• “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!~~~

  • '


Working The Plate

Badge Michael-A-160Amateur Umpires everywhere should have this book in their library. I have found it to be an excellent resource and primer the re-focuses me on how I should be improving each new season. The author is Carl Childress and the book can be purchased now for just $10 plus $3 for shipping and handling. Order your copy today.

Here is an excerpt that should convince you to place your order today... ORDER LINK

How to call the pitch

That’s why you bought the book. You want to reach the point where five missed pitches is a horrible game. Friend, you have come to the right place.

1. Set at about the same spot every time.

PapaC-PlateOne key to making consistent calls is to look at pitches from a consistent spot. That’s difficult with amateur catchers because they slip and slide and go up and down and for no reason. But the more often you set in the same spot, the better you’ll call. (See DON’T SET TOO LOW, and DON’T SET TOO HIGH, page 9.)

2. Track the ball with your eyes, not your head.

Follow the ball from the time it leaves the pitcher’s hand until it smacks into the catcher’s mitt. Move your eyes, not your head. When you see a video of your work behind the plate, if anything moves before the “pop,” (ball into mitt) give yourself one demerit. If you reach five in a game, fine yourself one game fee. Send it to me.

Recently, the Big Dogs of the softball world have begun to move their heads as the pitch reaches the plate. They claim it makes for better tracking. But remember, their pitchers are not pitching from 60.6 but from 40 to 46 feet. I certainly don’t recommend ducking your head for baseball, and I have not seen any professional umpires use that technique.

Following the ball will correct a common error, something akin to tunnel vision, where the visual field is reduced to 20 degrees or less. For an umpire with normal vision, failure to follow the pitch from the release means he is probably picking up the track of the ball when it enters the cutout at the plate. From there even a moderate fast ball will explode in his eyes, for he has only milliseconds to react to the pitch.

There’s also something I call “telescopic vision,” where the umpire picks up the ball from the pitcher’s hand but loses it at the cutout. That umpire has no chance to absorb the break of a curve ball or even the slight bend of a slider. I’ve argued that telescopic sight is a problem not of vision but of what John Calvin and the Presbyterians would call “predestination.” The pitch looks so good at the cutout, you cannot imagine it won’t continue that track. So your mind says “Strike/ball” and your eyes, figuratively speaking, close.
There’s one other important reason not to move your head; namely, safety. You have ample protection straight on. But unless you’re wearing a wrap-around hockey helmet, you are vulnerable when you duck to the side.

3. Wait until the catcher gloves the ball.

When you learn that and do it on every pitch, you’re on your way to good timing. Bad timing is the number one mistake the untrained plate umpire makes. A truism is that perception is reality; nowhere is the validity of that statement more visible than when an umpire calls balls and strikes.

The ball hits the front of the plate just level with the hollow beneath the knee. It slides along nicely, but at the back of the plate it dips down so that the catcher must shift his entire body to grab the pitch. By the book that’s a strike. But the perception of everybody at the park turns it into a ball. Umpires with poor timing but who want to appear decisive rush to judgment. Since it is a strike, they call “Strike” and wonder why they don’t move up.

Rich Garcia, a former major league umpire, said that a strike is “where I call it and they don’t bitch.” If you call that pitch a strike, you can make book on it: They will bitch.

Some clinicians argue that good timing is not necessarily pausing after the catcher gloves the ball. It’s simply tracking the pitch the whole way. Of course, you must see the pitch into the glove: That’s a given. But the deliberate, even artificial pause after the pop of the ball gives the umpire a chance to re-see and re-think the pitch. Tracking and the pause together create good timing.
In the fifth game of the 2001 ALDS (Yankees/Athletics) the plate umpire was Ed Rapuano. His performance typified the timing you need.

About a week before I reached this spot in the manuscript, I was working with some USSSA umpires for 13u games. We had covered in the classroom the necessity for good timing: “Listen for the pop, call the pitch silently, then verbalize it, even if the pitch goes to the backstop.” Look, Listen, Decide, Verbalize. Use in order your eyes, ears, brain, and voice.

Now, on the field, a young umpire was doing very well. When the game started, several fans yelled: “Hey, c’mon, Blue. Make up your mind.” Within an inning his “delay” was forgotten. I’d say his speed was Pop, one, two, call. At a crucial point, count 2-2, the ball popped, the catcher held his mitt steady, the pause was one, two, three, four, “Ball!!” Nobody said a word. He took the extra beats to be sure he was right, and the crowd never even noticed the extra delay. That is timing. (Now see CALL EVERY BALL, page 9.)

When you place your book order, let Papa C know that I sent you his way... ORDER LINK

Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah


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