Fall Ball

Hi Fall Umpires,

Below are the rules that we will be using at Siebert, Alimagnet, Richfield and Nieman. 




1.     Regular high school playing rules will be in force, except as noted. 

2.     Special emphasis will be on the force play slide rule at 2B 

3.     No courtesy runners will be used. 

4.     No ten-run rule will be in place. 

5.     Free substitution will be allowed with no restriction on number of players in the batting order. 

6.     The decisions of the umpires are final and no protests will be allowed. 

7.     Three free visits to the mound are allowed per game.  On the second trip in an inning for the same pitcher, the pitcher must be removed.  This is the college rule.  So, make sure you don't just use the high school rule only. 

8.  They will not use base coaches either in most situations because they are trying to get the runners to make decisions on their own. 

9.     Not more than four innings shall be pitched on a single day by a single pitcher (exception: pitch count below 50 after 4 innings).  The same pitcher shall not pitch on consecutive days or in both games of a double header. 

10.      No game shall go beyond 9 full innings.  If the score is tied after 9 complete innings, then a tie shall be declared. 

11.  At Neiman there is a time limit of 2 hours.  They won't go extra innings here. 

12.   Also, if the coaches stop the game to instruct one or more players, let them do it.  It is an instructional league.  Work hard but and help the game keep moving but if they coaches are teaching, let them do it.   

First Base Mechanics Q & A.

21. What two choices does the BU have to get good position for plays at first when the throw is originating from the right side?            If he should take the play from fair or foul territory.  

22.  When should the BU go into foul territory for force plays at first base?   When he reads pressure.  

23. List three examples of pressure.         1) The second baseman moving to his left, 2) the 1st baseman moving to his left and 3) sometimes when the pitcher tries to cover 1st base.  

24.  Describe the proper footwork and action for the BU when a throw is originating from the shortstop playing in a normal position.   Step up, turn and face the ball.  Bust to your angle and distance.  As the fielder fields the ball come to a standing set, square your feet to the base while still facing the fielder.  If he makes the throw, watch his release and read if it is “true” or not.  If it is “true”, turn your upper body and square it with 1st base too.  Go into a hands-on-knees set (HOKS).  Now focus on the 1st baseman’s foot, base and the BR’s foot as you listen for the sound of the ball striking the leather of the mitt.  If the ball beat the runner, you have one piece of vital information but you now must use your eyes properly by shifting them to the mitt and observe if the fielder has firm and secure possession and that he is about to voluntarily release the ball.  When all that is in place, you now may signal the results of the play, which is an out in this instance.  If the runner beat the ball, you would have already signaled “Safe!” because there is no need to check on a dropped throw because he was safe without it.     

25.  Which foot should you always start with when the ball is hit into the infield?   Your left foot.  

26.  Illustrate the diagonal of first base and state when it will help you establish the proper position for force plays at first.       Looking at the square base below, the umpire will move to a position so he is straddling the diagonal line from the top left to the bottom right at about 15-18 feet from the base.  He should square his feet to the base while still facing the 3rd baseman and/or the pitcher who has fielded the ball on the dirt of the mound.  This is called the built in angle for force plays at first base.  The base umpire should also come to a hands on knees set when he reads a true throw from the pitcher or 3rd baseman.  I am trying to show this in my drawing below but I can’t square the base umpire to the play.     

I was unable to draw this and then copy it to this e-mail so most of this answer is meaningless.  We will cover this positioning at the orientation meeting at the International School of Minnesota.                                            

BU – I don’t draw very well but the BU shoulders should turn and square up with the base at 1st.      BU  

27.  Name the two set positions for plays on the bases and give examples of each.  Standing Set and Hands-On-Knees Set (HOKS).       The standing set is used for fair/foul, catch/no catch, plays at the plate, interference, obstruction, overthrows, tags between bases, and any other play in which a follow-up play is likely (e.g., front end of a double play).  The HOKS is used for all routine force plays at first, most tag plays on the bases, all pick-offs, and all steals.  

