MECHANICS

9 Submitted by on Tue, 06 January 2015, 11:00

This is a good discussion topic for many of our newer and veteran umpires to learn from one another. From the proper way to holding the home plate conference to ejecting a player or coach, all of us need to improve in this area and be consistent with using good mechanics. Over the years, I have noticed some umpires still using high school mechanics and we need to improve in that area. From past games, I have also noticed that several umpires do not know the proper collegiate method of reporting new players into the game. Do you?

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9 Responses to "MECHANICS"
  1. Jim says:

    I would like to discuss if we can the force play slide situation into second base. I have noticed in games I have seen and/or worked that we as a group need to try to work harder on watching the slide into second as the plate umpire, after the base umpire turns! Do you agree or disagree? Any suggestions on how we can do this better?

    • Bill Reuter says:

      Good point. The Plate Umpire DOES have to get as good an angle as he can (Difficult) on those plays and HELP on the “Post Throw” FPS Violations. However it’s even MORE important that the Base Umpire NOT turn his head until the Throw is RELEASED while doing his “Double Play Drift”. In my opinion if the Base Umpire executes properly he’ll see 70-80% (or more) of these violations. If there’s a weakness it’s there, far more often than with the Plate Umpire in my observations. A challenging play that requires proper Technique, Coordination, and Teamwork.

  2. Robert Brown says:

    When being the HP umpire, I have been mostly concerned with getting my butt in position as near to the pitcher’s mound as possible. Getting there and getting set requires a quick jump out of the gate and then hustling to get as near to the mound as possible and getting set before the runner is into his slide. Making sure that the runner either slides directly into the bag or away from the fielder also requires the HP umpire to use good timing to observe the whole play and any action afterwards. Turning away too soon to head back to the plate may cause the HP umpire to miss a kick at the fielder or other illegal action, so it is imperative to “stay with the play” through its entirety and then observe any action that may occur afterwards. If any interference or violation occurs, it is an immediate dead ball and both R1 and the BR are declared out and any other runners that may have been on base, return to the base at the time of the pitch. But, go back to the beginning of what I wrote; we have to get our butts out there and get set, if we are to have any chance at all to help out the base umpire.

  3. Matthew Beaver says:

    The key principle for the plate man to remember is one of certainty. Because of the combination of distance and angle that the plate man does NOT have, should an interference on the slide present itself at second base and the base man doesn’t see it (because he either turned before the release of the ball OR the interference legitimately happened AFTER the aforementioned release), the plate man MUST be 100% certain that the interference occurred. The overriding objective is to get the play right, after all. However, if the above circumstances present themselves, and the plate man is NOT absolutely positive, then the fact of the matter is this: That situation is simply a built-in limitation of the two-man system. Ideally, it would be fantastic if there were an umpire that was close, with a great angle, that could ALSO stay with the slide all the way through the whole process, even after the release, but the best we’ve got is A) the base man doesn’t turn his head until the throw is actually released, and B) the plate man get up the line or close to the pitcher’s mound and be completely set, and watch it from there. As far as the argument that would perhaps ensue, in my opinion it’s a bad idea to get into semantics with the manager/head coach about how “it may have been interference, but that there’s only two guys and we didn’t see it”, etc. Simply let the guy state his case, and then at the end of the day, tell him some variation of, “In my judgement, there was no interference on that play.”

  4. jgordon says:

    Thanks guys for the input!!!

  5. Matt Beaver says:

    I would like to share with our esteemed members the concept of “closing” on the ball once you’ve gone out. All umpire mechanics manuals that have ever been written stipulate that once an umpire goes out on flyball/line drive, the umpire should be virtually stopped and set for either a fair/foul or catch/no-catch decision. However, none of those manuals say a word about being stopped and set when actually executing THE MECHANIC (whether it be pumping the ball fair, signaling foul, or signaling a catch, or no-catch, as it were). Since there is no reason to be stopped when executing your mechanic, it’s possible to use the time BETWEEN the fair/foul-catch/no-catch actually happening, when you must be set (for reasons we all know and understand), and the time you actually execute the mechanic to CLOSE the distance between you and either the spot where the ball landed (in case of a fair/foul) or the spot where the fielder attempted his catch/no-catch. The reason this concept is such a vital tool is because whenever a flyball is hit to the outfield and it’s clear there will be either A) a close fair/foul or B) a “tough catch” attempt, EVERYONE on the field, except the umpires, will look at the ball OR the fielder, and after a short time interval (a couple/few seconds), THEN they’ll look at the umpire. The whole idea behind “closing” is to take full advantage of that critical time interval. During that time interval, an umpire can cover a tremendous amount of ground and sometimes (certainly not always) on a really tough fair/foul but ESPECIALLY catch/no-catch, closing the distance during that time interval can LITERALLY be the difference between someone (perhaps a manager/head coach) screaming “How can you make that call from over there,” and that same someone saying to themselves (because they won’t say it to you), “Wow, that umpire really got himself out there.” In addition, if this principle is applied for the entire game or games (for instance, by both umpires in a DH), it builds up fantastic credibility for the crew, because their perception of you will be that you both work hard out there. THAT, in turn, can oftentimes stop an argument from ever even starting. Or, if the head man comes out for an explanation, you now have what you need to diffuse that potential argument back down into a situation, all because everybody THINKS that you got much farther distance on the play than you did in reality. It takes practice to get this mechanic down. Work on taking exactly THREE steps to settle in and stop (but in an athletic position, ready to move again quickly), being stopped and set, watch the play, and then ZOOM, running directly toward the ball and/or fielder while SIMULTANEOUSLY executing your mechanic. It will more than likely feel clunky at first, but it’s like riding a bike…once you get it down after consistent practice, you’ve now got a tool that you can use for the rest of your umpire life.

    • Dennis says:

      Matt, couldn’t agree with you more on this mechanic. We’ve been teaching this mechanic at our annual mechanics clinic that we offer at Immaculata for the past three years. I’ve had Chris include this in the on field portion of our training when going out from the “A” position. It looks good, gets the umpire closer to the play, and promotes hustle.

    • John says:

      This also works for those foul balls down the line, you know the one that just goes fair or foul right over the bag. Every one is watching the ball. Sometimes it is impossible to get on the line fast enough. Hustle to the line but don’t make a call until you realize all eyes are coming back onto you and then every one will see you on the line. Hanging out and making that call from behind the plate is asking for trouble. Great subject Matt.

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