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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 11:50am
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Trusting your equipment

A lot is said to new umpires about trusting their equipment so that they don't flinch or turn away from a pitch coming in but very little is ever said about trusting your eyes.
I have been watching some games recently with some umpires who have what it takes to be good umpires. While watching these games, I am seeing a disturbing trend of umpires not using their eyes or not trusting those same eyes.
Now, these games have been in 3 different states, within different organizations but almost all of them are ASA trained umpires. Four of the umpires work NCAA for sure, I am not sure about the rest.
One tourney was ISA, another NSA the other two were ASA local events.

When you are working the plate, almost everyone who reads this knows to get your self set for the pitch etc etc etc.
However, what I am seeing is a real lack of using the eyes to make sure it is legal to even have a pitch or if a ball was hit legally.
For instance:
1.) Having a coach on the field of play. The ball was made live and a pitch was delivered. Luckily for the umps, the ball was hit foul.
2.) F3 was not on the field of play but was over by her dugout. This is an illegal pitch. Refer to your rule books.
3.) The batter did not have both feet in the box at any time prior to the start of the pitch. This situation occured over and over at all the games I watched. The batter had not and was not delaying.
The umpires were ringing up strikes and had no idea of where the batter was. This was not a quick pitch type of situation either. Just pi$$ poor game management.
5.) Batters stepping back and out of the box then re-entering the box to hit the ball. DEAD BALL, BATTER IS OUT
6.) Batters out of the box when they hit the ball. I am talking one foot completely out of the box, not touching a line and ON THE GROUND out of the box when contact was made. DEAD BALL, BATTER IS OUT. This was so blatent in one game that you could clearly see the batters foot print in the freshly prepped field at least two feet, 24 inches, out in front of the plate.

All of the umps I saw had really good strike zones, their mechanics were pretty good too.
If you wonder why coaches are going nuts, these easy calls are one of the reasons.

Guys and ladies, you have to fulfill your duties at the plate.
One of the big duties is to SEE what is happening out there and to enforce the rules fairly, without prejudice. The reason for the rules is to NOT ALLOW an unfair advantage.

If you are working your slot well, you can see that foot out of the box. If you cant' see it, you aren't trusting your equipment or you are lazy.

We have all talked to death the need to see our strike zone well, to get that low outside pitch and ring it up.
Just as important is to see what is there before and during the pitch.
Sure, it is kinda cheesy to call a ball because F4 is delaying the pitch past the 20 second limit. But that is the coaches responsibility to correct it. I promise that if you call it early, the coaches are going to want to know why and it will get fixed quickly.

The batter has to be in the box PRIOR to the start of the pitch and cannot step out and re-enter to hit the pitch.
If you cannot see that a batters foot is out of the box and on the ground while watching the pitch, then maybe you aren't as good an umpire as you think you are.
Peripheral vision has a lot to do with this and you need to exercise that portion of your skills. You can see it unless you are not in position.

I used to be teased a long time ago about calling the foot on the ground out of the box when the pitch was hit and game films supported me everytime it was available.
Make the call, just as we say about a pitch......"Every ball deserves a call." Everything about the game is worth having a call made on it. Most however require nothing to be said but you have to know what is going on.
We check bats, we check this we check that.
Pay attention to details, that is what you are getting paid to do.

Now, I don't want to leave the impression that the umps I saw were terrible, they weren't. Not at all.
They had a lot of hustle, good positioning. They sold their calls when needed. The strike zones were excellent with not a complaint as far as I could tell from the coaches or catchers.

They dealt with the coaches really well, right up until a coach came out on the issues I listed above.
Then, I could see the umps eyes glaze over and they became overly officious. One even told a coach, "I will worry about what goes on in front of me you take care of your team." The coach was not rude and was actually much more pleasant than I thought he was going to be.
I was close enough to be able to hear the conversation as they had moved off to the side away from the plate and I was able to clearly see the infractions I listed above.

We all joke about how much better the fans think they can see the game from outside the fence and we actually deride them for what they think they saw. I know, becuase I am world class at this, calling them "howler monkeys" etc.
But what I am seeing lately, I am beginning to think that a lot of what they think they see, they really do.
I have been around a long time with ASA, ISF (not as long) and other sports.
You have to train your eyes to see what is supposed to be there so you will recognize it when something isn't right.

