Baseball Pitchers: A Person On The Field You Better Know How To Deal With

All baseball pitchers have to learn how to properly deal with their plate umpire even if they feel they are being “squeezed.” If you are a pitcher, a Coach, or a baseball parent who wants to help your child, you should learn that there are some things you should do and more importantly some things you should never do. It is clearly in your best interest to get on their “right” side!

First and foremost, don’t ever put an umpire on display by letting everybody in attendance at the ball park know that you think they may have missed a strike call. Don’t glare at them for several seconds or stomp around the mound between pitches. And don’t start waving your arms around and putting your hands up in the air. I’m a certified high school umpire and I had a 15 year old pitcher do this to me when I was working the plate. (I had the pitch OFF the corner.) I called time and removed my mask. I told him, “Pitcher, that ball is 8 inches off the plate and drama class starts on Tuesday, not today. Now let’s play baseball.” I very seldom use an unfriendly tone of voice but don’t try to put me on display in front of players, coaches and all the spectators in attendance or we’re going to have a problem. Umpires, like all other people, do not like to be shown up. You may not get any close calls the rest of the game if you show them up and put them on display. Even worse yet, you may not get the calls that you should be getting! I’m not saying that I would “give you the business” but some other umpires I know?

There are going to be several pitches that can be called “either way” and you increase your chances of getting those close calls if you don’t get the plate umpire annoyed at you. Remember that good baseball pitching requires good use of the mind and not just the body. As an umpire, I have a pretty “long fuse.” I almost always have a very good time with the players, coaches and parents. I go out of my way to encourage this. If you have a legitimate gripe and want to discuss a close call, I have no problem with that whatsoever. But I’ll tell you two things that I never tolerate. You are not going to holler at me. Talk to me yes, holler never. The other thing is that you are never going to get away with putting me on display in front of fifty people or in front of five hundred people. I have simply told coaches and players, “You’re putting me on display and in about one minute I’m going to put you on display.” The tone of the conversation then usually changes and we can then have a conversation. Hey, I’m extremely approachable but just approach me properly.

If you truly feel you are being “squeezed” by an umpire on several pitches, a quick glance that lasts only about a second may be in order and then quickly look the other way. Not two or three seconds. If I’m working the dish and you give me a glance for a second on a borderline pitch, I have no problem whatsoever with that. I very much understand that as a competitor, you want that close pitch. (I’ve been on the “hill” before and I see your point.) And there’s always the possibility that I DID miss the pitch, as I’m well aware that I make mistakes too, just like players, coaches and managers make them. Not for one minute would I ever think that I may make 150-200 ball/strike calls in a game and get every one of them right. There are not any perfect people walking around in this world. By glancing at your plate umpire for a second, you have politely made your point to the umpire that you think they may have “missed one” and you’re getting your message across to the umpire only! You’re letting the ump know and not letting everyone in attendance know that you think they may have missed the strike call.

Don’t ever hesitate to compliment an umpire about his knowledge on a certain baseball ruling or for his hustle on a certain play. I called a runner out on a very, very close play at third base at a crucial part of a ball game. And I heard some “chirping.” At the end of the inning, the third base Coach, whose runner I just called out, approached me. He said to me, “Larry, that was an excellent call at third.” How can I not like someone who does that? “Banger” at third, I call his runner out at a very crucial time and he’s complimenting me on my call. I’d be very hard pressed not to remember how he handled this. Now if he ran up to me and got in my face, I’d be hard pressed not to remember that also!

Baseball pitching tips require clever use of the mind and not just the body. It is clearly in your best interest to stay on your umpire’s “good side” at all times! Baseball parents, players and youth coaches, I post a new FREE baseball article on hitting, pitching or fielding every Monday at that you can add to your favorites now. Feel free to use the links for your website, blog or newsletter to attract new visitors or to keep your current visitors returning. I promise you will be raising some eyebrows!