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To Signal Or Not To Signal?

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Guest Fatcity

Was told  that we (UIC) no longer gives the safe signal if F2 does not catch K3? I only work Fed, 

if that makes any difference.

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What do "they" want you to do? You certainty can't stand there and do nothing. 

I have always given a safe signal and if necessary, a verbal "No catch" or "ball's down" so everyone knows what's going on.  

I've never been told I needed to do it a specific way...Just get the point across. 

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2 hours ago, Richvee said:

What do "they" want you to do? You certainty can't stand there and do nothing. 

I have always given a safe signal and if necessary, a verbal "No catch" or "ball's down" so everyone knows what's going on.  

I've never been told I needed to do it a specific way...Just get the point across. 

I've changed to the MLB right arm out signal but I don't think it's mandated at any of our levels. The safe works but sometimes it looks confusing as you're doing a safe-out when there is an immediate tag. 

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There is no NFHS mechanic.  By default that means the correct answer is you do nothing.

(Unless your state association has a defined mechanic.)

 

Personally, if it is an uncaught third strike, I simply give a loud “Strike 3!” and nothing else.  If it is a caught third strike that is close/questionable, I give a loud “Strike 3 - batter’s out!”

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5 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

There is no NFHS mechanic.  By default that means the correct answer is you do nothing.


(Unless your state association has a defined mechanic.)

Just because there is no specifically mandated mechanic  does not mean we should do nothing. Preventive officiating would suggest that @Richvee's "You certainty can't stand there and do nothing. " view would be one way to let all participants know what was seen, what is occurring, and how players ought to proceed.

Doing nothing would more likely lead to more of a sh*%show than doing something that is not necessarily in the the NFHS Umpires Manual

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7 hours ago, Jimurray said:

I've changed to the MLB right arm out signal but I don't think it's mandated at any of our levels. The safe works but sometimes it looks confusing as you're doing a safe-out when there is an immediate tag. 

Each case is different. There's the no catch and immediate pick up of the ball and tag by F2 that doesn't need a safe signal. There's other times when the batter turns looking to see if F2 caught it, and it may not be clear if F2 has indeed caught it or not. This would dictate the use of a safe sign, and perhaps a verbal so we all know what's happening. When I have a wild pitch, passed ball heading to the backstop, I'll usually open the gate for F2 while signaling safe. No need for a verbal when F2's chasing the ball. Probably no need for the safe signal either, but does convey to everyone that the batter swung at strike 3 but is not retired yet.  

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8 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

There is no NFHS mechanic.  By default that means the correct answer is you do nothing.

(Unless your state association has a defined mechanic.)

 

Personally, if it is an uncaught third strike, I simply give a loud “Strike 3!” and nothing else.  If it is a caught third strike that is close/questionable, I give a loud “Strike 3 - batter’s out!”

Always, always, always use a verbal statement on uncaught third strikes.

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32 minutes ago, WilsonFlyer said:

What is the "new" MLB signal? I don't know that I've noticed it.

Just extending your right arm out like the strike signal and holding it out there. Go to 2:20 for a good example. 

 

 

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Good information. I could adapt to that quite easily. I like it also. Going to talk to my regional supervisor about it. It makes a lot of sense to me.

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12 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

Just because there is no specifically mandated mechanic  does not mean we should do nothing. Preventive officiating would suggest that @Richvee's "You certainty can't stand there and do nothing. " view would be one way to let all participants know what was seen, what is occurring, and how players ought to proceed.

Doing nothing would more likely lead to more of a sh*%show than doing something that is not necessarily in the the NFHS Umpires Manual


I love the inconsistencies on this board ... “Don’t EVER do something not In the manual ... unless it isn’t in the manual and then you should go ahead and do it anyway.”

Umpire mechanics were developed for consistency and to make us look as if we know what we are doing and have authority.  Yes, mechanics can and do change.  Different sanctioning bodies have different mechanics for various reasons.  If your state’s arm of NFHS has a mechanic, use it.  What I said was NFHS does not have a prescribed mechanic ... that does not give you carte blanche to make up your own or use another sanction’s.

That said, yes, you need to manage the game.  Game management and mechanics are two totally different things, don’t get them confused.  Use verbal commands to this.  Ask yourself this: Who needs to know if the ball was caught or not?  The catcher and the batter ... are either one of them looking at your arms sticking out while you are standing there behind them?

