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Hello,

A couple days ago I was doing a Senior game (~17 years old) with one other Umpire (I was the BU). At one point a runner (the only one on at the time) got caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd. I was following the runner between the two bases because the PU was still at home. At one point F5 threw to F6 which caused the runner to be between myself and F6 who reached out to tag the runner. From my perspective I didn't see the actual tag but I from what I saw it looked like the tag must have touched the runner. I called the Out but the play continued with neither the runner nor the fielders seeming to hear me or think the tag had applied. After repeating the call a couple times the play ended and the runner asked me "Am I allowed to argue that call, Blue?"

Was I right to make that call? EDIT: If so/not how sure do I have to be to make the call?

How can I position myself in the future to avoid that?

 

Edited by Awesomemcguy

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If you see a tag, call it. 

If you don't see a tag, you might still call it. Sometimes you can use all the information available and make a call that fits the stimuli presented. For example, in your rundown situation, had R2 stopped running after what appeared to be a tag, it is reasonably safe to call him out. Conversely, if you think no tag had been applied, you can signal safe and verbalize,"No tag! No tag!" It sounds as though you may have not verbalized your call enough so that everyone concerned could hear it.

The key in all situations is to put yourself in the best possible position to make a call. It seems like you were too close to the play to have a good view of the tag/no tag. One of the axioms of umpiring is angle over distance. If your distance to the play increased while your angle improved enough to see a tag/no tag, you may have been more certain of the call you made.

You might get some distance (and a better view) from the play by backing up toward the middle of the infield rather than being in a position where the runner would be between you and F6.

My .02

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Kevin, thanks for the response.

You are definitely right I don't think I made the call loud enough.

I think the reason I had a bad angle was because I was caught  off-guard by the throw and didn't reposition fast enough. I was a good 15ft away from the play at the close end.

The issue I had was it looked like he was tagged but there were no clues from the players that confirmed that. Maybe I should have waited longer to make the call to see how the play developed?

 

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As the base umpire, that is your call.  In a two-umpire crew, on a rundown between second and third, if the plate umpire can get to the third base cutout he make take any plays (i.e. tag attempts) that occur around third-base.  (Pro schools say the plate umpire would have anything within 10-feet of third base and the base umpire would "have the other 80 feet".)  

However, the plate umpire only has plays at third base when (1) he has actually gotten to third base (by the book, this means he is in the middle of the third base cutout); and, (2) he has informed you that he "has this end".  Until he informs you that he "has this end," all plays that occur in the rundown are your (the base umpire) call.  Since, in your post you stated that PU was "still at home", the play you posted is your call.

Obviously, I did not see you officiate this play so I cannot provide any constructive criticism based on direct evidence.  I can only attempt some feeble deductive reasoning in an attempt to flush out what may have happened.  First, I can state that even the best umpires sometime get "straight-lined" and do not get a good look at a tag attempt.  When this occurs, you really have to use good timing and make your call slowly.  That is, take a second or two to read other clues that may help you make the correct call...before you actually signal and vocalize your call.  I am going to guess, based on your description of the play, that a tag was not, in fact, made and that you got this call wrong.  I base this on the fact that after this "tag attempt", not only did the runner continue to run, but the fielders continued to try to make a play against the runner.  I believe, if you had taken a second or two to read the players' actions immediately after this tag attempt, you likely would have observed that all players (offense and defense) continued to play...at which point you would have obtained additional information to help you make the correct call, and at which time you should have given the safe mechanic while yelling "no tag! no tag!"

Finally, as an aside, if the players are not hearing your calls, this likely means that you need to significantly increase your vocal volume.

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Maybe because I work with a lot of umpires who never leave the plate until it's time to go get a beer, this has been bugging me: why was the PU "still at home"? The OP's description (e.g., "at one point") suggests to me that this rundown had at least a couple of throws and runner back-&-forths, so, with only the one baserunner, what else did the PU have to do but come up to help?