You need to have confidence on the field, you work on knowing the rules, you work to make your uniform look sharp, you concentrate on your strike zone, you work to make sure you can clear the catcher etc etc.
Work on your eyes, and make sure you are seeing ALL that you are supposed to see.
Don't be arrogant but be sure. Being confident and knowing you have the call won't make you popular but it will let a coach or a player that their game matters and you aren't there just to get a check.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 06:09pm
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The same thing even goes for BEFORE the game, too. Yesterday worked three games of a USSSA 14U qualifier. Me and my partner followed a pair of veteran umps who had just worked three. The FIRST thing my partner and I noticed was that there was NO DOUBLE BASE AT FIRST. And yes, there was one in the closet behind the dugout...

After a whole season of working high school ball, how does one not notice there is no double bag at first??
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 06:11pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASA/NYSSOBLUE View Post

After a whole season of working high school ball, how does one not notice there is no double bag at first??
Because NFHS does not use a double base
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 06:29pm
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They do in Minnesota.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 10:01pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottk_61 View Post
2.) F3 was not on the field of play but was over by her dugout. This is an illegal pitch. Refer to your rule books.
ASA prefers that you do not allow the pitch. If you see it before the pitch, call time and get the player on the field. Not in the rule book but taught at National Clinics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottk_61 View Post
you cant' see it, you aren't trusting your equipment or you are lazy.
This may take time to develop, ScottK, but it is something to strive for.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 10:09pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronald View Post
ASA prefers that you do not allow the pitch. If you see it before the pitch, call time and get the player on the field. Not in the rule book but taught at National Clinics.
.
If the PU does the job right, it won't happen.
But on the other hand of this, it is an illegal pitch and when called, will stop the defense from screwing around and wasting time.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 10:14pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottk_61 View Post
If the PU does the job right, it won't happen.
But on the other hand of this, it is an illegal pitch and when called, will stop the defense from screwing around and wasting time.
I agree.

Are you the Scott that is going to the World Championships?
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 10:58pm
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Originally Posted by ronald View Post
I agree.

Are you the Scott that is going to the World Championships?
No, I have had to take a break from umping due to my developing an aneursym on my aorta that is not repairable at this time.

Wish I was going though.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 10:59pm
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Cool man, a rant re obscure rule enforcement.

Feel better?

Hey, if they could just get obstruction and INT right.. I'll be happy.

I was working with a ASA-rookie-but-big-time-Little-League-BB guy today and he is BU.. runner steals on a F2 bobble, does a horrible slide, shes off the bag, F6 is covering and literally moving body parts preventing the runner from getting to the base, F6 finally catches the ball, tags her, and he SELLS it like it was the out of the century.

It was comical.

The coaches didnt even come out!!!! No one said a friggin word. F6 might as well have tackled that runner and held her down.

I told him between innings: You are lucky all the good coaches are in colorado because if I had to bail you out on that and take heat because you didnt call OBS I woulda been pissed off.

But you worry about all those other rules scott.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 11:00pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottk_61 View Post
No, I have had to take a break from umping due to my developing an aneursym on my aorta that is not repairable at this time.

Wish I was going though.


Holy crap... What's the plan, Scott?
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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 Sun Jul 05, 2009, 11:05pm
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Originally Posted by NCASAUmp View Post


Holy crap... What's the plan, Scott?
Well, if I did what the doctors said, I wouldn't even walk to the kitchen to get something to eat!

But, I am waiting to see what happens with medical research.
Taking it easy, enjoying what I see in front of me and trying not to get to wound up about anything.
Time will tell if it can eventually be repaired.
Shoot, I have already outlived the doctors expectations by more than a year.

My best friend said that, "only the good die young so that means you will live till you're over a hundred."
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 11:19pm
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Good luck, ScottK_61.
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Old Sun Jul 05, 2009, 11:58pm
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I was typing the same time as you and missed your post. I wish you the best brother.
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Old Mon Jul 06, 2009, 06:25am
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You definitely take it easy, Scott. We need more fellas like you in this world, bro. If you don't, I'mma kick your a$$.
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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 Mon Jul 06, 2009, 01:09pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
Because NFHS does not use a double base
Here in NY we do.....
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