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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.
Michael Leavitt came into mortality on August 3, 1961 in the small town of Brigham City, Utah. He was immediately deemed healthy and his Mom and Dad took him home to the nearby, but much smaller town of Bear River, Utah. 6 months later the family was on the move to Southern California with some time spent in Florida and then Southern California aga...in. After a crazy upbringing in the middle of gang banger central, Michael caught the vision and decided to serve two years as a proselyting missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints in Southern Brasil. “That was an incredible experience that allowed me to devout all my time, talent, and energies serving the Lord” said Michael about his missionary service. Returning home and quickly turning 27 Michael found the love of his life and married Shelly Webb from Claremont, California. Jessica came along within 9 months of their marriage, later followed by Adam, Haily, and Aaron. The time has flown by and Michael now finds Jessica married and making him a Grandpa 3 times over. More

BYU Welcomes USC

BYU-Welcomes-USC
SEPTEMBER 14, 2019 - To all my USC Trojan friends from my days in So Cal, it is just 5 hours and counting. Rick Wammack reminded me that the Trojans will probably be overlooking us (BYU) for their game with Utah next week. What we know for sure is that the weather will not be an issue. No snow, no rain, and plenty of sunshine... It will be absolutely perfect. NOTE: The green circles in the photo show where Shelly and I live and where we will be sitting for the game... Yep, 5 hours and counting! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah
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Awesome Play - "That's 3 Calls You've Missed!"

That's 3 You've Missed!
THAT'S 3 CALLS YOU'VE MISSED! When a coach comes rushing out yelling, "Come on Blue, that's three calls that you have missed , " you have to take at least a bit of personal inventory. Of course, your first knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Coach, you're gone , " but seasoned officials are better about taking a bit of abuse after a huge game-changing play did not go the coach's way. But how did you get to that point of the game? Is the coach really keeping a tally of plays you missed? Where were they on plays one and two? Did you have a chance to diffuse this earlier in the game and handled it poorly? NOTE: If you really did blow three plays in that game, then umpiring may not be your best choice of expensive hobbies. It may be that you have be...
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Out, Safe, or Obstruction - I Know, Just Kick Her In The Ribs!

Kick-Ribs
Out, Safe, or Obstruction - I Know, Just Kick Her In The Ribs! AUGUST 10, 2019 - This is an awesome learning lesson video for plate umpires. It seems like such a simple play, and watching the ball on the ground makes it a rather easy delayed "Safe" call. The reason it is interesting is because of everything that could have happened, did happen. Yet, when I experiencing the pickle play between home and third I became much too myopic in my viewing of the play. YOUTUBE LINK: https://youtu.be/T8bKNgqx3ZM TOO TIGHTLY FOCUSED - You can't see the forest because you're too close to the tree. Well, that is what happened to me. Nobody realized it at the time. I conveyed confidence, poise, and calmness, but I know what I was really thinking while it h...
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OBSTRUCTION - FORCE PLAY AT 2ND BASE

Obstruction-YT

ML2014JULY 25, 2019 - I shared a video online regarding a play at second base in a recent USA Softball tournament game with older high school varsity aged girls. I was taken by surprise at the time that it took place, but I have had several days and nights to rethink about the play and the coaching tactics that brought it about. Being caught off guard, I was then being played by the coaches and the runner as they attempted to get an obstruction call from my partner and I on the field. Let me first state that I do not like being played as a fool, and I do not appreciate coaching tactics meant to manipulate the game by deception. I deem this poor sportsmanship and will strive to be right on top of this type of play in my future years of umpiring.

The video quickly inspired a lengthy discussion online amongst some very seasoned umpires from across the country. The video received over 1,500 views, mainly on private Facebook groups. In the private softball umpire forum world, that is considered a viral video. I have copied the transcript of discussions, and removed the last names of those sharing their insights. The information, reaction, and insights they share are priceless to me as I mentally form my actions for  future encounters with this coaching tactic.

I encourage those of you that are interested to watch the video. Those of you who want to become better informed can then delve into the long transcript below...

Obstruction YT Play

CLICK IMAGE TO PLAY VIDEO


OBSTRUCTION - FORCE PLAY AT 2ND

SCENARIO - Potential game-winning R1 on first with no outs. B2 bunts towards the pitcher who throws to second instead of first. The shortstop is ready to receive the force play throw and R1 is going to be safe. R1 then decides to run full speed through second and onto third. If the throw is in time, then there would be an out at second base. Since the throw is late, at what point is the shortstop in danger of being called for obstruction by cutting off the inside turn base path at second base on a force play? Can they be making a force play, like a stretched-out first baseman, and by losing the bang-banger we are forced to call obstruction? And then there is the high school varsity aged player who has apparently been coached to draw the obstruction in this video from Saturday morning... What's your call? Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah

RESPONSES

Mike R. - The mere presence of the defender without possession of the ball could be cause for an OBS call

Michael M. - Mike R., the fielder was NOT in the base path

Mike R. - Michael M., The runner owns the base and any path they wish to take. If she wants the inside corner, it is the runner's option

Michael Leavitt - We give a special waiver to the first baseman because runners can run straight through. We add to that the use of a safety base here in Utah. The same type of play at second or third does not have the same protection for a defender, by rule. The issue is that a savvy runner can then exploit a "Safe" call by turning, thus drawing an obstruction and possibly gaining another base. In my opinion, this scenario was never the intent of the obstruction rule. Force play coverage should be ruled a bit differently than tag play coverage.

Michael M. - Runner did not alter her path. Its a judgement call by the BU. No way would that be obstruction in my view. Now if the runner altered in any way and fielder did not have the ball its obstruction

Mike R. - Seems to me the runner had no intention of stopping. Looks like a planned play which means the runner was looking for that corner. But it really doesn't matter, the runner's selected path was blocked by a player not in possession of the ball which is OBS whether you care for the scenario or not.

Michael Leavitt - Agreed, Mike R., but this does not mean that is the intent of the rules committee either. The forearm shove by the runner does not seem to be an issue by those of you commenting so far. We want defensive teams to make close force plays at second and third, and we want runners to be aggressive at those same bases. I feel that there has to be some balance and protections for both the offensive runner and defender on close inside corner force plays. What are your thoughts?

Jay B. - Mike R. you could have that scenario on a close play at first, would you still consider OBS?

Mike R. - Michael Leavitt - I didn't see a shove, or any definitive contact. But would have preferred the runner just run into her? Or maybe a hard pop-up slide in anticipation of advancing?

Mike R. - Jay B. - It is not at 1st

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt we absolutely give no waiver to F3. Where did you read that?

Jay B. - Mike R. it’s a question, if a slapper decides round first and to go to second (instead of running through the base) before the F3 catches the throw, would you consider OBS.

Joe W. - Jay B. did F3 have the ball when she hindered the slapper?

Jay B. - Joe W. - I’m just putting this out there because I think you could have the scenario posted in the OP happen at first. So, no, F3 would be waiting to receive the ball

Joe W. - Jay B. a defender without the ball(and not making an initial play on a batted ball) hindered the batter/runner? That is OBS.

Jay B. - Joe W. I could see this starting a trend, and not a good one

Joe W. - Jay B. the trend of umpires doing as we are told?

Jay B. - Joe W. no, the trend of base coaches trying to test the limits of the rule. How many times do you see a runner beat a throw by a step or even two, now you could have a smart coach telling the runner to go to 2. Just saying

Joe W. - Jay B. we need to be cognizant of the schemes of coaches and players but, we must call the game by the rules.

David S. - Mike R. - so would you award her 3rd base? I wouldn’t! No way was she going to achieve 3rd base without obstruction!

David S. - We might not like the scenario but the coach and runner won’t like my ruling either. Obstruction and runner went beyond where I had her protected and now she is out! NO WAY AM I PROTECTING HER TO 3rd!


Michael M. - It doesn't look to me that the base runner changed paths. If your running full speed you would round the bag around the shortstop anyway. I do not see obstruction there

Michael Leavitt - Michael M. - There is a forearm shove that displaces the shortstop. There is most definitely contact on this play. Contact equals being hindered.

Michael M. - Michael Leavitt - no way. She extended her arm. Did not have to.

