1. Don’t Keep an Accurate Schedule

      Have you missed a game recently?  Arrived late when everyone else was on time?  Gone to the wrong school, field or stadium?  Chances are it’s because you don’t keep an accurate schedule.
        Most of us think immediately about getting to the right place on the right day at the right time – that’s what keeping an officiating schedule is about.  But your schedule should also tell you which teams played which games, what position(s) you worked on a certain date, which team won, who your partners were and whether there were any unusual game situations or serious injuries.  There at least three additional factors:


  • An accurate schedule will prevent double-booking.  You won’t plan your week on a Monday morning and realize you have signed contracts for two or even three games scheduled at different locations on Tuesday afternoon.
  • An accurate schedule will make it much easier to track your paychecks, expenses and tax deductions.  If you know where you’ve been on every date of the year, how far you traveled to get there, what you spent for hotel rooms and meals on those occasional overnight trips and which of the expenses are legitimate tax write-offs, April 15 will not be the nightmare situation comedies are made of.
  • An accurate schedule will give you a fighting chance to reestablish your officiating schedule promptly in case you ever move to a different city.  There’s no guarantee, but wouldn’t you feel more comfortable offering your new assignor a detailed list of the games you’ve worked each of the last five years instead of just telling him you’ve had a full varsity schedule since Reagan was president?

        With all the technology available to us today, there is no excuse for not keeping an accurate schedule.


       2.   Don’t Take Care of Business

What’s the typical turnaround time between when you receive a phone call and when you return it?  How many days does it take you to receive a contract in the mail and send it back to the school or organization requesting your services?  If your full-time job will prevent you from working a game next month, will you tell your assignor today, tomorrow or next week?


        3.   Don’t Bother to Look Your Best Before Every Game

              Consider your partners.  You probably enjoy working with the ones who look good every night.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.
        Experience tells most of us that the official with the dusty uniform pants and muddy shoes doesn’t care all that much about working a good game.  They’re usually more concerned about starting a few minutes early, moving the game along at an Olympic pace and collecting their check.
        Conversely, a clean, pressed uniform, shined shoes and well-groomed appearance give you a look of professionalism before the game begins.  First impressions are lasting ones, so make it a good one.


        4.   Don’t Carry a List of Phone Numbers

        If you are one of the ever-growing number of people who has a cellular telephone, don’t forget the most important accessory:  A list of key phone numbers.  Think of it this way:  What if, even though you keep an accurate schedule, you arrive for a game and there’s no one at the site?  Who would you call first?  Or, what’s your first move if your partner is a no-show?  Most of us would reach for a telephone.  Calling for help will be a slow process if you don’t have the numbers.
        What numbers should be on your list?  Your assignors, the coaches you’ll work for, your partners, any officials in your sport in your area, the pay phone at any booth near the fields on your schedule, plus police, fire and ambulance emergency numbers – that’s a good initial list.

         You can probably eliminate that non-existent pay phone near the fields because there just aren't very many of them available today.
        5.   Don’t Arrive Early

        We all know it’s tough to get to every game an hour before start time, but there’s nothing wrong with that goal.  It’s tough to pull into the parking lot, jump out of the car and start the game within three minutes.  There is something wrong with that habit, especially if it’s chronic.
        How early is soon enough varies from sport to sport and level to level.  Working a soccer match alone on a familiar field on Saturday morning for youngsters is one thing; handling a major college football game in a new stadium on national television is another.  Lots of things affect the time you need on site to prepare for a game, but a few things remain the same.
        The coaches, players and game administrators deserve to know ahead of time that the officials are on hand and the game can start on time.  Team warm-ups, pre-game ceremonies and other activities all are timed to the start of the contest.  Twenty minutes is the absolute acceptable minimum, and plenty of organizations set the minimum at 30, 40, even 90 minutes.
        If you’re working, for example, your ninth high school baseball game of the season on today’s field with your favorite partner and traveling together; you probably can get to the park and start the game 20 minutes after arrival.  But you’ll make a better impression and do a better job if you’re 30 minutes early, better still at 45.  Respected prep umpires tend to establish 45 minutes as their own “mandatory” arrival time.
        But football, with crews of four or five officials, chain gangs, clock operators, equipment checks and field inspections, really requires at least an hour on site before kickoff.  Good crews are on hand 90 minutes early.
        No matter how you plan your schedule, you’ll occasionally have trouble getting to your game on time.  The point is, if you plan to be early you’ll still be “on time” if you’re a little late.  If you’re late regularly, it’s time to reassess the assignments you accept and rethink your priorities.

