Fall Ball

NW Umpires and those that are applying for membership for 2010,

Below is the document that will be used by the evaluators this fall.  In it they are expected to observe you umpire and give you some hints on your strenths and weaknesses.  We have limited it to 3 strengths and 3 things to work on.  They may or may not add any more to the document at their discretion.  The reason for only 3 is that it is very difficult to work on more than one of these at a time anyway.  So, one should be an immediate goal, the 2nd one should be an intermediate goal and the 3rd one a future goal.

Also, we have placed their recommendation to our Board of Directors if the applying umpire should be recommended for membership in 2010.  The BOD will make the final decision based on a ranking of all applicants and also on the needs of Northwest Umpires for 2010.

There are some criteria that are listed in the document for both the plate and the bases.  I suggest that all umpires that will be evaluated this fall, including present members look at it to see what the evaluator will be looking for in the umpires that they evaluate.

Evaluators, I suggest you also look at the document more than once before you observe the umpires and use the criteria listed to form what you plan on looking at in the observation and evaluation.  You will not be filling in a recommendation for those that are present members.  Only for those that are applying for membership should you make a recommendation for the 2010 season.

Good luck to all umpires this fall in our yearly program of evaluation. We have approximately 20 applicant umpires going to be evaluated this fall.  Again, the reason for evaluation is to improve the product we are putting on the field for our clients (teams, schools and players).

I am leaving town on Saturday morning for 5 days and will return on Wednesday, July 29th.  I am going to the NASO convention in Tucson, AZ representing NW Umpires and the MSHSL.

If you have any questions about fall baseball, please hold off until I return or call or write before I leave.


Larry Gallagher

Click the link below to download the 2009 NW Umpires Evaluation Form


NW Umpires and Applicants,

I hope everyone is geared up for their playoff games at this time.  Legion ball is winding down with the District 3, 5 and 10 Playoffs getting started and the amateur playoffs already beginning in some leagues.  We have about 3 weeks left so it is the time we all need to be sharp.  Good luck with these games.

I will be leaving Saturday for Tucson and the NASO Convention.  Next year it will be here in the Twin Cities and a number of us are going as your representatives in a number of sports to the Arizona NASO Convention.  I hope to bring back information about how we are going to do our convention next year.

A reminder to those of us that are involved in fall baseball:  I have assigned all of the games so far and all but 14 games have been accepted by all of the umpires.  I still need a few umpires to take care of that.  When I return from Tucson, I will check and see if I need to get new umpires for those 14 games based upon your accepting them or not.  I do have a few umpires that are wanting to join our group and I will try to place them in those slots if they are not manned by the presently assigned umpires.

Another reminder about our August 19th orientation meeting at 6 pm at the International School of Minnesota.


Larry Gallagher

Below are my definitions for Jim Evans 13 Plate Criteria that I mentioned yesterday:

click this link to download the doucment:  http://www.nwumpires.com/home/images/stories/NWmisc/jimevans13areasofplatecriteriadefinitionsbylg.doc

Hi NW Umpires,

Here is more information from Jim Evans "Maximizing the 2-Umpire System."  I also am placing some other items into this from stuff I have prepared using some of Jim Evans ideas.


Larry Gallagher


Some of the most challenging plays umpires encounter, occur at first base.  Not only is the base umpire required to exercise superb judgment in determining whether a batter-runner’s foot touched the first base bag before the ball was secured by the fielder, but he is also required to make quick, split-second adjustments to a player’s miscue.  This means that the routine force play that “should” occur at first often turns into a tough tag play when the throw pulls the first baseman off the base.  If this occurs, a specific signal is required to explain and sell the call.

12.40       Out On the Tag               

If the throw pulls the first baseman off the base to his left but the fielder is able to successfully tag the batter-runner before he reaches the base, the umpire should call him OUT using the following signal:                               

“On the tag … He’s out!”               

Since this was not a true throw, the base umpire makes an adjustment to his left from a standing set position to enhance his view of the attempted tag.  Once the umpire determines a legal tag, he shall point to the location of the tag with the index finger of the left hand while verbalizing, “On the tag…” then raise the right fist signaling out as he verbalizes, “He’s out!”

