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Guest Hank

Signals

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Guest Hank

Under FED Rules; What is the proper signal for no catch in the outfield? I have heard and seen safe signal low to the ground, pointing at the ground and safe signal like a safe call at a base.

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No rule dictates proper signals. Signals are part of umpire mechanics, and proper signals are given in mechanics manuals.

The proper mechanic for "no catch" is to signal "safe" and verbalize "no catch." There's no special "version" of the safe signal for "no catch," and pointing to the ground is a not standard signal.

Mechanics such as signals are tools for communicating our calls. Where no communication is needed — a clean base hit bouncing 3 times in front of an outfielder — no signal is needed. On a very close "trap" play, both signal and verbalization should be used. For plays in between the obvious and the very tight, we can use just a signal. When in doubt, use both.

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The NFHS Baseball Rule Book does show official baseball umpire signals on pages 72-73 of the 2015 edition. A PlayPic is provided for each signal and instructions are given for each drawing. Here is the text that goes with PlayPic F (the signal for safe):

“Coordinate verbal call, ‘Safe.’ Signal also used for dropped balls in the outfield and to determine if a batter’s checked swing was legal.”

And here’s a rule that tells us how to begin a game and what official signal to use:

Rule 10-2-3 . . . His duties include those listed in 10-2-1, 2 and the following: b. Call “Play” and use the correct hand signal to start the game or to resume play; and call “Time” whenever ball becomes dead.

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