Baseball and softball are played differently than other sports we see. The game is relaxed, there is down time, and in the blink of an eye, all the action happens.
Today, we’re writing to anybody who steps up to the plate for an at bat or the catchers who work with umpires more than anybody else on the field.
First, lets start with this: umpires are not perfect.
They have a job where decisions are made in an instant. So, as players we must understand that not everything will go our way. For the most part, umpires are not out to get us. They might make a mistake, and in all reality, we might have mistaken what we’ve seen too.
So no matter where you are on the field, consider what the umpire is going through before you lose your cool. Losing your cool might lead to more unfavorable decisions as the game continues.
Rarely will umpires make three wrong calls within one at bat. Will they miss one? Maybe. So don’t lose your cool over one missed called.
If there is a call you think could have went your way but didn’t, calmly ask how close that pitch was to working in your favor. Or you can ask if that was as far out as the strikezone goes. Instead of arguing, engage in a conversation.
When you do this, don’t turn back to look at the umpire. Talk to them without looking like you’re talking to them.
Once you turn and look at the umpire, everybody from a distance thinks you’re arguing.
Remember this too, umpires will start losing respect for you when you’re constantly having conversations with them about pitches. If you feel like the umpire is wrong every time you’re stepping up to the plate; this is a problem for you, not them.
The umpire will be on your side if you’re on his side. They don’t want games that take three hours where every pitch is a ball. So if you can work with the umpire rather than against him, you’re on the right path.
Start the game by walking up and introducing yourself. The umpire will be your friend. As you get older, you will know the umpires on a first- name basis and will hold conversations that won’t even be about baseball or softball. You want to work with the umpire.
Any conversation you have with the umpire once the game begins, do it with you mask on. It’s not disrespectful, just how the game goes.
Don’t show the umpire up. This means don’t make them look bad by your actions.
When you receive a pitch, present it for a brief second, and throw the ball back. Do not show them up by holding the ball where you caught it because you think it’s a strike when they called it a ball. Move on to the next pitch.
Politely have a conversation about the pitch. You can say something like “Hey, I thought we had that, was it close?”
You have to think about what the umpire’s job is on the field. They are an official for two teams. The umpires really only have each other out there. When you come into the mix it makes their job much easier. You have to act as the mediator almost between the umpire and your team.
When the umpire makes a call against your team, don’t act like everybody else. You know this only hurts you and your team in the long run.
Form a relationship with the umpire. This person will be your ally if you can be theirs. And long- term, you may get more calls going your way in the future if you can create a good relationship one game at a time.
Let us know what you would do to create a great repertoire with the umpires out there!