12.41       Missed the Tag               

If the throw pulls the first baseman off the base to his left and the fielder fails to tag the base-runner before he reaches the base, the umpire should call him SAFE using the following signal:                               

“Safe!  Missed the tag!  Safe!” or “Safe!  No tag!  Safe!”               

Since this was not a true throw, the base umpire makes an adjustment to his left from a standing set position to enhance his view of the attempted tag.  Once the umpire determines that the tag was missed and the batter-runner has touched the base, the umpire should verbalize and signal, “Safe!  Missed the tag!  Safe” or “Safe!  No tag!  Safe!”  He physically signals SAFE twice.

12.42       Off the Bag               

Sometimes the throw will pull the first baseman off the bag before he secures the ball and there is no time for a tag attempt.  To many on the field, in the dugouts and in the stands it may appear that the ball beat the batter-runner to first.  And, it may have but the first baseman did not legally tag the base before the batter-runner touched it.  In this case, it is important to call the batter-runner safe and indicate why.  The following mechanic is recommended:                               

“Safe!  He’s off the bag!”               

The umpire signals SAFE while verbalizing, “Safe!  He’s off the bag!”  As he declares, “He’s off the bag!” he physically waves his arms in unison in the direction the fielder came off the bag.

12.43       Dropped the Ball               

Occasionally, the ball will beat the batter-runner to first base but the first baseman will drop the ball then quickly recover it.  Before the fielder can regain control of the ball, however, the batter-runner touches the base.  In this case, the batter-runner is SAFE but it is not always obvious to players, coaches and fans the reason for the unexpected safe call.  For that reason, it is recommended that the umpire use an additional signal to sell the call.                               

“Safe!  Dropped the ball!”               

The umpire signals SAFE in the conventional manner and then points to the ground where the ball was originally dropped.  This additional signal is not necessary if the ball rolls several feet from the fielder.  Never point to the ball when it has rolled away from him.  You could be accused of locating the ball for the defensive team.  If a point is necessary, point to the ground where the ball was dropped and not to the ball itself.

12.44       Juggled the Ball               

Occasionally, the ball will beat the batter-runner to first base but the first baseman will “juggle” or “bobble” the ball before securely controlling it.  Before the fielder can gain “firm and secure possession” of the ball, however, the batter-runner touches the base.  In this case, the batter-runner is SAFE but it is not always obvious to players, coaches and fans the reason for the unexpected safe call.  For that  reason, it is recommended that the umpire use an additional signal to sell the call.                               

“Safe!  He juggled the ball!” or “Safe!  He bobbled the ball!”               

The umpire signals SAFE in the conventional manner and then simulates the juggling acting indicating that the fielder did not have secure possession before the batter-runner reached the base.

12.45       Runner Interference               

If a runner is out for being hit with a batted ball or for interfering with the fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball, the ball is dead immediately.  Time shall be called and the runner declared out.  Other runners would be returned to the bases occupied at the time of the pitch.  The batter-runner would be awarded first base.  Only runners forced by the award to the batter-runner would be allowed to advance.               

(Note:  There situations in which both the runner who interfered and the batter-runner are called out resulting in a double play.  This        ruling would apply when a runner or batter-runner intentionally interferes to break-up a double play.)

“Time!”  “That’s interference!”  “He’s out!”         “Batter!  First base!”  Point to batter…then first base.

12.46       Obstruction               

There are two types of obstruction in pro rules:  Type A and Type B.               

Time is called immediately when a play is being made on (1) a batter-runner before he reaches first base or, (2) a runner who has been obstructed while a play is being made on him.     

In Type A obstruction, the umpire shall signal “Time!”, call the obstruction and place the runners.  The minimum award for Type A  obstruction is one base.

Type A

“Time!”   “That’s obstruction!”  “You, second base!”  (Obstructed Runner Awarded Minimum One Base)               

Exception:  When a batter-runner is obstructed after hitting a fly ball, the ball remains alive until the play is over.  If the catch is made, the play stands and the obstruction is disregarded.  If the batter-runner is obstructed after hitting a ground ball, the ball shall be killed immediately and the obstruction penalty enforced.