28.  When should the BU go into a hands-on-knees set position for a force play at first base?   After the release of the throw by the infielder and the umpire reads a “true” throw.  

29. Describe the umpire’s eye movement on a ground ball to the shortstop who makes a good throw to the first baseman when:

a.       the throw beats the batter-runner.   The base umpire will move his eyes from the base and now focus on the fielder’s mitt or glove to see if there is firm and secure possession.  If there is, the umpire will now signal the out.  If there is not, the umpire will signal the safe.

b.      The batter-runner beats the throw.   Since the runner beat the throw, there is no need to know if there is firm and secure possession because the runner is already safe.  He will still be safe if the ball is juggled or dropped.  

30.  What is the closest an umpire should be from the first base bag with no one on base prior to the pitch?         10-15 feet. 

Hi again Fall Baseball Umpires and evaluators,

Here is something I put together a few years ago for a clinic that I was involved with.  It is called "Thing That We Say and Do!"

I think it is a very short picture of how to umpire a game.  Of course there are always more things that we say and do but this article covers most things.

I hope you gain some knowledge and enjoy the uniqueness in how I put it together.





Revised on 8-16, 2009


 1.       Pre-game with partner

2.       Checking equipment

3.       Pre-game meeting with managers, coaches, captains – be brief.  Lineups first and then ground rules.

4.       National anthem – no talking or chewing seeds during this time.  Be respectful and stand at attention during the playing of the anthem.  Do not put your cap on until the last note has been played.

5.       Introduce yourself to your home team catcher and ask about what his pitcher throws.  Begin a dialogue about how you operate.  This is not a lengthy dialogue but a get to know the catcher dialogue.  Develop a rapport while the pitcher warms up.  Watch at least 4-6 pitches.  Stop observing after 5 or 6 and let the 1st batter know there are 2 pitches left with voice and a signal.  Make sure this is done loud enough so the catcher and pitcher here it too.

6.       Do this for the visiting team’s catcher too in the next ½ inning.

7.       Starting the game-“Play ball”

8.       No runners on base

     a.     Positioning--A

     b.     Fly balls and line drives to the outfield (pause, read, & react)- “Going out” or “I’m going out”        “I’m home, I’m home” or “I’m home, I’m home”  “No catch, no catch”  “That’s a catch,        that’s a catch”

     c.        Pause, read & react means the base umpire will hesitate momentarily (“pause”) actually take his eye off the ball, and focus his attention on the reactions of the outfielder (“read”).  The outfielder’s reactions will tell the base umpire whether or not he should go out on the ball or come in and pivot (“react”).

     d.       “Trouble ball” means a ball such as 1) fair/foul decisions down the right field line, 2) home runs,3)balls off the outfield wall, 4)diving catches by the outfielder, 5)catches at the warning track or at the wall, 6)catches made by the outfielder with his back towards the infield, 7)catches made by the outfielder below his waist on a full run, 8)three players converging on a fly ball, etc.

     e.        Base hits-pivot

     f.        Rundowns-third and home-“I’ve got this half, Bill, I’ve got this half” or “Half and half, half and half”Others-“I’ve got this end, I’ve got this end”

     g.        Fly balls to the infield-“That’s a catch!” or “No catch, no catch”

     h.       Ground balls to the infield-Getting help - “Bill, did he tag him?” or “Bill, do you have a tag?”  “Yes, he’s out on a tag” or “No, he missed him” or substitute “is he on the bag?” for a possible pulled foot.Doing the call yourself—“On the bag”  “He’s out” or “Safe, he’s off the bag, safe”  “Safe, no tag, safe” or “Safe, you missed the tag, safe”

     i.         Foul popups-pivot or “going out”

