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Lots going on here so, I put it in Free For All...

PLAY: Babe Ruth Seniors (18U). Batter squares to bunt. Pitch is very high. F2 leaps and catches the pitch, screening me from the batter. When clear, what I see is the batter with the bat in a pulled back position. I say, "Ball." The defensive coach, players and fans go nuts, "He offered! He swung! That's a strike! You suck! (that last one was fans)" I stoically repeat, "That was a ball...1-0." F2 takes off his mask and asks, "Blue, what did you have on that last pitch?" Again, I repeat calmly, "Ball." We reset and the next pitch comes in for a called strike. I call time, grab my plate brush and dutifully clean the plate which is already clean. While I am down there I say just loud enough for F2 to hear, "Cam, you or your manager can ask me to go to my partner on that just like you would on any other check swing. But, you didn't ask me to go to my partner." He says, "Ohhhhhhhhhhh...ok! Thanks, Blue!"...and a few pitches later the batter strikes out.

MECHANICS: I was screened. I didn't see if he offered or not. Is there anything as that pitch is coming in and I read it high that I should be doing to get a better view? I'm worried if I get out of my stance, I am making myself too vulnerable. I could read a sinker pitch early high, stand up early, it drops into the hit zone and gets fouled back into me (gear or no gear)...or worse case, I interfere with F2. I was taught to read the batter's top hand when they square to bunt. They can go up, they can go down, or they can go back...but any movement of that top hand forward constitutes an offer. And we can only call what we see.

APPEAL: If I was legit screened and missed critical information that I know could have changed my call, can I go to my partner WITHOUT an appeal from a player or manager in the name of getting the call correct? Or MUST I get a legit appeal from a player or manager? For what it's worth, in post-game my partner said if I came to him, he had an offer/strike there.

Ok, brothers...your turn. Make me a better umpire on this, please.

~Dawg

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If you see the bat move and you're entirely blocked out, go to your partner immediately. 

Yes.   And when the defense was exclaiming "He went..." that is asking you to go for help.

There's nothing to lose by just doing it. By waiting, the fuse is already lit.

7 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

an I go to my partner WITHOUT an appeal from a player or manager in the name of getting the call correct?

Yes.

 

And when the defense was exclaiming "He went..." that is asking you to go for help. ;)

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20 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

F2 leaps and catches the pitch, screening me from the batter.

You may recall I had a situation like this on a hit by pitch/bunt.  I wasn't PU in that game but I have had this happen before--where I cannot see what just happened. I think your original call of a ball was reasonable as the catcher had to leap to catch the ball. However, (what I learned from my post) if you didn't see it check first before you call just to be safe.

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If you think you need help chances are you do.

Getting the call correct is the best thing to do.

You called ball correctly due to you did not see the swing or offer and got blocked out.

Due to that I am perfectly fine with a 'Did he go" to my partner if I have one. If I don't unfortunately a LOT of my time out there I have to stand with Ball. 

 

But yeah ask without getting asked by the defense in that situation I see no issue. 

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26 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Is there anything as that pitch is coming in and I read it high that I should be doing to get a better view? I'm worried if I get out of my stance, I am making myself too vulnerable

Others may disagree but I wouldn't 'try to get in a better position', ever. When I'm locked in, I'm locked in.  As you have stated movement is not a good thing. There are just somethings you are not going to see and then get help.

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@Rich Ives, yes! This is exactly what I was thinking!

To all: Ok, so I am remaining locked in as we do for every pitch. There is nothing to be gained from moving or raising in any way.

More importantly, I can initiate that appeal at my own discretion with or without a request from a manager or player.

~Dawg

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High inside pitches are often tough to see offers on. Catcher or HC should have asked for an appeal. Here your tracking of the pitch took the bat completely out of your field of view. Could you have sua sponte gone to your partner for help when you heard something weird must have happened? Sure. Is it your fault you didn't? Nope.

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Okay, I am going to play devil's advocate here...