Type B

“That’s obstruction!” 

Observe the Play                 “Time!”  “That’s obstruction!”              

Allow the Play to Stand or Make the Proper Award               

If no play is being made on a runner when he is obstructed, the umpire shall point to the obstruction and declare, “That’s obstruction!”    He then awaits the outcome of the play and enforces the penalty for Type B obstruction.  Based on his judgment as to what would have happened had the obstruction not occurred, the umpire allows the play to stand or calls “Time!” and makes the proper award.

12.47       Balk               

In professional baseball, the ball is not automatically dead when a balk is called.  If a pitch or play is imminent, the umpire shall signal the infraction by pointing at the pitcher and verbalizing, “That’s a balk!”  He shall resume his set position and await the outcome of the pitch or play and then enforce the balk penalty, if necessary.               

If no pitch or play is imminent when a balk is committed, the umpire shall signal the balk and immediately call “Time!”  He then enforces the balk penalty.               

If the plate umpire is in his set position when the balk occurs, he shall verbally declare, “That’s a balk!” and await the outcome of the pitch.  He does not physically signal anytime a pitch is imminent.

Hands on Knees Set                                “That’s a balk!”      

Back to Hands on Knees Set   “Time!”“That’s a balk!        “You, second base!”              

When Placing Multiple Runners…Start With the Lead Runner

                Note:  Under some amateur rules (National Federation of High Schools – NFHS), the ball is automatically dead when the balk is called.  Know your rules.

1.     Putting on the mask and taking off the mask/Use of the indicator/Giving the count/Cleaning the plate – Demo & Practice – Need your cap, mask and indicator and a plate to clean. 

a.       Putting on the mask – Use the left hand on the lower left bar and use your thumb, index and middle finger.  Your right hand is holding the back and bottom of the strap.  Place the top, rear pad of the mask above the brim of the cap with the bottom of the mask above and in front of the face.  Snap the mask and strap down at the same time.  Do not look down – keep watching the field and/or the pitcher.  Move to behind the plate while keeping your eye on the ball.  Have the indicator in your left hand.  Never go behind the catcher with the mask off and a pitcher on the rubber.  It is not safe.


b.       Taking off the mask – Always remove the mask with the left hand and indicator in it.  Grasp the lower left part of your mask with the thumb, index and middle finger.  Use your head as a hinge – lift out and up.  Make sure your cap fits snugly.  Keep eyes looking at the play as you remove the mask.  Do not look down.  Keep moving toward your play with the mask held in your left hand.  Do not discard it.  Do not remove right-handed and switch it to your left hand.  This will take a lot of practice on your part.  Do it while watching TV or in front of a mirror.


c.        Use of the indicator – Do not bring your indicator up toward your face to look at it.  When you call a pitch, make sure you move the appropriate part of the indicator.  Use the indicator in the left hand and carry it in the bottom part of the hand toward your little finger side.  The reason it is in the left hand is because if you signal an out with the right hand it may fly out of the hand and if you were to look at it in the right hand it might look like a strike call.  Also, the shape of most indicators is designed for the left hand.  The plate umpire is required to use one and the base umpire in professional baseball never carries one.  This does not mean that you should try it.  Learn to use it so you do not have to look at it all the time to know what you have.  You should try to stay focused enough so that you automatically move it and also know from memory the count and the outs.  Someone should be able to ask you without you referencing the indicator for the count and/or number of outs.  The name of this device is indicator and never clicker or anything else.  It is just an indicator or a ball and strike indicator.  Some of them have the inning too.  There is a new one that is electronic.  It costs close to $20.00.


d.       Giving the count – Always use your fingers to show the count.  Never use closed fists to indicate a full count.  Never use the index finger and pinky finger for a count of 2 balls or 2 strikes.  That is for hook ‘em horns in Texas.  I verbalize the count every pitch.  It is never 1 and 2 or 2 and 0, etc.  It is always 1 ball and 2 strikes or 2 balls and no strikes.  I visually show the count after the 3rd pitch, i.e., 2 balls and


