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beerguy55

Asking ump if a pitch would have been a strike

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I've asked umpires if the pitch I swung at was a strike, and they've typically answered with yes, no, or pretty close, and I give a little "thank you".  

I'm just trying to establish one simple thing - Are the umpire and I seeing the same strike zone.  Don't really care who's right or wrong because only one opinion matters.

Except this one exchange:

Me: Was that a strike?

Him: Yeah - You swung at it.   (this is either him being a smart-ass or him being Rainman/Captain Obvious - I bit my tongue)

Me: Would it have been a strike if I didn't swing?

Him: We've been instructed to not answer that question.

Me: ???

Can you see where umpire groups would have this instruction?  Or have you seen it?   Do you answer this question when asked?

Is it more likely he just didn't want to answer the question?  Or maybe didn't know the answer?  

I've also asked on half swings ruled as strikes "did you call it, or did I go?"   I've never had a problem getting the response - I called it, you went, or both/didn't matter..."thank you".

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I've never heard that instruction (pro school, regional camps, state clinics, or anywhere else).

I've never issued that instruction and never would.

On check swings, if he went, I come up with "Yes he did, strike 2!" or whatever. If not, I'll call the pitch, and I might add "on the pitch" after, for the batter to hear.

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And there should be no issue with an umpire choosing to answer it or not. He already said most umpires don't have an issue telling him. Great. Just don't expect every umpire to do the same. If I'm coming out of a game where both teams rode me about calls, and in the second game, I have 2-3 guys open up asking about the zone, I'm probably not going to be my happy-go-lightly self. 

Here's how his conversation with me would have gone. As long as it was kept in a relaxed tone. But he was the one who mentioned the PU was being a smart ass or Captain Obvious, so I'm assuming his tone might not have been as cordial. 

Batter: Was that a strike?

Me: Yeah - You swung at it. (With a smile)

Batter: Would it have been a strike if I didn't swing?

Me: What do you think?

Batter: Yes (It looked outside)

Me: You would have been right (or wrong)? 

Why are you making a simple question so frickin difficult? Just give a simple, honest answer and don't be such a redass. Good lord.

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Honestly, that's what BP is for. I teach the kids to watch the bat hit the ball. It's their job to know when they missed. 

Plus there are a multitude of reasons that you missed, did you swing early, late, high, low, etc. So it doesn't matter where it was, you thought you could hit it. I had a kid last year who would hit anything at head level, do I tell him not to swing at those? No, I'm gonna let him get the hits, I can work with him on the other stuff. You don't necessarily swing at only strikes, you swing at pitches you can hit. That's what you learn in BP 

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17 minutes ago, Mister B said:

Honestly, that's what BP is for. I teach the kids to watch the bat hit the ball. It's their job to know when they missed. 

Plus there are a multitude of reasons that you missed, did you swing early, late, high, low, etc. So it doesn't matter where it was, you thought you could hit it. I had a kid last year who would hit anything at head level, do I tell him not to swing at those? No, I'm gonna let him get the hits, I can work with him on the other stuff. You don't necessarily swing at only strikes, you swing at pitches you can hit. That's what you learn in BP 

I'm not wondering why I missed.  I'm pretty sure I know why I missed and it has nothing to do with the strike zone.  I'm wondering if I let it go if it would have been a ball.

You do both.  You swing at what you can hit, even if it's not a strike, and you don't swing at what you can't hit, even if it is.  Until there's two strikes, then you better be swinging at anything that the ump MIGHT call a strike.  With two strikes, I'm swinging at a pitch I don't necessarily like, solely because I think it's a strike.  I'm simply confirming if I'm seeing the same thing the umpire is seeing.

It absolutely matters where it was.

I'm not Rogers Hornsby.

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Batters ask all the time. I have zero issue telling them yes or no as long as it is not one every pitch they wiff at.

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27 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

It absolutely matters where it was.

I'm not Rogers Hornsby.

Not to me. You swung and missed, it's a strike.

In your first post, you asked if it was a strike. Now you are interested if it was a ball. I might answer that once. After that, you are on your own. If you want to ask me if something was inside or outside, I'm more likely to respond. The umpire is not seeing what you are seeing. You guys have a completely different perspective. 

This is where baseball is a team sport. Talk to your team mates, again, something I tell the kids. Talk to each other. If the umpire isn't giving you that high and outside pitch, let your team know. Those are the guys who are seeing what you are seeing. 

If you want to become a better hitter, worry about where the ball is relative to you not relative to the strike zone.

I sure hope you aren't Hornsby, he's been dead a long time. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Mister B said:

Not to me. 

In your first post, you asked if it was a strike. Now you are interested if it was a ball. I might answer that once. 

