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Discussion: Calling High Pitches

Posted Discussion
July 30, 2018
VegasBob
49 posts
Calling High Pitches
In an effort to help coach one of my batters, I'll tell them "high" or "illegal". Now, putting aside the argument that I might be wrong and actually misdiagnose to the hitter, why can't I help him out without the umpire telling me he's making the calls? I hear people assist their hitter by saying "that's short" or "long", and the umpire doesn't say anything. So, why can't I assist the batter (again putting aside the I'm wrong argument) without the umpire telling me to shut up? We should be able to assist hitters when necessary.
July 30, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
VegasBob, I would be glad to have a nice discussion with you offline on this if you like. I actually would not care if you said high, but saying illegal could be viewed as somewhat disrespectful, and unless your umpire does not have a man's voice, how does your batter know if it is you or the umpire making the call for sure (in the case of illegal)? I tried to have someone tell me Saturday that I called time when it was their coach yelling for it (he did not see the runner between 1st and 2nd that gave them their 3rd out; so I got a thank you from him and crap from the other coach that said that was me yelling it). I don't sound anything like their coach. Like I said if you want to talk about it, I am willing to do that, but calling illegal is just not cool during the game.
July 30, 2018
VegasBob
49 posts
So this appears a tricky line to cross. A 1st or 3rd base coach can yell "safe" to his runner and a teammate can say "high", but not "illegal"? Then it depends on each umpire to set the tone. I asked an umpire how can I coach my batter on these issues and he didn't have an answer.
July 30, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Yes, it is. I don't think that safe is cool either. I call your player safe on a close call, and you are yelling safe. Then I have to hear a team saying that I am letting you make my calls the rest of the game. I believe that some umpires might make the wrong call on purpose just to avoid that, not me, but I believe in getting it right. I only said high was better than illegal because illegal is the correct call, but if the umpire calls high as expressed in another thread, then that is disrespectful too. The umpire that you asked was either not approachable, or you had already gotten on their last nerve.

I am a better talker than typer and am very approachable as an official. So I offered you a discussion on it. I still do. You have to really think about officiating as a job. I do not know what you do for a living, but would you like somebody to do this to you in your job? I can't remember ever having as much trouble with a coach as you are describing. This is coming from the former noisiest scorekeeper in the country. Maybe try avoiding words that umpires use?
July 30, 2018
VegasBob
49 posts
Thank you, Nancy Allen. Your comments are appreciated.
July 30, 2018
B.J.
660 posts
VegasBob, I've never had a problem with an offensive player or manager calling out high-illegal during a pitch.. where the problem comes is when the batter doesn't swing and then in my judgement as the umpire I call out strike.. as long as after the call I don't hear a bunch of crap coming from the dugout then there is no problem
July 30, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
VegasBob, thank you. It is not good to be known as "that coach".

BJ, I don't ever remember having any problems with that on the high pitch. I think maybe more on the lower end that I might have. I just don't like a Utrip pitch in senior softball, and they can fault me if they like. I will not give it. I agree with you that they grumble when you call something a strike that they didn't swing at. It was really obvious this weekend with a 1-1 count which I am not a fan of but will enforce. I had more look at strike "3" when it was perfect more than I have ever seen. Not one complained when it happened to them. That count just somehow handcuffed them.
July 30, 2018
marcster13
94 posts
Calling out "illegal" should not be done. In SSUSA the ump must call it in the air, not once it hits the strike-mat. If the batters team yells out "illegal" and the ump does not, this can cause the batter to mix up who said it and not swing. If the ump did not see it as illegal the batter may strike out looking. For this reason I think it is better left to the batter to listen for the ump calling "illegal" while the ball is in the air. If the ump does not call it "illegal" due to pitch height while the ball is in the air the pitch can not be considered illegal once the ball lands.
July 30, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Margaret13, it is always called at its highest point in the air. So I don't understand your comment.
July 30, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Marcster13, sorry, my autocorrect had fun with your handle. No disrespect was intended.
July 31, 2018
lb16
Men's 50
153 posts
VegasBob - just curious what do you say to your batters when you yell high and they strike out looking because ump didn't think it was illegal. My suggestion is to let batter make that decision if ump doesn't call illegal then your batter makes decision to swing or not. JMO!!
July 31, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
lb16, you made my concern much more to the point on the batters, but so many players never think about it from the umpire's point of view either. I have had a few times over the years where someone tried to tell me that the man's voice was mine. No, it's not. A player here that I dearly love yelled foul ball to his players once. It was clearly fair. Thank goodness I was not officiating that game because it turned into real chaos. I promised him that I would never tell on him, but you should have seen the look on his face when he realized that he had totally messed up both his offense and their defense. The poor umpire got chewed from all sides, and he had correctly pointed fair with no call. I love this game.
July 31, 2018
marcster13
94 posts
Nancy- I've been call much worse things. HaHa

