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Umpires meet at the plate

Plate meeting 

Doc and Brian confab with the skippers. Note how Blue Crew face one another--correct stance for the plate meeting.
Doc and Brian meet the coaches. Note how they face one another--correct stance for the plate meeting.

Key. Game management begins at the plate meeting. This is your first meeting with the coaches.

OBR's Rule Four states, "The umpire shall enter the playing field five minutes before the hour set for  the game to begin and proceed directly to home base." (4.01)

Cordial but formal, you give the skippers a heads up on what you expect. Keep it short. 

Tips for solid plate meeting

(Suggested dialogue)

How you call the pitch

  1. Wide strike zone.
  2. You want players swinging the bat.
Players hustle on and off the field.
  1. Coach warms up pitcher if catcher was last batter.

  2. A player in the dugout retrieves baseballs if long distance between the plate and the backstop.
Cordial, not friendly
  1. "Coach, talk to me between innings if you have any questions."

     2.  Shake their hands. Try to remember their first  names.

You are now ready for the game to begin. Pitcher will begin his 8 warm-up tosses. Thereafter it will be 5 for each inning.

After 7th pitch, especially with the younger crowd, say "Balls in."

The catcher will then throw the ball down to 2B. This is when you brush the plate.


Blue Crew Erin and Dan post-game.
Photos above and to the left show umpires looking professional. 

A sharp-looking Umpire Crew gets the benefit of the doubt on close  plays.

Communication, both verbal and non-verbal are key:

  • Safe and out signals are clear.
  • Display the count--always after the 3rd pitch. 
  • Hustle when you brush the plate.
  • Keep the ball alive whenever possible.
Never ignore lightning 

Use the 10-second rule between bang and flash. 

With lightning, stop play immediately. The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations, gives clear guidelines to follow.

Coaches on buckets

Coaches like to sit on buckets outside the dugout. This is okay but don't let it be excessive--three coaches, all of them on buckets is two to many.

Top tip    Use common sense--if you're working alone, you'll need their help keeping things off the playing field.



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15% of proceeds from the book go to the Boys and Girls Club and the MLB Community's RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) program.

Content copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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