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using left or right hand?


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I was taught, whether I am the plate umpire or base umpire, to point at a player committing an infraction (balk, obstruction, interference, etc.) with my LEFT hand while giving the audible ("THAT'S OBSTRUCTION!").  Then, at the proper time (whether the call is a delayed dead ball or immediate), award bases with my RIGHT hand -- "You, second base!" 

I went to a clinic where they told us to do just about everything with the right hand.  It felt wrong.  If I'm the plate umpire and I see a balk, under NFHS rules it's no big deal because it's an immediate dead ball -- "THAT'S A BALK!  TIME!  THAT'S A BALK!  YOU, SECOND BASE!" 

But under OBR, it's a delayed dead ball -- "THAT'S A BALK!"  Let the pitch happen and adjudicate afterwards.  It may be a home run.  The way I was taught, I would point at the pitcher with my LEFT hand and announce "That's a balk!" while letting the delivery continue.  If I were to use my right hand as taught, it could be confused by anyone as a premature strike call, which would infuriate them. 

What are you guys using and why?

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I was taught and use my right hand for almost everything. Calling obstruction/interference/balks/awarding bases with my right hand. For instance, point with right hand and verbalize, "that's obstruction." Award bases, if any, with right hand. Similar mechanic in other situations as PU or BU.

Often times as a PU, I won't point to the balk as my initial call. I will just verbalize, "that's a balk." Then take appropriate actions as necessary. If the pitcher for instance, rolls through his stop and delivers a pitch, you have to stay down and be ready, particularly when balks are live. Can't really come up and point. Just verbalize it.

Exception is on a check swing appeal. As PU, I'll gesture to my partner with my left hand open while asking, "Name", did he go.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Depends... on calls to the left side of my body, I am going to indicate and point to the infraction such as OBS with my left... if the event is on the right, then point with the right. The award will be done right hand only (the power hand). 

2 man, say you're in B, R1. Ball hit to F4 who for what ever reason just throws to F3. After throwing the ball, he OBS R1.... am I going to turn or go across my body to use my right arm? Awkward. I'm going to point, announce OBS and then rule on the play at 1st. Once the play is complete, then I am going to point again, announce the OBS and award with my right hand.

Just how I was taught.

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I do pay attention to the right hand being the power hand but not exclusively.

I'll award bases with right hand. Ask for help with left hand (trying to :) - I'm emphasizing to work that into muscle memory).

OBS, initial signlal of INT, or fair ball I'm going to do whatever flows with the play ( @Mudisfun stated it well). I don't think a right hand action will confuse anyone on a delayed dead ball since the ball's not there.

HPU with a OBR balk (or illegal pitch at LL) would be verbal only (to me) as I want to stay in my stance since the play is still live. 

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There’s not really a right or wrong.

“On the tag” should be pointed at with your left hand because you signal the out with your right hand.

I point at obstruction with my left hand but there’s nothing wrong with using your right hand.

Balks probably should be pointed at with your right hand, but again, it doesn’t really matter.

Use your left hand to point when you need to immediately use your right hand to make a call. 

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What @MidAmUmpsaid is what I hear at different clinics and training sessions..... Tag = left;  obstr = left;  balk = right. 

Of course, when I try and replay in my head what *I've* done on obstruction, I got nothing.  I also point even if it's an "That's nothing" deal, just to 'seal the deal.'  I tend to use the left hand for that as well, but I throw lefty, so that has an influence.

The one thing that ALWAYS happens at camps and clinics, is the "oh, lefty huh?" comment when I give my punch-out.  I shoot the right hand forward, and the pull the cord with the left.  If that stops any advancement, or keeps me out of a gig, so be it - if I tried that move, or just about any right-centric punch-out, I'd punch myself in the face.

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4 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

I wouldn’t point on a “that’s nothing.” Signal a wash out. Pointing for that’s nothing looks the same as pointing for something. More people will also see you compared to hearing you when you point. 

You're right.  I think I'm actually worse than that - I think I end up doing both, over time.  The safe signal WOULD be the better option.  I just know I had a game last Sunday, and I'm *sure* i did a point.  I need to work on that - either making sure I'm throwing the wash out, or at least working my memory to remember what I do accurately.

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