2011 and 2012 NFHS BASEBALL

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2011 and 2012 NFHS

                           BASEBALL
                          UMPIRES MANUAL



                    ROBERT B. GARDNER, Publisher
                      B. Elliot Hopkins, CAA, Editor
                            NFHS Publications




          2010, By the National Federation of State High School Associations
 Neither the whole nor any part of this publication may be copied or reproduced and/or
      translated without first obtaining express written permission from the editor.
Republication of all or any portion of this case book on the Internet is expressly prohibited.
     Cover photos courtesy of Paynter Pics, Arizona Interscholastic Association.

                                     Published by the

                          NATIONAL FEDERATION
                   OF STATE HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS
                                       PO Box 690
                                 Indianapolis, IN 46206
                         Phone: 317-972-6900, Fax: 317.822.5700
                                      www.nfhs.org
                                    TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.      Prerequisites for Good Umpiring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
II.     Code of Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
III.    General Reminders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
IV.     Pregame Preparations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
V.      Responsibilities During a Game . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
VI.     The Plate Umpire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
VII.    The Base Umpire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
VIII.   Observing Bases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
IX.     Procedure at End of Game . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
X.      Communications and Signals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
XI.     Basic Umpiring Positions and Descriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
XII.    Game Situations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
XIII.   Official NFHS Baseball Signals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
XIV.    1-Man Mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
XV.     2-Man Mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
XVI.    3-Man Mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
XVII.   4-Man Mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76

                                    NFHS
                          BASEBALL RULES COMMITTEE
Kyle McNeely, Chairman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Cincinnati, OH
Anthony Azzara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Beacon Falls, CT
Julian Tackett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lexington, KY
Dennis Payne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Thomaston, GA
Mark Uyl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .East Lansing, MI
Brian Midthun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enderlin, ND
Bert Borgmann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Aurora, CO
Rob Cuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Salt Lake City, UT
Jerry Hollow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Boise, ID
Jerry Boatner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Collinsville, MS
Ken Allan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Diamond Bar, CA
B. Elliot Hopkins, CAA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .NFHS Liaison
                                                                                               Indianapolis, IN
Special thanks to subcommittee chairman Ken Allan and the members of the
Umpires Manual subcommittee for their contributions to interscholastic baseball.
Page 3                                           Prerequisites for Good Umpiring