My point was if only the coach yells "illegal" or "high" to his batter and the umpire doesn't see it that way the batter may get confused and not swing. Causing the batter to take a strike and even worse.... a third strike. Therefore it is not good practice to yell something like this to the batter.
July 31, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
marcster13, well, that is good. I have this one tablet that I really have to watch and forgot before posting; it makes some really embarrassing changes that I cannot imagine even. I was probably reading too much into your post. From today's comment, I get that you understand that the umpire makes the call in the air, but the players should not. I am beginning to think that maybe the illegal call is getting too many umpires in trouble anyway from all of the comments on it. As I said above, I really do not have a problem if players or coaches say high unless they get obnoxious because I use the correct term, but why would they use it which you correctly identify as possibly messing up their own batter? I have maintained for years that no one should be using over 2 syllable words on the ball field anyway.
July 31, 2018
Reggie4's
18 posts
As an umpire and a player, who got rung up this past weekend on a questionable "high pitch", The best you can do as an umpire is be consistent.....As a batter, if you have 2 strikes on ya, never leave it up to the umpire!!!
My rule of thumb (as an umpire) is "I'd rather listen to 2 pitchers B#@&* at me than 2 whole dugouts. That said if its over ten its illegal.
July 31, 2018
Bob S.
5 posts
I don't think it helps a batter to have anyone other than the umpire say that a pitch is high while it is in the air. Since we're talking about senior softball, presumably the batter has been playing many years and can form his or her own judgment as to whether the ball is too high. People (other than the umpire) calling out while the pitch is still coming will, in my opinion, lead to more confusion than help.
July 31, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Reggie4's, I hope that you mean twelve and not ten for senior softball, or maybe that pitch was not so high that you got rung up on? I agree on not leaving it up to the umpire for strike 3. One of my sayings is that you can't trust umpires, and you can't trust women, and I am both. It sounds like you had a good time. It was a really good tournament.
July 31, 2018
k man
Men's 65
277 posts
While we're on the topic of people calling out who shouldn't, are there cases of verbal interference that might result in something more than a warning?

July 31, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
k man, in theory the answer is yes. I personally have never had a situation that I felt where it happened. If you have ever officiated youth, there is so much more noise than in adult softball, and distraction is really part of the goal. When I caught or kept score, I chattered a lot. A couple of times a coach would ask about me and was told that I was fine. I only talk about game related things such as where the ball is when we have runners; what the play is when we are playing defense, number of outs, praise to our players, etc. You can definitely hear me. In a youth tournament umpire meeting, we were told that the catcher could say anything except ask direct questions to the batter. This weekend we were told no noise makers or music. A couple of weeks ago a team could tell that they were getting to an infielder talking about his bat. He walked off the field wanting to bring me his bat. I told him to get back on the field before I started awarding balls. His wife wanted to know if there was a taunting rule. Really? So the other team accomplished taking him out of his game, but it was only because he allowed them to get in his head. So, yes, there could be a situation, but this is not golf, and a lot of it is part of the game in my opinion only.
Aug. 1, 2018
Reggie4's
18 posts
Nopw!!! what I wrote is what I meant
Aug. 1, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Reggie4's, interesting, I get it. I have been wondering as many comments as there have been about going to 10' if someone that feels passionate about it should submit a rule change proposal. I am so used to 12' after all of these years that I never thought about going to 10', and it was a surprise to me how many players have commented on going to 10' on the board. So I have thought about it a lot because I never remember anyone saying that before, but just as with the 0-0 vs 1-1 controversy, opinions vary in the different age groups because of what they/we are used to. Because all of the major associations call 10' maximum since ASA changed years ago, most umpires have never called 12', and that is where all of the senior associations have to pull their umpires from. I will continue to call 12' as long as it is the rule.
Aug. 1, 2018
VegasBob
49 posts
I believe 10 ft. max would add more offense to the game, but do we really need that?
Aug. 1, 2018
Mr. Nick
Men's 55
41 posts
Since I'm a pitcher, I'm very critical when umpires call illegal pitch when the ball is clearly not close to 12 feet. A high strike is the only defense a pitcher has with these senior bats. Very few umpires realize how high 12 feet is. I hope SSUSA continues to remind the umpires that the maximum is 12' not 10'
Aug. 1, 2018
AJC
Men's 60
126 posts
Last thing i would want is anyone from my team to call illegal or high when im hitting. To me that is a total distraction. I do want the umpire to be vocal and call it early ( just after the height of the arc and not late as your getting ready to swing if u have 2 strikes and trying to protect. My players while trying to help should not say anything. This can confuse the batter and im sure ' blue ' is trying jis best to get it right.

