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umpire_scott

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Everything posted by umpire_scott

  1. umpire_scott

    Legal position within the batters box

    To me a lot of other factors would come into play. Did the pitch start outside and ended up there? ball for sure. Did the catcher position his mitt just off the plate and the pitcher stuck it there? Probably a strike, but honestly I'd have to be behind the plate looking at it. Did the pitch move that direction and finish there, meaning it was closer to the plate at the front part? Depending on F2 glove movement, probably a strike. Was the pitch at the lowest or highest part of the zone or even slightly below of above? Probably a ball. Was the pitch between the thighs and the gut? Probably a strike. And most importantly what is the level of play and how good are the pitchers at spotting their pitches? At some point you simply umpire enough games that you can see the pitch characteristics and process it as to whether it looks like a strike. You will always get a few coaches and/or players complain about a single pitch here or there. That is never going to go away. But when they complain about "your zone" in general it is usually a problem with the umpire (not always as there are always idiots). I would estimate it's been almost 2 years since I've had a coach, player, or fan complain about "my zone". I hardly ever get "where was that?". Because in most cases if it looks that much like a strike to them, it also looks like one to me. When I tried to call the plate, I got complained about fairly regularly. Pitching is not easy. Command of pitches is really hard. Expecting a 14-17 year old to pitch to the plate is setting yourself up for some long games in my opinion. For example I was working a 14U tournament a few months back. We had 5 umpires for two fields so I was alternating fields doing 3-man. I took the first two plates on a 14U AA field. Pitchers were pretty accurate, although without a lot of movement in their pitches. I called my normal zone and the two games were 3-1 and 5-2, both games went 7 full innings in about an hour and a half. We started each game about 15 mins early and were done about 15 additional mins before the time limit. Everyone was happy. Fans and coaches complimented us on calling a great game. I move over to a 14U AAA field, so supposedly better quality of play. They also started their first game 15 mins early. An umpire with a notoriously small zone had the first two plates. They were 1/2 hour behind schedule when I jumped on to do 3-man with them. As long as you are consistent and don't get too carried away players, coaches and fans prefer a larger zone. I doubt any umpires call pitches that cross the edge of the plate a ball. But I've heard many coaches complain after a pitcher gets shelled "well when you have to throw it right down the middle to get a strike what do you expect". They want and their pitchers need that pitch a few inches off the plate.
  2. umpire_scott

    Legal position within the batters box

    I was watching the LLWS regionals yesterday for the Southwest Region. I believe it was the batters for Lake St. Charles, Louisiana were standing with at least half their feet outside of the white lines of the batters box to crowd the plate. This was very effective as the Texas-East pitcher was having a great deal of difficulty throwing strikes. I've always interpreted the verbiage in the rules manual to be that both feet must be entirely in batters box at the time of the pitch, so as PU I would not have allowed this. I have been "corrected" by many umpires I work with who interpret the batter box rule to be the same at TOP as it is at TOH that as long as any part of their foot is touching any part of the box they are legal. They OBR rules verbiage is as such: (5) (6.03) The batter’s legal position shall be with both feet within the batter’s box. APPROVED RULING: The lines defining the box are within the batter’s box. I've felt that since it says "within" then that means that no part of the feet cannot be outside of the box at TOP. I have two questions: 1. What are others interpretations of this verbiage and/or is their an accepted case-play interpretation for this? 2. Does little league have rules verbiage that differs from OBR concerning this?
  3. umpire_scott

    Legal position within the batters box

    I do agree that too many umpires take pride in having a big zone and so it has become the norm to "get as many strikes as you can". Some are able to take this approach and still be sensible and fair about it. Some aren't as savvy and end up calling an Eric Gregg zone.
  4. umpire_scott

    Legal position within the batters box

    I tend to use the inner white line (meaning closest to the plate) as my reference. If any part of the ball is nicking the white line I'm balling it. The area between the edge of the plate and the beginning of the box is my borderline area. If the pitch is thigh high and F1 pops a stationary mitt he's getting it. But I won't call pitches in the other box strikes. So batters in my game don't have any reason to stand out of the box. On another note I always find it funny how infrequently pitchers take advantage of batters that do crowd the plate. Over 1/2 the time when I see this I still see the pitchers trying to pitch away. Really dumb. Come inner half and hard and they are going to have a tough time catching up or you might jam them. Pitching away when they crowd the plate is just dumb. The distance you have to go away to miss the bat is never going to be called a strike. Yet I see it all the time.
  5. umpire_scott

