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99time
04-08-2012, 06:47 PM
Rookie ump with decades experience as player (catcher), coach-manager seeks perspective from you veteran umpires concerning the width of the strike zone when calling Babe Ruth minors. First time for players on full-sized diamond. Pitchers feeling their way. Few breaking balls thrown. I just worked my first full Plate game. CONTEXT: umpiring academy owner wants 17" + 4-6" both inside and outside. Says customers want that and pay him to provide umpires calling that zone consistently. I fully understand his view, although as baseball lifer I find the pitch 4-6" off the plate and inside a questionable aspect. Even with metal bats it is impossible to get a good swing at such an inside pitch. Batters stand quite close to inside edge of the plate frequently. Increases chances of getting hit and possibly hurt by pitch. Finally, batter swinging at pitch 4-6" outside has an ugly hack, may step out-of-box, etc. As players' ages increase, this strike zone width decreases...and with the youngest players it is slightly wider. Again, I grasp the intention and wonder if there is a middle ground?

oneeyedump
04-08-2012, 10:11 PM
if boxs are lined use the inside lines if it was me jeff

wayne37
04-08-2012, 11:21 PM
The width of two baseballs on either side is about par for the course. I wouldn't worry to much about up or down. Keep it about the same.

AugieDonatelli
04-08-2012, 11:25 PM
This level is like Senior LL. The pitchers can't hit the broad side of a barn, so unless you want to be there all day, you have to widen it a bit. I give them a couple balls width on each side, nearly the edge of the batters box, and none of that belt-high top of the zone, they get the letters to the bottom of the knee. You want to encourage swinging the bat at this level, not promote a walk festival.

heyblue26
04-09-2012, 11:47 AM
Yes as Augie has said give it a few inches on bothe side or should of said balls width and they will be swinging the bats. I know that I had a tight zone for this level of ball but that was because of the level of ball I was calling at a higher level. But when I do the youth leagues I open it up. You don't want to be their all day and as it also has been said a walk festival. Let the kids have fun and you also just be consistant in your calls and have then swinging the Bat.

bobjenkins
04-09-2012, 12:38 PM
Even with metal bats it is impossible to get a good swing at such an inside pitch. Batters stand quite close to inside edge of the plate frequently. Increases chances of getting hit and possibly hurt by pitch.

I generally agree with the other answers. I'm always a bit confused though when someone says "6" off the plate" -- do they mean the "inside" of the ball, then middle of the ball or the "outside" of the ball?

The zone as defined includes "any part of the ball over any part of the plate." So, if we apply that definition to 6" off the plate, then even a ball over the batter's box line (if it's properly lined) would be a strike. That's too wide, imo.

At the level you describe, I would use something like "the entire ball between the batter's box lines"

If you call the inside strike, batters will adjust off the plate. You'll be able to see better and they'll hit it.

cajunyankee
04-09-2012, 01:22 PM
For 13 and under, I call anything that's within the North/South borders, and entirely within the batter's box lines. Once the lines are gone, I call anything that comes within a ball of the inside and outside.

If any portion of the ball touches my somewhat 'extended' zone, it's a strike.

semper_fi_72
04-09-2012, 02:02 PM
Home Plate = 17"
Baseball = 3"
Strike Zone, 2 balls in, 2 balls out = 29"

Radwaste50
04-09-2012, 02:31 PM
Home Plate = 17"
Baseball = 3"
Strike Zone, 2 balls in, 2 balls out = 29"

And they have 32" to 34" of pipe to hit with. Remember its a strike as it leaves the pitchers hand until it convinces you otherwise

cajunyankee
04-09-2012, 03:32 PM
Home Plate = 17"
Baseball = 3"
Strike Zone, 2 balls in, 2 balls out = 29"

Don't forget 2 inches of 'Black' as well.

mbyron
04-09-2012, 04:03 PM
Remember its a strike as it leaves the pitchers hand until it convinces you otherwise

Exactly. My mantra this season for newer umpires I work with is: no borderline balls. If it's borderline, you should be calling it a strike.

I used to think that umpires with big strike zones were just lazy old dudes in a hurry to get home to dinner. I didn't realize that a big zone -- especially for younger pitchers (HS varsity and down) -- produces MUCH better baseball.

1. Calling more strikes keeps pitchers happy, which makes them more effective. We all work better when we are relaxed and feel that we're having some success.

2. More strikes early in counts lets pitchers get to their off-speed stuff more. The more they throw it, the better it gets.

3. Hitters come to the plate to look at some strikes before they start swinging. Oblige them.

4. More strikes makes batters swing. That keeps the defense awake and sharper, since the ball is in play more.

Baseball is a defensive game: call strikes for better games.

heyblue26
04-10-2012, 12:33 PM
Don't forget 2 inches of 'Black' as well.

I do not believe the black is part of the Plate what so ever.

KenGibes
04-10-2012, 01:49 PM
I do not believe the black is part of the Plate what so ever.

You are 100% correct, although I have heard Tim McCarver say on MANY occasions, "That pitch hit the black, and that's part of the plate..."

cajunyankee
04-10-2012, 02:08 PM
Neither is 'one ball off the plate', but we call that now don't we?

KenGibes
04-10-2012, 02:11 PM
Neither is 'one ball off the plate', but we call that now don't we?

Yes, we do, but that's because we are agreeing that we are calling a ball that is 'off the plate' a strike. That's different than claiming that the black edge is actually part of the plate.

mcmahm34
04-10-2012, 04:33 PM
You are 100% correct, although I have heard Tim McCarver say on MANY occasions, "That pitch hit the black, and that's part of the plate..."

I just threw up a little at the mention of this man's name....

cajunyankee
04-10-2012, 04:38 PM
Yes, we do, but that's because we are agreeing that we are calling a ball that is 'off the plate' a strike. That's different than claiming that the black edge is actually part of the plate.

No kidding. I understand the dimensions of the plate and what constitutes 'part of it'.

Thanks for helping me out though.

mcmahm34
04-10-2012, 04:52 PM
More arguments and groaning and moaning occurs when you call one a ball that coulda been a strike. The argument and moaning seems to last longer too. Especially on that 2-2 pitch that you call Ball 3 and he drills the next pitch to the gap or whatever.

The batter now knows he needs to swing at close pitches and the pitcher is going to continue to try and throw strikes regardless. So call more strikes.

