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Umpire works alone

Working by yourself? Keep two things in mind: 1) Err to the strike; 2) Strikes and outs get you home.

Challenges flying solo
  • Check swing.
  • Runner tagging up.

Review muscle memory mechanics

  • Get the angle.
  • Move in if you have time.

Again, as Rule 9 dictates, “Keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play.”

fyi     “No-hurt” calls are your second play in the infield. Play at the plate takes precedence over safe or out at 2B.

Remember Coaches and fans might have a better look:

  • Long fly balls, 
  • Balls hit in the gap.
  • They could be 90 feet closer to play than you are. 
  • Not only are they closer, they have the angle.
  • They have more time. 
  • Think of these as $37 calls—the price of another umpire.

If you don't see it, you can't call it. How to cover the tag up:

This might be the typical skipper take: you didn't see the tag up. However, if you've got pivot/swivel on the catch, you've got the retouch.

Just say, "I've got him tagging coach."

Again, this is the umpire's judgment. Like a game I did a couple years ago, while there were runners on 1st and 3rd, the runner at 1B was caught off guard. No, from 90 feet away, behind the plate (I was working alone) I didn't see the actual tag on the runner. However, in my judgment, R2 was off the bag. I rang him up to end the game. No one said a word.

A couple other examples below--using swivel--you make the out call. You'll learn to bear hug the phrase
"In the judgment of the umpire."

  • Can't see runner tagging up if you are following the trajectory of the fly ball.
  • Tough to see tags back of the bag.
  • Runners touching the bag when rounding it.

Get in position. Make the pivot/swivel calls as you see them.

Working alone? Don't smile

Finally, start off with a bad cop plate meeting. The younger, less experienced, or female umpire, do the hard sell on each every call.

fyi     It doesn’t hurt one bit, if you find yourself in the above category, to start each half-inning with an "I’m-the-boss reminder": hold out the right hand for time before the pitcher delivers. Then point at the pitcher and say, in bad cop tone, “Play.”

Finally, think of these calls where you are doing the work of the base umpire as a $35 call--the price of another umpire.

Remember     It’s nothing until you call it.

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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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