Fall Ball


Below is the 2nd PBUC quiz that I said I was going to remind you of over the past weekend and forgot to send it yesterday. From now on I will not publish them in the e-mail because they are on our website. You may view all of them by going to www.nwumpires.com. You then have to open Larry's Corner and go to the Red Book Quizzes category and you will find all of the quizzes for the red PBUC Manual for the 2-Umpire System.

Peace, Larry Gallagher

Mechanics Quiz #2 - Remainder of Section 2; 2.7 through 2.11 1.

How does the coverage differ in rundowns between 3rd and home as opposed to anywhere else?

Answer: PU and BU split the coverage "half and half" between 3rd and home. In other rundowns, the PU only has responsibility at the cutout. If you notice in the new manual, this coverage has changed and with multiple umpires the plate umpire will take over the entire rundown between home and third base after the initial plays take place.

2. All fair fly balls to the infield belong to the with no men on base.

Answer: plate umpire. This does not include line drives.

3. The base umpire comes in and on all fly balls to the infield.

Answer: pivots

4. Describe the pivot in a definition and why is it important to pivot instead of just getting inside the diamond.

Answer: The pivot is a 270-degree counter-clockwise movement by the base umpire that allows him to observe the touch of the batter-runner at first base, the ability to observe any obstruction by the 1st baseman and/or pitcher and allows the base umpire the ability to stay ahead of the batter-runner in case he should decide to try for extra bases. It also helps him stay close enough to first base to be able to take any throw back toward first base in case there is a play there. This action is often not used properly by most umpires in our organization because they have not been trained properly. Many umpires just get inside and look over their shoulder to see what is happening. Others do not look at all and miss the touch and the possible obstruction. This is a responsibility that we can no longer give up to no one. This is the base umpire's role. All of you in the fall baseball program should learn how to do it properly. There are more parts to the definition that you can find on pages 10-12 in the PBUC Manual for the 2-umpire System. The correct Position A helps you be able to pivot properly. The manual allows the base umpire to select which route to take. For instance on a sure double, the base umpire may now pivot closer to the mid-point of the baseline instead of near the cutout. This also ok to do on a base hit to left field because there is less likely to be a throw behind the batter-runner from left field as there is to right center field or to right field directly.

5. Umpires in Minor League Baseball leagues are to take as many plays as possible from territory.

Answer: fair

6. Why should you take most plays from fair territory?

Answer: The most important is to get the best angle and distance as possible. The next one is because if there is an overthrow, you will have a difficult time getting ahead of the batter-runner on his way to 2nd base. A third reason is that you do not want to put the base between you and the pitcher's or 1st baseman's touch of the base. There are others that you might be able to come up with too.

7. What angle does the PBUC Manual for the Two-Umpire System recommend the base umpire take plays at first base?

Answer: Approximately at a right (90-degree) angle or the largest angle that is possible on the play but less than 90-degrees. For instance, on balls hit to the 2nd baseman, it is not possible to get a 90-degree angle unless you go to foul territory.

8. What distance is recommended for the base umpire to take plays at first base from?

Answer: 15-20 feet. However, the umpire schools are teaching it at 15-18 feet. I have been observing umpires in our group and I have found that most of our umpires are taking this play from about 25-30 feet. I believe there are four reasons for these umpires doing it this way.

1) The first reason is because most umpires are too far away from the 1st baseman (too deep to begin with) and they can't get close enough.

2) The second reason is because our umpires do not bust to their angle. This means really move forward toward their angle quickly. In other words we feel we have a lot of time and we walk to our distance instead of busting in to it.

3) The 3rd reason is we have not been trained to recognize the distance we are from the play at the end of the play. This also requires some self-analysis which many of our umpires do not do or don't know how to do.

4) The 4th reason is that we are so used to being so far away that it looks really close when we move it to the correct distance. Our evaluators should be stressing angle/distance from Position A. The correct position A also is very important to being able to make a good pivot.

9. When the base umpire reads a "true" throw, list the steps he will take in making the decision at first base.

Answer: 1) Square your feet to the base,

2) go to a hands-on-knees set (HOKS),

3) turn head toward the base,

4) focus on the bag while he listens for the sound of the ball hitting the glove/mitt,

5) shift our eyes toward the mitt and make sure there is firm and secure possession.

6) Once this is done, tell everyone that you have an out.

