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beerguy55

Catcher friendly to umps

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As a coach I teach my catchers that the umpire is your new best friend.

My catchers introduce themselves to the PU, ask the umpire for their brush to clean the plate after warm up, and generally converse with the umpire through the game - in a deferential manner.  All discussions are respectful..."where did that miss, Fred?" as opposed to "Blue, that caught the corner."

Does it help on those close pitches here and there?  Who knows?  I'm sure it doesn't hurt.  I think having a positive relationship with the umpire is just as valuable to being able to frame a pitch effectively.  Now, I still want that interaction to be sincere.  The point is, the ump is a person, with feelings, personal crap going on at home, a love for the game, and who knows what other characteristics...not a robot setting out to screw you out of every strike or out possible.   

I want the catcher to be friendly to the ump because a friendly ump is a relaxed ump, and a relaxed ump is an effective ump.  And I don't know why on earth you'd want to be an enemy of the umpire.  Or why you'd want to put an ump on edge before the game even starts.  Or why you'd want to be impersonal to the ump.  If being nice to the ump gives me an edge, wonderful, but even if it doesn't, I can't figure out a downside to it.

As umpires, what kind of interaction would you prefer to have with the catcher during a game?  Do you fraternize, or would you rather keep it strictly professional?

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I personally like a friendly catcher, especially if he has a good sense of humor. I don't like him talking to the batter though (unless it's obvious they know each other and are friendly towards each other).

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Great question! Thanks for stopping by!

I tend to agree with your theory here.  The umpire and the catcher are at it all day long, ... you BEST get along, right? :nod:   I think as with anything, there's a line that needs to be drawn for being too chatty, or too fraternizing, but .... their needs to be a rapport for sure!  

Let the umpire clean the plate off ... always.  If it's covered and your catcher doesn't like it ...then a simple "Hey Jeff can brush the plate off real quick for me?" will always work!  Also, maybe a quick question while getting acquainted during warm-ups sounds like this ..."Jeff, can I ask where pitches were if I think they're close?"  Most guys won't have a problem with that at all, ..it's all about HOW the question is posed and your catchers delivery ;)   Instead of, "Jeff where was that one?"   maybe .... " Jeff, was that 'in'?" [because he knows where it missed if it was close] come across better.

Prior to a game, most umpires see a few pitches while the pitcher is warming up, this is my time to small-talk my catcher and ask him about the pitcher, small talk, etc, just to get a feel for his personality.  I like this to set the tone, ..in my opinion it lets him know I'm a normal guy and not some hard-ass :D

That's all I can think of now, but ...I'm sure you'll get a whole host of others chiming in.  LOTS of experience on this board!

Lastly ... remember, too much talking is indeed a distraction.  As long as your catcher isn't a "caffeine laden chatty Kathy" ....he'll probably be fine :)  

 

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

As a coach I teach my catchers that the umpire is your new best friend.

My catchers introduce themselves to the PU, ask the umpire for their brush to clean the plate after warm up, and generally converse with the umpire through the game - in a deferential manner.  All discussions are respectful..."where did that miss, Fred?" as opposed to "Blue, that caught the corner."

Does it help on those close pitches here and there?  Who knows?  I'm sure it doesn't hurt.  I think having a positive relationship with the umpire is just as valuable to being able to frame a pitch effectively.  Now, I still want that interaction to be sincere.  The point is, the ump is a person, with feelings, personal crap going on at home, a love for the game, and who knows what other characteristics...not a robot setting out to screw you out of every strike or out possible.   

I want the catcher to be friendly to the ump because a friendly ump is a relaxed ump, and a relaxed ump is an effective ump.  And I don't know why on earth you'd want to be an enemy of the umpire.  Or why you'd want to put an ump on edge before the game even starts.  Or why you'd want to be impersonal to the ump.  If being nice to the ump gives me an edge, wonderful, but even if it doesn't, I can't figure out a downside to it.

As umpires, what kind of interaction would you prefer to have with the catcher during a game?  Do you fraternize, or would you rather keep it strictly professional?

Do you want to know the #1 thing a catcher can do (in all seriousness) to become my new favorite player?  The answer:  keep everyone else on his team off my back. 