Nancy, weve never met and probably will never meet but hopefully at some time we will. You seem to be a great person and have a worth of knowledge who is very approachable. Keep doing what you do !thank you for what you for the game and us the players.

Tony
Aug. 2, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Mr. Nick, I agree. Umpires are always reminded, but after pondering on all of this, I think that it is the experience that is the problem. When all of the major associations use 10' maximum, they just don't know what it looks like which I believe keeps some calling lower than 12' and some higher. I had a conversation yesterday with an older player that said that we should be doing 10' like ASA no matter what our rulebook says.

AJC, thank you for reinforcing that from the player perspective. When I played, I never had a coach do that, but I think that it is bad for the batter and the umpire for someone else to be verbal on that.

Tony, I am extremely touched by your comments. Approachable is the word that I emphasize to the umpires that I mentor. Not to be sexist, but most umpires are men, and some have a real issue with the chip on their shoulder. I hope that we meet as well. You are more than welcome to call me. I am fortunate that softball was the legacy that my late husband left me, and I have more experiences with it than most people that I meet, even if I am just a girl. I am a little ate up with it, but I do have other interests as well. I look forward to talking with you. Also thank you for your kind words.
Aug. 2, 2018
JDub
Men's 60
197 posts
As a Pitcher, I Totally Agree with Mr. Nick!

As an Umpire, I Disagree (but Not Totally) with Reggie4's. 10' is 10' and 12' is 12'. You choose 10' merely to cut down on the Flack. However, the 12' Rule is in place and should be enforced in SSUSA!

As a Hitter, I Prefer 10'. As a Pitcher, I Prefer 12' (ala Mr. Nick). As much as I'd like to, I can't have it both ways. So by SSUSA Rule Reggie4's, you should be enforcing 12' until SSUSA decides to change the Rule to 10' (IMHO)!

STOOOPID BATS & BALLS ARE HERE TO STAY ! ! !


Have Fun, Be Safe,
Jeff White
Elite/Dudley 55M+
Aug. 2, 2018
Reggie4's
18 posts
JDub sounds like you agree with most of my officiating philosophy, but Nancy knows me and was ribbing me about your post. That's just how I roll. All I'll say is you have a right to your view and that's completely cool with me.. I think the rule should be changed. It's worked for me for a lotta years no need to change now.
Aug. 2, 2018
B94
Men's 50
138 posts
I think if they went to a 10' ceiling you see more 12' pitches being called legal. Many umpires I find have no idea what 12' actually is (twice the height of an average pitcher at 6' tall) and there are a lot of 14'-16' pitches that are considered legal. Similarly, often times 6' pitches are called illegal that are fine.

