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MadMax

PU Signals to Scorekeeper / Pressbox; How To?

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This is a question to the higher-level / more experienced guys (college and higher, typically). I've called plenty of games in stadiums before, but these were events wherein the participants were playing in a venue exceeding their level (HS tournament in a Major / Minor -league stadium, for example). Or, NAIA or small college games where the venue "handles" more like a high-school facility. The official scorekeeper is usually in close proximity to the field, whether by position or relation to the home team's dugout.

However, several of us are off to independent professional leagues this summer wherein the venues are actual, bonafide stadiums with pressboxes and scorekeepers likely positioned beyond talking distance. So, what is the signal language (USL?) that communicates lineup changes or other game-affecting information (weather delay?) to the scorekeeper?

I could use advice / direction on such things as:

  • Pitching Change
  • Pinch Runner
  • Pinch / Substitute Batter
  • Defensive Substitution
  • Elimination of the DH
  • Protest
  • Weather Delay
  • Suspension of Play

Anything else you can think up that we take for granted just by walking near to the scorekeeper's table behind the backstop?

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I have no actual experience with signalling like this, but I believe MLB/MiLB umpires simply wave towards the official scorer, then point towards the substitute. This is confirmed by section 4.5 of the PBUC manual. The protest mechanic is drawing a P with your hand in the air. And, I think suspension due to weather should be pretty self-explanatory due to conditions on the field.

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Protest is a "backwards P" from our perspective. 

Max, also consider how to signal a double switch or any other scenario where the sub goes into a different spot in the lineup than may be expected. 

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If there's more than one sub, show the number of subs first, and then point to each.

If there's a batting order change ("flip flop") then waggle / twist your hand after pointing to the two involved.

If it's more complicated than that, someone will get on the phone to the press box, or the scorer will just wait to see who show up at the plate.

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The way that I was taught is along the same lines, except pointing with the hand holding your line up card holder.  They can see clearly when runners are subbed, so the only thing we used was for the batter or a defensive position.

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Try to find out before the game where the official scorer will be sitting.  It helps in case the press box is large at that venue.  When you get a sub, wave at the scorer and make sure you have their attention.  Then signal the number of subs you have, and point to where they are on the field.  If you have more than one sub at a time, show the number of subs and signal "straight up" (F3 subbed for F3, F8 subbed for a new F8) then hold your hands in front of you like you're showing how big of a fish you caught and make a chopping motion.  If that doesn't make sense, think of those aircraft control people that guide planes by motioning up and down with the signal cones.  Then point to where each fielder is.  Try to go in order of where they are subbed in the batting order.

If you have two subs coming in that are "flip-flopped" (i.e. new F3 comes in at F8 spot and new F8 comes in at F3 spot, signal the number of subs first, then hold your hands in front of you just like you would with "straight up" except don't move them up and down.  "Flip flop" your hand positions so one hand goes over the other and they essentially "change places."  @noumpere had a good explanation for that.  I feel like mine was terrible lol.  But then signal where your subs are.  If you have more than one sub or multiple switches, just do the best you can.  I've found that scorers/announcers that have been working a long time often announce the changes before I can mark my own lineup card.

If you have a substitute batter,  I often just look up at the scorer and point to the batter after I mark my lineup card.  Again, they'll usually see it and announce the sub before you can point him out.

I'm not sure if there is a signal for an elimination of the DH role.

For a protest, as @Gfoley4 and @Stk004 said, look at the scorer and draw a backwards "P" for the signal.

Weather delay and Suspension of play aren't signaled.  If necessary they can be called up to the press box via a phone in the dugout, but those should be pretty self-explanatory when everyone leaves the field. 

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Catcher’s Interference - Give a foul tip signal while looking at the press box

Pitcher going to his mouth - waive to the box, lick your hand, then signal 1 with your left hand.

Scoring a run on a timing play - Point to the plate “Score the run!” Turn and point to the press box “That run scores!”

Waiving off a run on a timing play - turn to the press box, waive both arms over your head and say “No run! No run!”

Substitues - waive to the scorekeeper (hope they waive back) and point to the position of the fielder or hitter or runner. 

If it’s multiple substitutions, that’s pretty much been covered. I signal the number of changes if I have more than 1. So if they have a new CF & 1B, I’ll waive, hold up 2 fingers then point to center (more up in the air than straight) and then point to 1st base (more towards the ground). If the subs are straight in I’ll then signal a line straight down. If they are flip flopping in the lineup I’ll make a back and forth motion with my hand. 

I always signal higher for an outfielder and lower for an infielder so they don’t get confused when you point towards the right side of the field.

Some leagues are using pitch clocks. If so the league should have some standard hand signals to reset the clock, etc. It’s usually a home run signal or pushing upward with your right hand. 

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8 hours ago, MidAmUmp said:

Waiving off a run on a timing play - turn to the press box, waive both arms over your head and say “No run! No run!”

Good points.  On this -- be sure it's over your head (as a football official would signal "stop the clock").  I've seen too many umpires wave the arms in front of them (as a football official would signal an incomplete pass) and it gets confused with a "safe" signal -- and now someone thinks a run scored.

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1 hour ago, noumpere said:

Good points.  On this -- be sure it's over your head (as a football official would signal "stop the clock").  I've seen too many umpires wave the arms in front of them (as a football official would signal an incomplete pass) and it gets confused with a "safe" signal -- and now someone thinks a run scored.

I think I was taught that low arm wave at a clinic. Which explains "did the run score" questions afterward.

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