• “Hey Blue, the runner busted his butt running to first base, the least you could do is move 10 ft. to make a call!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike, Blue!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, did they stop printing the rulebook in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Lenscrafter called and said your new glasses will be ready in 30 minutes!”~~~

  • “You're killing me, Blue!”~~~

  • “Blue, that was a strike in any bowling alley!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate Blue! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Blue, just 'cause it's a night game, doesn't mean you should be asleep!”~~~

  • “Blue, if that pitch were any further outside it would be in the West Desert!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy is impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “Blue, now I know why there’s only one eye (I) in umpire”~~~

  • “You can go home Blue. We'll take it from here.”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, it’s a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Blue, kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Blue, if the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask him to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on?”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “I’m gonna break your cane and shoot your dog!”~~~

  • “If I had a dollar, Blue, for every good call you’ve made, I’d be broke!”~~~

  • "Is that your final answer?”~~~

  • “The magic 8 ball says……”~~~

  • “When your dog barks twice, it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Mix in some consistency once in awhile!”~~~

  • “Take off that welding mask”~~~

  • “Lenscrafter called... They'll be ready in 30 min.”~~~

  • “Open your good eye!”~~~

  • “Can I pet your seeing eye dog after the game?”~~~

  • “Looked pretty good from up here Blue!”~~~

  • “Do your sleeping at home Blue!”~~~

  • “You must be losing them in the lights!”~~~

  • “Why do you keep looking in your hand...do you have a map of the strike zone in it?”~~~

  • “I'll take three pencils!”~~~

  • “For a guy that only works 2 hours a day, you're doing a pretty bad job!”~~~

  • “Hey blue, if you had one more eye you'd be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “RING..RING....Wake up call Blue!”~~~

  • “I've seen better blue in a toilet bowl!”~~~

  • “What's a matter you gotta broken arm?”~~~

  • “Look through the mask, not at it!”~~~

  • “It really is hot today - that strike zone is melting!”~~~

  • “Wrong!”~~~

  • “Here's a quarter, go buy a strike zone!”~~~

  • “How's work experience going Blue?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue…if you had one more eye, you’d be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “Keep that up and we’ll shoot your dog and break your cane!”~~~

  • “"Easy Flinchy" – After a slight flinch behind the plate.”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “You're blinking way to long!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, that pitch was so far outside it had a hat and coat on!”~~~

  • “You couldn't see the plate if your dinner was on it!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy's impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “You're like a bat without sonar!”~~~

  • “I didn't know we were golfing today, I would have brought my clubs!”~~~

  • “Did you star in "Weekend at Bernie's"?”~~~

  • “Hey blue, that call was a get outta here quick call!”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “That was higher than a t-shirt at Mardi Gras!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, it's against the law to make prank calls!”~~~

  • “(Hold up cell phone) Is this your cell phone? Because it has three missed calls!”~~~

  • “That pitch was like your last date, you didn't want to see her or call her.”~~~

  • “To batter as he steps into the box: "You better be swinging. You're standing in the strike zone."”~~~

  • “After the ump has dusted off home plate: "You're gonna make someone a great wife someday!”~~~

  • “You're not gonna sleep a minute tonight because you've slept all game!”~~~

  • “Did you make the call on WMD in Iraq as well?”~~~

  • “Is your rule book written in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on!”~~~

  • “Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Flip over the plate and read the directions!”~~~

  • “How about some Windex for that glass eye!”~~~

  • “The French judge says it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, diarrhea has more consistency than your strike zone!”~~~

  • “You need to go to confession after that call!”~~~

  • “I've seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “Don't bother brushing off the corners, you're not calling them anyway!”~~~

  • “We know you're blind, we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “They're putting your strike zone on the back of milk cartons!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, that's not a 9 iron he's hitting with!”~~~

  • “How do you sleep at night?”~~~

  • “I was confused the first time I saw a game too!”~~~

  • “I've gotten better calls from my ex-wife!”~~~

  • “Good thing there are not three choices!”~~~

  • “Somebody get the ump his prescription mask!”~~~

  • “You flipping coins?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue is that a dinner plate? Apparently it has no corners!”~~~

