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Doing a conference game last night (backend of a DH) ...bottom of the 7th, visitors trying to hang on (2-1) bases loaded ...

The leadoff hitter is now up to bat and watches pitch 1 right down the middle and fouls pitch 2 off.  Ok, here it comes ...F2 (John ...good kid) sets up outside by quite a bit, confirmed, here comes the purpose pitch to get the batter to go fishing.  Pitcher hits the target, but ...it's 3 to 4 balls off the plate (of course no one can tell how far out John is set up) .... "crack" .....  BALL, ...THAT'S OUTSIDE!!      VISITING CROWD:  OOOOooohhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!  :rolleyes: 

Next pitch ....  2 run double down the right field line for the walk-off

OF COURSE, that's my fault! LOL ....  And, of course one of the happy parents felt it necessary to see us walking to our car and yell from a 50 yard distance, "nice strike zone blue, ...brutal!"   Varsity parents ....not Little League .....   Unreal, no wonder there's a shortage of officials!

Walking back to the car, my partner says - "I wouldn't have given that strike in a U12 game!"  We then had a good laugh 

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Preach it brother!

I love ignorant fans and wasted pitches. 

My thinking is you should go after the guy with every pitch.  I see so many coaches teaching their kids to try to get him with a "junk" pitch that no one is going to swing at - so you wonder why waste the effort and time to throw it in the first place?

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Almost same here the beginning of the week. Mine was top 7, home team down 2-0, 2 outs, noone on, 1-2 pitch with catcher set up halfway in outside batters box. Frames it perfect, I ball it, crowd moans, coach yells "consistency!!!". A couple of foul offs, a hard single. Bench is mumbling... Soft grounder to short, and he promptly throws it into dead ball territory. Coach takes pitcher out and loudly tells him he should've been out of the inning 2 batters ago.. 2nd and 3rd, and a no doubt 3 run dinger.. They lose 5-2, no other chirping, but I'm sure they all agree its my fault!

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40 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

Preach it brother!

I love ignorant fans and wasted pitches. 

My thinking is you should go after the guy with every pitch.  I see so many coaches teaching their kids to try to get him with a "junk" pitch that no one is going to swing at - so you wonder why waste the effort and time to throw it in the first place?

Just because you CAN go to 3-2, doesn't mean you HAVE to go to 3-2.

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4 minutes ago, conbo61 said:

Just because you CAN go to 3-2, doesn't mean you HAVE to go to 3-2.

Exactly!

They go up 0-2 and then try to get sneaky and end up walking the guy. Prolongs the game, the kid can't pitch all 7 now, all kinds of bad side effects.  If you got him with the first 2, go right back at him and finish him off!

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I know a local varsity coach who trains his pitcher to throw a fastball down the middle above the belt, missing high if he misses. 95% of batters can't do anything with that pitch, it looks fat, and they generally either can't catch up or pop it up.

WAY more effective than the pitch right at F2's mitt when he's set up outside the opposite batter's box.

Oh, never mind: that coach is now one of our better umpires....

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Same thing happened to me last night.   I had the '62 Mets playing in this game.  They brought in a pitcher that was literally throwing the old eephus pitch.  The game was pretty much over when they brought in young Rip Sewell.   His first pitch floated up, up and up before dropping down into a very borderline strike.  I called a strike because I could see where this was headed.  The parents of the team that was winning, by 9  @ this point, just came unglued.  

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4 hours ago, Thunderheads said:

Walking back to the car, my partner says - "I wouldn't have given that strike in a U12 game!" 

But see, our greatest challenge is, we have colleagues who have!!!

And, these same umpires are seemingly blind above the belt, and miss out on the bountiful well of potential (and hittable!) strikes in that section between belt and the bottom of the letters. All these teams with these fancy-shmancy jerseys are practically advertising “here’s the top boundary of the zone, Blue! Right where it says ‘Sluggers’!” Add to that, have you ever watched an amateur batter air-swing and warm up? I mean, really watch him? From my catcher experience, I look for tendencies and traits in a batter’s warm-up swings – a hitch, weak wrists, where he separates his hands, etc. Translate that to umpiring – look where his warm up swings are... are they primarily above his belt, by the bottom of his rib cage? Great, so he can swing at stuff up there.

This “if catcher doesn’t move it must have been a strike” crap is masking either a pitcher who has no finishing pitch, or a weak and suspect defense.

