Helpful Hints for Plate Umpires (eng)

  • HUSTLE
  • Obtain the batting order from both managers at the pre-game meeting; review it making sure there are no errors in names, numbers, or positions. Discuss the Ground Rules at this time so both managers and the umpires are all in agreement.
  • The plate umpire should always handle introductions of all umpires to the managers during the pre-game conference.
  • Keep the plate clean and when dusting the plate, turn your back toward the pitcher. Always brush the plate with a lot of pep and snap.
  • Take the time spent in brushing the plate to warn the catcher or batter when necessary.
  • Say ball and strike only. Avoid emphasizing the number of count on the pitch. The player should be aware of the correct count.
  • Show the count everytime, whenever there is a change in the next pitch, e.g. 2 strikes and/or 3 balls
  • Never say, „Strike three, you’re out„.
  • Never say, „Ball four, take your base„.
  • A verbal or silent delayed strike signal is permissible when a batter swings at a pitch and misses.
  • Really emphasize the call when calling a half-swing or if a batter takes a called third strike at a crucial time in the game.
  • A big third strike call is important but don’t intimidate or embarrass the batters with the call. Use a signal and voice that reflects the importance, difficulty, and/or closeness of the play.
  • Do not use a hand signal to describe a pitch. If asked by the catcher or coach you may verbally describe the pitch. Do not let them ask too often in order to avoid discussions.
  • Improve your timing by using a second plate umpire who is blindfolded. You call as you think you should call. The second umpire calls on the sound of the ball touching the catcher’s glove. When your timing is the same as that of the second umpire you are fine, otherwise adjust.
  • Tip for proper timing: let someone else then the plate umpire, make a call on the sound of the ball touching the glove of the catcher.
  • Improve your outside strike zone by using the Swing. The Swing consists of a ball attached to the ceiling by a rope and a home plate that can be moved. Get into the crouch and judge whether the ball is strike or ball. Moves your eyes in line with the movement of the ball and see whether the ball actually touches the plate or not.