9.       Runner on first base only

     a.     Positioning-B

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V-Working Area- “I’m on the line, Bill”  “I’ve got the ball, Bill” or“That’s my ball, Bill!” The base umpire can point to himself and say, “I’ve got the ball”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield-first-to-third responsibilities—“I’ve got third, Bill, I’ve got third”  “I’m at third, I’m at third” or “I’ve got third if he comes” and when there is a play, “I’ve got 3rd, I’ve got 3rd!” and sometimes the plate man has to say, “Going home, Bill, Going home”

     d.       Fly balls and line drives to the infield—“I’m on the line”

     e.        Ground balls to the infield with a runner on 1st base only —“I’ve got third” or sometimes “I’m on the line”

     f.        Steals of second—Plate man on possible interference says either “That’s interference” and wait for the results of the throw or kill the play with “Time” “Batter is out on the interference” or he might say, “That’s nothing” with a safe sign.

     g.        Pick-offs at first base; rundowns—Footwork by the base umpire and plate ump saying, “I’ve got this end” in a run down.

10.    Runner on second base only

     a.       Positioning—C

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V-Working Area-“I’m on the line, Bill” or “I’ve got the ball, Bill” or “That’s my ball, Bill”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield—“Staying home, Bill”

     d.       Fly balls and line drives to the infield

     e.        Ground balls to the infield—base umpire must be able to “bounce back”

     f.        Steal at third base—listen for “Going” for base umpire.  Plate umpire on possible interference-“That’s nothing” or “That’s interference” watch the remainder of the play and then call “Time” and make awards of bases or outs.

     g.       Pickoffs at second base, rundowns—“I’ve got this end”

     h.       Time plays—“Staying home, Bill,” or I’m home, Bill!”  If the run scores, “That run scores, that run scores” while pointing at the plate so the official scorer can see you.  Alternative terminology would be “Score that run” or “The run scores, the run scores, score the run!”  If the run does not score, “No run scores, no run scores” or “No run, no run.” Face the press box and wave arms in a cross-wise fashion above your head and in front of you. 

11.    Runner on third base

     a.       Positioning—C

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V-Working Area-Plate man-“I’m on the line, Bill” or “I’ve got the ball, Bill” or “That’s my ball, Bill”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield-“Shading”

     d.       Ground balls to the infield – Plate umpire stays home unless, with 2 outs you might be able to do it just like you do with a runner on 1st base only.

     e.        Pick-offs at third base, rundowns—“Half and half”

12.    Runners on first and second

     a.       Positioning—C or B

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V-Working Area-Plate man-“I’ve got third if he tags” or “I’ve got third, Bill, I’ve got third” “Staying home, Bill, staying home” or “I’m on the line, Bill” “I’ve got the ball, Bill,” or “That’s my ball, Bill” “Going home, Bill, going home”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield—“Staying home, Bill”

     d.       Fly balls and line drives to the infield-Using the V

     e.        Infield fly situations—“Infield fly, batter is out” or “Infield fly, if fair”

     f.        Ground balls to the infield – plate umpire will stay home.

     g.        Steals with runners at first and second

     h.       Pick-offs, rundowns

     i.         Time plays-“Staying home, Bill, staying home”

13.    Runners on first and third

     a.       Positioning—B

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V- Working Area-“I’m on the line, Bill” “I’ve got the ball, Bill” or “That’s my ball, Bill” “Going home, Bill, going home”  “I’ve got third, Bill, I’ve got third”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield-“I’ve got third, if he comes” and when a play develops at third, “I’ve got third, Bill, I’ve got third”

     d.       Fly balls and line drives to the infield

     e.        Ground balls to the infield – PU looks for front end of DP at 2nd base for illegal slide in NCAA and FED rules.  Not in pro but we don’t do any ball that does not have the NCAA or FED rules on this type of play.  You also might be able to cover 3rd if the runner at 2nd is safe.  You do need to check on what R3 is doing and also what the infielders are doing before you leave the plate unguarded.

     f.        Steals with runners at first and third-do not over commit to any one play.

     g.       Pick-offs and rundowns-“I’ve got it all, Bill, I’ve got it all”  “I’ve got this half, Bill, I’ve got this half” or “Half and half”

