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There’s No Upside...

Michael Leavitt shares his innermost thoughts as they relate to his personal and family life. He can be heard to say often to his kids... “There’s no upside!”

NOTE: If you are interested in Michael’s business inspection related blog, then click on Bloggers in the left column and select Michael - Inspector.

You make the call * I Was Wrong!


ML20143-3-2020 - The coach responded with total class in a low voice, "She was under it." "Ya think so?" I responded. Sure enough, the third base coach was right. In my defense, I was wrong. Yep, I was really wrong. And even after reconsidering, I was still wrong!

This play was the second play of the second inning. I thought I was doing so well to position myself for the bunt and the throw to first. What I initially missed was the runner blowing through second base heading for third. I got as jump towards third too late and was still moving when the action at third was taking place. I know this skewed my perception. I also knew this was close. I sold the call and the only complaint was the coach's very low volume comment. He was a total class act. He was also not moving on the play, had the clearest view, and knew that his runner was safe. The fact that he kept his composure is a huge compliment to his character. I thought I made a good call in real-time, but I knew that this was a clip I needed to review when the coach reacted the way he did. He knew I missed it, yet he knew I thought I made the right call. Complaining would do no good, so he remained calm. If I were in his shoes, would I have had the same restraint?


VIDEO REVIEW - Watching the view from the backstop, an onlooker would think that all was well... Close, but the umpire looked credible. He seemed to be hustling. He seemed to be near third. The sell of the call looked confident. But then you slow it all down and I see so much that I can improve upon.

1) Watch the bunt action, but pay closer attention to the runner heading to second.
2) Get a quicker jump towards third, without compromising the responsibilities at first.
3) Stop running sooner to be stopped when the slide and tag action are happening.
4) Yes, angle (stationary) over distance is key.
5) Seriously, stop and don't be running during the final action.
6) Slow down on the decision and then make the call.
7) If it is "Out" then cover a lot of ground with the sell signal to close the gap.
8) If it is a "Safe" call, then also step forward through the call to help close the gap.
9) Always remember this offensive team's desire to bunt and get the runner from first to third.
10) And finally, delete, burn, and destroy all video evidence and never share your mistakes with others... Umpires never make wrong calls.

Make it a great game! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah



These are some of the comments posted to the Facebook post...

Coach Cody Bowen - Mike! You work as hard or harder than any umpire I know. You are a credit to your profession and the fact you review and are always wanting to improve is evidence of your intent and character. I appreciate the kind words but I’ll take you at a park any game any day my friend. Keep up the good work. Your pleasant demeanor and always positive manner makes the world a better place and makes the lives of these softball players better. Thanks for all you do my friend. You are the epitome of what an umpire should be. Hope to see you soon!! ????

Blaine Burraston · Friends with Cody Bowen - Cody Bowen totally agree. Mike is as good as they get! Always love showing up to the park and having him do a game.

Coach Cody Bowen - Blaine Burraston agreed! so many good umpires around that do so much. We had two great ones yesterday in Salina with Rick and Brad!! Very grateful for their work. The game doesn’t happen without them.

Juli - Friends with Cody Bowen - The base runner is my daughter and I still think you do an amazing job!! Thank you for your efforts! Thanks for reviewing. I’ll show this post to her. ?

Michael Leavitt - Juli, please let her know that she ran that play to perfection. When she blasted through second base, I knew this was going to be a great play at third. You should be proud of her as an athlete!

Jon McKenney - It happens!

Michael Leavitt - It is interesting how obvious it is once the play is slowed down.

Jon McKenney - Michael Leavitt, yep live is always different. Too bad we can’t tell the runners and the baseman to play in slow motion ?

Victor Billings - #10 made me laugh!

Sean Norman - What do you use on your head? (lol)

Michael Leavitt - I am supposed to use that thing above my shoulders and between my ears. It does not always work the way I would like.

Sean Norman - Touché! What video device do you use? or is that on your chest?

