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kylehutson

Finding the pitched ball

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I *really* struggled seeing pitches at last night's game, and it took me a couple of innings to figure out why. Now I have the question "what can I do about it for next time?"

I normally don't show where I've umpired, but this field is ... unique, and I think a visual would help. Here it is on Google Maps.

For reference, the right field fence is about 230' and about 30' tall until it gets to the start of the "curve" where it goes to about 6'. Plate to center (plate through 2nd base, not the center of square footage) is about 315'. Directly behind that is the gas station (typical 1 story flat-roofed building) about 400' from home plate, and directly behind that (again, looking from home plate) is a tree (notably, not a grove or forested area, just a single tree).

If you're standing straight up, you don't think much about it, because if you look at the pitcher, you see "building" as the background. However as the sun is setting (as it was last night) and I'm down in my normal stance, I'm look up just enough to see "tree" and that tree is full of light-and-dark holes. And that's where I'm trying to pick up seeing the pitches. Most of the time, by the time I was seeing the ball, I wasn't able to get a good track on it to see it into the catcher's mitt. I was relying on the catcher, and I felt like I had my worst game in *years* as far as zone consistency. My partner (a long-time veteran, but with whom I'd never worked before) said I did fine, but I didn't feel like I was doing fine.

I tried setting up higher so the background would be "building" rather than "tree", but the different view there was also throwing me off.

Any suggestions (other than "don't work the plate at dusk on that field")?

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Amazing that anyone set a field up where the sun is essentially in the batter's eyes at dusk....I've never seen a  field laid out in that way...as far as how to help you out...that's really tough....the only thing I can think of is to focus on his throwing hand as much as possible to try to track the ball from the release...not sure if that will help or not.

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The sun really isn't in his eyes, just the light from the sunset, mingling with the green from the tree. (The sun sets to the left of the LF foul pole, so it's not direct sunlight.)

I've been on this field before and haven't had any issues, leading me to wonder if the tree gets more full in a couple of weeks, and then no light gets through, so it's no problem.

 

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On 4/19/2019 at 2:42 PM, kylehutson said:

I *really* struggled seeing pitches at last night's game, and it took me a couple of innings to figure out why. Now I have the question "what can I do about it for next time?"

I normally don't show where I've umpired, but this field is ... unique, and I think a visual would help. Here it is on Google Maps.

For reference, the right field fence is about 230' and about 30' tall until it gets to the start of the "curve" where it goes to about 6'. Plate to center (plate through 2nd base, not the center of square footage) is about 315'. Directly behind that is the gas station (typical 1 story flat-roofed building) about 400' from home plate, and directly behind that (again, looking from home plate) is a tree (notably, not a grove or forested area, just a single tree).

If you're standing straight up, you don't think much about it, because if you look at the pitcher, you see "building" as the background. However as the sun is setting (as it was last night) and I'm down in my normal stance, I'm look up just enough to see "tree" and that tree is full of light-and-dark holes. And that's where I'm trying to pick up seeing the pitches. Most of the time, by the time I was seeing the ball, I wasn't able to get a good track on it to see it into the catcher's mitt. I was relying on the catcher, and I felt like I had my worst game in *years* as far as zone consistency. My partner (a long-time veteran, but with whom I'd never worked before) said I did fine, but I didn't feel like I was doing fine.

I tried setting up higher so the background would be "building" rather than "tree", but the different view there was also throwing me off.

Any suggestions (other than "don't work the plate at dusk on that field")?

Sh#t dude, you just had a bad game.   It happens to every one of us, some of our bad games worse than others because of level of play.  Do you have bad games every time you work at that field?  Flush it. Let it go.  

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How many pitches do you feel you missed? We always tend to over think things, I think, sometimes. 

Carl Childress tells a story about a field in Texas that they would need to take an hour 'burrito and Dr.Pepper' break while the sun moved out of the batters sight-line. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, umpstu said:

Sh#t dude, you just had a bad game.   It happens to every one of us, some of our bad games worse than others because of level of play.  Do you have bad games every time you work at that field?  Flush it. Let it go.  

I had a DH again yesterday. It was honestly good to get back there again and say "hey, this feels right". 'Twas just frustrating to do all the things I usually do to re-focus (concentrate on breathing, hold the head steady and be sure to track with the eyes, slow down on the calls), and still feel like I was off.

7 hours ago, blue23ll said:

How many pitches do you feel you missed? We always tend to over think things, I think, sometimes. 

About 3 innings worth, until it got dark. :-)

There were probably 3-4 I watched it hit the catchers mitt and thought "#&*( - I don't know, close to being outside, and maybe low, but maybe not". And another 3-4 more that I really think (judging from the catchers' reactions - who were not crybabies BTW). I wanted to tell them "I promise I usually don't suck."

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Every once in a while I have a game where I lose focus for about an inning. One of my goals for the second half of the season is to maintain focus for an entire game. Of course we all want to be perfect and no matter how hard we try we will miss a pitch occasionally. The key , I suppose,  is not to lose focus and not to have too many 'gross' misses (2 plane misses). To me, it is important to not turn strikes into balls too often. 

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On 4/21/2019 at 2:33 PM, blue23ll said:

Carl Childress tells a story about a field in Texas that they would need to take an hour 'burrito and Dr.Pepper' break while the sun moved out of the batters sight-line. 

There's a field in the St. Louis area that requires a 20-minute delay when the sun is going down. With one particular league with time-limits, you take 10 minutes off each game, even though the delay is wholly in the first game.

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12 minutes ago, yawetag said:

There's a field in the St. Louis area that requires a 20-minute delay when the sun is going down. With one particular league with time-limits, you take 10 minutes off each game, even though the delay is wholly in the first game.

Heine Meine?

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13 minutes ago, JSam21 said:

Heine Meine?

Not the one I was thinking of. Only did one game at Heine Meine, and it was a night game. Brentwood Park was the one I had in mind.

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3 minutes ago, yawetag said:

Not the one I was thinking of. Only did one game at Heine Meine, and it was a night game. Brentwood Park was the one I had in mind.

Early season 4:30 starts there are brutal.... 

 

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22 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

You made that name up.

I think he's saying that if he did, he at least got Google to believe it. ;)

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We have 4 fields "in town".  However, one of them is a "sun delay".  From mid April through mid May, the sun sets directly behind the pitcher.  When you are scheduled on this field, you hope for a cloudy day (well, evening).  When we finally installed lights, we put them on this field, so all teams would have the same opportunity to finish that day's games.

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