I will give them a sliver of sympathy, though. They’re trying to pitch it where the bat ain’t. Modern metal bats are ridiculous. Because they have so much pop for so little mass, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to at least get a bat on a pitch that you’d otherwise get dusted on, and survive to face another one. My favorite spot as a catcher – in on the hands, that would otherwise rob a batter of his power or break his bat – is overwhelmed by bats where they get fouloffs or dump bloop singles (or worse, errors) against undisciplined infields.

Make the baseball world a better, happier place – institute wood (or wood composite) bats for all above 12.

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That's just the world we live in now!

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6 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

Preach it brother!

I love ignorant fans and wasted pitches. 

My thinking is you should go after the guy with every pitch.  I see so many coaches teaching their kids to try to get him with a "junk" pitch that no one is going to swing at - so you wonder why waste the effort and time to throw it in the first place?

You only set up that far outside if you have Eric Gregg behind the plate (or those umpires who otherwise believe the pitcher should be rewarded for hitting the target, no matter where it is).   I've had a few of those in my day and you learn who they are...I would know by the seventh inning if I'm getting that pitch.

Too many people take "waste one" too literally.  Yeah, don't pipe it.  You need to miss the plate by just enough that it at least looks like it could be a strike for the batter to go fishing...it's better to do this over the plate and at the shoulders.

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4 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

You need to miss the plate by just enough that it at least looks like it could be a strike for the batter to go fishing...it's better to do this over the plate and at the shoulders.

Yes, sir!   Maven said it too.  Make it right at top of strike zone and a little inside... most will swing out of fear/excitement/reaction to seeing a pitch rising towards them - or they'll run for it which sets up an easy outside-corner pitch for a strike to follow.  My motto is work smarter not harder. At least challenge them a little - any kid can see a pitch two feet into the opposite batter's box.

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2 hours ago, MadMax said:

But see, our greatest challenge is, we have colleagues who have!!!

And, these same umpires are seemingly blind above the belt, and miss out on the bountiful well of potential (and hittable!) strikes in that section between belt and the bottom of the letters. All these teams with these fancy-shmancy jerseys are practically advertising “here’s the top boundary of the zone, Blue! Right where it says ‘Sluggers’!” Add to that, have you ever watched an amateur batter air-swing and warm up? I mean, really watch him? From my catcher experience, I look for tendencies and traits in a batter’s warm-up swings – a hitch, weak wrists, where he separates his hands, etc. Translate that to umpiring – look where his warm up swings are... are they primarily above his belt, by the bottom of his rib cage? Great, so he can swing at stuff up there.

This “if catcher doesn’t move it must have been a strike” crap is masking either a pitcher who has no finishing pitch, or a weak and suspect defense.

I will give them a sliver of sympathy, though. They’re trying to pitch it where the bat ain’t. Modern metal bats are ridiculous. Because they have so much pop for so little mass, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to at least get a bat on a pitch that you’d otherwise get dusted on, and survive to face another one. My favorite spot as a catcher – in on the hands, that would otherwise rob a batter of his power or break his bat – is overwhelmed by bats where they get fouloffs or dump bloop singles (or worse, errors) against undisciplined infields.

Make the baseball world a better, happier place – institute wood (or wood composite) bats for all above 12.

So many times after a batter crushes one out of the park, the announcers chime in with "Well, he left that one up..."

The past two years I have opened my zone up between the belt and mid point/lower half of the letters.  Batters are swinging more and the games are moving at a good clip.

Still get the comment from the jack wagon when I don't give them the pitch across the TOP of the letters, but then again, some coaches need to complain much like I need oxygen.

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1 minute ago, wolfe_man said:

any kid can see a pitch two feet into the opposite batter's box.

This actually gets exaggerated depending on where the batter's looking.  If you are looking for a pitch down the middle, or worse, inside, a pitch that catches the outside corner looks 6 inches outside or more.   This is one reason why so many batters (especially less experienced ones) think the umpire called a strike "in the other batter's box".  If your perspective as a batter is the middle of the plate, anything to the outside of that gets skewed.   So, if you're throwing that pitch 10-12 inches off the plate, that batter sees something that is three feet outside - he's never even thinking of swinging at that.   Even throwing an inch off the plate the batter's likely not going to fish, because he thinks it's six inches out.  The risk is, you get the batter who's looking for that pitch.

At the shoulders, especially inside, is about as hard as it gets to hit, and it looks a lot more like it could be a strike.

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The past two years I have opened my zone up between the belt and mid point/lower half of the letters.  Batters are swinging more and the games are moving at a good clip.


You sir, should be admired among your peers.



