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Mound visits...where should we go/not go? What should we do/not do?


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Greetings brothers,

     So, I was reviewing my game logs last night from this summer and fall's games. This was the first year I started keeping a journal of all my games and I found it humbling and also very rewarding. There is nothing more difficult then walking off the field on a hot day or a cold night, particularly after a game when perhaps the crew crew were not at their best. We have all been there. You just want to strip off the gear, change clothes, maybe get some food and a cold drink and flush the game completely from your memory. Every game or every situation where we got an undesirable outcome is an opportunity for us to review that situation and consider our roles, our actions, our decisions and our judgements. Not every undesirable outcome to a situation is truly preventable but, we should look to improve ourselves whenever we can at any level of play. And remember, most human beings if they want to improve themselves at anything, will always be harder on themselves then someone observing them.

     Ok, so mound visits...let me begin by saying that one of the most challenging things in the umpire world is receiving and applying conflicting advice from our fellow brethren. We have one person say this about a situation and how we should/should not respond. And then you'll hear another person say completely the opposite thing. We know umpiring like all endeavors evolves. The way we umpire now is different than it used to be. Some umpires remain open to change and effect change, others don't.

     So, in the space of a week, I had two 18U travel games with two different umpires. One works D1, the other works MiLB. So, we have a mound visit in each game and in both cases I am U1. During the first game, I stood in the B position during the mound visit and then play resumed without incident. During post-game my partner (D1 guy) said, "OK, so when you are in the field and there's a mound visit, it's a good idea to move to the back edge of the infield grass either behind the SS or the 2B-man. This avoids the coach using his mound visit as an opportunity to maybe take a shot at you verbally about what kind of job he thinks you are doing, your partner's zone, etc. You are reducing the possibility of a confrontation by moving out of the area."

     Fast forward to the second game, same situation only this time I retreat to the back edge of the infield grass and then play resumed. During that post-game, my partner (MiLB guy) said, "Why did you move out of the B position during mound visits?" When I answered "...to reduce the possibility of a confrontation", my partner countered with, "No. You WANT to be there. The umpiring crew needs you to be there. Anything the players or coaches say during that mound visit is potentially intelligence...that's information for the umpiring crew to know. We're not going to warn or eject a player or coach based on what they say to each other during a mound visit unless it's egregious but, again...if you have a coach commiserating with his players about the job we are doing or moaning about the strike zone, etc. all of this is helpful for the crew to know what kind of mood or what is the temperature so to speak of that coach, that player and or that team. If B or C is where you need to be for the next pitch...stay there."

     Honestly, I see both sides here. There is value in what both guys said. I'm having trouble deciding which has more value and should be implemented? Or perhaps is it situational? Are there times to leave the area and times to stay?

     Finally as a side to this, what techniques do you guys use to time and then breakup a mound visit? When I am on the plate, I will usually deliberately brush the plate whether it needs it or not and then slowly walk halfway up one of the foul lines so I can then approach the coach from a vector other than directly from behind him. Anything to add here?

     Oh...and to improve your gameday experience? At the end of the inning, if you need to talk to your partner? Move in the direction of the defensive team's dugout as they go off the field. They just got the third out. They are feeling up regardless of what the score might be.

~Dog 

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This line usually works to break up the mound visit: "Candlesticks always make a nice wedding gift."

As a BU, I always go to the edge of the outfield grass behind the SS or 2B. IMO, and what I have been taught, there's nothing you need to do. Let the PU handle all that needs to be handled. What do I

As a BU I prefer to move to the grass cutout on the INSIDE of the infield. I've done the "jog to the outfield cut out" thing and it seems like a waste. I've never really had an issue with being barked

1 hour ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Greetings brothers,

     So, I was reviewing my game logs last night from this summer and fall's games. This was the first year I started keeping a journal of all my games and I found it humbling and also very rewarding. There is nothing more difficult then walking off the field on a hot day or a cold night, particularly after a game when perhaps the crew crew were not at their best. We have all been there. You just want to strip off the gear, change clothes, maybe get some food and a cold drink and flush the game completely from your memory. Every game or every situation where we got an undesirable outcome is an opportunity for us to review that situation and consider our roles, our actions, our decisions and our judgements. Not every undesirable outcome to a situation is truly preventable but, we should look to improve ourselves whenever we can at any level of play. And remember, most human beings if they want to improve themselves at anything, will always be harder on themselves then someone observing them.