      6.   Don’t Park Your Car Strategically

        If there’s one place you should not park your car, it’s next to a sign that says, “Reserved for Officials.”  There’s no sense making it easier for thieves or disgruntled fans to find you or your vehicle.
        What are the good places?  There’s no magic formula, but try to park a bit away from the crowd, in the vicinity of the door you’ll use to exit a building and, above all, try to leave room behind and in front of your car so you don’t get blocked in.  Pulling forward is faster, simpler and safer in the event some fool wants to have a post-game “conversation” with you.


      7.   Don’t Have a Strong Pre-game

                Referee is famous for stressing the pre-game officials’ meeting before every contest.  There’s good reason.
        The few minutes you spend with your partner confirming positions, coverages, local rules, game responsibilities and officiating tactics do pay off.  The time helps you focus your concentration on the game at hand and it reinforces your confidence in the crew.  You’ll work better when you’re certain of what your partners are going to do in any given situation.


       8.   Don’t Keep Your Meeting With Team Captains Brief

      Variations on the “best” pre-game with captains are common:  “Any questions, guys?  Gonna have fun tonight?  Good luck!”
        OK, that’s a bit extreme, especially if you have to flip a coin or cover ground rules.  But you get the idea.  We’ve all had partners anxious to conduct an annual rules clinic before the game begins.  Once in a while you’ve probably had a partner try to warn the teams about rough play, unsportsmanlike conduct or the antics of a locally famous teammate.  Remember the results?  If you bothered to look the captain in the eye while your partner completed his litany, you probably saw nothing more than boredom.
        Take enough time to let the captains know you’re confident in your ability to control and enjoy the contest and you expect them to do the same.  Perhaps ask them to “help out” with an angry or frustrated teammate before you have to get involved.  But tell them 10 things you expect from the teams during the game and they’ll remember only that you’ve made a terrible first impression.
        Rely on the KISS principle:  Keep it Simple, Stupid!


      9.   Don’t Wait

        We all hurry.  We all sense an urgency to announce our decisions.  Those are terrible temptations.
        Someone, somewhere said it first, but thousands have repeated the immortal words:  “It ain’t nothing’ ‘til I call it!”
        Watch the play happen.  “See” it again in that human replay machine called your mind.  Decide what you saw, make your decision, then announce your decision with conviction.
        It’s called good timing.  It’s a secret of officiating success.  For umpires, remember to SEE IT!  DECIDE IT!  CALL IT!

    10.   Don’t Start Each Game Fresh

      It is crucial to treat each game as a new experience.  If you work a game involving a player or coach you’ve had to penalize or eject, your demeanor and actions must convey the feeling that you’ve forgotten about it – even if they haven’t.  Even the appearance of punishing a coach or player for something that happened in the past will taint your reputation and perhaps ruin your career.

16.  Should you ever admit you missed a call?

        Confession may be good for the soul, but not in baseball.  For some reason, many coaches think it’s a complete cop-out for an umpire to admit he missed a call.  Why?  Because there isn’t much more a coach can do with that argument.  But there is plenty more he can do the rest of the game, like yell at you on every close call.  “Hey, blue, did you miss that one, too?”
        So what can you say if you know you’ve kicked one?  First let him have his say in a reasonable manner.  Then you can do a number of things.  One good response is, “Coach, right or wrong that’s the call and it’s not going to change!”  Or you can say, “Coach, if I saw it from where you did, I may have called it differently!”  You don’t want to say, “Coach, I didn’t get a good look at it, but this response will surely get a comeback such as, “You’re getting paid to get a good look at it!” Don’t set yourself up to get buried on a coach’s comeback.


