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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 09:10pm
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Can I vent?. . . and then get opinions

Well, it finally happened. . .I knew one day that being an Umpire was going to get in the way of my playing. ps: There is a question at the end.

Tonite, instead of being behind the plate umpinring. . .I pitched what turned out to be the worst Umpired game I have ever been a part of by supposedly a 20 year veteran umpire. There was ZERO plate mechanics and it seemed that the ball was being thrown back to me by my catcher before I even knew the call. Now I know that there are good umps and bad umps and each has their own quirks including the K zone. . .however. . . . .

His strike zone was as WIDE as Roseanne Barr but Thinner than an Olsen twin on a diet.

So where do I start to ask your opinions. . .Before the game I asked him is strike zone and he said traditional ASA. Well, you coulda fooled me. I was lobbing balls that were coming down within INCHES of the back foot of the batters. . .And all I was getting was SQUEEZED!! His strike zone, in effect, was an inverted Batters Box regardless of natrual batting stance. Nothing down the back shoulder was called, I mean nothing. I could not adjust at all (my issue) and I got Squeezed even more when I and my teammates started to question him (guess I shoulda been tossed). Forget the fact that I pitch reverse handed in which I debated the UMP and the other team that there is no rule that says I have to pitch palm up (unless there is a league rule which there isnt)!!!!In addition, I had batters running up for the pitch and I was getting BALLS!! Unreal

So now that I vented, let me ask a question. I always want to get better as an Ump. Understanding that each ump wether good or bad has their own zone. . .In a 6-10 foot league, or in any other. . . what is the definition of how the ball crosses the back armpit. . .Does the ball, like my umpire said, have to be at a discernable downward arc cutting underneath the armpit? OR, can it also cross the back armpit with less of a perceptible "arc" like in a 3-8ft league meaning a little depth on the pitches. . .now, I know that if it was flat and came across his chest under the pit, that should be a ball, but as I said, my pitches were ALL landing within inches of the batters back foot which means I had to have some downward arc. By getting your advice, I can only get better. . .perhaps my definitions have to change. . .lets see. . . . .(ps - I have topitch tomorrow night in the playoffs!!!)
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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 09:46pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justcallmeblue
. . .Before the game I asked him is strike zone and he said traditional ASA...
No offense intended here, but this comment made me wonder just how long you have actually been umpiring. No umpire with any time under the belt would ever dream of asking a fellow blue this question. So, this combined with your overt criticism of his performance, whether deserved or not, has me viewing you as someone who is more of a player in mindset than an umpire.

By the way, the answer to your question is in the ASA Rules Book, Umpire editiion.
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Last edited by Skahtboi; Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 09:48pm.
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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 10:13pm
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I am not taking offense at the post, I am not a veteran Ump. . . I have about 70 games under my belt in less than 4 months. . . I played for 15 years (play less than 5 games a season now) before fluke injuries made me decide that I love the game to much so I chose to become an Umpire - which I love doing and I am damn good at it and the best words people use after a game is ". you were the most consistent in a long time, can we get you for our next game"

So what is wrong with criticizing another ump here, anonymous and post fact (seen posts here do it). . .or whats wrong even asking him the question of his strike zone. . .because being new to playing in this league, I had no clue if I was pitching in an ASA, USSA, ISA or what the league rules were and each Ump really has his own zone. . .I better know it before I take the mound. . . When I do my ground rules, I make sure that each team knows my zone and its appreciated by the players. . .I rarely have batters or pitchers complain.

All I want to do is get better as an Ump.

The first UMP to the field wasnt ASA (he just happened to be on the wrong field - right league), the second Ump (our ump) had on a powder blue shirt but nothing to denote ASA. Heck, I ump in ASA Only leagues where the LEAGUE RULES state I use a Mat OR a line behind the plate extending from batters box to batters box. . .

Is it a crime or taht improper to pull the Umprie aside and ask before a game??

Last edited by justcallmeblue; Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 10:20pm.
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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 11:09pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justcallmeblue
Is it a crime or taht improper to pull the Umprie aside and ask before a game??
No, it is just a stupid question.
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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 11:28pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justcallmeblue
Understanding that each ump wether good or bad has their own zone. . .
I would say you answered the question before you asked it. Every umpire DOES have their own strike zone regardless of what the book says. Heck, I bet my definition of 12 feet doesn't jive with more than half of the others around here, if that much, if we were out on a field. (I know where 6 feet is...in non-championship play, every batter is 6 feet tall unless they are obvisouly taller.)

I would take this as sage advice meant well: asking this question is not going to win you over to many umpires. Their strike zone is where their strike zone is. Pitch to it, find it and enjoy. And if you don't find it...still enjoy. Harping on Blue ain't gonna make him better...at least for that game.
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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 11:36pm
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Well, I think that if you ask an ump what his strike zone is going to be, you're setting yourself up for being on the ump's bad side. It just comes across the wrong way, as it tells the ump, "I've gotten crapped on in the past by YOU GUYS, so tell me what you want, will you, pal?" I know that's not your intention, but some umps may take it that way.

