ABCA Clinic Recaps - Barry Dean


Liam Carroll

Some of you may know Barry Dean because he served as an MLB Envoy Coach here in 1998.  It's a pretty awesome validation of the programme that it's Envoys are going on to speak at the ABCA Convention. 

Coach and Player-Umpire Relationship
Barry Dean – Executive Director, Alabama Baseball Coaches Association

Clinic Topics

1. “Torn between two lovers”
2. What do you see in a good umpire (besides correct outs/safes, balls/strikes)
What do you see in a bad umpire (besides bad calls)
3. Umpires are paid to get ‘em right, right? So just get ‘em right.  Simple.  Or is it?
4. Hey, working “blue” is part of the game.  If “blue” can’t handle it, find another job.
5. Is “blue” frustrating you, or something or someone else?
6. The best time to “work” the umpire
7. What are you teaching your players?
8. Definite no-no’s, how to and not to argue calls
9. Coaches gossip about umpires between themselves all the time.  Umpires never do that (or do they?)
10. Why umpires detest coaches (at times), and can see to have a chip on their shoulders (at times)
11. Just how well do you know the rule book?
12. Your catcher can be worth his weight in gold!
13. Players take the lead from the coach in dealing with umpires
14. How to treat an umpire from the time he arrives at your park until the time he leaves
15. Five misunderstood rules or rulings by coaches
16. Five common gripes coaches have about umpires
17. Five common gripes umpires have about coaches

Coach Dean has a contagious energy for the game that was plainly evident as he fired through the 17 topics above with some entertaining video and anecdotes.  His outfit was part baseball uniform, part umpire uniform, reflecting that he has served in both roles for many years. 

Coach Dean reinforced a lot of things I’ve learned, especially from other Envoy coaches, which reaffirmed my approach to some things but reminded me that we can’t afford to neglect this topic.

Some of the highlights of the presentation included:

• When you’re unhappy with the umpire, is it really because of their calls or because of your team’s performance or even because you’ve brought some baggage from home or work?

• Address umpires by their name, not as “blue” and have your players address umpires as Sir/Mr. Umpire (youth players especially) unless they request otherwise.

• Set a good example for your players when talking to umpires. You’re impacting how they’ll behave and treat others in both the short and long term.

• Teach your Catchers how to deal with umpires, from introductions to how to ask about calls (for example by not turning around or holding the pitch)…and make sure they’re good at Blocking!

• Learn the rules.  A lot of the time the umpire knows the rules way better than you do.  Coach Dean talked about this going both ways and spoke of instances where coaches and umpires had the humility to reach out after the game when coaches and umpires have checked up on the rules and learned they were wrong.

• A still head when calling balls and strikes and hustle when the ball is in play are examples of a good umpire.

• Provide hospitality for umpires on game day.  Greet them, provide private changing areas, provide snacks and drinks for before and after the game and offer them water every other inning.  This sort of courtesy is one way to improve umpire recruiting and retention rates.

• Rub game balls up or provide rubbing mud to the umpires.  Keep them stocked with balls by having a player or bat boy run them out, not by rolling or throwing them.

My Most Important Thing

Coach Dean gave a great presentation but the best thing I took away wasn’t about his topic.  He provided another example of how the baseball coaching community does an amazing job of sharing information.  He recommended that every coach take the time to watch the video of a coach speaking about “Investing in Lives” at the state coaching convention in Alabama.  The AlaBCA have made the video free to watch because Coach Dean appreciated the message so much.  Check it out.

Last Up: Frank Spaniol

On Deck: Sal Fasano


tagged under: baseball, coaching, mlb, softball, umpiring

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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