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Old Sat May 27, 2017, 03:26pm
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Super wide plate stance

Can someone please give me the reasoning behind using a super wide plate stance? I have been umpiring for many a year, and have never felt the need to use such a stance. I can easily get low enough even using a stance of about 3 feet. I was told by a college assignor to get wider. Is it just a personal preference? I have seen some umpires get so wide that they cannot easily get to an upright position to make a call. Just wondering.

Last edited by shipwreck; Sat May 27, 2017 at 03:29pm.
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Old Sat May 27, 2017, 07:02pm
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When you get wide, you not only drop, but it happens in a way that "locks" you to that height. Other means of getting "low enough" require some part of your body to "bend" (most often the knees, sometimes at the waist with an accompanying head tilt) and some muscles to tense to hold at that spot.

When you rely solely on muscles to hold at a spot, sooner or later those muscles will not hold that exact spot, sooner or later will tire, maybe even spasm (from dehydration, from heat exhaustion, etc.).

Just two days ago, Ole Miss at UCLA, that game played for 4 hours and 5 minutes, and the plate umpire called 423 pitches. Suppose it was a DAY GAME in the Southeast, game time temperature near 90, high humidity, "feels like" heat index over 100? That umpire is a big man, used a spread stance, and he looked locked in for all eleven (11) innings, with very few complaints, even from the talking heads in the booth.

You may believe you are accomplishing the same with your stance, but muscles simply cannot hold you completely still that often, that long; there is a better way. I'm in my 44th year of umpiring, was convinced to spread in the late 1990's, and the only thing I have changed since is where I put my hands. I'm now close to age 65 (October), maintain a busy collegiate schedule along with showcases and summer tournaments, busy high school schedule in the fall; literally hundreds of games every year since, quite a few long (4-5-6) game days, and I am absolutely convinced that my longevity and success is very much related to that spread I adopted about 20 years ago. Umpires my age (and younger!!) that haven't spread have left the game over the years; or struggle at the end of long games (or multiple game days).

You don't have to stretch out 5 feet (or more) in a day; work into it. See how far you can spread until you feel discomfort, then move back an inch or so. After a few games/days/weeks, you will be more flexible, and able to spread further. Stretch it out over time, and you will be able to set your eyes at the sternum of a 5'0" or even shorter batter. If you do, your game will be better for it. And your body (muscles) will thank you!!
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Old Sat May 27, 2017, 07:34pm
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Just don't forget the second part of your stance, being able to step out of it in a timely fashion.
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Old Sun May 28, 2017, 05:32am
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Thank you, Steve and Mafia

Last edited by shipwreck; Sun May 28, 2017 at 05:35am.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2017, 10:17pm
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In case you are watching tonight's game, Florida vs Oklahoma; still playing, top of the 15th, over 4 hours, and around 400 pitches so far.

And the poster child for super wide stance, I believe Bryan is about 6'2", may be taller, even, with about a 6' spread; well, still getting his head top of zone, and calling a very solid plate game. I haven't heard the talking heads gripe about a single pitch; at best, Michelle has admitted a few pitches were "very close".

Just sayin'.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2017, 10:56pm
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Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve View Post
In case you are watching tonight's game, Florida vs Oklahoma; still playing, top of the 15th, over 4 hours, and around 400 pitches so far.

And the poster child for super wide stance, I believe Bryan is about 6'2", may be taller, even, with about a 6' spread; well, still getting his head top of zone, and calling a very solid plate game. I haven't heard the talking heads gripe about a single pitch; at best, Michelle has admitted a few pitches were "very close".

Just sayin'.
Thanks for the heads up. Now bottom 16. Wow.
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Old Tue Jun 06, 2017, 08:38am
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He did have an unorthodox Strike mechanic, however. Not your "school solution" of calling the Strike initially, and then coming up with the hammer. He had a simultaneous verbal and signal, and his arm came up diagonally and fully straightened. Interesting.
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Old Tue Jun 06, 2017, 09:30am
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I finally remembered to figure out my stance width this weekend.
17" for the plate, plus 6" to the line, plus 36" of the box is 59".