Let me give an example.  2-2 count.  The pitcher delivers a fastball that is either just on or just off the corner.  Umpire calls it a ball.  Dugout begins to make noise.  Maybe the pitcher glares in at the umpire.  At this point, if the catcher hops up, throws the ball back and says something such as, "Just bring it in a little and we're in business (or something similar)," he has just become my best friend for the day.  Without throwing his pitcher under the bus, he has just told his dugout and his pitcher that the ball was just off the plate (even if it wasn't).  He has just gotten everyone off my back. 

Afterward, if he wants to get back down in his crouch and before the next pitch he quietly says to me (while looking straight ahead), "Matt, we need one of those last two pitches.  If you're not going to give us the inside corner, I need the outside corner.  Otherwise, we'll be here all night," (or something similar) I am going to listen to him and seriously consider his request.  Why?  Because he just defused a potential volatile situation.  He took all the heat off of me.  (What coach is going to argue balls and strikes after his catcher just said, "bring it in a little"?)  At that point, I want to work hard for that catcher! 

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It really depends on the age group. HS Varsity and college - talking is good generally speaking, as I enjoy it as well. One thing that I have noticed from some of these guys is - if you ring them up on strikes, do they continue chatting? I have had them come back after being rung up and ask about it. I tell him where it was and that he either missed a good one or it was too close to take.

It does make the game go by faster and does make it more enjoyable, as long as they 'do their work' as priority #1.

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57 minutes ago, Thunderheads said:

Great question! Thanks for stopping by!

I tend to agree with your theory here.  The umpire and the catcher are at it all day long, ... you BEST get along, right? :nod:   I think as with anything, there's a line that needs to be drawn for being too chatty, or too fraternizing, but .... their needs to be a rapport for sure!  

Let the umpire clean the plate off ... always.  If it's covered and your catcher doesn't like it ...then a simple "Hey Jeff can brush the plate off real quick for me?" will always work!  Also, maybe a quick question while getting acquainted during warm-ups sounds like this ..."Jeff, can I ask where pitches were if I think they're close?"  Most guys won't have a problem with that at all, ..it's all about HOW the question is posed and your catchers delivery ;)   Instead of, "Jeff where was that one?"   maybe .... " Jeff, was that 'in'?" [because he knows where it missed if it was close] come across better.

Prior to a game, most umpires see a few pitches while the pitcher is warming up, this is my time to small-talk my catcher and ask him about the pitcher, small talk, etc, just to get a feel for his personality.  I like this to set the tone, ..in my opinion it lets him know I'm a normal guy and not some hard-ass :D

That's all I can think of now, but ...I'm sure you'll get a whole host of others chiming in.  LOTS of experience on this board!

Lastly ... remember, too much talking is indeed a distraction.  As long as your catcher isn't a "caffeine laden chatty Kathy" ....he'll probably be fine :)  

 

This is exactly how I do it as well...

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It really depends on the age group. HS Varsity and college - talking is good generally speaking, as I enjoy it as well. One thing that I have noticed from some of these guys is - if you ring them up on strikes, do they continue chatting? I have had them come back after being rung up and ask about it. I tell him where it was and that he either missed a good one or it was too close to take.

It does make the game go by faster and does make it more enjoyable, as long as they 'do their work' as priority #1.

Typically they tell me which pitch in their AB was the good one...

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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I agree, having a catcher who is friendly and proficient makes for an enjoyable game. One thing though, let me dust off the plate please. If you want it dusted, ask me and I will dust it off, no problem. 

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If you want your catcher to build instant rapport with the ump, have him do the following:

1. Not ask where every missed pitch is. After a few of these, it's obvious to the ump he's being second guessed.

2. If a foul ball or missed pitch hits the ump, have the catcher call time and take a slow walk to the mound. When he returns, have him ask if the ump is okay.

3. Not ask to borrow the ump's brush.

4. Some friendly, quick conversation can be great, but be careful your catcher isn't getting too chummy.

5. Have your catcher stick the catch instead of swiping his hand away. Give the ump that extra fraction of a second to get a good look, especially if the pitch is on the outside corner.

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13 minutes ago, ElkOil said:

If you want your catcher to build instant rapport with the ump, have him do the following:

1. Not ask where every missed pitch is. After a few of these, it's obvious to the ump he's being second guessed.

2. If a foul ball or missed pitch hits the ump, have the catcher call time and take a slow walk to the mound. When he returns, have him ask if the ump is okay.

