SFLL has a zero tolerance policy for behavior that is disrespectful, discourteous, or may in any way be construed as intimidating towards its umpires. With this policy, we hope to maintain an environment in SFLL that is both umpire friendly and that teaches our players to have respect for those in positions of authority. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary actions including suspensions and potentially expulsion from SFLL.
Players, coaches, and fans should understand that any critical behavior towards umpires (the kind that is all too common at professional sporting events and some other youth sports programs) will not be tolerated in SFLL. Basically, we want every coach and parent to treat the umpire the way they would want to be treated if it was their son or daughter that was the umpire. It is far more productive for a player, coach, or team to react to disadvantageous umpire calls by focusing on how to overcome those "bad breaks," rather than focusing on the umpire who is just doing the best that he/she can.
Our umpire crew is comprised of both adult volunteers and youths between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. Over 90% of SFLL games this year will be officiated by youth umpires. Our youth umpire program is an important part of our mission to provide the kids of San Francisco with a positive environment to grow and learn through sports. All our umpires must feel they are safe and protected.
Parent Interaction With Umpires:
Parents 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.
No 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.
Coach Interaction With Umpires:
You should recognize that your actions on the field are viewed by both parents and players on both teams and therefore they should set the highest standard of behavior. Any and all communications with umpires should be done in a respectful and deferential manner.
Coaches are also expected to exercise control of their players and parents. Failure to be proactive in this regard will also place coaches at disciplinary risk. We know that coaches can’t guarantee parent and player behavior however, coaches are expected to take responsibility for proactively intervening early in situations that could put a player or parent at disciplinary risk.
Interpretations of a rule may 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 Green 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 Green Book
Always speak directly to the umpire who made the call you are unclear of. You may not demand that an umpire seek help from another umpire. Umpires, are not allowed to "over rule" each other on the field. They may, at their discretion, consult with the other umpire for help.
Yelling across the field at an umpire over a call is not acceptable. Yelling can come across as hostile even when you don't intend for it to. Request a time out to approach the umpire and discuss the situation in a respectful and conversational manner. Please remember that an adult coach approaching a youth umpire can be somewhat intimidating in and of itself, so a coach acting in a deferential manner will go a long way to mitigating that.
Any comments regarding an SFLL umpire can be submitted through email to the Chief Umpire and the VP of Player Agents.