Alpine Little League Policy on Umpire Interactions

Alpine Little League has no tolerance for behavior that is disrespectful, aggressive, or may in any way be construed as intimidating towards its umpires. With this commonsense policy, we hope to maintain an environment that is respectful of officiating, Little League's rules, and teaches our players deference for those in positions of authority. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary actions including suspensions and potentially expulsion from the league. 

Players, coaches, and fans should understand that hostile or aggressive behavior towards umpires (the kind that is common at professional sporting events and even some youth sports leagues) will not be tolerated in Alpine. Aggressive interactions with umpires are becoming sadly more frequent even at the Little League level. 

Having umpires makes holding our games at the Majors, AAA, and AA levels possible. Alpine's umpire crews are comprised of both adults and youth down to age 11. The vast majority of our games are umpired by early teens, teens, and young adults through college age.  Our youth umpires are trained to a level capable of working Little League games competently but they are not professionals!  Our youth umpire program is an important part of our mission to provide the kids of our community with a positive environment to work, grow, and learn responsibility through sports. All of our umpires must feel they are protected at our games.

Essentially, we ask coaches and parents to treat the umpire(s) as just as much a part of the Alpine community as our players, coaches, and families. One would never yell aggressively from the stands at a base coach who sent a runner home too late or a young player who dropped a fly ball, missed a ground ball, or made a wayward throw. We expect the same level of respectful and tolerant behavior on a perceived "bad call."

Coach Interaction With Umpires:

Managers and coaches are leaders.  You should recognize that your actions on the field are viewed by parents and players on both teams and therefore they should set a high standard of behavior. All communications with adult or youth umpires should be done in a respectful and deferential manner.

Coaches are also expected to exercise control of their players and parents/families. Failure to be proactive in this regard will also place coaches at disciplinary risk. We understand that coaches can’t guarantee parent and player behavior; however, coaches are expected to take responsibility for intervening early in situations that could put a player or parent at disciplinary risk. 

It is far more productive for a player, coach, or team to react to umpire calls that don't "go their way" by focusing on how to overcome those "bad breaks," rather than focusing on the umpire who is impartially doing the best that he/she can on the field. Coaches should encourage all players to be respectful of the ump's calls, whether it be a "tough" called strike three or a close tag play on the bases. Intentional throwing of equipment such as a helmet or bat after a disputed call (or any other circumstance) is potential grounds for ejection from the game. 

Judgment calls by an umpire cannot be questioned. 

Interpretations of a rule or a legitimate feeling that the umpire's view of the play may have been blocked can be questioned, but only in a quiet and respectful way by requesting to approach the umpire. For example, if a coach wanted to discuss the proper penalty for an interference call it would be appropriate since there are guidelines spelled out in the Rule Book and it is not up to umpire discretion.  However, arguing the umpire's judgment to call interference is not acceptable. If something cannot be resolved on the field refer to the protest rules in the Rule Book and in Alpine Local Rules (both available on our website).

Always speak directly to the umpire who made the call you are unclear of. Under Little League rules, you may not demand that an umpire seek help from another umpire. There is no "instant replay" from the other ump and umpires are not allowed to "overrule" each other on the field. They may, however, completely at their own discretion, consult with the other umpiire(s) for help.

Shouting across the field at an umpire over a call is never an acceptable approach to an officiating discussion. Yelling can come across as hostile even when you don't intend for it to.  Request "time" and approach the umpire and discuss the situation in a respectful and conversational manner.  Do remember that an adult coach approaching a youth umpire can be intimidating in and of itself, so a coach acting in a professional manner will go a long way to mitigating that dynamic.

Parent Interaction With Umpires:

Parents (and coaches) should enter every game with the understanding that at least one "bad" call will likely be made and that some of those calls could possibly influence the outcome of the game. Even in the professional umpire ranks, including the World Series, critical calls are missed, so they will more than likely be missed at the Little League level. Over the course of a season these calls tend to "even out."

There should be no vocal questioning or comments from spectator areas regarding umpire calls.

No direct questioning by parents of umpires during or after games – questions should be directed to your coach at a later time.

Please do enjoy Alpine's Little League games in the context befitting their purpose and level of play.

Any comments regarding an ALL umpire can be submitted through email to the Umpire Coordinator ([email protected]).

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