  • “Admit it.... You lied!”~~~

  • “Why don't you get your Seeing Eye dog to call it for you?”~~~

  • “I forgot the Milk-Bone for your seeing-eye dog!”~~~

  • “Have you lost your strike zone in the lights?”~~~

  • “Now I know why there's only one eye (I) in umpire!”~~~

  • “You couldn't get a pitchout right!”~~~

  • “You're making more bad calls than a telemarketer!”~~~

  • “Kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Be careful when you back up, so you don't fall over your dog!”~~~

  • “Did you haul in your strike zone on a tractor trailer bed?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, if you had another eye it would be lonely!”~~~

  • “You couldn't call hogs!”~~~

  • “Keep calling them like that and you'll be bagging groceries in no time!”~~~

  • “Get a hammer and some nails, the plate is movin' around again!”~~~

  • “You call more strikes than a union delegate!”~~~

  • “Did your glass eye fog up?”~~~

  • “You couldn't call a cab!”~~~

  • “The circus is in town and the clowns are wearing blue!”~~~

  • “It's a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “You really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, turn that mask around and get a GOOD look!”~~~

  • “You can go home blue, we'll take it from here!”~~~

  • “How'd you become an umpire? Flunk out of tollbooth school?”~~~

  • “How about asking the crowd?”~~~

  • “Do you want to use another lifeline?”~~~

  • “3 Blind Mice, 3 Blind Mice,”~~~

  • “What were you, a lookout for the Titanic?”~~~

  • “How many fingers am I holding up?”~~~

  • “(For an umpire is slow getting in position) C'mon blue, put the Snicker Bar down!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Move around, you're tilting' the infield!”~~~

  • “Move around Blue, you're killing' the grass!”~~~

  • “It sure sounded like a strike!”~~~

  • “How'd you get a square head in that round mask?”~~~

  • “Have they stopped printing the rulebooks in Braille?”~~~

  • “Don't donate your eyes to science, they don't want 'em'”~~~

  • “Does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Pull the good eye out of your pocket!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike!”~~~

  • “Sure you don't want to phone a friend?”~~~

  • “You can open your eyes now!”~~~

  • “Do you get any better or is this it?”~~~

  • “You're blinking too long!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make the right call if you had a phone book!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make a call in a phone booth!”~~~

  • “Do you take Visa or American Express?”~~~

  • “Leave the gift giving to Santa!”~~~

  • “Take out your glass eye and wash it!”~~~

  • “Guess again, the last call was wrong!”~~~

  • “Blue, do you feel guilty?”~~~

  • “If the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask them to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Your strike zone is a moving target!”~~~

  • “You're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Punch a hole in that mask, you're missing a good game!”~~~

  • “Hey, Sleeping Beauty, wake up!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Magnum P.I. called and he can't find your strike zone!”~~~

  • “I've seen potatoes with better eyes!”~~~

  • “Next time buy a ticket if you're going to watch!”~~~

  • “Can I buy you another beer?”~~~

  • “We know your blind we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better blues in a crayon box!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls at a square dance!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls between two tin cans and a piece of string!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, were you looking for the curve?”~~~

  • “Hey Blues, which one of you is the designated driver?”~~~

  • “Move a little Blue, you're growing' roots!~~~

  • '

Come On Blue!

The bang-bang blogging thoughts of an experienced umpire.

Scenarios - What is the count?

Scenarios - What is the count?

One of the toughest things a new umpire has to deal with is knowing where they are in the game and knowing what to do when something happens. There is a whole lot more to do than just watch the pitch and call balls and strikes. Yes, it is all about scenarios.