When I've been evaulated, I can't recall ever being told "you should have called more balls." 99% of the time it's "you could have got a strike here or there."

KenGibes
04-10-2012, 04:52 PM
No kidding. I understand the dimensions of the plate and what constitutes 'part of it'.

Thanks for helping me out though.

I apologize if I confused you, but I don't think I ever indicated that you (an umpire) didn't know that the black isn't part of the plate. I believe I said that Tim McCarver believes that it is.

mcmahm34
04-10-2012, 04:54 PM
I apologize if I confused you, but I don't think I ever indicated that you (an umpire) didn't know that the black isn't part of the plate. I believe I said that Tim McCarver believes that it is.

threw up again...

mturman
04-10-2012, 05:30 PM
As I recall, American Legion, for those that call it, also stipulates in their rules that a strike is called one ball off of the plate...OPen to interpretation to be sure but that's what the rules say...

Aloha,
Mike

yawetag
04-11-2012, 06:00 AM
As I recall, American Legion, for those that call it, also stipulates in their rules that a strike is called one ball off of the plate...OPen to interpretation to be sure but that's what the rules say...

Aloha,
Mike

http://www.legion.org/documents/baseball/baseball_rules.pdf

"All departments (state) and national tournaments will follow the Official Baseball Rules as authorized by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball with exceptions noted below."

No exceptions are listed "below" that pertain to the strike zone.

heyblue26
04-11-2012, 09:44 AM
You are 100% correct, although I have heard Tim McCarver say on MANY occasions, "That pitch hit the black, and that's part of the plate..."

Yea but Tim McCarver was a good catcher in his days but wouldn't make a very good umpire. He needs to show us were it says that in the book.

bigbird69
04-11-2012, 11:43 AM
I know logically, that the black is not supposed to be part of the plate... but I had a coach complain to that effect during a pre-season clinic once. I was the league UIC at the time.

I reached in the equipment shed and grabbed a loose home plate, handed it to him and told him that if he could take the black part off without damaging it (I.E. Getting out a saw), then I won't call it... but as it is a permanant part of home plate, I am calling it... the reverse logic to the hands on the bat... when you can buy me a bat with hands attached, they I will call the hands part of the bat... well, that black portion may not always be there (some just don't paint it black), but every home plate I have ever come to has it as mart of the moulded piece of rubber... if they didn't want me to call it, they would not have created it as one piece.

typikon
04-11-2012, 02:05 PM
I was BU last night at a youth game where the PU confidently told me and the coaches that he would be calling a wider strike zone. "It makes the kids swing the bat." Well, the pitching was terrible. As in most cases, there were very few strikes, the "widened strike zone" might have made 2 or 3 pitches strikes that would have been balls, and it did not get the kids swinging the bat at all. The coaches are spending time with kids teaching them NOT to swing at grounders, high pitches, etc.

Personally, I think the concept of the widened strike zone is a nice idea, but in practice I don't see the results. It's going to be a walkathon if the pitching is terrible.

The reality is that the game is not baseball until the pitchers are good enough to get the ball in or near the strike zone most of the time, and until that happens, the umpire cannot manipulate the zone to fix it.

My 2 cents.

shickenbottom
04-11-2012, 02:51 PM
For youth Ball, Call what you think is a hittable pitch within reason.

You have the strike zone as defined in the rule book.

Give a little more ball width or two in / out, but don't go inside the batters boxes.

Think if the batter needs a tennis racket, it's too high - this is baseball, not England plaing on the clay of Wimbledon.

Think if the batter needs a golf club, it's too low - this is baseball, not Augusta National and The Masters.

There are may articles on calling the zone of least resistance but be reasonable and don't call a shot glass zone.

Call to the point of groaning then pull it back a bit.

mbyron
04-11-2012, 03:00 PM
Think if the batter needs a tennis racket, it's too high - this is baseball, not England playing on the clay of Wimbledon.


The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts the Wimbledon tournament, as its name suggests has grass courts, not clay. ;)

semper_fi_72
04-11-2012, 03:07 PM
Coaches can not really tell In or Out from the dug out or Coaching Boxes.
They can tell High and Low real easy.

shickenbottom
04-11-2012, 04:14 PM
The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts the Wimbledon tournament, as its name suggests has grass courts, not clay. ;)

Whatever, I don't know tennis and it's not on my G.A.S. list to know either.
(For those that don't know, a G.A.S list is the proverbial "Give a sh*t" list.)

It's baseball, not tennis so put the racket back in the garage.

AugieDonatelli
04-11-2012, 04:41 PM
Then don't use it metaphorically if you aren't going to do it properly. You are the one who brought tennis into the discussion.

It's either the grass courts of Wimbledon or the clay courts of Roland Garros, site of the French Open. Choose one.:rolleyes::D

kyle_jt
04-11-2012, 09:43 PM
The black edging on the plate should not factor into calling balls and strikes. Don't even bring it up to coaches, as it not there. If a coach brings up the black, don't bother with him, as he doesn't know what he's talking about. In fact, I hate the beveled black part, and usually do my best to cover it with dirt, as balls come fly off it and might hit me. So stop refering to the "black".

The strike zone is a box. Call just the box, and you'll have a tough time advancing.

Round off the corners of the box, and widen it a bit in the middle. That's a good start for a strike zone. Reward accuracy, and punish the lack there of, is another way to help you judge. Good catchers help you out, and bad ones don't. Know the count, and the situation. A 3-0 is not like a 2-2 strike.

Any time a batter bails out on a ball over the plate (that doesn't bounce), guess what? Strike!

There's just a lot of stuff to learn along the way.

mcmahm34
04-11-2012, 10:03 PM
The black edging on the plate should not factor into calling balls and strikes. Don't even bring it up to coaches, as it not there. If a coach brings up the black, don't bother with him, as he doesn't know what he's talking about. In fact, I hate the beveled black part, and usually do my best to cover it with dirt, as balls come fly off it and might hit me. So stop refering to the "black".

The strike zone is a box. Call just the box, and you'll have a tough time advancing.

Round off the corners of the box, and widen it a bit in the middle. That's a good start for a strike zone. Reward accuracy, and punish the lack there of, is another way to help you judge. Good catchers help you out, and bad ones don't. Know the count, and the situation. A 3-0 is not like a 2-2 strike.