Obviously, you would have called safe whenever you determined the ball did not beat the runner.

10. Why is it important that the base umpire watches the release of the throw before focusing on the play at first base?

Answer: There are at least two or more reasons.

1) The first one is to be able to read the type of throw.

2) The 2nd one would be that you won't get hit with the throw.

The one that comes to mind is the 2nd baseman throw to first base from his normal position. I have watched a lot of umpires that are looking at where the throw appears to be going and then it isn't thrown at all. Remember to always practice keeping your chest to the ball and you will never go wrong.

11. The plate umpire follows the batter-runner up the 1st baseline for 3 reasons. What are they?

Answer: Watching for interference, ready for overthrows, to help on swipe tags.

There is one other one that the manual doesn't speak about and that is watching for a pulled foot by the first baseman or the pitcher covering.

12. How far up the line should the plate umpire follow the batter-runner?

Answer: As far as the play will allow but never farther than the 45-foot line.

13. When should the plate umpire focus on the play at first?

Answer: After he sees the release of the throw by the fielder.

14. Should you keep running after the release of the throw as the plate umpire?

Answer: The plate umpire will come out from behind home plate by coming around the left side of the catcher and proceed to jog (not sprint) down the first baseline (straddling the foul line), going no farther than the 45-foot line. You should be stopped when the play happens at first base. In fact, some umpires that keep running are actually showing false hustle. To the untrained umpire or coach, it looks like the thing to do. Keep running and show everyone how hard you are hustling. The trained umpire would call this phony or false hustle designed only to try to impress those that don't know any better. Remember, practice good techniques at all time, we should be stopped on all plays even if they are not are own. But if there were a pulled foot and you were running when it happened, how believable would your information really be.

15. When you feel pressure as a base umpire from the 2nd baseman on a ground ball, it is permissible to take the play in territory, keeping in mind the concepts of proper and to the play.

Answer: foul, distance, angle

16. If the base umpire needs help on a play at first base, how should he phrase his question?

Answer: The base umpire should ask his partner with a question as follows: "Bill, did he tag him? or "Bill, do you have a tag?" while pointing at the plate umpire.

17. How does the plate umpire respond to the questions above?

Answer: The plate umpire gives a very emphatic, "Yes, he's out on the tag!" or "No! He missed him!" This is also done using a strong visual safe signal or mechanic.

18. How would the base umpire sell the tag play at first base?

Answer: This is not in the manual but you would point with your right hand at the tag and say, "On the tag!" and then give the out mechanic as you finish saying, "He's out!" Do not use the left hand on this. Almost all pointing in baseball should be done with the right hand.

19. How does the base umpire sell the missed tag play at first base?

Answer: The base umpire would signal safe and then say "No tag!" or "You missed the tag!" The entire play would be "Safe!" with the signal, followed by the verbal "No tag!" and followed up with a second safe signal with the verbal "Safe!"

20. When the pitcher will be covering the base, the base umpire moves about steps off the foul line into fair territory and positions himself about feet from the 1st base bag.

Answer: 2, 20

21. If there is a tag before the 45' line, which umpire is responsible for the tag?

Answer: The plate umpire.

22. If there is a pop up hit in front of or immediately behind the base umpire and has a possibility of becoming a fair/foul decision, the base umpire should do what?

Answer: Come in and pivot. The plate umpire will have the fair/foul and catch/no catch. This will put both of you in the best possible positions for the play. If the base umpire stays he has the chance of getting in the way of the first or 2nd baseman and also the plate umpire has to now cover the play at 1st or 2nd base. If it is beyond the 1st baseman, then go out and say, "Going out!" Now you have the fair/foul and catch/no catch.

23. Describe how to handle the foul pop-up fielded by the 1st baseman near the 1st base stands and well past 1st base.

Answer: The base umpire will let the 1st baseman clear in front of him (pivoting out of the way if necessary). The base umpire should then break in front of the 1st baseman and obtain a proper angle to judge the catch/no catch. The plate umpire stays home on this play since only the 1st baseman is attempting to make the catch (there is no need for the plate umpire to follow the play since the call belongs completely to the base umpire).

24. Describe how to handle the pop-up that will be handled near the dugout and the pitcher, catcher and 1st baseman are all going for it.