When NFHS (or any sanction) prescribes a physical signal, I will use it.  Until then, I use the mechanic they prescribe ... which is none.  I will manage my game.

This is from a softball site I found online, but it is just as applicable here:

Do not be concerned that the signaling of the third strike by the plate umpire will be confused with calling the batter out. A plate umpire always signals a strike after the pitch was a strike. The rule, not umpire judgment, makes the batter either out or not out after the pitch is called a strike.

For example:
• Umpires do not signal the batter safe after strike one. The rule says she is still at bat.
• The rule says that the batter is out any time a third strike is caught.
• The rule says the batter is not out when the third strike is not caught and there are two outs or
no one is on first base.
• The rule says if a batter is entitled to run and she instead enters the dugout, she is out.

Umpires do not need to signal these outs. There is no umpire judgment involved. The batters are out by rule.
But not everyone understands these rules as well as umpires do and sometimes batters run, or are instructed to run, any time a third strike is dropped or even when a third strike is caught. Sometimes catchers play on running batters when the batters are already out. In those circumstances, because it is an umpire’s job to manage the game, the umpire should declare the ruling.  The umpire should signal an out and say: “The batter is out” if the batter runs when she is not entitled to, or she runs when she is entitled to but the umpire judged the third strike was caught, or when there is any confusion or a play is attempted.

If the batter is entitled to run, the umpire judges the third strike not caught, and a play is made, umpires simply umpire the play.
If catching of the third strike is questionable and the catcher holds up the ball in her glove as if to show she caught it, the umpire should respond with either: “Batter is out.” or “No catch.” depending on how the umpire judged the play or the information the umpire got from the base umpire.

 

 

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The problem, in my opinion, is *how* to verbalize it.

"no catch" could be mistaken for "catch"

"on the ground" or "it's down" could be mistaken for "out"

What do my fellow umpires verbalize, and has it ever been misinterpreted? My normal "signal" (and yes, it's right out of the MSU book), is to show an open hand and say "Nope" loud enough for the batter and catcher to hear. I'm willing to change if I can find a better way.

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I usually just give a signal(right hand point strike) for the obvious.  And give a "no" verbal when it isn't obvious so that catcher and batter can hear.  And a "yes he got that" when caught.  I do this with a long timing mechanic hoping that both catcher and batter will do my job for me.  If everyone is going in motion of offense moving and defense trying to make a put out, no need to make a mechanic IMO

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From watching a lot of Minor League baseball two man, it became clear to me that the safe signal was for when the ball was dropped and the catcher did not apply the tag within the area of home plate as the Batter Runner ran to first base. As a HS umpire it was being applied as soon as the ball was dropped by the catcher, so I was seeing and myself included mask off, safe signal to then be turned into an out. This is not a sport of immediate calls.

HS baseball is a different beast in every part of the country. I will continue to verbalize strike 3. I will use my regular hand signal. I am not changing my verbiage because of the signal change. 

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21 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

There is no NFHS mechanic.  By default that means the correct answer is you do nothing.

(Unless your state association has a defined mechanic.)

 

Personally, if it is an uncaught third strike, I simply give a loud “Strike 3!” and nothing else.  If it is a caught third strike that is close/questionable, I give a loud “Strike 3 - batter’s out!”

Wouldn't you also use the official NFHS "no catch" signal, which the batter and catcher do not need (they know already or by your verbal) but it's nice to let everyone else know what you have? BTW, do you signal a catch on a close catch-no catch call elsewhere? I can't find the NFHS catch or out signal mechanic. Is it described in the text of their manual?

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11 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:


I love the inconsistencies on this board ... “Don’t EVER do something not In the manual ... unless it isn’t in the manual and then you should go ahead and do it anyway.”

Umpire mechanics were developed for consistency and to make us look as if we know what we are doing and have authority.  Yes, mechanics can and do change.  Different sanctioning bodies have different mechanics for various reasons.  If your state’s arm of NFHS has a mechanic, use it.  What I said was NFHS does not have a prescribed mechanic ... that does not give you carte blanche to make up your own or use another sanction’s.

That said, yes, you need to manage the game.  Game management and mechanics are two totally different things, don’t get them confused.  Use verbal commands to this.  Ask yourself this: Who needs to know if the ball was caught or not?  The catcher and the batter ... are either one of them looking at your arms sticking out while you are standing there behind them?

