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Strike Mechanics Revisited


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23 hours ago, alex7 said:

IOne counter argument against the hammer call always, is that signaling is meant to show the crowd and everyone else what is happening, and a hammer is harder to see than a point, as far as the crowd behind you.

 

Absolutely NOT

A proper hammer can be seen by anyone in the stadium.. from lets say a slot position you stand raise right arm at same time left arm crosses the mid section and you make a hammer motion with a closed fist with your pinky side of the fist being in the front of the hammer as you are hammering you call strike. Your elbow should be at the same height of your shoulder,  so your hand should be above your head. 

Anyone who sees that motion from any spot in the stadium and thinks that is a ball call should be removed from the stadium.

 

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1 hour ago, yawetag said:

I'll keep this in mind when I begin to worry about what the crowd seated behind me thinks.

That's so VERY much more polite than what I first thought when I read the bit about the crowd.  It's snarky, but still politely worded.  Well done.

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On 2/3/2020 at 7:31 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

Greetings Brethren,

So, I'm with a new association this spring. Like many associations around the United States, they have contracts from LL up to D-III. I attended a cage session recently, which I always make a part of my pre-season preparation. There were a number of veteran umpires there working with each umpire who had scheduled time. My strike call is a verbalization followed shortly thereafter by a pistol with my right hand. The only feedback I received following my session was that my strike verbalization and mechanic MUST be synchronized and I MUST use a hammer motion.

I've always tried to be a student of the craft. I am not a professional umpire and I was raised that anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of my abilities and that's been my approach to the craft. We live in an era of nearly limitless umpiring resources at our fingertips and I take advantage of them whenever I can. I maintain an open mind that the craft is always evolving. The way we umpired 5 years ago is not the way we will umpire in 5 more years. That being said, without naming my association, I have the following questions to all of you:

1) I've read a great deal that the pointing/pistol mechanic should only be used with a 4 man crew because you are taking your eyes off your prime responsibility...everything at the plate. Old habits die hard and I will be working this pre-season to utilize a hammer mechanic to maintain my focus. Is this the choice all of you would make?

2) I have never heard that the mechanic and the verbalization MUST be in synch. Again, I am open to working on this because I want to send my new local brothers the message that if they have taken the time to work with me on their own time and expense that I am willing to listen and conform to what the association's understood written and perhaps un-written standards are. Can someone here provide some additional context on the need for these things to be in synch? Is this simply standardizing the call on the whole for the association or is there another practical reason for this?

Thank you and as always, I'll hang up and listen off the air...

~Dawg 

 

Good Questions and comments.

1)  No reason you can't point and keep your head facing the field.  Especially if working a two man.  It's what I do and what I have been taught and what I teach.

 

2)  The verbal and point being done together looks so much better.  And it does give the impression that your timing is better.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, ArchAngel72 said:

 

Absolutely NOT

A proper hammer can be seen by anyone in the stadium.. from lets say a slot position you stand raise right arm at same time left arm crosses the mid section and you make a hammer motion with a closed fist with your pinky side of the fist being in the front of the hammer as you are hammering you call strike. Your elbow should be at the same height of your shoulder,  so your hand should be above your head. 

Anyone who sees that motion from any spot in the stadium and thinks that is a ball call should be removed from the stadium.

 

I understand you're detailing what a proper hammer should look like. Many guys at all levels don't exaggerate it that much, which allows for at least the POSSIBILITY to argue the point does a better job of signaling.

Remember this is just commenting on a seemingly legit baseball association that won't even allow the point.

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6 hours ago, yawetag said:

I'll keep this in mind when I begin to worry about what the crowd seated behind me thinks.

It's good to have ANY kind of counter-argument if an association's leadership is MANDATING one to use the hammer exclusively.

That was the unfortunate OP situation, and the purpose for my grasping at Point Lifesavers :crazy:

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On 2/8/2020 at 6:22 PM, Young_Ump said:

I worked with one guy before who pulled his mask off at the same time (or instantly after) calling a strike. :shrug:

I worked with a young catcher who would rip his helmet off  and fling it back toward me, just to throw the ball back to the pitcher. I nipped that in the damn bud.

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  • 8 months later...

I'm new, just having completed my first season, so I have no argument.  My HS association requires the hammer fist because almost all of what we do is two-man (three-man for playoffs and championships).  They say it keeps your eyes on the field.  That said, I watched a training video for NCAA umpires and their conference was using the point to the side, but their mechanic had footwork and a body lean, etc. all built in to it.  It looked so great I practiced it, only to find out my association won't allow it.

That said, most of the guys also work in travel ball and men's leagues, where they do what they want.

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12 hours ago, mac266 said:

I'm new, just having completed my first season, so I have no argument.  My HS association requires the hammer fist because almost all of what we do is two-man (three-man for playoffs and championships).  They say it keeps your eyes on the field.  That said, I watched a training video for NCAA umpires and their conference was using the point to the side, but their mechanic had footwork and a body lean, etc. all built in to it.  It looked so great I practiced it, only to find out my association won't allow it.

I have mixed feelings about the “must use hammer mechanic” mantra.

On one hand, if an umpire has consistently good timing, he can point to the side without any problems.  In the 23-years since I completed my formal professional training, I have always pointed to the side.  That includes when I worked Class “A” baseball (which is the most advanced and fastest level of baseball in the world using a 2-man umpire crew).  I have never missed anything as a result of pointing to the side in those 23-years.  (A brief aside (pardon that pun): I DO realize that I have probably just jinxed myself). 

However, on the other hand, I realize that most amateur umpires do not have professional training and, furthermore (I say this lovingly as a trainer) many amateur umpires struggle with learning good timing...so I kind of get why some associations/organizations mandate the hammer. It’s just that I’ll never umpire for such an entity.

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