Any time a batter bails out on a ball over the plate (that doesn't bounce), guess what? Strike!

There's just a lot of stuff to learn along the way.

Amen! The black sticking out does have a tendancy to get hit and bounce badly on low pitches. However, I will call a ball or two off the edge of the white.

+1000 for saying don't bring it up to coaches. I can remember being told along time ago to never answer that question of a coach. I can also remember watching a partner a long time ago answering it and then hearing it for the next 6 innings...At the plate meeting if they ask "Where's your strike zone?" Just tell them they will know after the bottom of the 1st...

wayne37
04-12-2012, 04:00 AM
threw up again...

You would be bulimic if you saw his portfolio. His cash ain't trash.

wayne37
04-12-2012, 04:11 AM
The black edging on the plate should not factor into calling balls and strikes. Don't even bring it up to coaches, as it not there. If a coach brings up the black, don't bother with him, as he doesn't know what he's talking about. In fact, I hate the beveled black part, and usually do my best to cover it with dirt, as balls come fly off it and might hit me. So stop refering to the "black".



It all depends on how the plate was installed or how much dirt is around the batters box. If the plate sticks up too much, I will brush dirt up to the front lip of the plate. On the sides, I use a plate brush stroke to use as a reference as how far I want to extend my strike zone. I tell this to both catchers also. That way they can tell their coach and teammates what to expect.

Note: the better and/or older teams don't get this. And when I say older, it depends on their quality or ability to play.

socal lurker
04-12-2012, 02:34 PM
Round off the corners of the box, and widen it a bit in the middle. That's a good start for a strike zone.

As a non-ump, I find this interestnig -- so is what you're saying that for most experienced umpires the "corners" are actaully smushed in, and the strike zone is really more of an oval? (I swear I've watched umps in kids games who love the low outside corner and have a little amoeba-like extension out there . . . .)

mbyron
04-12-2012, 03:32 PM
As a non-ump, I find this interestnig -- so is what you're saying that for most experienced umpires the "corners" are actaully smushed in, and the strike zone is really more of an oval? (I swear I've watched umps in kids games who love the low outside corner and have a little amoeba-like extension out there . . . .)

More of an egg shape, really. Up & in, up & out are balls, same if down. A little below the knees down the middle of the plate, or bottom of the ball at the belt in the same longitude, those are strikes. Thigh high is very wide.

cajunyankee
04-12-2012, 03:35 PM
yes. right

bobjenkins
04-12-2012, 05:07 PM
More of an egg shape, really. Up & in, up & out are balls, same if down. A little below the knees down the middle of the plate, or bottom of the ball at the belt in the same longitude, those are strikes. Thigh high is very wide.

Correct. You can miss on one plane and get a strike, but you can't miss on two.

cajunyankee
04-12-2012, 06:20 PM
Right. I'll give you up/down or out/in, but not both at the same time..

dileonardoja
04-12-2012, 08:15 PM
The pitch is only half the story. The Catcher is the other half. Same exact pitch, mid thigh two ball widths outside. In the first case the catcher sets up on the outside edge and the ball basiclly hits him square in the glove...STRIKE. Case 2, the catcher sets up inside or even square behind the plate and reaches across his body to catch the ball...BALL.

If you can hit the target the zone is bigger. That is the principle that made Glavine and Maddox the pitchers they were. It really is impossible to talk about the strikezone from only a pitch location perspective and we do a disservice to young umpires by explaining it that way. From a pitch only perspective both situations above are the same but call them that way and you will get beat up and it will harder to move up.

There was a great article on this website regrading this subject that was very helpful to me and has served me well. I am not sure if it is still on here.

cajunyankee
04-12-2012, 08:23 PM
Well-stated. I agree 100%

KenGibes
04-12-2012, 08:24 PM
The pitch is only half the story. The Catcher is the other half. Same exact pitch, mid thigh two ball widths outside. In the first case the catcher sets up on the outside edge and the ball basiclly hits him square in the glove...STRIKE. Case 2, the catcher sets up inside or even square behind the plate and reaches across his body to catch the ball...BALL.

If you can hit the target the zone is bigger. That is the principle that made Glavine and Maddox the pitchers they were. It really is impossible to talk about the strikezone from only a pitch location perspective and we do a disservice to young umpires by explaining it that way. From a pitch only perspective both situations above are the same but call them that way and you will get beat up and it will harder to move up.

There was a great article on this website regrading this subject that was very helpful to me and has served me well. I am not sure if it is still on here.

Great post. Often when I hear a coach complaining that there seems to be "two plates" it is usually a case that there are "two catchers."

cajunyankee
04-12-2012, 08:28 PM
Manager: You gave them that same pitch!

Me: Yeah well, their catcher doesn't suck.

....that's in my head anyway.

mmp1
04-12-2012, 09:01 PM
(I swear I've watched umps in kids games who love the low outside corner and have a little amoeba-like extension out there . . . .)

When my son was umpiring, he definitely was in love with the low outside corner. I always thought of it as a little appendix hanging off the corner of his otherwise normal strike zone.

wayne37
04-12-2012, 10:46 PM
If you can hit the target the zone is bigger. That is the principle that made Glavine and Maddox the pitchers they were.

It didn't hurt them to have Eric Gregg behind the plate either.

wayne37
04-12-2012, 10:48 PM
Manager: You gave them that same pitch!

Me: Yeah well, their catcher doesn't suck.

....that's in my head anyway.

Don't say that a catcher sucks where he can you. He might show you how bad he really sucks.............................as in ouch.

bobjenkins
04-13-2012, 12:31 PM
The pitch is only half the story. The Catcher is the other half. Same exact pitch, mid thigh two ball widths outside. In the first case the catcher sets up on the outside edge and the ball basiclly hits him square in the glove...STRIKE. Case 2, the catcher sets up inside or even square behind the plate and reaches across his body to catch the ball...BALL.

If you can hit the target the zone is bigger. That is the principle that made Glavine and Maddox the pitchers they were. It really is impossible to talk about the strikezone from only a pitch location perspective and we do a disservice to young umpires by explaining it that way. From a pitch only perspective both situations above are the same but call them that way and you will get beat up and it will harder to move up.

There was a great article on this website regrading this subject that was very helpful to me and has served me well. I am not sure if it is still on here.