        1 strike, 1 ball and 2 strikes or 3 balls and no strikes.  I verbalize at this time with the visual count.  I also show and say the count when it is a full count, i.e., 3 balls and 2 strikes.  It is not 3-2 or 32 or full count.  It is always 3 balls and 2 strikes.  Make sure you have the count high enough and about shoulder width apart.  Do not let the batter or catcher obstruct the pitcher’s view of the count.  If someone requests the count, I let them know what it is either verbally or visually or both.  Don’t lose your patience if you are asked many times during the game.  Younger players usually cannot remain focused very long and therefore sometimes need to know more often.  This is one reason that I verbalize the count every pitch.  Remember that the left hand shows the number of balls and the right hand is used for the strikes.  Some umpires visually give the count every pitch, too.  This is ok but I personally do not think it is necessary.

 e.        Cleaning the plate – One of your duties is keeping the plate clean.  There is a correct way to do it.  The small broom is a must for two reasons.  One, it can be placed in a shirt pocket, in your coat breast pocket, in your ball bag or in the back pocket of your trousers without being noticeable.  Second, the plate surface is not very large.  When you begin cleaning the plate, move toward the front of the pate with some enthusiasm and athleticism.  Face the spectators/backstop.  This is a baseball umpiring tradition because it shows the fans and the game respect.  Do not do it any other way.  You are flouting tradition if you do.  If your plants split, you won’t have to hear their laughter either.  Brush the plate with enthusiasm and crisp back and forth strokes.  Never use your foot to clean the plate.  If it is muddy, ask the groundskeeper for a towel to wipe it off and then use your brush thereafter if you can.  Brush the plate whenever it is dirty and always before each half-inning.  In fact, I do it at the end of a half-inning so the warm-up pitcher and catcher have something to work with.  If the batter or catcher requests that it be cleaned, do it promptly, willingly and again with some enthusiasm and athleticism.  Do not let the catcher clean it for you.  It looks like you are shirking one of your duties if he does it.  If he does it anyway, let him know that you will do it from now on.  Do this diplomatically.  Sometimes you will also use the cleaning of the plate as a tool to communicate with the catcher face to face.  It may be one step in warning him about how he is handling himself or it might be used to send the catcher out to let the pitcher know something that needs to be changed.  Coming to a complete stop in his set position or maybe in his behavior toward the last pitch that he showed some form of disagreement with.   When you clean the plate, use good body language as you approach the plate (move athletically to your position of cleaning – do not amble to it.  Hustle to the spot and hustle back to your position behind the catcher.  Always clean the plate with your mask in your left hand and not on your face.

NW Umpires,

Some of you have seen this before.  So, if you have and understand it well, you can delete it.  Those that have never seen it I suggest you thoroughly read it and try to understand it.  Those that have seen it but are still looking for a better way to umpire balls and strikes, I suggest you reread it and try to incorporate most of what is here.  This is what is taught at Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring and probably what is taught in PBUC too.

I have made some comments in red about what took place in a previous clinic and I sent it to some of those umpires after the clinic.  I left it in this document to make you alert to what we saw that day so maybe, just maybe, we can help at least one of you from making the same mistake when you umpire in fall baseball.

We will discuss plate stances at the August 19th meeting at the International School of Minnesota too for those of you that are able to attend this orientation meeting along with a number of other topics.

Tomorrow I will be sending you my definitions of the 13 plate Criteria that are listed at the end of this document.

There are still about 15 umpires that have not yet accepted their fall baseball games and I will have to soon redistribute them if you choose not to accept them very, very soon.  I leave for AZ on Saturday and would like to know that the entire schedule is completely assigned by then.

Have a great day,

Larry Gallagher



Basic Slot Stance / Techniques / Mechanics

Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring © 2003

The following is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from Jim Evans. 



