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Baseball umpiring question

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Smallpotatoes, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Many times when I've watched games through the years, usually high school or youth games, I've seen the following thing happen: The count is 3-1 or 3-0. The batter thinks the next pitch is ball four and it looks like it might have been ball four. The batter heads toward first base and the umpire calls the pitch a strike.
    I've often felt that umpires do this just to spite the batters or to let them know that they're in charge, as a way of saying "You play; I'll ump."
    Is that why this happens and are umpires trained to do that?
    What I've never understood is why more coaches don't hammer it into their players to stay in the batter's box until the umpire makes the call.
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Didn't you start the last umpiring thread? :D

    I assume, of course, that you've heard the phrase "a 3-0 strike," which is quite common at all levels. Umpires do want the games to be decided by the players, and calling that not-quite-borderline 3-0 pitch a strike gives the batter and pitcher one more shot to decide the outcome themselves instead of relying on an umpire's call.

    That said, there are many umpires with egos too large for a job that is supposed to be thankless and unnoticeable. I imagine you're right that some umpires will "let them know who's in charge" when a batter or fielder is showing them up. Don't show up the ump, or an opponent: A longstanding, unwritten rule of baseball and, frankly, all sports.

    The 3-0 strike is a time-honored custom, too. So if a batter running out of the box as soon as that borderline 3-0 pitch crosses the plate, he doesn't know the game very well because that pitch is more than likely going to be called a strike regardless of what he does.

    Umpires aren't trained to do it. And ostensibly, it's not an ego thing. It's a way to let the players decide the outcome themselves, because that's why they play the games. Nobody's there to see the ump call ball four -- they want to see hitter vs. pitcher.
  3. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Actually, you're right, I did start another umpiring thread last month (or maybe June, it seems so long ago now).
    I've always wondered how often the call would have been ball four if the batter stayed in the batter's box until the call was made. If I were coaching, that's one thing I'd tell my players to do.
  4. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I call a strike a strike whether it is Roger Clemens or Ryan Bucvich, whether it's Game 7 of the World Series or a 7-8 softball game.

    A strike is a strike is a strike and should always be consistently called. Always. It has to be ingrained in you as instinct. As soon as you start guessing, you starting thinking too much and screw up.

    That's the way it should be everywhere.

    The Little League umpires were awful. So were the softball tourney ones. Many Major League umpires aren't awful, they're just prejudiced.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Consistency, y'all, and then more consistency. I never tried to have the same strike zone as everyone else; that's unpossible, even in the majors. But I established a consistent zone early in the game and, more importantly, communicated with catchers (and occasionally protestant hitters; never coaches) what to expect. If they understand the expectations, they'll STFU and play ball. All you can ask of an ump, IMHO.
  6. What about the Catholic hitters? No love for them?
  7. "There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary. And there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance."
  8. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I called my then 5-year-old daughter out on strikes, so I have a right to bitch. :D
  9. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    You cruel, heartless bastard. You've doomed your daughter to a life of crime. She'll have low self-esteem... lol

    On a serious note, I don't think the umps are necessarily showing who's boss when they call the borderline 3-0 pitch a strike. Pretty much everyone in the park knows the next pitch will be a strike or close to a strike, unless the pitcher's command is off.

    Now if he says something like "get your ass back here" when he calls the strike? All bets are off then. :)
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    how many of clemens' games have you umped?
  11. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    And no bullshit 3-0 strikes.
  12. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    But the game is being decided by the players, in this case a pitcher who was unable to throw a strike. He should not get rewarded with a strike, nor should the batter be penalized, just because it's 3-0.

    (The neighborhood play at second base I can accept. It's a safety issue. They don't call an automatic DP for the guy sliding way out of the baseline to break up the DP, so the fielder should get some leeway too).

    I've always thought the "let the players decide the game" excuse for rationalizing an official swallowing his whistle and not doing his job at the end of the game is BS.

    For example, Jordan clearly pushed Russell out of the way to create the space he needed to make that shot in Game 6 of the 1998 (?) NBA FInals. Russell was playing great defense, and an offensive foul should have been called. "Let the players decide the game!" Well, Jordan was a player, and he pushed off. Foul.

    The Stanley Cup playoffs have gotten considerably better now that officials are calling penalties in the final 10 minutes and in OT of close games, as they should, instead of letting teams trip, hook, interfere and hold with impunity, as used to happen.
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