That's far less important in youth ball than it is at higher levels. And even at higher levels, I think some umpires take it too far and the pendulum is swinging back towards (not all the way to) just calling the pitch.

nwsquid
04-13-2012, 04:47 PM
That's far less important in youth ball than it is at higher levels. And even at higher levels, I think some umpires take it too far and the pendulum is swinging back towards (not all the way to) just calling the pitch.

Agreed, at my non-shaving age level. I will take any strike I can get my hands on. It is always interesting when I call one and the kid is running to the backstop on the complete whiff of a catch.

Hooray for proper equipment.

mcmahm34
04-13-2012, 05:24 PM
Agreed, at my non-shaving age level. I will take any strike I can get my hands on. It is always interesting when I call one and the kid is running to the backstop on the complete whiff of a catch.

Hooray for proper equipment.

watching MLB's zone does us all no good. Even at the collegiate level a bigger zone is encouraged and needed.

99time
04-15-2012, 03:28 PM
Thanks for all the valuable insights, guys. Many comments cause me to think of the "advantage/disadvantage theme emphasized on www.umphub.com. The idea is that an 'advantage' is earned by the players executing well, in this case a pitcher hitting the catcher's low and away target and getting the strike. I grasp this and see it applying well at upper levels, more so than Babe Ruth minors where pitchers feel their way and throw straight stuff almost all the time. So far the most thought-provoking take away from the input for me marries up with my thinking on check swing strikes. Either batter offers at ball or not. Offer=Strike. Period. Because it is not called a Ball, we Forget BU appealing dance. Same principal on the strike zone: using best and most appropriate strike zone for young players, call Strikes consistently with a focus on moving the game forward and establishing for pitcher, catcher, and batter an atmosphere in which swinging the bat is emphasized.

mturman
04-16-2012, 03:16 AM
That referenced Ump Hub video is not one I take to highly too...Trying to read advantage or disadvantage is not fair to the players...If we make the call the way we see it (the way it is), who are we hurting...

If the defense makes a bonehead play but for whatever reason the runner lags, etc, who would i penalize and why...Is the runner out or safe...I don't need to read the bobble, or the slow runner...

I know what he was trying to state in the video, I just don't agree with it...

In that video they were also discussing there is no miracle slide...Meaning, the ball is in the player's hand well ahead of the runner...The runner is out simply becuase the defense executed...But only up to that point...The tag still needs to be applied...

Example...Summer legion, varsity...I have the bases...R1 is off with the pitch, which is hit into shallow right center...He proceeds to third but the ball is well played and arrives at the base about 1 full step ahead of the runner...Fielder has the ball in glove and drops to only about 18 inches from the ground...The runner makes a simple slide and is well under the tag...He was clearly safe and I called him safe...The coach yelled out immediately to his fielder, "you have to get that tag down...He knew it...

Why would I rule the runner out because the defense executed...If they truly executed, the out is the call...

Long winder, apologies...I just don't like that video topic...

Aloha,
Mike

dileonardoja
04-17-2012, 06:53 PM
...Example...Summer legion, varsity...I have the bases...R1 is off with the pitch, which is hit into shallow right center...He proceeds to third but the ball is well played and arrives at the base about 1 full step ahead of the runner...Fielder has the ball in glove and drops to only about 18 inches from the ground...The runner makes a simple slide and is well under the tag...He was clearly safe and I called him safe...The coach yelled out immediately to his fielder, "you have to get that tag down...He knew it...

Why would I rule the runner out because the defense executed...If they truly executed, the out is the call...

Aloha,
Mike

Well clearly the defense didn't execute properly so they don't deserve an advantage whether you believe in that or not. But say he does get the glove down?

mturman
04-17-2012, 06:55 PM
Well clearly the defense didn't execute properly so they don't deserve an advantage whether you believe in that or not. But say he does get the glove down?

Then he is out...That is the point...Do we really need to read that the offense or defense executed prior to the call requirement in order to make the call...If we are in position we should have the best vantage point...Overall Ump-Hub is a good product / tool, but on this one, I think they missed the target...Especially if an umpire uses it when they are still quite green...

Aloha,
Mike

dash_riprock
04-17-2012, 07:12 PM
Same principal on the strike zone: using best and most appropriate strike zone for young players, call Strikes consistently with a focus on moving the game forward and establishing for pitcher, catcher, and batter an atmosphere in which swinging the bat is emphasized.

There you go. It's a much better game when the ball gets put in play and the players are all running around with places to go and important things to do.

Pete_Booth
04-18-2012, 12:56 PM
[QUOTE=99time;135581]

I just worked my first full Plate game. CONTEXT: umpiring academy owner wants 17" + 4-6" both inside and outside. Says customers want that and pay him to provide umpires calling that zone consistently. I fully understand his view, although as baseball lifer I find the pitch 4-6" off the plate and inside a questionable aspect.

You have received good advice but the aforementioned says it all customers want that and pay him to provide umpires calling that zone consistently

If the PAYING customers want that zone then give it to them. Forget about what you think is fair or unfair. If you have difficulty adjusting or do not want to call that type of zone then it's real simple - Refuse the assignment

In Reality the definition of the strike zone is that which is accepted at the levels we call.

Example: A college or HS varsity strike zone is not the same as the type of ball you are calling. Also, no league likes a postage either.

The rule-makers did not specify age groups when defining the "book" zone. The OBR rule book was written for professional athletes not amateurs and therefore, the book zone should be used as a guide but not "gospil"

The key is conistency and if the zone you described above is accepted then in reality that's the strike zone.

Pete Booth

llump24
04-11-2013, 08:20 PM
Still new to the umpiring game, but who really cares about the strike zone as long as i'm consistent...right??? Right now, I'd like to think i'm calling the textbook strike zone in LL (armpits to top of knees) and over the plate. No extra ball width...question: change it to accomodate more strikes or stay where i'm at? LL Majors don't usually have issues throwing to my zone, but most LL Minors do. Appreciate any advice in advance.

mturman
04-11-2013, 08:24 PM
Still new to the umpiring game, but who really cares about the strike zone as long as i'm consistent...right??? Right now, I'd like to think i'm calling the textbook strike zone in LL (armpits to top of knees) and over the plate. No extra ball width...question: change it to accomodate more strikes or stay where i'm at? LL Majors don't usually have issues throwing to my zone, but most LL Minors do. Appreciate any advice in advance.