17.  The proper way to go for help

        There is probably no bigger area of discussion among amateur umpires than the topic of going for help.  One philosophy is that if you are not sure, such as on a sweep tag or pulled foot at first, you should go to your partner before you make a call.  That’s fine, but you’d be surprised how many umpires make a career of going for help on tough calls.  You can just make the call and take the heat with the idea that if you don’t change it, you’ll make one coach mad.  That being said, let’s discuss a workable solution.  First, you and your partners must understand that if a call is obviously missed, and someone can help, they’ll get to the involved umpire before the coach.  Therefore, if you make a call and your partner doesn’t get to you before the coach, you can assume you either got it right or your partner can’t help you.  An example would be a play where the catcher obviously drops the ball on a tag and the plate umpire, not seeing it, calls the runner out and everyone on the offensive team goes nuts.  That’s the tip-off to the plate umpire that he may have missed something.
        The first thing a base umpire should do in that situation is to prevent any coach from coming on the field.  Then he should go to the plate umpire and say something like, “Did you see the catcher drop the ball?”  What you are doing here is not changing the call, but providing your partner with information he may not have.  He may or may not change the call.  Another type play is where and umpire is blocked out or is straight-lined and badly misses a call.  Your question here should be, “Did you get a good look at that?”  If he says “No,” provide him with the information.  If he says, “Yes,” the discussion is over.  Again, be careful how you handle these situations.  Remember, these techniques should be discussed in your pre-game meeting and should apply only to obviously missed calls.


18.  Watch what you say

      One area that gets umpires into trouble is their use of profanity on the field.  Regardless of how it’s used, profanity can cause you problems about as fast as anything you do.  The biggest reason is that profanity, and the context in which it is used, is often misconstrued.  You might say something that may be humorous to you, but if it’s misunderstood you will have a difficult time convincing coaches, players or fans.  Watch your language.
        Keep in mind that whatever you say on the field will probably get back to the dugout.  If it’s a negative comment you can count on it.  If you engage a player in a conversation on the field, it will be picked up from the dugout and someone will ask the player involved about it.  That is why plate umpires should be very careful about how they handle situations involving a batter.  Why?  Who is a couple of feet away, well within hearing range?  The other team’s catcher, who is more than happy to report any interesting tidbits to his coach or teammates.


19.  Realize you are in the people business.

        Think of how many times over the years you have had to come up with a rule interpretation on a particular play.  Now think of how may times you’ve had to settle down an unhappy pitcher, catcher or coach.  That by no means implies you should forget the rules.  What it does mean is that, hopefully, when those times occurred where you’ve dealt with a problem, you’ve been able to calm the situation rather than inflame it.  Whatever you do during a game, try to be approachable and be reasonable.  Some very good umpires are not welcome by a lot of teams because they are perceived as being arrogant.
        If you think for a moment about the most successful people in your organization, chances are, they are very good at handling people and situations.  That is a goal for which all umpires should strive.

6.  Discuss how ejections will be handled

        Cover ejections in your pre-game.  Fortunately, ejections occur very rarely.  However, when they do occur, they can get ugly fast unless the umpires have an idea of how they will be handled.  First, whenever a coach comes out to discuss a play and the conversation starts to drag or get heated, the other umpire should walk within hearing range.  Listen to what’s being said and don’t participate unless asked by the umpire involved in the discussion or if the conversation obviously is dragging on.
        Secondly, it must be understood by all umpires on the crew that the discussion is over once the umpire walks away or the coach is ejected.  When that happens, the other umpires should try to get the coach away, either to the bench or out of the ballpark in the event of an ejection.  Be careful not to put your hands on a coach or player.  Sometimes by walking toward the dugout, you can get the coach to follow you while pleading a case.
        It’s very important that the ejecting umpire stay out of that process; participating at that point will only intensify the problem.  Finally, it must be understood by all crewmembers that when a coach is ejected, the coach must leave the playing field before the game is resumed.  Be sure to follow whatever procedures are in place for whatever level of ball you are working.

