A “Blue” Helping to recognize the “Men in Blue”

A retired law enforcement officer in Branford is doing his part to show police they are supported, and he’s getting his whole town involved.

Stan Konesky Jr. is a former police lieutenant, whose career includes 29 years with the Branford Police Department and 13 years teaching at the state police academy. He said the deaths of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge inspired him to do something to show his gratitude for police.

“You call 911, they come. They help you. They put their life on the line for you,” said Konesky. “If you watch Dallas, as the people were running from the shooters, where did you see the cops go? They went there.”

He came up with the idea of a simple blue ribbon, which individuals and businesses could display publicly.

“People would see it on a house or on a mailbox or on a storefront,” Konesky said. “When the police officer would go by, he’d see the blue ribbon and I hope it makes him or her feel good that someone’s supporting them and is appreciative of their job and what they’re doing.”

Konesky started with his own small personal address book, but the idea spread quickly. Since Wednesday, he has handed out 105 ribbons, and has another 100 requests.

The local garden club is even planning to put a blue ribbon in all 32 flower baskets hanging from the town’s streetlights surrounding the green. Almost all of the businesses along Main Street, including the Branford Book and Card Shoppe, are displaying ribbons already.

“I think it’s great. I think we should all stand behind them and pray and hope for safety,” said Sal Esposito, Owner of the Branford Book and Card Shoppe.

“At first I thought maybe 50, and then I said, ‘No, 200 or 300.’ Now I’m awfully greedy and I want all of Branford blue,” Konesky said.

He says that residents of several other Connecticut towns have contacted him about starting their own blue ribbon campaigns. If you’d like to get involved, you can e-mail Stan Konesky Jr. at pinky124@comcast.net.

Kathy Morrison Returns From Baseball For All

Kathy flies back today from San Francisco where she spent a week working the Baseball For All Nationals.
Kathy Morrison along with Perry Barber and other crew members from the Baseball For All Nationals in San Francisco.
Kathy Morrison along with Perry Barber and other crew members from the Baseball For All Nationals in San Francisco.
Baseball For All is an organization for girls’ baseball beyond the Little League years and has been featured in Sports Illustrated and a variety of other media. The tournament had organized teams and a couple of teams of “free agents,” girls who didn’t come with teams but wanted to play so they formed a team at the tournament. One of those singles was a girl from Fairfield who plays at Notre Dame-Fairfield. When she found out there was a Connecticut umpire and further what board Kathy represented, supposedly the comment was something like, “Thank God we got a good ump from New Haven.”
Kathy was given the plate for the Bronze Medal game and she had the bases in the Gold Medal game. The Tournament Director and Umpire-in-Chief, Perry Barber, took the plate for the championship game. Barber has worked minor league ball, MLB spring training, and D-1; I think Kathy said she went to umpiring school with Funaro.
The goal of the organization is not such much to develop the first female MLB players, which would be OK, but to expose girls to umpiring. So Ed Montague was brought in to do an umpiring clinic for the players. The tournament also promotes sending girls to umpiring school.
In addition to seeing a few of the sights, the tournament also took in an Oakland A’s game and a SF Giants game.

NFHS Implements Pitch Count Rule for Baseball

By Maddie Koss on July 12, 2016 nfhs news

High school baseball rules now will require a pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown in a game.

The revised pitching policy in Rule 6-2-6 was one of six rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 5-7 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Each NFHS member state association will be required to develop its own pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown during a game to afford pitchers a required rest period between pitching appearances.

“We’re pleased that the rules committee worked in conjunction with the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to find an acceptable and reasonable modification to this rule in order to emphasis the risk that occurs when pitchers overuse their throwing arm,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball.

The Baseball Rules Committee also revised Rule 2-32-2 regarding sliding into home plate. The revised language states: “At home plate, it is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the plate in the baseline extended.” The committee altered this rule since the physical design of home plate makes it difficult for a runner to break momentum on a slide – as opposed to the other three elevated bases which are elevated.

The committee also revised Rule 3-3-1, which states the umpire has the ability to give three warnings to a coach or player before he or she is removed from the game.

“Officials now have the opportunity to provide a tiered warning system for coaches or players,” Hopkins said. “It provides the coaches or players with a teachable moment to change their unsportsmanlike behavior in order to stay in the game.”

A new article 6 was added to Rule 8-3 to provide a rules reference for an existing ruling in the Baseball Case Book. The new article reads: “When a plate umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pickoff play, if an out is not made at the end of the catcher’s initial throw, the ball shall be dead and all runners shall return to the bases occupied at the time of the interference.”

The rules committee also approved an addition to Rule 8-4-2, which states that any runner is out when he is physically assisted by a coach. This rule change supports a revision in Rule 3-2-2 Penalty, which states that the runner shall be called out immediately when he is physically assisted by a coach.

A complete listing of the baseball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Baseball.”

 

NFHS Umpire Insurance | Forewarned is Forearmed

Many of you know that I took a foul ball to the mask on May 11 resulting in a concussion.  Since then, I have had multiple doctor visits and an MRI and the EOBs are starting to arrive along with the bills from the service providers for the unpaid balances.