I personally don't care either way as long as the zone stays consistent. Personally as a pitcher and a hitter I prefer the 6-10' zone when called correctly.
Aug. 2, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Reggie4's, now they might be able to guess who that older player was that I was talking to. For the record, everyone, it was not me that rang him up on that 11' pitch. I wasn't even at the same complex that day.
Aug. 3, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
B94, I have found this so fascinating with so many players advocating 10', and as I have expressed that it being what most umpires know as a ceiling, that perhaps there is a strong case for it. I would be interested if this differs by age group just as the old pitch count controversy. I never saw this one coming, and I usually analyze everything in great detail and completely missed this. Thank you for expressing your opinion.
Aug. 3, 2018
Duke
Men's 65
882 posts
Mr. Nick,

No umpire can call the height limit correctly, especially in tournaments and umpires from the East. I have to adjust to each umpire. The Eastern umpires can call 8-10 feet too high, and most of the pitchers in the East tend to throw a lower pitch. I cannot tell you the times that my team has played an Eastern team, and hear them complaining, and I did not throw the ball over 10 feet. Although the umpires do try to make the best judgement, they all have a different height criteria. Mr. Nick, you are also correct in saying, the higher pitch is all that helps a pitcher to defend his position better. With these crazy bats, the height limit should be unlimited. With all the egos to hit the ball out of the park, unlimited arc will probably never happen. We all played unlimited arc when we were younger, and had no problem hitting the ball out of the park. Now that we are much older, it is easier to hit the ball out of the park, if we get a lower pitch to hit.

JMHO,

Andy Smith,
USED2BE
Aug. 4, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Duke, you might not want to ask them, but I would be curious to know what association those umpires usually work for. In my experience, I find that Utrip umpires usually have the most trouble with the higher ceiling. I notice some of them calling 10' high in their own tournaments even though it is their maximum. I have done a lot of it here, and some players even whine when I give anything over 8'. The game is very much about a flat pitch. With what you described, it makes me guess that is what is happening to you. I have been thinking about how I could get at least numbers on the umpires of each association. A map by region would be awesome just to know. That way we could be better prepared to work with the umpires that work senior tournaments from a UIC perspective.
Most of my games have been ASA and NSA, but I have done some major Utrip tournaments. All 3 have a 10' ceiling in their rules. Duke, good luck this weekend, and thank you for sharing your observations. I work as an analyst in my real life. So I ask too many questions and never stop thinking about situations. It used to drive Coachie crazy sometimes. Maybe some of you too? Sorry if that bothers anyone.
Aug. 4, 2018
RALEIGH
Men's 55
4 posts
Please let's not entertain lowering the pitch height to 10'. I have pitched every form of slow pitch from Unlimited arc to the farce of a "3' arc from the point of release" that USSSA has in their rules. I can tell you that I won't pitch USSSA against the young guys any more because the ball has a tendency to return to the point at which it came from. Don't let this organization follow the rest by lowering the pitch height and put me in danger because of my age related slower reaction speed. I find that when the discussion of lowering the pitching height comes up, it is usually a long ball hitter driving it. Most pitchers want the ability to deliver a wide variety of pitches based on the situation. Most organizations have given in to the relentless pressure of hitters. I say don't take away any more of the tools with which a pitcher currently has. If you want to have a lower pitch, there are plenty organizations that will accommodate you. If you want to impress me with your hitting skills then hit a ball that has a 40 foot arc and is traveling straight down when it hits the plate, you hit that over the fence and I will applaud your effort every time.
Aug. 4, 2018
Duke
Men's 65
882 posts
RALEIGH,

I concur with you. SSUSA has an allowable pitching arc of 12 feet. Not too often is that going to be permitted. In some of my games this year, we were allowed to throw 12 feet and on a rare occasion, more than 12 feet. In one game this year, the umpire brought me and the other coach together to discuss some rules. He said that he did not know exactly how high 12 feet was, and I replied 12 feet. What happened was that both pitchers were throwing over 12 feet. The umpire just said not to get carried away with the height limit. In another game, the umpire said 12 feet was when the ball disappeared above the brim of his hat. I told him to get another hat with a shorter brim. Lastly, in a World tournament with 2 umpires, I pitched the ball between 9 and 12 feet. The umpire called too high twice. I then pitched the ball roughly 8 feet or lower, and she called the pitch high again. I called time and started to approach her, and she said one more step, and you will be ejected. I looked at the field umpire, who I have seen many times, and said you need to correct her or switch with her after this inning, or there will be some ejections. She finished the inning, and I could not throw anything under 6 feet or above 8 feet for that inning, or it was an illegal pitch. I did tell her to get a tee and let everyone adjust the height to their own specifications. Anyway, after the first inning, the other umpire had a talk with her, and the rest of the game was reasonable as far as the height limit. Being real, no one has a measuring tape out there to know an exact height. As most pitchers do, we adjust our pitching accordingly to each umpire. As long as he/she calls it consistently the same, it is usually good.

