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Old Sun Aug 01, 2004, 03:53pm
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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?
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Old Sun Aug 01, 2004, 06:12pm
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Quote:
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?
There are several things you can do to better in order to better your ability to get a "safe / out" call right.

But one of the first things I think of first is positioning. You don't want to be too close to a play, and you don't need to be to far back either. Getting into positon to have the best angle you can, and to be the best distance away from it, requires you getting out there and doing it. There are some "rules of thumb" for what the best positions are for different types of plays, but ultimately, you will take these "rules of thumbs" and tweak them alittle maybe to best serve you. Like; eyesight, speed, agility, etc...all come into play.

But perhaps the most important one of all is, to be a set position, not moving, and focused on the play when it happens, regardless of the distance or the angle you may or may not have.
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Old Sun Aug 01, 2004, 06:23pm
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Quote:
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?
Good God, don't forget to watch the ball. I once watched the worlds greatest umpire, (according to him, get plunked in the back because he didn't watch the ball.

If the ball doesn't get there, it just doesn't matter if the runner what else happen, because the runner is safe.

Your either going to be in the "B" or "C" position , depending who's mechanics you want to follow. Watch the catcher release the ball and it will or wll not take you to the play. Don't get too close.

good Luck.
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Old Sun Aug 01, 2004, 06:42pm
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Lightbulb Read, See, Pause and React.

Not sure if this is the exact language used in most circles.

First of all you have to read the play. You have to fire recognize that you have a close play. Or read where the play might be.

Of course see the play. See the tag or no tag. See the slide or action of the runner. See if the ball is dropped or if the fielder holds onto the ball.

Pause to digest all the information you just saw.

Then make a decision. You do not want to make two decisions. Wait for the entire play to happen before you get to this point. No reason to hurry either. Make sure a runner did not over slide before you call him safe. It looks terrible if you call a runner safe, then out because they fell off the base.

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Old Mon Aug 02, 2004, 08:17am
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my technique

This is my new technique that I learned at Carl's camp a few weeks back in McAllen. I have called a few games using this, I am in much better position than I was before.

When the first basemen yells "He's Going," backpedal straight back, not at the base. WATCH THE BALL. Pretend the ball is connected in line with your shoulder. As the ball passes you, turn to the base. STOP. Do not move as you are deciding your call. At this point you should be relatively close to the base, but far enough away to see the whole play. Wait a second to make the call, as mentioned before, there could be a dropped ball, an overslide, or both. One Play, One Call.

Rutledge, It is referred to as Pause, Read, React, or P2R. Same concept though.
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Old Mon Aug 02, 2004, 09:00am
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Quote:
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 think perhaps you have a better understanding of what it takes to gets these calls correct than you may think.

Be in position.
Let the ball turn you into the play.
Try to be stationary when you watch the play.
Watch where the tag needs to take place (between runner and base - for a steal of 2nd the runner is trying to reach the side/edge of 2nd base closest to 1st. Watch that edge of the base.)
Pause to ensure the call is correct.
Make the call.
If you have calmly done all of the above, there will likely not be a need for a "big sell." But do so as the situation warrants.
If there is a collision and you can't see the ball and don't know that the defender has control of it, commandingly demand "Show me the ball!" This is only for when you feel the tag was in good time and you are prepared to call an out. If you are not going to call an out then you don't need to see the ball. "Show me the ball!" and if he comes up with it firmly in his grasp, ring the out. Obviously, if the ball falls out or the glove is empty, calmly call the safe.

Pick off at 1st is a little more difficult ~ perhaps. Glove between the runner and the base, just like at 2nd, you're gonna have an out. But what you get quite often at 1st is a runner that is in the air, diving, has not yet touched the base, and is struck with the glove somewhere on the forearm. Timing of the runner touching the base and timing of the glove contacting the runner ... timing becomes more important than glove position but still recognize that the action is going to happen on the side of 1st base closest to 2nd and within that 2-1/2 feet before the base is where you need to concentrate for tag and timing.

Home is likely the biggest challenge because the slides are different depending upon the situation and the runner slides or runs completely by the base - feet first, and touch with hand; inside the diamond; outside the diamond; head first straight at the plate; standing; ducking; dodging; collision; obstruction/interference; etc. The umpire must combine the skills used at first and the skills used at 2nd/3rd - timing and position. Who touched what, when. Was the plate touched? Was the runner tagged? When did the ball arrive? The runner? Did the catcher hold onto the ball? Umpire positioning so you can see the entire play (ball being caught, runner approaching, tag of the runner, and touch of the plate) is absolutely crucial - See the entire play.

Usually, tag plays are the final play (not always by any means because there might be another tag play at another base), so to hurry and make a quick call may not be the most prudent response. Take your time and get the call correct.

Don't start your call before you have decided what the call is going to be. That time of yelling/groaning/grunting to make the big sell can be used to decide the correct call but it sure looks better if everyone knows what your call is going to be as soon as you start it rather than when you finish it.

Good luck

One last little thing. We always say let the ball/throw turn you into the play. This is true for all of our safe/out calls. The ball is moving at 70-80-90 MPH and the runner, at best, is moving 20 MPH. The act of ball arriving and receipt happens much quicker than runner arriving and touching base. I recommend focusing on the ball receipt first and secondly upon runner arrival - Did the runner beat the throw or not? Then the call becomes more obvious.
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Old Mon Aug 02, 2004, 10:25am
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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
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Old Mon Aug 02, 2004, 03:27pm
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Pete has a good point about 3rd base-line extended. I believe on the swipe tag, the correct mechanic would be the 3rd base line extended. In this position you will be able to see if the runner is tagged on the swipe tag. When the play at the plate isn't a swipe tag, it would possibly better to go 1st base-line extended. From here you should be able to see the runner coming into the plate more clearly.

-Jeremiah
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Old Mon Aug 02, 2004, 05:25pm
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On a swipe tag, wouldnt first base line extended be better so you could see the runner coming in? In my opinion, a third base line extended would block a swipe tag.

Also, my question wasnt necessarily on a particular play (steal, ect.) but on the technique for a quick tag play. Should I watch the ball all the way into the glove and down to the ground, watch a certain area, watch the runners leg/foot??? Thanks fellas.
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Old Tue Aug 03, 2004, 08:31am
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Quote:
Originally posted by mrm21711
On a swipe tag, wouldnt first base line extended be better so you could see the runner coming in? In my opinion, a third base line extended would block a swipe tag.
No. 3BLE is the proper place.

Quote:
Also, my question wasnt necessarily on a particular play (steal, ect.) but on the technique for a quick tag play. Should I watch the ball all the way into the glove and down to the ground, watch a certain area, watch the runners leg/foot??? Thanks fellas.
Read the ball. Turn your eyes ahead of the throw (once you read that the ball is not going to hit you). Watch the glove.

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