Michael M. - You cant ASSume she wanted the inside. She was not hindered. You could also say Maybe she would have been out if she didn't shove the fielder

Michael Leavitt - Michael M., there is no argument from me. But you could argue that the runner is hindered if they do not have the full area on either side of the bag as a potential chosen base path. The runner was not obstructed here, in this video. The runner initiated unnecessary contact with the fielder. The player hindered was the defensive player that was unnecessarily touched by the runner and interference could be a justified call. I made a safe call with nothing further and then the PU called her out near third base. I was not mentally ready to explain a "no obstruction" call and ensuing explanation with the coach. Why? This play strategy caught me totally off guard. Hearing Joe Joe M Elking call it the Kansas City Steal was intriguing, and I will forever be looking for it the next time I have a bunter with a runner on first. My vow... No more surprises! :-)

Michael M. - Michael Leavitt, you cant ASSume that the runner would run inside. And the defensive player was well inside. No way in this scenario. Not even close.

Michael M. - Hindered. Would mean she altered her path. That clearly did not happen

Michael Leavitt - Michael M. - The logical path is the most inside corner of the base. That is why we have our arms up 10 times a game in 12U ball when a first, second, or third baseman is standing there on their base when there is no play and the runner is coming by. The fact that the fielder is there on the inside path when the runner is running by is obstruction. I do not think that you and I are in complete disagreement. Surely we agree that the shortest legal base running distance from first to third is by way of the innermost corner of second base, right. Experienced players are going to choose that path every time and experienced fielders would like to get them to swing wider so that it takes longer to get to third. So just because we do not see a veer in the runner's path just before the base, that decision may have been made 45 feet earlier as the play is developing. But the smart fielder in the video was not taking away the inside path. She gave plenty of room for the run by and did not deserve a forearm to her back by the runner. Would you ever call interference on a play like this, where no contact is warranted?

Michael M. - Lol. I think we both agree. Like Joe said. I think it was Joe. 999 times out of 100. You don't overrun second base when the ball is being thrown there. You run hard and slide to stop you. The fielder can't possibly play their spot on a force play in any other position. You can't expect them to put a foot on the center field side of the base nor wait till they catch it and then “find” the bag. Lol


Bret S. - At what point is the shortstop in danger of being called for obstruction? At the point where she is not in possession of the ball and she impedes or hinders the runner.

Michael M. - Bret S., even watching all the slow motion. The runner did not alter paths and fielder did not hinder. No way is this obstruction

Michael Leavitt - Bret S., the taking away of the inside base path on a close force play called safe immediately leaves us with obstruction. Yet, called out there is nothing. And in this video, you see the runner purposefully take their left forearm and initiate contact and displace the shortstop to make sure she has an obstruction call. Is this what we want to promote? At what point do we go the other way and call malicious contact?

Kelly Z. - If the shortstop initiated the contact (without possession of the ball), you could have an argument in favor of obstruction. In this scenario, I see the runner initiating contact. I'm not calling obstruction unless an action by the defense hindered the runner in some way. On this play, I have no obstruction.

Bret S. - Michael Leavitt I didn’t offer an opinion of this specific play. I just answered the question that you posed in your post. You seem to want to add a lot of “ifs and maybes” into this call, even going so far as questioning “the rule committee’s intentions”. Why not just apply the rule as it’s written? Did the fielder have the ball? Did she impede or hinder the runner?

Bret S. - Michael M. - Again, I wasn’t offering an opinion on this specific play. If that’s your judgment, then that’s your judgment. I don’t have an issue with that.


Keith W. - Never obstruction. This is clearly a designed play. Running through the base is faster than sliding in, so she has been coached to run through on a close play and try to earn the base via an obstruction call.

Michael Leavitt - Keith W. - In my mind, this creates a very dangerous situation for defenders. If they stretch out to try to win a banger at second or third, then they obstruct by eliminating the inside corner. If they opt to be far enough inside to catch the ball and then get their leg and foot over to touch the bag, then they will never have a banger or a force out on a close play. This is a quandary for me and not a clear cut ruling. I see a huge difference between a force play obstruction and a tag play obstruction when dealing with inside corner positioning.

Mike R. - IMJ (In My Judgement), She didn't "run through" but making a planned turn. For that matter, she actually moved her path to the right of the base in anticipation of making the turn. And if the intent was to draw an OBS, why not take the turn and run into the defender?

Keith W. - If that is the case (we would be supposing then that she has no idea the play is coming to second base) then she could bowl over any shortstop trying to make a play on the runner.

In my opinion, that is not the intent of the rule.

We are viewing the situation differently, but that, of course does happen. As a defensive coach I would definitely not be happy with your ruling, haha.

Joe W. - Keith W. - The intent of the rule cannot be the opposite of what it says.

Keith W. - The intent of the rule is to keep defensive players from hindering the offense’s progress around the bases. The intent of the rule is not to force the defense to catch the ball and then run to the base after.

Keith W. - Mike R. - So are you arguing that she should have been coached better to barrel into the defender, or are you arguing that she moved her path to round the base and only wanted the obstruction when she knew she was dead to rights?

Keith W. - Also, for what it’s worth, the shortstop clearly takes a step in front of the base to catch the ball, clearing the bag anyway.

Michael Leavitt - Keith W. - It is interesting that the fielder did everything they were supposed to do on this play, and that is why nothing really registered when it happened. I was shocked that the runner continued towards third. Her continued actions flushed my mental hard drive of her running by second and I was at a real loss when obstruction was later being demanded. The offense didn't get their wish, yet went on to score the bunter on the very next play to win the game. As I left the field, it was under the cloud of a missed call on a play that did not happen the way they prefer to remember it happening. But not to worry, I will be sharing with them the video excerpt and it should be a fun and short discussion.

Keith W. - Michael Leavitt - If this thread, which has exploded in an hour on a Monday morning, is any indication, the discussion won’t be short.

Mike R. - Keith W. - The intent is to keep the defense from hindering a runner/batter-runner anywhere on the field. And stepping out of the way at the last second to not negate the OBS. And, BTW, at no point did I suggest barreling into anyone.

Keith W. - I apologize for using a little reducto ad absurdum into my argument. It wasn’t helpful. But, what is a reasonable amount of time that we need to allow the shortstop here to make a decision as to whether she has a force play on the runner coming into second base?

In my judgment, she makes that decision and clears the base as soon as she realizes the play will be late. Is she still guilty of obstruction here?


Patrick S. - I see no obstruction here. I saw the fielder go inside the diamond 2-3’ and the runner trying to get an obstruction call by throwing out her arm.

Michael Leavitt - Agreed.


Jim R. - The runner threw a forearm at the defender. I’m calling her out for interference. The spirit and intent of the rule is very clear. I am also telling the coach if that happens again, he will be ejected.

Patrick S. - Jim R., there’s no interference here.

Jim R. - Patrick S. - You would be mistaken. Since the runner and coach have indicated there was contact by their obstruction signal, I’ll go with that. The fielder was making a play and the runner intentionally made contact. If you let that go you are legitimizing the teams actions. I assume you are a coach Patrick.

Patrick S. - Jim R. -You know what happens when you assume? Attempting to interfere is not interference unless they actually interfere.

Jim R. - Patrick S. - I assume nothing. The player admitted she made contact. She threw a wing and made contact. I can’t ASSUME it did not hinder or impede the fielder. The runner caused the infraction and gets no potential advantage from her foul play. I don’t even understand your defending of the play.

Patrick S. - Jim R. - You said you assume I’m a coach, then you say you assume nothing. Hmm. I’m not condemning or defending the play. I’m calling what’s in front of me. No obstruction, runner is out on the tag.

Jim R. - Patrick S. - That’s ok. When I was your age I thought I knew everything too. You’re kinda funny.

Patrick S. - Jim R., I know I don’t know everything. But this is a no brainer. It can’t be interference, there was no play to interfere with.

Jim R. - Patrick S. - I’ve forgotten more than you know

Patrick S. - Jim R. -Do you really have to make personal attacks? You can’t keep it about the facts? You must’ve forgotten this part then.


