The Official Forum  

Go Back   The Official Forum > Baseball

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 02:50pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 82
Arrow

I have ben working in the Box position and I am confident that I call a good game. It seems to me that my head height was always consistent, however my evaluator told me I have a tendency to dip to far. I have heard a lot of a lock in mechanism and was wondering if anyone could give some insight on what a good one would be. I am looking for a way to assure I am always in the same place. Thank You in advance for your input.
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 03:59pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 20
head height

When I was at The Southern Umpire's Camp, Richie Garcia told me to try and keep the throat protector just at the top of the catcher's helmet. It has been a good tip for me.

Bake17
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 05:37pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 4,222
Which "Box"

The old AL Box stance positioned the umpire over the top of the catcher. Kind of hard to get too low there.

I assume you are taking a modified box stance in the slot. Easy to get too low there.

As ML ump Rich Garcia and our own Carl Childress have complained, the slot presents us with as many problems as it does solutions. The absence of outisde chest protectors, banned in the majors since the merger of the AL and NL associations, first allowed umpires to investigate different positions. The slot has since become the traditional position of the umpires regardless of "stance". Last season, we saw about four major league umpires return to the AL Box, but, as far as I know, the pro schools teach only the slot, still.

The number one problem with the slot is that it is easy for one to dip with the pitch, or just get lower as the game goes on and one tires. There is nothing that would obscure your vision as drop, or so it would appear, so you are not always aware that you are getting lower.

When you drop, not only do you lose consistency in the high zone, you also tend to lose it in the low zone. Rich Garcia and Steve Palermo, among others, have blamed the slot position for the ever-widening outside corner as well.

So how to fix your dipping problem? The quickest way would be to get out of the slot and back over the catcher. However, that is too radical for most associations to handle and you would probably hear about it from your evaluator. The AL Box is one of those things that a major league umpire can do that most "cool" associations do not want to copy.

So we're stuck in the slot.

First, make sure you are not getting too low at the start. As Garcia advises, keep you throat protector at the same level as the top of the catcher's helmet.

Second. Make sure you are not bending too much from the waist. Get at least 90% of your drop from your legs, not your waist. The semi-new "double-wide" leg positioning that some ML umpires are using helps in getting lower without involving the back and waist muscles as much.

When you"drop" into position for the pitch put at least one hand, preferably the one behind the catcher, firmly on your thigh. As you hit the bottom of where you want to be, "lock" your arm in its position. Over time, you will recognize the sensation of being at the right position and your arm will not "allow" you to drop farther down.


Another tip, although you don't want to be "down" too long before the pitch, try dropping just a bit earlier and use the extra half second or so to run a quick mental check of where you are and how your body feels.

Garth


[Edited by GarthB on Jan 31st, 2001 at 06:50 PM]
__________________
GB
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 07:14pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 82
Smile head height

Thank You very much for the excellent information. I will definately start practicing at home. Just another quick question. I feel more cofortable and see the zone better when I am in the slot and my feet are just slightly pointed toward the second baseman(or where he is normally positioned). Should I keep my head straight at the pitcher or slightly toward 2nd? Thanks Again.

Also, how wide apart should my feet be? Is wider better?
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old Thu Feb 01, 2001, 11:49am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 48
Exclamation Stance

I use a heel toe stance and lightly place my hands on my thighs, slightly above my knees. Gerry Davis uses this technique and teaches this lock-in method at his camps. I work a wide stance, sit down slightly prior to the pitch and work with chin paralel with the top of the catchers helmet.

With only my knees bending slightly I have less soreness and am able to obtain a consistant head height. My hands are exposed more than I would prefer, but I feel safe at the high school level and above.
__________________
Dan Ignosci
[email protected]
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 12:03am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 75
Thumbs up

I have used the "Davis stance" for a full year now and cannot tell you how comfortable it is. Head height is consistent the entire game and the comfort also takes away the anxiety of the pitch. Comfort, both physically and mentally, along with consistent looks at all pitches make for a great plate game.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 01:32am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 243
Send a message via ICQ to Patrick Szalapski
Say Garth, let's get clear on the terminology. The stances are "Box", "Scissors", or "Knee", and the positions are "Slot" and "Over-the-top," right? I work the slot in the box.

Hmm, I learned previously that my eyes should be at the top of the strike zone. Is this too low? It serves me well, but I'm open to consider a change.

