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Everything posted by kstrunk

  1. Balls/Strikes: How much do you tolerate

    I've had GREAT success with this as well @Richvee, and I've also been criticized by some old timers because of it. I learned it by watching TONS of D1 guys. And as you said, it's to be used sparingly. When the catcher sticks a pitch indicating he thinks it's a strike, I firmly 'map' the pitch to explain with one word (no hand signals!!!) why it's NOT a strike. I.E... "Ball, outside". I do it loud enough for the appropriate people to hear it. Now no-one needs to say anything, and they know if they DO say something, it'll likely be taken as arguing balls and strikes. As you also said, good mechanics, appearance, confidence (which is reflected in verbal/physical mechanics) is the key to making this work. But I believe it eliminates most of the non-sense that many other guys hear, at least for me. I think the criticism is born in the idea that if you're not consistent it can get you in a lot of trouble, which could be true, so the answer is... GOOD TIMING & MECHANICS = CONSISTENCY!!!
  2. My son will conclude his freshman regular season tomorrow, playing JV mostly, called up to varsity a couple times, and I can't say strongly enough how difficult it's been to watch the officiating at his games. I literally have to pray for self-control to simply focus on the players, but still, the officiating is nearly impossible to ignore. Our state does not require mechanics proficiency at all. We are required to attend 6 chapter meetings annually, where mechanics are difficult to teach inside a local hall or restaurant. The lack of effort and professionalism is many cases is inexcusable even without a comprehensive knowledge of basic umpire mechanics, which also are non-existent in many cases. And while I hate the idea of being critical to people who have the guts to do the job, the reputation of umpires in general, and the corresponding mockery of the game in many cases, is the direct result of this issue that is the fault of many. Yet the assignors are so desperate they'll take anyone in most cases, especially for JV games and lower levels. I'm not sure what the answer is??? More clinics? More criticism? Both? I'm currently evaluating myself to find ways to be more faithful in what the Lord has given me in umpiring, for the good of the game and the people who play it.
  3. NCAA Postseason

    Finished the 2nd of my first 2 college (D3) post-season games last night. Was U3 in 3 man for first round Centennial Conference Tournament, and U1 in 4 man in CSAC Tournament last night. Made it through without embarrassing myself, my team, or our association, praise the Lord, all glory to God.
  4. Rookie Tips

    Proper slot mechanics - GET IN THE SLOT! Don't hinder the catcher, but get up in there as close as possible without hindering the catcher or getting hit by the batter's follow through. See the ball go into the catcher's glove. Being locked in and still/set - plate and bases indicator in LEFT hand (yes, it's an issue) Calls with RIGHT hand (yes, it's an issue) DO NOT give verbal on swinging strikes (unless a questionable check swing, i.e... 'yes he did', or 'he went around'.) Work to make sure your verbal strike call is not hindering your authority, confidence, ability. This will take practice and experimentation, but it's necessary. Make sure your physical mechanics don't pull your eyes away from the field. I could write all day on this. That's enough for now.
  5. Rookie Tips

    Pet peeve of mine as well @JaxRolo! The problem is, I'm getting this from college partners who've been around for 30 years and may have 'earned the right' to NOT be heard? Can't stand it, so I've been asking a couple as of late, can you PLEASE speak up!
  6. Using HC First Name

    The more disturbing part of this, from my perspective, and one of my pet peeves, is that someone is willing to strongly assert something that is WRONG, and critique another umpire for doing it CORRECTLY! I hear stuff like this all the time, and it's usually from guys who don't read, study, or train, yet in their arrogance they feel they need to tell people who DO read, study, and train the wrong way to umpire. As @Haid D' Salaami indicates, there are black and white standards in many thing in umpiring, and this is one of them. It's really not relative to level/location. Sometimes, opinions are better kept secret!
  7. Phillies v. Tigers saw 5 get tossed yesterday, I believe by Tom Hallion, who apparently thought there was an HBP war waging. Yikes!!!
  8. 1st ejection since 2013, well over 400 games.

    This kind of team effort is probably new to many, but it's super effective, and very professional, and actually eliminates the 'nose to nose' jawing and screaming that brings our trade down in the eyes of the baseball community. To be sure, the NCAA just put out a video called 'Walk away' that instructs the ejecting umpire to walk away and stay away immediately after an ejection, and allow his partner(s) to handle the ejected person. Granted, this is a restriction, but I like this tactic even for that. The days of showing everyone how brave, tough, or smart we are (handling our business) by having a shouting match with coaches and players is quickly coming to an end at the higher levels of our game.
  9. First Game this weekend

    You're right on @Richvee! I'm glad you made that distinction, I should have done so myself. It is what I had in mind, as I've learned a ton from watching guys striving to make it to the show. Thanks again.
  10. First Game this weekend

    Ironically, I ALSO am the father of a HS catcher/infielder, and I began umpiring when he was still in LL, simply because there was a need. I've been blessed to advance relatively quickly, so the following is based on experience: 1. If you haven't already, get yourself a mechanics manual. Jim Evans, PBUC (2 man), or CCA (or all of them), you'll be glad if you study it and apply what you learn in practice. 2. Watch high level (HS, college, pro) umpires live as often as possible. 3. Keep devouring this site. It's been instrumental in my growth, particularly in knowledge of the rules. 4. Attend clinics that are put on by advanced umpires. 5. Be careful of the advice you take. 6. Have fun and enjoy the game - even while maintaining a professional decorum, you can have fun and appear as if you really want to be there!
  11. Black Jackets Fading