Michael Leavitt - I was not expecting this to occur. I was initially planning on a call at first base. Obviously, I followed the ball, or my GoPro on my hat would not have caught the action. The run through call was easy with "Safe" at second. The continued running surprised me and it led to the timeout call near third. Then the throw back to second left me calling another safe. When the action stopped I did not even realize where the coach and runner wanted the obstruction call. My PU was screened by a fielder and had no view of second base. I did not rule obstruction and I did not realize that the runner initiated contact while rounding the base. When I went back and watched the backstop view it looks like a rather nothing play at second. The closer view from my hat shows the details I missed during the play. This leads to the bigger philosophical scenario questions regarding force play coverage and forearm shoves.


Joe W. - I could not call OBS from this video. However, if the runner was impeded by the player without the ball-ie she had to take extra steps to run around her, then it would be OBS. It is too hard to tell from the video.

Michael Leavitt - Joe W. - I agree, in this video. The coaches were very upset and treated it as though the fielder was closer and taking away the inside corner base path. This leads the discussion regarding where the line is drawn on inside corner force play coverage at second and third.

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt, the line is very clear. A fielder(not in possession of the ball & not making an initial play on a batter ball) who hinders or impedes a runner is guilty of OBS.

Michael Leavitt - Joe W. - Yes, I know the rule. Is the fielder with their foot touching the inside corner of second or third, stretched out to receive a thrown ball, hindering or impeding the runner?

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt, she sure could be. The runner gets to go where she wants to go.

Keith W. - Joe W. - The rule is very clear but the judgment aspect of what constitutes the runner being hindered/impeded is not. Ultimately, as umpires we need to be able to clearly and consistently enforce the rules, and if there are umpires that would call this specific play obstruction, then we need to be able to explain why.

Joe W. - Keith W. - "Coach, the runner was obstructed by your fielder who did not have possession of the ball"

Keith W. - We all know how to explain obstruction to a coach. We all know what obstruction is. You’ve said elsewhere that you would not call obstruction based on the video evidence of this play, but are adamantly arguing for it being called if the runner is impeded or hindered. I have no issue with that. Nobody does.

You are now intentionally conflating arguments and oversimplifying the situation.

The post is asking two related questions:

  • 1. Does this play constitute obstruction? You stated (elsewhere) no.
  • 2. (Philosophically) Should it be obstruction any time a runner chooses a path around a base and narrowly beats a bang-bang force play, because, by definition of “safe,” the fielder did not have the ball when the runner reached second? You seem to be stating yes.

Joe W. - Keith W. - 1) I cannot tell what happened at 2nd base here. I'm not saying that it wasn't OBS. 2) about to receive a throw or making a play on a throw are not exceptions to the OBS rule.

Keith W. - Re: #2, the aspects of the obstruction rule are understood.

You didn’t answer the question as asked.

Joe W. - Keith W., #2 sounds like OBS to me. Is there some reason that you think it shouldn't be?

Keith W. - It disincentivizes and even punishes a team for trying to make any close play on a runner.

Joe W. - Keith W. - Ask them to change the rule.

Keith W. - Can you reconcile for me how you can take a firm stance on #2 but cannot take any stance at all on the video presented in this post?
After you do that, I think we are probably done here. We are just going in circles at this point.

Joe W. - Keith The video is not clear enough for me to see what happened. Or, my monitor is not good enough ;-)

Michael Leavitt - Joe W. - Did you watch the second half of the video? Some of the earlier posters did not. The far away backstop view does little to help. My hat-cam view reveals a lot. But maybe you need a bigger monitor, too. :-)

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt, I could see that being called either way. It is very close. You were there, I'll go with what you called.

Michael Leavitt - Joe W. - I was caught by surprise. That is my fault. I was not on top of what happened mentally. I NEVER want to be in that frame of mind again on this play. Discussing this today, with all of you, will arm me with the tools, skills, and understanding when I see this again... And you just know it is waiting to spring itself into my game again before the year is over. :-) Thanks again for the feedback!

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt, and the next one will be different

Bob R. - Great videos. Dang coaches or parents teach these kids this type of ugly ball. I usually look for that at first but I see second will get my eye a little longer.


Patrick S. - This is not a good play to ask this question. If the throw is slightly late, and the runner is safe, but certainly would be out if she rounded and were tagged, are we calling obstruction?

Michael Leavitt - Patrick S. - No obstruction registered in my mind at the time of the play, but by the time it was over my mind was already reworking and changing what might have happened. By the time I walked off the field I was wondering just what actually happened. Rewatching the film made me realize that the coaches were taking advantage of the situation and hoping I would give them a call that wasn't really there. I was being played, yet I knew I could review it in video and see the realities... Unfortunately, I now know that it was a designed play and their disgust for the missed call was unsubstantiated.

Patrick S. - Michael Leavitt - But, designed play or not. If the runner were safe on the force but would certainly be dead out if she rounded, do we call the obstruction if she’s hindered while rounding?

Michael Leavitt - Patrick S. - Good question. Can she be there in a low stretched-out position and not obstruct the rounding? I can imagine a situation where there is no hindrance or impedance of the runner. At the same time, you could make the stand that just her foot being there takes away the runner's foot placement on the ground just inside the bag as she runs by with just her side of the foot touching the base. The truth is that we want the defense to go for this force out and we also want the offense to not be obstructed.

Patrick S. - Michael Leavitt but even with obstruction, I’m only awarding second base so what’s the point?

Keith W. - Patrick S. - The offensive team wants the obstruction call on this play when the throw goes to first (as it most often does) and they can argue that the runner would have made it to third safely (with one out in this case).

Which is why, along with what appears to be intentional contact initiated by the runner, it always seemed like a designed play to me. The throw just went to second instead of first, which complicated the scheme.

Patrick S. - Keith Williams - In a two-man crew, if the throw does go to first, no one-s focus is really going to be on this. PU does have the touch, but also has running lane.

Keith W. - Patrick S. - True, but that doesn’t mean the offensive team can’t try.

Patrick S. - Keith W. - If I think they’re trying to draw an obstruction call, they are getting very little leeway.

Michael Leavitt - Patrick S. - When does it cross into interference/out for you? I am wavering on this one and would love your seasoned perspective. I warn younger USA Softball teams to not initiate contact to get their obstruction call. Coaches seem to be coaching the girls to make sure there is contact so that they can get the call. This creates unnecessary contact and can cause injury. Does this "chicken wing" cross over into interference for you? What are your thoughts?

Patrick S. - Michael Leavitt - There would have to be interference in order to call it. The offense would have had to hinder the defenses opportunity to get an out. There would have to be an out to get.

David S. - Keith W., they can “argue” all they want, she is NOT protected to 3rd!


Joe M. - In watching the play the runner sticks her arm out to make contact to get an obstruction call. No obstruction your out

Patrick S. - Joe M., you can’t call interference if interference didn’t occur.

Michael Leavitt - Patrick S. - I think Joe Meyer is referring to the runner going out of her way to initiate the contact as she runs by the defender. There was contact and displacement.

Joe M. - Michael Leavitt that would be correct. You can’t reward someone for sticking out their chicken wing to creat contact.

Patrick S. - Joe M., true, but you can’t call interference if she didn’t interfere. I saw slight contact, but nothing that kept F6 from making a play.

Patrick S. - Joe M., unless I misunderstood and you were just saying let the out stand.

Michael Leavitt - Is sticking her with a slight "chicken wing" as she runs by malicious contact and worthy of ejection? Wait, there is no "malicious contact" verbiage in USA Softball. Is it worthy of interference and just being called out? RS#33 says that "Interference is the act of an offensive player or team member that impedes, hinders, or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play. Interference may be in the form of physical contact, verbal distraction, visual distraction, or any type of distraction that hundred a fielder in the execution of a play. Defensive players must be given the opportunity to field the ball anywhere on the playing field or throw the ball without being hindered."This certainly does not limit interference to fielding a batted ball. That is pretty strong verbiage to justify calling an out for the "chicken wing" contact in the defender's back... Good call, Joe Meyer!

Joe M. - Patrick S., that is correct the out stands. There was no interference and any chance of obstruction was initiated by the offensive player. So don’t reward her for it. She bumps the defensive player to get an obstruction call and even holds her arm out to sell it to umpires. Then goes on to third thinking she won’t be called out.