Does it really matter which way I ask the question?

Was it a strike?  Well, duh, you swung.  Was it a ball?  Well, duh, you swung.   Would it have been a strike if I didn't swing?  Would it have been a ball if I didn't swing?  You're telling me you would answer one of those questions and not the other?!?!?!

11 minutes ago, Mister B said:

The umpire is not seeing what you are seeing. You guys have a completely different perspective. 

 Which is exactly why I'm asking the question.  What looks like a strike to me might not look like a strike to Blue, and it's Blue's perspective I want to understand because with a full count and bases loaded with the winning run on third base, the only perspective, and opinion, that matters is the guy behind the catcher.   

19 minutes ago, Mister B said:

If you want to become a better hitter, worry about where the ball is relative to you not relative to the strike zone.

Which is a luxury one can't afford with two strikes.  I hit just fine, thank you. And 9 times out of ten I don't get to two strikes so I don't need to worry about it.  However, if there's a pitch I absolutely hate to hit...or suck at hitting...for whatever reason...I'm not swinging at it unless there are two strikes and I'm pretty sure that Blue is gonna call it a strike.

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43 minutes ago, Mister B said:

Not to me. You swung and missed, it's a strike.

In your first post, you asked if it was a strike. Now you are interested if it was a ball. I might answer that once. After that, you are on your own. If you want to ask me if something was inside or outside, I'm more likely to respond. The umpire is not seeing what you are seeing. You guys have a completely different perspective. 

This is where baseball is a team sport. Talk to your team mates, again, something I tell the kids. Talk to each other. If the umpire isn't giving you that high and outside pitch, let your team know. Those are the guys who are seeing what you are seeing. 

If you want to become a better hitter, worry about where the ball is relative to you not relative to the strike zone.

I sure hope you aren't Hornsby, he's been dead a long time. 

 

You sound like you're gunning for an argument.

There's absolutely no issue with a batter asking if a pitch he missed was a strike. 

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3 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

I've asked umpires if the pitch I swung at was a strike, and they've typically answered with yes, no, or pretty close, and I give a little "thank you".  

I'm just trying to establish one simple thing - Are the umpire and I seeing the same strike zone.  Don't really care who's right or wrong because only one opinion matters.

Except this one exchange:

Me: Was that a strike?

Him: Yeah - You swung at it.   (this is either him being a smart-ass or him being Rainman/Captain Obvious - I bit my tongue)

Me: Would it have been a strike if I didn't swing?

Him: We've been instructed to not answer that question.

Me: ???

Can you see where umpire groups would have this instruction?  Or have you seen it?   Do you answer this question when asked?

Is it more likely he just didn't want to answer the question?  Or maybe didn't know the answer?  

I've also asked on half swings ruled as strikes "did you call it, or did I go?"   I've never had a problem getting the response - I called it, you went, or both/didn't matter..."thank you".

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If I, as a Plate Umpire, tell the battery (to and through the catcher) where that pitch missed ("Just inside, Just Outside, Didn't catch the corner, broke high", etc.), then I should be willing to tell the batter similar. So to the question, "Would that have been a strike?" or "Was that in the zone?", I reply "Yes", "No" (rarely asked), "Borderline" or something like "You fouled it off, couldn't tell for sure." These players are up there to hitand if any brief information I give them is going to encourage them on that endeavour, I don't see the reason not to provide it.

There is such an audible difference between my strike looking and strike swinging mechanics that there isn't a need to qualify whether the strike was on the swing or the pitch. If you gave a half-swing, and I determine you went, I state, "Yes he did!" or "On the attempt!" and silently make my side-shot strike mechanic. If the pitch was a strike, in the zone, and you give a half-swing, it is inconsequential, and I give my full, emphatic, trademark, bellowing strike mechanic. I never call "strike" on a pitch swinging; I think there are still some amateur umpires who do, and this sets up the potential inquiries you ( @beerguy55 ) listed.

This has no origin in any kind of official instruction. This has to be some cadre or association or bunch-o'-umpires at a tournament who (and all it takes is just one) must have been embroiled in an argument during an at-bat about pitch location. So, to squelch off any further potential arguments, the UIC or senior guy told the gang not to "feed the bears", as in "don't engage 'em, don't tell 'em where pitches missed, etc.".

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This question is generally asked during the first time through the order, after that hitters figure it out.

I have no problem with answering it, but don't ask on every pitch. Wording can go a long way to like - "was that in the zone"?

I have had batters ask if the pitch was at the outside of the zone before - a nod yes or no always works. Generally the ones that ask that are college guys, with a pretty good eye.

Like above, we answer the catcher, why not answer the batter? If they want to 'discuss the zone', I won't play that game - it is a yes or no answer.