The strict ASA strike zone is between the back shoulder and the front knee, envisioning the batter at the plate with a natural stance. Realistically, the bottom line to the strike zone is, "did the batter let an ordinarily hit pitch go by?" If so, ring 'em.

Over time, you'll get to know that strike zone better, and it will become second nature. Heck, I've been doing this a while, and I'll admit that when a new season starts after a long break, my strike zone isn't perfect, either. Just keep at it, and you'll do fine.
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I haven't decided if I should call it from the dugout or the outfield. Apparently, both have really great views!

Screw green, it ain't easy being blue!

I won't be coming here that much anymore. I might check in now and again.
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Old Wed Aug 22, 2007, 11:41pm
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And yeah, I used to be a pitcher, too, and I've been crapped on by many an umpire. I remember one ump calling a pitch I threw a ball, saying it hit the plate. I have really good eyes, and I could clearly see the new mark 6" behind the plate. Even my catcher looked at him like he was smokin' something good.

Maybe that's why in some of the upper leagues, my 12' max seems a little higher (probably ends up about 13' or 13.5' - so sue me).
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Dave

I haven't decided if I should call it from the dugout or the outfield. Apparently, both have really great views!

Screw green, it ain't easy being blue!

I won't be coming here that much anymore. I might check in now and again.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 01:11am
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It's not a good practice to "explain" your strike zone to the coaches at the plate conference. In a typical rec-league slow pitch game, I can imagine that this won't cause you much grief. But as you advance to higer levels, there is a downside.

Give an explanation other than one that exactly matches the rule book definition and you can give the impression that you either don't know the rules or choose to ignore them. Your credibility takes a hit.

Lay out a detailed explanation or "your" zone and you have pidgeon-holed yourself for the entire game. What happens if you call a pitch just a hair out of the zone you described? Your judgement is now suspect, along with your integrity- "But, Blue, you told us that would be a ball!".

I'm not sure what the group here would say is the "best" answer when asked about your strike zone before the game. I usually give some rote answer like, "The strike zone described in the rule book".

I did try a different approach a few weeks ago. At the plate conference, after introductions, line-ups and ground rules, one coach asked what my strike zone was going to be.

I gave him a little smile and said, "You're about to find out in two minutes".

His jaw dropped and he gave me a deer-in-the-headlights stare, then finally mumbled "okay". Didn't hear a peep from him about the strike zone all night.

Last edited by BretMan; Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 01:13am.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 06:56am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justcallmeblue
Well, it finally happened. . .I knew one day that being an Umpire was going to get in the way of my playing. ps: There is a question at the end.

Tonite, instead of being behind the plate umpinring. . .I pitched what turned out to be the worst Umpired game I have ever been a part of by supposedly a 20 year veteran umpire. There was ZERO plate mechanics and it seemed that the ball was being thrown back to me by my catcher before I even knew the call. Now I know that there are good umps and bad umps and each has their own quirks including the K zone. . .however. . . . .

His strike zone was as WIDE as Roseanne Barr but Thinner than an Olsen twin on a diet.

So where do I start to ask your opinions. . .Before the game I asked him is strike zone and he said traditional ASA. Well, you coulda fooled me. I was lobbing balls that were coming down within INCHES of the back foot of the batters. . .And all I was getting was SQUEEZED!! His strike zone, in effect, was an inverted Batters Box regardless of natrual batting stance. Nothing down the back shoulder was called, I mean nothing. I could not adjust at all (my issue) and I got Squeezed even more when I and my teammates started to question him (guess I shoulda been tossed). Forget the fact that I pitch reverse handed in which I debated the UMP and the other team that there is no rule that says I have to pitch palm up (unless there is a league rule which there isnt)!!!!In addition, I had batters running up for the pitch and I was getting BALLS!! Unreal

So now that I vented, let me ask a question. I always want to get better as an Ump. Understanding that each ump wether good or bad has their own zone. . .In a 6-10 foot league, or in any other. . . what is the definition of how the ball crosses the back armpit. . .Does the ball, like my umpire said, have to be at a discernable downward arc cutting underneath the armpit? OR, can it also cross the back armpit with less of a perceptible "arc" like in a 3-8ft league meaning a little depth on the pitches. . .now, I know that if it was flat and came across his chest under the pit, that should be a ball, but as I said, my pitches were ALL landing within inches of the batters back foot which means I had to have some downward arc. By getting your advice, I can only get better. . .perhaps my definitions have to change. . .lets see. . . . .(ps - I have topitch tomorrow night in the playoffs!!!)
I'm assuming SP here.

What does "coming down within INCHES of the back foot of the batter" have to do with the strike zone?

What does the armpit have to do with the strike zone?

What does a batter walking the box have to do with the strike zone?

If it was flat and getting anywhere near a batter's armpits, you probably should have been warned, and then removed, for excessive speed.

