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So a Facebook post was discussing positioning between innings and I saw a few people post how they stand on the offensive foul line as the plate umpire so they can let the on deck batter know how many pitches are left. Is this something taught at schools? I've never given the on deck batter the number of pitches left. They know it is time to come up when the catcher throws down (at least in the games/levels I do) and if they aren't moving towards the plate on the throwdown, I'm calling for them as I go to sweep the plate.

Matt

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I believe so. I stand on the offensive side between innings and count the pitches as well. I use the indicator starting with the balls. At pitch number three I turn to the on deck circle and show two fingers and then the catcher showing the same two fingers. After the fourth pitch show one finger to both the on deck and catcher use the strike dial to count the last two pitches. After the fifth pitch and catcher throw down move to plate with brush in hand and dust off the plate. This gives the batter time to make their way to the plate. I occasionally run into issues with catchers trying to get an extra pitch in, but this routine helps me with the counts. In the first inning I watch the first two pitches on the defensive side foul line, the next two pitches behind the catcher on the slot of the defensive side, pitches 5&6 behind the catcher in the slot on the offensive side. After the sixth pitch I show 2 more pitches to the catcher and on deck batter while moving to the offensive foul line with brush in hand. After throw down to second base, I move into plate and dust off plate. If catcher misses the counts or ignores my finger counts they are out of luck. I then call for batter while standing at plate facing catcher. I have had the pitcher throw an additional pitch after calling for batter and turn to the defensive coach and issue a warning.


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When I am base umpire I stand in short right field also counting the pitches. After pitch 6 in the first inning and pitch 3 with the same pitcher, I start to make my way to the A position on the 1st base foul line. I never go in to talk to HP umpire unless there is a need to.


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8 hours ago, DevildogUmp said:

So a Facebook post

Let me stop you right there.

Kidding. The reason to stand on the offensive sideline is that they're the happy ones in that moment. They just recorded 3 outs on defense, and they're coming in to hit.

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47 minutes ago, maven said:

Let me stop you right there.

Kidding. The reason to stand on the offensive sideline is that they're the happy ones in that moment. They just recorded 3 outs on defense, and they're coming in to hit.

Agreed -- and in the later innings, I might go to the defensive side because there's more likely to be a pitching change and it's easier to get the change from that side.

Never use the indiclicker to count the pitches,  It's just not that hard to count to five or eight.  If you are distracted by taking the pitching change and giving it to the pressbox / scorer, you base partner can discretely tell you how many pitches have been thrown once you have completed your bookkeeping.

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I like the defensive side as long as things are going smoothly.  The on deck batter is in front of me vs behind me and I can easily keep an eye on him if he is getting too close to the circle.  As also mentioned by @noumpere that is the likely source of the changes.  If I think there might be an issue I will stay on the other side line.  But, I am not sure the extra 15" of distance is an effective deterrent to bad behavior.    

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This is what I was told and have been doing by a partner who works college...

You indeed stand on the offense's side of the field, where the foul line for their side of the field intersects the dirt circle. With 2 pitches remaining you say, "Two..." and hold up two fingers to F2.

With 1 pitch remaining, you take 3 or 4 steps around the dirt circle away from the foul line and you say, "One more, batter..." and show him one finger (hopefully, you choose the proper one...) at which time you put your mask on. You might think batters are aware of F2 calling that he is bringing it down and then be aware of him bringing it down, etc. but, addressing the batter keeps them engaged and connected and the train doesn't lose anytime here between innings because of their inattentiveness.

A useful safety tip (I apologize if this is obvious but, it was news to me...) is never put your mask on while standing in the line of fire of F1. Put your mask on outside of the line of fire...then step in.

~Dawg

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I see standing on the defensive side has its advantages as that you can see the batter. I guess it is up to the individual as to what suits them. I use the clicker as I personal preference. Been doing it for so long it’s a habit.


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1 hour ago, noumpere said:

 you base partner can discretely tell you how many pitches have been thrown once you have completed your bookkeeping.