The SLOT:  The area between the catcher’s head and the batter’s body when the batter is in his natural

stance and the catcher is in his normal crouched position.  We were actually taught a little different at the Academy.  The instructors stated it was between the catcher’s slot shoulder and the batter’s body.Again, here is one of the faults of most umpires that we saw today.  You do not understand this definition.  Most of you were too much behind the catcher and not in the slot.  You should almost feel naked when in the slot.  Only about 1/3 of you will be protected by the catcher when you are in the slot correctly.  No, you do not want your eyes on the inside corner of the plate.  YOU WANT YOUR EYES AND HEAD in the middle of the slot.   

TRACKING:  Observing the entire flight of the pitch with independent eye movement while keeping the head and body still.  Most of the umpires I observed at today’s clinic had this problem.  It is one of the most common mistakes umpires make.  Even the big leaguers forget to do this on occasion. 

TIMING:  The result of using your eyes properly while tracking the ball from the pitcher’s release to the bat or the catcher’s mitt.  The proper use of the eyes suppresses the natural tendency to react immediately and call the pitch prematurely.  Timing is and was the largest mistake umpires made in the cages today at our clinic.  Proper timing is not something you gain by thinking of waiting longer to announce your decision but one of the proper use of your eyes.  Watching the ball from the time of release until you see the ball hit the catcher’s mitt before you make up your mind is of the utmost importance.  Later, you will read about PROPER USE OF EYES in the 13 Plate Criteria.  I showed a few of you a practice technique to use your finger and track it only with your eyes and no head movement at all.  This is a must if you hope to learn to have good timing. 



The PU shall assume a position partially behind the catcher in which he is able to see the entire strike zone.  He shall position his head in some portion of the SLOT at all times and ensure that his head height stays above the top of the catcher’s head.  Ideally, the plate umpire’s chin should be even with the top of the catcher’s head or slightly higher.

In order to get his head into the proper position, the PU must position his feet properly.  He should establish a solid foundation by spreading his legs slightly wider than shoulder width.  When assuming his set position, he shall establish the location of his slot foot first and then position his free foot behind the catcher.  Positioning the slot foot first will enable you to see the outside corner.  Neither the slot foot nor the free foot is actually positioned in the slot.  They are set on both sides of it.

The PU’s slot foot will be in line with or slightly in front of an imaginary line extended from the catcher’s heels.  The toe of the umpire’s free foot should be aligned with the heel of his slot foot… referred to as Heel - Toe / Heel - Toe.  The slot foot will point directly straight ahead and the free foot will be flared to a maximum of 45-degrees.  Using the heel-to / heel-toe alignment and flaring the free foot will enable the PU to position his head forward in the slot without kneeing the catcher in the back.


Feet position determines the lateral axis of the head position.  The vertical axis is determined by (1) the width the feet are spread apart; (2) the amount of squat the umpire introduces into his stance; and (3) the amount of torso lean.  As the umpire goes down into his set position, he must make a minor torso adjustment to square his head and shoulders to the plate.  Going from the upright position to the set position should be a decisive one-piece move with no drifting back and forth or up and down.  (A to B)


As the catcher adjusts to different hitters, the PU must adjust to different catcher positions.  If the catcher virtually eliminates the slot by working so far inside, the first adjustment should be to move back and up to regain perspective of the strike zone.  It may be necessary to work directly over the catcher’s head in some cases.  This means you adjust up too.  If the catcher is working outside, the PU should shift with him but never beyond the center of the plate.




The PU should establish a rhythm with the pitcher and catcher.  He shall not assume the set position behind the catcher until the catcher has set for the final time.  Catchers generally set twice – once to give a signal and then again to set the target.


When the pitcher is off the rubber, the PU shall assume a relaxed position while keeping his eye on the pitcher.  After the pitcher steps onto the rubber, gets his sign, and the catcher makes his final adjustments, the PU moves his feet into the exact location for his set position.  As the pitcher initiates delivery to the batter, the PU squats into his set position.  If the pitcher is working from the set, the PU should not go into his set position until the pitcher is committed to pitch.


The PU shall remain perfectly still as he tracks the flight of the pitch with independent eye movement.  Tracking the pitch from the pitcher’s release to the bat or the catcher’s mitt will provide proper timing and increase the umpire’s accuracy and consistency.




