Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tip of the day

When I first started getting serious about umpiring about 12 years ago, I attending my first camp. It wasn't anything special, just some of the local high school umpires helping the younger umpires in the area. It was here that I was first taught that when you are behind the plate and the catcher takes the inside corner, you should look at the pitch from directly over the head of the catcher.

This technique allows you to see the pitch and still see the outside corner; however, it leaves you wide open to get drilled by foul balls. This really wasn't a problem for me a few years ago but this past year, I went through a two week stretch where I had about 20 balls fouled off my mask in a two week stretch. It was really getting to be annoying.

It was then that I emailed a buddy of mine who is working AA ball right now. He told me that the minor league umpires are now being taught to go even further inside when the catcher takes the inside corner of the plate. When he first told me that, I thought he was crazy. How could you possibly see the outside corner from that position? Well, I tried it and to my surprise, I still was able to call the outside corner. Sure, it was a little more difficult at first, but once you get used to it, it isn't that much of an issue and most importantly, you aren't getting hit right in the kisser by a foul ball.

So, for all of you out there who are tired of having to wipe the ball marks off your mask, try this and I guarantee that once you get used to it, it will be no different from calling the pitch from over the top.

Stay consistent out there and remember that angle is more important than distance and never forget your......timing. PLAY BALL!!!

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