Answer: Both umpires will need to box this play in. This means both get to the best angle possible for the catch. If the fielder is facing the umpire, that umpire makes the call of catch or no catch. If they are facing away from the umpire, it belongs to the other umpire. If both of them have a good look at it, the umpires will make eye contact and then let the other one know that they are taking the catch. The information on this type of play is on page 18 in the manual.

Hi NW Umpires,

Here is another item for us to take a look at in regards to signals between partners. I will send some information in a day or two about set positions.

Peace, Larry Gallagher


12.08 Infield Fly Signal With runners on first and second or bases loaded with less than two outs, the possibility of an infield fly situation exists. Umpires should alert each other to this fact prior to each batter as long as the situation exists. Either umpire may initiate this reminder signal and his partner should acknowledge it by returning the same signal. There are two conventional signals for the infield fly rule:

1. Placing the right arm across the chest with your right hand over your heart; or

2. Touching the bill of your cap with the index finger of your right hand. For consistency, both umpires should use the same signal.

12.09 Time Play Signal Time plays may occur in a variety of situations. It is not practical to give the time play signal in each conceivable case. Anytime there are two outs and a runner on second, it is recommended that the signal be given. This would include situations in which there is a runner on second only, runners on first and second, runners on second and third or bases loaded. It is important that the plate umpire stays alert and recognizes that a time play at the plate can occur on a play which started with only one out.

Example of this is a fly ball to the outfield with one out and a runner on 3rd and the throw goes to another base. The plate umpire initiates the signal by indicating two outs with the index and middle fingers of his right hand extended in front of his chest. He then points to the plate with his right index finger. This is a reminder that he is staying home. The base umpire mirrors this signal. Many amateur umpires will point at their left wrist with 2 fingers to signify the time play instead of the above. LG’s idea and not Jim Evans information.

12.10 Getting Help on Half-Swings Under professional rules, the plate umpire is required to get help on a half-swing when he has ruled the pitch a ball and the catcher or manager requests him to do so. Before he has rendered a decision, he may also ask for help on his own even though no request has been made. When asking for help, he should step out from behind the plate and point directly to his partner with the index finger of his left hand and verbally ask, “Did he go?” It is important that his request for help is made with the left hand. This eliminates any chance of his request being mistaken for a strike call. His partner shall either confirm that the batter did not commit to the pitch by stating and signaling, “No! He didn’t go!” or reverse the plate umpire’s call by stating and signaling, Yes! He went!” If the base umpire agrees with the plate umpires’ decision, no further explanation is necessary. If the base umpire reverses the original decision, then it will be necessary for the plate umpire to alert the players and to announce the proper count. He does this by stating, “Then that’s a strike! No balls…one strike!” He shall visually give the count so that there is no confusion among the players, coaches, managers and press box personnel.

FYI If you attend a minor or major league game in your area or watch one on TV, you may notice the umpires executing a variety of other hand signals each time a new batter comes to bat when there are runners on base. Professional umpires use these signals to remind each other of their individual responsibilities once the ball is put in play. In the three and four-umpire systems, one of the umpires is going out on any possible trouble ball in the outfield, a luxury you are not afforded in the two-umpire system. Umpire responsibilities are constantly changing based on the number of outs, where the ball is hit and the type of ball hit (e.g. line drive or high fly).

To provide the most effective coverage,communication is critical. Other Signals That Amateur Umpires Might Use – LG’s ideas

1. Rotations – a. Pointing at third base when you are going to cover third on a base hit. Or, simply circle both index fingers below the waist to represent normal rotation. More often used in the 3 or 4-umpire system.

b. Pounding both fists together with runners on 1st and 2nd base with less than 2 outs signifying the plate umpire will cover 3rd on a fly ball tag-up situation.

Strike Three – a. Ball in the dirt, the base umpire usually points at the ground or gives an open hand for a ball in the dirt and a closed fist if it is a catch.

2009 Fall Baseball Evaluation Program

One of the things that helps NWAU, Ltd. stay strong is our Fall Baseball Evaluation Program.  We expect all new umpires to be evaluated each fall for the first 2 years of membership and every 3 years thereafter.  We expect all members to be evaluated every 3 years.  Everyone in our organization has been evaluated so far.  These evaluations make up one phase of our quality control.  Our Board of Directors feel strongly about our evaluations and therefore, we are placing this in front of you today so you can plan your fall schedules early enough.

