PBUC Quiz #1 from the Manual for the 2-Umpire System (Red Book)

Here is the first of quizzes that all of our umpires should take.  The answers are in red following each question but you should be looking them up in the red manual (PBUC Manual for the 2-Umpire System).

Have fun.  There many more to come.

Mechanics Quiz #1 - Section 1 and part of Section 2 

1.      Under 1.1 Game Preliminaries in all Minor League Baseball leagues what is considered mandatory for the plate umpire?


Answer:  All plate umpires must use an indicator during the game.

2.      In 1.2 The Meeting at Home Plate in the two-man system where do the umpires position themselves? 

Answer:  The plate umpire will always stand directly behind home plate, and the base umpire will stand in fair territory directly in front of the plate.


3.      Is it ok for the plate umpire to leave his mask on the grass behind home plate during the ground rules? 

Answer:  This is very unprofessional of the plate umpire.  He should tuck the mask under his left arm as he is inspecting the lineup cards and/or discussing ground rules.  Remember, the mask is part of your equipment and therefore, it is in your possession at all times.  If you are right-handed, it will be under your left arm or in your left hand during any writing on your lineup cards.


4.      What is the item that many umpires forget to take care of before they get to home plate for ground rules? 

Getting the baseballs that are needed for the game.  This is always one question that needs to be asked of the home team prior to heading for the plate for ground rules.


5.      Many teams will have already rubbed the baseballs down for the UIC.  Is this ok to do? 

Answer:  By rule this is not legal.  However, do not make this an issue.  Accept the balls and check them to see that the gloss has been removed and that the baseballs meet your approval.  If you need to rub the baseballs down yourself, take care of it as soon as possible.  Preferably before the home plate conference.  Also, you need to inspect the pitcher's baseball prior to that ball being used in the game.  In Major League Baseball, the umpires no longer have to rub baseballs down but the clubhouse boys do get a tip from the umpires for doing this for them.


6.      According to 1.2 of the 2 Man Umpiring Manual, why do protests occur each year in minor league baseball? 

Answer:  The umpire-in-chief has not examined the lineup cards carefully.


7.      What reason does PBUC give for stating the discussion of ground rules is a very serious matter and should not be dealt with lightly?   

Answer:  Because a number of disputed decisions and protested games occur each year because all parties were not fully aware of each of the ground rules.


8.      What types of statements should not be allowed in regards to ground rules? 

Answer:  Comments such as, "Yeah, I know them - we don't need to go over anything?" or "Come on, let's get the game started, no one cares about the ground rules anyway!"


9.      What are the three areas that should always be covered in ground rules according to PBUC? 

Answer:  1) Bullpens, 2) tarps, and 3) the lip of the dugout.


10.  According to 1.2 of the 2 Man Umpiring Manual, the umpire-in-chief must make certain he accepts which manager's lineup card first? 

Answer:  He must make certain that he accepts the home team manager's lineup card first.


11.  What does PBUC say about what causes protests each year? 

Answer:  Protests are caused each year because the plate umpire was careless in checking the lineup cards.


12.  How can the plate umpire prevent this type of protest according to PBUC? 

Answer:  The plate umpire must take the time and concentration necessary to prevent a protest over lineup cards.


13.  During the National Anthem, describe the position of the umpires and how and where should they stand. 

Answer:  Each umpire will stand at attention with toes of both feet on the back line of the batter's boxes and heels together.  Cap should be placed over the heart with the right hand, and the left arm should be fully extended straight down along the seam of the left pant leg.  Heads are to be erect, facing the flag (not lowered facing the ground), and there is to be absolutely no talking during the playing of the National Anthem.  The mask is always in the left hand during this time.  No gum chewing during the anthem.  This looks very unprofessional.  Also, no tobacco on the field at all.  We expect our umpires to be professional and having tobacco juice on your face and on your shirt is not professional nor is it healthy for you or anyone else.  Break this habit if you are one that chews.  High school and college baseball prohibits it on the field as does Minor League Baseball.  It has not yet been put in the big-league contract but it will be soon.


14.  Describe the positions of the base umpire prior to the start of the game and between each inning. 

Answer:  Approximately midway between 1st and 2nd base, a few feet onto the outfield grass.  He should remain at this position - making sure at this time that there are no obvious infractions apparent on the playing field (open gates, equipment lying on the field, etc.) - until the catcher throws the last warm-up pitch to 2nd base.  At this time he should jog (not sprint) to his position at 1st base to start the game.


15.  What suggestion does PBUC give to the plate umpire to prepare himself prior to the game? 

Answer:  They suggest that the plate umpire goes behind the catcher and take a few pitches for both a right and left-handed batter.  This is only necessary in the 1st inning but should be done for both the home and visiting pitcher.  The benefit of this is so you are not surprised on the 1st pitch of the game.  You get to see the background, the types of pitches you might be seeing in the game, the way the catcher might handle the pitches and the angle of delivery.  There are probably more than I have mentioned here but you get the idea, I hope.


16.  Even though PBUC recommends that the base umpire stand in a special spot between innings, I have another recommendation for you.  What do you think it is?   

