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lawump

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lawump last won the day on October 15

lawump had the most liked content!

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About lawump

  • Birthday July 15

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    South Carolina
  • Interests
    umpiring and lawyering

More information about you

  • Your Association Name
    Carolina Baseball Umpires Association; NCAA
  • Occupation
    Attorney
  • Types/Levels of Baseball called
    ex-MiLB umpire; NCAA Div. 1; Am. Legion (2015, '17-'19 World Series)
  • How did you hear about Umpire-Empire?
    ABUA (umpire.org)

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  1. I am going follow up on the posts above that discuss mechanics...but I have a little different take. First, kudos for using a "tool in our box" (as set forth above) and giving, what appears to be in type, a confident explanation before calling the runner out. Second, kudos for giving the explanation first and then banging him out (which is the way it is taught...as opposed to "safes" where we call "SAFE" and then give the explanation. For example, "SAFE! YOU DROPPED THE BALL!") My only suggestion...and the one that popped in my head before I even read any of the replies...is that your verbal explanation of the call was way too long. You may have delivered it perfectly, but I can see that sentence as being one that could easily turn into a tongue twister or be one that gets delivered awkwardly with poor body language. I would suggest keeping the verbiage more simple. On this play, I like to point at the bag with my left-hand (the pointing is optional) and say loudly and sternly, "HE'S ON THE BAG! HE'S ON THE BAG! HE'S OUT!" It is a four-word sentence followed by the normal 2-word sentence we use for all out calls. I am pointing at the bag with my left hand as I'm saying the first two sentences, and then giving the "whacker out mechanic" with my right hand/fist as I'm saying the last sentence. If we commit to using standard language each and every time, we can actually practice ahead of time how we say and deliver those words so that when we use them in a real game they will come out confidently with the proper body language. I'm not saying that one couldn't use your sentence each time...but that's a lot more to practice than, "HE'S ON THE BAG!". IMHO, there is also no need to say "before the runner". When you use my suggested language ("He's on the bag!") you're telling everyone in the ballpark that you know there was an issue as to whether or not the fielder was on the base before the runner got to the base; everyone knows that he had to jump to glove the throw. Using, "He's on the bag" is telling everyone that you saw him come off, but that he was back on the base before the runner. And, the advantage of my phraseology, as opposed to yours, is that mine is much simpler and easier to deliver. Just a suggestion. Good job! (I would NOT have gone for help.)
  2. lawump

    INT or not

    I will suggest the following: 1. Rule 6.01(a)(10) Comment reads, in part, "(w)hen a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact..." (emphasis added). Thus, for me, the question is: "at the time the potential interfering act occurred, was the 'batter-runner going to first base' or was he lingering/paused?" For me, that is how the time issue should be resolved (with exceptions set forth below). 2. I would argue, that since this comment is an exception to the general rule that a runner (including the batter-runner) shall be called "out" if he "fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball...", the onus is on the runner to show (by his actions) the umpire that he qualifies for protection under this exception. Thus, if the umpire has any doubt, he should call interference as that is the general rule. 3. In the videos posted above of plays which occurred in prior seasons, I think one can very easily argue that in each and every one of those plays, at the time of the potential interfering act, the batter-runner was not "going to first base". Even in the Cincinnati video (of which, it has been suggested, was most like last night's play), I do not believe that the runner was "going to first base" at the time the potential interfering act occurred. 4. In last night's play, I think there is no doubt that the batter-runner was "going to first base" at the time the potential interference occurred. For me, the fact that he had, what I consider to be, a slight delay is irrelevant, unless... 5. ...I would still have interference, despite the fact that a batter-runner was "going to first base" at the time the potential interfering act occurred, if I adjudged that the batter-runner's prior delay/lingering was an intentional act intending to impeded/hinder the catcher. In last night's play I believe the delay was a momentary one that was a natural attempt (that is, not an intentional act designed to hinder/impede) by the B/R to locate the ball. Just my two cents.
  3. Bingo! A problem that far too many umpires (this includes amateur umpires and first-year pro umpires) suffer from is that their initial starting position in "B" or "C" is too deep. Sometimes, I tease some of the Coastal Plain League umpires that I evaluate for MiLB that they must think they're already in Double-A because they're standing so deep...like they're working in a 3-man crew! The proper mechanic, per MiLB, is to find the halfway point between the back edge of the mound and the grass/dirt line in the middle of the second base cutout. (Note that it is NOT the halfway point between the back of the mound and second base, itself). The umpire's depth should be that he is standing at a depth that is halfway between the back edge of the mound and the grass/dirt line in the second base cutout. If anything, we tell them that it is okay to stand a step closer (toward the plate) if you feel it gives you a better angle...but never a step deeper. The next key is to always step up when the ball is put in play. That means, you should step toward the plate. We teach that your first step should be forward and with the foot that is on the same side as the ball passed you. So, if the umpire is in "C" and a ground ball is hit to F6 (who is standing in a normal position for an F6) or to F5, the base umpire's first step would be a big step forward with his right foot/leg. His second step would be with his left foot. The first step would be straight toward the plate, but as the umpire is making the second step he would turn his body so that when his left foot re-plants, his chest would now be toward the ball (toward F6 as he is fielding the batted ball). This is how we get "chest to ball". With the use of a proper initial starting position the umpire will end up near the front edge (closest to home plate) of the working area/box...which is near the back edge of the mound. If the umpire then uses the proper additional steps/footwork (and a little bit of hustle) as the play continues to develop, he will have a very good angle to see both plays.
  4. "Turn around, bend over, and use your good eye."
  5. You're already addressing your problem of being psyched out. You said that you are calling the close ones "strikes". Good for you. When that first "nut-cutter" of a curve ball is pitched in the game (a pitch that could be called either a "strike" or a "ball" without it constituting a "gross miss" by the umpire), call it a strike. Then, stay consistent with it. For the next few weeks, months, years (whatever it takes until you are at a point where you are no longer "psyche(d)... out" about breaking balls) make a promise to yourself that you are going to call the first "nut-cutter" breaking pitch in every game a "strike"...no matter what. When you call the first "nut-cutter" pitch a strike, it will be that much easier to call the second "nut-cutter" a strike. The third will be even easier. And so on. Before you know it, you will have the game in a defensive flow. When you have the game in a defensive flow, you will quickly become relaxed and able to just focus on umpiring (instead of playing mind games with yourself about being psyched out). This is the number one piece of advice I give to any umpire (new or veteran) who ask me for advice on how to deal with nerves (for instance, before working a "big game"). I tell them: make a promise to yourself that you are going to call the first "nut-cutter" pitch of the game a "strike". That will tell everyone in the dugouts that borderline pitches will be strikes. That gets the game in a defensive flow. When the game is in a defensive flow, the batters are swinging and you have few deep counts. Game personnel have no time to argue or complain because the game is moving at good clip. You then start to relax and are able to focus on all of your mechanics...which makes you even better as the game progresses. Before you know it, you realize this SH*# is even fun, sometimes.
  6. lawump

