TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: 2020 Umpiring Memo #4
The first two weeks of the regular season have been complete. Our teams have had a number of games under their belts and are about to begin league play. It is safe to say that intensity will jack up just a bit during ballgames. Every pitch matters in ballgames and our focus needs to be there from start to finish. Our student-athletes and coaches are competitors and please realize that baseball can be an emotional game. Professionalism goes a long way on both ends of the spectrum and I know our teams and officials will exhibit that. A few important notes.
De-Certified Bats:Per the CIF State office, the 33-Inch Louisville Slugger Meta Composite Bat has been added to the decertified bat list. This bat is no longer compliant by rule (4-1-3b and 7-1-4a) and shall not be used during a game.
Terminating a Game:When a situation arises where a game could be potentially terminated for items such as darkness, weather, lower level 2 1/2 hour time limit or lower level run rule, umpire(s) should bring both coaches together and discuss that any of the above things could possibly end the game as well as the scenarios involved. We want our staffs to understand that these items could come into play and do not want a decision made by an umpire without consulting with his partner(s) (if he has one) and notifying both teams of the situation.
No-Stop Balks:We want quality judgments made regarding a pitcher’s ability to come to a complete and discernible stop. Do not knit-pick the borderline actions and call the obvious “rolling through.”If you think you saw it, then you probably did not. See what you call, not call what you see.
Plays at Home Plate:As we have talked about in the off-season and shown on video, we do not want to let the runner get between us and the catcher when ruling on this. We want to start at the point of the plate and work off the catcher’s inside hip. Too many times umpires commit to either the 1st base line extended or the 3rd base line extended without reading where the play is going.
Focus:As we talked about above, every pitch matters. Regardless if the count is 3-0 or if it is a game ending play, each pitch could have a potential consequence. Grabbing that 2-0 pitch below the hollow of the knee can change the course of an at-bat. There’s a big difference between hitting up 3-0, than with a count of 2-1. A few weeks back, video evidence showed a great defensive play by an infielder and an out was called at first base when the runner beat the throw by two steps. We’ve all been there before, take a deep breath and find your focal point. Remember, nothing is automatic and we got to be dialed in for each pitch and one pitch at a time.
The key to an endured period of success is mental toughness and self-evaluation. The very best officials in our industry are able to withstand the distractions and be at their peak performance every game. They evaluate their positioning and mechanics rather than looking to validate a call being made. They get back up each and every time they get knocked down.
Make your next game your best one.