Additional Tips for the Amateur Umpire

Two-Man Mechanics
by Steve Orinick

Old-Time UmpireAs an additional feature, I'll be using this page to include suggestions that I receive from other umpires that I believe are worthy additions to the list. Use the email link at the bottom of the page to make a suggestion!

 Stay down an extra second on your ball calls. This helps to sell the border line low pitch. Most amateur umpires pop up too quickly on a ball call and it doesn't look good.

On an obvious foul ball do nothing. Everyone knows it's foul.

Set up early behind the plate, but not before the pitcher is ready to deliver. Many amateur umpires get set too late and have trouble with the curve ball. It makes calling balls and strikes much easier.


On check swings, don't oversell the call. Act casual, like it was obvious.
Thanks to Jack Oujo, former AAA umpire for these additonal suggestions.

When working the dish and a foul fly is heading back toward the backstop, follow the movement of the catcher, not the flight of the ball. I've seen many an amateur umpire tear off his mask and watch the ball, only to have the catcher run him over in an attempt to get to the ball. Let the catcher make the first move, clear him in the opposite direction, then remove your mask and hustle back with the catcher. It's the only way to avoid contact with the catcher and to put yourself in proper position to determine if the ball has been trapped against the backstop or cleanly caught.
Thanks to David Tarracciano, Suffield, CT

Stay off the catcher. Give him room to do his job. Let him move first, then you move.
Thanks to Greg Swain, Murphy, NC

Don't be a human scoreboard. When working the plate, it's not necessary to indicate the ball/strike count before every pitch. That's overkill, fatiguing and completely unnecessary. This is especially true when working a field with a good scoreboard that is being professionally managed with balls, strikes, and outs. (Don't rely on the scoreboard, however!) Just indicate the count every so often - but not every pitch. At a minimum, I recommend calling the count when it first reaches 3 balls or 2 strikes. Also, indicate the count if a long time has elapsed... like when the batter has hit several foul balls or time has been called. As a courtesy to the base umpire, it is often a good idea to indicate the count after action has occurred on the bases requiring his attention, like a steal attempt. It is not uncommon for the base umpire to become preoccupied with the action and not notice whether the pitch was called a ball or strike. This will help him correctly update his indicator. As for outs, I usually don't get too involved with that other than signaling my partner. The players are responsible for knowing and keeping track of the number of outs. It's part of the game. If asked, I'll answer. On fields with no scoreboards, I might do it once in a while. If the field has a well-managed scoreboard - I almost never indicate the number of outs.
Thanks to David Emerling, Memphis, TNSteve O's Baseball Umpire Resources

Shave the day of the game, not the week of the game. Self explanatory. Look sharp.
BCUA: Advise as imparted by the late Ed Strohmeyer.



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2001-2002 Steve Orinick. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part in any form or medium without express written permission is strictly prohibited. Steve Orinick reserves the right to make the absolute and sole determination as to which tips do or do not get used and to edit posted tips. No liability of any kind is assumed by Steve or anyone else through the use of these tips or any situation the may arise, perceived or otherwise. Submission implies consent to post your suggestion on the site.