     Ok, so mound visits...let me begin by saying that one of the most challenging things in the umpire world is receiving and applying conflicting advice from our fellow brethren. We have one person say this about a situation and how we should/should not respond. And then you'll hear another person say completely the opposite thing. We know umpiring like all endeavors evolves. The way we umpire now is different than it used to be. Some umpires remain open to change and effect change, others don't.

     So, in the space of a week, I had two 18U travel games with two different umpires. One works D1, the other works MiLB. So, we have a mound visit in each game and in both cases I am U1. During the first game, I stood in the B position during the mound visit and then play resumed without incident. During post-game my partner (D1 guy) said, "OK, so when you are in the field and there's a mound visit, it's a good idea to move to the back edge of the infield grass either behind the SS or the 2B-man. This avoids the coach using his mound visit as an opportunity to maybe take a shot at you verbally about what kind of job he thinks you are doing, your partner's zone, etc. You are reducing the possibility of a confrontation by moving out of the area."

     Fast forward to the second game, same situation only this time I retreat to the back edge of the infield grass and then play resumed. During that post-game, my partner (MiLB guy) said, "Why did you move out of the B position during mound visits?" When I answered "...to reduce the possibility of a confrontation", my partner countered with, "No. You WANT to be there. The umpiring crew needs you to be there. Anything the players or coaches say during that mound visit is potentially intelligence...that's information for the umpiring crew to know. We're not going to warn or eject a player or coach based on what they say to each other during a mound visit unless it's egregious but, again...if you have a coach commiserating with his players about the job we are doing or moaning about the strike zone, etc. all of this is helpful for the crew to know what kind of mood or what is the temperature so to speak of that coach, that player and or that team. If B or C is where you need to be for the next pitch...stay there."

     Honestly, I see both sides here. There is value in what both guys said. I'm having trouble deciding which has more value and should be implemented? Or perhaps is it situational? Are there times to leave the area and times to stay?

     Finally as a side to this, what techniques do you guys use to time and then breakup a mound visit? When I am on the plate, I will usually deliberately brush the plate whether it needs it or not and then slowly walk halfway up one of the foul lines so I can then approach the coach from a vector other than directly from behind him. Anything to add here?

     Oh...and to improve your gameday experience? At the end of the inning, if you need to talk to your partner? Move in the direction of the defensive team's dugout as they go off the field. They just got the third out. They are feeling up regardless of what the score might be.

~Dog 

As a newbie at the desert classic I was in B when Sarge come out to the mound playing the manager. He turns to and says, as best I can remember, “what the f are you listening for.” Since then I go to the dirt grass line. What irritates me as PU are guys that get closer to the mound and monitor the pitcher. I was trained that the PU owned the pitcher. 

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8 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Greetings brothers,

     So, I was reviewing my game logs last night from this summer and fall's games. This was the first year I started keeping a journal of all my games and I found it humbling and also very rewarding. There is nothing more difficult then walking off the field on a hot day or a cold night, particularly after a game when perhaps the crew crew were not at their best. We have all been there. You just want to strip off the gear, change clothes, maybe get some food and a cold drink and flush the game completely from your memory. Every game or every situation where we got an undesirable outcome is an opportunity for us to review that situation and consider our roles, our actions, our decisions and our judgements. Not every undesirable outcome to a situation is truly preventable but, we should look to improve ourselves whenever we can at any level of play. And remember, most human beings if they want to improve themselves at anything, will always be harder on themselves then someone observing them.

     Ok, so mound visits...let me begin by saying that one of the most challenging things in the umpire world is receiving and applying conflicting advice from our fellow brethren. We have one person say this about a situation and how we should/should not respond. And then you'll hear another person say completely the opposite thing. We know umpiring like all endeavors evolves. The way we umpire now is different than it used to be. Some umpires remain open to change and effect change, others don't.

