The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 10

The Proper Way to Ask About Balls and Strikes For instance, a coach may (from the dugout) call “where was that pitch”. Many umpires have no problem answering ‘it was inside, coach’. However, other umpires will answer the coach’s same question by stating that “it was a ball”. Who is right in this situation? The answer is both. Most umpires prefer to answer the coaches’ question and tell them the location of the pitch. In reality, umpires are not required to explain the call….but only to make the call. Most umpires do have a problem with a coach asking the catcher, “Ron, where was that pitch” since this puts the youngster in an awkward situation, ESPECIALLY, if the coach has just asked the umpire where that specific pitch was thrown. Does the catcher say the pitch caught the corner thereby alienating his relationship with the umpire (who had called the pitch a “ball”) or does he react in a different manner (rolling his eyes, shaking his head in disbelief at the call, etc.). To be safe, the coach’s best bet is to communicate with the umpire and not damage the next point, The catcher’s relationship with the home plate umpire The Catcher’s Relationship With the Home Plate Umpire During the game, an umpire usually establishes a working relationship with the catcher. This relationship may be purely social such as, “have you had your prom yet?” or “are you a senior”, or “how’s your season going?” Other aspects of the catcher/umpire relationship may extend to the playing of the game. This could be “catcher, you’re blocking my vision when you quickly move inside for the pitch”, or “nice stop on the wild pitch”, or “I saw the pitch hit the dirt and that’s why you should’ve thrown to first” on the catch of a bounced third strike. The main reason why it is so important that a coach make sure that the catcher has a good relationship with the umpire is because the umpire will be more likely to answer your questions or give you a break if you happen to slip up and not follow the proper procedures in a different area as you will see in the next section, Timeouts (When can they and when should they be called). Timeouts (When Can They and When Should They be Called) Timeouts are pretty well-defined in the rule book. But many times a coach may holler “time out” after his pitcher throws ball four. He must wait until the batter has reached first base. This is a small point but a good umpire will wait until the batter has reached first base before calling Time Out. However, the coach could be impatiently wondering why the umpire has not immediately called time out and he now has a bad taste in his mouth about the umpire. Another situation may be when a coach may leave the dugout to argue a call. In reality, the coach is required to call time out to enter the field but most umpires will not require that the coach “burn” one of his three time outs to discuss a call. Most don’t charge a Time Out………unless the coach has been giving them a great deal of grief beforehand.