Which is the only duty the BU has, counting pitches while he stands away from the mound at the grass edge. If he notes his PU has been bookkeeping he’ll be ready to flash the number left. A nice technique for bookkeeping  is to leave 1 or 2 balls by the side of the catcher while you are taking any changes. 

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20 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

..A nice technique for bookkeeping  is to leave 1 or 2 balls by the side of the catcher while you are taking any changes. 

So when one sails to the backstop, F2 has one ready?

That's a good tip I haven't heard yet.  I try to keep aware while I'm writing changes down of errant throws so they're ready when I'm ready, but that's a good tip to keep me from having to stop and throw F2 a new ball each time F1 gets wild and mails one.

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The biggest time-waste in amateur ball is between-inning warmups. Remember: F1 gets 8/5 pitches in one minute (FED)—I don't use a stopwatch, but I'm not giving him 5 minutes to meander to the mound, pick his nose, chat with F6, rearrange his uniform, do some groundskeeping, and slowly—ever so slowly—take a warmup pitch.

I will tell F2, and have done, to throw down after the first warmup pitch if it's that slow. When he asks why, I'll tell him warmups are supposed to get just 1 minute.

I don't set baseballs by F2, but I do flip him a new one before he can even stand up.

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Addendum: I'm sometimes asked how I get 7 innings done in 90 minutes. Three simple things:

  • Call more strikes
  • Enforce the batter's box rule
  • Enforce the warmup rule

If you allow just 3 minutes more than I do every warmup, you're adding about 3 minutes X 2 teams X 7 innings = 42 minutes per game.

Even in time limit games: though some say, "who cares?" I say that quick innings are better baseball. Keeping everyone's head in the game produces much better games. Plus, who says we have to reach the time limit?

Apologies for the rant/derailment.

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11 minutes ago, maven said:

Addendum: I'm sometimes asked how I get 7 innings done in 90 minutes. Three simple things:

  • Call more strikes
  • Enforce the batter's box rule
  • Enforce the warmup rule

If you allow just 3 minutes more than I do every warmup, you're adding about 3 minutes X 2 teams X 7 innings = 42 minutes per game.

Even in time limit games: though some say, "who cares?" I say that quick innings are better baseball. Keeping everyone's head in the game produces much better games. Plus, who says we have to reach the time limit?

Apologies for the rant/derailment.

This a thousand times over!

My HS games seldom last over the 90 minute mark with many ending sooner than that.  If they do make it over, it's almost always when I'm not on the plate and the other guy lets them throw however many they want.

Pet peeve here: I hate seeing umpires wander over and talk to the dugout while getting a drink between innings.  If you need a drink, get it and get back before F1 throws more than 2-3 times. I had one guy this year (twice) add probably 20 minutes to the game by doing this.  There were times even F1 was ready and we were actually waiting on him to get back!

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1 hour ago, maven said:

Addendum: I'm sometimes asked how I get 7 innings done in 90 minutes. Three simple things:

  • Call more strikes
  • Enforce the batter's box rule
  • Enforce the warmup rule

If you allow just 3 minutes more than I do every warmup, you're adding about 3 minutes X 2 teams X 7 innings = 42 minutes per game.

Even in time limit games: though some say, "who cares?" I say that quick innings are better baseball. Keeping everyone's head in the game produces much better games. Plus, who says we have to reach the time limit?

Apologies for the rant/derailment.

Brothers, this above is once again more exceptional content from the forum's leading contributer...

We talk a lot in my association how summer and fall ball are a dress rehearsal for spring scholastic ball. We enforce jewelry and other "game standards" during summer and fall so that come spring, players and coaches are conditioned to those standards.

Same thing with any time management measure to @maven's post here. By conditioning players to proper warmups in-between innings of a game with a time limit (summer and fall ball) then their approach come non-time limit games (spring scholastic) becomes the same.

A big part of umpiring is repetition and muscle-memory. The more we can learn to do properly and efficiently, the more bandwidth that leaves us for challenging or unique situations and or infrequently called upon rules interpretations and or applications. Use summer and fall as the dress rehearsal it truly is and take advantage of the training and improvement opportunity.

