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UMP is going to get the pitcher killed

Nov 25, 2012
1,024
38
Texas
So here is the situation. HS ball in North Texas and many good umps and some real pieces of S***! Played several games thus far with good umps. Definition of good umps is they call strikes if it is in the "strike zone". What a flippin concept right???

Tonight played a game which was the second one of district play where the umps wouldn't call anything if the ball wasn't right down the middle. Absolutely ridiculous!! Home plate ump told our catcher that it had to be down the middle or it wouldn't be called.

So what is a pitcher going to do if the batters don't swing at anything (which was the case in both games) if the ball isn't down the middle. Pitcher is hitting the blacks to inner quarter of the plate, above the knees and below the chest, but no strikes.

Well here is what a pitcher is going to do. 1. walk everyone or 2. Throw right down the freaking middle and get cranked and more importantly take a risk that she is going to get a blast right back at her. If the only pitch an ump will call is a pitch down the middle he/she severely increased the odds the pitcher is going to take one to the face, leg, body, whatever.

IMO. The umpire is putting the pitcher at risk by not calling strikes in what is otherwise the strike zone. Down the middle does not define the strike zone dumba**!!!!!! Sorry, a bit bitter here.

So I throw this out to the group. What is number 3? How does a pitcher "win" in this situation? My answer is having 3 speeds if you are in this situation. SLOW - changeup you can control down the middle. OFFSPEED down the middle or medium speed and then FAST - Dropball for a strike down the middle. Keep the batters timing off with speed changes is all I can come up with but does anyone have anything else.

I would add this would be the point I insert the video where the pitcher throws the riseball and the catcher intentionally gets out of the way and it goes straight to the umpires mask. Yes, that is bush league but basically what he is asking to have happen to my pitcher by lack of knowledge of what a strike zone is.

S3
 
Nov 29, 2009
2,777
38
To whom did the umpire say what he would call a strike? Was it the coach, catcher or pitcher?

What need to happen is multiple HC's need to contact the assignor and let him/her know the umpire stated they will not call strikes unless the ball is down the middle of the plate and ask the he be re-evaluated. If enough coaches ask this to be done or that he is not assigned to umpire their games the assignor, if he is good, should look into it. Especially if he's getting multiple complaints from different coaches and if it's from coaches who've won games he's umpired behind the plate.
 
Apr 28, 2014
1,098
48
I feel your pain.
We had one HS game last year that was like that.
Luckily we drew first blood and put up a 7 spot in the first and DD was fortunate to get 3 quick ground outs in bottom of the first. Once the batters figured out it was a postage sized zone they held and held then the meatballs started to get thrown.
I think there were a total of 5HRs that day and the score ended up 17-6.
Funny thing about it was when I saw the HP ump a few weeks later getting ready to call the game I said "ugh" and he heard me and walked over.. he said dont worry I got in trouble over that zone in that game and will call it better today.
I will say our HS coach sends in video to the athletic association.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2, 2011
3,019
48
Florida
Home plate ump told our catcher that it had to be down the middle or it wouldn't be called.
First, your catcher has to to tell the head coach so he can discuss right then with the umpire. And I'd probably not be waiting to make a complaint either - I'd be on the phone with the umpire head right then. And then an official complaint will be going in.

In our umpire room, if this was found to be true - he would no longer work any games for us. Intentionally calling a smaller zone knowing that the ball is crossing the plate and openly admitting that he is doing that is not acceptable. If my partner did this and I was on the bases it would not be a pleasant situation. While you go out of your way to never throw your partner under the bus, openly and intentionally not following the rules is not a situation that can be tolerated.

Let me make this clear - it is not the small zone - it is that he admitted it. I am not fond of umps who call small zones as well - the game moves so much better when you call a strike a strike. But some people are tighter than others - but 99.9% are not willfully disregarding what a strike is meant to be.

I have NEVER, EVER discussed my zone in a game with ANYONE (outside a private discussion with an umpire assessor). Not happening. I have been mad at myself for not calling a strike I should have and then feeling like I made the pitcher move the ball over the plate and give up a hit.
 
May 17, 2012
1,918
48
If you think an umpire is making a mockery of the game (not calling strikes) and is putting your players in a dangerous situation than you should take immediate action. You can have a quick conversation with the other coach and if you are in agreement then you can talk to the umpire. If you don't get the results you are looking for you can pull your kids from the field.

Having said that I have only been involved in that situation one time in 20 years. Most of the time it's the umpires strike zone doesn't mesh with your interpretation of the strike zone. If he/she is calling it tight for both teams that's just the way it goes sometimes.
 