     So, in the space of a week, I had two 18U travel games with two different umpires. One works D1, the other works MiLB. So, we have a mound visit in each game and in both cases I am U1. During the first game, I stood in the B position during the mound visit and then play resumed without incident. During post-game my partner (D1 guy) said, "OK, so when you are in the field and there's a mound visit, it's a good idea to move to the back edge of the infield grass either behind the SS or the 2B-man. This avoids the coach using his mound visit as an opportunity to maybe take a shot at you verbally about what kind of job he thinks you are doing, your partner's zone, etc. You are reducing the possibility of a confrontation by moving out of the area."

     Fast forward to the second game, same situation only this time I retreat to the back edge of the infield grass and then play resumed. During that post-game, my partner (MiLB guy) said, "Why did you move out of the B position during mound visits?" When I answered "...to reduce the possibility of a confrontation", my partner countered with, "No. You WANT to be there. The umpiring crew needs you to be there. Anything the players or coaches say during that mound visit is potentially intelligence...that's information for the umpiring crew to know. We're not going to warn or eject a player or coach based on what they say to each other during a mound visit unless it's egregious but, again...if you have a coach commiserating with his players about the job we are doing or moaning about the strike zone, etc. all of this is helpful for the crew to know what kind of mood or what is the temperature so to speak of that coach, that player and or that team. If B or C is where you need to be for the next pitch...stay there."

     Honestly, I see both sides here. There is value in what both guys said. I'm having trouble deciding which has more value and should be implemented? Or perhaps is it situational? Are there times to leave the area and times to stay?

     Finally as a side to this, what techniques do you guys use to time and then breakup a mound visit? When I am on the plate, I will usually deliberately brush the plate whether it needs it or not and then slowly walk halfway up one of the foul lines so I can then approach the coach from a vector other than directly from behind him. Anything to add here?

     Oh...and to improve your gameday experience? At the end of the inning, if you need to talk to your partner? Move in the direction of the defensive team's dugout as they go off the field. They just got the third out. They are feeling up regardless of what the score might be.

~Dog 

I'm kinda surprised who said what here--pro mechanics have BU less engaged with the visit and CCA mechanics have them more engaged. This is a reflection of differing philosophies: pro mechanics are for professional umpires with professional adult players, and part of that is to keep umpires out of the game and maintain the focus on the players. It is more reactionary than preventative like CCA is, where you're making sure you can get ahead of problems before they get into the conflict stage. 

I would suggest that unless you are doing pro baseball or games where the temperature and personalities are pro-like, use CCA philosophies. They'll be closer to what you're working and it'll be something that will shape the players if they move into college ball. Stay closer to the visit, try to stay out of the coach's line of sight, and use your ears instead of your eyes. 

I prefer to stay away, but when in Rome...

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As a BU, I always go to the edge of the outfield grass behind the SS or 2B. IMO, and what I have been taught, there's nothing you need to do. Let the PU handle all that needs to be handled. What do I need to be within earshot for? Don't look for trouble. If a situation arises, deal with it then.

As a PU, this is what I was taught and what I do when it's not an obvious pitching change, with great success. When the manager asks for time, first thing I will do is note it in my scorecard. Then I will clean off the plate, whether it needs it or not. I use both of these maneuvers as a timing mechanism. I'll then start to walk up to the mound. Usually by this time the manager will start to leave, or inform me of a pitching change. If there is no pitching change or if the manager has not left yet, I'll continue to walk to the mound and stand on the mound towards the rear or side of it, basically facing the dugouts or plate, but up on the mound. At this point, generally things will wrap up before I have to say anything. If they haven't broken it up, I'll pause briefly before saying something like "You gonna make a change, (coaches name)?" That's usually the extent of anything I've had to say or do. Rarely will I ever have to prod them along by saying something like, "Hey (coaches name), we need to get going," or "we need to wrap it up." Something like that, non-confrontational, but yet letting them know we need to get the game going. Works well for me, YMMV.