After tracking the pitch into the mitt with his eyes, it is time to make a decision.  The PU must call either ball or strike.  The actual call is a mental process.  The proper use of eyes enables the umpire to collect all the relevant data before making his decision.  Once his mental decision has been made, he must signal that decision informing others.

Balls are signaled verbally while remaining down in the set position.  No physical or visual signal is given.  A strong voice that can be heard in the dugouts should be used.  While training, it is recommended that the PU verbally signal balls by the number, e.g., “Ball 1, Ball 2, Ball 3, Ball 4.”

Strikes are to be signaled verbally and physically while coming up from the set position.  The right arm is used to visually signal strike.  A strong voice that can be heard in the nearby stands should be used.  Strikes should also be signaled by the numbers, e.g., “Strike 1, Strike 2, Strike 3!”


As you develop a more aggressive Strike 3 mechanic, it is important that you keep your eyes focused on the ball and are aware of its status at all times.











8.      VOICE






Fellow colleagues,

Since I am going to be gone next week, I am sending out more e-mails this week and you won't have any from the July 25 through July 29.

This is information is about what some call intangibles and I have entitled this document Umpiring Intangibles but they are not just intangibles but real-life ideas about how to approach this great job of being an umpire.  I hope you agree.

A reminder is in order again for those that have not yet accepted their fall umpiring or evaluating assignments.  Please go into www.arbitersports.com and accept the assignments that are listed for you.  Thank you, LG.


Larry Gallagher


February 21, 1987

Revised January 25, 2008

Revised July 19, 2009

I.                    DESIRE TO IMPROVE – Don’t just go through the motions of umpiring and be classified as a “summer vacation” umpire.  Bear down on every pitch and play.  My advice to you is NEVER TAKE ONE PITCH OR PLAY OFF.  IF YOU DO, IT WILL COME BACK TO BITE YOU IN THE ASS!!!!There is very little recognition in umpiring – you will have to really like the job as well as show some natural ability before you will become a successful one.  Lon Warneke, a former player that became a major league umpire after his career, summed up umpiring as “All jeers and no cheers!” 

A.      RULES KNOWLEDGE – Never feel that you know the rules well enough that you won’t need your rulebook.  Learn to depend on it and read it often.  However, never bring it on the field during a game.Keep your head in the game.  Watch every play and even though it is another umpire’s decision, retain the play in your mind and interpret the rule that covers the play to yourself.  Be prepared to give a decision if called upon by your partner.Rules are difficult to learn and interpret.  Sit down and read the rule book, one rule at a time, visualizing the plays and trying to understand why the rule is the way it is.  Regardless of how many years you have umpired, continue to review the rules and discuss them with your fellow umpires.  Don’t get hung up on the technicality of the rule, but rather its intent and purpose.    The umpires that nitpick and look for trouble will be bound to find it.Don’t ever think you are too old or too good to change or learn.  When you come to the realization that you need to continue to learn, you are on your way toward wisdom. 

B.      ATTEND CLINICS – NW Umpire clinics, umpire schools, weekend camps, and any possible learning situation beyond your present situation.  NASO Convention, MSHSL Clinics. 

C.      ASK TO BE EVALUATED – Partner, Mentor, ask to be evaluated in our fall umpire program or become an evaluator, etc.  I have learned more about umpiring by trying to teach it to someone that does not have my experience or knowledge of the game. 

D.     SELF EVALUATION – you will need to set some goals and then try to reach them.  Once you do reach them, make sure you set more goals to continue to reach to help you improve. 

E.      UMPIRE STUDY – Referee Magazine, Umpire Manuals, Umpire profiles, biographies, autobiographies, etc. 

II.                  EARNING RESPECT 

A.      PERSONALITY – Don’t be overbearing.  Go along with the players and let them have their say.  Don’t be over-zealous and abuse the use of your authority.  Be approachable.  Don’t try to be like a god.  Show some humility.  Also, show some humanity.  Don’t have a chip on your shoulder.  Only as a last resort do you eject players or coaches from a game.  Remember, any umpire can throw players out of a game – it takes a good umpire to keep them in the game.  Be cooperative.  Try to take into consideration the temperament of the managers or that emotions are running high because of the type of game, or because of a series of bad breaks.  Try to sell all close plays with more motion than routine plays.  Don’t use profane, obscene or vulgar language in any manner at any time.  Deal with people in a civil manner. 