Nov 25, 2012
1,024
38
Texas
First, your catcher has to to tell the head coach so he can discuss right then with the umpire. And I'd probably not be waiting to make a complaint either - I'd be on the phone with the umpire head right then. And then an official complaint will be going in.

In our umpire room, if this was found to be true - he would no longer work any games for us. Intentionally calling a smaller zone knowing that the ball is crossing the plate and openly admitting that he is doing that is not acceptable. If my partner did this and I was on the bases it would not be a pleasant situation. While you go out of your way to never throw your partner under the bus, openly and intentionally not following the rules is not a situation that can be tolerated.

Let me make this clear - it is not the small zone - it is that he admitted it. I am not fond of umps who call small zones as well - the game moves so much better when you call a strike a strike. But some people are tighter than others - but 99.9% are not willfully disregarding what a strike is meant to be.

I have NEVER, EVER discussed my zone in a game with ANYONE (outside a private discussion with an umpire assessor). Not happening. I have been mad at myself for not calling a strike I should have and then feeling like I made the pitcher move the ball over the plate and give up a hit.
Thank you for the remarks [MENTION=5070]marriard[/MENTION]. Much appreciated!
 
Nov 25, 2012
1,024
38
Texas
Most of the time it's the umpires strike zone doesn't mesh with your interpretation of the strike zone.
I agree with this completely. Unfortunately, it was beyond that last night and a few weeks ago. Strike zone differences are part of the game and have been forever and I can deal with that. I don't quite understand how one ump can have a different strike zone than another ump. Is it really that hard to interpret what I feel is a pretty straight forward definition of the strike zone? [MENTION=5070]marriard[/MENTION] can maybe chime in again here. Seems fairly simple to me and you are always going to miss a few as nobody is perfect.

I knew a couple of umps years ago that 1. were good guys 2. great with the girls on the field (going back to 8U-12U here) but 3. were very proud of how "tight" there zone was. They would always say you know I have a tighter zone than others. My response was always as long as your zone is the zone defined by the rules I am fine with it. If it gets tighter than that, then you are making your own rules and I am going to kick your ass off the field and out of the park. Of course we would all laugh after that and then play ball. **I was in charge of some tournaments and leagues at the time so I could do it.

Anyway, I digress.....
 
Nov 25, 2012
1,024
38
Texas
If he/she is calling it tight for both teams that's just the way it goes sometimes.
So back to the topic of my OP and let's assume it is a game where it is just as described here a really really tight zone. How do you pitch to that if you have to basically throw down the middle or it will be called a ball and the batter isn't swinging?? Need some help with ideas as only changing speed is all I can come up with.

To add, on most nights we have at least one if not a few D1 commits on the other team that can pound the ball. Gotta keep the pitchers safe while trying to keep the batter off balance and force a grounder or poor hit ball.

Thoughts?
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,019
48
Florida
So back to the topic of my OP and let's assume it is a game where it is just as described here a really really tight zone. How do you pitch to that if you have to basically throw down the middle or it will be called a ball and the batter isn't swinging?? Need some help with ideas as only changing speed is all I can come up with. To add, on most nights we have at least one if not a few D1 commits on the other team that can pound the ball. Gotta keep the pitchers safe while trying to keep the batter off balance and force a grounder or poor hit ball.
There have a been a few threads on this over time.

You have to move the ball into that area and be all around it when you want a strike. Or start the ball in that spot and let it tail away. 2-seam fastballs that move and tail - but not as much as say a curve are a good strategy. Often these zones might be tight left and right, but often have leeway up and down (normally down for some reason), so try to keep it down by their knees and work the lower part of the zone. Change speeds often and dramatically. Seriously - it is time for plans B, C,D, E and whatever else you may have.

Be more wiling to walk their best hitters rather than groove one on 3-2 trying to get a strike. You will get a lot of swings on pitches they think are going to be middle-middle but are not.

That also is going to mean putting a few down the pipe because for this to work you have to work from in front as much as possible. Often the coaches and players realize it is a small zone, so a lot of first pitch takes - so take advantage of this and see if you can sneak middle strike by a few times.

In other words you have to find ways to get the batter to swing more. If they are going to beat you, make it with hits, not walks.

I can write a novel on strike calling and why some are good at it and some are terrible. Probably a separate thread because my thoughts are probably very different to long-time guys like MTR and Comp and their perspective is always appreciated. It is both easier and harder than it looks.
 

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