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Making the call on tag plays

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,470
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Mundelein, IL
Maybe it's just coincidence, or maybe I'm just noticing it more. But it sure seems like umpires are judging tag plays more by when the ball arrives than by whether a tag is applied.

I saw it several times over games the last weekend. On a few bang-bang plays going into bases, the ball arrived, the runner slid in, and the umpire called the runner out. The problem is the tag was applied after the runner's foot was on the base.

My friend and assistant Rich says making the call that way is the easy way out. You don't have to see what actually happens, or focus on the entire sequence. You just look for the ball to come in around the same time as the runner and call the runner out.

Now, I could be wrong about it. All those runners could've been out. But I don't think so. I'm pretty good at judging these sorts of things with a fairly unbiased eye, and I know what I see.

What do you think? Are umpires depending more on the arrival of the ball than seeing the entire play through? Or is it my imagination?

More...
 
Nov 1, 2008
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there seem to be alot of them who don't pay attention to where the runner's feet are when the tag is applied. the tag will be applied at or above the knees while the feet had reached the base well ahead of the tag being applied. i've seen this SEVERAL times this year, both for and against us. There was, however, a VERY close play in a game the other night that the umpire got right. It was a high speed play and, unfortunately for us, the runner was safe at home. Had the tag been at the feet instead of the thigh it would have most definately gone our way.
 
Jan 15, 2009
585
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One ump games

My biggest gripe about umpire mechanics is that given that we play 95% 1 ump games (even at elite 14U/16U games) I see few umpires willing to move physically from behind the plate to get in a position to make a call.

When I was a youth umpire I remember being trained to move from behind the plate and get into a position down the first base line to have a decent angle to see a play at 1B. We were taught that as the play got close we were supposed to watch the runners foot and listen for the ball. I still do this as a coach 30 years later and I can't beleive how bad some of the calls at 1B are both for and against my team. Usually they are made by an ump who hasn't stirred from their nest behind the catcher. Did they change how they teach the mechanics for 1 ump games with no runners on?
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,470
48
Mundelein, IL
SnocatzDad, I was trained the same way. I occasionally get drafted to umpire a game and still do it. I can't believe how many umpires don't get out from behind the plate either.

One explanation could be they call game after game at tournaments, and if they move that much they'll run out of gas. On the other hand, they're being paid to be there.

Having two umpires per game helps a lot. I'm getting to the point where when I see just one umpire I start marking the tournament in the discard pile.
 

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