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Today, I signaled a strike while verballing calling "ball!"


Four Base Award
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After I finished cringing at myself underneath my mask for what felt like an eternity (it was two seconds), I stood by the verbal call of a ball.

Even though it was a strike and I signaled strike, my instinct in the moment told me to follow my verbal call.

Part of the problem is that I currently verbalize every ball a little louder than probably I should! I'm loud on the field and that's usually a good thing, but I will the volume a bit on my ball calls across the board. I think this will help train my brain to differentiate better between my ball and strike mechanics.

Here's my question: You're the umpire in my situation. You just gave conflicting mechanics, signaling a strike but verballing calling ball. What do you do?

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I would just fix it. Clarify that it was a strike. You may have to repeat the strike call a couple of times. Sometimes it's okay to admit when you made a mistake, and IMO, this is one of them. We've all done some iteration of that. Just correct it and move on.

That's all. If anyone wants to get heartburn over it, they can start calling balls and strikes. :lol:

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Ugh, I had a similar one.  I was paying attention to my partner's position (a newbie 15 year old base ump) and trying to signal him to move, and before I knew it, the pitch came in, about hip high outer 1/4 of the plate.  I froze and looked at it, not knowing what I was looking at for a second.  By the time my mind caught up, I heard a bunch of "good place to miss" and "where was that?" from the peanut gallery. 

Felt bad about that one :D

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7 hours ago, Four Base Award said:

Here's my question: You're the umpire in my situation. You just gave conflicting mechanics, signaling a strike but verballing calling ball. What do you do?

That should not be your question, because it doesn't address the underlying cause going forward (and the answer is to fix it).

This is a (maybe less common) symptom of working too fast. Ball hits mitt, mental call, verbal/signal call. Don't skip the middle one.

Use the same timing for all pitches, even fat ones down the middle with no swing. Establish your rhythm, and people's expectations will adjust accordingly.

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My guess is that everyone of us has had a similar moment. It happens. As JonnyCat said, admit the  mistake and correct it, but don't compound it because of the optics--that is, you thought the pitch was properly a strike, but because of your verbal, you stood by the ball call.

As for volume, modulate: the tighter a call, the more volume. Don't oversell a call that doesn't need it. A pitch in the dirt may need a quiet ball audible only to the catcher and batter--everyone else knows what the pitch was.

Both questions--why it happened and how to fix it when it does (the OP's query)--are worthwhile asking and discussing.

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