Each of our 1st and 2nd year umpires are expected to be evaluated at least 2 separate times this fall.  All other members are expected to be evaluated at least one time this fall.

All umpires that have not yet purchased a copy of the PBUC Manual for the 2-Umpire System will be expected to do so prior to the beginning of fall baseball.  The cost is $10.00 plus shipping for your copy.  If I can hand it to you at an orientation meeting in the middle of August, there is no shipping cost.  You would pay at least $14.95 if you purchased it at a sporting goods store or on-line plus shipping.

The dates for fall baseball are listed below.  At this time, the game sites are at Siebert and Alimagnet #1 and #2 in Brunsville.  We also have the Junior Dick Siebert League on the same dates at Nieman Fields at Fort Snelling.  The times are not yet available to me.

Consider this an invitation to all of you to become involved.  Below are the dates that umpires that are expected to take part and also those that we would like to be involved as evaluators.

Saturday, 8-22 & Sunday, 8-23; Saturday 8-29 & Sunday, 8-30; Skip Labor Day Weekend; Saturday, 9-12 & Sunday, 9-13; Saturday 9-19 & Sunday 9-20; Saturday 9-26 & Sunday 9-27; Saturday 10-3 & Sunday 10-4

First year umpires not evaluated last fall = Steve Fulton, Jeff Grasto, Matt Hordyk, Scott Schuler, Kurt Seurer & Don Zeyen

First year umpires evaluated last fall = 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

Second year umpires = 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, Dan Feigum, Matt Sorenson and Ed Hagberg

Veteran umpires due to be evaluated = Dean Aasgaard (evaluator too), Steve Agard, Eric Almond, Tony Anderson (evaluator too), Matt Brown (evaluator too), Mike Casey, Andrew 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

Umpire evaluators = 50 names; Dean Aasgaard, Tony Anderson, Jeremy Barbe, Scott Bauer, Adam Berg, Ed Bova, Matt Brown, Mike Budion, Curt Callister, Matt Dornfeld, Chad Drexler, George Drouches, Chad Eischens, Tim Face, Larry Gallagher, Tom Goetz, Joe Guscetti, Gus Hellzen, Hank Hentges, Greg Holeman, Brandon Jackson, Bryce Jacobson, Robin Johnson, Zar Kovalov, Bill Kozik, Steve Krick, Andre Lanoue, Ken Lehner, Rick Lindquist, Josh Maiman, Dave Malley, Brian Mauer, Dave Meysembourg, Mike Monita, Jason Nickelby, Ron Poeschel, Dave Powers, John Priester, Kirk Rall, Ed Richardson, Bill Ryan, Ken Sargent, Jeff Schmit, Mike Sticha, Mike Tischendorf, Shawn Vellek, Dennis Ward, Dave Wiles, Brad Wilkinson, Les Zibell.

Remainder of our roster that do not need to be evaluated but may choose to do so if they want = Steve Ashwood, Dennis Atchison, Jeremy Barbe, Marshall Behrens, Kris Bertelsen, Terry Beseman, Robert Bissonette, Jim Black, Dwayne Borg, Lonnie Bryan, Robin Cook, Dan Ford, Jon Fox, Paul Frank, Terry Helget, John Jundt, Sam Klein, Bob Kremer, Pete Larkin, Rob Linder, Mark Monson, Mike Mooney, Don Morrow, John Ott, Brad Panning, Dick Steensland, Bill Teichrow, Chad Waletzko, Ken Waletzko, Steve Watson


Larry Gallagher

Gentlemen, Happy 4th of July.

I am going to spend a little time reminding all of you about fall baseball and that on our website, www.nwumpires.com are the many quizzes that cover the PBUC red manual on the 2-Umpire System are available for your personal use and that is how I will be sending them out this year. In other words, if you are in fall baseball this coming August 22, 23, August 29, 30, September 12, 13, September 19, 20, September 26, 27 & October 3, 4 you need to spend some time studying the manual and also going through the questions and answers to all the quizzes.

We will have an orientation meeting in the week before the games begin. All participating umpires are expected to attend this meeting. I will be handing out the red PBUC Manual for the 2-Umpire System at that time to those that do not already have one. The cost is $10.00 that can be deducted from the umpire fee you will earn this fall. For non-NW Umpires, you will have to pay the $10 when you receive your copy.

