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Biscuit

Preparing between innings as the PU

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Just read this article from reffere.com and wanted to get the forum's opinions on the contents of the article, and one of the comments left. Essentially the comment suggests practicing your positioning for balls in the infield before the top and bottom of the first inning. It seems to make a lot of sense to me, but I'm not sure how much it would matter, nor if it would be optically appropriate.

Thoughts on any of this? Other tips for preparing and staying engaged between innings?

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2 hours ago, Biscuit said:

Just read this article from reffere.com and wanted to get the forum's opinions on the contents of the article, and one of the comments left. Essentially the comment suggests practicing your positioning for balls in the infield before the top and bottom of the first inning. It seems to make a lot of sense to me, but I'm not sure how much it would matter, nor if it would be optically appropriate.

Thoughts on any of this? Other tips for preparing and staying engaged between innings?

I do it, as do a lot of fellow umpires.  It's not so much a positioning thing to me, it's observing the fielder's throws and the 1b ability to field the ball properly.

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I thought it was a really good article.  I typically am doing most of those things, particularly watching the throws to first and how F3 is catching (is he pulling his foot before the ball gets there, is he moving into/onto the bag routinely, etc) and then watching F2’s throw down to second (who took the throw, how accurate was the throw, where are the back up fielders going, etc.).

Initially I developed that habit just as a way to make sure I was looking at all thrown balls and wasn’t going to get whacked unknowingly.  Over time I realized all the nuances I could pick up on.

I think you misunderstood the “positioning” part Biscuit ... there is a lot of information you can gather ahead of time to help your positioning, not necessarily “practice” it.

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Field conditions are things I look for when I first come onto the field, as they can either be remedied or raised in the pre-game meeting at home. Waiting until warm-ups is too late, because you're not going to hold up the start of the game to address the issue.

FWIW, I do not introduce myself to 1B coaches (or catchers, when on the plate). If they introduce themselves, I respond in kind, but I do not initiate this--just my personality. YMMV.

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14 hours ago, Biscuit said:

Just read this article from reffere.com and wanted to get the forum's opinions on the contents of the article, and one of the comments left. Essentially the comment suggests practicing your positioning for balls in the infield before the top and bottom of the first inning. It seems to make a lot of sense to me, but I'm not sure how much it would matter, nor if it would be optically appropriate.

Thoughts on any of this? Other tips for preparing and staying engaged between innings?

This year I started working on my footwork in the first inning as the infielders make their warm up throws.  I stand in the deep infield and treat their throws just like plays. Watch the throw, pivot, focus on the bag, read F3 and listen for the pop.

Then watch F2s throw and away we go.

Found this is a great way to get my brain and eyes synched up BEFORE a real decision needs to be made and nudges the muscle memory for the footwork and call timing. Only do it in the first inning though.

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4 hours ago, Jimurray said:

Is the PU supposed to point to the BU or BUs before every half inning. I see it done but I thought it was a smitty thing. 

I've never done this.

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I don't do the commenter's suggestion, but I do what the article mentioned. Even after the first inning, I'll play what I've called "where's the throw?" in my head. I'll watch the release of the infielders' throws and guess where it'll be - too high (F3 has to jump or lets it sail), high (F3 has to reach above his head), perfect (between head and knees), low (knees to ground, but no bounce), or too low (bounced). I'll also try to play left-to-right, but that's a bit more difficult.

One thing I do have to remember, especially at lower levels, is that the kids aren't always giving their best efforts during infield. If you do, you're opening yourself up to over-anticipating how the players will play.

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On 7/27/2019 at 10:27 AM, Jimurray said:

Is the PU supposed to point to the BU or BUs before every half inning. I see it done but I thought it was a smitty thing. 

Not every half-inning. As PU, I do it before the top-1st.

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1 hour ago, yawetag said:

Not every half-inning. As PU, I do it before the top-1st.

While this might have helped an MLB ump who started without his U1 is this a thing that should happen? Is it done in pro or college. I’ve never seen it. 

