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CWS U2 Postitioning

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I've been watching the CWS whenever possible and was hoping someone could shed some light on U2 positioning:

Tonight's LSU/TCU game:

R1. Not sure where he started but when the batter bunts, the camera picks U2 up backing up into the dirt on the C side of second. No play at second and obviously he doesn't have responsibility at 1st, but why is he not moving in toward the working area?

R1/R2 and R2. Pre-pitch, U2 is set up in the dirt B side, from the camera angle he appears to be in a direct line between 1st and 2nd. On hits he is moving into the working area, but on infield hits, he was barely on the grass when the play was made at 2nd.

R1/R3. R1 steals and when the camera pans, U2 is in the dirt on the third base side of the bag.

Earlier this week, don't remember the game, but there were 2 back to back hits with R2 that went into left field down the line and in both cases BR stretched for 2 while the ball went home. On both plays, defense then tried for the BR and in both cases, U2 was on the outfield side of the bag.

My highest level is 3 HS varsity games, and these guys are doing the CWS, but is this the college mechanic when working 4 man for U2? If so, what is the thinking behind not being in the working area pre-pitch? Is it the possible speed of the ball off of a metal bat?

Matt

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I've been watching the CWS whenever possible and was hoping someone could shed some light on U2 positioning:

Tonight's LSU/TCU game:

R1. Not sure where he started but when the batter bunts, the camera picks U2 up backing up into the dirt on the C side of second. No play at second and obviously he doesn't have responsibility at 1st, but why is he not moving in toward the working area?

He is getting to the outside in case there is a play on R1 at second. You don't have to be in the traditional working area in 4-man, and in fact it is better to have the entire play coming at you instead of having the ball coming from behind you like you would in 2-man on this play.

R1/R2 and R2. Pre-pitch, U2 is set up in the dirt B side, from the camera angle he appears to be in a direct line between 1st and 2nd. On hits he is moving into the working area, but on infield hits, he was barely on the grass when the play was made at 2nd.

R1/R3. R1 steals and when the camera pans, U2 is in the dirt on the third base side of the bag.

Earlier this week, don't remember the game, but there were 2 back to back hits with R2 that went into left field down the line and in both cases BR stretched for 2 while the ball went home. On both plays, defense then tried for the BR and in both cases, U2 was on the outfield side of the bag.

My highest level is 3 HS varsity games, and these guys are doing the CWS, but is this the college mechanic when working 4 man for U2? If so, what is the thinking behind not being in the working area pre-pitch? Is it the possible speed of the ball off of a metal bat?

Matt

​I think what you're seeing with all of this is U2 in deep B or deep C. You don't start out pre-pitch in the traditional B/C positions in 3-man or 4-man. On the steal with R1 and R3, it sounds like he started in deep C and took the play from there. As for the doubles with the B/R going to second, that is normal like the first play you described above. U2 is working to take the play from the outside. This is the same way professional umpires work 4-man. 

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The outside mechanic was brought up at our NCAA meeting. The are calling it an 'advanced mechanic'. Like above, they are using the MLB system.

In the 4-man, U2 doesn't use the traditional working area most of the time, no need unless he has to slide. There are slide situations where he may have to cover 1B or 3B. The slide mechanic is used when the HP is staying home, and one of the wing guys goes out on a fly ball / trouble ball.

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On a steal I saw last night, U2 started in deep "C" heels on the grass, as the play developed, he backtracked to the outfield side of second to where he had the runner sliding in a direct line towards him almost off the back right corner.  I can't remember ever seeing the approach to a steal. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it doesn't seem to line up with the "ball, bag, you" angle I've been taught. His positioning would be akin to being 3BLX on a play at the plate with the catcher setting up for a crash play.  He would be looking through the fielders legs for the tag.

 

U2 steal.jpg

Edited by eagle_12

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On a steal I saw last night, U2 started in deep "C" heels on the grass, as the play developed, he backtracked to the outfield side of second to where he had the runner sliding in a direct line towards him almost off the back right corner.  I can't remember ever seeing the approach to a steal. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it doesn't seem to line up with the "ball, bag, you" angle I've been taught. His positioning would be akin to being 3BLX on a play at the plate with the catcher setting up for a crash play.  He would be looking through the fielders legs for the tag.