Badge Michael-A-160Bases loaded, 1 out, and the tying run is on first base, what does it all mean? Well, a rally is going on, and this means that everything is tense and every call is critical. Wait, there is only one out. Infield Fly Rule, uh oh, that means I need to get my partners attention and alert him to the situation. But he isn't looking at me. How do I get his attention? Should I call time and yell out his name? Or should I just let it go another pitch and then try and get his attention? What is the worst that can happen? I feel so alone. Wait, he is looking so I'll flash him the "Infield Fly" sign. Why isn't he responding? Is he even aware? Does he see me? I should have gone over this in our pregame time together.  It is too bad he showed up just moments before the first pitch. I guess I'll just wait until this half of the inning is over and hope nothing bad happens.

A few pitches later and the bases are still loaded, and there is 1 ball and 2 strikes. Is the infield fly rule still on?... No, because there are now two outs. What happens if the catcher drops the third strike? Is the inning over? No, wait a minute. If there is a runner on first with two outs, then a dropped third strike is live and everybody is on the move. Can the catcher just retrieve the ball and step on home? What if batter turned runner runs to first inside the baseline and the catcher nails him in the back with a throw to first while trying to put him out? What if the batter bunts and fouls it off instead? What if he goes into the bunt position, but does not pull the bat back? What if he bunts it and the ball goes down and hits the plate and comes back up and hits the bat a second time?

Okay, enough already? Yet these situations should be running through your mind and you should have the answers long before they happen. Then the rulings will come quickly and naturally in the flow of the game. Unfortunately, most new umpires are told by well intentioned individuals that they don't need to worry about all of this.  "Just go out and have fun and call your balls and strikes" they say "and all will be well." I have found that having that attitude creates the recipe for disaster.

It is good to run scenarios and make sure you know the rulings.  You don't have to get too strange and work out the bizarre, but you do need to know where you are in the game and what might happen with the count and the number of outs, along with where runners are before the pitch. When you think of a basic scenario that you don't know the ruling, then find the answer.  You can hit the rule books, or you can type it up and send it to me for help. If you need the answer right away during a game, find a senior official and figure it out.  If it happens right in front of you and you are standing like a deer in the headlights, then get together with your partner and figure it out.  If there is still no answer, then send for the OYB Director on call for that evening and work to get it right.

REAL LIFE - Count is full with two outs and runners on second and third base. A beautiful pitch comes right down the plate and the umpire jumps the gun and yells loudly, "Strike Three, You're Out!!!" The batter turns and heads to the dugout. The issue was that the catcher deflects the ball and it goes to the backstop. The umpire ruined the inning and the coaches were semi livid. Why? because the batter turned runner was still live, yet he was called out and the inning was over. No runs were scored. The rally was killed. There was no way to correct the major blunder.

Why did this happen? The umpire had never before umpired on a field with leading off and live dropped third strikes. He did not know the mechanic for this situation. He did not realize prior to this happening what would happen when he called it wrong. There was no way to right the error because his loud vocal call caused the play to stop. And yet, he called the ball correctly a strike. He was loud and confident in his mechanic. But he was too quick to make the call. When he started yelling strike he had not even realized that the ball was deflected. He was way too excited to ring up the batter with his cool strike three mechanic. It is a good thing that this was just a scrimmage game.

You have to know the rules of the division with which you are officiating. You must know whether or not there are balks, live dropped third strikes, stealing, leading off, or delayed stealing. And then you have to know what to do when these things happen.  How do you rule? What are the mechanics? How do I correct a blunder? How do I not ruin the game?

MAINTAIN FOCUS - It is really important to maintain focus on the events taking place on the filed. Last night we had a classic situation where there was a passed ball and the catcher then hucked it down to second wildly, the ball then was retrieved and threw to third but it was deflected to left field. After the throw to second the plate ump was looking at his indicator trying to get the clicker right  with the passed ball as I said to him, "Are you aware that the ball is now rolling to left field and the runner might be coming home?" Startled, he looked up and realized that the play was still going on and he was trying to get the count right on his clicker. Whoa, getting the clicker right comes after the current play has ended... Lesson learned! Luckily it was a scrimmage.


Under The Bright Lights - OYB Umpire Tryouts 2014
Batting Out of Order - Gotcha!!!


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