Mike R. - Joe M., the runner initiated OBS because she wanted the inside corner of the base?


Craig B. - I think no call is the clear correct decision on this specific play. They obviously had a play called that didn’t go as planned because F1 chose to try to make a play at 2nd instead of taking the out at 1st. The Offense didn’t account for that possibility and got burned for it. I would also point out that I think R1 clearly left early on this pitch as well.

Joe W. - What play do you think they had planned? Running to 3rd?

David S. - If that was their plan it wouldn’t work on me. I do see some hindering but if I call obstruction she is NOT going to be awarded 3rd. That’s her decision to go beyond the protected base and therefore in jeopardy


Joe E. - Joe W., this play is known as the Kansas City Steal, old dogs like myself taught this to our players because most umpires don't enforce the obstruction

Keith J. - Looking at the video I am trying to see where the obstruction occurred on the 2nd baseman/SS. The base runner makes contact with the player about to receive the ball. So how do you get an obstruction on the defense. If anything you could almost get interference on the offense.

Joe W. - Keith a fielder without the ball (and not making an initial play on a batted ball) cannot hinder or impede a runner.

Michael Leavitt - Joe W. - And a runner cannot interfere with a defensive player attempting to execute a play. Defensive players must be given the opportunity to field the ball anywhere on the playing field. Interference trumps obstruction.... BTW, where is "field the ball" defined in the rule book. This includes a batted ball, but does this also include catching a thrown ball? If so, then we should be talking a lot more about interference and not just stopping with the definition of obstruction on this play.

Joe W. - Michael no, it does not include thrown ball.

Michael Leavitt - Joe W., Reference? The Rules Supplement does not specify the initial play on a batted ball. It includes fielding the ball. Where is this defined?

Joe W. - Michael

JoeW 01

Michael Leavitt - That helps define obstruction, but does little to help define "field the ball" when dealing with interference. RS #33 is not limited by a batted ball. It deals with a fielder "attempting to execute a play".

Keith J. - Joe W., where did she impede the runner? Hence me asking, again, where is the obstruction??

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt, "fielding" is never used(to my knowledge) to describe catching a thrown ball.

Joe E. - Michael Leavitt, I think that is where the umpire's judgement takes precedence

Joe E. - Keith J., I can't make out the obstruction or interference from video, without the ability to zoom in

Keith J. - Joe W., the defense still has the right to "receive" the "thrown ball" without worry of interference. And as you see in this video, as defense is awaiting to "receive" the "thrown ball" the runner makes contact with her forearm. Now, did this cause any issues with receiving the throw? Does not look like but I can tell you I am not calling obstruction on this play.

Keith J. - Joe E., you can see the forearm of the runner make slight contact. But again, I am not calling obstruction on this play.

Joe W. - "The defense still has the right to "receive" the "thrown ball" without worry of interference. " Nope. The defense has zero right to impede or hinder a runner in order to try to catch a thrown ball. The rule is worded very clearly-the exception that you are making is one that you are making. The rule disagrees with you.

Keith J. - Where is the runner impeded????

Michael Leavitt - Joe E., - Did you watch the last half of the video?... It is pretty zoomed up.

Michael Leavitt - Joe W., as with every USA Softball formal ruling I have received from Kevin Ryan, it rarely involves one rule location to support the ruling. Instead, multiple rule locations are used to help paint the fuller picture. The logic is that the rule book would be too big if they dealt with every item, in full, in each portion of the rule book. I have learned to be cautious of myopically focusing in on one sentence or one reference. Instead, I have had to be pliable and allow multiple rules being referenced to get the final call correct. I always come back to try to determine how the rules making body of the game I am officiating want me to rule on any given play. It is not always as black and white as you like to infer. We often deal in shades of gray and tend to overuse the phrase, "in my judgment" to sound assertive and confident. I would rather say, "Kevin Ryan and the rules making committee has determined that....." Just my thoughts!

Joe W. - Michael Leavitt It isn't always black and white. But, OBS is black and white. The fielder either has the ball or doesn't. The folks who want to make exception on the bases would(hopefully) not give the same exception to the catcher.

David S. - It’s easier than everyone is making it. 1. She is safe at2nd. 2. If there is obstruction called (umpire judgment) then why would any umpire protect her to 3rd? 3. Therefore if thrown out at 3rd, she is now out! End of discussion with coach

Joe W. - David 3) you would put her back on 2nd


Clinton K. - I have no obstruction.

  • No change of path
  • Path took her too outside bag
  • Forearm tried to create contact
  • Smart runner
  • This is a tough one

Manny A. - Hold on a second here. I'm not going to read all of the previous posts, but in some of them, it appears umpires want to rule obstruction if F4 or F6 is set up for a force play by keeping her foot on the bag while stretching toward F1 to receive the throw, and this is deemed to be obstruction if she doesn't have the ball the split second before R1 wants to use the inside corner of the base to keep going to third base??

C'mon folks, you're requiring the fielder (either F4 or F6) to not play her position properly. Are you really expecting the fielder on a routine force play to not put her foot on the bag until she actually has the ball, in the off-chance that the oncoming runner who 999 times out of 1000 is going to slide directly into the base to beat the throw may just this one time decide to round the bag and keep going to third base? I don't buy that at all.

If that were the case, just like others have indicated here, then we can expect an obstruction call at first base if the BR decides to round the bag as F3 is waiting for the throw to first. This is not how the game is supposed to be played. This, to me, is a runner deviating her expected path to draw an obstruction call instead of attempting to get to the base safely. No runner in their right mind rounds a base as the ball is being thrown to that base for a force play or play on the BR unless they are doing something with intent to draw the obstruction call.

Michael Leavitt - I wholeheartedly agree. Very well worded. Consider it stolen, yet I will give you full credit. :-)

David S. - I can rule obstruction but only protected to 2nd, she is not getting 3rd.


Michael Leavitt - And by the way, thanks to all of you for carrying on an intelligent discussion without any personal attacks. These are real life scenarios that need intelligent experienced umpires to discuss. It certainly helps broaden my understanding. Thanks again for taking the time to discuss!


Rusty S. - The baserunner clearly initiated contact with the defensive player at 2nd base by extending her left arm, it didn't appear that it was done due to the defender impeding or obstructing her from rounding 2nd base. If I'm umpiring this game I've got the lead runner tagged out. No obstruction.

Keith J. - DITTO!!!!


David S. - I have obstruction but I certainly don’t protect her to 3rd. What makes the coach and runner think she automatically gets awarded 3rd, when there is no chance she could get there if no obstruction.

Michael M. - David S., How in the world do u have obstruction?

Bret S. - Then you’d put her back on second base?

Michael Leavitt - David S., they just wanted her to be placed safely back at second. Nobody expected her to be awarded third base. Time had expired and she was the potential game-winning run. They were hoping for obstruction, and possibly some type of overthrow that would allow her to score, and at the very least be placed back at second. Much to their dismay, she was out and the batter-runner was now standing on second.

Michael M. - Michael Leavitt so if you DID call obstruction. Did she get obstructed to second or from 2nd to 3rd? And lets just say if the shortstop threw to first and it was an errant throw because of the chicken wing in the back she would be out for interference.

David S. - Michael M., in my judgment she was obstructed because the fielder did not have the ball and hindered the runner from obtaining any part of the base she wanted to use, I really don't see interference by the so called "chicken wing" as I don't see any contact. It also doesn't look like she is sticking it out there for contact. Again, my judgment. Now you might see something different and that is your judgment. Now, she is only going to be protected to 2nd, so when she continued to 3rd, she puts herself in jeopardy of being put out, which she was.

David S. - Pausing the video repeatedly shows that the runner was hindered from using the inside corner of the base, therefore obstruction! But only protected to 2nd.

Obs 01

 Obs 02

Logan B. - Based on the video, I do not have obstruction

Rick W. - Runner trying to create false obstruction

Michael Leavitt - Does that qualify for RS #49? Does this violate the values of softball competition based upon good sporting behavior and fair play, that includes coaching tactics that endanger the safety of players?

