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5 Minute Umpire

Use this page as a quick start guide to umpiring a game as either a home plate or base umpire. The diagrams below show positioning and put you in position to see the calls and succeed. The videos at the right help you visual how to perform basic ump hand signals.

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Home Plate Umpire Positioning

Usage of the "Slot" position puts the umpire in the best place to see the whole strike zone and minimizes getting hit by foul balls. Make sure to reverse the slot position for a left-handed batter.

Slot position

Homeplate slot position

Base Umpire Positioning

The following images show the basic A (1st base), B (2nd base) and C (shortshop) positions for a base umpire. These are the only positions that need to be learned and apply for these runner situations:

  • A position - No runners on
  • B position - Only when a runner is on first
  • C position - Every other base runner situation, i.e when there is a runner on 2nd, 3rd or both.

The base umpire is generally responsible for safe/out calls at all bases, making sure runners touch the bases, making any out calls on balls caught in the outfield and calling fair/foul balls on the 1st base line when  in the A position.

A position - no runners on

A position - The base umpire (U2) is in this position with no runners on. Start 10 feet beyon 1st base and on the foul side of the right field line.

B position - one runner on 1st base

B position - The base umpire (U2) is in this position only when a runner is on 2nd base. It's like you are playing a deep 2nd base.

C position - deep shortstop position

C position - The base umpire (U2) is in this position any time there is a runner on 2nd or 3rd base. This is like a deep short stop position close to the edge of the grass.

Hand Signals

The following videos cover the how to perform the "Basic 6" signals for an ump (strike, ball, out, safe, time, fair/foul)

Strike Call

Rise up and shout "strike" and using the right hand/arm "hammer" signal at the same time.

Ball Call

There is no hand/arm signal when calling a ball and you don't rise from your position until after you verbalize your call. You should not locate your calls, meaning do not say "outside" or "inside", etc

Out Call

Very similar to strike call, rise up while shouting "he's out" with the hammer/strike signal. Always use the right arm.

Safe call

Make sure to rise up, bring arms up and out and then back together while shouting "safe"

Time call

You can call "Time" based on many reasons. Common ones are: manager request, a batter hit by a pitch, a rule violation, an injury, or to confer with fellow umpires to review a play.

Foul Call

Calling foul ball also indicates to the players that the play is now "dead". In a dead ball situation, all play stops and runners must return to the base they were on prior to the call.