And when things are breaking up, I will always hustle and try to beat the catcher back to the plate. I don't want anyone waiting on me. I want to be back in position ready to go before the players are. It drives me SH*#-house when the PU lollygags back to the plate and fumbles with his mask while everyone is waiting on him.

Additionally, if it is a pitching change, I'll record it, relay it to the opposing manager if needed, and then stand 15-20 feet up the foul line with my back to the on deck batter. From there, I'll count pitches and usually, depending on the level, the pitcher will wrap it up before I have to say anything. At lower levels, I'll sometimes ask the pitcher when he is getting close, "how many more do you want?" He'll usually say 1 or 2 more, or that he is ready to go. Sometimes I'll ask the catcher, or communicate with him, again, depending on the level and situation. Sometime I'll say to the on deck batter, "one more pitch", or "here we go." I'll clean off the plate, and get ready for the next pitch.

And I don't want to debate which side you're supposed to stand on when a pitcher is warming up. I stand with my toes on the foul line, about 15-20 feet up the line, with my back to the on deck batter. Do whatever works for you. I don't care. :lol:

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As a BU I prefer to move to the grass cutout on the INSIDE of the infield. I've done the "jog to the outfield cut out" thing and it seems like a waste. I've never really had an issue with being barked at by the coach during a mound visit. But I want to be close enough were I can handle business and not feel like I am "running" from the situation.

On the plate, I will usually wait to dust the plate (whether it needs it or not, even on turf fields) until the coach crosses the foul line. When done, I will take out my note pad. Note the visit along with other info (I also include inning, batter, number of outs, count if applicable, in my notes). Then I will walk with purpose to the mound (seems silly to walk sideways and then out) and approach from the side the coach is facing. I want him to know I am there when I ask if they are done or making a change.

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As the BU, like Arik, I go to the dirt/grass line on the infield side and act like I'm not listening.  I'm close enough to be able to hear anything egregious, but far enough away to be giving them space.  Unless a change is being made, I see no need to jog to the outfield side when the conference only lasts around 20-30 seconds anyway.  I've never had a coach/manager say anything to me about being too close.  

If I'm on the plate, I note the visit on my lineup card, clean off the plate (these items kill between 15-20 seconds) then start walking out toward the backside of the mound.  That usually gets them moving, then I jog back to the plate, ideally beating the catcher there.  Seems to work well for me. 

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8 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

As a BU I prefer to move to the grass cutout on the INSIDE of the infield. I've done the "jog to the outfield cut out" thing and it seems like a waste. I've never really had an issue with being barked at by the coach during a mound visit. But I want to be close enough were I can handle business and not feel like I am "running" from the situation.

On the plate, I will usually wait to dust the plate (whether it needs it or not, even on turf fields) until the coach crosses the foul line. When done, I will take out my note pad. Note the visit along with other info (I also include inning, batter, number of outs, count if applicable, in my notes). Then I will walk with purpose to the mound (seems silly to walk sideways and then out) and approach from the side the coach is facing. I want him to know I am there when I ask if they are done or making a change.

Concur here.  I believe (note: this is MY opinion and it may be viewed as wrong by others, that's ok) the INSIDE grass/infield cut is far enough, and I too, have never had any issues w/ coaches yapping at me.

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As BU, I’ve done the stay in place and I’ve done the outfield grass routines, don’t like either, especially going out to the outfield. Just doesn’t fit with me. 
 

Right now, if there is no pitching change possibility, I basically go to a space between the gas dirt line and the baseline, and away from fielders.  F4 and F6, if they don’t go to the mound will usually congregate near each other. If they meet at the base, I go to where they aren’t. If F4 goes over to f6, I’ll go stand in F4 area. If they don’t go to each other, then I will go stand near second, maybe kick some dirt off it. 
 

If a pitching change is possible (1st trip, but later in the game, couple walks in a row)  and they’ve got someone in the pen, and the pen is down the line or beyond fence. I will go deeper and towards that respective pen.  
 

If the change is inevitable (2nd trip, etc) I just head right to where I need to be to get the new guy. 
 