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LRZ:

I only mentioned the PU was at home because I wanted to convey that I couldn't go for help.

Ultimately it is my play to call until I hear "I have third!" That is nice to hear but if I am working with a new guy I never expect it.

Iawump:

17 hours ago, lawump said:

 I believe, if you had taken a second or two to read the players' actions immediately after this tag attempt, you likely would have observed that all players (offense and defense) continued to play...at which point you would have obtained additional information to help you make the correct call, and at which time you should have given the safe mechanic while yelling "no tag! no tag!"

Thanks for your reply, the part above specifically is what I was hoping for.

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3 hours ago, Awesomemcguy said:

I only mentioned the PU was at home because I wanted to convey that I couldn't go for help.

Ultimately it is my play to call until I hear "I have third!" That is nice to hear but if I am working with a new guy I never expect it.

 

3 hours ago, LRZ said:

Maybe because I work with a lot of umpires who never leave the plate until it's time to go get a beer, this has been bugging me: why was the PU "still at home"? The OP's description (e.g., "at one point") suggests to me that this rundown had at least a couple of throws and runner back-&-forths, so, with only the one baserunner, what else did the PU have to do but come up to help?

If you expect it or not, this is a pet peeve of mine also. PU has nothing else to do here. Yes, where the tag attempt occurred it's BU call, but if PU was even on his way to 3B, he would have had some kind of angle. A quick look at him and you could have gotten a nod, or a head shake if he saw a tag or not. Instead, he's standing at HP watching a baseball game. :shakehead::BD::tantrum: 

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23 hours ago, Richvee said:

 

If you expect it or not, this is a pet peeve of mine also. PU has nothing else to do here. Yes, where the tag attempt occurred it's BU call, but if PU was even on his way to 3B, he would have had some kind of angle. A quick look at him and you could have gotten a nod, or a head shake if he saw a tag or not. Instead, he's standing at HP watching a baseball game. :shakehead::BD::tantrum: 

The response I hear a lot of the time is, "If there is an over throw then I need to be at the plate." My response is always, We don't need to be in position to call a play that could happen when we have a play right now. Get up the line and work.

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Guys, you're missing the fun potential here! I loved Lawumps' post. It is exactly what the OP needed. Now for what his partner missed. How much fun it is to fly down and get involved in a rundown. No matter where the play is I want to get to where I can take over part of the responsibilities for umpiring a rundown. I'm sorely disappointed if a rundown does not last long enough for me to get involved. Coaches, players and partners are amazed when you bust down a line and jump into a rundown. It makes your crew look great when the HPU gets to where he needs to be and verbalizes, "I've got this end". The players are scrambling but the umpires are in control!

 

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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On 9/3/2017 at 0:06 PM, JSam21 said:

"If there is an over throw then I need to be at the plate."

So you find your spot about 15 feet from 3B, several feet inside the foul line, and if there's an overthrow, you drop step left, cruise home, and get there in plenty of time.

And, as a bonus, you can get in on the 3B end of the rundown, take a tag from a great angle, and not leave your partner to eat a sh!t sandwich while you're anchored to the plate, missing a pretty good game.

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On 9/2/2017 at 9:12 AM, LRZ said:

Maybe because I work with a lot of umpires who never leave the plate until it's time to go get a beer, this has been bugging me: why was the PU "still at home"? The OP's description (e.g., "at one point") suggests to me that this rundown had at least a couple of throws and runner back-&-forths, so, with only the one baserunner, what else did the PU have to do but come up to help?

I had this exact play just two nights ago. I was the PU, and  I can tell you that I busted my hump immediately to get down  close to 20' from 3B and hold to see how it developed. After a few throws back and forth, R1 is going back to 2B stumbles and falls while F5 is diving toward him. I thought I saw a tag, but BU is there shaking his head no so I held back on a call. R1 is up and makes it back to 2B safely.  We were in position and all was quite from the coaches.

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