Baseball Umpires’ Learning Blog

Our Place to Share the Game

End of Season Notes and Observations

Coverage of third:

Third base coverage by the plate umpire continues to be a major sticking point for our board. The plate umpire needs to be much more proactive in covering third rather than reactive. When the ball is hit and the plate umpire does not have fair/foul responsibilities they should begin to move (hustle) down toward third base in foul territory. Once they are about three quarters of the way up the line they should read, is there going to be a play on the lead runner at third. If not then they should move (hustle) back to the plate area. If the umpire is proactive they’ll be in great position for any play at third and they are also going to be in great position for any plays at the plate. The worst thing that’s going to happen is the plate umpire is going to hustle and show everyone he’s working hard and part of the crew.

Between Innings:

This is an area where I see a lot of umpires look real sloppy. #1 plate and base umpires should only be getting together once or at most twice a game between innings to talk. The crew needs to continue to umpire between innings. The plate umpire needs to keep the game moving, players tend to hustle more if they know the umpire is standing there watching. If the umpire is walking around talking to their fellow umpire players tend to walk and players don’t warm-up the pitcher when the catcher was on base. The base umpire should be watching the infielders, watch how they throw to first. Does one out of every two throws go to the fence? How is the first basemen fielding the throws? Positioning between innings is another thing that we look sloppy, the plate umpire should move a quarter of the way up the foul line. Whether it is the first or third baseline is your personal preference. If one coach is coming out each half inning and talking about plays or shooting the breeze move to the other foul line next half inning. If you’ve had a coach question (argue) a call move to the other foul line. The base umpire should move a couple of steps onto the outfield grass midway between first and second. This is going to accomplish two things, one is you’re not going to have to dodge baseballs when the team in the first base dugout send someone out to warm-up the right fielder and it gets the base umpire away from anyone who may want to question (argue) a call.


Take pride in yourself. I’m not saying shoes should be spit shined, but they should be cleaned. Shining them once or twice wouldn’t hurt. Uniforms should not look like you pulled it out of a pile in the backseat. Uniform shirts should be able to be and stay tucked in. If not maybe it’s a message you’re not the size you were five years ago. Over time shirts fade and should be navy not royal blue. Bottom line–take as much pride in your appearance as you do in getting the call right.

Consistency in Rule Enforcement

No one wins if we don’t consistently enforce rules. Players don’t know what the expectations are from game to game. Coaches are going to be much more likely to question an umpire when enforcement does take place.

Overall I think we do a great job. I question whether any other state has a more dedicated and professional group of umpires. Remember, we can all always work on our signals, mechanics and rules knowledge. Keep up the good work!

June 5, 2008 - Posted by | Association Improvements, Mechanics, Sharing Game Situations | , , , , , ,


  1. Coverage of third:

    There is no greater example of umpire hustle than that of the PU, when he is not saddled with fair/foul decision, coming out from behind the plate with a runner on first and start his jog down to to third for possible coverage. It speaks volumes to the players and the coaches about your love of the game and your desire to give the best coverage possible on every play. More important, however, it gets your blood moving, your lungs expanded, and your brain aerated. In short, it helps keep you in the game.

    Between innings:

    Many blues religiously go to the foul line of the team coming in from the field at the end of the inning. Two reasons seem to stand out for that practice. If you’ve had a tough time with the offense grousing about strikes that shouldn’t have been, you avoid the post-at bat rehash of the contested pitches. The defense is eager to get up to bat to put more runs on the board, and is highly unlike to bait you on the way in. It also wipes away the perception of favoritism if you are not standing more often in front of one team’s bench than you are in front of the opposite team’s bench


    You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so do it right the first time. Shined shoes, pressed pants, an ironed shirt, and a hat that hasn’t been around since Christy Mathewson days, all worn by the crew gets you off on the right foot. A well-dressed crew which strides purposefully on to the field together buys a modicum of respect that can cannot obtained in any other way. A clean cut crew, walking tall with the plate umpire having his mask tucked under his arm and not dangling from his hand, tells the world that the third team on the field is a very proud, competent, and confident one.

    Rule consistency:

    We are not being paid to enforce the rules we like and overlook the rules we don’t like. When a coach tells you, “Blue, we don’t call that here”, look him square in the eye and ask him, “Coach, any other rules you’ d like us to ignore today?” We are the table levellers, the ones who ensure that one team does not gain an advantage over the other team because the rules are not fairly enforced.

    Comment by Steve Johnson | June 12, 2008 | Reply


    Comment by BILL | March 5, 2014 | Reply


    Comment by BILLY DOUGHER | March 23, 2014 | Reply

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