7.  Know how to handle darkness, rain and lightning

        This part of the game probably gets umpires into more trouble than any other area.  Why?  It’s because umpires are in a “can’t win” situation.  However, there are some things umpires can do to lessen the pain.  First, when dealing with darkness, know what time sunset is.  You can get that information from your daily paper or the Internet.  That, obviously, is no problem when the sky is clear.  But on cloudy days, you have a lot more credibility with a coach when you say you are calling the game because sunset occurred 10 minutes ago.  Don’t fib, because the first thing a coach will do after getting home is to check it.
        Secondly, get your partners together with both coaches before you start a new inning and tell them play will continue as long as you think it’s safe.  A good guideline is to watch for any player hesitating in seeing the ball.  Don’t make the mistake of telling everyone you’ll play one more inning.  There have been times when the light conditions are brighter at the end of an inning than at the beginning.
        Lastly, remember that few games have ever been decided by playing an extra inning.  The reason should be fairly obvious.  Neither team will allow it to happen.  Each team will gladly take a tie rather than a loss.  So what happens?  Say on the first pitch of the extra inning, the batter hits a home run.  The visitors know that if the home team can’t finish the inning, the score will revert (high school rule except in Minnesota all games are suspended now).  So the visitors start to swing wildly at pitches to speed up the game.  This puts you right in the middle of possible acts that may cause a forfeit.  In the same scenario, the home team now comes to bat.  Guess what will happen?  Down by a run, they are going to make sure they cannot complete the inning so the score will revert.  So, the home team slows down the game as much as possible and you are stuck with another possible forfeit situation.
        In another scenario, the visitors are out on about five pitches.  Do you think for one moment the visiting team is going to deliver a hittable pitch to the home team?  Not at all.  The visitors will throw about four wide ones, the catcher will go out to talk to the pitcher, then the pitching coach will come out, then make a pitching change, etc.  A change in the outcome of the game is so remote it’s just not worth the aggravation for the umpire.  You might also seriously consider the legal consequences of trying to be a nice guy.  Who do you think a player’s parents and attorneys are going to go after if someone is hit in the face with a line drive or an errant pitch?
        Rain can be a little trickier.  If the rain is only a drizzle, ask your partners to watch the footing of the pitcher and the infielders.  In threatening conditions, you should ask the home coach if drying materials and tarps for the mound and home plate are available.  If tarps are available, stop play earlier.  If you wait too long, the tarps will create a greenhouse effect and cause the playing surface to hold more water.
        Lightning is the worst weather condition for umpires to handle.  That is probably due to the frightening fact that more often than not, the first bolt you see is the one that can cause life-threatening injuries to people in the immediate area.  Err on the side of safety and stop a game whenever you feel there’s even the slightest possibility of danger to the participants or spectators.  There are now guidelines for NCAA and National Federation that you must follow.  Make sure you know them and follow those guidelines.

8.  Handle forfeits correctly

      The most important aspect to remember about forfeits is that they are very serious.  Obviously, if a coach or player strikes an umpire, you can forfeit the game immediately.  However, in most other situations, you need to do a couple of things.  First, whenever possible, be sure your partners are aware of what is happening.  Secondly, be absolutely sure a coach knows that his continued conduct or the continuing conduct of his team is grounds for a forfeit.  Make sure your partners are in on that conversation.  If possible, you and your partners should explain the circumstance to the other coach.  Then, if you do have to forfeit the game, try to do more than the rules provide.  For example, if the rule says a player must be removed within one minute, make sure you give him a little more than a minute and certainly not less than one minute.  The reason for that is simple.  If you do forfeit the game, that coach is going to have to defend his actions to someone.  And when he does explain his actions, you are going to be the scapegoat.  The most popular excuse a coach may use is, “I didn’t realize the game may be forfeited,” or, “Nobody told me.”  Also, be sure to record all pertinent information that should be included in your report.

9.  Writing incident reports

        Remember that your league may consider your incident report a legal document.  Therefore, you must be extremely careful in getting the information correct.  Whatever the situation, whether it’s an ejection, a forfeit or other matter, stick to the facts and keep it brief.  A long rambling report doesn’t do anyone any good, especially the person reading it.  If profanity was used, state the exact words used.  Saying a coach swore at you doesn’t carry a lot of weight.  If you use the exact words, he might have a tough time explaining to someone why he used that type of language, especially in a youth league game.  You should also contact your assignor or whomever else you are required to notify as soon as possible.  If it is a serious incident, your partners should also send in a report.  The only time you should use rule references is if the report involves a protested or forfeited game, then you’ll want to cite the rules used to make your decision.  Otherwise, league presidents don’t really need to know the rule reference.  However, if your league requires rule reference for all incidents, by all means supply the information.
10.  Have a realistic strike zone

        We all know coaches and players just want umpires to be consistent when calling balls and strikes, but umpires must be realistic in applying that principle.  The lower the level of baseball, the bigger the strike zone.  In high school or college baseball, umpires should be more generous on the knee pitch and on the corners than on pitches, which are considered up in the zone.  Regardless of the level, don’t go to extremes.  That applies to all levels of baseball.  Don’t be a voice in the wilderness.  Your strike zone should be fairly consistent with the other umpires calling the same level of baseball.

11.  Attend an umpire school or camp

      There are many excellent college and professional umpire schools and week-long and weekend camps available in all parts of the country.  Attend one of them every now and then.  You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn; chances are you’ll be learning the latest techniques being taught at both, the amateur or the professional level.
        A word of caution, though.  Remember that some schools teach umpire mechanics, interpretations and philosophies that generally apply to professional baseball.  That is OK.  Just be sure you have a good idea of what you can and cannot apply to whatever level you are working.  Also, professional schools are five weeks for a reason.  Candidates there are given hundreds of repetitions on how to take a pivot at first base, etc.  They are also allowed countless hours of time calling pitches in the batting cage.  When you attend a week-long or weekend camp, you aren’t going to get that kind of training.  What you will get is the correct way to do various things.  It’s up to you to get the extra repetitions on your own.