For the younger boys it is not unreasonable to open the zone on the width as well...

Heck, Legion actually stipulates a wide zone in their rules...

Aloha,
Mike

KenGibes
04-11-2013, 08:57 PM
Still new to the umpiring game, but who really cares about the strike zone as long as i'm consistent...right??? Right now, I'd like to think i'm calling the textbook strike zone in LL (armpits to top of knees) and over the plate. No extra ball width...question: change it to accomodate more strikes or stay where i'm at? LL Majors don't usually have issues throwing to my zone, but most LL Minors do. Appreciate any advice in advance.

Many young LL pitchers (10 and under) struggle with the strike zone. If you don't open it up a bit, you will call a lot of "walk-a-thon" games. But you're correct about consistency. Most coaches at the lower levels appreciate a bigger zone as long as it's consistent. It gets the kids to swing the bats and moves the game along.

bobjenkins
04-11-2013, 09:02 PM
Still new to the umpiring game, but who really cares about the strike zone as long as i'm consistent...right??? Right now, I'd like to think i'm calling the textbook strike zone in LL (armpits to top of knees) and over the plate. No extra ball width...question: change it to accomodate more strikes or stay where i'm at? LL Majors don't usually have issues throwing to my zone, but most LL Minors do. Appreciate any advice in advance.

Listen to the coaches, and fellow umps.

If ALL of them say your zone is too big/small/wide/low etc., then it is for that level in that league.

If it's just one of them in one game, ignore it.

patrick s
04-11-2013, 10:39 PM
Still new to the umpiring game, but who really cares about the strike zone as long as i'm consistent...right??? Right now, I'd like to think i'm calling the textbook strike zone in LL (armpits to top of knees) and over the plate. No extra ball width...question: change it to accomodate more strikes or stay where i'm at? LL Majors don't usually have issues throwing to my zone, but most LL Minors do. Appreciate any advice in advance.

The catch phrase I've been hearing lately has been, "Accuracy! If you're accurate, you will be consistent."

That being said, I start every game with a book zone and open it up if needed.

Remember though, if you open it up one way, they better be strikes the other.

nopachunts
04-12-2013, 03:18 AM
Still new to the umpiring game, but who really cares about the strike zone as long as i'm consistent...right??? Right now, I'd like to think i'm calling the textbook strike zone in LL (armpits to top of knees) and over the plate. No extra ball width...question: change it to accomodate more strikes or stay where i'm at? LL Majors don't usually have issues throwing to my zone, but most LL Minors do. Appreciate any advice in advance.

Not to pick on llump24, that said, in Minors, if the pitch is hittable, it's a strike because your not get many chances to call a strike.

In Majors, I call a one in and two out, elbows to hollow of the knee. In all of youth ball, the batters need to swing the bat.

Makes the games go a lot easier and everyone seems to like it more. I totally agree with KenGibes, "walk-a-thons" are the pits.

mturman
04-12-2013, 04:05 AM
Not to pick on llump24, that said, in Minors, if the pitch is hittable, it's a strike because your not get many chances to call a strike.

In Majors, I call a one in and two out, elbows to hollow of the knee. In all of youth ball, the batters need to swing the bat.

Makes the games go a lot easier and everyone seems to like it more. I totally agree with KenGibes, "walk-a-thons" are the pits.

I hate the month of Walk-Tober too...

Aloha,
Mike

heyblue26
04-12-2013, 10:11 AM
Boys all I can say is that I may miss a few now and then. But anything that looks close you had better be swinging. All kidding aside yes with the little guys I do open up the zone a little.

amuna1225
04-12-2013, 10:15 AM
Ever have a kid cry after getting rung up on strikes? Took everything in me not to laugh. 9 year old kid, took 3 pitches, all 3 strikes. He looks back at me and starts balling. Drags the bat while slowly walking back to his dugout. Felt bad for the kid but took everything in me not to just burst out laughing.

llump24
04-12-2013, 02:15 PM
Thanks for all the input from my follow-on question. Calling a LL Majors game tonight, I'll open it up to 1 ball width on either side of the plate and see how it goes. Again, newb here and this place has been absolutely AWESOME to gather opinions and advice from the vets. Keep ringing em' up fellas!

dash_riprock
04-12-2013, 02:24 PM
Ever have a kid cry after getting rung up on strikes?

Yes, in a 10 year-old game (I was a spectator). Strike three was at the kid's eyes and the PU banged him out like Emmett Ashford. As he was walking away - crying - the 10 year-old said to the PU: "Why don't you try looking between those bars instead of through them."

It was priceless.

MrUmpireSir
04-12-2013, 03:27 PM
Heck, Legion actually stipulates a wide zone in their rules...

Aloha,
Mike


Not in my experience.

This is the second time you said that in this thread and I'm still wondering where you get this. Legion ball I work does not address the strike zone. They use OBR with some modifications that they publish in their manual. So maybe it's a local rule??

I have established my strike zone over the years and in order to be consistent I don't change it during the game. Even at different levels, Varsity or middle school, I am hesitant to change the zone because at some point I will revert to the zone I always call and then I become inconsistent. I try to adjust to the quality of the pitching but sometimes it's difficult for me to maintain that zone.

AugieDonatelli
04-12-2013, 03:49 PM
Ever have a kid cry after getting rung up on strikes?
When I was in Little League minors, there was this one kid named Joey who struck out looking. The scheduled umpire didn't show, so my dad was pressed into service as the umpire, and I don't think he had ever umpired before or since. He was calling from behind the mound. When Joey struck out, he started bawling and flipped the bird at my dad and said, "F*ck you, you're a giddy ump!" We all sat in the dugout and howled with laughter. Hell, my dad even rang me up on strikes on a borderline pitch that I swear was inside.:lol:

Pete_Booth
04-12-2013, 03:59 PM
[QUOTE=99time;135581]Rookie ump with decades experience as player (catcher), coach-manager seeks perspective from you veteran umpires concerning the width of the strike zone when calling Babe Ruth minors.

CONTEXT: umpiring academy owner wants 17" + 4-6" both inside and outside. Says customers want that and pay him to provide umpires calling that zone consistently.