P-Sz
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 01:46am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 243
Send a message via ICQ to Patrick Szalapski
Re: head height

Quote:
Originally posted by PAblue87
Thank You very much for the excellent information. I will definately start practicing at home. Just another quick question. I feel more cofortable and see the zone better when I am in the slot and my feet are just slightly pointed toward the second baseman(or where he is normally positioned). Should I keep my head straight at the pitcher or slightly toward 2nd? Thanks Again.

Also, how wide apart should my feet be? Is wider better?
To have your body in a heel-toe stance is how almost everyone teaches it. That is, on a right-handed batter, if you draw a line through your left heel and your right toe, it should be parallel to the pitcher's plate.

Someone told me once that it is an advantage to square your head up with your body in this manner and, if your eyeballs point straight ahead, look at F4 or to the left of him a bit. Then, move your EYEBALLS ONLY when following the pitch. This way, you will be looking square at the zone when the pitch comes in.

That's seemed to work for me, but there are two important details:

- Don't turn your head to the right of the pitcher too much! You could get an earful of foul ball.

- Don't move your head, merely track the ball with your eyeballs.

Again, none of the above is mine originally, just what has been directly taught to me and it seems to work.

P-Sz
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 01:52am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 4,222
Patrick:

The vernacular in this area, according to some, is in a transition phase.

In the recent past, box, modified box, scissors, and (gasp) knee, referred to stances and slot and over-the-top referred to positions.

Years ago, the AL box referred to both a stance and a position, and some baseball lexicogprahers have suggested, the word "slot" has begun to connote a stance.

In any event, I think folks know what to think when you use any of the terms in context.

As to whether your eyes at the top of the zone are too low: I would guess it depends where the top of your stike zone is.

At the training session in Arizona for the "new"strike zone, Hirschbeck noted that it was difficult for some umpires to call strikes pitches that they looked up at.(I can't believe I wrote that sentence)

This suggests to me that some umpires, at least, will be standing a little taller in their stances this year.

Richie Garcia has advocated going back to over the top in the old AL Box.

I switched back to the AL Box last season and found that I was more consistent in both the knee high strike and the outside corner, especially on a low curve. It took some explaining to keep a couple of the evaluators off my back, but when some of them saw saw a few ML umps go back over the top, they decided it was okay.
__________________
GB
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 02:20am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Edinburg, TX
Posts: 1,212
Send a message via ICQ to Carl Childress
Talking Grammar corrected

Quote:
Originally posted by GarthB
At the training session in Arizona for the "new"strike zone, Hirschbeck noted that it was difficult for some umpires to call strikes pitches that they looked up at.(I can't believe I wrote that sentence)
Nor can I. Here is the sentence, grammatically correct: "... Hirschbeck noted that it was difficult for umpires to call strikes on pitches up at which they looked."

Amazing!
__________________
Papa C
My website
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 02:44am
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Edinburg, TX
Posts: 1,212
Send a message via ICQ to Carl Childress
Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Szalapski
Say Garth, let's get clear on the terminology. The stances are "Box", "Scissors", or "Knee", and the positions are "Slot" and "Over-the-top," right? I work the slot in the box.

Hmm, I learned previously that my eyes should be at the top of the strike zone. Is this too low? It serves me well, but I'm open to consider a change.

P-Sz
Amateurs write about two "box" stances: (a) hell-to-toe; and (b) squared. Technically, the NL box is the squared (wrestler's) stance.

Someone said that the Gerry Davis stance is heel-to-toe. I must tell you that stance is clearly on its way out. Most MLUs now use the squared stance. It is simply the old American League stance, shifted left/right about three feet into the appropriate slot.

The reason is crystal: Umpires who routinely call three- to four-hour games need a good, solid, balanced stance. The emergence of the "wrestler's box" is also sounding a death kneel to the scissors.

Finally, until the last 10 years or so, BOX was "over-the-top" (AL) and SLOT was "between catcher and batter" (NL). (The point: BOX was a position, not a stance.) But the PRO graduates appropriated "box" when they began to square up in wrestler's style. Now, the distinctions are all blurred.

Here's my prediction: If the VIPs succeed in forcing umpires and players to accept a high strike, more and more umpires will move to: (1) scissors and (2) over-the-top (AL box). Then, since the scissors puts an inordinate strain on the leg muscles, gradually the MLUs will return to over-the-top, i.e., the BOX. The point: That has always been acknowledged as the best spot from which to view high strikes.

An umpire in the BOX is never blocked up or out. It is a position that seem tailor-made of Alderson's "experiment."