You are correct about one thing, you do not have to pitch the ball with the palm up.

People giving you all the answers on this board is not going to make you a better umpire or feel any better about your experience. You really do need to pull out the book and read.

Good luck in the playoffs.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 08:59am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justcallmeblue
Well, it finally happened. . .I knew one day that being an Umpire was going to get in the way of my playing. ps: There is a question at the end.

Tonite, instead of being behind the plate umpinring. . .I pitched what turned out to be the worst Umpired game I have ever been a part of by supposedly a 20 year veteran umpire. There was ZERO plate mechanics and it seemed that the ball was being thrown back to me by my catcher before I even knew the call. Now I know that there are good umps and bad umps and each has their own quirks including the K zone. . .however. . . . .

His strike zone was as WIDE as Roseanne Barr but Thinner than an Olsen twin on a diet.

So where do I start to ask your opinions. . .Before the game I asked him is strike zone and he said traditional ASA. Well, you coulda fooled me. I was lobbing balls that were coming down within INCHES of the back foot of the batters. . .And all I was getting was SQUEEZED!! His strike zone, in effect, was an inverted Batters Box regardless of natrual batting stance. Nothing down the back shoulder was called, I mean nothing. I could not adjust at all (my issue) and I got Squeezed even more when I and my teammates started to question him (guess I shoulda been tossed). Forget the fact that I pitch reverse handed in which I debated the UMP and the other team that there is no rule that says I have to pitch palm up (unless there is a league rule which there isnt)!!!!In addition, I had batters running up for the pitch and I was getting BALLS!! Unreal

So now that I vented, let me ask a question. I always want to get better as an Ump. Understanding that each ump wether good or bad has their own zone. . .In a 6-10 foot league, or in any other. . . what is the definition of how the ball crosses the back armpit. . .Does the ball, like my umpire said, have to be at a discernable downward arc cutting underneath the armpit? OR, can it also cross the back armpit with less of a perceptible "arc" like in a 3-8ft league meaning a little depth on the pitches. . .now, I know that if it was flat and came across his chest under the pit, that should be a ball, but as I said, my pitches were ALL landing within inches of the batters back foot which means I had to have some downward arc. By getting your advice, I can only get better. . .perhaps my definitions have to change. . .lets see. . . . .(ps - I have topitch tomorrow night in the playoffs!!!)
Vent away, player. When you become an umpire, I'll answer that final paragraph. You are still a player, and only a player, who happens to don the blue on occasion.

If you were an umpire, you'd not have asked the umpire what his zone was - it's a stupid question even as a player, and starts things off on an antagonistic foot from the get-go.

If you were an umpire, you'd not need to ask the whole last paragraph. The zone is pretty well defined. Go read it again.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 09:02am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justcallmeblue
When I do my ground rules, I make sure that each team knows my zone and its appreciated by the players. . .I rarely have batters or pitchers complain.

All I want to do is get better as an Ump.
If you mean this last statement, then stop creating YOUR zone, and use the book as best as you can... and DEFINITELY stop using the plate conference as a platform to tell the coaches that you've thrown out the rulebook and invented your own zone.

Quote:
Is it a crime or taht improper to pull the Umprie aside and ask before a game??
If the other comments haven't answered this already, I'll be more clear... Yes, it is a crime. Don't do it.
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Last edited by mcrowder; Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 12:43pm.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 09:59am
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If someone has a question about the strike zone, I either refer them to the 2007 ASA Regs/Rules/Umps book, or just state the wording of the rule to them.

On a little side script, I always enjoy it when a player says something to the effect of "How can you call that a strike? It landed right here" - as the batter is pointing to a spot in the dirt.

I respond with "Yep, it sure did".
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 12:12pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPRempe
If someone has a question about the strike zone, I either refer them to the 2007 ASA Regs/Rules/Umps book, or just state the wording of the rule to them.

On a little side script, I always enjoy it when a player says something to the effect of "How can you call that a strike? It landed right here" - as the batter is pointing to a spot in the dirt.

I respond with "Yep, it sure did".
And I always respond with "yes it landed here, but the strike zone is up here.." and motion to the area above the plate.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 12:57pm
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Jesus... Maybe his screen name should be "justcallmeblackandblue" with the way everyone's been beating up on him. Sure, it wasn't the best question in the world, but it most certainly wasn't the worst...
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Dave

I haven't decided if I should call it from the dugout or the outfield. Apparently, both have really great views!

Screw green, it ain't easy being blue!

I won't be coming here that much anymore. I might check in now and again.
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Old Thu Aug 23, 2007, 01:31pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCASAUmp
Jesus... Maybe his screen name should be "justcallmeblackandblue" with the way everyone's been beating up on him. Sure, it wasn't the best question in the world, but it most certainly wasn't the worst...
The point is, it was an extremely unprofessional question for one professing to be a fellow umpire.

What it demonstrates is that he has not fully embraced the profession of umpiring, and still views himself primarily as a player where softball is concerned.
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