B.      ATTITUDE – If you can instill in the players and coaches that you are there to help them play the game and be its impartial judge, you have gone a long way to gaining their respect.  The “I am God, don’t tread on me” attitude has no place in umpiring.  So many coaches have told us, “I don’t like so and so as an umpire because I can’t talk to him.”  You will get complaints as an umpire because this is part of your job.  Once you accept the idea, you will have a better chance to earn their respect.  If an argument is presented in a reasonable manner, listen.  Once the point has been made, simply say, “Coach you have had your say, I called the play the way I saw it, now it is time to play ball again.”  If he continues to argue or gets carried away, he leaves no alternative except to remove him for the day.  Be firm but not belligerent.  Be firm, forceful and yet polite.  You don’t need to make a big scene when you eject a player or coach.  This only puts more fuel on the fire.  Don’t threaten people.  Such as, “One more word….” Or “Shut up!”  Don’t invade their territory.  Stay at the plate or ask the coach to come to you.  Explain in a low speaking voice that you will not tolerate any more from the dugout or whatever the situation is.  Don’t yell.  Try to develop a rapport with the players, especially the pitchers and catchers.  Don’t have a predetermined opinion about a player, coach or team.  Your job is to umpire the acts that occur in the game that you are doing and not previous games.  Do not be like an elephant, forget past problems.  Don’t hold any grudges.  Life is too short for these types of animosities.  Remember, just in life there are great characters and not so great characters.  As umpires, we don’t have like a player to still be fair.  We have to umpire the play as it occurs and sometimes the not so great character wins that play.  Sometimes the great character wins the play.  You must stay neutral. 



The longer I live, the more I realize

the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude to me, is more important

than facts, the past, education, money, circumstances, failures,

successes, and what other people

think or say or do.

It is more important than

appearances, giftedness, or skill.

It will make or break a company, a

church, or home.

The remarkable thing is, we have a

choice everyday regarding the

attitude we will embrace for

that day.

We cannot change our past…

We cannot change the fact that people

will act a certain way…

We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can change is

our attitude. 

C.      APPEARANCE – An umpire that looks like he knows what he is doing immediately commands more respect.  A clean cut, neat appearance and sharp uniform can help start your day off on the right foot.  One thing you never get a second chance in life is first impressions.  How you present and carry yourself will go a long way toward that first impression.  The image that you present to the teams is important.  Do you look and act like you’ve been there before?  Do you look like you played the game?  This all adds up to your credibility. 

D.     RESPONSIBILITY – Many coaches complain to us about umpires that either show up late for a game or not at all.  There is no excuse to ever miss a game.  Plan your day to provide ample travel time, even if you have a flat tire, car trouble or even an accident.  Should the worst happen and you can’t make the game, call the school and speak to someone in authority:  the principal, vice principal, athletic director or a baseball coach.  Never rely on a student or a clerk to pass the message along.  With this in mind always take your plate gear with you, even if you are the base umpire.  If your partner does not show, you are the plate umpire. 

E.      LOYALTY TO YOUR COLLEAGUES AND NORTHWEST ASSOCIATION OF UMPIRES – If you are working with a partner, work together.  Don’t complain to other umpires about another umpire.  This is not your job.  If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.  Try to direct your partner into a self evaluation session or a discussion of the problem.  Go along with your fellow umpire on his decision.  Don’t be guilty of criticizing or interfering with his decision.  If you are in the stands watching another umpire work, you are not at liberty of giving your opinion of what you think the correct call should have been.  Stay out of this kind of discussion.  Any backstabbing that you do will hurt you more that it will hurt the person that you are trying to undermine.  Don’t forget if you are not working together, a house divided against itself will fall.  When you accept an assignment, it is your responsibility to make every effort to appear.  Try to cooperate and go wherever the assignment secretary needs you to go.  We service many leagues.  Some only a few minutes from your home or place of business.  Others are quite distant.  If all of us do our share of long hauls, no one will be inconvenienced to a harmful degree.  Try to be fair to all of us.  If a manager protests the game, announce to the opposing manager that the game is being played under protest.  Make a complete report to our assignment secretary and grievance chairperson and/or the league in question.  On the field you have a direct responsibility to NWAU, Ltd., as you are our official representative.  Any good or bad that you do will naturally reflect on all of us.  If you think the success that you have reached was done only by you, you have already failed.   