14.    Runners on second and third

     a.       Positioning—C

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V – Working Area-“I’m on the line, Bill” “I’ve got the ball, Bill” or “That’s my ball, Bill” or  “Staying home, Bill, staying home”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield-“Staying home, Bill, staying home”

     d.       Fly balls and line drives to the infield

     e.        Ground balls to the infield – PU stays at home.

     f.        Pick-offs and rundowns-“I’ve got it all, Bill, I’ve got it all” or “I’ve got this half, Bill, I’ve got this half”

     g.        Time plays—“Count the run, the run counts” or “Score the run, score the run”

15.    Bases loaded

     a.     Positioning—C or B

     b.       Fly balls and line drives to the outfield-Using the V – Working Area-“Staying home, Bill, staying home”

     c.        Base hits to the outfield-“Staying home, Bill, staying home”

     d.       Fly balls and line drives to the infield

     e.        Ground balls to the infield – PU stays at home and also needs to observe if there is an illegal slide or not on a force play on R3.

     f.        Pick-offs and rundowns-“I’ve got it all, Bill”

     g.        Time plays-“That run scores, that run scores, score that run” or “The run scores, the run scores, score the run” or “Score that run, score that run, that run scores”

16.    Positioning for plays at the plate – from the outfield stay mostly on the point of the plate and then adjust based on the quality of the throw.

17.    Hands on knees – most plays for the base umpire.  Almost never for the plate umpire.

18.    Signaling “no trip”—“No trip”, after injury time out to the mound.  Wave closed fist back and forth to inform both managers.

19.    Procedure for lineup changes—changes must be confirmed by the manager.  Point to the press box the change.  As a courtesy, inform the other manager but do not go to their dugout.  Meet halfway to the dugout or just let them know from the plate unless there are multiple changes.

20.    Procedures for pitching changes – how do you handle this when going to the mound? 

21.    Position between innings – neutral position in outfield for BU.  Usually opposite the new defensive dugout.

22.    Procedure for calling ball when the pitcher goes to his mouth—“That’s a ball, you went to your mouth” while pointing at the pitcher.  “Time” and then announce to the press box, “Pitcher went to his mouth” (indicating with a wiping motion of the hand in front of the mouth), and then giving the new count.

23.    Procedure for practice swing hitting the catcher’s mitt—“Time,” “Backswing hit the catcher!” The same mechanic can be used when it occurs on the follow through and you will not be awarding any bases or calling any outs.  You might be returning runners.

24.    Procedure for check swings—“Ball, no he didn’t go” or “Yes, he went”, while pointing directly at the batter, followed by the strike signal.  If you are asked after calling it a ball you can say, “Bill, did he go?”  It is preferable to ask with a point of the left hand so as not to confuse with the strike signal.  Your partner may say, “Yes, he went” with the appropriate strike signal or “No, he didn’t go”, while giving the safe signal.  The plate umpire will follow by giving the correct count.  If it results in a strike three, the base umpire should be very emphatic to help protect the baserunners as much as possible.  It is their responsibility to be aware, however.

25.    Procedure for calling balks—1) Either umpire may call a balk, although the plate umpire has the best look at a step-balk in the two-umpire system.  2) The call of “That’s a balk” is to be made loudly and emphatically.  3) When one umpire calls a balk, his partner should follow with the same call.  4) At the proper moment for calling “Time” after a balk, both umpires shall call “Time” loudly and emphatically.  5) Before the next pitch the plate umpire will give the correct count and put the ball back in play.  6) Don’t forget that in Federation rules the ball is immediately dead.  In pro and NCAA the ball is delayed dead and if a play follows the balk, do not call time without letting the play continue for at least some time period to determine when you need to call time.

26.    Explaining unusual plays to the press box—Plays of this nature include catcher’s interference, batter’s interference, a balk followed by a batted ball which nullifies the balk, spectator interference, etc.

27.    Foul balls in the batter’s box—“Foul” or “Time” or “Dead ball” and signal an out if he is hit outside the batter’s box. 

There are some things that I did not say above that you might say because there are so many different scenarios but to be able to handle all situations that can come up for an umpire, I suggest you role play some of these and come up with something that will work for you.  For instance, How do you break up a trip to the mound?  When do you break it up?  What are you going to say when you go to the mound?  How are you going to approach the manager or coach? 

These are real life actions that you need a PLAN so you can succeed.  Don’t try to make it up as you go.  Develop a PLAN for these type of situations so you at least look like you know what you are doing? 

When should you clean the plate?  How do you clean the plate?  When should you not clean the plate? 


Again, here is something you need to develop a plan so you look like you know what you are doing.



I want to hear from some of you during our orientation meeting about some scenarios like the ones I just mentioned above.



This is a test for those that read this article or not.  Do not tell anyone about it because I want to trap those that did not read it.



Remember this is a test.  Like many things in life, "ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR AND ALSO IN TEACHING UMPIRING!"

Hi Fall Baseball Umpires and others,

Below you will find something that is in Larry's Corner at www.nwumpires.com also.  I am taking 10 questions at a time from the Jim Evans Umpiring First Base - Desert Classic that I attended in 2004 in Surprise, Arizona.  This is a 1-week course for umpires to improve.  I also attended his 5-weeek Academy in 2002 in Kissimee, Florida.

I think you will learn a lot from these 10 questions today and the other 40 that will be coming your way in the course of this fall season.



Discussion Questions 

1.   What is the proper starting position for the BU with no one on base?  Position A, HOKS, square to the plate in foul territory.  The right foot is next to and parallel with the foul line but not touching the line.  He is 10-12 feet behind the 1st baseman.  If the first baseman is playing deep, he might only be 6-10 feet behind him. If he is playing near 1st base, the BU should never get closer than 10-15 feet from the base.  

2.      Name 3 times the base umpire can help the plate umpire with decisions involving the batter or batter-runner.  1) Check-swing, 2) A batted ball hitting the batter, 3) Catch/no catch on strike 3.  

3.      Describe the proper mechanics, signals and communication between the PU and the BU when the PU requests help on a half-swing.   After a request by the catcher or manager or on his own, the PU will signal and say, “Ed, did he go?”  The base umpire (Ed in this case) will respond with a signal and voice, “Yes, he went!” or “No, he didn’t go!”  Ed will include a visual mechanic of a strike if he went and a safe mechanic if he didn’t go.  In NCAA any player may request it, not just the catcher.  In Federation, the umpire does not have to honor the request of the catcher or the coach.  However, there is no good reason that you should not honor the request of the coach or catcher.  If you don’t, you are opening up a “can of worms” that you don’t want to eat.  

4.   Explain how the PU and the BU divide responsibilities for making fair/foul decisions when there are no runners on base.       The PU has fair/foul decisions on the 3rd base foul line all the way to the fence and beyond.  The PU has up the 1st base bag on the 1st base foul line and a slow roller that goes over and beyond the base.  The BU has fair/foul decisions from 1st base and beyond except on a slow roller.  Also, if the BU makes a mistake and comes in to pivot on a ball near the 1st base foul line anywhere, the PU now becomes responsible for the fair/foul decision.    

5.      Explain each umpire’s responsibilities when an attempted tag is made on the BR before he reaches 1st base.  PU has the tag play up to the 45’ line unless he is screened.  The BU has the tag attempt beyond the 45’ line unless he is screened.  

6.      What is meant by Pause, Read & React?   PU & BU don’t just start running somewhere when the ball is hit.  Umpiring smart is Pause – Stop and begin to look at cues; Read – decide where to go; React – going where you have decided you need to go, i.e., the BU goes out because it is a trouble ball or comes in and pivots because it is a routine fly ball or an obvious base hit.  PU is reading the ball, fielders and his partner.   This is the area that most of the NW umpires that have never learned to read a trouble ball make the most mistakes.  A lot of our umpires don’t read anything, they just go on every fly ball that is hit to the outfield in their area of responsibility.  They think that it looks good to everyone else if you go.  They think what does it hurt?  It is better to go out than come in and pivot because at least it shows you are hustling.  However, there is umpiring smart and there is umpiring not so smart.  Going out on every fly ball is not umpiring smart.  Learn to Pause, Read and React.  If you do not learn to P-R-R, I am saying you should quit umpiring today.  Let's all start to learn when to go out and when it is good to come in.  In other words, let's improve ourselves every time we go out there and self-analyze our games so we can improve. 

7.      With no one on base, when should the BU go out on batted balls into the outfield?  Give examples.   Trouble balls.  Any fly ball that takes the right fielder toward the foul line; 2 or more converging fielders; Right fielder or Center fielder go back hard on batted balls; Any ball that may or may not be caught near the warning track; Fielder running hard in to catch below the waist; Any home run to the BU area of responsibility.  

8.      If the BU goes out on a trouble ball, when does he return to the infield?   When the fielder releases a throw to the infield. 

     a.       The batter hits a fair line drive down the right field line.  The BU goes out.  The right fielder fields the ball and throws to second but the sliding runner is safe on a close play.  Explain what the BU should do.  Watch the catch/no catch, signal if there is any doubt that it is a catch or not.  When the fielder releases his throw toward the infield, the BU should run in foul territory toward home plate.  Also, the BU should be watching the ball and glancing at the runner as he is running toward the plate. 

     b.      On a trouble ball that hits the bottom of the fence in right center, the BR heads for third base.  Describe the base umpire’s actions and communication.   The base umpire should have gone out on this trouble ball.  When it hits the bottom of the fence, he should signal nothing and wait until the ball is picked up and thrown to the infield.  Once it is thrown to the infield, the base umpire should head back toward the plate by going toward the 1st baseline and returning toward home in foul territory.  If he arrives in time for any play at the plate, he should communicate to his partner, “I’ve got the plate or I’m home!”  At the end of the play, one of the umpires should check the ball for any damage that may have come from the ball hitting the fence.  

9.      On throws to first base from anywhere on the field, who is responsible for overthrows into dead ball territory?  The Plate Umpire.  

10.  Describe the responsibilities of the BU on an obvious base hit into right field when: 

     a.       The BR rounds the base and then draws a throw from the right fielder back into first.   As you pause, read and react, you decide that you need to pivot.  As you enter the diamond, you will check over your right shoulder two or three times, as you are moving toward the cutout.  You are looking to see if the right fielder fields the ball cleanly or not.  If he does not, you can expect the BR might try to go to 2nd base.  If it is fielded cleanly, you might expect that the BR might stop and begin a return to 1st base.  You should enter the diamond about 1 or 2 steps outside the cutout.  As you get on the infield grass, you will begin to make about a 270-degree (pivot) turn that will take you toward 2nd base and parallel with the baseline.  You should watch the batter-runner touch or miss 1st base.  You should now pick up the right fielder and watch his throw.  Since it is back toward 1st base, you will stop and take a drop step toward the 45-line of the 1st baseline and come to a hands-on-knees set for the play back at first base on the batter-runner. 

     b.      The BR runs all the way to second and is safe on a close play.   As you pause, read and react, you decide that you need to pivot.  As you enter the diamond, you will check over your right shoulder for the ball, two or three times, as you are moving toward the cutout.  You should enter the diamond about 1 or 2 steps outside the cutout.  As you get on the infield grass, you will begin to make a 270-degree turn that will take you toward 2nd base and parallel with the baseline.  You will watch the BR touch or miss 1st base and continue to stay ahead of him and come to a standing set near the cutout at 2nd base for the play there.  You are also watching for any obstruction on the BR by the pitcher or 1st baseman.  You need to get to the 2nd base cutout prior to the BR’s slide and be in a hands-on-knees set (HOKS) for the play at 2nd base.   

     c.       The BR slides safely into third.   Same as above but when you read that there will only be a play at 3rd base, you will anticipate this and therefore, you will not continue to 2nd base but will sharpen your turn and stay ahead of the BR as you come to a hands-on-knees set near the 3rd base cutout.  Remember to watch the release of the throw so you do not get in the way of the throw.  This play is more difficult than most because of the angle from where the throw is coming from.  Sometimes it is better to get to the 3rd baseline side of the cutout to get more out of the way of the throw and also to have the best angle possible for the tag-play at 3rd base.

Hi Umpires,

Here are 10 more questions from the Jim Evans Desert Classic that I attended in Arizona.  Again, these are mostly about mechanics for the base umpire at 1st base.  Some questions are redundant but there is a purpose for this reduancy.

Enjoy and learn.

Peace,  LG

11.  Describe the base umpire’s starting position with no one on base?         The base umpire positions himself about 10-12 feet behind the 1st baseman with both feet in foul territory.  His right foot should be just off the foul line, and his body should be square to the plate.  His legs should be spread apart more than shoulder width.  He should be in a “ready” position in a hands-on-knees set (HOKS) as the pitcher is preparing to deliver the ball to the batter (see Section 10.2 on page 81 in the red manual).       If the 1st baseman positions himself deeper than normal, the base umpire will back up onto the outfield grass a bit, although the 10-12 foot distance will be cut back somewhat so that a proper pivot is still possible on a base hit.  Also, if the 1st baseman is playing in (shallow), he will move up with the 1st baseman, never coming closer than 10-15 feet from the base.  The reason why the base umpire positions himself in any of the above positions is to have him in good position for catch/no catch and fair/foul decisions involving the 1st baseman, while at the same time allowing the fielder adequate room should he dive for a ball in the direction of the umpire.  This position also gives the base umpire room to “recover” and get into position for a play at 1st base should the 1st baseman dive towards the umpire while fielding the ball with a play then following at 1st base.  The base umpire needs to be conscious of these positions so he is never too close nor too far back from the 1st baseman when no one is on base.  When the pitcher is in possession of the ball, the base umpire must keep his eyes on the pitcher.  Then, when the pitcher is into his windup and is ready to deliver the ball, the umpire’s head should turn towards the plate, and he should then focus on the plate area, being ready for any check swing possibilities.  

12.  Describe how the umpire should be using his eyes when he is in his set position.  When the pitcher is in possession of the ball, the base umpire must keep his eyes on the pitcher.  Then, when the pitcher is into his windup and is ready to deliver the ball, the umpire’s head should turn towards the plate, and he should then focus on the plate area, being ready for any check swing possibilities.  

13.  What is a cue?   A cue is an action that a fielder takes to make a play.  A well-trained umpire will use cues to determine his movements to the best position possible for that play.  Examples of cues are 1) the direction the ball is hit; 2) the direction the fielder is moving to field the ball; 3) the release of the throw (reading a true throw); the 1st baseman’s method of covering 1st base; etc.  

14.  Explain the 90-degree theory.   On any ground ball to the left side of the diamond and to the pitcher on the mound, the base umpire should strive to get a 90-degree angle from the origin of the throw when he is in the A position.  On balls to the right side or the imaginary box, the base umpire will strive to get the best angle possible and remain in fair territory if at all possible.  The only time he should not do this is if he reads pressure by the 2nd baseman.  He then would take that play in foul territory.  

16.  What is the umpire’s first reaction on ground balls to the left side of the infield?     Bust to your angle and distance.  

17.  What is the umpire’s first reaction on balls hit to the second baseman or right side of the diamond?   Take the “read step” with the left foot to face the ball and then determine if you go fair or foul.  

18.  Describe the imaginary box.   The imaginary box is that area in fair territory near home plate, which is created by “imagining” a 22 ½’  square whose one corner is the point of home plate.  Tips from Jim Evans on positioning on these plays.  1) Extra hustle is required since the BU must travel a greater distance than when the throw is originating from other spots on the infield.  2) It is better to stop short of a 90-degree angle than to overrun your angle since many 1st basemen take this throw from the infield facet of the base rather than the home plate facet.  3) If you notice that the 1st baseman is not taking these throws with his foot on the front of the base, make an adjustment to the side of the base he is using.  4) The BU may find it necessary to be in a direct line between 1st and 2nd.  

