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Old Mon Aug 31, 2009, 12:58am
bestviewofall bestviewofall is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 20

Very valid points, since I found a new cold one, I shall respond if I can...

As an NCAA umpire, I also see times that the NCAA mchanics are better; they allow more adjustment to specific game situations. There are times that working outside is better (and certainly easier); but mandating "outside" is no better than mandating "inside".
I think that the NCAA idea of "working outside" has been misrepresented. Yes, this is the terminology used, but I prefer to think of the philosophy a little differently. Be Where You Need To Be To See What You Need To See. Simply put, if you do not have a play emerging RIGHT NOW (i.e. runner and a ball heading to the base RIGHT NOW), find someplace, ANYPLACE, that allows you to see the ball and the runner (and the possible obstruction) at the same time. Sometimes that is outside, sometime it is inside. Do not move somewhere that does not allow you to loose sight of one of the components. If you can stay put and see all the elements and still get to a calling position before the point in time you need to....stay put. Working NCAA does not mean "staying outside", it just allows a little more flexibilty in judging where the best possible position could be.

The working between pitches and secondary positioning has made me a better umpire, no matter which game I am working.
You and several thousands of us.

I am not comfortable with the calling distances overall, I feel like I am smothering the plays, and losing the perspective that is better from a wider angle view. Frankly, I believe I have missed more calls, both tag plays and force outs, working at the NCAA distances. I may have seen just a few tag plays better; I have overall felt like I missed more.
I am not disagreeing with you in the slightest. But, when we moved the calling distance in, it gave me (a moving official) the ability to make minute adjusts as the play developed to see things up close and personal that I never saw before while standing back 10 feet away. The perspective back there is nice, but the ability to change angles on the dime is nonexistent.

The other issue I have is a specific game situation; three umpire system, single runner on first. I do not agree that U3 should have a primary tag play distance and then work back out for force plays; it is so much more effective to start at force play distance and step up to the tag play. I have done some research, and reject the notion that there are more tag plays (steal, passed ball, and wild pitch) than force plays; it is NOT the predominant play. It certainly is easier to step up than back up; every other sport and mechanic tells you that. There is more time to read the steal/PB/WP and step up, than there is to read a batted ball, judge that it will be fielded, then react to the perfect angle as well as back out at the same time.
A great idea. We should think about that more often. For those of you who have worked with me, you know that I am always at the backside of the allowed distance, because I like to move into the play (see above). You're right, it is also very awkward backing up for a play. The only key here is that obtaining a proper angle on the force play is much easier (3-4 steps to get a 90 degree angle to the throw from 3rd) closer up than it is farther away (6-???? steps) to get the same angle.

With those exceptions, I prefer the NCAA differences that Rachel points out. Although I use a traditional ASA stance, I understand that various plate stances work better for others. Just one nit to pick with that; the NCAA manual says when using the scissors, the head (eyes) should be at the top of the zone (GREAT; I agree). But, when using the traditional heel-toe ASA stance, the head should be higher than the catcher's head. To me, that never made sense; if setting the eyes at the top of the zone is more consistent (and of course it is!!), then you would no more be affected by the catcher's head when working the slot in one stance versus the other. Telling us we have the option of multiple stances, and the option to use what works best for us, then pigeon-holing specifics for evaluators to use as negatives is counterproductive, IMO. Rarely do you hear "it isn't what's in the manual, but it works good for you, so keep using it".

Just my few points of contention; otherwise, prefer NCAA mechanics for my use; just not sure the masses are ready to get the options to adjust.
The point of the suggested stances should only be to give umpires ideas as to what they can do to allow them to call a better game. Yes, there are things that you would rather not see the umpires do, but frankly, if an umpire balanced herself on her left pinky and held an umbrella in here right toe while calling a perfect strike zone, would we care???? Or rather should we care? I tink not. Just be strong and right. I have never came done on an umpire who was unoothodox but looked strong, looked comfortable and was accurate.

I'm not sure what mechanics I used on a daily basis. Some things I learned in AFA, some things from ASA, some grand allowances I read in NCAA, a lot of tricks I learned from talking with and watching MLB umpires (you should hear there philosophies). I think our job is simple. Be in place. Be right. Look strong and believable. No organization should have problems with that.

But, then again, I am not and evaluator and I only have 13 beers left.

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