Catchers Protect Your Umpires

Discussion in 'Softball Catcher Discussions' started by catchingcoach, Mar 10, 2011.

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    I would agree that the idea of teaching a catcher to protect the umpire is a bit misplaced. As stated by others, a good catcher who is doing their job already protects the umpire. However, I remember a situation that to this day I truly regret. I had a VERY inexperienced and poor jv player. She wanted to try catching in the worst way, so much so that she went out and bought all brand new equipment for herself! Despite working with her in practice, she was horrible at catching. After about the fifth phone call from mom and the constant begging from the player, I told her she would start the next game behind the plate. In just the first inning alone, 10 passed balls (some of which were called strikes!) 5 errors (she actually made a great throw to second in an attempt to cut down a runner who never left first base!), and numerous other faux pas. After the inning mercifully ended, the poor umpire walked over to me rubbing his battered and bruised arm and quietly asked "What did I do to deserve that!?"

    I pulled her and ended the experiment right then.
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    This is just another aspect of the catcher's game. "What can I do to get those close calls?" Not saying that it works all of the time, but you never know.

    Coaches are doing it all the time. Smooze here, a little smooze between innings. Just when you think all is good, a parent mouths off and now you have lost everything.
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    A few random thoughts from somebody who's been hit by more pitches than he would like to think about...

    - If a catcher let's me get nailed, I like to think that it will have no bearing on calling subsequent pitches (ie: I'm not consciously going to "squeeze the pitcher" or "punish the defense"). You try never to let what happened on the last play affect your call for the next play. They are each separate circumstances that deserve separate decisions.

    But...I have wondered before if it might affect my call a little bit on a subconscious level. Who knows how the subconscious mind might influence a borderline, split-second decision?

    - There will be times when you will get hit and it won't be the catcher's fault. Those, you just have to live with. But if I'm getting nailed because of the catcher's inexperience or lack of skill, I'm probably going to eventually say something to her. I'll try to keep it light, like maybe, "Hey, Catch- try to knock those down. Remember, there's somebody standing right behind you!".

    If I get hit from lack of effort by F2, then it might get a little more stern. Something along the lines of, "Hey, Catch- I don't have a glove back here, but you do. Use it!".

    - One of the cardinal rules of the plate umpire is to hold perfectly still as pitches come in. I will do that...up until the point where the catcher demonstrates a repeated inability to keep me from getting hit! If I get nailed multiple times, I won't hesitate to go into survival mode. If I have to dodge pitches, I will. I have found that I can still call a pretty good zone while bobbing and weaving! I am not a human backstop....

    - If an umpire does "squeeze the zone" after getting hit, he may not really be doing himself any favors.

    It won't make the catcher magically better, so it's not going to affect whether or not you get hit again. And it's "morally wrong" from the standpoint of being an unbaised arbitrator.

    Worse yet...callng more "balls" tends to prolong at-bats/innings/games. All that means is that you are going to see MORE pitches and that translates into MORE opportunities for you to get hit!
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    ... as usual, some of the most well-thought-out, non-biased, rational thoughts to grace OFC.

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    He's the best, isn't he Sheriff? :cool:
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    In the early days when my dd played rec as well as travel there was a young ump that took issue with our catcher for some unrelated reason. This was rec and at 9 my dd was able to bring it at about 47 mph pretty consistently and was fairly accurate (she could hit the mitt), so she used this time to work on throwing harder.

    Catcher was miffed at blue for something he said to her so she setup a target right in front of his bean bag and dropped her mitt at the last minute. As I said young ump (early 20's), rec game, so he was not wearing a cup and he rode his bicycle to the site. I will always remember the sound he made both as the ball hit him square and as he hit the ground.

    Always treat your catchers well is the moral of the story.
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    I think I would have tossed her out if she purposly dropped her glove to bean me, that's pretty unsportsmanlike. My dad would have painted my back porch red if I did something like that to an umpire and then I would have been riding the pine!!
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    default Guest

    dd has been catching since she was 9, now 14U. Blue asked her this same question a couple weeks ago at the Spano dome... Her answer - protect the umpire. Always told her to keep the umpire on her side.;)
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    default Guest

    As an umpire, I only ask to see if maybe she thinks I might be missing a corner.. inside or out.

    And if don't think that a pitcher rolling her eyes at an umpire makes her strike zone soooooo much smaller.... then you haven't seen most of the umpires in Ohio work games.

    Nobody was bragging about it, Kat.. like you seem to think.

    Facts are facts here and if you have been around long enough like me in the umpiring field.. you see and hear it all and KNOW how some of these umpires think. And believe me, they do think like that.


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