    Award of Bases

    Okay that makes sense. I was envisioning a situation where he was already out of the box and the catcher's errant throw hit him. For example a WP and batter vacates the box and the catcher not paying attention to where he is hits his helmet. But It does make sense to account for the batter starting in the box and then moving during the throw.
  6. umpire_scott

    Award of Bases

    Just curious what the reasoning is in making it different whether the batter is in the box or not? The ball is live for runners to advance on an overthrow back to F2 whether the batter is in the box or not. So why make it a dead ball no advance if he's out of the box?
  7. umpire_scott

    Legal position within the batters box

    "Crowding the plate" is legal. Having any part of your foot outside the outer edge of the box is not legal. In the game I was watching I was probably incorrect to say 1/2 their foot was outside of the box. But the tips of their toes were an inch or two away from home plate. At least 2-3 inches of their feet were completely out of the box. So they were clearly in violation of the rule. I always enforce this and have had no issue with it because it is supported by the rule. Now if the lines have been brushed away and I can't make an absolute determination then I'm letting it go.
  8. umpire_scott

    Legal position within the batters box

    Yes but I think the impact on the pitcher is more visual than anything else. Once he begins his pitching motion I think the batters position relative to the plate is less significant. When the batter is crowding the plate prior to the pitch it visually impedes the pitcher from pitching to the inside part of the plate as in many instances the knees and elbows are actually in the strike zone. And unfortunately many umpires won't call a strike on a HBP that is in zone. I've done it on a few occasions and have caught hell from the player, coaches, and fans for it because they cannot see what I can see. And many umpires that I have worked with do not enforce the "starting position" rule.
  9. umpire_scott

    Batter catches the pitch

    Play 65-83 NCAA and OBR only. A slow curve hits B1’s arm in front of the plate. B1 makes no attempt to avoid the pitch. Ruling: The ball is dead. If in the umpire’s judgment the pitch would have been a strike, it is called as such. In any case, B1 is not awarded first. The underlined piece is the interpretation verbiage I'm speaking of. It is speaking of a "slow curve" and say "would have been a strike". It doesn't say "if in the umpire's judgement the pitch WAS a strike". So to me this clearly indicated that when a batter interferes with a pitch intentionally before it gets to the plate then the umpire must determine whether it WOULD have been a strike or not. And as far as I'm concerned I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to the pitcher not the batter that purposely interfered. Now if he caught a pitch that was clearly a ball then it's a ball. But if I believe it was breaking into the zone and the batter kept that from happening, then I believe calling that pitch a strike is supported by this interpretation.
  10. umpire_scott

    Batter catches the pitch

    Thank you Senor Azul. So there is interpretation verbiage to allow for a pitch that "would have been a strike" to be called a strike if the batter intentionally interfered with the ball.
  11. umpire_scott

    Batter catches the pitch

    I agree that if he did it more than once I would say something. But if I were the defensive coach I would have a huge problem with a batter interfering with a pitch that had a chance at being called a strike if not for the batter interfering with it. I would feel like a real tool if I explained to him "Sorry coach but unless it's a strike it's a ball, and since the ball never got to home plate it's not a strike. If he does it again I'll warn or eject, but for this pitch it's a ball".
  12. umpire_scott

    Batter catches the pitch

    But that would imply that batters can just reach out in front of the plate and allow pitches to hit them, and they would legally be balls because they have not reached the plate yet.. I thought there was verbiage about not allowing a pitch to enter the strike zone?
  13. umpire_scott

    Batter catches the pitch

    What basis do you have for calling it a ball if it never got to the plate at all? That would seem to imply that all batters can catch pitches before they get to the catcher so they don't get to the plate and potentially become strikes.
  14. umpire_scott

    How wide should your strike zone be?

