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Everything posted by ilyazhito

  1. I umpire both baseball and softball, and one can say that I have an unusual style in baseball: I use the umpire-school heel-toe position to get set to call balls and strikes, I call the pitches by number (I call "Ball One!" "Strike One!", etc.), and I call strikes by pointing. I was initially taught to use the hammer, but I could not assimilate to using it initially, because of the uncaught third strike scenario. I now know the work-around that softball and umpire school uses (call strike 3, signal safe, and say "No catch!"). However, I know that most umpires do not call pitches by numbers, except for Ball Four and Strike Three. Some (those who have had exposure to umpire school, probably) do use numbers, but it is not the norm in any level of baseball besides professional umpire school and the short-season minor leagues. Personally, I use the numbers because it helps me to remember the sequence of pitches in longer at-bats, and keeps me on track if I forget to click the dials on my indicator. I also use numbers because it is what will be expected of me if I go to umpire school. Why do the umpire schools teach calling balls and strikes by numbers, if it is not common practice in the other levels of baseball? Do they want to produce standard umpires who can easily be evaluated? Do they want the umpires to keep the count in their heads without relying on their indicators? Or is there another reason for this practice?
  2. U3 in 3 man...

    OK. Basically, if you are U3, on the line, go out on trouble balls between left field dead ball territory and the center fielder, unless he heads toward right field. Otherwise, when on the line, go inside to the working area near 2B on batted balls. When inside, stay inside. Watch for pickoffs at 1st base (if in B, U1 is primary), steals of 2nd base (from B), pickoffs at 2B and steals of 3rd (from C), and pickoffs at 3rd (from short D). Make catch-no catch calls on routine fly balls in your area of responsibility as well, and be able to respond to half-swing appeals for left-handed batters. Is this an accurate summary of U3 responsibilities in a 3 man crew?
  3. U3 in 3 man...

    Does U1 go to third? U1 is at 1st base.
  4. U1 in 3 Man

    How would you adjust from being U1 in a 2-man game to being U1 in a 3-man game? I know the mechanics changes that are in the manual (you don't go inside unless there is a runner at 2B without a runner on 1B, you do not pivot, you go to home plate on rotations, etc.). You (the typical HS/JUCO/sub-AA pro umpire) have worked many 2-man games on the bases and have ingrained habits that help you be in better position. How would you "undo" those habits when you work 3-man? Do you say "no pivot unless U3 leaves", "go home", "stay in A [with a runner on 1B or R1/R3]" to yourself in situations where 2-man differs from 3-man, as a reminder, or would you use different strategies? Are there any other mental or mechanical changes that you use as U1 in a 3-man game? I have worked a 3-man scrimmage at HP, so I understand the adjustments to be made there (slightly different rotations, check with U3 on swings by left-handed batters, signals to the middle umpire, if someone is inside, or to U3, if both base umpires are on their lines).
  5. U3 in 3 man...

    On a related note, U3 is in deep B position with a lone runner on 1st. 1st/3rd U3 is in C (this is different from 2 man), so there is no rotation (at least not in MAC mechanics, which are based on MiLB 3-man, AFAIK) unless U1 goes out. The CCA and NFHS manuals both list 5 rotation situations ([No runners, R1, R1/R3, R3 on a batted ball to the outfield] and R1/R2 on a caught fly ball with less than 2 outs, and R2 tagging for 3rd), but MAC (and some other associations) use only 3 of these rotations (Nobody on base, R1, and R1/R2 on a fly ball to the outfield). If an umpire goes out, use the 2-man rotations. If there is a non-rotation situation (R2 only, R2/R3, bases loaded etc. ), U3 moves with runners from 2B to 3B, and U1 moves with runners from 1B to 2B. Is it true that 3-man rotations are automatic, unlike 2 man? If you start a rotation, do you finish it even if the situation does not justify finishing it (R1, batted ball to the outfield, R1 goes to 3rd, HP would go to library, and only come to 3rd if there is a throw to 3rd, and would return home if there is no throw, in 2 man. Is that situation the same in 3 man, or does HP stay at 3rd until the play ends?)?
  6. 3-man, R3 , less than 2 outs

    OK. That is why U1 would have to make the call.
  7. 3-man, R3 , less than 2 outs

    In 3-man, wouldn't this be U3's call? (U3 would be in short D, unless he went out). U3 would be better positioned to see any play/appeal at 3rd base than U1 would be.
  8. An umpire's perspective on Star Wars

    Why not go all black with Darth Vader's armor? Black is strong with MLB, Minor League and College Umpires these days. Plus, it gives you that deep, powerful bass voice that makes mere mortals (players and coaches) tremble. Warn and give a gentle Force Push (R), or eject with a Force Choke and Force Push the loser off the field! Methinks Darth Vader would make an excellent Home Plate Umpire, if not a Crew Chief.
  9. On deck batter

    I would also say no, because the on-deck batter can only be in the on-deck circle or in his dugout. No one except a pitcher, catcher, bullpen coach, protector, or player acting as catcher should be in the bullpen, and since an on-deck batter is none of the above, he must be in the on-deck circle or dugout.
  10. "I'm good" - Wegner

    Indeed. I was working a high school JV game in Howard County. I took a deflected foul ball to the jaw, and felt nothing! I was wearing a Force3 traditional style mask with the throat protector. This means that the Force3 really is a good piece of equipment. I bought mine because I tried on a partner's mask, and it felt lighter than my usual mask, but never did I expect that it would also be top-notch in terms of protection.
  11. Improving tracking and timing

    No worries. Try to see the pitch into the catcher's glove, watch what the catcher does with the pitch (does he pull it, turn his glove, drop the pitch). If none of the above happened, and the pitch is in (or passed through) the strike zone, you can call the pitch a strike. If one of those happen, you can call a ball, if the pitch was close. Watching what the catcher does will slow down your timing, and enable you to process the pitch better. If you say "Ball (#)" or "Strike (#)" on every pitch that you call, you will develop consistent timing. Using numbers to call pitches is optional, but can help you remember the count, and is the accepted practice in professional umpire school (and the lower levels of Minor League Baseball). Good luck this season!
  12. Pass Interference?

