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Umpires use replay to check count on Yunel Escobar — and still get it wrong
7 years ago  ::  Apr 23, 2014 - 10:56AM #1
Posts: 3,316
7 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2014 - 8:34AM #2
Posts: 13,163

Major League umpires are lazy when it comes to stuff like this and it really comes back to burn them.  When I went to a couple of the schools taught by pro umpires, they were very big on not signaling the "obvious call".  For example, if a batter hits a foul straight back, it is customary for higher level umpires not to signal or say foul ball because it's clear that the ball was foul.  I can distinctly remember being told that that's good for Little League but "professional" umpires don't do it.

The problem comes into play when you don't say it or signal every time, you won't instinctively do it when the not-so-routine play happens.  I still say foul ball on every foul ball; I point fair on every fair ball, even if it's up the middle; and I always put the ball back in play after a dead ball.  I generally just do it with less voice or less emphasis when it isn't needed.  Then, when I go to make a "close" call, I add the emphasis.

The 2-1 pitch to Escobar resulted in no action from the home plate umpire.  When the count was confirmed as 2-2 as the scoreboard operator assumed, the other umpire (besides the HP umpire) carrying the indicator, probably also assumed it was a foul ball and that the plate umpire was just lazy and not signaling or saying "foul".  At upper levels, including pros, in the rare occasion where there are more than 2 umpires, only the second base umpire carries an indicator as a "backup" for the plate umpire.  I've heard a few media outlets say that all umpires carry indicators, but that just isn't true.  If they signaled foul every time, it would have been very evident that the 2-1 pitch was ajudged to be a ball.

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