If my inside foot is behind the far side of the plate and my outside foot is just inside the outer edge of the box;
that would mean about 50" between my feet.
With my 5' 9" height and 29" inseam, would you call that narrow or wide?
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Old Tue Jun 06, 2017, 09:44am
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
He did have an unorthodox Strike mechanic, however. Not your "school solution" of calling the Strike initially, and then coming up with the hammer. He had a simultaneous verbal and signal, and his arm came up diagonally and fully straightened. Interesting.
Voice and signal at the same time is the school way for BASEBALL. Which is why it didn't seem unusual to me, I guess.

As someone considering working HS fastpitch games next season (I have a license that I maintain cause I assign and....you never know) it's great to see. My timing is a bit slower than his, but he did an amazing job for having to call so many pitches. I doubt after so long I could split the verbal and the signal without feeling goofy about it.
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Old Tue Jun 06, 2017, 09:50am
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He did have an unorthodox Strike mechanic, however. Not your "school solution" of calling the Strike initially, and then coming up with the hammer. He had a simultaneous verbal and signal, and his arm came up diagonally and fully straightened. Interesting.
Manny, that is something the SUP started pushing a few years back, to start the signal earlier than the "pregnant pause". With crowd noise, and when the PU isn't mic'ed, too often the TV talking heads didn't hear the verbal; without the verbal, they often commented that the signal indicated a "late" strike call, as they had assumed a ball by that time. So they were pushing an earlier signal.

I really didn't notice his hammer as being different; personally, I think that (USA/ASA vs NCAA) whole area is given way too much attention. If it looks solid, and not an "up yours" move, not one of my hot buttons.

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Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
I finally remembered to figure out my stance width this weekend.
17" for the plate, plus 6" to the line, plus 36" of the box is 59".

If my inside foot is behind the far side of the plate and my outside foot is just inside the outer edge of the box;
that would mean about 50" between my feet.
With my 5' 9" height and 29" inseam, would you call that narrow or wide?
I would consider that pretty wide, comparable to where my feet end up when I look down; and in my area, I am considered a poster child for wide (I'm 5'7" with 29" as well).
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Old Tue Jun 06, 2017, 02:19pm
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Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Voice and signal at the same time is the school way for BASEBALL. Which is why it didn't seem unusual to me, I guess.

As someone considering working HS fastpitch games next season (I have a license that I maintain cause I assign and....you never know) it's great to see. My timing is a bit slower than his, but he did an amazing job for having to call so many pitches. I doubt after so long I could split the verbal and the signal without feeling goofy about it.
When I started working FP softball after doing baseball for ten years, it did take me a while to rewire my brain to do the two-count Strike mechanic. I was often accused of being a baseball umpire trying to do softball games.

Now when I work an occasional baseball game just to help a local league out with their shortfalls, I get accused of being a softball umpire trying to do baseball. Go figure.
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Old Tue Jun 06, 2017, 03:08pm
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Watching a guy succeed on one of the highest stages doing it just that way.....nobody would accuse him of being a baseball umpire.
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Old Wed Jun 07, 2017, 07:42am
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Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve View Post
Manny, that is something the SUP started pushing a few years back, to start the signal earlier than the "pregnant pause". With crowd noise, and when the PU isn't mic'ed, too often the TV talking heads didn't hear the verbal; without the verbal, they often commented that the signal indicated a "late" strike call, as they had assumed a ball by that time. So they were pushing an earlier signal.
Adjusting mechanics for the TH? GMAFB!

Quote:

I really didn't notice his hammer as being different; personally, I think that (USA/ASA vs NCAA) whole area is given way too much attention. If it looks solid, and not an "up yours" move, not one of my hot buttons.
Used to care as a matter of training. At this level, just prefer it be off to the side as opposed to forward with the fist getting to ear level. IOW, just something away from the body that can be noticed from all angles
Quote:

I would consider that pretty wide, comparable to where my feet end up when I look down; and in my area, I am considered a poster child for wide (I'm 5'7" with 29" as well).
Ummmm.......okay.
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