    Yes, totally a DPI, in the cutoff category. Could also be classified as not playing the ball.
  13. Batter Interference on Strike Three

    Absolutely interference by the batter in this case. I called a batter out for interference with the catcher on an attempted steal of 3rd in a travel ball game under high school rules, because the batter swung and stepped in front of the catcher, not affording him an opportunity to throw the runner out at 3rd. Runner returned to 2B. If that happened on a third strike, batter and runner are out.
  14. 3-man

    Thomas, how did your game go? I'm a second year umpire, and I worked a varsity scrimmage as part of a 3 man crew also. I was HP for that scrimmage, and 2 other experienced lower-level college umpires alternated as the U1 and U3. The rotation with nobody on was new to me, but I was able to execute it. What about you? What position were you for that game?
  15. NFHS Rules: Catcher's Helmet

    Has the traditional 2-piece helmet and mask combination (from the multiple companies that make them) been tested in any of the tests that you described, and failed? If so, then I would say that you have a case. If not, then the traditional mask has not been conclusively proven less safe than the HSM. If there is no conclusive proof, NFHS has no ground to stand on for a mandate. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.
  16. Strike 3 Mechanic

    Mine is a point with 3 fingers, verbal "Strike 3", a step back while pulling the right hand back, and then a forward punch. If Strike 3 is not caught, I call the verbal strike 3, point 3 fingers, and say "No catch". Swinging Strike 3 that is caught is point 3 fingers, then give the hammer. If I have to use the hammer (softball, or Umpire School, hopefully), I make the hammer, verbal "Strike 3", and do the same moves (step back, forward punch). For a U3K, I call the verbal strike 3, hammer, give the safe signal, and say "No catch". Swinging strike 3 is simply the hammer in that scenario.
  17. NFHS Rules: Catcher's Helmet

    ElkOil, what I meant was that catchers are more protected in a collision situation if they wear a mask and skullcap, because the skullcap will remain on their head after they discard the mask. If catchers wear a one-piece mask, and discard the mask to be able to see, they have no protection at all. In another thread, a user made a comment that umpires need to wear skullcaps with the traditional mask, to improve protection against pitches or batted balls, and do not because of machismo. If the mask and skullcap is an acceptable combination for umpires, then mask and skullcap should be acceptable as a protective combination for catchers. This combination has served catchers in well stead for many years, and should be reinstated as an option (Catchers should not be mandated to wear a one-piece mask and only that). Give me a link to the "actual science" that you refer to, and I might understand. Otherwise, allow both hockey style and traditional masks, as the NCAA and pro baseball currently do.
  18. Check Swing Appeal or not

    What levels do you work now? Back to the OP, the directive is stupid, because it is contrary to accepted practice in other levels (NCAA, MiLB, MLB all require PU to check with U1 (or U3) on a half swing when requested by the catcher or manager). I would check whenever requested, personally.
  19. Man, that's awful! Best wishes to Everitt, and good luck to whatever AAA ump gets called up to replace him for the time being.
  20. NFHS Rules: Catcher's Helmet

    +1! Mouth guards are recommended, but very few baseball players use them. Encourage mouthguards, and leave the venerable traditional 2-piece mask alone. I have caught, and I prefer to do so with the traditional mask, and hope that future generations of high school catchers will also have that opportunity.
  21. Strike Call

    That's a funny style, but not to be used in a serious game. Eddie the Ump (AKA Eddie Reed from NJ, of YouTube fame) is cooler than Drebin, but Iwouldn't mind working a few games on a crew with both of them.
  22. ElkOil, you have the same thints to say as Maven? I agree with Maven's reasoning, and believe that more umpires should use numbers, to ensure that everyone is aware of the count, especially on fields without scoreboards (or where the scoreboards are incorrect). Was using numbers once a common practice that faded away outside Ump School Land and the short-season leagues, or was it something created de novo by the umpire schools?
  23. I dunno...

    Weird weather in MD as well. Snow came in heavy on Wednesday and Thursday, so games cancelled Wednesday through Saturday. Waiting for my baseball regular season schedule to come through, and hopefully my games are not cancelled.
  24. Two Positioning Q’s (rhetorical maybe)

    Why does the plate umpire have all catch/no-catch calls in FED SB? Is it just because the book says so, or is there a reason (the base umpire is not in a good position to see catches from his IP with runners on base?)? Does this change for 3-man? I believe that in 3-man for softball, the division of labor is different, because for baseball, there is no outfield catch responsibility for HP when U1 and U3 are on the lines. Correct me if I am wrong.
  25. Transition to SB

    In softball, you are expected to call both balls and strikes in your crouch, and give the signal later, when working behind the plate. Base umpires have to walk the line instead of being HOK set when the pitch is released, and base umpires also brush off the mound (I don't know why). Any other softball-specific quirks that baseball umpires should remember?