Do you get paid? You said Umpiring academy owner gets paid (assignors fee?) but do the umpires get paid?

Here's the "real deal"

Forget about what you or others think the zone should should be.

Your employer and customers want you to call the zone 17" + 4-6"
both inside and outside.

Therefore, if you want work in this league thats what you will call otherwise the Umpiring academy owner will simply get umpires who will and you will be left "out in the cold" searching for work elsewhere.

Pete Booth

MrUmpireSir
04-12-2013, 04:09 PM
[QUOTE]

Do you get paid? You said Umpiring academy owner gets paid (assignors fee?) but do the umpires get paid?

Here's the "real deal"

Forget about what you or others think the zone should should be.

Your employer and customers want you to call the zone 17" + 4-6"
both inside and outside.

Therefore, if you want work in this league thats what you will call otherwise the Umpiring academy owner will simply get umpires who will and you will be left "out in the cold" searching for work elsewhere.

Pete Booth

I would be happy to not work in a league that tells me how to call balls and strikes.

Pete_Booth
04-12-2013, 05:15 PM
[QUOTE=Pete_Booth;155362]

I would be happy to not work in a league that tells me how to call balls and strikes.


hate to break it to you but most leagues while they might not come and actually say it want umpires to call a certain zone.

Case and Point: The strike zone at the modified HS level (mostly 7th and 8th garders) is not the same zone as HS varsity or College.

Also, let me get this straight

Suppose you paint houses for a living. A customer calls and wants your services and they tell you I want my house painted with poke-a-dots

You think it's rediculous so if I "get your point" you would refuse the work even if it's a good pay-day.

This particular league wants umpires to call the zone 17" + 4-6" both inside
and outside which translated means you virtually have '"carte blanche" in calling strikes and you will get to go home early and you would refuse?

hey more work for the rest of us

So you would rather have a marathon as long as you can call what you "perceive" the strike zone should be.

Hey to each his own.

Pete Booth

MrUmpireSir
04-12-2013, 06:12 PM
[QUOTE]


hate to break it to you but most leagues while they might not come and actually say it want umpires to call a certain zone.

Case and Point: The strike zone at the modified HS level (mostly 7th and 8th garders) is not the same zone as HS varsity or College.

Also, let me get this straight

Suppose you paint houses for a living. A customer calls and wants your services and they tell you I want my house painted with poke-a-dots

You think it's rediculous so if I "get your point" you would refuse the work even if it's a good pay-day.

This particular league wants umpires to call the zone 17" + 4-6" both inside
and outside which translated means you virtually have '"carte blanche" in calling strikes and you will get to go home early and you would refuse?

hey more work for the rest of us

So you would rather have a marathon as long as you can call what you "perceive" the strike zone should be.

Hey to each his own.

Pete Booth

Pete,

Don't get me wrong. I don't often work below HS JV. My zone stays consistent at higher levels. There is enough quality 18 year old baseball that I don't have to do kiddie ball.

For those that want to work leagues where the strike zone is dictated, more power to them. As I said before, it's just not for me.

(Last night I had a Varsity game, good pitchers. I called my zone. The game was over in an hour and 20 minutes)

typikon
04-12-2013, 06:28 PM
Are you saying some leagues ask for an *additional* 4 to 6 inches beyond what the book calls for? That's huge.

The reason I don't like this, in youth ball, is that you very often have 11 and 12yo pitchers that are throwing hard but wild, and you've got some very small batters. A large zone asks a little guy to actually step into the zone in order to defend the 4 - 6 inches on the other side of the plate?? That's crazy and it's unsafe.

I just call the book, I've never had a walkathon.

patrick s
04-12-2013, 06:36 PM
Are you saying some leagues ask for an *additional* 4 to 6 inches beyond what the book calls for? That's huge.

The reason I don't like this, in youth ball, is that you very often have 11 and 12yo pitchers that are throwing hard but wild, and you've got some very small batters. A large zone asks a little guy to actually step into the zone in order to defend the 4 - 6 inches on the other side of the plate?? That's crazy and it's unsafe.

I just call the book, I've never had a walkathon.

The width of the plate is 17". The diameter of the ball is 3".

They are only looking for 1-3" more on each side.

Rich_Ives
04-12-2013, 08:05 PM
A grown-up can't effectively hit a pitch 6" outside.

A kid can't even reach it.

Any league that asked for that doesn't deserve your presence - fee or no fee.

mturman
04-12-2013, 08:05 PM
Not in my experience.

This is the second time you said that in this thread and I'm still wondering where you get this. Legion ball I work does not address the strike zone. They use OBR with some modifications that they publish in their manual. So maybe it's a local rule??

I have established my strike zone over the years and in order to be consistent I don't change it during the game. Even at different levels, Varsity or middle school, I am hesitant to change the zone because at some point I will revert to the zone I always call and then I become inconsistent. I try to adjust to the quality of the pitching but sometimes it's difficult for me to maintain that zone.

Give me time to get back home and scan in the docs...I will send it to you...

Aloha,
Mike

mturman
04-12-2013, 08:12 PM
Not in my experience.

This is the second time you said that in this thread and I'm still wondering where you get this. Legion ball I work does not address the strike zone. They use OBR with some modifications that they publish in their manual. So maybe it's a local rule??

I have established my strike zone over the years and in order to be consistent I don't change it during the game. Even at different levels, Varsity or middle school, I am hesitant to change the zone because at some point I will revert to the zone I always call and then I become inconsistent. I try to adjust to the quality of the pitching but sometimes it's difficult for me to maintain that zone.

Below is the link to the American Legion Umpire Manual...Page 43...

Let me know what you think...

Aloha,
Mike

http://www.legion.org/documents/baseball/umpire_manual.pdf

Pete_Booth
04-12-2013, 08:20 PM
Are you saying some leagues ask for an *additional* 4 to 6 inches beyond what the book calls for? That's huge.

The reason I don't like this, in youth ball, is that you very often have 11 and 12yo pitchers that are throwing hard but wild, and you've got some very small batters. A large zone asks a little guy to actually step into the zone in order to defend the 4 - 6 inches on the other side of the plate?? That's crazy and it's unsafe.

I just call the book, I've never had a walkathon.