 

Managing the game sometimes requires us to do things that are not necessarily in a manual.

I have never read in any manual that I should signal safe when a ground ball passes within a hair's width of a base runner or when there is no obstruction or interference when players come very close to occupying the same ground. I do know that when I signal safe and verbalize what I have,  I tend to avoid situations that can spiral out of control quickly if my communication isn't what it ought to be.

As I have read here on occasion, sometimes you just have to umpire.

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8 hours ago, Jackrabbitslims said:

From watching a lot of Minor League baseball two man, it became clear to me that the safe signal was for when the ball was dropped and the catcher did not apply the tag within the area of home plate as the Batter Runner ran to first base. As a HS umpire it was being applied as soon as the ball was dropped by the catcher, so I was seeing and myself included mask off, safe signal to then be turned into an out. This is not a sport of immediate calls.

HS baseball is a different beast in every part of the country. I will continue to verbalize strike 3. I will use my regular hand signal. I am not changing my verbiage because of the signal change. 

We should signal in order of what happened. First we have a strike, then we either have no catch/no tag or no catch/tag. 

The initial right handed point that's being referenced is to signal the strike. I do this immediately on a dropped third strike. 

Next, typically the catcher will either quickly tag the batter runner or he will draw a throw down to first base. Just wait. As you've pointed out, it looks silly to signal safe and then immediately signal out. If he tags the batter runner, signal the strike, wait for the tag, and call him out. If the batter runner gets away and there isn't a tag, signal the strike, wait for the batter to run away, then give a full safe signal for no tag. 

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In nearly every uncaught third strike, the situation is so obvious that a signal would be worthless, or worse, confusing (hell, no one is looking at us anyways, they're watching the ball). Everyone knows what's going on, and even a verbal isn't needed. Just scroll up and watch those MLB videos. Most of the time the umpire is just following the ball, or opening the door for the catcher. 

Now on the rare occasion when there's a questions as to the swing, strike, or catch, then yeah, you'll need to clarify it somehow. A verbal for the local participants is great, and mechanic for everyone outside the circle, per the latest and greatest, would be nice if you get a chance. But you'll notice that many times the PU is scrambling to make way for F2 to do his job, and a flail of the arms might unbalance them. 

But if your paymaster is telling you not to signal, and he/she is the final word in your chain of command, you've got your marching orders. 

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Its not Fed but what we were told in LL is call strike or strike 3 and hold right arm out straight parallel to the ground.  Now here is where my discrepancy lies lol .

 

I was told at the district level to make a fist.  At Bristol they told us hold hand out straight fingers together.  SO  Im going with the hand out straight now..  shrug.

 

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13 hours ago, Jimurray said:

Wouldn't you also use the official NFHS "no catch" signal, which the batter and catcher do not need (they know already or by your verbal) but it's nice to let everyone else know what you have? BTW, do you signal a catch on a close catch-no catch call elsewhere? I can't find the NFHS catch or out signal mechanic. Is it described in the text of their manual?

Perhaps because there is not an official NFHS “no catch” signal ... I assume you are referring to this:

 

BF400CA3-4F44-403B-9CDC-718BD494EEC1.jpeg

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5 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Perhaps because there is not an official NFHS “no catch” signal ... I assume you are referring to this:

 

BF400CA3-4F44-403B-9CDC-718BD494EEC1.jpeg

The caption for the pic associated with "G." in the actual NFHS umpire manual reads "Safe, missed tag, no catch, no swing". But I don't see a "catch" signal among the pics. Do you refrain from signaling a catch and only give a verbal on fly balls and line drives because there is no official NFHS signal?

Edited by Jimurray
clarified the manual

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11 hours ago, Jimurray said:

The caption for the pic associated with "G." in the actual NFHS umpire manual reads "Safe, missed tag, no catch, no swing". But I don't see a "catch" signal among the pics. Do you refrain from signaling a catch and only give a verbal on fly balls and line drives because there is no official NFHS signal?

Copied and pasted from the 2018 NFHS rulebook.  Sorry, I should have cited that.

 

Signal a catch on a line drive or fly ball?  Well, yes ... that’s what I call an out.  :cheers:

 

 

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On 12/30/2019 at 10:41 AM, The Man in Blue said:

For example:
• Umpires do not signal the batter safe after strike one. The rule says she is still at bat.
• The rule says that the batter is out any time a third strike is caught.
• The rule says the batter is not out when the third strike is not caught and there are two outs or
no one is on first base.
• The rule says if a batter is entitled to run and she instead enters the dugout, she is out.

