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UmpaDuncdude

High School Umpire in Florida

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Hello!
My name is Duncan, and I am a high school umpire in Florida. 2019 will be my second year, and the first year behind the plate. While I played baseball as a kid and in high school, I chose to stick to the bases my first year to get a feel for the game as an umpire before I got behind the plate. (After all, the base umpire deals with more of the "playing rules" that a former player would be familiar with rather than the "administrative rules" that the plate umpire deals with that you normally wouldn't be aware of as a player). I am joining this site because I have found some good discussion on gear, situations, mechanics, etc. Since I have a day job as a software engineer, I have found that umpiring high school has been a good balance for me: I don't have to travel that far and the games are pretty much right after work. I'm also a volleyball referee. I played volleyball in high school and college and it is probably my better sport (I made my officials association's first crew for state playoffs in my second year being a volleyball referee!) but after two shoulder surgeries and a back surgery, I hung up the colorful uniform for the black and white one. Due to these surgeries, and a concussion as a kid, I am always on the lookout for gear that reduces the chance of injury and am always wiling to pay more for scientifically better gear. I will wear the rattiest piece of old equipment over brand new scientifically inferior equipment any day. I hope to get to know some of you, and please don't hesitate to say hello. I promise I don't bite!

Cheers,

-Duncan

P.S. - My nickname in highschool was "UmpaDunc" and there is a story for that. One day we had a high school game at another school and I forgot my baseball socks and cleats. I also wore baseball pants that stopped halfway below the calf. My friends, who thought it was hilarious, refused to trade socks with me, even though they had pants that went down to their ankles. So there I was at first base with sneakers, ankle socks, and about 4-6 inches of calf showing. Apparently I looked like a hobo, and thus the nickname "HoboDunc" came about. That evolved into other nicknames. When I pitched, I was "CyYoungaDunc" and when I made a pick at first, I was "GoldGlovaDunc." But one day, when they were brainstorming out loud in the dugout for new nicknames, I sarcastically threw out "UmpaDunc" and literally the whole team in unison cried "UMPADUNC!!!" and that's the one that stuck. I'll be honest, I wasn't happy at first, but it grew on me over time. I am proud to finally live up to my nickname

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Welcome!

I, too am a computer nerd (Linux sysadmin), and I also ref volleyball. There have been a few times on these forums where I've had to dig back into my undergrad days as an engineer when explaining why gear works the way it does, so I'm right there with you.

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On 2/3/2019 at 6:59 AM, UmpaDuncdude said:

Hello!
My name is Duncan, and I am a high school umpire in Florida. 2019 will be my second year, and the first year behind the plate. While I played baseball as a kid and in high school, I chose to stick to the bases my first year to get a feel for the game as an umpire before I got behind the plate. (After all, the base umpire deals with more of the "playing rules" that a former player would be familiar with rather than the "administrative rules" that the plate umpire deals with that you normally wouldn't be aware of as a player). I am joining this site because I have found some good discussion on gear, situations, mechanics, etc. Since I have a day job as a software engineer, I have found that umpiring high school has been a good balance for me: I don't have to travel that far and the games are pretty much right after work. I'm also a volleyball referee. I played volleyball in high school and college and it is probably my better sport (I made my officials association's first crew for state playoffs in my second year being a volleyball referee!) but after two shoulder surgeries and a back surgery, I hung up the colorful uniform for the black and white one. Due to these surgeries, and a concussion as a kid, I am always on the lookout for gear that reduces the chance of injury and am always wiling to pay more for scientifically better gear. I will wear the rattiest piece of old equipment over brand new scientifically inferior equipment any day. I hope to get to know some of you, and please don't hesitate to say hello. I promise I don't bite!

Cheers,

-Duncan

P.S. - My nickname in highschool was "UmpaDunc" and there is a story for that. One day we had a high school game at another school and I forgot my baseball socks and cleats. I also wore baseball pants that stopped halfway below the calf. My friends, who thought it was hilarious, refused to trade socks with me, even though they had pants that went down to their ankles. So there I was at first base with sneakers, ankle socks, and about 4-6 inches of calf showing. Apparently I looked like a hobo, and thus the nickname "HoboDunc" came about. That evolved into other nicknames. When I pitched, I was "CyYoungaDunc" and when I made a pick at first, I was "GoldGlovaDunc." But one day, when they were brainstorming out loud in the dugout for new nicknames, I sarcastically threw out "UmpaDunc" and literally the whole team in unison cried "UMPADUNC!!!" and that's the one that stuck. I'll be honest, I wasn't happy at first, but it grew on me over time. I am proud to finally live up to my nickname

Welcome.  I don't know why an association would let a first year guy do bases only?  Unless it was for injury purposes, perhaps.  

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51 minutes ago, umpstu said:

Welcome.  I don't know why an association would let a first year guy do bases only?  Unless it was for injury purposes, perhaps.  

Sounds like he chose to be BU for the year. I'm surprised the umpires he worked with allowed it. :D

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6 hours ago, yawetag said:

Sounds like he chose to be BU for the year. I'm surprised the umpires he worked with allowed it. :D

Yep.  I wanted to see as much pitching as possible.  You don't become a good plate umpire overnight.  I'd much rather work the plate.

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No matter how much pitching you've seen from the bases, it won't be anything like the view you get from behind the catcher. While I agree the plate is fundamentally more challenging than the bases, especially when you include everything you do between calling balls and strikes, it's also a position that requires almost-constant focus.

If you can work some pre-season scrimmages, it's going to help you get your eyes adjusted and ready for the real games. Alternately, email the closest high school's baseball coach and ask if you can come out and take some pitches during a practice or intra-squad scrimmage. Any time you can get behind the plate and watch some pitches, it helps you get ready.

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@yawetag is giving you some great advice. Go watch some warm-up sessions and see if you can't "watch" from behind the plate.  This benefits both them and you as an umpire.  The more pitches you see, the more comfortable you can become staying locked in, getting good head height, positioning in the slot, staying far enough behind the catcher to not get in their way but close enough to see the whole plate, etc.   There's a lot more going on behind home plate than most fans would ever realize! 

And WELCOME to the site.  I've not found anything close to what this site offers in overall knowledge - regardless of topic.

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