JMHO,

Andy Smith,
USED2BE
Aug. 4, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Raleigh, the players asking to lower the ceiling to 10' was a surprise to me completely. I don't know what ASA's logic was in lowering to 10' after so many years, but that was about 10 years ago. As Duke very well points out, many umpires don't know 12' because they have never seen it. My concern is that they come to senior softball with zero experience and do it only once a year. I think that Utrip umpires have the most issues with the heights in senior softball. I think that perhaps eliminating the illegal call might actually help the pitchers as well as the batters and umpires by making the batter decide what to hit. I think that the older players would be totally against it because ASA was the only association when they started playing slow pitch. I know a lot of younger players don't like it and find it distracting because they only played non-ASA associations. I wish that I had the solution, but talking about it helps. At least the conversation seems more civil than the pitch count controversy.
Aug. 4, 2018
RALEIGH
Men's 55
4 posts
Another problem with SSUSA going to a 10' has already been encountered in USSSA, when a pitcher delivers a pitch at 8' the umpires here in the Pacific Northwest call it too high after it lands. (I would be interested to know if this is common elsewhere) Yet, they won't call the pitch that doesn't have the required 3' arc. I've actually had the UIC tell me "as long as it has a hump" it's good. He also confided in me that he will never warn a pitcher for excessive speed, because if he does, then the next time he has to remove him from the game. Why have rules if your not going to enforce them.
If you want to succumb to the pressures of the long ball hitters, why not dispense with all the fielders and make every tournament a home run derby where you pitch to your own batters? Easier for the umpires, it's over the fence or it's not.
I asked my players if they could hit the 12' pitch that is pitched today and they all answered yes. I then asked why would you want to take away your pitcher's ability to influence the other team's batting? Problem; a lot players believe that pitching is easy and doesn't make much a difference in the outcome of a game........ until I make them pitch an entire game, then they get it. (Always a game that doesn't matter)

Don't take away a pitcher's tools; I would like to see it go up to 16', I can hit it why can't you. (Oh, I know why, I'm not trying to hit it over the fence).

Sorry I didn't mean all-cap my name when I signed up,

Raleigh L Rowland
GySgt USMC (Ret)
Aug. 4, 2018
RALEIGH
Men's 55
4 posts
Nancy, I understand the argument. Most players have not umpired and believe that it is very simple to apply the rules. It takes a little time and practice for umpiring to become second nature as with any newly acquired job. Also, some newer umpires haven't helped themselves by bothering to become better at their job. It's the generational culture that we find ourselves in today. I've done some umpiring and it's not as easy as players would like to think, that's why you'll never hear me or my players argue a call. I may have a private conversation with the umpire between innings, expressing my thoughts, but not an argument. If one of my players argues a call with an umpire, the umpire will not have to remove that player because I will and my players are well aware of this.
Eliminating the illegal call wouldn't change whether the pitch is illegal or not, but it at least the call helps me as a batter know if the umpire and I agree on a high pitch before it reaches me. I can at least foul it off, if I'm good, but after it lands I can't do a thing about it if we don't see eye to eye.
You are right that most problems are encountered with the lower pitch; not enough time for most umpires to call it and less time for the batter to do something with it. I too hear the comment from pitchers "It went over my head". I have yet to see a pitcher deliver a pitch with his feet together standing at his full height (that thought made me chuckle), most are bent at the waist or knees making them much less than 6' tall.

Raleigh L Rowland
GySgt USMC (Ret)
Aug. 4, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Raleigh, you have definitely thought about this a lot too, and I appreciate your thoughts. I have talked with several players here because this has had so many nuances. I have umpired senior softball for 21 years, and never before has anyone even suggested dropping the ceiling. Now quite a few have. You did pick one of the more interesting complaints. I really don't know what to say to a pitcher when he tells me that it is over his head when it is not over mine. I am well under 6'. I wouldn't worry too much about a rule change. Someone would have to submit a rule change proposal which may be unlikely. If they did, then it would be discussed thoroughly and voted on by the rules committee which happens once each year. You could submit your 16' as well.