I suggest looking at Quiz #1 sometime real soon. I will be e-mailing next Monday and reminding you to look at Quiz #2 at that time. Quiz # 1 covers Section 1 and part of Section 2 of the Red Manual. Game Preliminaries and No Runners on Base are covered in these 2 sections.

Many of you are expected to be umpiring this fall in our development program and/or evaluating other umpires. Some of you are not scheduled for this fall but may want to participate in some way. Please let me know your wishes. I will begin contacting you soon to find out your best times for umpiring or evaluating in the fall league. The sites again will be at Siebert and Alimagnet. However on 3 of the Saturday's we will be at Alimagnet only because the new football stadium will be taking up all the parking spaces and there will be no room for baseball on campus on those three Saturdays.

I also have a number of different techniques that I will be sending out through arbiter periodically too that come from Jim Evans new "Maximizing The Two-Umpire System." He sells this on his website and also on the ABUA website. It is a great read and an important document. It is pricey but you cannot go wrong if you are truly serious about umpiring. You can go to either of these websites by going to our website first.

Below is an example of some of the Signaling and Communication from Jim's new book. I will be sending these out in logical segments as I did earlier this spring on the Glossary of Terms from his book.

Verbal Communication with Your Partner

1. Getting Help On Tag Attempt If you are blocked (you have a player’s body between you and the point of the tag attempt), it may be advisable to get help from your partner. Before getting help, however, you should be absolutely convinced that your partner has a good look at the play. Do not just instinctively ask for help any time there is a question in your mind. There is no guarantee that your partner has a better view than you. Reading plays properly and making adjustments will enable you to call most of your plays accurately without having to ask for help. After the tag attempt occurs but before you signal anything, establish eye contact with your partner and ask, “Jim, did he tag him?”

2. Base Umpire Goes Out With no runner(s) on base, the base umpire will sometimes read trouble on a batted ball into his area of jurisdiction and decide to advance into the outfield to make a ruling. This shifts all responsibility for the batter-runner to the plate umpire. If the base umpire opts to proceed into the outfield, he shall shout, “Going out!”

3. Base Umpire Returns From Going Out On rare occasions, the base umpire will be able to go out on a trouble ball and then return to the plate to take a play on the batter- runner. This will not normally occur if the batter-runner races all the way home attempting an inside-the-park home run. It is most likely to occur when there is a play on him at third and the ball is overthrow or gets away. In this case, the base umpire may have time to get position for the play at the plate. Once he is in position and a play is imminent, he shall inform his partner, “I’ve got the plate, Jim! I’ve got the plate!”

4. Plate Umpire Takes Play At Third On Runner From First With a runner on first only or runners on first and third, the plate umpire will take responsibility on a base hit for a play at third on the runner from first. As he leaves the plate area, the plate umpire acknowledges his responsibility at third by shouting, “I’ve got third if he comes!” After he assumes his position near third (library) and reads a play developing there (ball and runner), he then communicates to his partner, “I’ve got third! I’ve got third!” as he moves into position in fair territory. Reminder: If a play does not develop at third, the plate umpire will return to the plate and communicate to his partner, “I’m gong home!”

5. Plate Umpire Returns Home After Advancing To/Toward Third As discussed in this manual, there are times that the plate umpire will be taking responsibility for plays at third base. It is important that he notifies his partner as he leaves the plate area that he is heading to third. “I’ve got third if he comes!” Sometimes, the runner will be advancing to third but the ball is not thrown there. Sometimes the ball is thrown to third but the runner stops at second. Once the plate umpire realizes this, he communicates to his partner that he is returning home. “Going home, Jim! Going home!”

6. Plate Umpire Takes Responsibility For Trouble In Right Field There will be times in the two-umpire system when the plate umpire will not be able to assume responsibility for a play on a runner at third because his priority is the trouble ball in right. As a reminder to his partner that he will not be at third, the plate umpire shall should, “I’m on the line!”

7. Plate Umpire Takes Play At Third When Runner From Second Tags With runners on first and second and the runner from second is tagging up on a fly ball to the outfield, the plate umpire will move toward third and let his partner know that he is advancing into position to take the play at third. As he departs the plate area, he shouts, “I’ve got third if he tags!” Once he determines that there is a tag-up and a play developing at third, he advances into the cut-out and assumes his position. As he moves into position in fair territory, he shouts, “I’ve got third! I’ve got third!”

News Flash

*NW General Membership Meeting - TBD 2020

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