3. Not ask to borrow the ump's brush.

4. Some friendly, quick conversation can be great, but be careful your catcher isn't getting too chummy.

5. Have your catcher stick the catch instead of swiping his hand away. Give the ump that extra fraction of a second to get a good look, especially if the pitch is on the outside corner.

To build on what ElkOil said, 

1. If the pitch comes in right at the belt buckle and just off the inside edge, don't asked where it missed. There's only one possible spot it could've missed. Now, if the pitch is boderline low and borderline in, I don't mind F2 asking. 

2. Making an effort to block pitches with no one on is a great way to build trust between your catcher and the umpire. 

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9 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

As a coach I teach my catchers that the umpire is your new best friend.

My catchers introduce themselves to the PU, ask the umpire for their brush to clean the plate after warm up, and generally converse with the umpire through the game - in a deferential manner.  All discussions are respectful..."where did that miss, Fred?" as opposed to "Blue, that caught the corner."

Does it help on those close pitches here and there?  Who knows?  I'm sure it doesn't hurt.  I think having a positive relationship with the umpire is just as valuable to being able to frame a pitch effectively.  Now, I still want that interaction to be sincere.  The point is, the ump is a person, with feelings, personal crap going on at home, a love for the game, and who knows what other characteristics...not a robot setting out to screw you out of every strike or out possible.   

I want the catcher to be friendly to the ump because a friendly ump is a relaxed ump, and a relaxed ump is an effective ump.  And I don't know why on earth you'd want to be an enemy of the umpire.  Or why you'd want to put an ump on edge before the game even starts.  Or why you'd want to be impersonal to the ump.  If being nice to the ump gives me an edge, wonderful, but even if it doesn't, I can't figure out a downside to it.

As umpires, what kind of interaction would you prefer to have with the catcher during a game?  Do you fraternize, or would you rather keep it strictly professional?

Never let a catcher ask for a plate brush.  It implies a lazy umpire if the catcher is out cleaning the plate. I love catchers who yak and can carry the conversation.  I like hearing how they are doing in school and if they are getting any offers from colleges. If I have umpired their brothers they can update me on them as well.

I do not like a catcher to ask before the game where my zone is.  And he had better never stick a pitch on me. He will have his feelings crushed.  It will be in a good way and he will understand it is showing the umpire up.

Having him lie for you when a coach asks you where a pitch is garners my good graces.  He just needs to turn his head to his coach and tell him something.  I'll acknowledge him for that.

And when asking where a pitch is he doesn't have to tun his head. Just throw it back and ask.

Only had maybe 3 or 4 butt heads for catchers in 22 years.  The golden rule applies.

 

 

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Coach, it's funny but I make an effort to establish a great relationship with everyone of the catchers I work with. After introducing myself I usually explain that what I am looking for is for them to keep strikes looking like strikes. If they receive borderline pitches well I can call strikes without getting a lot of grief. I also will compliment and encourage a catcher when they block a pitch well. Often with no one on base I'll say after a good block that I really appreciate it. It doesn't matter to anyone else but it matters a lot to me. I usually map close pitches for my catchers. I want them to know what I see as a strike. This helps with the defensive coaches and helps him work with the pitcher. I love it when a catcher tells his teammates they better be ready to swing the bat because I'm calling lots of strikes. As the game progresses I can get feedback from a good catcher about my zone. He is the only one that has the same view as me. What I want is a pitch I called a strike in the 2nd inning is still a strike in the 7th. If I ring a catcher up when he is hitting I will usually ask him were he thought the pitch was when gets back behind the plate. He should be able to predict what I going to call a strike. Lastly, when a catcher has done a good job for me I will let his coach know post game.

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I am a total sucker for a good catcher.  When I coached for ten years, and now that I've officiated for thirteen years, (OK, so I got started very late ...), I've come to the same conclusion ... the catcher is the hardest working player on the team, he's the one player who can't get away with voicing what he really thinks about calls, and he's a punching bag for all the wild pitches his pitcher throws.  He's given the mandate to protect the umpire, and to make pitches look better than they really are.

That's why I HATE ringing up a catcher more than having a root canal.  It pretty well has to catch all plate for me to ring him up.

That's wrong ... but that's my confession.

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