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Four Base Award

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  1. Official press release from last month 8/17/2022- "With the recent announcement that Major League Baseball will be recruiting, training, and developing their prospective umpires exclusively, the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy will cease operations immediately." Given the radical changes to how professional umpires are recruited and trained, I believe this forum section should be retired. MiLB Umpire Academy no longer exists and I have not seen much discussion about the change on this forum. I think it is important to recognize this reality for any prospective umpires thinking about the professional path.
  2. Here's the situation from my 14u game under Fed rules today: R1 leading off, no other runners. F1 comes set, lifts his foot, and spins around like he's attempting a pickoff move to 2nd base. F1 does not throw the ball, then feints a throw to 1st base and R1 goes back in safely. In the moment, I couldn't quite remember the exact rule on this. I called a balk because 2nd base was unoccupied and R1 was not stealing. No argument from anyone on the field at the time. After the game, I found the exact rule with a caveat I had forgotten about: NFHS rule 6-2-4b states the following is a balk, "throwing or feinting to any unoccupied base when it is not an attempt to put out or drive back a runner." The part in bold has me wondering if my balk call was correct in this situation. No throw was made, so there was no attempt to put out the runner. However, the pump fake to 1st did drive back the runner. My question is therefore two-fold: 1. Do you have a balk in this situation? 2. Would your call be any different if he actually threw the ball to 1st base after attempting a pickoff to an unoccupied base? --- Thank you fellow umpires!
  3. After I finished cringing at myself underneath my mask for what felt like an eternity (it was two seconds), I stood by the verbal call of a ball. Even though it was a strike and I signaled strike, my instinct in the moment told me to follow my verbal call. Part of the problem is that I currently verbalize every ball a little louder than probably I should! I'm loud on the field and that's usually a good thing, but I will the volume a bit on my ball calls across the board. I think this will help train my brain to differentiate better between my ball and strike mechanics. Here's my question: You're the umpire in my situation. You just gave conflicting mechanics, signaling a strike but verballing calling ball. What do you do?
  4. This is probably a dumb question, hence why I want to ask it on the internet instead of face-to-face with my uic. I'm working my first tournament this weekend and hence, my first dealings with time limits. The tourney rules are Fed-based with mods, including: "2 hour time limit. No new inning shall begin after 2 hours." Here's my question... if the visiting team is winning in the top of an inning and the time limit expires, we play the bottom of the inning, right? The rule says inning, which I interpret as a full inning. I would think that if I was supposed to halt the game at a half-inning no matter what, the rules would clarify such a thing. Or am I crazy, and a "no new inning" rule usually goes by half innings no matter the score? (let's be real, we don't care about the score anyway. It's just paperwork)
  5. Thank you for all of the honest answers! I will clean and sanitize my new-to-me plate shoes before my next game. If I lace them properly next time they will likely feel more comfortable. Hopefully, they will feel less heavy as I get used to wearing them. Based on your responses, I will wear my plate shoes every time I'm behind the dish. Hopefully these used shoes can get me through the year and I can upgrade for '23!
  6. Hey all! Brand new umpire here who plans on working games of various levels/age groups. I scored a pair of used plate shoes in my size at my local Play It Again for $20! They are old and heavy, but overall in decent condition. My first game behind the plate was today, 13u travel ball, and I just felt like the plate shoes were a bit unnecessary since none of the pitchers threw very hard. Since these shoes are kinda heavy and I want them to last as long as possible, I'm thinking about ditching the plate shoes for my base sneakers for any game 13-and-under. That way I'm still protected when 16-year old Chad is slinging 70mph bbs all over the backstop, but I feel more energized wearing sneakers for back-to-back 9u plates. What do you all think of my plan? Sneakers behind the plate for everything 13u, plate shoes for anything HS or 14+.
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