2009 Fall Baseball Letter #5

I am asking all umpires that are expected to be in fall baseball to give me a list of their dates in priority order of when they are able to umpire this fall at either Siebert or Alimagnet.

The dates are August 22 & 23; August 29 &30; September 12 & 13; September 19 & 20; September 26 & 27; October 3 & 4.

The following umpires are expected to be observed this fall:  Steve Fulton, Jeff Grasto, Matt Hordyk, Scott Schuler, Kurt Seurer & Don Zeyen.  Mitch Burmis, Todd Cornelius, DJ Earls, John Faison, Bill Krogman, Nick Levar (evaluated 2 or 3 years ago), Josh Maiman (evaluator too), John Matzke, Aaron Olmanson and Matt Popek.  Erik Anderson, Rich Baker, John Bell, Mike Budion (evaluator too), Brian Dorr, Mike Kaufman, Zar Kovalov (evaluator too), Jeff Larson, Mike Sticha (evaluator too), Bill Szabo, Matt Sorenson, Dan Feigum and Ed Hagberg.

Veteran umpires that are due to be evaluated are listed below:  Dean Aasgaard (evaluator too), Steve Agard, Eric Almond, Tony Anderson (evaluator too), Matt Brown (evaluator too), Mike Casey, Adrew Craddock, Nick Izzo, Bryce Jacobson (evaluator too), Dan Kneeland, Brent Kuphal, Duane Reed, Tony Schrepfer, Tim Steinbach, Josh Wigley, Brad Wilkinson (evaluator too) & Doug Zimanske.

If you have not yet given me any dates, please do so as I am going to start the scheduling process in arbiter next week.

For new applicant umpires, if you have not yet given me any dates as of yet, please do so.  Again, I am going to stop accepting applicants to our list of fall umpires on Monday, July 13, 2009 at 12 noon.  So, if I have not heard that you are interested by that date, we will not be able to incorporate you into the try-outs for Northwest Association of Umpires in our fall baseball program.

I have spoken with the following applicants and they only need to give me their best dates if they have not already done so:  Dave Altier, Steve Austin, Josh Benesh, Jerry Duncan, Marc Fiorvanti, Curtis Gambrell, Peter Gottschalk, Brad Gerten, Nick Hartle, Mike Healy, Jeff Hewitt, Jason Hofstedt, John Masberg, Dereck Neal, Rogelio-Piloto Oliva, Robert Sluinkman Jr., Mike Smith.

For those that have not received all of the Fall Baseball Letters, please go to www.nwumpires.com to read them.  They are posted under the news section to the right of the website.  This letter is fall baseball letter #5.

Some items to consider about umpiring are listed below:


Since all umpiring should be done from a static set position, all signaling will originate from a set position.  A common mistake that many umpires make is observing the play while moving and then coming set to signal the decision.  It is critically important to be set (stopped when the play happens and then move, if necessary, to render the signal.  Following are two recommended set positions:               

The Standing Set               

The standing set is assumed by squaring to the play with feet firmly planted slightly more than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly   bent.  Your weight favors the balls of the feet thereby providing a more athletic stance.  From this position, you can lean one way or the other or take a quick step or two either direction in order to adjust to a non-routine play.               

The standing set shall be used for fair/foul, catch/no-catch, interference, obstruction, overthrows, tags between bases and any other play in which a follow-up play is likely (e.g. front end of double play).  Since there are a variety of plays that can occur at home plate and late adjustments are often necessary, it is recommended that the plate umpire take all plays at the plate in a standing set.               

The Hands On Knees Set               

When the pitcher engages the rubber, the base umpire shall go into the hands on knees set (HOKS) position and stay focused on the pitcher until the pitch is imminent.  Once the pitch is imminent, he shall redirect his attention to the batter.               

For all normal force plays at first, tag plays near bases, all pick-offs and all steals, it is recommended that you use this set position to keep your head (and eyes) stationary.  There will be times, however, when it is not practical for the base umpire to assume a hands on knees set position (e.g. during a rundown, the front end of a double play, any time subsequent play is possible on another runner and any time moving to another position on the field following the call is necessary. 

To create a solid hands on knees set position:

1.        Spread legs slightly farther than shoulder-width apart.    

2.        Squat straight down; do not bend from the waist.

3.        Bend slightly forward from the waist (torso lean).

4.        Position your hands slightly above the knees with fingers together gripping the legs outside the knees with a “V” formed between your thumb and index finger.

5.        The arms should form a virtual straight line and be relaxed.

6.        Keep your chin parallel to the ground.  Do not drop your head.

7.        Relax your shoulders to dissipate physical tension.

8.        Keep your weight forward to enhance agility.