I think most are missing the point

From the OP

CONTEXT: umpiring academy owner wants 17" + 4-6" both inside and outside. Says customers want that and pay him to provide umpires calling that zone consistently

Whatever your FEELINGS are about the umpiring academy owner or this particular league are irrelevant.

This particular league is paying for a service and they the CUSTOMER want a large zone - END OF STORY

You now have a choice:

If you want to call the book zone fine and simply refuse assignmnets in this league.

if you are going to take assignments for this league then abide by what the customer wants its that simple.

Pete Booth

typikon
04-13-2013, 12:18 AM
I think most are missing the point

From the OP

CONTEXT: umpiring academy owner wants 17" + 4-6" both inside and outside. Says customers want that and pay him to provide umpires calling that zone consistently

Whatever your FEELINGS are about the umpiring academy owner or this particular league are irrelevant.

This particular league is paying for a service and they the CUSTOMER want a large zone - END OF STORY

You now have a choice:

If you want to call the book zone fine and simply refuse assignmnets in this league.

if you are going to take assignments for this league then abide by what the customer wants its that simple.

Pete Booth

Yes, point taken.

MrUmpireSir
04-13-2013, 12:56 AM
Below is the link to the American Legion Umpire Manual...Page 43...

Let me know what you think...

Aloha,
Mike

http://www.legion.org/documents/baseball/umpire_manual.pdf

You scanned the entire book in??!!! Thanks for doing that. That's cool.

I have seen this book. I think the picture on the left is showing the width of the actual strike zone and the picture on the right is showing a strike because the ball is touching the edge of that strike zone. I've never heard that legion wants a wider zone.

By your interpretation, the picture on the left would require the entire ball to be over the plate, and you would agree that is not true. You would also agree that the picture on the right would be a legitimate strike in any league.

mturman
04-13-2013, 01:13 AM
You scanned the entire book in??!!! Thanks for doing that. That's cool.

I have seen this book. I think the picture on the left is showing the width of the actual strike zone and the picture on the right is showing a strike because the ball is touching the edge of that strike zone. I've never heard that legion wants a wider zone.

By your interpretation, the picture on the left would require the entire ball to be over the plate, and you would agree that is not true. You would also agree that the picture on the right would be a legitimate strike in any league.

I agree it leaves some room for interpretation...When this was first presented to us and our group we kicked it for a very long time...

The pitcher on the right shows a Legion strike...We debated whether the ball was actually over the plate or not, etc...We agreed it wasn't...Thus, for our group, we essentially determined that anything inside the chalk would be a strike, as per the picture...

We had some that said if the picture on the right showed the width of the zone that they wanted called, than it could mean that a ball that crosses the outer portion of the shown ball, could also be called a strike...Which would then be bringing us into the box...We decided it was best to stick with the chalk...

NOTE: for the truly higher levels of Legion ball, 19U, the zone is the MLB zone...We have college kids playing at this level in Hawaii...They can throw:D

But what it does show, as discussed in this thread and others, is the difficulty that can easily consume officials when tournament directors start to dictate mandatory zones...Most officials worth their weight know that, depending on the level of play, whether they will be adjusting their zone or not...

Aloha,
Mike

MrUmpireSir
04-13-2013, 01:26 AM
I agree it leaves some room for interpretation...When this was first presented to us and our group we kicked it for a very long time...

The pitcher on the right shows a Legion strike...We debated whether the ball was actually over the plate or not, etc...We agreed it wasn't...Thus, for our group, we essentially determined that anything inside the chalk would be a strike, as per the picture...

We had some that said if the picture on the right showed the width of the zone that they wanted called, than it could mean that a ball that crosses the outer portion of the shown ball, could also be called a strike...Which would then be bringing us into the box...We decided it was best to stick with the chalk...

NOTE: for the truly higher levels of Legion ball, 19U, the zone is the MLB zone...We have college kids playing at this level in Hawaii...They can throw:D

But what it does show, as discussed in this thread and others, is the difficulty that can easily consume officials when tournament directors start to dictate mandatory zones...Most officials worth their weight know that, depending on the level of play, whether they will be adjusting their zone or not...

Aloha,
Mike

Agreed. Well said.

But I do think you misinterpreted the pictures.

mturman
04-13-2013, 01:47 AM
Agreed. Well said.

But I do think you misinterpreted the pictures.

Perhaps...But it was the group decision...This was presented to us by the local legion rep at one of our meetings...At that time he clearly stated that the Legion zone was one extra ball on both sides...Trust me, there was a lot of heated discussion...

And the first meeting after the first few games...Wow! The heat was on...

That was what relegated us to the final decision, inside the chalk...Pre-game required a statement to that effect...

That was about 5 years ago...Since then it has pretty much died down and most of us just work an age appropriate zone...

Aloha,
Mike

bigbird69
04-13-2013, 06:53 AM
I do quite a few LL minors and Majors games (in fact, I have 2 scheduled later today)
I get compliments all the time... because my strikezone is a nice balance between large, and hittable...

I call the top at the armpits per the rule book, but if any part of the ball gets above that, I won't call it... I just feel that it's too high for any of the kids to be affective with.
I call the bottom at the hollow of the knee.... LL rulebook says the top, but the difference opens things up and is still extremely hittable without getting cat calls that the hitters need their calloways to hit them.

The LL batters box is 3 inches off the plate.. I call chalk to chalk, but like the top of my zone, on the inside if it is over the chalk, not getting it... outside will depend upon how the pitchers are going... if the pitchers are good in the zone, to the chalk.. if they are struggling... including the chalk...

The kids don't have much trouble hitting anything that I will call and the coaches like that.

I say the same through Juniors, though I don't go to the chalk because it is 6" rather than 3", but I still call a full ball on both sides of the plate...

I have heard some of my assn members tell me I should be lower (like someone here said, Elbow like the OBR rules... Mid point between top of shoulders and belt...), but the rulebook for LL says armpits and I will be damned if I am going to give those 6-8" back just to stay consistant with other rulespecs... There are quite a few strikes up there.. Take them. The coaches won't complain because it IS in the rulebook up there...

typikon
04-14-2013, 02:51 AM
I do quite a few LL minors and Majors games (in fact, I have 2 scheduled later today)
I get compliments all the time... because my strikezone is a nice balance between large, and hittable...