    Wash less frequently. I know, I know, I know... that's gross. I used to be one of those guys that washed everything every time I wore it... but then my stuff started fading!
  12. Back at it

    Have fun! I don't know where Shillington is, but in where I'm at we're about to get hammered with more snow, so it may be a while!?
  13. Hybrid

    As one wise brother as said repeatedly, 'use the rules to solve a problem, NOT create one.'.
  14. The importance of mechanics

    The guys I was referring to primarily, are some guys (not all) with '30 years' under their belt, but, as you said, were never REALLY trained, but they're still very passionate. And in their passion, coupled with their 'experience', not only reject instruction in many cases (not all), but insist on pushing their way as THE way in spite of new standards and philosophies that are required for guys to grow and advance. It's frustrating to go to a collegiate clinic, learn, implement, and then get rebuked (take that literally) by one of these guys in a high school game, and actually instructed to do something incorrectly. Our area has some good clinicians, with lots of experience, who are still eager to grow and learn, but they are far outnumbered by guys who think they've arrived, and will not hear anything that didn't come out of their own mouth. Again, I don't want to 'over-generalize', this isn't every 'experienced' umpire, but it's a bunch who simply fail to realize that things have changed. That said, I am the first one to submit to the older/wiser/more experienced, and I've made it a habit to ASK THEM for advice and counsel, as I truly appreciate their accomplishments and experience. Finally, to answer your question, my frustration is that there isn't much happening in our area in regard to training for HS umpires. When someone DOES put on a clinic, attendance is usually not great. And the philosophy of accountability in scheduling is non-existent for the most part. It's a function of numbers, and the numbers of umpires simply isn't there, I guess...
  15. The importance of mechanics

    That is, without a doubt, the difficulty in our region as well.
  16. The importance of mechanics

    I watched my son's first high school game on Friday, only a scrimmage, but a varsity baseball game none-the-less. It was so cold I was bundled up beyond recognition, so neither umpire, both of whom I've worked with in the past, could recognize me. First call at 1B by the BU was a banger, and he banged a guy out... with his LEFT hand. There were other moderate mechanical errors to go along with it. Plate mechanics were beyond horrendous and at times detrimental to the game (too quiet, or sometimes NO signal, not putting the ball in play, not making the ball dead when it was dead). But I should be fair. This is likely the first work they'd both seen this year, and it was beyond frigid. I didn't want to be there either. But as @grayhawk said, we ALL, should ALWAYS umpire as if someone who gets it is watching. It's clear to me though, that many, many guys are still using a very old standard for what is essentially a new game. Umpiring is NOT the same as it was even 15 years ago, and guys that act as if it is and refuse to grow and change, frankly should be weeded out. IMHO.
  17. What could it be?

    Watching a D2 game recently. R1, R3... RHP feints to 3B, quickly turns to look at R1 with hands together, never feints or throws to 1st. He does this twice in a row... after which PU calls time, runs out to the mound, says something to F1, then returns and resumes. Any ideas on what PU said to F1?
  18. My starter kit - need to decide on shins

    May you blessed in your career. I think you will be, as you've sought counsel from guys that have the experience and wisdom to know. Keep doing that, not just with equipment, but with EVERYTHING. You will get alot of advice, and it won't all be good. So be charitable and gracious, but don't hold on to anything to tightly unless it comes from guys that still trying to grow. For my part, I found that college umpires, and high level HS umpires that are STILL training and learning are the best guys to take advice from. However, there's exceptions to this as there is to most things. Read, practice, ask questions, and verify the answers. And HAVE FUN!!!
  19. I do not understand this

    Haven't read it, but it sounds like BR had been knocked down while 'over-running' 1B, not trying to advance or return to a base, therefore, it's nothing.
  20. New NAIA Brainshark Video

    While I like your thinking too, I'm guessing when they give the answer on 3/1, that thinking won't apply. But I'll rejoice if it does!
  21. New NAIA Brainshark Video

    7.11.f - A batter is out when: f. The batter intentionally or unintentionally interferes with the catcher's fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box OR making ANY OTHER MOVEMENT that hinders a defensive player's action at home plate;... I'd love to get off the hook on this one too, but not sure the rules will let us. Am I missing a note somewhere, or another rule that addresses avoiding being hit by pitch absolves a batter of interference?
  22. You might enjoy

    These folks have been putting quality training together for years, from youtube videos of cage work, live game evaluations, and awesome clinics, and have been instrumental in helping me learn our craft. Highly recommend them!
  23. Opening the Season

    First games of my season are tomorrow! D3 DH on turf, gonna be cool, wet, and slick! But it's baseball season fellas! Who cares about the weather! Can't wait!
  24. F3 in the MLB

    I've got some very experienced college ball brothers that swear by that CP. I just can't imagine spending that much money for something that isn't a hard shell. Not only that, it just looks like it has to be VERY hot in the summer.