A Poem about self-importance: 

Sometime when you’re feeling important,

sometime when your ego’s in bloom,

sometime when you take it for granted you’re the best qualified in the room,

sometime when you’re going would fill an unfillable hole. 

Just follow this simple instruction and see how it humbles your soul. 

Take a bucket and fill it with water. 

Put your hand in it up to the wrist.  Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining is a measure of how you will be missed. 

You may splash all you please when you enter. 

You can stir up the water galore,

but stop and you will find in a minute that it looks quite the same as before.              

The moral in this quaint example is to do just the best you can.           

Be proud of yourself but remember there is no indispensable man. 

F.       Politics – The best thing you can do about this is to stay out of them.  Your integrity is more important than trying to do favors for those people in power.  If you are a good umpire, your name will come forward.  Taking coaches out to the local bar will only get you into trouble. 

III.                CONTROLLING A GAME 

A.      PREVENTING PROBLEMS – Make your decision look good.  Even if you are an inexperienced umpire, don’t give the impression of being confused. 
Don’t be caught “looking out the window”.  Watch every move made with the ball and bear down constantly.  Keep the field and benches clear of anyone that does not belong.  Have a pre-game conference with your partner.  Check the field out prior to the game for unusual ground rules.  Conduct a professional meeting at home plate prior to the game.

B.      HANDLING ARGUMENTS – Stop the players from charging you.  Don’t let the whole team gather around you.  If your decision is protested, listen to one man, captain or coach and wave the rest back on the bench or onto the field.  The quickest way to lose control of the game is letting the players charge you.  Partners can be of help in getting everyone back to where they belong.  If someone is yelling and screaming at you, don’t answer them until they run out of gas.  The louder they yell, the lower you speak.  Don’t fold your arms.  This is provocative.  When they stop talking, you can explain your call or the situation.  Yelling back will only let them know that you are out of control. 

C.      HANDLING PEOPLE – A good umpire has to be a psychologist.  Each individual in the game is a different personality, so you will find that you will have to change your own personality in accordance with the managers and players that you are dealing with.  Control your temper – a good umpire doesn’t attempt to get in the last remark.  If a player is going away after an argument, LET IT DROP.  Enforce the PLAYER’S CODE OF CONDUCT at all times. 

D.     CONTROLLING YOURSELF – The ability to think under pressure and make sound decisions is easier when you have controlled yourself.  If you are fuming, you need to calm yourself down before you speak or act.  Don’t try to be a ballplayer’s umpire.  Be an umpire’s umpire.  Don’t give anything and don’t take anything.  You are not a bank – you don’t owe them anything.  If you have a “weak stomach” when the pressure is on, then you shouldn’t be an umpire.  Remain calm in a tight spot and be on top of every play.  The ability to control your temper and remain calm under trying conditions is the mark of a good umpire and also a mature person.  One of the traits that a good umpire possesses is the ability is “to take” a lot and not lose his head.  Don’t hold grudges.  Once an argument is finished, forget it.  Don’t take disagreements as “personal” attacks.  They are part of the game. 

Poem –   If you think you are beaten, you are. 

If you think you dare not, you don’t. 

If you’d like to win, but think you can’t, 

It’s almost certain you won’t. 

For out in the world you’ll find, 

Success begins with a fellow’s will. 

If you think you’re outclassed, you are. 

You’ve got to think high to rise. 

You’ve got to be sure of yourself, 

Before you ever win a prize. 

Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. 

But sooner or later the guy that wins is the guy that thinks he can.

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