   I. PREREQUISITES FOR GOOD UMPIRING
   1. Being in proper physical condition is an essential requirement for a baseball
official. The game requires the umpire to move quickly to obtain the proper posi-
tion to render the best judgment on a play. An umpire who is not in sufficient
physical condition to work a game is a hindrance to his/her partner and possibly
the successful completion of the game. Today's athletes work hard to be prepared
to participate at a high level and no less should be expected from the officiating
crew.
   2. Decisions must be made positively and with good timing, and umpires must
not be too hasty in calling a play. Umpires must guard against rendering deci-
sions prematurely. It is considered the best procedure, when an umpire has to
run to get into position on a play, to come to a stop where he can see all of the
action clearly. Try to make all decisions while stopped. A signal may however be
made while moving. It is necessary to know where the ball is when a decision is
made. The fielder may drop the ball on a tag play, or pivoting during a double play,
or he might juggle the ball on a force play. After only a momentary hesitation for
the purpose of coming to a decision, the call should be made forcefully. Timidity
or over hesitation indicates a lack of confidence. All play should be called in a
confident manner, which can be developed. Positive action does much to have the
umpire's judgment accepted. Good umpires cultivate their voices to increase the
authority implied by the spoken word. A strong voice is a valuable asset. All calls
should be made loudly and clearly so that players of both teams can hear them.
Occasionally, a decision will be questioned, no matter who makes it, or how it is
made.
   3. Good umpiring is dependent, to a large extent, upon a complete knowledge
and understanding of the rules. In fact, to be a competent umpire, it is necessary
to know the rules thoroughly. Some decisions are repeatedly made, so that with
experience they come by reflex. The correct way to prepare oneself for most
effectively making decisions of this kind is through continued study of all possible
situations. Then, basic fundamentals become second nature and correct inter-
pretations are virtually automatic. To know the rules thoroughly requires constant
and analytical study. It is not sufficient to only read the rules, but they must be
studied so that mental pictures of plays and situations result. Having developed
clarity in the mental pictures, the umpire will be able to immediately recognize the
situation and correctly rule on it automatically. Those who guess and who don't
know the rules soon lose the confidence of players, coaches, spectators and fel-
low officials.
   4. Proper umpiring mechanics are essential in attaining the best coverage.
Many umpires who know the rules well fail to be accepted because their mechan-
ics are poor. When a crew or a team of umpires uses proper mechanics, it is rare
for a play to occur without one of them being in the desired position to see all of
Prerequisites for Good Umpiring                                              Page 4
the play clearly. Mechanics, or play coverage, must be mastered if the umpire is
to be successful. First, a proper position for various situations must be learned,
then the coverage must be practiced so that the positioning virtually becomes a
reflex action. Position and coverage should be discussed and reviewed regularly
at clinics with the opportunities to practice the mechanics being made available
to all umpire candidates, including both the veterans and the neophytes. It is
important that all umpires take the best position possible for any given play with-
out being in the way of any player or thrown ball. An umpire should opt for the
best angle first then move into get as close as possible.
  5. Umpires are encouraged to ignore spectator comments. If warranted, the
umpire should request that game management handle unruly or unsportsmanlike
behavior from spectators. Every crowd will include a number of people who heck-
le an umpire. Many persons believe that to do so is a legitimate part of a ball
game. Fans not only lose respect for an umpire who in any way reacts to criti-
cism, but if he gives evidence of being conscious of heckling, their criticism
becomes more intense. Umpires should ignore all but extreme profane, racist or
derogatory comments. In those situations, umpires need to request home team's
management to properly handle the issue.
  6. An umpire must be loyal to his partners. He must, through his actions and
when necessary his words, endorse and support the decisions of his fellow crew
members. Each umpire in a crew must be willing to accept responsibility and
never attempt to shift any blame to another member of the crew. Avoid all media
discussions and interviews and refer any requests for comments by the media to
the respective state association. Public criticism of a fellow official should never
occur nor be tolerated.
  7. The efficient umpire will not "showboat" or render his judgment calls in a
manner that brings undue attention to himself. Competent umpires effectively
execute their duties without flair. The umpire who discharges his responsibility
with dignity and in conformance with accepted signals and procedures will
encourage the players and spectators to accept his decisions. Being overly
dramatic all too often does not accomplish the purpose for which it is intended,
and such actions frequently cause the players to lose confidence in the decisions
made by an "actor." Quiet dignity is much more effective. Umpires should not be
officious but neither can they tolerate disrespect. In no case will an umpire ever
attempt to coach a player.
  8. Umpires must be courteous to players and coaches but avoid visiting with
them immediately before, during or after the game. An umpire must remain pro-
fessionally courteous and respect the teams desire to win. They must never argue
with the players, coaches or team representatives. Any discussion should be
brief. A dignified attitude will often preclude and prevent an argument.
  9. The successful umpire will hustle and be alert throughout the game. These
characteristics are closely associated and there is no substitute for either of them.
Page 5                                           Prerequisites for Good Umpiring
The head must be kept erect, and the umpire must have the appearance of one
who can properly discharge his responsibility and who is qualified to officiate the
game. At the time the ball is pitched, he should never have his arms folded.
   10. The judgment necessary in making a decision is acquired through exper-
ience. Baseball game decisions must be made on the basis of fact. First, cover the
play as the accepted procedure provides. More importantly, rule on the play
exactly as it was seen. Every umpire must acknowledge that he will sometime err
in his judgment no matter how conscientious and efficient he is and regardless
of his position and rules knowledge. When the most respected umpires "boot
one" they continue to work to the best of their ability. The fact that an umpire
makes a rare mistake need not cause him to be unduly humble nor to be embar-
rassed. After an error, the umpire must never attempt to even it up. Each call is
made on its own merits. Frequent errors in rule interpretation or in judgment
quickly cause the players, coaches and spectators to lose confidence.
   11. Umpires working together must have a mutual respect. The best rapport is
obtained when there is a friendly attitude toward each other. Friendliness and
respect for members of the crew (and profession) contribute to confidence in one
another. Every umpire should strive to support his partner, or partners, through-
out the entire contest. When one umpire requests an opinion from another
concerning a given play which has been ruled upon, the opinion should be given
courteously to the umpire requesting it and to him only.
   12. Umpires must make a conscientious effort not to infringe on the duties and
responsibilities of each other. There is no cause for greater embarrassment than
to have opposing decisions made by umpires on a given play. If proper
mechanics are followed, there should be no conflicting decisions.
   13. Umpires must strive to get all their decisions correct. The players and
coaches deserve our best effort. While we are concerned about getting "it right,"
there are some calls that can be changed and there are some that cannot. Any
umpire's decision that involves judgment is final. If there is any reasonable doubt
about a misapplication of a rule, the coach may ask that the correct ruling be
made. The umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for any addition-
al information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize or inter-
fere with another's decision unless asked to provide input by the umpire making
the call. The umpire-in-chief may rectify any decision in which a reversed deci-
sion places another team at a disadvantage. The umpire-in-chief also has the
authority to make a final decision on a point not covered by the rules.
   There are calls where a partner should provide automatic assistance. These
calls include when a batted ball hits a batter in the batter's box, a caught/uncaught
third strike, and if a foul tip is caught or dropped or trapped. Additionally, there
are some calls that may be reversed if the umpire making the decision gains addi-
tional information from a partner. These situations are a checked swing that is
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