As PU, I usually will linger around point of plate, make my recording, don’t always brush plate, it may get a gentle kick, or dirt may get smoothed, and then I head out. 
 

Length of visit varies for me depending on the game situation. Opening innings of a weekend series, manager/pc is going to get a few more seconds.  Get him to get his pitcher in control. If he’s got to use relief early, that means later in the series we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel of arms. 

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Great info for the new ones.

My question goes for the BU. Do you make any notes of your own? Game situations, W/E and the like for your own recollection? I am going to assume from the discussions that you dont - PU resposibility. Probably personal preference and its not everyday you will be tossing someone - so why bother?

I know its a unwritten rule not to use an indicator out there, but, are you prepared to make notes in case you give W/E? Or is this an unwritten rule too?

Thanks.



Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930AZ using Tapatalk

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In college games one other crew member should be taking down trips (and video reviews) along with PU, and they may need to confirm late in the game.  Crew number or conference policy says who that is. 
 

HS games as BU I have my note book in a back pocket for ejection, warning, fights but not for trips. 

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36 minutes ago, eagle_12 said:

In college games one other crew member should be taking down trips (and video reviews) along with PU, and they may need to confirm late in the game.  Crew number or conference policy says who that is. 
 

HS games as BU I have my note book in a back pocket for ejection, warning, fights but not for trips. 

Yep, in the back pocket for all of the above. But not for courtesy runners in HS. I, as BU,  will, grudgingly, keep the score for select games but the CR belongs to the PU in HS. The grudge is on me for select though as I took the games.

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I take notes between innings when I am out in RF. This gives me a chance to write down things the crew did well and not so well for our Post Game. In the event we screwed something up, it helps to write it down-so you know it can be covered in the locker room---AND then FLUSH it to keep your focus during the rest of the game.

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6 hours ago, BLWizzRanger said:

My question goes for the BU. Do you make any notes of your own? Game situations, W/E and the like for your own recollection? I am going to assume from the discussions that you dont - PU resposibility. Probably personal preference and its not everyday you will be tossing someone - so why bother?

Everyone should have what they need to take notes, and annotate anything you think may be pertinent for the future. As you get more experience, you'll realize things in hindsight you wished you had captured, and you'll see things moving forward that you realize could be necessary for later.

2 hours ago, eagle_12 said:

In college games one other crew member should be taking down trips (and video reviews) along with PU, and they may need to confirm late in the game.  Crew number or conference policy says who that is.

I haven't seen a conference or association that hasn't insisted that everyone takes this down for redundancy's sake. Have you?

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

Has there been someone out there teaching BU to go to the outfield? I can't remember that being taught anywhere--it was either edge of the infield grass or just beyond the baseline from everything I remember in my experience.

I do remember it being taught at some point. But I think it was more a case of someone getting confused why a base umpire goes to the outfield grass during a mound visit / pitching change.

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I've always been instructed to go out towards 2B or SS, not all the way to the outfield though, just back along the base-path lines.  The idea was to get mostly out of earshot in case the coach wants to vent to his players (don't go picking boogers).  And for the most part, I don't even look that way.  

I'll keep a watch out of the side of my eyes to see if he's changing pitchers or not. If he's not changing, then I'm just watching for the PU to begin his walk and I'll start back also towards my B or C position that I was in.   If he is changing pitchers, then I come back sooner to count pitches while the PU is making the update to his lineup card.  Then, I can let him know how many are left to go once he's done. 

If done properly, it keeps the game moving right along.

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1 minute ago, noumpere said:

You can't count from back farther?

I can, just normally after they change pitchers the coach heads back to the dugout.  If he stays, then I stay back.  I only move up to the side a bit more, I guess mainly so I can round up the infield who gathered behind the mound chatting it up once the new pitcher is ready to go.  "Okay guys, he's got 2 more, let's get ready to play."

I'll consider staying back a bit more this year.  I appreciate the feedback.

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I was taught to go to the between inning position. Never made sense to me, so I didn't. I stay in deep B/C. I will count warmups for a new F1 and signal my partner with finger signals starting at 4.

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