I call the top at the armpits per the rule book, but if any part of the ball gets above that, I won't call it... I just feel that it's too high for any of the kids to be affective with.
I call the bottom at the hollow of the knee.... LL rulebook says the top, but the difference opens things up and is still extremely hittable without getting cat calls that the hitters need their calloways to hit them.

The LL batters box is 3 inches off the plate.. I call chalk to chalk, but like the top of my zone, on the inside if it is over the chalk, not getting it... outside will depend upon how the pitchers are going... if the pitchers are good in the zone, to the chalk.. if they are struggling... including the chalk...

The kids don't have much trouble hitting anything that I will call and the coaches like that.

I say the same through Juniors, though I don't go to the chalk because it is 6" rather than 3", but I still call a full ball on both sides of the plate...

I have heard some of my assn members tell me I should be lower (like someone here said, Elbow like the OBR rules... Mid point between top of shoulders and belt...), but the rulebook for LL says armpits and I will be damned if I am going to give those 6-8" back just to stay consistant with other rulespecs... There are quite a few strikes up there.. Take them. The coaches won't complain because it IS in the rulebook up there...

This seems like a long post saying that you call the book strike zone, unless the pitchers are struggling in which case you'll give an extra ball's width on the outside. I've run into umpires that explain that their zone is "D-Shaped" meaning they won't call a high pitch out there. How many youth pitches in a day really find their way to that outside extra 3 inch arc? Maybe 5%? And this added bit of generosity prevents the walkathon? Seems like a stretch.

I must live in the Bermuda Triangle of youth baseball. Here, the determinant as to whether a kid will swing the bat is the speed of the pitch. If the pitcher is throwing heat, (we have some kids in the mid 60s) half the team will not swing, whether it's a ball or strike. If the speed is reasonable, the kids will swing at anything hittable.

typikon
04-14-2013, 04:06 AM
Your partners called. He says, "pull your head out and call strikes, will ya".

OK, now you're in my head. I'll call my partners!

port183
05-10-2013, 05:06 PM
The better level of play, the tighter the zone.

at 13U on the big field for the first time, I treat them like 8U....hittable and unhittable.


Once you get them swinging early in the game, they get used to swinging and you have done your job

AugieDonatelli
05-10-2013, 08:42 PM
This is an article from Little League Baseball's website, written by a Little League volunteer umpire. I have bolded what I consider to be "key points":

The Strike Zone: Location, Location, Location


The “strike zone” is the one area of baseball and softball that causes the most discussions, disagreements, concerns and frustrations. The strike zone is defined by the rule book “as that space over home plate which is between the batter’s armpits and the top of the knees when the batter assumes a natural stance.

The most important part of that definition is “over home plate” meaning that the strike zone will always remain over home plate and it doesn’t matter where in the batter’s box the batter stands.


If the batter is standing either in the very front or very back of the batter’s box, the umpire MUST take the batter’s normal strike zone to the area over home plate and not call the batter’s strike zone where he/she is standing. This is what causes a lot of misconceptions about whether a pitch should be called a “ball” or “strike.” The strike zone is where the pitch crosses through the batter’s normal strike zone, or is caught by the catcher in relationship to where the home plate area is located.


The batter’s normal stance should be determined when the batter swings at a pitch or takes a practice swing. The umpire should be aware of a batter who tries to give the impression of a small zone by squatting. Once the umpire determines the batter’s normal stance, he/she should call that strike zone no matter what the batter may do to alter his/her stance and zone.


Umpires should always “think strikes” and make a ball convince you that it is a ball. Borderline pitches should always be called strikes, this will encourage the batters to be more aggressive at the plate and swing the bat. This is not showing favoritism because the teams switch sides each half inning.


A called strike is a pitch that is not swung at, and in which any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone. This is a very important concept for all Little League umpires to learn and remember as there are theories being taught that to be a strike the pitch must pass through the majority of the strike zone and look like a strike. Calling balls and strikes under this theory and manner, in my opinion, does a real disservice to the pitcher and can result in many very long games, discussions and frustrations on all sides. The umpire should call the strike zone as stated regardless of where the catcher catches the ball or as happens in many Little League games, doesn’t catch it.


As we approach the Little League Tournament season, we as umpires are sometimes our own worst enemies. At the beginning of the season, the pitchers are struggling so we expand the strike zone to keep from having a “walkfest” and a very long ball game. There is nothing wrong with calling a more generous strike zone in the early season games, but as the season progresses we should start to tighten up the strike zone so that by the final part of the season we are requiring the pitcher to throw strikes in the strike zone that is described in the rule book.


What happens is that a lot of umpires do not tighten their zone through the season and they actually do their Tournament teams an injustice because as the teams move through the Tournament, they experience umpires who are calling a true strike zone and pitches that were being called strikes all year are now being called balls and the pitcher may have a tough time adjusting. When this happens it upsets and frustrates the pitcher and manager, and causes everyone to complain about the umpire when he or she is calling a good, consistent game.


Calling balls and strikes is one of the toughest things you will ever do in a game. It was once said of professional umpires, that you could tell who had the plate because he was the one in the foul mood. So, if you develop a good, consistent “by the book” strike zone that is the same in the last inning as it was in the first inning you will earn respect of all the participants and you will find that umpiring is a very rewarding experience.


Our main goal out there is to help the children have fun and learn to play baseball and softball within the context of the rules. Remember as umpires we are expected to be perfect at the start of the game and get better as the game progresses.


By Mike Messick
Volunteer Umpire

mmp1
05-10-2013, 09:12 PM
If the batter is standing either in the very front or very back of the batter’s box, the umpire MUST take the batter’s normal strike zone to the area over home plate and not call the batter’s strike zone where he/she is standing.

Since the above quote is from the LL website, let's talk LL Majors.

Do you guys actually follow this advice? Calling a higher strike zone on the batter up in the box and a lower strike zone on the batter back on the box (in relation to the batter)? On a 65mph fastball it doesn't matter, but on a changeup or slow curve, it can make a big difference.

LilLeaguer
05-11-2013, 12:09 AM
Since the above quote is from the LL website, let's talk LL Majors.

Do you guys actually follow this advice? Calling a higher strike zone on the batter up in the box and a lower strike zone on the batter back on the box (in relation to the batter)? On a 65mph fastball it doesn't matter, but on a changeup or slow curve, it can make a big difference.

In LL Majors and every other level I call.