UmpTalk #21: Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

One of the best ways to avoid incidents and also have fun in the field of umpiring is to leverage good umpire teamwork. Today’s podcast is about that communication on the field using good umpire signals with your partner(s) and how it can result in smoother games for everyone.

Today we talk about the signs and communications you give with your partner and how it needs to be part of your pregame meeting and discussions.

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  1. Showing outs to your partner following every scoring event, out or big play. Always return the signs of your partner. Don’t use “hook ‘em horns as two’s.
  2. Check-Swing – Come out crisply with your LEFT hand (to avoid confusion with a normal strike call) and firmly ask your partner, “did he go?”  Return with a verbal and commanding “no, he didn’t” or “yes, he went!”
  3. Ball in the dirt – a very subtle signal for umpires who have discussed it ahead of time.  Go down to your midsection with a fist from the field position. This tells your partner it was securely caught. Otherwise, open your hand or give no signal to say it was in the dirt.
  4. Balks – Don’t use two hands up anymore. It’s a delayed dead-ball. Simply point, firmly say “That’s a balk” and return to your ready position. As a partner, return the signal and say “BALK.”
  5. First and Third – “Hang 10” signal by the field umpire tells the plate umpire that he has responsibility at third, and the field ump will take the batter runner.
  6. Time Play – Show outs then point to the ground. Understand when a time play is in effect.

What other signals do you have with your partners? Do you have a “good call” signal?

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