Answer:  Since the plate umpire is suggested to watch some pitches, why can't the base umpire in both halves of the 1st inning observe some of the throws from the infielders to prepare himself for the game.  Tim Tschida, major league umpire, suggested to me and others at a college umpire clinic years ago to have the base umpire watch some throws and work on getting his angle and distance down for the game.  He said, "the fastest player on the team is usually the leadoff batter.  If you miss the 1st play of the game on him on a bunt or ground ball safe/out at 1st base, you will be in for a long day."  Here is how to do this:  When the 1st baseman tosses a ground ball to the 3rd baseman, bust to your angle, watch the origin of the throw and square up to the base, shift your eyes to the bag and get a hands-on-knees set, listen for the ball touching the mitt, now shift your eyes to the ball, when you see firm and secure possession make your decision on safe/out, before the game begins you are not going to give a signal or a voice but it does give you a reference for angle/distance and strength of arm of that fielder.  Now, walk back to the foul line for the next play while the 1st baseman tosses it to the shortstop.  You will get back in time for the toss to the 2nd baseman.  Again, bust to your angle and distance, repeat the above.  Now walk back to the line again and by the time you are back, he will again be tossing it to the shortstop and now you repeat it again.  Remember on balls to the left side of the field you are looking for a 90-degree angle.  The toss to the 2nd baseman if he is playing in his normal position should only be 1-2 steps into fair territory.  There are a lot of things to learn here.  You are learning the background for throws.  You are learning how each infielder releases their throw.  You are learning to read a true throw or a bad throw.  You are learning angles and distances for your plays at 1st base.  There are many other things too but this answer is already too long.  I hope to see that many of you do this next fall in the games that we will be observing and evaluating you upon.  It might be worth your while to practice this now.  One thing I have found with the umpires that I have taught previously is that some of them just wait out on the diamond for throws from all positions.  This is not the way to do it.  We are practicing busting to our angle and distance and that can be done only if you go back to the line each time.  You should not do this after the 1st inning but you should do it in the top of the 1st and bottom of the 1st.  Just as the plate umpire should for his starting pitchers.


17.  Besides saying, "Play" once the batter is ready, the pitcher is on the rubber and the catcher is giving the 1st sign of the game, what does the signal for "Play" look like? 

Answer:  Larry Gallagher describes it as the palm of the hand facing the pitcher and then withdrawing it back toward your chest and then throwing your finger out toward the pitcher like you would be throwing darts and saying, "Play!"  I also learned in umpire school it is never done with your left hand.  You should always put it in play with the right hand.  I also learned a new technique from an umpire colleague named Jeff Gould this May.  He does it every time the same way by using a backhanded point instead of an over handed point like I mostly do.  I do vary it some because I don't feel like I want to do the same one the entire game.


18.  From Section 2.1 Positioning with No Runners on Base, how far behind the 1st baseman should the base umpire position himself?  If the first baseman moves deeper than normal, does the distance change?  If so, what is the new distance?  Are you in a hands-on-knees set position or a standing set position? 

Answer:  10-12 feet.  Yes, it doesn't say but 5-6 feet is probably correct.  According to the manual, you are in a hands-on-knees set and your right foot should be just off the foul line and your body should be squared to home plate.


19.  The Hands-On-Knees Set is recommended because it makes you look how? 

Answer:  "Ready."  This is what the professional umpire has to do the entire first 2 years in professional baseball.  There is no walking into the pitch.  The reason that I have been told is the ever-present idea of perception.  This technique makes you look like you are into the game.  The HOKS is the one that presents the best picture.  If you do it correctly all the time, it will be better for you than any of the others.  It also allows you to practice for your plays on the field too.


20.  What are some reasons why you do not want to be too far back or too close to the 1st baseman?  There are some listed but think of others that are not listed too. 

Answer:  If you are too deep, it will be difficult to come in and pivot on a base hit or a routine fly ball.  If you are too deep, you will not be able to get to the correct distance for your plays at first base.  If you position yourself too close, you will probably have trouble avoiding the fielder while he tries to make a play.  If the fielder is playing up and you come up too close to the base you will be too close for your plays at first base.  There are others so don't think that I have all that there might be in this answer.


21.  What are the responsibilities from 2.2 for the plate umpire on fly balls? 

Answer:  With no one on base, fly balls (or line drives) from the centerfielder moving any distance to his right all the way to the left field line belong to the plate umpire.  Actually it should say all the way to the left side - including foul territory.


22.  In the pause-read-react technique, what does the pause mean? 

Answer:  It means to hesitate momentarily.  This gives you a moment to think about your next move - reading.


23.  What are you reading when you decide to go somewhere?  What 4 reactions are you looking for from the outfielders?  What is a "trouble" ball?24.   

Answer:  You are reading the fielders or in this section the outfielder(s).  4 reactions - 1) The outfielder is running hard in toward the infield as though he going to make a catch on the dead run or he may have to dive.  2) The outfielder has turned his back to the infield and is running towards the outfield wall with his back to the infield.  3) Three fielders are all converging on the ball, and it appears that any one of the three might catch the ball.  4) The right fielder is running towards the right field line and it appears that a fair/foul decision may have to be made on the line.  A "trouble" ball is any ball that the base umpire reads that he must go out on.


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