewelry judged dangerous by umpire must be removed and may not be worn during the game. Religious or medical alert bracelets may be worn but must be taped to the body. (USA rule)

If I say that the jewelry is not dangerous and the girl's ear gets ripped off or the stud pokes her in the neck, it's MY judgment that allowed her to play with that jewelry. It's my judgment that can be challenged in court.

If the medical and religious articles must be taped down then USA sees a potential challenge to wearing jewelry.

To say it isn't in the rule book is not exactly true, the rule book places the decision on the individual umpire. I have the authority to require its removal. I have the liability if I allow it to remain. Why then would I allow something to continue if there is nothing to be gained and more to be risked. (Potential injury of the player and the hassle of a possible lawsuit)

Working USA softball games, you can allow it and I don't care if you do or do not. But I'm not taking the chance when it's as simple as removing a necklace or earring and handing it to your mom.
 
May 29, 2015
154
28
I didn’t understand it at first. I think it is a small way of saying to the world that despite their travel, playing and practice commitments, in a world that feels a little out of control, they still have some control over some things. It’s a way to say I’m a player but I’m pretty while I do it. I also think they see NCAA players wearing jewelry and want to be like them.
I will agree that they see the NCAA players wearing jewelry and want to emulate them. However, those are players who are over 18 years old, are adults by all legal definitions, and are responsible for their own actions and playing under a rule set that allows it. So when your daughter makes it to college ball, she can wear the jewelry.

No offense, but when a male umpire makes a big deal out of it, it usually looks kind of small. This is the players game, not yours or mine. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about me.
That is very offensive. You are absolutely right it is the players’ game. The umpire’s #1 role in youth softball/baseball is to ensure the safety of the players. This is a rule about safety, not some personal affront to femininity or attack on your daughter’s personal liberties.

If it isn’t in the rule book, why worry about it? If it isn’t in the rule book, how can you be liable? If it isn’t in the rule book, how can the player usurp your authority? You want to stay consistent across all rule sets? My God, man how do you function if you can’t look at your shirt sleeve and remember if the rule set allows jewelry or not? Do you really feel like you have to make an immediate decision on something like this? Think it over between pitches if it’s that hard to remember.
Can you tell me which rule book you are reading that says your daughter can wear jewelry? Can you tell me which rule books you have read?

Let’s recap in easy to follow terms ... the following rulebooks contain these expressed rulings:

NFHS - NO JEWELRY
NFHS Baseball — NO JEWELRY
USSSA - NO JEWELRY I will make a correction here — I have the 2017 version that states this. In 2018 USSSA mirrored USA Softball’s rule that says:
USA - umpire’s discretion (not the player, not the parent, not the coach, not the tournament director)

If this really worries you, here is the solution: “I did not at any time observe that the player was wearing jewelry. I’m kind of busy watching all the higher priority things I need to watch.”
Um, no. Since player safety really worries me, my verdict is no jewelry just as the rulebooks either spell out or grant me the authority to make that ruling.

This is the players game, not ours.
Actually, it is the sanctioning organization’s game. The rest of us just play by the rules they spell out.

I see you deleted your other post ...
 
Dec 11, 2010
1,978
48
Hey- I did delete my most recent post. It didn’t add anything to the discussion. When I reread it, even after edits, it seemed like shouting at the clouds.

I will say this: I truly appreciate your thoughtful response. And I don’t mean that in a snarky way at all.

We don’t agree and that’s ok.

I responded in the quote below. I’ll have to clean it up later....

So when your daughter makes it to college ball, she can wear the jewelry.

Already doing it at 16’s. Has been for the last two seasons.

That is very offensive. You are absolutely right it is the players’ game. The umpire’s #1 role in youth softball/baseball is to ensure the safety of the players. This is a rule about safety, not some personal affront to femininity or attack on your daughter’s personal liberties.

Good! I’m glad you are offended. It means you are thinking about this and that is a good thing. There is a bigger perspective to be understood here. Most of the time this isn’t really a rule about safety but more on that in a minute.

Can you tell me which rule book you are reading that says your daughter can wear jewelry? Can you tell me which rule books you have read?

USA. As Comp says, it isn’t that USA allows it, it says it isn’t strictly forbidden. I like that USA allows the umpire to make his own assessment of safety. You should like that too and you should make these assessments when upping USA and be prepared to defend your decisions.

Let’s recap in easy to follow terms ... the following rulebooks contain these expressed rulings:

NFHS - NO JEWELRY

So she doesn’t wear it. Easy.

NFHS Baseball — NO JEWELRY

Don’t care. Baseball.

USSSA - NO JEWELRY I will make a correction here — I have the 2017 version that states this. In 2018 USSSA mirrored USA Softball’s rule that says:
USA - umpire’s discretion (not the player, not the parent, not the coach, not the tournament director)

Excellent! And dd will abide by what is decided! And your job is to make a thoughtful, justifiable assessment based on facts. They are empowering you, the official. USA thought about this and for the good of the game and players gave you wide discretionary powers. Your decision WILL be different according to whether it is college bound players at the highest level showcase or a local 12u tournament, right? It WILL be different I’d the stud is unusually long or the earrings are hoops or whatever right? Of course your decision WILL NOT be affected by personal bias against players that wear a nose stud, right? (Mine doesn’t.)

Um, no. Since player safety really worries me, my verdict is no jewelry just as the rulebooks either spell out or grant me the authority to make that ruling.

I appreciate this and of course player safety worries you, as it should. As you know, some things are more important than others. How about chinstraps as an example? Five years ago, you would have thought that missing chinstraps caused widespread decapitation, brain damage and disfigured players. Our thinking evolves. Is there a difference between a stud earring and a dangling hoop? Of course. You are empowered to make that decision and it is easily justified. I just ask you make a decision truly based on safety, not your disdain for those naughty little players creating an affront to your authority.

Actually, it is the sanctioning organization’s game. The rest of us just play by the rules they spell out.

Sorry, I disagree. Its not. It’s the players game. The sanction is the facilitator.

I see you deleted your other post ...

Yeah. And it was for the best.
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2016
853
28
Chicago
The umpire’s #1 role in youth softball/baseball is to ensure the safety of the players
I'd like the other umpires here to weigh in on this because I think I disagree. We aren't paying umpires to come and ensure everybody is safe. Enforcing certain safety rules is absolutely part of an umpire's job, but I don't think I'd hire an umpire who thinks his/her primary function is to make sure nobody gets hurt.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Threads
33,604
Messages
486,649
Members
15,289
Latest member
queenb
Top