~Dawg

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I am habitually on the now-fielding side between innings. The greater amount of lineup/pitching changes are going to come from this side anyway (because, if the now-batting side wants to make changes, it has to be done in sequence). On the now-fielding side, I can flash up 2-remaining simply, so catcher, pitcher, and on-deck batters can see it in one go. 

I’ve done this so long, I have an internal clock that allows me to move about, dugout-to-dugout – if needed – to administer issues, coordinate with scorekeeper, refresh on water (which is just a simple insulated jug at the backstop unless I’m doing college, independent, or pro ball). 

There is no “correct” side here (now-fielding vs. now-batting), and this is coming from professional umpires. Some will share @maven’s sentiment that the now-batting side is “happier”, and this is valid; however, they present it as “don’t get sniped”, or “don’t show them your back and let them take shots at you”, like re-positioning 10-15’ away, and turned 90° is going to change, insulate, or protect you from things. Wanna reduce “snipings and potshots”? Clean up your zone, don’t use clown’ish strike and ꓘ mechanics, and don’t make (or make up) stupid calls. 

Also, stop going out of your way to interact with the fence! 

On 8/18/2021 at 12:01 AM, MRG9999 said:

When I am base umpire I stand in short right field also counting the pitches. After pitch 6 in the first inning and pitch 3 with the same pitcher, I start to make my way to the A position on the 1st base foul line. I never go in to talk to HP umpire unless there is a need to.

Admirable, but not necessary. BUs have water needs too. And again, that internal clock 🕰 is ticking away. When F2 throws down to 2B, that’s a good timepost to walk briskly to A. 

You brought up a very good point on the inevitable PU-BU chats. Sometimes, my colleagues and I will get the game started with saying, “See you in 2 hours”, or “See you at the end”, implying that this game will go so routine, we won’t need to come within 3 feet of each other… and certainly not between innings! However, there are games or contexts which necessitate an occasional PU-BU chat between innings. Might be for things such as training purposes, impending weather / conditions / procedural updates (often, on these complexes I work, a TD or site-UIC will relay info to the BU over by 1B instead of interrupting PU), or a check-in/up (“It looked like that one got ya… you waved it off…” “Oh, it just caught the edge of the CP, I’m fine.”), but this sort of meeting should be brief. 

If you’re coming down to notify your partner of a Hot Baseball Fan… I’m sorry, but have your signals worked out ahead of time. 😉

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That's another pet peeve of mine (starting to add up LOL).  BU or PU that think they need to converse between innings.  I don't care if it's summer ball, scrimmage or HS - once the game starts, leave me alone unless there's a true need to get together.  Some of these "Chatty-Kathy" umpires make the game long by wanting to talk between every inning.

I've had to start turning my back to the plate after the last out at times and slowly make my way back to my A position before first pitch to avoid some of these guys. Thankfully, most guys I work with are seasoned and know better, but the new guys that do this aren't always young guys - sometimes the worst guys are the older ones.

I really wish I had a good partner, or 3-4 guys max, to work every game with and avoid having this trouble.  But we all know that when doing HS ball (and summer travel ball) you normally can't keep the same partner all season.

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Position between innings?  Yeah, get your drink of water, but then get away from the fence.  You do not need to be chatting with the coaches from the side you are on, as it might give the appearance of a conflict of interest.  Consider if either umpire had a close or controversial call.  How many times does a manager come to the other ump "mining" for a call.  Hey pal!  It's over!  Further discussions are out of line.  Apply rule 11.03(g).

If the defense takes their time getting out onto the field, or if the pitcher lolligags during his warmups, or the team does not send a sub out to warmup the pitcher while the catcher is getting configured, that's tough!  I am counting off constructive warmup pitches and I will call "balls in" and "lets have a batter".  Do I care if the catcher didn't get a throw down?  No!  I brief it at the plate conference:  there's a minute between innings;  what you do with it is your choice, but we will play ball when it's time.  When you have time limits, you are acting in the best interests of both teams keeping the game moving.