 

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2 hours ago, Mister B said:

And there should be no issue with an umpire choosing to answer it or not. He already said most umpires don't have an issue telling him. Great. Just don't expect every umpire to do the same. If I'm coming out of a game where both teams rode me about calls, and in the second game, I have 2-3 guys open up asking about the zone, I'm probably not going to be my happy-go-lightly self. 

Here's how his conversation with me would have gone. As long as it was kept in a relaxed tone. But he was the one who mentioned the PU was being a smart ass or Captain Obvious, so I'm assuming his tone might not have been as cordial. 

Batter: Was that a strike?

Me: Yeah - You swung at it. (With a smile)

Batter: Would it have been a strike if I didn't swing?

Me: What do you think?

Batter: Yes (It looked outside)

Me: You would have been right (or wrong)? 

Your first answer is baiting.

Answer the damn question. There is no reason not to (barring some reason that you could reasonably ascribe to arguing.)

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2 minutes ago, Matt said:

Your first answer is baiting.

Answer the damn question. There is no reason not to (barring some reason that you could reasonably ascribe to arguing.)

"Was that a strike" is a little ambiguous, you have to admit. Especially if it was a check swing. "Was that pitch in the zone" would always get a straight response. 

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6 minutes ago, Stk004 said:

"Was that a strike" is a little ambiguous, you have to admit. Especially if it was a check swing. "Was that pitch in the zone" would always get a straight response. 

I get that. Some situations it may not be apparent which portion of the call the batter is referencing. But that's not the case in the situation I was answering.

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First, it was a strike, he swung at it. Question answered. 

1 hour ago, Matt said:

Your first answer is baiting.

Answer the damn question. There is no reason not to (barring some reason that you could reasonably ascribe to arguing.)

The question is dumb. 

Perhaps I don't have enough seasons under my belt. (I don't) Perhaps I do too many rec league games, where stupid questions and facepalms are the norm. But I answered the damn question. He swung, it was a strike. The check swing was a separate, additional question.

From now on, I'll leave out the snark. 

Batter: Was that a strike?

Me: Yep.

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@Mister B, I get the sense you are reading the question as questioning your (our) integrity of the call of strike.

To give you a hint towards the "real" meaning, I've had the same question worded as, "Woulda been one?"

Some hitters take their hitting skill very seriously, and want to know, genuinely and without malice, whether or not that pitch that they just swung at would have been a strike had they not swung. They want to make that adjustment in "their sights". Far more often than not, they are not questioning your judgement or integrity.

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@MadMax, some of it is that, some of it is attitude, most of it is HTBT. Asking "Was that a strike?" after swinging at a pitch is a dumb question. Perhaps there was a different meaning, but expecting every umpire to know what you mean is presumptuous. "Woulda been one?" is a better way to phrase the question, there is an implication that the batter knows it was a strike by definition. But to refer to the PU as a Smart Ass and biting his tongue shows a lack of respect. But HTBT. Maybe the PU was in a playful mood, maybe he wasn't. We don't know. In this case, it seems that the batter wanted a certain amount of respect. If that's the case, he needs to show the umpire the same respect and instead of thinking of the PU as a smart ass, and rephrasing the question in a manner that could show some condescension. He could have said, "Okay, dumb question. What if I hadn't swung?" As for the conversation after that, who knows why the PU said what he did. 

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@MadMax, some of it is that, some of it is attitude, most of it is HTBT. Asking "Was that a strike?" after swinging at a pitch is a dumb question. Perhaps there was a different meaning, but expecting every umpire to know what you mean is presumptuous. "Woulda been one?" is a better way to phrase the question, there is an implication that the batter knows it was a strike by definition. But to refer to the PU as a Smart Ass and biting his tongue shows a lack of respect. But HTBT. Maybe the PU was in a playful mood, maybe he wasn't. We don't know. In this case, it seems that the batter wanted a certain amount of respect. If that's the case, he needs to show the umpire the same respect and instead of thinking of the PU as a smart ass, and rephrasing the question in a manner that could show some condescension. He could have said, "Okay, dumb question. What if I hadn't swung?" As for the conversation after that, who knows why the PU said what he did. 

We all know what/why he's asking...Don't be a jerk.