Rick W. - I would say yes. I have watched this tactic used the last couple of years. I issued warnings so it would stop. Elbowing defense while rounding bases is not obstruction, but rather malicious contact. Stop or face ejection. It stops!


John S. - I don't have obstruction


Orvin W. - In my opinion, from the PU’s camera angle, it looks like she was about to attempt a slide into 2b but probably heard her coach say 3 and tried to cut the base tight to make it there. However, I don’t have an obstruction call from this view because nothing stops her path onto 3b from his angle. Besides, the PU has the lead runner anyway.

The BU’s camera angle may not have her making the attempt to slide but her inside arm was trying to make contact with the defense. The contact didn’t disrupt her path plus the defense was playing it as a force play so no obstruction call from his view. Her foot being on the bag didn’t block the entire bag to touch. Run down tag for an out on R1 and B2 is safe at 2B.


Dave B. - In my judgment, I did not see the runner become hindered by the defensive player without the ball. No obstruction, out.

Mike R. - Tell me, Dave, when you played did you intentionally turn a base in any way other than using the inside corner?

Dave B. - Yes. I’d have to see a little more than this, though. I just don’t see obstruction on this play. We can disagree on this one. That won’t bother me.


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Interference & Infield Fly

IFF-Interference
CHALLENGE - I challenge softball officials everywhere to get all the way through this blog entry. If you do, then you will prove to me your value and become an official that I want to take the field with in a big game... Enjoy! JULY 5, 2019 - It is an awesome feeling when you open the latest issue of USA Softball's "Plays and Clarifications" and two of the plays are mine (SEE LATER IN THIS ENTRY). Yep, the June 2019 edition will forever be known to me as Michael Leavitt's USA Softball Infield Fly Interference edition. The issue contains two plays that deal with the complications of the infield fly and interference. For an umpire, that is when the sun, the moon, and the stars align once every 2,500 games. It turns out, according to Kevin Rya...
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2019 Blood Moon - Clear Skies In Utah!

Blood-Moon
January 20, 2019 - It was awesome heading outdoors in the 24 degree cold night weather to watch the moon go from beautiful and full to a complete lunar eclipse featuring a blood red hue. I walked outside and set up chairs, tripods, cameras, and video to capture this event at 7:23 PM, knowing it was to start at 7:36.  The blood red photos were best captured at 10 PM. Yep, that is 2.5 hours later. Due to the cold, I am most thankful for polar fleece pants, robe, gloves, and the warmest hat ever... The "Floyd" hat was a Christmas gift from Shelly this year, and she hit a home run with this investment in my warmth! I love celestial events... I believe that more people should take the time to head outside and watch the night sky. It helps p...
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Tip-Offs Done Right - "HOLD YOUR SPOTS!"

Tipoff
The start of a high school basketball game must be done right. If you get that wrong, then everything can go downhill quickly. Unfortunately, many bad habits and incorrect tip-off violation calls are made because new officials just follow and learn from their senior partners and end up doing what they have seen done time and time again. Getting back to the high school rulebook helps us refocus on the allowed movements by the nonjumpers at the start of the game. COMMONLY HEARD PHRASES - Listen carefully to the officials at the next game you attend. Too often we hear... "Don't move" or "Hold your spots" just before the Referee tosses up the ball. Unfortunately for them, these phrases couldn't be any less true. The Referee is directing his com...
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Ball Hit Bat - Or - Bat Hit Ball

BallHitBat-01
SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 Enjoy this video..... It was a beautiful Saturday evening when the following play happened. Nobody on base and the batter tries to lay down a bunt and it went straight down, bounced up, and then contact was made with the bat and the ball laying on the ground. When it happened, I correctly moved to see if any contact was made with the ball and the batter as she left the box. Then I saw the bat/ball contact and the ball stayed moving in fair territory. I must admit that my initial instincts were to call the ball dead, and I can see my arms start to raise upwards. They never did make it upwards to draw real attention, but for some reason these plays cause me to want to scream dead ball. I am glad that I did not do that this t...
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Cool B-Day Card - www.WarmReferrals.biz

MLC-BDay-Card-01 How did Brian Hannigan pull this off... Impressive!
AUGUST 9, 2018 - I was amazed to open the snail mail today and see a belated birthday card featuring a photo that I had used in a Facebook post just a few days earlier. My longtime home inspection industry friend, Brian Hannigan, has done it again. For those that don't know Brian, he initially created the home inspector forum www.inspectionnews.net back in about 1997, and he branched out into the online marketing and continued business referral industry about the same time. If you are looking for marketing helps and strategies, then chase down Brian at www.hanntech.com . COST OF BUSINESS CALCULATOR In the inspection industry, Brian Hannigan made a name for himself by proving the concept that home inspector fees are not high enough. He trave...
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2018 USA Softball Western Nationals - Awesome!

2018 USA Softball Western Nationals - Awesome!
AUGUST 6, 2018 - It once again feels strange to have completed a long looked forward to goal for 2018. I am finally able to sit down, relax, and let out a long soothing sigh of relief of contentment. My assignment with USA Softball of Utah to work the 18U Gold Western Nationals is over. That doesn't mean much to non-umpires, but for me it was a big deal. I gave it my best and had an incredible experience. FELLOW UMPIRES The blog cover photo shows the crew that was assembled to work this event. Four of us are from Utah. The rest are from Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. This makes for a very diverse experience as you walk out onto the ball fields with partners that you have just barely met. These officials are "Top-Shelf" cal...
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★ Hey Coach... I Blew The Call!!! ★

★ Hey Coach... I Blew The Call!!! ★
DECEMBER 9, 2017 - Here is the email I sent off yesterday morning..... ★ Hey Coach... I Blew The Call!!! ★ Coach: Congratulations on a well-played game yesterday against XXXX XXXXXX HS. I also wanted to apologize for my late game call. Obviously, my judgment became skewed and I am glad that it did not change the eventual outcome of the game. I have rehearsed the play over and over in my head trying to figure out what I was thinking. I watched your very skilled dribbler make his final approach to the bucket and the XXXX player was beat and bewildered to the point that he was in the wrong place at the right time and deserved the blocking foul. I remember watching the play and went into zoom mode and I focused much too tightly on your dri...
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FLASHBACK - 2001 - Fishing

FLASHBACK - 2001 - Fishing
FISH FRY FRIDAY NOVEMBER 17, 2017 - Is there anything more adorable than photos of fishing with my then young family. Our third child Haily (not pictures), took the time years ago to create this wonderful scrapbook page featuring an afternoon where we went to Silver Lake Flats above Tibble Fork in American Fork Canyon. We had success with the smaller fish.  The bigger beasts of the water escaped us that day! JESSICA ADAM AARON MICHAEL WHAT ARE YOUR TREASURED FISHING MEMORIES? Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah
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Wow!.... 3 Hours 21 Minutes... Are you kidding me?!?!

Wow!.... 3 Hours 21 Minutes... Are you kidding me?!?!
Wow!.... 3 Hours 21 Minutes... Are you kidding me?!?! AUGUST 26, 2017 - Payson, Utah It was pretty incredible watching our youngest son Aaron come down the final stretch of his very first marathon. We all knew that Aaron was going to finish, but the question for us was just how long it was going to take. WAGER One month and a half ago, our oldest son Adam (23), put up a little challenge to his younger brother Aaron (19). "You have to find a marathon and then start training one month before. If you finish, then I will pay you $500!" Adam was so cool about it that there was no penalty for a failed attempt. This was purely motivational on his part. MOTIVATION It did not take much for Aaron to take the challenge. Why? Aaron has been a distance ...
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"COACH, YOU ARE EJECTED!"