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I wrote an article in Referee Magazine a couple of years ago titled "The Eyes Have It" which talks about watching the infield warm up between innings.  I do this for several reasons, but the #1 reason is to train myself to see the throw out of the fielder's hand, judge if it's true or not, snap my eyes to the bag and listen for the ball to hit the glove and to see if the fielder's foot is on the bag.  Then, and this is the most important part of this drill, let my head and eyes travel up to the glove to ensure secure possession and voluntary release.  This "proper use of eyes" is the key component to good timing.  If you do this on every play, whether the BR is out by 10 feet, or if its a banger, then it's nearly impossible to make the call too quickly.  This drill creates muscle memory so when the game is on the line and your call is critical to the potential outcome, you will rely on this training to maintain proper timing.

Also, you don't have to be overt about it.  Just stand in short right field where you normally do and stand normally.  Nobody knows that you're practicing except you.

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1 hour ago, Jimurray said:

While this might have helped an MLB ump who started without his U1 is this a thing that should happen? Is it done in pro or college. I’ve never seen it. 

You (At least I) wouldn't likely notice.  The umpire is in almost the normal short-right position (maybe a couple of steps in) and just watches the warmups.  No moving to position, hands on knees, pausing, making a call, etc.

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1 hour ago, noumpere said:

You (At least I) wouldn't likely notice.  The umpire is in almost the normal short-right position (maybe a couple of steps in) and just watches the warmups.  No moving to position, hands on knees, pausing, making a call, etc.

I was only referring to the point at your partner/s.

 

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4 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

I was only referring to the point at your partner/s.

 

Oh -- that was SOP here for almost all games (with experienced umps) up through college at the start of the game (not each inning)

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The point before starting the game has been SOP since I've been umpiring. It's one last check to make sure your partner is ready to go. Make eye contact and give the point - then he points back.

After that, I'll always glance over to see if my partner is in position before I put the ball in play.

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Around here, some PUs point, others don't. Pointing was not taught when I started, ~40 years ago, so I usually don't do it (old habits die hard, as they say). But I do look at my partner and make eye contact to see if he's ready, especially when working with an ump who talks to everybody, coaches, players, fans.

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I do it for the primary purpose of warming up my brain to listen for the ball in the mitt and watch for the foot.  Obviously, there is no foot coming, but it gets you ready.  Also, reading arm strength and accuracy of infielders; reading the ball out of their hand on throws that will take the first baseman off the bag.  

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On 7/29/2019 at 4:29 PM, grayhawk said:

I wrote an article in Referee Magazine a couple of years ago titled "The Eyes Have It" which talks about watching the infield warm up between innings. 

@grayhawk Any chance you could provide a link?   I couldn't find it with a simple search on referee.com.

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[mention=1498]grayhawk[/mention] Any chance you could provide a link?   I couldn't find it with a simple search on referee.com.


It was in the print version. I’ll see if I can scan a copy.

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48 minutes ago, grayhawk said:

 


It was in the print version. I’ll see if I can scan a copy.

 

So basically, you've been published in a fields leading journal?

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So basically, you've been published in a fields leading journal?


Twice, actually. I did another one called “Tips for New Umpires” as well.

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3 hours ago, rzanew said:

@grayhawk Any chance you could provide a link?   I couldn't find it with a simple search on referee.com.

Here it is.  It was in the July 2017 edition.

referee_article.pdf

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Early on in this season, i felt i was calling out/safes too fast on the bases. At first, it was just realizing to myself on correct calls i made that if something went wrong with the throw/catch/foot missing bag, i could have left myself out to dry and either make an incorrect call, or stumble and stutter to make the correct signal. It morphed into a real struggle with myself to slow myself down during games. Eventually, I had a blown call or two over a span of a few games, mixed in with having to correct an out to a safe when the fielder came up juggling the ball on a catch that should have been clean.. 

After talking about my timing issues with a couple of partners I trust, I recalled somewhere (probably in this great forum) that I could try practicing my whole routine and timing during between-inning warmups throughout the game. Well, I tell you, immediate good results! My timing is so much better, and its been 6 plus weeks with it being not an issue, right through the heart of the big tourneys, showcases and summer league playoffs.. 

I have been able to concentrate on introducing a little more advanced mechanics, like setting later after reading and moving on imperfect throws, getting closer and a better angle before setting on steal attempts, wedge maneuvers at plays at second when appropriate, etc. I signed up for an advanced 2-man camp in 2 weeks and feel like i am going in at peak and will be able to pull more advanced stuff out of it.. 

I highly recommend what they describe in those two articles above..

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