 

​You can't get to "ball, bag, you" positioning (unless you start outside -- and that has been done in the past, and has some merits).

 

Most of the time on steals, it's a swipe tag of some sort.  The fielder doesn't (usually) stand right in the line from 1b-2b.  If you get back on this line, you can see that swipe, and also see the play if the glove is right in front of the bag and the runner slides into it.  You would not be able to see the swipe if you stayed in the starting position.

 

(Of you could start in B and have the same look from the opposite side.  Either can work; it's personal preference)

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​You can't get to "ball, bag, you" positioning (unless you start outside -- and that has been done in the past, and has some merits).

 

Most of the time on steals, it's a swipe tag of some sort.  The fielder doesn't (usually) stand right in the line from 1b-2b.  If you get back on this line, you can see that swipe, and also see the play if the glove is right in front of the bag and the runner slides into it.  You would not be able to see the swipe if you stayed in the starting position.

 

(Of you could start in B and have the same look from the opposite side.  Either can work; it's personal preference)

​This was taught / shown to us by James Hoye at SEMUC this past February during a quick 4 man instructional session ......

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There is no way to get ball-bag-you in a steal situation like this while starting inside. He was more like a 90-degree angle to the throw. Best hope is to get to the opposite positioning of ball-bag-you  which would be deep "B" and moving and closing towards the bag with the throw. From where he is he gets a great look at a deep hook/reach slide but I would think a tag up the leg and thigh would be blocked out. Deep "B" gives you a look at swipes if you take a deep read step with the slide, gives you a look at the glove/tag at the front of the bag, and you also see the glove on the thigh in relation to the foot on the bag. 

This guy is selected for the CWS and in saying that has probably taken hundreds of plays at second like that so he knows how/where to look, adjust, etc. I just don't remember ever seeing that angle/look used before. Just doesn't seem like the most ideal position especially for the majority of umpires who may only do second in a 4-man system maybe twice a year. 

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I don't think that the OP's point was to challenge U2's mechanics, but rather to understand their point. Since they're rather different from 2-umpire mechanics, that question is quite intelligible.

On the bunt play, a reason to get "behind" the play is that the play on R1 might well be a tag play, if the defense first gets the BR at 1B. If R1 rounds 2B and they throw behind him, U2 will have the whole play in front of him and be in perfect position.

Part of the beauty of 4-umpire mechanics is having the freedom to rotate around the base you're covering in order to achieve the optimal angle on the most likely plays, and to continue to adjust as the ball moves. Doing this well requires skill at recognizing developing plays and anticipating what both offense and defense will do (which gets easier as the players get better). We can do this to some extent in 2-umpire mechanics, but with multiple runners the BU is generally stuck in the working area and the PU stuck at the plate.

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This is risky unless you have complete awareness of F6's position.  If you get in his way or run into him as he's heading to second base, then you are completely effed.

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I'm working as U2 in my first 4 man tomorrow in a 16U All-star game, so the timing of this is perfect! 

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I'm working as U2 in my first 4 man tomorrow in a 16U All-star game, so the timing of this is perfect! 

​I would NOT suggest you do what the CWS umpire does (in terms of the steal at second, and moving to the outside on some plays) until after you become familiar with the rest of the 4-man positioning and responsibilities -- including how to get / stay out of the way of players and throws -- it can be different from 2/3 man because of your other responsibilities.

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​I would NOT suggest you do what the CWS umpire does (in terms of the steal at second, and moving to the outside on some plays) until after you become familiar with the rest of the 4-man positioning and responsibilities -- including how to get / stay out of the way of players and throws -- it can be different from 2/3 man because of your other responsibilities.

​I agree: let's distinguish between the basic mechanics for 4 umpires and "advanced" mechanics, and those of us who work 4-umpire mechanics only a few times a year should stick to the basics. U2 should stay inside after coming inside, just as U1/U3 stay out after going out.

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Thank you all for the insights. The few times I've done either 3 or 4 man we ran the middle as if it was still a 2 man in terms of positioning and using the working area. It was just interesting to see the different mechanic. Don't think I will be using this mechanic anytime soon due to the level of players I umpire.

Matt

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