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Meanwhile, in spring training

Mar 19, 2013, 4:31 PM EDT

A lot of spring training games are played with minor league-level umpire staffing. Specifically: three umpires. A home plate ump, one at first and one at third, with the third base ump moving to cover second when a runner is on base.

And if you lose one of the umpires due to injury? Well, you get this:

Yep, that’s an umpire calling balls and strikes from behind the mound in today’s Brewers-Angels game in Maryvale after the home plate umpire was injured. Here’s what it looks like on TV.

You don’t see that every day.

Real games soon, please?

UPDATE: OK, apparently it only lasted for four batters, as a replacement up was called in. Shame, that. We used the mound ump in little league. You’d think the big boys could do it for a while.

  1. sportsdrenched - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    I was reading about a minor league game in which some major leaguers were playing to “get their work in”. They had it where there were 4 outs per inning so the SP could get to a certain PC with only “3 up and downs”.

    Yeah, the “Oh sweet it’s baseball” part of these exhibition games has worn off. I’m ready for some actual attempts at winning baseball games. No1 “practice!” (in my best AI voice, cause that never gets old after 11 years)

  2. blacksables - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Nothing wrong with that. You actually get a better look at the strike zone.

    • hk62 - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      I’ve done both and its harder to call breaking stuff and high/low from behind the mound. If the strike zone was one fixed rectangle I think you would be right, but I will take behind the plate as the best place to call the strike zone.

  3. explodet - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I’ve umpired a lot of amateur/youth games and, honestly, I always found it easier to judge the strike zone from behind the mound that behind the plate because you’re actually looking at the front of the plate instead of the back of it.

    • pillowporkers - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      I’ve also umpired from both spots. I’m pretty sure you just “think” your better at calling game from the front because you are further away, which makes the strike zone bigger in your mind. And actually I would say the complete opposite (not saying your wrong, just an opinion) as hk62 in that left/right is much easier behind the plate because the sides of the plate are right in front of your face. It’s easier to see the ball cross the paint or not. Up and down is tougher on breaking pitches behind the plate because where the catcher catches the ball isn’t always where the ball crossed the plate. It’s easier to catch that from behind the mound. Maybe that’s just me though.

  4. larrytsg - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    I umpire at the little league level, and we use a 2 man system with the plate umpire behind the plate, but of course that was on a small diamond with 60′ between the bases and if you hustle the home plate umpire can cover third, while the field umpire can handle 1st and second. Some youth leagues use the ump behind the mound, but I’ve never done that.

    As for trying to do it with MLB level play, no way would I feel comfortable with that. But it makes sense if the plate umpire is injured during the game that it would take a while for a field ump to suit up for work behind the plate, and to keep the game going a field ump can slide in behind the mound for a short time.

    • Jeremy Fox - Mar 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Our local little league uses that two-man system even for the 13-14 year olds who’ve moved up to 90′ diamonds. Obviously has its problems, but are they worse problems than those arising from having an ump trying to call balls and strikes from behind the mound? If I had to pick my poison for how to do a major league game (or even just a few batters) with two umps, I’m not sure which system I’d choose.

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