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The pre-pitch setup (too far) off the plate, with a dead-on placement/touch outside from there, is just the worst after you ball it. "CMON WHERE IS THAT?!" "JOHNNY IS THAT OUT?!" Then you have to rely on old Johnny to hopefully shake his head yes or motion outside. Coaches just don't pay enough attention to his catcher's (or even my) pre-pitch setup, as I'm going to follow him towards the outside corner if he moves there. The guy doesn't have his glove in the middle of the plate on every pitch.

Sometimes you really just want to say "Mike, did you not see him move before the pitch? He set up off the plate to begin with."

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41 minutes ago, Hkepuck said:

Sometimes you really just want to say "Mike, did you not see him move before the pitch? He set up off the plate to begin with."

I have actually said to youth catchers, "Where are you going? The strike zone is over here."

As tempting as it is, I will not follow a catcher out beyond the plate (widening the slot). I know why some of us umpires do it – we're afraid of being uncovered and getting hit. This is where experience as a catcher helps, as we're used to getting hit (or at least the risks). You have to resist that temptation and stay at your IP. That "baiting" pitch is thrown out there, and you ball it, having not budged from where you are, that more or less makes a point.

Catchers between 13-18 (to be fair, some 12's), I then tell them, "That's not getting the plate. If you set up that far outside again, it's not a strike." Some get it, and from then on, they stop setting up outside and I start calling strikes that legitimately catch the corner.

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8 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

Exactly!

They go up 0-2 and then try to get sneaky and end up walking the guy. Prolongs the game, the kid can't pitch all 7 now, all kinds of bad side effects.  If you got him with the first 2, go right back at him and finish him off!

I see this all the time in Little League districts...only it's worse because it's the big kid throwing heat to the 7-8-9 hitters who have no chance of catching up and no power if they do.  Then they futz with the curve ball that they have no control of, and end up missing when they go back to the fastball. 

I want to scream, "You're on a pitch count--blow that kid away!  Save the change of speed for the kid your size who can take you deep."

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9 hours ago, maven said:

I know a local varsity coach who trains his pitcher to throw a fastball down the middle above the belt, missing high if he misses. 95% of batters can't do anything with that pitch, it looks fat, and they generally either can't catch up or pop it up.

WAY more effective than the pitch right at F2's mitt when he's set up outside the opposite batter's box.

Oh, never mind: that coach is now one of our better umpires....

Indeed, that is why I try to call the full rulebook strike zone in all my games, from the "midpoint between the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants" to the bottom of the knees, so that the pitcher can throw the pitch you describe and have it called as a strike. I want the pitcher to be able to throw all the strikes that he can, and the batter to have a fair chance to hit the ball, and the rulebook zone provides the best opportunity for both, so neither has too big an advantage. I don't call strikes if the catcher is outside, if he pulls the pitch into the zone, or if he turns his glove, because all these are tells that the pitch was not a strike, even if the pitcher hit his spot.

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4 hours ago, Hkepuck said:

Sometimes you really just want to say "Mike, did you not see him move before the pitch? He set up off the plate to begin with."

For an F2 that sets up way off the plate, I will take my right (or left) hand and extend it toward F2 pre-pitch to demonstrate how far he has gone. I have never heard a peep from anyone whose opinion I care about in such situations. 

Last week, when leaving the local minor league stadium after calling a 12-1 sh*t show of a HS varsity game, a parent of the losing team said I should retire because I was awful. This is the same guy who screamed at his kid to get up after he was drilled in the on deck circle with a chest seeking laser off the bat of a teammate. I smiled and suggested that he have a pleasant ride home. And then said,"12-1. I don't think it was me."

 

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16 hours ago, Hkepuck said:

. Coaches just don't pay enough attention to his catcher's (or even my) pre-pitch setup, as I'm going to follow him towards the outside corner if he moves there. The guy doesn't have his glove in the middle of the plate on every pitch.

 

If you don't move out (and you shouldn't), then it will be (more) obvious that the catcher was outside.

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16 hours ago, MadMax said:

As tempting as it is, I will not follow a catcher out beyond the plate (widening the slot). I know why some of us umpires do it – we're afraid of being uncovered and getting hit. This is where experience as a catcher helps, as we're used to getting hit (or at least the risks). You have to resist that temptation and stay at your IP. That "baiting" pitch is thrown out there, and you ball it, having not budged from where you are, that more or less makes a point.

I prefer to stay in the slot in order to avoid a future profession as a finger painter. Moving out of the slot is way more dangerous than taking a pitch in the gut, on the arm, or off my tools of ignorance.

image.png.7f2e43e77c9e9cf99baf176885273a85.png

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I have that chart hanging on my office pin up board... and I send it to every umpire in our LL every season to re-enforce the point of not following the catcher out.

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