I agree with what our fellow umpires are sharing, specifically that you CAN get help without an "official" request.  However, I will add the caveat that I would not do this on EVERY pitch that you get screened on a bunt attempt.

How often on a bunt attempt does a batter actually offer at a pitch that nearly kills them?  Not often...so I wouldn't start making my mechanic every time I get screened I am coming up with a "did he offer?"

I in fact had a 16u showcase game the other day where a kid squared to bunt, the pitch was 2 feet inside and drilled him in the ribs/abdomen....in his attempt to get out of the way, the bat carried forwards, but it wasn't in an attempt to strike the ball.

Coach argued it was a swing, as did many fans, but as you already indicated...it's an offer to swing or strike at the ball, not self preservation that happened to carry forwards.

I would make the ball call, and if everyone at once starts blowing up, go ahead and offer to get help

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1 hour ago, SH0102 said:

Okay, I am going to play devil's advocate here...

I agree with what our fellow umpires are sharing, specifically that you CAN get help without an "official" request.  However, I will add the caveat that I would not do this on EVERY pitch that you get screened on a bunt attempt.

How often on a bunt attempt does a batter actually offer at a pitch that nearly kills them?  Not often...so I wouldn't start making my mechanic every time I get screened I am coming up with a "did he offer?"

I in fact had a 16u showcase game the other day where a kid squared to bunt, the pitch was 2 feet inside and drilled him in the ribs/abdomen....in his attempt to get out of the way, the bat carried forwards, but it wasn't in an attempt to strike the ball.

Coach argued it was a swing, as did many fans, but as you already indicated...it's an offer to swing or strike at the ball, not self preservation that happened to carry forwards.

I would make the ball call, and if everyone at once starts blowing up, go ahead and offer to get help

There's nothing to lose by just doing it. By waiting, the fuse is already lit.

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I'm going to take a slightly different approach ...

You had the call you had for a very good reason -- the catcher blocked you out.

3 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

The defensive coach, players and fans go nuts, "He offered! He swung! That's a strike! You suck! (that last one was fans)" I stoically repeat, "That was a ball...1-0." F2 takes off his mask and asks, "Blue, what did you have on that last pitch?" Again, I repeat calmly, "Ball." We reset and the next pitch comes in for a called strike. I call time, grab my plate brush and dutifully clean the plate which is already clean. While I am down there I say just loud enough for F2 to hear, "Cam, you or your manager can ask me to go to my partner on that just like you would on any other check swing. But, you didn't ask me to go to my partner." He says, "Ohhhhhhhhhhh...ok! Thanks, Blue!"...and a few pitches later the batter strikes out.

3 hours ago, noumpere said:

And when the defense was exclaiming "He went..." that is asking you to go for help. ;)

1 hour ago, SH0102 said:

I would make the ball call, and if everyone at once starts blowing up, go ahead and offer to get help

 

NONE of that is a proper request for an appeal or reason for you to go to your partner.  What do we always say about coach appeals?  "They must be specific."  What is it you think I missed coach?  No fishing trips.

The catcher got close (too late) but still did not ask the appropriate question.

If you knew right away that you were missing part of the whole picture ... meaning once clear, you saw the batter with his bat still out there, I would suggest calling "Time" before saying anything about the pitch and then going to your partner to ask about the potential bunt attempt.  You know the pitch was clearly out of the zone (no need to say "Ball"), but you know you missed something.

In this case though, you said the batter "had the bat back" so you had no reason to think you missed something.  We always hear bitching and complaining (which is not a valid appeal).  An astute coach or catcher would have said "Hey Blue, I think I/my catcher screened you and you didn't see the attempt.  Could you go to your partner?"  At that point I am sure you would have gladly done it.

1 hour ago, Recontra said:

High inside pitches are often tough to see offers on. Catcher or HC should have asked for an appeal. Here your tracking of the pitch took the bat completely out of your field of view. Could you have sua sponte gone to your partner for help when you heard something weird must have happened? Sure. Is it your fault you didn't? Nope.

 

Absolutely all that ^^.