12.  Be positive with coaches and players

        Be alert for any opportunity to thank a player or coach for helping you administer the game.  Whether someone is getting a bat out of the way or bringing baseballs to you, say “please” and “thank you.”  As simple as that is, you’d be surprised how much game participants appreciate that little kindness.  The same goes for a coach who is taking care of a problem for you.  Remember, you’re not trying to be their buddy, you’re just showing some simple courtesy.  This technique is also useful to keep a player calm.  Say, for example, a batter is hit by a pitch and trots right to first base without glaring at the pitcher or practicing other theatrical items batters sometimes do.  Gently praise him for keeping his poise.  The same applies after a collision at a base on which a fielder takes a pretty good shot.  A well-placed comment can do wonders to keep a situation from getting out of control.

13.  Avoid amateurish behavior

        Some umpires do things on the field that immediately peg them as inexperienced.  Let’s run through some of them.  There is no reason to vocalize obvious plays.  There is no reason to loudly proclaim “Foul ball!” when a ball is fouled directly to the backstop.  The time to do something is when there is doubt as to whether the ball is fair or foul.  There also isn’t much reason to give an “out” signal on a routine fly or pop up.  The sound umpire mechanic of calling an out or a safe only when there is a play is what should be seen.  There are too many umpires that call safes when there is not even a tag attempt.  You don’t have to show them that you know a runner is safe and the ball has not even been thrown.
        Don’t let catcher or on-deck batters toss the ball to you.  Ask the catcher to always hand you the ball.  Tell the catcher that if an on-deck batter has the ball, he will toss it to the catcher who will hand it to you.
        Don’t hold your indicator up to your face and look at it like you’ve never seen one before.  Get a file and notch the wheels (preferably at “0”) and you’ll never have to look at your indicator again to start an inning.  How many times have you lost the count on a hitter?  Rather than having to mentally beg for a batted ball, try advancing your indicator while the ball is in the air back to the pitcher.  This is whether you throw it, the catcher throws it or a fielder throws it.  If it’s in the air, that’s your cue to advance your indicator.  Do that and you will cut down on lost counts immeasurably.
        Use proper mechanics to signal the plays.  Good, sharp mechanics give the impression you are right on top of things.  Lazy or sloppy mechanics give the impression you really don’t care too much about what you are doing, or worse, give the impression you aren’t too sure of your call.
        Put the ball in play after a dead ball, especially with runners on base.  Don’t leave your partner wondering if he should make an out call on a pick-off because he doesn’t know if the ball is in play or not.  This means you do it every time and not just when you feel like it.  Do it every time.


14.  Expect that participants will try to gain an edge

        Coaches and players have a stake in the outcome.  They do care who wins.  A player may fudge a bit on a trap to make you think he caught the ball.  If a coach can get you to start calling low strikes because that’s where his pitcher throws the ball, he may do it. The point here is, when a coach starts to get on you for something, or tries to rattle the opposing pitcher, or a player starts whining about your strike zone, consider the motive.  When a participant is trying to get the edge the reason to get upset is not because he’s doing it; the reason to get upset is if you’re not buying it and he continues.


