Ejections Lesson 3 – Mechanics

In the beginning…

The first step a crew must take when a coach approaches a crew mate after a close or controversial call is for another umpire to monitor other coaches or players so that it remains a one-on-one correspondence. Sometimes an assistant coach may tell the monitoring umpire “I want to hear what he/she has to say…” The umpire should tell the coach “Ok, I understand, but we need to move a little farther away from the discussion – you can listen but cannot say anything.” Handle this as appropriate with that coach if he/she does not comply.

The crew must stay alert if the argument seems to be escalating. A crew mate should move slowly toward the interaction but stop far enough away so as to not draw attention, but close enough to be able to hear what is being said. Important information or words that may be needed for the Incident Report if an ejection ensues may be witnessed by that umpire. All umpires not engaged in the argument should also be eye-sweeping the dugouts and field to observe for any potential problems from other team personnel.

The Process

Once an umpire ejects somebody, that umpire should move far away from the ejected person and begin to write notes regarding the situation, to be used in the forthcoming Incident Report. One of the other umpires must assist by talking calmly and guiding the ejected person off the field. At no time should this umpire touch that person.

It is possible that an irate person may keep yelling and try to keep coming after the ejecting umpire. The umpire should leave enough distance from that person so he/she can “block” (again, never touch) that person from getting nearer to the ejecting umpire. These actions and words should be added to the Incident Report. This umpire should take some time to write notes about this engagement; do this after the ejected person has left the field and before the game continues.

While guiding the coach/player off the field, use as much diplomacy and game management as you can to try to calm the person. Such statements as “yes, coach, I understand that you are upset but you must leave now.” Or, “coach, for the sake of your players and the game, let’s not make this any worse.”
Note: if you have successfully used other phrases or action, please submit them and they can be added to assist other umpires.

In the worst-case scenario whereby the ejected person will not comply, it may be necessary to inform the coach that by rule the offending person has one minute to leave or the game could be subject to a forfeit. Other team personnel, especially assistant coaches, may be encouraged to assist with this process by informing them and game management about the one-minute forfeit rule.

In a three-umpire or four-umpire system, the remaining umpire(s) are to monitor the team areas and field to ensure that team personnel stay in the dugout area or in the vicinity of their fielding positions.

Resuming the game

Do not resume the game until the ejected person has gone to the appropriate area – a player may stay in the dugout, any other team personnel must leave the facility and be completely out of sight and sound. The crew should meet to assess the game situation and award any penalties and/or base awards. They should review and decide on the number of outs, which bases are occupied, is there a count on the batter, and the new head coach if one has been designated.

Now… the paperwork

Most likely the first order of business for the post-game will be to discuss the ejection. Stick to the facts and discuss only the parameters of the ejection. Only later should there be a discussion on what was done well and what could be improved, both as individual umpires and as a crew.

All crew members should contribute to the discussion; take your time and do not interrupt each other. The ejecting umpire monitors this discussion while taking notes on the pertinent points – who said what (both the ejected person and umpires) leading up to the ejection, what profanity/yelling/gestures/derogatory comments were made, etc. Do not forget to include the actions of the person after the ejection – left immediately, kept arguing, almost got to the forfeit situation.

As stated previously, the ejecting umpire must complete and submit the Incident Report to the appropriate people as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after the game. If the ejection carries a game suspension, the ejecting umpire must call the secretary-rules editor at the conclusion of the game (NCAA games). For any game (NCAA, NAIA and Community College), the ejecting umpire must call the assigner of that game immediately or while driving home.

Quiz on Ejection Mechanics