Umpires do not need to signal these outs. There is no umpire judgment involved. The batters are out by rule.

Careful here.  Examples two, three and four are plain wrong.  Catching the third strike (ie. whether or not it was caught, IS a judgment call) - otherwise, any time a fly ball is caught by any fielder no umpire would need to signal anything...because, after all, the ball was caught...the batter is out by rule.  The runner was tagged...no need to signal anything because he's out by rule.  This statement basically says that umpires aren't necessary.   I know the rest of the statement says to make the calls anyway, but the premise of their position is flawed.

The fact is, no matter how obvious it is, it is still a judgment call, and the umpire may judge something that is completely opposite to what seems obvious to everyone else at the ball park. At that point it doesn't matter if they're wrong or right...the call is the call, because the ump judged it so.  In that light, the players ALWAYS need to know the umpire's judgment...it's not because the players don't know the rules (though that is also true)...but even if the players know the rule book cold it doesn't do them any good if they don't know the umpire's judgment.

The worst umpires aren't the ones who haven't learned all the rules yet...they're the ones who don't communicate.

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

Careful here.  Examples two, three and four are plain wrong.  Catching the third strike (ie. whether or not it was caught, IS a judgment call) - otherwise, any time a fly ball is caught by any fielder no umpire would need to signal anything...because, after all, the ball was caught...the batter is out by rule.  The runner was tagged...no need to signal anything because he's out by rule.  This statement basically says that umpires aren't necessary.   I know the rest of the statement says to make the calls anyway, but the premise of their position is flawed.

The fact is, no matter how obvious it is, it is still a judgment call, and the umpire may judge something that is completely opposite to what seems obvious to everyone else at the ball park. At that point it doesn't matter if they're wrong or right...the call is the call, because the ump judged it so.  In that light, the players ALWAYS need to know the umpire's judgment...it's not because the players don't know the rules (though that is also true)...but even if the players know the rule book cold it doesn't do them any good if they don't know the umpire's judgment.

The worst umpires aren't the ones who haven't learned all the rules yet...they're the ones who don't communicate.

 

 

 

Answer the question before it is asked. It is simple. 

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I signal/no signal based on the situation as it unfolds: Simply, something quick with no confusion, then less signals (maybe "yes he did" with a point and a strike signal, then an out signal when he is quickly tagged after the catcher retrieves the drop). If there is any confusion or doubt, then i signal at least verbally and will also signal no catch with a safe sign. 

For example,

Doubt whether the ball hit the ground, and the catcher shows me the ball in his glove as the BR just stands there: If i know it hit the ground, i will verbalize "NO", and maybe even "no, hit the ground" and then signal safe (no catch) with my arms. This will probably lead to an off-to-the-races play.

Same situation but after i verbalize "No" the catcher immediately attempts a tag, then i am skipping the safe signal and judging tag or no tag. To eliminate any confusion i will signal a no tag with my arms (safe) and also verbalize "NO TAG", or, on a tag, point with my left and signal out with my right while verbalizing "he's out" or "on the tag".

Another example,

Ball skips to the backstop on a pitch out of the strike zone, BR attempts to check his swing. if i judge that he went, I will verbalize and point with left "Yes, he did" and signal strike with my right, and skip signalling a passed ball, because it's obvious. If i judge that he did not go, I will verbalize the ball, and be aware and ready to quickly grant an appeal to my partner if asked by the defense, to give both sides a fair chance to react if my partner judges a swing attempt.

Same situation, but I call strike three on the pitch that was in the strike zone: last season, I would verbalize "Strike Three" with a hammer hand signal (i usually signal strike three with a chainsaw, so i tone it down so i can get out of the way and react to the play of the passed ball), and make sure the batter is reacting. If not i would add a safe signal and verbalize "ball's on the ground". I do this in case the BR was confused from my hammer signal. From this post, i will consider changing my signal to sticking the arm out on called strike threes on passed balls from now on - this would eliminate the hammer and may reduce any chance for confusion.

So yes, i believe there is no "written" hand signal because this situation falls into a game management category, but is probably a good thing to talk over with your partner pregame (or bring up at an association meeting) to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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