UmpTalk #18: Five Types of Managers

“People always want to know whether there’s a magic word. Is it ‘c*cksucker’? Is it ‘assh*le’? No. The magic word is ‘you.'”—Umpire Gary Cederstrom, as quoted in As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires, by Bruce Weber

We begin what will be an unending look at handling situations, arguments and the personalities involved in them. Today’s podcast is about the types of managers you will face when situations and umpire arguments arise.

Part of what makes me an expert in this field is because I was terrible at handling situations. Managers frequently got in my head, got me off my game and really affected the game.  But during those times, I would reflect on the situations where I failed, what caused me to fail and work on making myself better when the next situation arose. Towards the end of my career, I actually looked forward to participating in the art of the manager’s argument.

From observing these situations, I’ve been able to categorize five types of managers you will face off against. (I’m sure I’m missing some, sound off in the comments and tell me what I’ve missed.) Every manager is some type of the following. On Episode 18 of the UmpTalk Podcast, we look at these types of managers, their motivations and how to counter act those.

One podcast will not make you a better umpire arguer, but it hopefully will make you think about types of managers in your association and how you deal with them.

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SHOW NOTES:

Here’s my five types of managers, their objectives, the key phrases they use to get in your head and some tips on how to handle these situations.

MANAGER #1 – THE PSYCHIATRIST

OBJECTIVE OF THE PSYCHIATRIST:

  • To get in your head
  • Make you doubt yourself and maybe get a call later in the game

KEY PHRASES FOR THE PSYCHIATRIST:

  • “You’re better than that”
  • “Come on, <your first name>”
  • “I’ve seen you out here before, you don’t normally make that call”

HOW TO COUNTER:

  • Confidence. Don’t let it get to you
  • Be firm. This type of psychological warfare is hard to draw a line on, but be firm with your limits

VIDEO EVIDENCE OF THE PSYCHIATRIST:

No idea what was said here, but this is just awesome.

MANAGER #2 – THE VOLCANO

OBJECTIVE OF THE VOLCANO:

  • To blow off steam. Possible that the manager just runs hot
  • To inspire team

KEY PHRASES FOR THE VOLCANO:

  • <Censored>
  • <Bleep>
  • You <bleeping> <bleep> <bleep>

HOW TO COUNTER:

  • These are the easiest to handle because they often provide plenty of opportunities for an ejection
  • Then you can just sit back and watch the show
  • Most dangerous when they have a mouth full of chewing tobacco
  • Make sure you write down exactly what they said in the ejection report

VIDEO EXAMPLE OF THE VOLCANO:

Wally Backman

MANAGER #3 – THE CRICKET

OBJECTIVE OF THE CRICKET:

  • To get in your head
  • Take your focus off the game
  • Work the umpire for an extended period of time, possibly swing momentum
  • Trolling to get you to engage first and be the aggressor

KEY PHRASES OF THE CRICKET:

  • That pitch isn’t down
  • We got that pitch last inning
  • You’ve missed three on us now
  • Poke a hole in the mask, you’re missing a good game

HOW TO COUNTER:

  • Set a firm line, escalate when necessary (first look over, then say something with mask on, then take off mask, then eject)
  • Talk between innings, not inside his dugout
  • Don’t give the cricket the satisfaction of being the martyr unless absolutely necessary
  • Beware your body language on these

VIDEO EXAMPLE OF THE CRICKET:

Chirp, Chirp Donnie Baseball

MANAGER #4 – THE EYE DOCTOR

OBJECTIVE OF THE EYE DOCTOR:

  • Get an honest explanation of the play
  • Typically the eye doctor is the most reasonable to deal with
  • Maturity and confidence is key

KEY PHRASES OF THE EYE DOCTOR:

  • Tell me what you saw there.
  • What did you have on that play?
  • Are you sure about that play?

HOW TO COUNTER:

  • Difficult for younger umpires to deal with Eye Doctor because they often don’t have the right answer
  • Practice your rules phrases – knowing  a simple phrase like “voluntary release” can save an ejection
  • Don’t talk too much
  • Beware of The Eye Doctor turning into The Lawyer

MANAGER #5 – THE LAWYER

OBJECTIVE OF THE LAWYER:

  • Get you to define every period and every comma of the rule book
  • Get you talking and keep you talking until you screw yourself into the ground or twist yourself into a pretzel

KEY PHRASES OF THE LAWYER:

  • What does that mean?
  • Explain that to me.
  • <after first explanation> Well, that’s not what happened. Are you sure?
  • <after second explanation> Are you sure? Check with your partner

HOW TO COUNTER:

  • If you don’t know, shut up. The Lawyer is also a shark and can smell when you don’t know what you’re talking about
  • Know the same key phrases as above
  • Keep your sentences short, don’t keep talking when you’ve said what you need to say
  • If you do agree to check with your partner, don’t let him negotiate the terms. Tell him, “I’ll go check with my partner, but that’s where this ends. You’re not going to argue from that point forward.”
This has nothing to do with nothing, but it’s hilarious.

One thought on “UmpTalk #18: Five Types of Managers”

  1. In the 5 Types of Manager podcast you suggested a 4-5 interactions in dealing with “The Cricket.” This in my opinion is giving “The Cricket” way too much rope and let’s things go on way too long before completely shutting it down. I have always made this a 3 step process:
    1. Acknowledge. This is looking over and letting “The Cricket” know you hear them. I like to use what I often get from my wonderful wife – “the evil stink eye death stare.” This gives the message to him that you are getting annoyed with his tactics.
    2. Warn. This is when you tell him you have had enough. Often simply saying, “Coach, that is enough!” will be sufficient. Other times something more must be said.
    3. Eject. When “The Cricket” won’t be quiet you have to step on him and silence the noise. Get him out of there.

    You want the process to be quick & efficient. If you go 4 or 5 steps then “The Cricket” will know next time he might be able to push you farther. Also the other Manager Crickets in your league will know you will let it go on.

    Make it simple and think “Acknowledge, Warn, Eject” when handling “The Cricket”.

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