"COACH, YOU ARE EJECTED!"
JULY 18, 2017 - ADVENTURES IN UMPIRING - In the past few years I have worked hard to improve my sports officiating skills. This brings with it lots of adventures, the latest of which took place here in Orem at the PONY Baseball State Championship Tournament. I was fortunate to be assigned to work games with my son Adam... Enjoy the read! "Your partner has blown four calls" the assistant coach stated directly. With a 2 second pause I looked him in the eye and said calmly, "Coach, you are ejected." He looked at me stunned. My partner, Adam, looked onward in total awe and almost disbelief as he had never seen me throw anybody out of a game before. Anybody who knows me very well knows that I go out of my way to avoid sending anybody out of the ...
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It's Nice To Be Noticed! - Employee of the Month

It's Nice To Be Noticed! - Employee of the Month
JANUARY 20, 2017 - I was officiating a men's city league basketball game the other night and as the game concluded the site official said, "And that is why you are the Employee Of The Month!" I giggled and came home thinking nothing more of it. Going through my email I found the January Orem Recreation Department newsletter and stumbled across the announcement. I found myself slightly humbled. Being noticed at whatever you do is kind of nice. I haven't been an "Employee" for decades, but when I decided to take on officiating assignments for the City of Orem, they put me through the process, made me watch a sexual harassment video, take a drug test, and do a background check before they deemed me hire-able. When I was all don, they even issu...
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"LADY" - Styx - Where were you October 21, 1978?

"LADY" - Styx - Where were you October 21, 1978?
STYX - LADY - Am I really expecting you to know where you were on that random Saturday night in 1978? For me, I was at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California. I traveled there from Pomona, California. Traffic was the usual bear getting across the Los Angeles basin and I still remember coming in a bit later than I wanted. Ric Okasek, lead singer for The Cars was just starting into "Moving in Stereo". The Cars were just making an impact on the music world, but I was there to see Styx. But being an opening act meant that you were now on my radar screen. For a few years, I was a big fan of "The Cars", yet they were always a second or third tier on my hierarchy of top bands. MOVING IN STEREO LINK TIME LIFE ALBUM - ROCK'N ME - DISC TWO - The...
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A Thoughtful Gift - The Heart of Classic Rock

A Thoughtful Gift - The Heart of Classic Rock
CHRISTMAS 2016 - When we think back over the Christmas' past, we often remember gifts given and gifts received. In other years it might be the celebrations, the family gatherings, and the feasts devoured. One thing is for certain, and that is... "As we grow older our Christmas lists become shorter because the true gifts of happiness cannot be purchased." - Unknown What this really means is that as we grow older, it becomes more and more difficult to purchase one a present of meaning. Buying a present for me is near impossible. Why? If I want it and it is of realistic price, then I most likely have already acquired it. This makes it very difficult for my lovely wife Shelly when it comes to birthdays and Christmas. But this year, she managed ...
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RIP Dad - Alfred Lloyd Leavitt Departed Mortality

RIP Dad - Alfred Lloyd Leavitt Departed Mortality
NOVEMBER 29, 2016 - It is with sadness that I share the news that my Father has passed away. It happened yesterday back in Hohenwald, TN. Dad spent his last few years living in a small travel trailer on my siste Becky's property in a remote part of Tennessee. He was found dressed with his bed made and he was ready to go somewhere. I have been reacting in odd ways since finding out via a phone call from my sister Susan. She left a message to call and I made contact immediately before I was set to walk onto the basketball court for the first of three men's games. I was stunned, yet totally at peace. Dad chose the remote lifestyle years ago and successfully made it to age 89.He would have passed much sooner if he had stayed in the Southern Cal...
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LDS Missionary Companion - Elder Pierina

LDS Missionary Companion - Elder Pierina
NOVEMBER 17, 2016 - It was such a pleasure to open up Facebook today and see the new profile pic of Jose Carlos Pierina. About 29 years ago Elder Pierina and I served together as LDS (Mormon) missionaries proselyting amongst the people of Southern Brazil. We were assigned the Novo Hamburgo area, which was one of the strongest German influenced areas of Brazil. Many of the German SS leaders fled to this part of Brazil at the conclusion of World War II. It was not uncommon for us to knock on a door and a kind little German woman would answer. She would speak no Portugese or English, and neither my companion or I spoke German, so we would smile shake hands and wish her a good day. People mistook us for two Americans, when in fact it was just o...
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Un-BEAR-able

Un-BEAR-able
There are some photos that come into my inbox that just make be gaze at the images and just melt with sappiness. I saw these and as I share them now I am taken back to that scene in "Remember The Titans" when the white player is playing music for the black players and he says.... "I don't even have to ask but, I will. What do you think of this one?" Yep, it is totally un-BEAR-able and adorable! The photos come from my brother Jim. He had a dead tree in front of his Littleton, Colorado home and he figured out how to make lemonade out of the ugly sour lemon view in his front yard. Did he do it for himself? Probably not as much for his own desires, but his lovely wife Madelon just loves this type of decor. I bet I could drive every street of L...
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Mens' Fastpitch - I'm Sure Thankful For Mentors

Mens' Fastpitch - I'm Sure Thankful For Mentors
JULY 6, 2016 - MEN'S FASTPITCH It is the morning after my first experience with the men's fastpitch softball game. I survived my first two games and actually came out unscathed. Was I apprehensive? Absolutely! The men's game is the pinnacle of softball officiating. The level of play is outstanding and they expect good officiating. RESPECT - In the last couple of years I have been hearing the war stories from other respected officials about their experiences trying to garner their initial respect with the men players and coaches. I was told that the players love breaking in the "Fresh Meat" and then having some good stories to share as they hang out after their games. Here was some of the advice from my mentors... 1) DON'T HIGHLY POLISH YOU ...
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Fishing Anyone?

Fishing Anyone?
Friday and Saturday of this 4th of July weekend I was working a fast-pitch tournament in Cedar City, Utah. So as not to be all work and no play I took advantage of some early morning fishing on Saturday. I shared the following entry on the www.UtahASAUmpires.com blog site earlier this morning... Enjoy! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah JULY 4, 2016 - Happy 4th of July! Saturday morning I awoke early to grab my continental breakfast from the hotel and hit the fishing pond adjacent to the softball fields in Cedar City, Utah. The first games were to start at 8:45 AM and it seemed like such a shame to spend all of this time driving and officiating without a little fun and enjoyment. In the early morning sunrise beauty, I took an hour to roam the sho...
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It's Almost July - Got Bruises?

It's Almost July - Got Bruises?
All day yesterday and last night was the all day tournament for the Orem Youth Baseball Monday Night Lights accelerated leagues. Coming home, I was amazed at the bruises currently on my body. The cover photo shows you a view of my torso that few have seen in the last thirty years. They are the result of pitched balls hitting the dirt in front of the catcher, and magically going underneath the catcher and up into the bottom sides of my thighs. But don't think this is just a baseball issue. I just worked the Splash-N-Dash softball tournament in Grantsville and the Timp Classic in Pleasant Grove this past weekend and the 14U and 18U girls added to the list of bruises. I can flash back in my mind over the last 8 weeks and I can vividly remember...
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Coaching Intimidation - "C'mon Blue!"

Coaching Intimidation - "C'mon Blue!"
"C'mon Blue. Have the courage to ring him up!" , says the coach. "That's one!" I say quietly to myself. The following is a baseball experience, but the same events transpire on the fast-pitch softball fields as well. This setting is the final pre-tournament game for the Orem Youth Baseball Monday Night Lights accelerated league between the two undefeated teams in the 12U baseball division. The pitch was a curve ball that broke too quickly and never did make it over the plate. What ensued, in this top half of the first inning was another base runner getting on and a home run over the fence. The assistant coach was exasperated as he was watching his worst nightmare come to fruition, and his team had not even been up to bat yet. The dream of b...
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Palo Alto Mini Marathon

Palo Alto Mini Marathon
STANFORD UNIVERSITY - April 15, 2016 - As you can see from the cover photo, I was doing my best to hold my own in the Palo Alto Mini Marathon. Nobody asked to see my ID, of which I was flattered, as I did my best to keep up with these mini foot racers. In hindsight, I would have put in more effort in my preparation for the event, but the entire trip was kind of a surprise. My grandkids, Rolf, Poppy, and Tommy kind of wrangled me into the event and they got the organizers to overlook my taller more seasoned stature. The race was run around the central quad of the Stanford married student housing. Racers came from all over the world, or at least their parents did as they were accepted into the university. Most of the runners failed to pace th...
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ASA Umpire Tyler Agla is a Hit at the Special Olympics

