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Make the Confident Call

Steps that will help you manage the game:
  • Umpire has solid plate meeting with coaches.

  • Umpire errs to the strike.

  • Umpire makes strike call loud and clear.

This does two things for the umpire:
  • Builds confidence.

  • Shows the umpire is in control.

    Plate umpire in the scissors (one knee) position

Umpire in the scissors (one knee) position

 Long innings, feel like you’re drifting in the zone?

  • Take a deep breath--slow down your call even more.

  • Grab a drink of water with a new pitcher.
  • Stay crisp and clear on your calls from first pitch to last out.

Pressure point? Full count. Just stay locked in.

The check swing

How do you answer the $60,000 question, "Did he go?"

Many times, especially with travel teams, when ball players have a fairly high skill level, the umpire has to decide if the batter swung at the pitch.

Some umpires use "breaking the wrist" as a sign an attempt was made, others use the "barrel of the bat" over home plate. What it boils down to is that the plate umpire has to decide whether or not the batter made an attempt to hit the ball.

fyi   One game, the young batter, I could see by his eyes, was trying to hit the fall. Even though his bat hardly came to the plate, he was trying to hit it. He pulled his bat back. I made the strike call.

This is one of the many umpire "judgment" calls that you will have to make throughout the contest.

The dead ball

Calling the dead ball--hold right hand up for "Time." By definition, a Dead Ball is a ball out of play because of a legally created temporary suspension of play (OBR, Rule 2). In simplest terms, no runners can advance.

Instances of dead ball from frequent to rare:

  • Foul ball
  • Batter hit by pitch.
  • Base umpire hit by pitch before ball reaches fielder.

When it comes to the foul ball out of play, get the game back to live action as soon as possible. Toss the spare baseball back to the pitcher or hand it to the catcher.

You can point at the pitcher and say, "Play."


        James is locked in, camera set.                     Brendan confers with skippers.



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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.

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