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3 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

If you knew right away that you were missing part of the whole picture ... meaning once clear, you saw the batter with his bat still out there, I would suggest calling "Time" before saying anything about the pitch and then going to your partner to ask about the potential bunt attempt.  You know the pitch was clearly out of the zone (no need to say "Ball"), but you know you missed something.

Why call time? Just ask.

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There's nothing to lose by just doing it. By waiting, the fuse is already lit.

Matt’s right here. I remember one HS instance by playing the Captain who was going to go down with his ship. Besides, how many times a game are you screened on bunt attempts with it chin high and the catcher blocked you? Once a season?


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40 minutes ago, Catch18 said:


Matt’s right here. I remember one HS instance by playing the Captain who was going to go down with his ship. Besides, how many times a game are you screened on bunt attempts with it chin high and the catcher blocked you? Once a season?

Ironically, the way I learned this painfully was to make a call the opposite of the OP. 

It was a rivalry game at a field named after the offensive manager who had been managing at this level longer than I've been alive. I saw the batter move his hands to bunt, was blocked out, and with as quick and as sharp as he moved the bat, I just knew it had to be a strike...and I was the only one who thought so. I remember this because I had to use every tool in the book not to toss the manager, as this was the year the decree came down about being firm on not allowing them to come out on B/S of any type. I probably looked like some sort of drunken Michael Jackson shuffling backwards with my hand up telling him as many times as I could before having to warn him that he couldn't come out on that. If I could avoid having to take the pen out on something that was my mistake, I was going to do so without sacrificing the integrity of an actual warning.

From then on, it was simple--if I get blocked out, see the batter's hands move, and not see the entire bat, I go for help unasked. It has not failed me yet.

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21 minutes ago, Matt said:

I go for help unasked.

I need to do this more. After all year working with RPV* I can do this now. Hope they’re ready. 😁 Better pregame it!

* Random Parent Volunteer. Though, tbh, that’s too harsh. Most in my home league are trying hard and want to get better (same way I started). 

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On 6/10/2021 at 1:32 PM, SH0102 said:

I in fact had a 16u showcase game the other day where a kid squared to bunt, the pitch was 2 feet inside and drilled him in the ribs/abdomen....in his attempt to get out of the way, the bat carried forwards, but it wasn't in an attempt to strike the ball.

Coach argued it was a swing, as did many fans, but as you already indicated...it's an offer to swing or strike at the ball, not self preservation that happened to carry forwards.

I’m picking on you, @SH0102, because you’re the most recent post exhibiting this, but rest assured, plenty of others have this too… 

What’s missing from this tale, and many of the other tales and posts here? Another / the umpire!!! C’mon! There’s no way you’re all doing these games solo! 

If you’ve got a second (or third, or fourth) umpire, use ‘em! There’s strength in numbers… if you’re claiming that a significant amount of other baseball participants (coaches, players) and fans read that as a swing, then having additional official confirmation is not only a benefit, but a necessity to “good” game management. 

And, this whole notion of “a base umpire cannot be (check swing) appealed to on the inside (B or C)” is bulls#!t. Partners quickly find out that as long as they are within the fence, I’m going to them on a check swing appeal, regardless of where they’re standing (and no, if I’m in 3-man or 4-man, I’m going to the “appropriate” umpire, only once; not shopping around appeals). In fact, on bunt attempts, an umpire on an inside position has a better view of that action than a wing position. 

On 6/10/2021 at 7:43 PM, Catch18 said:

I remember one HS instance by playing the Captain who was going to go down with his ship

You said the magic word in here – High School. Of the 3 core rule sets, NFHS is the only one that still codifies that the PU – in his divine, god-like position – does not have to enact a check-swing appeal, no matter how fervently or promptly the defense requests it. Why such obstinacy and stubbornness? 

Getting swing attempts discerned and confirmed (or refuted) as strikes has become so important to the game, that an unprompted check-swing appeal has been built into the protocol for NCAA and MLB games! Last I checked, there isn’t a difference in the definition of a swing (or attempt to strike) between the three rule sets. Now, I’m not saying or promoting that a BU should be stepping in and giving “his” judgement of an attempt – or not – on every possible twitch by the batter. However, conversely, why shouldn’t a PU just immediately / promptly go to BU if there is a distinct possibility that he (PU) is missing a piece of the overall picture? 