You have to be rigid on these things.  be consistent too!

Mike

Las Vegas

 

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The only time I get together between innings, is a teaching moment when training JR umpires.  This 14/15/16 y/o may not recall......"In the bottom of the 2nd inning, XXXXX happened.  Why did you/ did you not call this"?   For more senior umpires, the situation may stick in your mind easier, as opposed to a youngster that may be having inferiority (for lack of better terms) issues with their performance in the first few games of what hopefully turns out to be a lifelong avocation.

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I had an issue with a base umpire this summer during a Pony doubleheader. We (Association)have a standing rule that each umpire brings their required shirts with them to the game site incase we need to switch between games. I was plate umpire first game on a hot day with the plate area dirt area caked with dried dirt not watered for days due to tarp on it during non playing days. Met partner in parking lot 15 minutes before game time after he rolls up on his motorcycle. When I seen him wearing his light blue shirt, I reached for my other shirt and he said he only brought one shirt. His pants looked like they were not washed for weeks and wrinkled, his shirt stained with dirt and shoes were baseball cleats. Had pregame on walk to field and noticed he had a vape pipe in his pants. I asked if he was going to take back to his bike and stow it in the seat, he said he would. Once game started he kept coming in between innings to talk and I just ignored him by walking to the other baseline. After about two innings of this he disappeared to the fence and all I seen was a puff cloud. I walked over to him and asked what he was doing. Seen him fiddle with the pipe. Called both HC’s together and told them of the situation. Their league President was also on site and joined the conference. I told the coaches and president that I instructed him to take it back to his bike before the game. To cut to the end, he was asked to leave, a report was made and he no longer is doing games for the association. Completed first game and second game solo with additional pay.


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On 8/18/2021 at 9:46 AM, Jimurray said:

A nice technique for bookkeeping  is to leave 1 or 2 balls by the side of the catcher while you are taking any changes. 

Nice!! I'm adding this in to my routine. Never heard or seen it before. But a real nice touch. 

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47 minutes ago, Richvee said:

But a real nice touch.

Tough to do for miserly orgs and leagues like USSSA and LL, which only provide 2 game balls anyway… and a coach invariably ends up with one in his pocket. 

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3 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Tough to do for miserly orgs and leagues like USSSA and LL, which only provide 2 game balls anyway… and a coach invariably ends up with one in his pocket. 

indeed. I've done my fair share of Varsity ball where I'm begging for more than 2 or 3. 

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1 hour ago, MadMax said:

Tough to do for miserly orgs and leagues like USSSA and LL, which only provide 2 game balls anyway… and a coach invariably ends up with one in his pocket. 

YES. The leagues are 100% to blame, giving teams a dozen pearls for the season? 3 weeks in and we are almost just hoping for something that looks like a baseball.... $5 more a player is easily an extra dozen maybe 2 per team. 

The between innings killer for me is the coach who waits until everyone comes out of the dugout, meets him at 1st/3rd and then he gives them positions. 

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On 8/18/2021 at 9:40 AM, maven said:

Addendum: I'm sometimes asked how I get 7 innings done in 90 minutes. Three simple things:

  • Call more strikes
  • Enforce the batter's box rule
  • Enforce the warmup rule

If you allow just 3 minutes more than I do every warmup, you're adding about 3 minutes X 2 teams X 7 innings = 42 minutes per game.

Beautiful - the best umps I ever came across were in this head space.

I'll even add "grant time less"...I see too many players, coaches and umpires think time needs to be called at the end of every play, because they see it on TV every night.

Hustle in hustle out, kids.

If anyone is running a HS game to 130-140 minutes on a regular basis you are almost running your game at MLB pacing (ie. MLB game is ~3 hours for 9 innings)...

All I can say is, unless you have television spots between innings, and the home team provides 150 baseballs, and each umpire is making $1000 per game KNOCK IT OFF

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