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1 Ump Mechanics on R2/R3 Sac Flys

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First I will state that I as a coach and parent and I hate games with only 1 umpire as much as the umpires do.  I would gladly pay more to have 2 umps at each game.  It is a giant compromise that is sometimes unavoidable.  It takes better than average umps to do a good job when there is only 1 ump.  Our regular league always has 2 and the first tournament we played had 2. but this weekend's tournament only had 1.  It was the first time in over a year we played with only 1 and I forgot about a lot of the compromises made.

We had 2 sac fly situations with R2/R3 with 1 out and  the 3rd out made on R2 going to 3rd.  2 different umps handled it very differently. 

On the first one the ump went up 3BL, saw R3 tag up after the CF caught the ball, but kept his back to home plate to watch the close play at third.  He could not possibly see the timing of R3 touching home plate and the 3rd out at 3rd base.  

On the second one the ump stayed 3BLX and was able to see R3 tag up at 3rd after the catch and the timing of R3 touching home and the 3rd out at 3rd, which seems much better than what the first ump did.  But it still left him over 80 feet way from the close play at 3rd (unusual 75' base paths).

Is there a mechanic in the middle of these 2 where the ump goes up 3BL and faces the mound with his head on a swivel so that he can both see the touch of home and be in better position to see the tag at 3rd?  Or is this one of those 1 ump compromises that no one will ever be happy with?

 

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Is there a mechanic in the middle of these 2 where the ump goes up 3BL and faces the mound with his head on a swivel so that he can both see the touch of home and be in better position to see the tag at 3rd?  Or is this one of those 1 ump compromises that no one will ever be happy with?

 

If the play is close enough, then the compromise is no better on the timing aspect than being all the way at third, and it's worse for the tag play.

 

You saw the two realistic options, and, yes, they suck.  I usually went up the line toward third and "guessed" at the timing.

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My mechanic would be to stay go up the third base line keeping the whole field and possible plays in front of you. I'd probably be up third base line but ready to move into fair territory between the line and mound to get an angle on the play after I saw where the throw was headed. If there is no play at home, the runner doesn't have to slide and there is an unmistakable thud as his foot hits home. Many times on one man's I've have to use the "thud" to make a decision. 

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I don't work 1-man...and if I did I'd do it from behind the mound.  But in my opinion, home plate and runs scored are a much higher priority than tags at 3B.  I would stay at the plate and line up for the tag and time play and give up the distance at 3B.  Chances are that I could get that call right at 3B more often than I could judge a whacker of a time play where I had to try and account for an out call at 3B then try to turn and look at HP and make a guess on the timing.  If the coach can call it from the dugout like they do all the time, I think I could get it from the plate...and I wouldn't be much interested in any criticism either.

1-Man is such a disservice to all parties in a game.  I can't believe that people really do that on purpose.

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I work A TON of 1 man, including a lot of 90ft 1 man. I'd say it depends where the ball is hit to.  If it's hit to RF I'm going to try to get a bit up the 3rd base line (in foul territory) so I can get the tag ups.  Then I'm heading back home for a likely play at the plate. 

I'm guessing that on your play the ball was hit left of 2nd base (since the play ended up being at 3rd), so in that case, I'd go 3BLX (maybe a bit toward 1st) to get the tag ups.  After the catch/tag ups I'm staying there until I'm sure we have no play at the plate (remember, that's the #1 priority).  Once I see that 3rd is the likely play, I'm going to head out toward the mound (working area) so I can have an angle on 3rd base, and home (for the touch).  Getting a good angle is going to be better than gaining distance anyway.   

In my mind, hauling down to 3rd - although well intentioned - is case of too much hustle, not enough smarts (something almost every hard working 1 man ump is guilty of from time to time).  By heading to 3rd he's lost the time play (as you pointed out) and also may put himself in a position where he's chasing the play coming home if the ball gets away from F5.  By staying in the working area, he'd have a decent look at both - you see the play, than glance for the touch.   Sure, you aren't going to see the actual tag (most likely) but in 1 man, 90% of the time its "throw beat the runner, tag was down, we have an out." 

 

 

 

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We had 2 sac fly situations with R2/R3 with 1 out and  the 3rd out made on R2 going to 3rd. 

I apologize for straying off-topic for an umpire forum, but where did these guys learn to coach and run bases?  The Puig Academy?  WTF?

 

Edited by basejester
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I apologize for straying off-topic for an umpire forum, but where did these guys learn to coach and run bases?  The Puig Academy?  WTF?

 

The ball looked like it was hit deeper than it was, or 75 feet takes longer to run than the 70 feet they are used to, or the CF was really good.  Mostly a combination of those things.

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The ball looked like it was hit deeper than it was, or 75 feet takes longer to run than the 70 feet they are used to, or the CF was really good.  Mostly a combination of those things.

The conventional baseball wisdom is that scoring from second base and scoring from third with two outs both require a base hit to the outfield, so there's no much to be gained by taking a chance with two outs to achieve third base.  This is compounded in your example by potentially blocking the team's run by the problematic timing play.  If R2 can't coast into third base standing up in this situation, there's been a strategic mistake.

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The conventional baseball wisdom is that scoring from second base and scoring from third with two outs both require a base hit to the outfield, so there's no much to be gained by taking a chance with two outs to achieve third base. 

Correct, although in youth ball there's also a reasonable chance of scoring from third on a passed ball / wild pitch that must be taken into consideration.

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Correct, although in youth ball there's also a reasonable chance of scoring from third on a passed ball / wild pitch that must be taken into consideration.

That's a valid point.

 

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Thank you for the responses on how to handle this type of situation.  It sounds like one of those sucky compromises that must be made. 

And yes our team has run into too many outs in our 2 tournaments this summer.  But we are just a summer only rec league based travel team with a total of only 3 practices together so far that is playing against full time travel teams.  We (players and coaches) need to learn that you can't get away with certain things against better competition that you can during rec league play. It is all part of the learning experience that is 11U baseball.

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Just remember that it is a learning experience for the umpires, to

Honestly, for 11U baseball it sounds like your umpires did a remarkably good job at least trying to do the right thing.   As @noumpere said, 11U is very much a training ground for young umpires.  

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I certainly understand that youth baseball is often the training ground for young umpires.  The umpires for both of these calls were certainly adults and one was older than I am.  I realize that age does not equal experience.  I will note that the older umpire is the one that stayed 3BLX and could see timing of the play at 3rd and the touch at home, so maybe he did have more experience. 

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