ASA Umpire Tyler Agla is a Hit at the Special Olympics
“You’re out!” shouted Tyler Agla, as the first baseman caught the throw from the shortstop before the batter-runner reached first base. Clenching his fist high in the air while making the hammer to signal the out, Tyler’s face suddenly beamed with the biggest smile, knowing that he made the right call. This umpire’s call may not seem like a big event, but for this 20 year old from Orem, Utah it is one of the highlights of his young life. Tyler has special needs and this scenario played out over the weekend at the Special Olympics, held at Lone Peak High School in Highland, Utah. When we think of the Special Olympics, we don’t typically envision the sports officials as also having special needs. “Tyler has been my neighbor nearly since his b...
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Michael Leavitt
I have been very happy with the positive feedback from this blog entry about Tyler Agla and the Special Olympics. I have posted th... Read More
Monday, 13 June 2016 08:40
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Super Session - Albert's Shuffle

Super Session - Albert's Shuffle
My older brother Jimi sent along a fabulous collection of "His" music.  He being 7 years older than I, we were raised in completely different musical eras.  Jimi went through the hippie era and the origins of Rock & Roll. I was greatly influenced because we shared the same bedroom growing up and I watched what he experienced with awe. In Jimi's message to me that came with the four DVD set he shared, "I have found you cannot add a song to your playlist, if you have forgotten the song even exists or you have never heard of it in the first place. Enjoy!" Jimi is spot on and I thought it would be great to listen to and enjoy this music of his era. Today let's listen to the first track of the first DVD. It is called "Albert's Shuf...
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NCAA on Dish Network - Unwatchable!

NCAA on Dish Network - Unwatchable!
Talk about March Madness, watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament on Dish Network is infuriating. This is my complaint video of what I get to see when I leave the primary CBS channel 2 coverage and slide down the bandwidth to channel 242 and TRU TV. The shakiness and stuttering only occurs for about 40% of the live action ball play action. It is crystal clear for the commercials and any of the announcer jabbering with no real action. But when the game play counts, then this is what I get to endure. Is it my Hopper in the other room? Or is it the Joey for my office TV? Or is it the dish positioning on the roof? We have good weather and no snow, so we can't blame the weather. All I know is that I spend top dollar each month and this is the sa...
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What? Wednesday - Quarter-Sized Hail???

What? Wednesday - Quarter-Sized Hail???
Sometimes you just have to scratch your head and wonder... Dimes are the new quarter!?!? Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah
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The Pretender - Photo Memories From My Youth

The Pretender - Photo Memories From My Youth
My heart strings were just tugged as I watched a photograph compilation set to the music of Jackson Browne's "The Pretender". The first thing I realized was just how much I love this song. The second thing was just how impactful seeing images from East and Northeast Los Angeles, which is where I spent much of my youth. I monitor a Facebook Group "You know your from Eagle Rock if..." and a poster shared the YouTube video. Reading the song title I immediately realized that it had been too long since I had listened to Jackson Browne. I had a similar impression a couple of week's ago when Mr. Browne stepped up to the microphone to front the Eagles in tribute of the passing of Glen Frey as they sang "Take It Easy". This time I acted on the promp...
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1975 Hits
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Officer Doug Barney - It's Flag Day!!!

Officer Doug Barney - It's Flag Day!!!
Northern Utahan's w ere saddened with the news of the shooting death of Officer Doug barney. It was senseless and savage and took the life of a special police officer. His televised funeral was just held in the 10,000 seat Maverik E-center and the procession is now leaving West Valley City, Utah and traveling a 60 mile street route that eventually ends at the cemetery located just about a mile from our home.  The local Boy Scout troops were asked to drape 1600 North in Utah from the freeway to the cemetery. Being a long time Scouter I was alerted to the request and this morning I took my camera along the Orem portion of the route just as the sun was rising. It was a special experience for me as I stopped at several locations looking fo...
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Rose Parade 1976 - Were You There?

Rose Parade 1976 - Were You There?
I Miss Seeing The Rose Parade In Person In my youth New Year's Eve always brought with it the excitement of knowing that the following morning we would be standing at the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards to witness firsthand the Rose Parade. When my fellow Utahans hear me brag about the Rose Parade, they just roll their eyes in disbelief  of how wonderful I describe the event. When my Utah friends and neighbors think of parades they think of Orem Summerfest, Provo's Freedom Festival, and Salt Lake City's Days of 47. And while these parades are nice, they are barely one's and two's on the scale of ten. The Rose Parade is an extravaganza, it is huge and over the top, and it is just plain beautiful!!! I think back to my last...
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Happy Birthday Haily!

Happy Birthday Haily!
It is official... Our wonderful daughter Haily has left teenagerhood. In her two decades here in mortality she has found and developed talents that we never thought were possible. Her biggest personal success comes from the artwork that flows from the deepest portions of her soul through her fingertips and onto the canvas. To say that we are consistently wowed by her talents is an understatement, as she is incredible. SPECIAL REQUEST: For the first 10 years of Haily's life, she thought all of the fireworks around the world were to celebrate her special birthday. So as you are banging your pots and pans and lighting off fireworks, send some special thoughts of love haily's way. Welcome to your roaring 20's Haily! Love, Dad
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Birthday Breakfast - Dad, did you ever work in a restaurant?

Birthday Breakfast - Dad, did you ever work in a restaurant?
The biggest compliment came out of our newest young adult in the Leavitt household this morning when I cooked breakfast for Aaron to celebrate his 18th birthday. The menu featured fresh cooked bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, and our famous Mountain-Man omelette. What is in a Mountain-Man omelette you ask? First, you start off with cooked hash browns and then crack a couple of eggs over the top, dob on a few large gobs of sour cream, add some grated cheese and then integrate some of the diced sausage links while breaking in some cooked bacon.  Stir all of this together and the heat from the hot hash browns helps to cook the egg and sour cream. Once it is ready then you sprinkle on some salt and pepper with more grated cheese to melt ove...
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Jingle Bells - Aaron sings with Critical Mass

Jingle Bells - Aaron sings with Critical Mass
It is the time for the Christmas Spirit to fill the airwaves. Enjoy this a'capella version of Jingle Bells by Critical Mass with my son Aaron taking the lead on vocals. It is pretty cool watching Aaron perform. Click on the image below and enjoy the video! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah PLEASE SHARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THIS PERFORMANCE!
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ADVICE NEEDED - Happy 18th B-Day Aaron!

ADVICE NEEDED - Happy 18th B-Day Aaron!
It is a great day here in the Leavitt household.  Our youngest child Aaron turns 18 today and he is officially considered an adult. For that reason I need the wisdom of my wise older and younger friends to share with Aaron about how to best handle his new role in adulthood. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AARON!
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Cindy - My Long Lost 3rd Grade Friend

Cindy - My Long Lost 3rd Grade Friend
Cindy, you were always one the the tiniest, cutest, and happiest schoolmates in both grade school and junior high. I can remember your smile as early as the third grade at Toland Way Elementary School. I was much too shy to talk to any girl in 3rd grade but I remember your smile continued on all the way through my last saying good-bye in 1976. I inquired about your whereabouts on our Washington Irving 1970's Facebook Group and Grace shared that she was still in contact with you. I was so glad to learn that you still have contact with some of the members of our Class of 1976 and didn't just disappear like so many others. I was so sad to hear that you had recently lost your Mother. If she was anything like my Mother, then I know how deep your...
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Happy Thanksgiving - Hogle Zoo Fun

Happy Thanksgiving - Hogle Zoo Fun
HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2015 NOVEMBER 25, 2015 - Getting the chance to go to the Salt Lake City Hogle Zoo with my grandkids was awesome! With Rolf & Poppy being 5, Tommy 3, and cutest little Josie at 8 months, the zoo visit had all the makings of a memorable fun family event. Just look at the cover photo for this blog and you can see the leading lady Josie all dressed up as the owl from Harry Potter (Hedwig), complete with incredible steel blue eyes and a smile that just melts a Granpa's heart. My lovely wife Shelly and I actually crashed the Dixon family planned event and it was my goal to just stalk them from afar and get some cute shots.  Instead, we were immersed in the fun and both Shelly and I took the fun photos from two differen...
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Click-Clacks * How Cool Were You?