I am sanctioned Utrip, but I have only played ASA and NSA. That is also what I have mostly umpired. I have done Utrip as high as the regional level. It is easy to call, but I agree with you that their discipline does not translate well to senior softball, especially the pitching heights and style. Also umpires here don't go to clinics like we did. There is a Utrip rule that they teach here wrong according to their rulebook, and that creates some cheap outs. I will not get into that one here. It is definitely a different game, and I would not enjoy playing it.
Aug. 5, 2018
k man
Men's 65
277 posts
A few years ago, in our senior league, the head umpire who teaches the new umpires classes over the winter, brought a paint roller on an extended handle. He extended it to the 12 foot rule just to show everyone before the games exactly what 12 feet was. Most batters are probably out of their comfort zone when its from 10-12 and pitchers who can keep it there probably see it as one of their few weapons.
Aug. 5, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
First, I apologize to anyone that thinks that I have talked on this subject way too much. I talked about this to 2 of my umpire friends this morning already. One thinks bring it down to 10', the other keep it at 12'. I really don't have a preference but have done the legal pad lists of for and against. I deal with pitch height all of the time, much more than batters and pitchers. So this is important to me.

k man, I agree with you, and we used to do that in clinics. Even the few clinics available now don't do that for 10', and Utrip says don't give them more than 8' but tell them that you're giving them 10', really? Change your rulebook then. The problem as I see it for senior softball with tournaments is that we are like gypsies, only there briefly. We don't have the benefit of time to work with umpires on this. Often this is the only tournament of it that they do all year, some it's the only tournament of it that they ever do. There is no senior umpire bus or plane that can take an experienced staff from place to place, and that would add to expenses that some already don't understand. Most of us have real jobs, families, and other things in our lives that preclude us from devoting ourselves to it no matter how much we love it. So we have umpires that know 10' only that may be from out of town or have league play the night before. You can't really ask them to give you a day without pay to practice it. Then the UICs and Directors also have tight schedules in taking care of the tournament and can't squeeze in one more thing such as a clinic. So I totally agree with in theory, but unfortunately it is impractical to impossible in this scenario.
Aug. 5, 2018
garyheifner
593 posts
Just played SPA-NIT

Had an ump locked in on 6-10 and didn't give a rip about our rules. After about 10-12 absurd high calls (no where near 12 feet) the base umpire said (quietly)I was being squeezed badly and just have to deal with it for this game.

The next game had an ump who was consistent at a 5 foot flat arc. Both teams complained until we all realized it was like hitting off a tee.

My conclusion is that the shorter the distance (arc) between the high and low calls, the better.

Since most of the umps are coming from 6-10 associations at all ages, it would be best to join in and at least get umps who are somewhat consistent as to what a 6-10 arc is and we would know what to expect at a tournament.

As to pitching against senior bats, I wear protective gear, pitch from around 55 feet. In 5 tournaments this year, I have had only 4 liners hit at me. All catchable. At the 70 and over division, the 11th defender, a middle fielder, really discourages hitters from going there. Helps protect the pitcher. Maybe all ages should go to the middle fielder.

Aug. 6, 2018
Mr. Nick
Men's 55
41 posts
garyheifner, I feel your pain. I just got done pitching at the Western Nationals in the 55 Major division. Any pitch that approached 10 feet was illegal. Each time I had to serve up the pitch the ball went out of the park. I plan on bring a 12 foot pole to the next tournament so the umpires can have a clue.
Aug. 6, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Mr. Nick, do you happen to know what association those umpires usually officiate just out of curiosity? I am probably the easiest going and most approachable umpire that you will ever meet (shh, Dave!), but I would take that as an insult if you brought a 12' pole out to my diamond to clue me. There have been some responses from umpires in this thread that I think were somewhat disrespectful to a coach, but respect should go both ways. I am pretty sure that if you put a frying pan on my plate that I would eject you. The only good thing about me is that I seldom have any complaints on my ceiling. I get more on not allowing pitches under 6'. So you don't need to bring me a 6' pole as I live 60" every day; if it doesn't go over my head, it's not 6'. I understand what it is like to be a player or coach, but you know that umpires are people too? I am sure that you are right that they are not giving you 12', but they probably have zero experience in it. What I want is a solution that makes both sides somewhat happy which I know is impossible.