Michael Leavitt - Sean Norman - For the bases I have a hat mounted camera and it really shows what I am seeing. This doesn't work for the plate, due to the mask removal. For the plate, I use a chest-mounted camera. Although the view is a bit different than what I see, it also requires that I square up my shoulders to the direction I am looking during the play. It provides a unique view and really helps me improve... Every video review session is humbling, and I do not recommend it for most officials. The truth, they can't handle the truth! As for the camera, I am a big GoPro Session fan. They quit making this smaller cube-shaped camera with version 5, but it is nowhere near as daunting as the normal GoPro in size. This also requires that I have secondary power and I came up with some cool solutions. The point is, I use both without giving any thought during the game. I wanted the camera to go unnoticed by myself so that I could just go out and umpire. I have 3 GoPro Sessions, 1 GoPro 7, and then my backstop camera of choice is the great wide vision LG V-20 with a custom mount and PowerPack for multi-game use. The LG has a 256 gig memory card and the GoPros all have 128 gig cards. The investment of time over the past 3 years perfecting mounts, batteries, cables, and everything else has been daunting... But what I currently use works very well and was definitely worth the effort. Hope this helps!

Sean Norman - Michael Leavitt wow!! that is a hell of a setup. I see still can find version 5 and not that bad priced. Maybe I start with a fence mounted.

Sean Norman -  And we all should be up to seeing ourselves. Nothing harder on a umpire than a college assigner, so video is easy for

Jeff Lambson - Speaking of class acts... Michael Leavitt you are a class act. ??

Michael Leavitt - Jeff, I am blushing. How is that Orem City Council decision working out for you? You were the right candidate for the position, but are you glad for the hundreds of man-hours that you are getting the privilege to contribute? Whatever they are recompensing you for your efforts is probably worth about a tenth of the value you are providing. But rest assured, Orem City is better for your involvement.

Russel D. Carter - Mike next time try getting set just before the play happens. You were still moving when the play happened. Just like a cameraman shooting a photo, if he is moving the picture is blurry. Your sight was blurry because you were moving while the play was happening. Same philosophy with basketball. It doesn't mean we won't make mistakes but it greatly increases the probability of getting it right. Just a thought!

Michael Leavitt - Russ, you nailed it. If you get a chance, then please read my assessment in full and you will see that you and I are on the same page. It was obvious that my desire for closeness to the action totally skewed my perception of what happened.

Michael Elkins - Michael Leavitt also make sure you notice where your defender is set up and get an angle where you are unobstructed. This is hard play because the typical 90 to the edge of bag gets you blocked out. Really the best look is where the coach is in foul territory. Which in this case you are probably not going to make it that far, even for me as a young buck.

Michael Leavitt - Michael Elkins - Hey Speedy... I made a deal with the coach that I would ask him first before making my call. I can trust him, right?:-)

Michael Elkins - Can you Michael Leavitt? lol

Travis Thacker - Thanks for always sharing your videos. I think your own assessment is spot on. Great learning video!

Carolyn Leavitt - What a good honest man you are!!!! ♥️U

Josh Francis - Almost had an illegally batted ball was my first check.... Thank you for your honesty for posting this and I agree on all 10 points you made but would say of the ones you stated, when breaking for third try your hardest to be more on the line because I feel that is why you took the extra steps to get back in fair territory to make the call. BTW, what is the equipment you use?? I use a camera and hook it on the fence behind me but I love the views you get on the run and would like to better my game.

Michael Leavitt - Josh, I guess that I should take some pics of my cameras and their mounts for both the plate and the bases. The fixed backstop view shows what superfans see, but this does not reveal what we as the umpire sees. Together, both views reveal my shortcomings and inspire me to do differently when that play repeats itself. I get to go back out there on the brand new field at Lehi High School in a little bit and give it my best shot again. I just know this play is going to repeat and I vow to nail it with the right call... Stay tuned!:-)

Daniel J. Finch - Mike - It just depends on which team my kid was playing on... ?


You Make The Call - Fingertips At Home
Steve Robbins - Anderson Pass, Utah 1992


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