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Old Mon Aug 02, 2004, 10:25am
PeteBooth PeteBooth is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Newburgh NY
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Originally posted by mrm21711

I was wondering what schools teach or what should be done on close plays? Example: Steal of second base. Should you be watching the ball and let it turn you and then focus to a point on the base, glove, whatever? What is the "correct" and best technique to get the close plays correct?

I attending a clinic where the instructor put several cones on the field. In other words, these were the BEST positions to be in for making the calls. As been mentioned many times sacrifice Distance for angle.

1. Pickoff attempt from first base. Contrary to what you might think, your first movement is forward, not towards the play. Why? Because you can see the TAG/NO TAG clearly, especially if the tag is on the back of the player. If your first move is toward first base, you will be blocked out and will not know for certain whether or not the runner got their hand on the bag in time or not. All you see is the back of the play.

2. Steal attempt - Watch the ball first. I once saw an umpire get plunked because he turned as soon as F2 released the ball and obviously he didn't know where it was and got hit. The ball will take you to the play. You simply watch the ball, turn and get into position and then make the call. Also, do not take your eyes off the play and call it too quickly and then have to do safe/out.

3. Plays at the plate - As another poster mentioned, these are sometimes more difficult depending upon where the ball is coming from and whether or not it's a good one. Most ML umpires use First base line extended, but in MLB you are dealing with a certain talent level. I prefer 3rd base line extended, especially on the swipe tag type plays.

In Summary, Positioning is the Key, the call is actually the easy part. As you get into proper position you will find that the safe/ out calls are really not that difficult, It's when we are out of position that makes the call tough.

Pete Booth
Peter M. Booth
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