I hope that you had a good weekend other than that. Hopefully we can have a lively discussion on this someday.
Aug. 6, 2018
k man
Men's 65
277 posts
As I reading this thread, on TV Mad Dog and Bill Rifken are discussing the major league strike zone, and in a couple of weeks it's little league baseball where the outside pitch seems to be a strike more often than not. So its not just in our beloved game of softball. We want perfection but the human factor overrules all. See the ball, hit the ball. Play Ball!
Aug. 6, 2018
lb16
Men's 50
153 posts
Would love to have some of these umpires yall are complaining about calling 6-10'. I have been playing senior ball for 5 years now and most of the umpires I have encountered are more on 8-14' range. Have seen many a pitch at least a foot over a 6' tall pitcher called illegal next pitch 13-14' range called strike.
Aug. 6, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
lb16, do you know what association they usually work when not doing seniors? Yes, I have the legal pad out again.
Aug. 6, 2018
marcster13
94 posts
I played this past weekend in Westerns. I personally encountered more than one umpire not call illegal on a high pitch while it was in the air on quite a few pitches. The illegal call was not made until the ball hit the strike mat and close to the strike mat. Two of these were for the third strike.

In this instance would you the players rather the ump keep to his no call of illegal (since it wasn't called while the ball was in the air) or see the batters strike basically overturned since illegal was not called until the ball landed?
Aug. 6, 2018
Duke
Men's 65
882 posts
marcster13, I prefer the umpire make the correct call with the flight of the ball in the air. Those umpires need to be made aware of their errors. To answer your direct question, I would have called time and asked for the Director to overturn the call. Honestly, if it was not called on the third strike, then the batter should have swung, rather than stand there and take strike 3. If the ball was swung at, that would be another issue, because you can swing at an illegal pitch.

JMHO,

Andy Smith,
USED2BE
Aug. 7, 2018
lb16
Men's 50
153 posts
Nancy, don't know what associations they call besides seniors these are SPA and ISSA umps. SSUSA is basically non-existent where I play.
Aug. 7, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1307 posts
Thank you, lb16. I have some theories on quirks of the major association umpires but am looking for some confirmation. I do not believe that there is enough senior ball to keep most umpires going except maybe FHC. I love information. So anyone that has any thoughts, I would love to hear them.
Aug. 7, 2018
DW_7
Men's 50
10 posts
HIGH or ILLEGAL pitches is one of the hardest things for umpires to call. There are no measuring devices or electronics to help; it's all judgement. That's why there will always be imperfect, or yes, bad/incorrect calls. It's hard for an umpire to watch a pitch sail through the sky (day or night) and accurately determine it's height. I've used trees, clouds, the bill of my cap & light poles to help guage height but those are still going to be judgement calls. IMO, your best bet if you think a pitcher is getting away with high pitches is not to yell your disapproval at the umpire from the dugout. If you actually want to affect his judgement on the next one, try approaching him/her between innings with a brief comment that it seems some pitches are high from your angle and you'd appreciate his/her keeping an eye out for that on future pitches. Otherwise, don't take it personally. You can't do it any better so learn to live with it until someone invents the automatic height detector.
Aug. 7, 2018
Omar Khayyam
1298 posts
As a pitcher for 66 seasons, most of them in slow pitch, I have a good idea of what 12 feet is. Yes, there are many umps who call too high for anything over 10 feet, some who are pretty accurate, and a few that let you throw 13 or so without calling illegal.

It disrupts my approach when I have an ump with a low 10 foot limit, but beyond that, if the ump calls illegal on 11 foot, or 11 1/2 foot, I don't mind much as long as it is consistent. I adjust accordingly.

I also agree with previous posters who note that in this game with tournament bats and the necessity of pitchers "armoring up", the pitcher's best defense (including time to back up after release of the ball) is the high 10-12 foot pitch (and higher if the ump allows it). Get down to 10 foot and you might as well play T-ball.
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