    First One

    Congrats and good job.
  7. South Carolina does, too.
  8. lawump

    Ruling on this play

    The call made in the MLB playoff game was called exactly as I was taught, as a professional umpire, to call it. I would have called it exactly the same way if it had occurred in one of my minor league games, and I'm pretty sure close to 100% (if not 100%, outright) of MLB umpires would have called it exactly the same way. Once an infielder turns his chest towards the infield and waives off the outfielder...he has shown ordinary effort (as that term is understood on the professional level). This was really not a hard call on the professional level.
  9. lawump

    Ruling on this play

    This Coronavirus, no-baseball, isolation is getting to a lot of you guys, huh?
  10. Other than the time I had a three-man crew comprised of all veterans (all had worked at least one state championship game) kick the CO rule 3-times in the SAME playoff game against the same team (they took multiple runs off the board against the that team...who ended up losing by one run)...I've never seen it incorrectly administered in a game. (That's a true story.) With that said, umpires not doing their job (learning and administering the rules correctly) shouldn't result in a kid having a home run (or even a hit) taken away from him, IMHO. I know that it doesn't happen often, but it has absolutely happened. (It has happened in my district a couple of times over the years.) And I know one could get into a debate about "how many times does this actually happen" to justify changing the rule...and I appreciate the dissenting view...but for me, one time is too much as you're penalizing the offense for the mistake of the defense which is, IMHO, against the total "spirit" of the rules. I know this has been hashed out and argued a number of times on these boards over the years...so I won't go further. Outside of this forum, I just know that twice I had enough votes on the baseball rules committee to change this rule to the OBR rule, but that twice the NFHS executive committee rejected it. So, while I am not privy to the executive committee's thinking, I don't see this rule changing anytime soon...even if 100% of all umpires in this year's survey state they want a delayed dead ball. So, in reality, I've moved on. I expect the current rule to be the rule for a long, long time in NFHS.
  11. LOL. One of my rationales was that almost all (not 100%...but I'm guessing a super-majority) high school umpires officiate other levels of baseball besides high school. And whether they umpire Little League, Dixie, USSSA, NCAA, American Legion, Babe Ruth, etc...they have to know the delayed dead ball balk rule. So, I would expect that a super-majority of high school umpires should already know the rule. Maybe I'm wrong; but this is certainly the case for the four states I have umpired amateur baseball in my life: Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.
  12. I voted to change to a delayed dead ball balk rule, twice, while on the committee.
  13. I have it from a very reliable source that there will not be a 2021 edition of the NFHS rule book. Due to the virus, there will be no baseball rules change process this year. The 2020 edition of the rule book will be the rule book for the 2021 baseball season.
  14. lawump

    Illegal Pitch?

    I am because I think that was the drafter’s intent. Thanks for your reply.
  15. lawump

    Illegal Pitch?

    Okay, @maven: I'll throw myself out there. When I saw the video on my social media feed (and without looking at a rulebook) I immediately thought it was a balk (if the pitcher was pitching from the windup with the bases loaded). Specifically, I thought it was a balk because the pitcher removed his hand from the ball without delivering it to the plate (or to a base on a pickoff). Some people on other sites have argued that although this pitcher removed his hands from the ball multiple times during this course of this wind-up/delivery, this is legal because of the language in the rule which reads "other than in an actual pitch." I, personally, have always read that rule as providing an exception which allows the hand to come off the ball as the ball is being propelled (pitched) toward the batter (or to a base on a pickoff). One would be hard-pressed to convince me that the rules drafters intended "other than in an actual pitch" to mean that the pitcher can remove his hand from the ball multiple times during the entirety of his wind-up;delivery.
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