Click-Clacks * How Cool Were You?
If you owned "Click-Clacks" as a youth, then please share this blog entry with your friends... CLICK-CLACKS - I was always drawn into the latest fads as a youth. Whether skateboarding, yo-yo's, or even Click-Clacks. Yes Click-Clacks... Do you remember Click-Clacks? I can remember when the fad hit, because I was an immediate fan and bound and determined to learn how to make them work. I can't remember if it was my cousins Kenny B and Roger in Colton, California, or if it was my neighbors Paul and Chucko Gage that introduced me to Click-Clacks, but when I saw them the first time, I just had to get some and learn how to use them. In fact, I wanted to master the new art form of Click-Clackers. In the beginning, resin ball Click-Clacks were not ...
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Teresa Live - Big Jet Plane

Teresa Live - Big Jet Plane
NOVEMBER 21, 2015 - A while back I created a Facebook Group call " Washington Irving Junior High * Los Angeles * 1970's " and have had a wonderful time reuniting friendships from nearly forty years ago in my youth. It has been fascinating to learn about the pathways through life that fellow classmates have taken. Teresa Crespo, now Teresa Crespo Hartendorp, took the entertainer track and has enjoyed playing and singing throughout the Southern California area and beyond. She recently extended the invitation to come and see her live, and due to living so far away I decided to see if she was on YouTube, and she was. After watching some of her videos, it would be fun to see her live and in person... Enjoy...
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Hopeful Dreams - The Jr. High School Bus Stop

Hopeful Dreams - The Jr. High School Bus Stop
Memories are an interesting phenomenon. I was going through some funeral photographs of a family friend earlier today and my mind started to wander to the hopeful dreams I had as a 9th grader at Washington Irving Jr. High School in NE Los Angeles, California. As a 9th grader, each day I dreamed of catching just the right Rapid Transit District (RTD) bus so that I might get to see a very special young lady, and some days I timed it just right. This blog entry is dedicated to those fantastic, magical, warm and fuzzy feelings felt in the days of our youth when eye contact is made with just the right person at just the right time and they see into our soul. Catching the right bus was tricky because my 9th grade school day actually started much ...
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A Romantic Atmosphere

A Romantic Atmosphere
As the head waiter in a romantic restaurant, my tallest son Aaron gets to sing a great song in his high school play "She Loves Me". The blog cover photo shows Aaron losing his cool with the fighting couple who are killing the romantic mood in his establishment. Below is the YouTube bootleg video version of "A Romantic Atmosphere" and I invite all of you to travel to Utah and catch him in the final two performances on Monday and Tuesday nights at 7PM.     I just love watching Aaron singing on stage. Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah
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She Loves Me - Photos

She Loves Me - Photos
October 23, 2015 Just a couple of hours ago the opening night performance of Orem High School Drama's "She Loves Me!" came off without any major hitches.  In fact, it was totally entertaining and delightful. Our son Aaron played the Mater D and sang a great song dealing with the romantic atmosphere of the French restaurant (I'll post it to YouTube. hearing him once again portray a character with that accent took me back to watching him in the role of Lumiere in "Beauty and the Beast". The show runs through next Tuesday with 7PM starts in the Orem High School Little Theater. Stealing the show was Rachel Peterson singing "Ice Cream" in her red pajamas. I knew the song but had forgotten that it was from this production. Here are some good...
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Aaron Runs State Cross Country

Aaron Runs State Cross Country
October 21, 2015 - Sugarhouse Park - Salt Lake City, Utah Wow! I am constantly amazed at the feats my kids accomplish. We watched Aaron run in his final Utah Cross Country race and it was awesome.  We watched him push through pain and fight off runners at the end to finish strongly with a great time. Did he win? Nope! That is the dream, but Cross Country is different in that you are racing for your personal best in the hopes of helping your team in their final standings. Very few get to be at the top of the podium, yet thousands run each year just hoping to give their best performance. The Sugarhouse course is about 3.2 miles with lots of uphills and downhills, which makes it tougher on the runners. I loved watching Aaron push himself ...
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Back To The Future - We Are Now Living In The Past

Back To The Future - We Are Now Living In The Past
It is crazy to think that on the space time continuum we are now living in the past. I have spent the morning looking at the old family Polaroids to see if any of my friends and family are fading and I can only hope that Marty McFly was successful in his travels on our behalf. The flux capacitor energized DeLorean was and is a great concept... Talk about successful brand placement in a movie. It put the Delorean on everybody's radar and the never before seen stainless steel automotive finish probably inspired the popular kitchen appliance finish we see in many home's today. "Are you telling me that you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?" Marty Mcfly I am busy this afternoon watching my son Aaron running in the Utah State Cross Country ...
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Finish With Your Torch Still Lit

Finish With Your Torch Still Lit
I am as guilty as the next person of starting something new and then stopping before I finish the task.  The dog in this blog's cover photo portrays me in many of my past endeavors. Fortunately, I have the drive to finish the majority of tasks I start, but there are many more that I need to  renew my resolve and finish strongly what I have originally started. I have learned that my Heavenly Father has a great love and patience for me and he encourages me to get back up when I fall and He helps to give me the love and encouragement to finish strongly what I have started... All I have to do is ask for his help. On this coming Wednesday we get to watch our youngest son Aaron compete in the Utah State finals for Cross Country racing.&...
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Smokey and the Bandit Revisited - Fast-N-Loud

Smokey and the Bandit Revisited - Fast-N-Loud
While finishing off inspection reports this morning I was completely distracted watching the Discovery Channel's Fast-N-Loud two part episodes featuring a "Smokey and the Bandit" build. Search your DVR and find the episodes and enjoy the memories. I posted on their FB page... "I just watched the Smokey and the Bandit episodes and was thoroughly entertained... If there were a remake with all of these same characters on the big screen I would be the first to slap down the cash for the recliner seating and the extra large buttered popcorn to see it... Way-To-Go- Guys!!!" FLASHBACKS - In 1977 I found myself in Campbell, Missouri (population 1,600) spending my summer while on school break from Southern California. My older sister Susie lived in ...
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Adam & I Get To Sing At The LDS Conference - Watch Us Saturday Night!

Adam & I Get To Sing At The LDS Conference - Watch Us Saturday Night!
This Saturday night my son Adam and I have been invited to be part of a 364 men's choir for the Priesthood Session of the Semi-Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is a huge once in a lifetime opportunity and I would love it if all of my family and friends tuned in online around the world and looked for us during the choir numbers. MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR - Most of you are familiar with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, right? Well they are the featured choir for most of the other sessions of the 6 session conference held twice a year at the Salt Lake City, Utah LDS Conference Center. A bit of trivia... The Conference Center features  a pipe organ with 7,667 pipes. I am looking forward to feeli...
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The Silver Beaver Escapes - Humbling Experience

The Silver Beaver Escapes - Humbling Experience
It was a great experience walking into the historic Alpine Tabernacle in American Fork, Utah yesterday afternoon and see about two thousand people there to commemorate 92 recipients of the 2015 Silver Beaver Award. The event was hosted by the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The UNPC is the largest of the 273 councils in the BSA and therefore they award the most Silver Beaver awards annually and put on one of the largest reception events. Looking down the list of recipients I was humbled as I knew a great deal of them and had worked with many of them in teaching, training, and other outdoor events in the past 29 years of my Scouting service. The 60 page booklet issued to all attendees was impressive. I was sitting t...
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BSA Silver Beaver Nominee - How Cool Is That?

BSA Silver Beaver Nominee - How Cool Is That?
How cool is that? Opening my email late last night from my LDS Bishop with the announcement and a congratulations completely caught me off guard. My immediate thought was that I was 'cc'd" and being invited to attend in honor of somebody else. I scanned over the list and didn't see my name. I then took more time to read the full email and thought that maybe it was for me and I scanned  the list again. Sure enough, there I was mid way down the third column. What an honor! I immediately called my son Aaron into my bedroom with my lovely wife Shelly and shared with them the news. I would have called in Haily, Adam, and Jessica with her husband and kids, but one was out for the evening, one was flying home from Hawaii, and the eldest now l...
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