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Tips on what's fair, foul

Published February 15, 2004

KISSIMMEE - Former American League umpire Jim Evans teaches these survival tips for umpires going nose-to-nose with enraged managers:

* Remember that it's usually not personal. "A lot of what managers do is showmanship. They're trying to fire up their club or keep one of their players from getting ejected for arguing. You just stand your ground."

* Don't mirror the behavior of an angry manager. "Sometimes you have to do the opposite to bring a manager back down. He's going to run out of air sooner or later and quit yelling, and that gives you a chance to explain the rule."

* Managers may make an argument more personal by getting within a 3-foot circle of the umpire. "I train my umpires not to be the aggressor. Don't go into their personal space. If they come at you, turn and walk away. If they get around in your face again, you warn them: "Okay, I listened to you, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to walk away again. If you follow me, that's your second warning.' " An ejection follows.

* If a manager or player goes after an umpire, it's up to the other umpire (there are two-man teams in the minors) to step in and divert the attention of the aggressor, like a rodeo clown distracting an angry bull.

* A manager can yell, for instance, "Horses--!" with no repercussions. But add "You're" to the front of the word, and "he just threw himself out of the game."

[Last modified February 12, 2004, 11:15:07]

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