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Last night I was watching Greg Gibson work the plate. From my vantage point (not terribly close, down LF line) I noticed that he seems to initially set up a bit behind F2, then as F1 is about to release, he leans way forward and almost puts his chin on F2's inside shoulder. It was then that I realized that although he wears a bucket, he doesn't use a throat guard, and his neck is very much exposed when using that "look in" thing that he does.
I'm having some trouble with the tag attempt after a uncaught third strike (u3k) and batted balls in front (or on) the plate. I almost always move to the left for any play (batted ball, bunt, u3k, etc.). I have been straight-lined a couple of times recently on the catcher's tag of the BR, and couldn't judge whether there was contact for a tag or not. I'm debating whether I should be moving to the right to get between the catcher and batter and see the tag attempt more clearly.
What is the proper mechanic to be in position to see the tag on u3k or even a batted ball right in front of the plate? Should I move left or right to get the best view of the play? Does it depend on whether the batter is right- or left-handed?
On a ground ball to the infield, I clear the catcher to the left and trail the BR up to first base. On a fly ball, I step to the left and potentially gain distance toward the fielder making the catch. On a bunt, I move to the left to watch for BR/Catcher interaction and then rule fair/foul (depending on the location). About the only time I move to the right is a sharp hit down the third base line. In other words, I'm conditioned to move to the left on just about every play. If I need to be moving to the right, how can I best change my behavior?
R3, 1 out, Fly ball to F8. Runner tags...and here is what happened. I know you want me on 3BX, but I have always done 1BX and can't break the habit. Offensive coach was asking about blocking the plate without the ball. I felt that F2 gave the back of the plate.
I made the out call after seeing the ball.
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Last year, instead of calling balls and strikes, I was learning how to drive and shoot a tank. This year, as of a phone call tonight, I have been named the Umpire-in-Chief of our local summer softball organization. With this big honor comes big responsibilities, such as finding, training, assigning, and evaluating our crew.
When I left, here is the state of our officials: No training. Two sets of shared equipment left in the concession stands overnight. A t-shirt with the league logo on the front and "UMPIRE" printed on the back, and a suggestion (that was rarely followed) of khaki shorts. Showing up 5 minutes prior to the first pitch. These kind of things.
When I showed up in a pair of grey slacks and an umpire hat (I wore the league shirt with the chest protector under it to conform to the league "uniform"), the place thought they got me from the major leagues or something. And while I have had some training, called some Varsity games, and taken to doing my job correctly, I could still use a lot of suggestions prior to taking command of this ragtag group and getting them season ready.
And in case you're wondering, Opening Day is May 7th.
So, with just over 2 months to properly train umpires for the very first time, I'm asking for your help. I'm not looking to prepare these folks for this season's MLB World Series; I'm looking to get them through a rec league that covers 1st-12th grade. What are the main things you suggest to teach? In your opinion, what are things you cannot do without knowing before stepping on the ballfield? Do you teach any clinics, and what are some of the methods you use?
I'm open to any and all suggestions, folks!
Part two. Currently, these umpires are organized under the local league, with the UIC being a position on the board. This is beneficial in regards to funding, however, can be limiting to future growth. I have the option to organize these umpires as a separate entity (our area has no umpire association), and build them with their own association identity. This might lose initial funding but could open doors to different opportunities around the area. While this is something that can change after a year or two and isn't initially as important, I'm curious to your opinions on this as well.