19.  What is the worst possible position for the BU when calling force plays at first base?   In foul territory, near the coaches box.  

20.  On throws coming from the left side of the infield, the BU must head into fair territory and read two things.  What are they?   1)      The origin of the throw and 2) if it is a true throw or not. 

Hi Guys,

I thought I would put this little note at to all of you about officiating/umpiring today.  I know the season ends soon for all of us but there is some fall baseball left and the B and C tournament left too. 

The Class A tournament finishes tomorrow too.  There are some good teams still playing in that tournament.  Minnetonka is playing for the championship against Air Freight I believe.  It would be a good game to see if you have some time tomorrow.  The game starts at 1 pm at Dunning Field in St. Paul.  If Air Freight wins there will be a 2nd game.  If Minnetonka wins they will be the champions.

How do I get there from here?

(This column was written by Dee Burton, former associate director/supervisor of the Utah High School Activities Association. Burton lists things he looked for when selecting playoff-level officials. Burton is now vice-principal at Layton High School.)

There are many things involved in making the "VARSITY LIST" as an official and even more things to become a playoff official.

  1. APPEARANCE- Does the official look athletic? Is the uniform properly worn and is it neat, clean, and pressed? Does the official meet weight/appearance standards? If the official is not "sellable" people won’t buy the calls.
  2. MOBILITY- If you can’t get into position to make the call it doesn’t matter if the call is right or wrong. The coach won’t buy it. Players, fans, coaches and partners don’t like "long distance" calls. You need to be in the same area code as the call.
  3. RULES KNOWLEDGE- You can’t be an official without knowing the rules. You must memorize the definitions and understand them. They are the basis for all judgments and interpretations.
  4. COMMON SENSE AND A FEEL FOR THE GAME- You need to officiate advantage/disadvantage on the field. This comes from work, work and more work. A "rule book official" will only last so long and then the rule book will get you. You need common sense and an understanding of the spirit of the rule. Know if you have a smooth game going where you can let them play or a difficult game that needs more control. Every game is different.
  5. MECHANICS- You have made the call, now what? You have to communicate by what you say and do. Do your partner(s), coaches, and fans understand what you have called? If you think you are in slow motion with mechanics after you blow the whistle you are probably about right. How do you communicate with your partner?
  6. CONSISTENCY- What is good in the first minute is good in the last minute. Treat both ends of the field/court the same. As the game gets close and people scream and holler do not change tempo or calling philosophy. Tell them what you will call and then call it that way the whole game.
  7. CONFIDENCE- You are in control, but not arrogant or cocky. Be pleasant and not abrasive or combative. A sense of humor never hurts matters when used appropriately and in the right place. An official must exude an "I’m in control" persona when on the field.
  8. PROFESSIONALISM- Act the part. Officials need to "walk the talk" daily. Back biting, and the "he got that game because…" attitude won’t cut it. The only friend(s) you have on the field are the other people in the striped shirt, you live and die together that night. Don’t call the supervisor/arbiter for games; if they have them they’ll call you. The only way to bring honor to the officiating profession is to act professionally and bring honor to ourselves. Respect is earned, not inherited. Take the games you are assigned and don’t "barter" for a better, "bigger" one. Your time for the big games will come too.
  9. IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN DON’T DO IT- Officiating is demanding and time consuming. It will take all the time in your life that you will let it. Remember that if you are married you have a family that needs you too. Have the mental presence to recognize reality and accept it. Not everyone will make the college level and not everyone will make the high school level. Accept where you are and be happy with it. But, if you are not enjoying the experience why do it?
  10. DANCE WITH WHAT BRUNG YA HERE- You can’t be something you are not. Take the abilities you have and develop them. Be yourself and to yourself be true.
 This is taken from Referee Magazine.

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