    I'm not sure what part of what I said is irrelevant? I just don't think it's my job to determine the ability to be hit that a pitch has. So much of that is determined by the batters stance in relation to the plate. If a batter stood in the middle of the box then every pitch 1-2 balls inside would be hittable. If the batter stood closer to the plate to reach outside pitches then those pitches 1-2 balls inside become much less hittable. So by giving less inside and more outside I'm encouraging batters to crowd the plate. And then punishing the pitcher by not giving him that inside area. For this reason I agree with noumpere and I try to give the same on each side. While I say this I probably do tend to give a little more on the outer edge, but not as much as I see other umpires do.
  15. umpire_scott

    How wide should your strike zone be?

    "Could have been hit" and "Could have been driven" are two different things. Pitchers are searching for the pitch that is hit but not driven. That's where "pitch to contact comes from". You want to get the hitter to swing at a pitch they can hit but not drive.
  16. umpire_scott

    How wide should your strike zone be?

    I know exactly what you are saying, but it also frustrates me that we don't reward good pitches when we consider whether they can "get good wood on it". Isn't the point of the pitcher to find those spots where the batter can't put good wood on it? I try hard, especially with batters that crowd the plate, to give the pitcher that high in pitch as long as it does fit in the book zone. Most umpires I see will give 2+ balls on outside pitches, but barely give a 1/4 of a ball on inside pitches. With the way many players crowd the plate to reach balls out off the plate I think it is imperative to give the pitchers something in off the plate.
  17. umpire_scott

    How wide should your strike zone be?

    I can concur first hand what Matt says here. I literally can remember thinking "where is my zone and did that hit it" years ago and now I mentally use the "did that look like a strike" burden of proof. There are a lot of things that go into "does it look like a strike", including what the catcher does, if the pitcher hit his spot, etc. At the end of the day calling an exact book zone below college can create a lot of problems with game flow. Giving the pitchers a little off the plate if they hit their spot moves the game along. And as long as you are consistent with it you won't get many complaints. I get far fewer complaints about my zone now than I did when it was smaller and I tried to call it exactly by the book.
  18. umpire_scott

    Best lines you've heard or used at an umpire?

    Doing a little league game several years ago in Phoenix. Had a fan heckling me constantly. I ignored most of it, but when it started to become a distraction (players were actually turning and looking at him and he was right by me), I called "time" and inquired about which team he was with as I was going to speak to the coach about keeping his fans under control. The fan says "I'm not with either team, I just came to watch the games". So tell him that he needs to quiet down or I'll get the site director to make him leave. He looks at me flabbergasted and says "I was just having fun. Isn't heckling the umpire a part of baseball?".
  19. umpire_scott

    Best lines you've heard or used at an umpire?

    Look on the bright side he's acknowledging that you can have any zone you want.
  20. umpire_scott

    Best lines you've heard or used at an umpire?

    First batter of the game in an 18U tournament. First pitch is a strike right down the middle. Next two pitches are picked off the dirt by F2 and are just off the plate as well. Then I think a foul ball evens the count up. Fifth pitch is also picked off the dirt by F2 filling the count up. Ball 4 comes in off the plate and is once again almost in the dirt. As the batter trots to first a mom to my left says "Cmon blue you're squeezing us".
  21. umpire_scott

    Best replies you ever gave a coach/player/fan?

    Pitch comes in just below the knees over the middle of the plate. I call "strike", batter says "where was that, blue?" I say "over the plate". He says "I mean the location". I say "over the plate at the knees". I mean he knew it was the low part of the zone. It's so annoying when players question things and have no idea how to do it.
  22. umpire_scott

    Balk or not

    Got it. Thanks for clearing it up.
  23. umpire_scott

    Balk or not

    So Maven are you in agreement that if he fully disengaged while stepping to second and then feinted to third it would be okay? I sometimes have interpretation issues with the step-off and the "all one move" interpretations. In that video you posted of Latos I believe being called for a balk most construed it was "all one move" and stated that a step-off had to be immediate and with only that foot moving. So on the OP for this thread I'm envisioning F1 spinning towards second and then stepping towards second with his pivot foot disengaging on the step. Or does this move constitute all one move that was initiated from the rubber?
  24. umpire_scott

    Balk or not

    What noumpere said makes sense. It all depends on when the feint was made. OP already said the bases were loaded so there was a runner on second. So I would assume he would have to spin towards second, step towards second and completely come off the rubber, then fake to third, otherwise it would be construed as one move that started from the rubber and included a fake to third, which of course is a balk.
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