Answering just with Yep works... He knows he should swing at that pitch (even if it would be a ball)

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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5 hours ago, Mister B said:

@MadMax, some of it is that, some of it is attitude, most of it is HTBT. Asking "Was that a strike?" after swinging at a pitch is a dumb question. Perhaps there was a different meaning, but expecting every umpire to know what you mean is presumptuous. "Woulda been one?" is a better way to phrase the question, there is an implication that the batter knows it was a strike by definition. But to refer to the PU as a Smart Ass and biting his tongue shows a lack of respect. But HTBT. Maybe the PU was in a playful mood, maybe he wasn't. We don't know. In this case, it seems that the batter wanted a certain amount of respect. If that's the case, he needs to show the umpire the same respect and instead of thinking of the PU as a smart ass, and rephrasing the question in a manner that could show some condescension. He could have said, "Okay, dumb question. What if I hadn't swung?" As for the conversation after that, who knows why the PU said what he did. 

@Mister B ....... Have you ever played the game?  Your comments in this thread would lead people to believe you haven't.   It's not a dumb question to a hitter who wants to make sure he understands what HE THINKS is his strike zone.  Don't be a smartass, and don't be a dumbass, and finally, don't be a redass.  Answer the flipping question because you KNOW why he's asking.....but then again ....if you think it's a dumb question, maybe you don't know. :HS 

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6 hours ago, Mister B said:

@MadMax, some of it is that, some of it is attitude, most of it is HTBT. Asking "Was that a strike?" after swinging at a pitch is a dumb question. Perhaps there was a different meaning, but expecting every umpire to know what you mean is presumptuous. "Woulda been one?" is a better way to phrase the question, there is an implication that the batter knows it was a strike by definition. But to refer to the PU as a Smart Ass and biting his tongue shows a lack of respect. But HTBT. Maybe the PU was in a playful mood, maybe he wasn't. We don't know. In this case, it seems that the batter wanted a certain amount of respect. If that's the case, he needs to show the umpire the same respect and instead of thinking of the PU as a smart ass, and rephrasing the question in a manner that could show some condescension. He could have said, "Okay, dumb question. What if I hadn't swung?" As for the conversation after that, who knows why the PU said what he did. 

I'm glad I haven't had the displeasure of working with jackasses such as yourself.  You seem to be creating more problems than you solve. 

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9 hours ago, grayhawk said:

Why are you making a simple question so frickin difficult? Just give a simple, honest answer and don't be such a redass. Good lord.

^^^  THIS  ^^^

That being said, I will entertain this inquiry at the beginning of a game and maybe for one or two pitches (same with catchers), after that they better figure it out and most importantly (to me at least) I better stay consistent and not give them a reason to ask again.

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2 hours ago, ALStripes17 said:

We all know what/why he's asking...Don't be a jerk.

Answering just with Yep works... He knows he should swing at that pitch (even if it would be a ball)

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Who's being a jerk now?

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2 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Who's being a jerk now?

ALStripes17 isn't being a jerk at all .... that comment in bold is a thought

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Who's being a jerk now?

The point was that answering just 'yep' actually manages the conversation and keeps it succinct.

The batter is only asking bc the pitch was borderline. It's not jerkish to tell him 'yes'.

If a similar pitch comes by anyway, the batter/catcher will always see it in their favor anyway... Them using 'you said that was a ball(strike) earlier' is an excuse because we know one pitch is NEVER the EXACT same as a previous one.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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On 1/10/2017 at 8:32 AM, ALStripes17 said:

The point was that answering just 'yep' actually manages the conversation and keeps it succinct.

The batter is only asking bc the pitch was borderline. It's not jerkish to tell him 'yes'.

If a similar pitch comes by anyway, the batter/catcher will always see it in their favor anyway... Them using 'you said that was a ball(strike) earlier' is an excuse because we know one pitch is NEVER the EXACT same as a previous one.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

I never thought I'd create this crapstorm.  

Anyway, from my perspective, I'm not questioning the umpire's judgment, I'm questioning mine.  I just want to see if I'm seeing what the ump is seeing.  I'm not gonna hold the ump to that exact point in time and space later in the game or the season...it's just another piece of information to help me as a hitter.

I've only ever asked the question on third strike because my batting approach leads to it:

1. I'm very aggressive - I like, and hit well, a lot of pitches, and not all of them are in the zone - as a result, I might get to two strikes one in ten at bats, and I might strike out one in 100 at bats.

2. So, until two strikes, I really don't care if it's in the strike zone or not...if I like the pitch I'm taking a crack at it

3. And, there are pitches in the strike zone I'm very weak with - I don't swing at those until I have two strikes.

4. So, with two strikes I want to be sure I'm on the same page as the umpire.  If it's a pitch I like I'm swinging regardless of where it is.  But if it's a pitch I hate, I'm only swinging at it if I'm pretty sure the ump will call it a strike.

 

When I do hitting clinics for my players and association in the off season I ask the players "have you ever had an umpire call a third strike that was either at your chin or at your ankles?"  They, of course, all say "yes".  And my response is "Why are you giving the pitcher two strikes?"

 

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