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Old Mon Aug 31, 2009, 07:46am
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Originally Posted by bestviewofall View Post

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.
I agree it is misrepresented, but also in another manner as you suggest. The selling point has been keeping the elements in view. Not possible. Isn't going to happen no matter what mechanics a working umpire is using. A spectating umpire, sure, s/he can to this, but will never be in a proper position to make a call.

I am not of the belief seeing the ball is as important as seeing the runners and defenders and observing their actions. Knowing where the ball is at any time is important, but that doesn't mean it is necessary to see it rolling to the gap, bouncing off the fence and watching some OF stab at it.

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.
Once had an umpire set up in the RHB slot six feet behind the catcher......for every batter regardless of batter's box being used. Pretty unorthodox. And there was no way this umpire was seeing the right half of the plate let alone the outside corner. However, there was little argument with his calls from the teams or my Asst. UIC or myself. I asked him if anyone ever suggested he move a little closer. He said no. I asked if anyone ever told him to move to the other side when there was a LHB. He said no. And this was at a national!

Unlike the NCAA who inherits previously trained and proven umpires, the other assocations are not always that lucky and often, must train umpires from scratch.

When we train them, it isn't for the routine calls. If every players fielded every ball cleanly and always threw it to the right base in a straight and efficient manner or just made the right play at the right base every time, a blind monkey could do our job. The mechanics taught at the beginning are designed to put the umpire in the best possible starting position to get the necessary perspective for the most common plays. What many umpires do not get right away is that mastering these simple and routine mechanics will also prepare them and put them in a preferred starting position for the goofy, strange or tough plays, or misplays as it may seem.

Yes, sometimes it is boring and may not deserve the same effort. However, umpires get paid for making the tough calls, the bangers, the near impossible to dissect in real time plays. And that is where the real evaluations take place.

Yes, I have worked the "rim" and, in some cases, loved it, but only with a 3- or 4-umpire system. What I have seen in my area are some local HS associations making this their primary set of mechanics for their 2-umpire system. Not good.

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

You still have 13 left? And here I thought you were a beer drinker.
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