ONE FINAL PIECE OF ADVICE: If you are an umpire of amateur games, this coming season you should CHANGE NOTHING ABOUT YOUR ESTABLISHED ZONE.
__________________
Papa C
My website
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 12:17pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 196
Hold on a minute...

Quote:
Originally posted by Carl Childress

ONE FINAL PIECE OF ADVICE: If you are an umpire of amateur games, this coming season you should CHANGE NOTHING ABOUT YOUR ESTABLISHED ZONE.

Ah... I'm not so sure about this. The RANGE of Zones called in amateur ball (what 99% of us here do) is all over the map. But lets settle for a sec on one type. Say.. Mantle 15-16. or Varsity. Good ball.

The ML zone as it exists has permeated the mindset of the coaching ranks, and thus umpires. Yes, some of US may have been consistent with a "high" zone, but it has been too easy for too many to BALL those just above the belt fastballs, and have it be accepted.

My POINT is, is that at higher levels, those of us who EMULATED ML umps with a belt to knees zone... should.. TRY to adjust as our ML bretheran are and strive to be a bit more practical and realistic.

Or another way.. the only reason that "Crusty" in my assoc can get away with a BALL on the naval fastball is because people have seen it that way on TV (MLs). IF (and let's assume it happens) the PROs actually DO CHANGE.. then there is NO reason for Crusty to not make some minor adjustments to his zone.
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 03:31pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 4,222
Rocky's buddy said:
The ML zone as it exists has permeated the mindset of the coaching ranks, and thus umpires. Yes, some of US may have been consistent with a "high" zone, but it has been too easy for too many to BALL those just above the belt fastballs, and have it be accepted.

Exactly. The zone AS IT EXISTS has permeated the mindset of amateur coaching ranks. Have they been demonstrating loudly for a change? Or are they, like us, watching to see if a new zone is called, or if, as in 1997, two weeks after opening day the whole think is forgotten.

There has not been the orchestrated PR battle in the amateurs to create a demand for change. There has not been the two year marketing campaign to rile the troups.

The antlered one continued:
My POINT is, is that at higher levels, those of us who EMULATED ML umps with a belt to knees zone...

And how long did it take for the amateur umps to copy the pros? Overnight? A couple of weeks? No...it happened slowly over time with the amateur zone change trailing the pros by a couple of years.

What Carl may be suggesting is wait and see for a bit. Save yourself the potential grief of leading a charge that maybe wasn't called for and then tripping over your "weapon" in retreat should this whole thing die before the Yankees are 7-0.

Personally, I think a high zone is gonna stick, at least some version of it. Alderson has asked for two inches higher, then five inches higher, then three baseballs higher. I'm not sure which one he wants.

The umps were training at 8 to 9 inches higher and some of the owners claimed they were told it would be a foot higher.

But I'll bet most coaches are heeding Carl's advice, especially those varisty coaches who like the lower zone. At least on the dry side of the state there isn't any campaign for a higher strike.

If I go out opening week and call even a "sternum" strike, I'll bet I'll have given the coaches another reason to use the old "this ain't the majors, ya know" comment.

We followed the pros up in time, we'd be better off following them down, in time.


Garth
__________________
GB
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 04:28pm
Official Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 196
Cool

Quote:
Originally posted by GarthB

What Carl may be suggesting is wait and see for a bit. Save yourself the potential grief of leading a charge that maybe wasn't called for and then tripping over your "weapon" in retreat should this whole thing die before the Yankees are 7-0.
Garth
[/B]
Oh I agree with that.. and with the spin that the orig message was WAIT AND SEE.

Or another way.. Don't take "your zone" and ADD HEIGHT just because of what you read about the ML umps.

But to emphasize again... OUR ZONES, man to man in your Assoc, for a particular high level of ball.. differ on the top end.

Ump A who has consistantly been at the TOP end of the "accepted" zone.. Absolutely.. DO NOT CHANGE.. at least yet.. maybe ever.

But UMP B... they guy who's "living" in the MLs and never says STEERIKE above the belt... I'd like to use this "new ML zone" real or not, to kick 'ol Crusty into coming up, just a tad!
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old Fri Feb 02, 2001, 04:55pm
JJ JJ is offline
Veteran College Umpire
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: IN
Posts: 1,122
Most of the game I call in the Spring are college level, and they REALLY emphasized that we bring the zone up. That means NOTICEABLY. I will (try to) comply. So, despite Carl's advice, I will be changing my zone at the level I work. Of course, High School is something else. I've always had a "big" zone there, so I may not have to "noticeably" change it...what's the old line, "You brought the bat up here - USE it!"
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:32am.



Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.0 RC1