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You said the magic word in here – High School. Why such obstinacy and stubbornness? 



I didn’t say I was right . I said I went down with my ship 🧊 .


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Alright, I'll go ahead and bring this up ... 

I was always taught (yes, even in clinics) that you don't go for help on bunt attempts.  I don't know why and I have always disagreed with it (same as a swing to me), but I have followed what I was taught.  In reality, I don't think it has ever even come up in one of my games.  At least, I don't remember it. 

So what would be the logic of that?  Is it just that a bunt attempt is easier to see (barring getting screened) and judge?

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47 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

Alright, I'll go ahead and bring this up ... 

I was always taught (yes, even in clinics) that you don't go for help on bunt attempts.  I don't know why and I have always disagreed with it (same as a swing to me), but I have followed what I was taught.  In reality, I don't think it has ever even come up in one of my games.  At least, I don't remember it. 

So what would be the logic of that?  Is it just that a bunt attempt is easier to see (barring getting screened) and judge?

I'm of the frame of mind to just go when asked, there is really no downside to it. We have one umpire in our HS association that refuses to go to his partner on a check swing appeal if he feels his partner would not have a good look at it, i.e. left handed batter with BU in A position. Drives me nuts.

Anyway, I've never heard of not going on a bunt attempt. In fact, when I was doing the LL Senior Regional a few years ago, we had situation on an attempted bunt. Batter squared to bunt, but the pitch was high and inside. Batter still offered at it to try and advance the runners, but the PU didn't see it. Manager wants an appeal, PU refuses. Manager keeps pressing the issue, and after a few warnings, PU dumps the manager. I don't care about the coach, he was an idiot for ignoring the repeated warnings. But it was an ugly situation that could have been avoided with a simple appeal. Would have got an extra strike. SMH.

LL doesn't mandate that the PU umpire go when asked, either. But still, always go.

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5 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

I was always taught (yes, even in clinics) that you don't go for help on bunt attempts.

Who is teaching this? This can’t be collegiate, and certainly isn’t Major/Minor League level. 

5 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

I don't know why

It likely comes from this alpha-macho-god complex that NFHS interpretation instills into certain umpires. There must be a misconception that by allowing appeals, you’re eroding your integrity as a PU, or affecting the/any confidence that the participants have in you. 

What NFHS fails to realize is that the umpires are a team. By stating that BUs shall not be appealed to on bunt attempts, they’re actually fostering and condoning less awareness and discernment by BUs!! 

5 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

but I have followed what I was taught.

Why? You’re a logical human, and you’ve already got a sense that this isn’t right in theory or practice, so what’s keeping you following failed logic?

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2 hours ago, MadMax said:

It likely comes from this alpha-macho-god complex that NFHS interpretation instills into certain umpires. There must be a misconception that by allowing appeals, you’re eroding your integrity as a PU, or affecting the/any confidence that the participants have in you. 

What NFHS fails to realize is that the umpires are a team. By stating that BUs shall not be appealed to on bunt attempts, they’re actually fostering and condoning less awareness and discernment by BUs!! 

 

Our association, mostly doing HS and other NFHS-based games - teaches us to get the calls right which, among other things, means granting check swing appeals.  I granted two just yesterday.

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just remember, the longer you wait to get help, especially on a batter with 2 strikes, the more you are freezing the batter in the box at the plate, rather than giving him a fair chance to start running to 1st base and at least making the catcher throw to first base, rather than just put a tag on him at the plate on a dropped/passed ball 3rd strike. Why on a passed ball check swing 3rd strike does that coach suddenly get a chicken bone in his throat until the catcher retrieves the ball/or gets back to the plate and then asks you to check, when they have been immediately asking all game. could have been the reason MLB went to the way they handle this on a third strike situation.

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