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Coaches Bulletin: Umpire Mechanic Change

 Mechanics changes were implemented for the 2009 season that will allow umpires to better see certain actions, make more accurate judgements and enhance their ability to perform their duties. 

In a three umpire system, expect to see the plate umpire always going to an umpire positioned on the line for all checked swing assistance. Umpires overwhelmingly concurred that when positioned inside the diamond they had no points of reference that allowed them to correctly judge or make consistent judgements of a batter’s actions. The angle from a line is constant and umpires can develop criteria that will lead to both more accurate and uniform judgements. 

The primary responsibility of a plate umpire is to judge balls and strikes. It is difficult, and often risky for an umpire, to take an eye off the pitch to try to determine where the pitcher’s non pivot landed. Because of this, umpires sometimes missed seeing a 24 inch pitching lane violation. Yet, it is the desire of coaches, the rules committee and the SUIP that this be called whenever it occurs. 

To better police this infraction, the rules committee stipulated putting lines on the field to mark the pitching lane, and the SUIP shifted some of the responsibility for making this call to base umpires. Expect to seebase umpires – when they are positioned inside the diamond – to call the 24 inch pitching lane violation. 

Umpires continue to be encouraged to maintain vigilance in watching for leaps and replants. Expect to seethese violations called by umpires positioned anywhere on the field. 

In the two umpire system, expect to see umpires starting on the line or in the diamond when there are no runners on base. This mechanics gives umpires the opportunity to choose positioning best suited to the demands of the game they are umpiring. 

During lineup changes expect umpires to ask that they record the substitution exactly as you want.