Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A chance to prove myself

For the past 20 years, I have spent every summer learning the skills needed to become the best umpire I could possibly be. I even went to Daytona Beach, FL to attend Umpire School because I dreamed of being a professional umpire. Well, even though those dreams will never be realized, I just found out that on May 13th and 15th, my dream of umpiring a professional baseball game will come true.

I am getting two shots to impress the umpire in chief with the Frontier League. This is a big opportunity for me, wish me luck.

Friday, April 16, 2010


This post isn't quite as much about umpiring as it is about the state of little league baseball in general. Last night, I had two games. Both were boys 13 and both were somewhat decent games. In each game, the lack of hustle on and off the field was crazy. There were times that it took 2 minutes to get everyone on the field. That is just not right. When did it not become a priority for the kids to sprint on and off the field? It might just be me but it bugs me.

As far as the umpiring goes, today I want to talk about communitcating with your partner. And I don't mean talking in bewtween innings. During the course of a game, there are various signals that umpires give one another to make sure they are on the same page.

The first one is simple, signal how many outs there are after each out. Make sure you each have the smae number of outs. If you don't, trouble will soon follow.

Second is the infield fly signal. When the infield fly rule is in effect (runners on 1st and 2nd or 1st, 2nd and 3rd with less than two outs) either touch the bill of your cap of your chest with your left hand and signal the number of outs with your right hand. Make sure your partner sees it because in a perfect world, you are both calling infield fly.

Third is more verbal but just as importand. If there is a runner at first and the ball is hit and there could be a play at third, the plate umpire should come down and make the call at third to save the field umpire some running or getting caught with the ;play actually going to second and him being behind the play. In this case, simply yell "I GOT THIRD!!" Sounds simple but needs to be done.

Four, and the last one I will talk about today, is the timing play. If there is a runner one 2nd and there are two outs. The plate umpire simple holds two fingers out and then hit them on your wrist, like you are pointing to your watch. This signals that you are going to stay home, in case there is a tag play in the field. This is extremely important because in those situations, you have to make sure the runner scores BEFORE the tag is made.

Ok, that's all I got for now, until next time, have fun out there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foul Tip

This is going to be a short post today. Last night I was umpiring Boys 14 Select. It was the Gold division. In the second inning and a runner on first, this play happened. Pitcher pitches, runner stole second. The batter swung and tipped the ball into the catchers glove. No throw. Kid safe, no problem....right. Wrong!! The third basemen started yelling it was a foul tip, the runner has to go back. Then the coach started yelling, then the fans.

I was in the field, so I let the plate umpire deal with it at first, who explained that a foul tip is a live ball. The coach looked at me and asked if I agreed with that. I said yes. He said, "Since when?" I said, "Well I have been alive 32 years and I can tell you that for at least 32 years that has been the rule. I then told him to go read the definition of foul TIP in the rule book in section 2.

In case you haven't read it, the definition is, "A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand."

It amazes me how many coaches don't know this rule, I mean seriously, this is the simplest of rules.

I advice to the new umpire is to learn this rule and be able to quote it when this comes up and I'm sure it will.