Last night, I remembered that we have a secondary insurance policy because of our membership in NFHS.  This morning, I set to investigating the value of that policy and the claims process.  The policy is not a bad one.  It has limits and it has deductibles, but at the end of the day, it will reduce your exposure.  By the way, if you don’t have primary insurance, it will start covering immediately.

The fly in the ointment is in the claims process.  You must initiate a new claim within 30 days of the incident, a deadline that I failed to meet.  So, in order to avoid you doing the work that I did this morning in finding the resource on NFHS and getting the information, I have added a new tab to the menu at the top of the GNHBUA website for Insurance Claims.  Under that tab, you’ll find a summary explanation of what is paid as well as a claim form.  While I sincerely hope that you never need it; if you do need it, I want you to have it available to you.

American Legion’s Position on Arguing Balls and Strikes

Craig Zimmerman asked me to send out a quick reminder to each Board related to coaches arguing/questioning balls and strikes.

CT American Legion – Sportsmanship & Conduct Rule 7 states, “Please note that no coach is allowed to argue balls and strikes. The penalty would be restriction or ejection to the dugout at the sole discretion of the umpires.”

Continually making comments about balls and strikes or frequently asking the catcher where that pitch was is not acceptable and should be stopped.

 

Handling Player Fights

During a recent game, an incident of malicious contact at the plate brought a heated reaction from the catcher and resulted in the two players fighting.  While it is rare, it can occasionally happen between youth as well as adults.  Hot days, crazy game schedules, and too much testosterone combine to create potentially volatile situations.

If it happens on your field, please remember that you have only a couple of responsibilities:

  1. tell the coaches to deal with it;
  2. step back and take names/numbers for ejections to follow the incident.

Under no circumstances should an umpire attempt to separate players who are fighting.  The immediate risk of injury as a result of the primary fight, the retaliation of an angry parent, and the potential for arrest or litigation are extremely high.

Many of us have taken to carrying our cell phones in our pants pockets.  As long as they are never used as a phone during the game, existing only in case of emergency, this is a smart practice.  In a bench-clearing brawl, you may want to dial 911 and let the police sort it out.

Finally, all ejections and all incidents of this nature must be reported in the same day via the form on the website.  The Executive Board learned about this incident from a Member Rep at a meeting several days after the incident — that’s not acceptable.

In a closing note, if an umpire is ever assaulted at a game facility (field or parking lot), we strongly urge that you call the police and express your desire to prefer charges.  With two umpires present, there should be two corroborating statements to assist with the investigation by the police and by our Board.

Member Rep Election Results

At last night’s Annual Meeting, the election of member representatives for the four members who will serve a two-year term in that position was held.

Returning to the roles again are TJ Dugay, Gerard O’Connor, and Rich Shultz.  Newly elected to the position is Len Petitte.

Please join me in thanking the four men for their service to the Board and in wishing them a successful term.  Please feel free to reach out to any of the four with your comments or suggestions for our Association, they’re your voice on the Executive Committee.

Former East Haven Athlete | A Memorial Service

Sadly, a former three-sport athlete at East Haven High School, Michael DeAngelo, lost his life after falling asleep at the wheel early on Wednesday, April 20.

Later that afternoon, the East Haven High School Varsity Baseball team was scheduled to play Career High School.  Two of our GNH Umpires exercised extraordinary compassion when they helped to orchestrate an impromptu memorial service at the field.  Ed Rapuano and Stan Koneski organized the two teams into lineups down the baselines so that coach, Butch Johnson, could say a few words about his former player.  Some dirt was taken from First Base area, Michael’s position on the team, and saved in a jar to help to preserve the moment.

So the game started a few minutes late — it didn’t make a negative impact on the lives of our Umpires.  Instead, their display of caring and their calming attitudes helped the young men who played alongside Michael only a year ago and his coaches address and deal with his loss.  And then, and only then, the game could go on in his tribute.

So often, we’re are the bad guys, the pains in the butt who are perceived so negatively.  But not yesterday in East Haven, and not for a long time in the minds of those present.  Great job Rapp and Stan!

 

Listing of Alternate NFHS Clinic Sites for Connecticut Boards

Each year, we publish the NFHS Clinics for all of the Connecticut Boards to facilitate our members attending another meeting if there is a scheduling conflict with ours.  If you attend one of the alternate meetings, it is your responsibility to get a letter of attendance from their Secretary and give it to ours, Tom Wolfer, so that you receive credit for attendance.

ChapterDateTimeLocation
Central03/13/201610:00Holy Cross HS, Waterbury
---> Snow Date03/14/201618:00Holy Cross HS, Waterbury
Eastern03/16/201619:00Norwich Free Academy, Fine Arts Bldg, Ensemble Room
Fairfield03/13/201610:00Notre Dame HS, Fairfield
Fairfield03/28/201619:30Trinity Catholic HS, Stamford
Hartford03/21/201618:30LP Wilson Community Center, Windsor
---> Snow Date03/22/201618:30LP Wilson Community Center, Windsor
Middletown03/21/201619:00Westfield Fire House, Middletown
Torrington03/21/201619:00Germania Club, Torrington
Western03/15/201618:30Danbury HS Cafeteria