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Get your hands off the catcher !


ross34

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I don’t know if they teach it at Wendlestedt or PBUC but why in the hell is everyone putting there hands on the catchers back. First of all, they won’t say anything, but they hate it. Especially when runners are on.  It looks lazy, like you have to rest on the guy. The catcher isn’t hard to find…he’s right in front of you. Get your space and get in the slot and get your  hands off the catchers !  Every catcher I have spoken too away from the yard agrees with what I am saying.  I have called college level baseball for 12 years. I am not the greatest umpire in the world but, I also am not the worst. Trust me gentlemen, they hate it ! Get your hands off they’re backs !!!

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The catchers that I've asked were all fine with it, except 1. I always ask first.

But hey, let's make a deal. I'll learn to stop adjusting to catchers by touch, and you learn how use the word 'their'.

 

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On 6/11/2022 at 12:30 PM, ross34 said:

I don’t know if they teach it at Wendlestedt or PBUC but why in the hell is everyone putting there hands on the catchers back. First of all, they won’t say anything, but they hate it. Especially when runners are on.  It looks lazy, like you have to rest on the guy. The catcher isn’t hard to find…he’s right in front of you. Get your space and get in the slot and get your  hands off the catchers !  Every catcher I have spoken too away from the yard agrees with what I am saying.  I have called college level baseball for 12 years. I am not the greatest umpire in the world but, I also am not the worst. Trust me gentlemen, they hate it ! Get your hands off they’re backs !!!

... Lighten up Francis ...

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The guy who ran my clinic suggested the hand thing 'if you are comfortable' and to make sure you ask the catcher.  While I can see the value of it, I'm not a fan of doing it, and don't feel comfortable doing it.

Still... weird hill to die on by OP....

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I seldom touch a catcher, but I keep my hands up out of the way.  I don't want my hand making accidental contact with F2's lower backside either.  I may place my hand about 4-5" off his back when he is getting set so we don't bump into each other, but that's as close as I normally come. Once he sets, then I'll normally get into my position behind him and in the slot.

For whatever reason this year, I'm more comfortable with my hands loosely together in front of my cup when I'm in my crouch. I used to always tuck them behind me, but now I keep them in front but loosely so I don't break anything if I'm hit.  I keep them up near my belt line, so they're covering my lower stomach which seldom gets hit.  I think I've had maybe 3-4 gut shots in 7-8 years of doing this.

It's a bit funny/odd to me how we adapt over time and get into habits, for good or bad.  I have stopped using "HIKE" as my strike vocalization and it's more of a "HUP" now.  I just started doing it with no reason I can think of this year.

 

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Good on ya for those that ask the catcher. One thing to bear in mind is that they may not say 'no' because you are an authority figure. Maybe a good chance to practice reading the body language and 'micro expressions' when they say 'yes'.

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Who's "everyone"? I don't think i've ever seen this in person with a partner or anyone else at the HS level or below. I don't think this is really all that common anymore, even at the higher levels.

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I see it quite often, mostly with guys in our unit who are also working college ball as well. My assumption, and it is only an assumption, is that they are teaching this at the clinics these folks attend. One of my evaluators suggested I try it, to which I declined as I typically am in the Gerry David stance. 

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There are benefits to having your hand touching, or hovering above, the catchers upper back. 

Protection - this ensures you're behind him and that side/arm is probably going to stay clean/safe

If/when F2 pops up on a passed ball, throws down to 3rd to nail a runner, comes up quick for a back-pick, pops up on a passed ball, etc. then you know it without even having to watch him.  F2 hits your hand and you know to start moving - and probably which direction to go.  We've all had that F2 that just jumps up for no reason and smashes us in our mask.  A hand on his back would prevent those occasions.

Again, I don't personally do it - but I've thought about it many times with some catchers.  I don't think we should rest our hand there, but it wouldn't hurt to let it hover for more immediate feedback.

Another plus, think of all the PU's in MLB that do put their hands on F2's back - they just look cool when a close pitch comes in that they ball.  They stay down in their stance and then slowly let that hand fall off the catcher as they 'ball' it.  

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On 6/17/2022 at 8:04 AM, Mudisfun said:

I see it quite often, mostly with guys in our unit who are also working college ball as well. My assumption, and it is only an assumption, is that they are teaching this at the clinics these folks attend. One of my evaluators suggested I try it, to which I declined as I typically am in the Gerry David stance. 

I agree, as I'm in the GD stance, I would have to touch the catcher with a knee. I'm pretty sure that won't go over well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was a D1 college catcher, now a college umpire.  As a catcher, I had zero problem with the umpire placing a hand on my back, zero.  As an umpire, I very rarely place a hand on the catcher, but do occasionally to measure myself.  If I do, I generally tell the catcher, "Sorry about that."  I have never had a catcher even react to it, much less say anything negative about it.

 

Just my experiences.

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As a coach of teenage female players, I guarantee you as a male umpire you don't want to go anywhere near there.  Don't ask.  (many will say "yes" because you're the umpire, not because they mean it)  Don't even F*#King think about it.   Doesn't matter how innocent your intentions, or lack of intentions, are...it's a can of worms you want to avoid.  

I've seen coaches quit because of how parents reacted to them helping a ten year old female catcher put their pads on between innings..."coach touched my leg".  

It's not worth it.

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51 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

I've seen coaches quit because of how parents reacted to them helping a ten year old female catcher put their pads on between innings..."coach touched my leg".  

That does give me new pause about being irritated when coaches don't help younger catchers put on gear (boy or girl, that concern applies).

post pause... still think most of them are inattentive (at best) :) 

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6 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

As a coach of teenage female players, I guarantee you as a male umpire you don't want to go anywhere near there.  Don't ask.  (many will say "yes" because you're the umpire, not because they mean it)  Don't even F*#King think about it.   Doesn't matter how innocent your intentions, or lack of intentions, are...it's a can of worms you want to avoid.  

I've seen coaches quit because of how parents reacted to them helping a ten year old female catcher put their pads on between innings..."coach touched my leg".  

It's not worth it.

More reasons not to umpire girls softball lol. 

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