15.  Take care of arguments

        When a coach comes out to argue, you should have a pretty good idea of why he’s out there.  It will probably be for only three or four reasons.  He may think you missed the play, he may think you misapplied a rule, he may be out there to prevent a player from being ejected and he may come out to show support of a player who is arguing a call.  In any event, there are some things you should remember.  Should a coach get in your face, your first response should be, in as a normal tone and level of voice possible, “Coach, back off right now.”  If he doesn’t respond immediately, eject him because he’s more interested in intimidating you than seeking an explanation of your call.  If he is yelling at you, remind him you aren’t going anywhere and you can hear him in a normal tone of voice.  That’s about as far as you should go in trying to control his behavior.  If he wants to yell, let him have his say as long as he’s not in your face.  It is very important to let him finish without interruption.  This may be difficult to do, especially if he’s totally wrong about what he’s saying.  Your cue to cut him off is when he starts repeating himself.  Regardless, give him a little time to get it off his chest.
        When he’s finished, it’s your turn.  That is why it’s important for you not to interrupt him, because he is now obligated to hear you out.  If he interrupts you, remind him that you listened to him and if he isn’t going to list to you, tell him the discussion is over.
        There are some effective responses you can use that will help calm the waters.  First, if he is incorrectly quoting a rule, you may say, “Coach, by rule, what you just said is wrong.”  Notice you are not directly challenging him.  Another effective technique is to tell him, “Coach, from where I had to make the call, I didn’t see the tag.”  This is much less confrontational than telling him, “Coach, there is no way he tagged him.”
        Another good response is, “Coach, tell me what you saw.”  You might say, “Coach, tell me your understanding of the obstruction rule as it applies to thisplay.”  (You’d better have a firm grasp of the rule before you try that one.)  Get the coach thinking.  Once he starts the thought process, it will normally make him to calm down.
        Sometimes you can tell a coach, “That was close enough to come out on, but I had a good look at it.”  Here, you are subtly complimenting him for coming out without inflaming the situation.  It’s a useful technique.
        One other item to remember is that a coach will often give you a parting shot as he leaves.  If it’s under his breath, it’s best to ignore it.  If it is loud, deal with it accordingly.  Remember that if a coach is walking away, it’s best to let him go.  If you eject a coach at this point, you will usually appear to be the aggressor.  Also, do not let a coach continue an argument while you are on the dirt.  Try to maneuver so that you are on grass.  This will reduce the temptation of kicking dirt on you.

19 Smart Moves For The Baseball Umpire from the
Publishers of Referee Magazine and the National Association of Sports Officials


1.  Pay attention to your appearance

      Have you heard that one before?  You’d be surprised how coaches and players form an opinion of an umpire based on appearance.  The first part of appearance is how you dress.  By having your shoes shined, wearing a fitted cap and clean pants and shirt, you at least give the impression that you care.  One item that is a big help is having a spray bottle of water handy.  It can be used to get sweat stains off your cap, dress up a dusty ball bag, etc.  The second part of your appearance is how you look physically.  Being considerably overweight, wearing a beard, earrings or having long hair has nothing to do with your ability to umpire.  But those items have a lot do with the perception players, coaches, fans and even your partner may have toward you as an umpire.  Unfortunately, most of those thoughts are going to be negative.


2.  Let them play the game

        One of the best things an umpire can do is let the players play the game.  Umpires shouldn’t be looking for technical violations and other minor circumstances to show people how much they know the rules.  It seems that every time a new rule is introduced, umpires want to try it out, usually without much regard to the spirit and intent of the rule.  Use common sense when applying the rules.  One of the worst raps an umpire can get is that of being a “rulebookumpire.”  Unfortunately, it’s a reputation that will stay with an umpire for a long time, if not for the rest of the umpire’s career.  Certainly, you should know the rules, but just as importantly, you should know how to apply them and under what circumstances.  Ask yourself, “Why did the player commit a particular act?”  Was it because the player wanted to get an unfair advantage, or was it because the player didn’t know what he or she was doing?  You must decide and rule accordingly.  Let them play the game.

3.  Know how you’re going to call the game

      There are a number of times during a game when you must decide whether or not to make a call.  A good example is when a batter hits a stand-up triple, cuts inside first base and misses the base by an inch or two.  You must decide in advance what you are going to do.  If your philosophy is strictly by the book, you are going to uphold an appeal.  If your philosophy on this type of play is more toward advantage/disadvantage, you are likely not to call the runner out or uphold the appeal.


4.  Reward good play

        Most good umpires make a point of rewarding good play.  If a batter hits a ball to deep short, the shortstop makes a backhanded stop and guns the ball to first on a whacker, a good umpire is probably going to call the runner out.  However, if the shortstop does a juggling act on a routine grounder, chances are the runner will be called safe on the same close play.  The same thing applies when calling balls and strikes.  It’s far better to reward the pitcher by calling a borderline low pitch a strike than calling a borderline high pitch a strike.


5.  Have a good pre-game

There are two good reasons to have a pre-game, including one you may not have considered.  The obvious reason is to be sure you and your partners know how you are going to work the game.  Don’t think that because you have umpired many games with the same partner that it’s not necessary to have a pre-game.  Both of you have worked with others and you still need a reminder of how you are going to officiate the game.  The other reason is to get your mind on baseball.  There’s no telling what goes through an umpire’s mind on the way to a game.  The one sure way to get focused on baseball is to have a good pre-game meeting.

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