Baseball Magazine

Force the Home Plate Ump to Commit

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
I never understood why a batter would complain to a home plate umpire in the first inning about balls and strikes.  How can you do that when you don't even know what his strike zone is yet?  A former coach taught me to take a different approach.  

Force the home plate ump to commit

Being smart about how you communicate with
this guy will help you as a hitter.

Let's say a borderline pitch on the outside part of the plate is called a strike.  Instead of complaining, ask the umpire "is that as far as the outside corner goes?"  You are not complaining so the umpire cannot get mad at you.  What you are doing involves two important things.  1) You are gathering valuable information for the future, and 2) you are forcing the umpire to commit to a strike zone.  If he says "Yes, that's as far as it goes," you now know that if any pitch goes even a little farther than the previous one, it's a ball so don't swing.  Arguing that the pitch is not a strike accomplishes nothing.  You gather no information about the ump's strike zone and you don't force him to commit to anything.  Basically, you just get him mad at you for showing him up in front of everyone by arguing.
Later in the game, if he does call a strike on a pitch a little farther away, you now have a legitimate argument.  I have found that umpires will give you much more leeway when this happens because they know they screwed up.  Although umpires will never admit it, they often will make up for it later.  They also tend to give you more respect for the way you handle things as a hitter.  Obviously, both are in your favor as a hitter.
It is almost never in your interest to argue just for the sake of arguing.  Gather information and make him commit.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog