Three-Man crew mechanics
U1, and U3 are the first, and third base umpires respectively. U4 or PU is the plate umpire.
BR is the batter-runner, and R1, R2, and R3 are runners who are at first, second, and third base at the time of the pitch [TOP] or the beginning of the play, respectively.
U4 - the Plate Umpire:
· U4 has fair/foul calls up to the first and third base bag; U1 and U3 have the fair/foul call from the front of the bag to the foul poles.
· If U3 is in the “C” position, or U1 is in the “B” position, U4 has the fair/foul all the way up the line where there is no base umpire on the line at TOP.
· U4 has responsibility to see the BR touch first base if U1 "goes out" to the outfield on a fly ball.
· U4 has responsibility to see the any runner touch third base when passing that base if U3 goes out to the outfield on a fly ball.
· U4 has responsibility to judge the tag-up of a runner at third base (R3) if U3 goes out to the outfield on a fly ball.
Base Umpires, General Info:
· On any fly ball hit to the side outfield, where the base umpire still on one the line (not on the infield grass) that base umpire ALWAYS goes out to make a home run call, catch/no catch judgment, and/or a fair/foul judgment. Otherwise the umpire at “B” or “C” has the outfield call.
· When "going out," don't run directly at the outfielder. You might distract him or get in his line of sight to the plate or cut-off man. Run off to an angle to give yourself a good side view of the catch attempt.
· When U1 or U3 "goes out" on a fair/foul call to follow a ball hit down the line, stay on the foul line to use the line in the grass and foul pole to make the best judgment.
· Unless you "go out" to the outfield on a fly ball, your most important responsibility is to always see if runners touch your base as they go by it. Watch to see if a runner is obstructed as he passes your base.
· Unless you "go out" to the outfield on a fly ball, when a fly ball is hit to the outfield move to a position to align your sight-line with the runner tagging-up and the outfielder making the catch to easily judge if the runner left too soon.
· Once you go out to the outfield to rule a fly ball you NEVER come back into the infield to make a call on the bases during that play. The other two umpires will revert to 2-man mechanics so another umpire will have responsibly to cover your base. Do not return to the infield until the play is over.
Positions and coverage with NO runners on, or ONE runner at third.
· At all times U1 and U3's initial positions are 20 feet behind the bag just outside the line in foul territory. Same as an "A" position for U1 on a two-man crew.
· U1 goes out to rule on all fly balls hit to Right field, or to.
· For a fly ball to Center field: if F8 is running towards Left field U3 goes out and takes the call. If F8 is running towards Right field U1 goes out and takes the call.
· If a fly ball is hit to right field near the foul line such that the right fielder must go to his left then U1 must go out to make the catch/no catch judgment and/or a fair/foul judgment.
· If a fly ball is hit to left field near the foul line such that the left fielder must go to his right then U3 must go out to make the catch/no catch judgment and/or a fair/foul judgment.
· If U1 goes out, then U3 has the BR all the way to second base. U3 quickly jogs to the C position on the infield and watches for the BR’s touch of 1B and waits there if the BR attempts to advance to 2B.
· U1 has the priority of choice when going out on a fly to the outfield. U3 must pause on a fly ball to Center field and look to see if U1 will go out. If U1 goes out, U3 will pivot into the infield grass ready for a play at 2B. U3 should always come into the infield on the shortstop side of 2B.
· The reason U1 has the priority of choice is because on a hit the outfield it is unlikely there will be a play at 1B so that base does not need to have an umpire close to it at that moment.
· If U1 does not go out on a fly ball to the outfield, he then pivots to the infield (like in two-man) and takes the BR to 2B.
· If U1 is at 1B and the batter hits a ground ball that goes through to the outfield U1 should not pivot into the infield because U3 will be at 2B waiting for the runner there. (This will be an instinctive reflex that will be tough to suppress!)
· Two base umpires should never be in the outfield on the same play.
· Two base umpires should never be in the infield on the same play.
· If U1 goes out, then U4 will also watch to see that the BR touches first base.
· If U3 goes out, then U4 will watch to see all touches and tag-ups at third base.
· If U3 goes out, and a play on a runner might happen at 3B, U4 must up to come to 3B to cover the play,
· If U4 goes to cover 3B, then U1 must rotate to the plate to cover a play that might come home.
Positions and coverage with ALL combinations of runners on base at TOP.
· IMPORTANT! Whenever a runner is at first base, U1 is at first base.
· With R1, U3 takes the deep “C” position, U1 is on his line. [deep: at the grass line]
· With R1 and R2, U3 takes the normal “C” position, to see a steal at 3B. U1 is on his line.
· With bases loaded, U3 takes the deep “C” position, U1 is on his line.
· With R2 only, U1 takes the deep “B” position, U3 is on his line.
· With R2 and R3, U1 takes the deep “B” position, U3 is on his line.
· With R3 only, or no runners, both U1 and U3 are on their lines.
· When and umpire is positioned on the infield he NEVER leaves the infield or goes out to the outfield. Doing this could possibly distract or obstruct a runner running near second base.
· When the first baseman is "holding the runner on" first base, U1 positions himself for a pick-off attempt by the pitcher. U1 stands about 8 feet behind first base, two steps onto foul territory.
· All three umpires have equal responsibility to call the Infield Fly Rule, balks, and "time."
· Only U4 may call "play."
· Any umpire seeing a batter touched by the ball either batted or pitched, should yell "time!"
· When preparing for a play coming to 3B, U3 should take a position in foul territory in line with the baseline from 2B to 3B so he sees the runner and ball both coming at him.
· To avoid more than one umpire making calls on the same play, make eye-contact with your partners during plays where more than one umpire might be involved. The man who should make the final call should be the one closest to the play.
Final notes about U3:
Since being a U3 is very unusual to umpires used to working 2-man mechanics most of the year, here are a few more important notes specifically about a responsibility for the third base umpire:
On any hit, U3 does one of three things:
* Pivots into the infield grass to the C position
* Turns and goes out to LF or up the foul line.
* Swings around to the area near the coach’s box to see R3 tag-up on a fly ball to CF or RF, or wait to make a call on a runner coming to 3B.
When U3 is positioned on the line behind 3B, when fly ball goes up the third base line you must turn and go out with the ball. If it is a fly ball you must rule fair/foul and then rule on the catch/no-catch. After a fly ball lands fair, or if it is a ground ball goes into LF close to the foul line you must turn and go with it down the line and continue to watch it to insure that the ball stays in play. Stay out there! The plate umpire must come up to 3B to cover any plays coming to third base.
If the ball is hit to other side of the field and U3 DOES NOT go out with it, then U3 must IMMEDIATELY begin into pivot to the infield to the “C” position. Don’t be a spectator. Don’t wait for the ball to be overthrown at first base before you start moving, don’t stand at 3B and watch the flight of the ball goes to see if it will be caught. Don’t wait to see if it gets by the outfielder. If you wait you will too late to “meet” the BR coming to 2B! Being late makes it look like you are out of position. As soon as the ball is hit start moving! You want to get to that “C” position spot on the infield ASAP so you can already be there waiting for the BR to arrive at 2B. In reality, in 3-man, U3 will spend a lot of time hustling back and forth from his spot on the line to “C” and back again, but that’s the job of a U3!
When U3 pivots into the infield for a play at 2B, then the plate umpire, PU, must come about halfway up the 3B line to be ready to cover a play at 3B if the runner continues. If the PU goes up the line to cover 3B then U1 must come down from 1B to cover home plate in case the runner comes home.
Final thoughts to keep in mind: These mechanics are unusual coverage responsibilities for all of us. It is easy to get confused, so remember that it is important to make eye-contact with your partners often, and speak to each other, so we can be sure we’re all on the same page. If we pull off these mechanics properly we will look great and professional, and nobody (except your partners) will notice. That’s the way we want it!
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Three Man Umpire Mechanics, Page 2 (shorter review)