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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 12:59am
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Game management questions #1 and #2

A couple things came up this month that I saw that I'd like to shop around for feedback. Answers that vary by level and ruleset are welcome.

Sitch #1: Is it good game management to communicate with a base coach or a player that they are dangerously close to leaving early?

Example - runner leaves base on a pitch, and the umpire gives every benefit of the doubt (as instructed) but it's possible that she's leaving early, and it's nearly certain that if she goes any earlier, she'll be called out. Communicate preventatively or just wait for the violation to "call itself?"

Sitch #2: Working with catchers - is there value in a short "pregame" with F2?

Example - I don't personally do this, but I saw/heard the following conversation (lower level NCAA play; paraphrased as I might not have heard the whole exchange): "Catch, let's work together today. I tell every catcher the same thing. If you have a question, just ask me. I'll tell you where a pitch is when it barely misses. If you think I'm missing a part of the plate, let me know, but if I tell you it's inside or whatever, don't tell coach those are on the plate. Let's work together and get strikes."

Now, I work verbally with my catchers WAY LESS than a lot of guys...partly due to my umpiring history. I started young and when I was working ball played by girls the same age as me, the old timers told me Rules 1 through 3 were all "Don't Talk to The Players." I talk more than I used to during the game to F2, but I still think this is way too much....am I wrong?
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Last edited by teebob21; Wed Apr 24, 2019 at 01:03am. Reason: fixed typos
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 06:00am
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Umpires are never suppose to tip either team to infractions, so why would it be good game management to warn a coach their team is close to violating some rule?

Other than pleasantries on introducing yourself to the catcher, no not going to discuss where pitches are located or talk to them about not going to their coach telling them the ball was on the plate.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 08:59am
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Agree with Richard. I can assure you that F3 is going to hear it and let her coach know that the BU is offering tips to the opposing team's runners. Why even open that can of worms? Yeah, there may be some coaches who appreciate that and would want the same advice given to his/her players. But there are a few of those coaches who will take exception, and may let your assignor know what you're doing.

That said, I recall reading a Referee magazine article from a MLB umpire who mentioned that he does advise coaches from a game management perspective to prevent a violation. His example was a pitcher who was close to balking, and he said he would let the pitcher's coach know that he needs to be aware of the potential issue. That may work in pro ball, but I just don't think it's a good idea at our levels.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 09:18am
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Both cases - NO! Umpiring, not coaching.

Rapport with players and coaches is important, and being pleasant is part of that. Varsity and above, never warn about violations or situations.

JV, MS, some JO; ok to let a coach know about obvious lack of knowledge like pitcher's hands violations; but no competitive level coaching.

"Let's work together and get strikes" implies some that are not, just to keep moving.

All of that speech reads like weakness to me, especially above 8th grade.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 09:31am
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Good stuff, thanks guys. Nice to know I'm not alone in how I thought about these "tips".
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 09:36am
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Went to an NCAA clinic last month, had a few college coaches there as speakers... one coach had a great bit of info:

He did the math, and determined that, in the time the ball takes to go from pitcher's hand, to catcher's hand, to F6's glove, it is physically impossible for a runner to cover 60'.

The message being: the only way they're safe is by leaving early, and he will continue to send his runners early until they are caught.

The base-stealing runners all do it, and only the most flagrant are called on it.

Last edited by jmkupka; Wed Apr 24, 2019 at 09:40am.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 10:24am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
Went to an NCAA clinic last month, had a few college coaches there as speakers... one coach had a great bit of info:

He did the math, and determined that, in the time the ball takes to go from pitcher's hand, to catcher's hand, to F6's glove, it is physically impossible for a runner to cover 60'.

The message being: the only way they're safe is by leaving early...
Ok, so a pitch that leaves the pitcher's hand at 60 mph from, let's say, 40 feet away will get to the catcher in 0.45 sec. A decent pop time is 1.8 sec. So that's 2.25 sec. A good home to first time for a runner is maybe 2.8 sec, so I suppose we can assume the same from first to second. So, yeah, there's about a half second between when the ball gets to F6 and the runner gets to the bag.

But there are a lot of assumptions in this theory, to include:

1. The pitch is a decent fast ball.
2. The pitch is on target so the catcher will catch the pitch cleanly without reaching for it.
3. The catcher will have that good D1 pop time.
4. The throw is on target where F6 doesn't have to reach high for it.

Yeah, if all those conditions are met, it's likely the runner will be gunned out. But how often are they all met? Is it really worth the risk to have the runner leave the base early, and it turns out the pitch was a change-up, or it was in the dirt, or the catcher fumbled the transfer, or her throw was off-line, or...
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 10:45am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
Went to an NCAA clinic last month, had a few college coaches there as speakers... one coach had a great bit of info:

He did the math, and determined that, in the time the ball takes to go from pitcher's hand, to catcher's hand, to F6's glove, it is physically impossible for a runner to cover 60'.

The message being: the only way they're safe is by leaving early, and he will continue to send his runners early until they are caught.

The base-stealing runners all do it, and only the most flagrant are called on it.
Hijack !
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 12:35pm
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semi-hijack/amusing anecdote...
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 01:00pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
semi-hijack/amusing anecdote...
True.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 01:25pm
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
good home to first time for a runner is maybe 2.8 sec, so I suppose we can assume the same from first to second.
Seems wrong, if this were right and the double play is close at second you'd have no chance at first. Going from batting to running is slower than going base to base.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 06:29pm
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Originally Posted by youngump View Post
Seems wrong, if this were right and the double play is close at second you'd have no chance at first. Going from batting to running is slower than going base to base.
Rabbits and turtles, YoungUmp.
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 06:35pm
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The only time I've offered advice is during "friendlies" tournaments. Usually these are tryouts for the travel teams. Rules are relaxed, everyone bats, etc.

I've told a coach about pitching violations once they removed that particular girl from the pitching position. I have also offered some inputs to coaches regarding their catchers - particularly those who have a tendency to stand up when catching a pitch, thus blocking the umpire's view.

Would never advise anyone during competitive play. Take the outs!
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Old Wed Apr 24, 2019, 06:42pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
semi-hijack/amusing anecdote...
As OP - I approve of this hijack.

I'll add the following - most umpires I know won't EVER call a leaving early violation if contact is broken with the base when the ball is at or past the pitcher's hip, regardless of whether it's actually been released. Add 0.1 second.

Most radar guns operate on the principle of highest recorded speed - due to drag, the ball slows by 1-2 MPH en route to the plate. Also, zero catchers are receiving the pitch at the front of the plate. Add at least 0.1 second.

Most runners hook slide/slide-by nowadays at all college levels, increasing the distance a ball must be moved by F4/F6 to make the tag, even on a perfect throw. Add...0.05 seconds?

That SWAG adds up to a quarter second or more in unaccounted time. As an umpire, a quarter second can be a LOOOONG time. In conclusion, legal stealing is totally possible (on a theorectical time basis) even at the D1 level.
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Old Fri Apr 26, 2019, 08:42am
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And I would have debated his theory with those points had he not been an "Honored Guest Speaker"...

I think his point is, the leaving early is not being called nearly enough. And he takes advantage of that fact.
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