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Situation Positioning
60' Field

B Position

Runner On 1st Base (Only)

Base Hit to the Outfield -
1st to 3rd Responsibilities

 

 

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With a runner on 1st base only, on a clean hit to the outfield, the base umpire will step up with the foot on the side the ball is hit and bust into the infield, turn in the direction of the ball and back up toward the mound to open up the playing field. (NOTE: We call this area behind the mound the "working area" for the base umpire). From this area he/she is in good position to perform his/her responsibilities and for moving into proper position as plays develop. When the base umpire has multiple runner responsibilities, if no play develops after the base hit, the base umpire should maintain his/her basic position in this "working area" and not be drawn unnecessarily towards a base without a potential play developing there.

   The base umpire has the responsibility of the touch at 2nd base by the runner from 1st as well as the touch of 1st base by the batter­runner. The plate umpire will come out from behind home plate in the direction of 3rd base, keeping approximately three to six feet into foul territory as he/she moves down the 3rd base line. It is suggested that as the plate umpire leaves the cutout area at home plate, if he/she observes that a possibility exists of a play at 3rd on the runner originally on 1st, that the plate umpire make an initial communication to his/her partner, "I've got 3rd if he/she comes!" alerting his/her partner to the possibility of a 1st-to-3rd play.

 

IMPORTANT CONCEPTS OF 1st-TO-3rd MECHANICS

   While the ball is in the outfield, the plate umpire will have to make an important decision. He/she must immediately "read" the play -- taking into consideration the location of the ball, the reactions of the runner rounding 2nd base, and the position and reactions of the outfielder -- determine the likelihood of a play at 3rd base on the runner originally at 1st base. If the plate umpire observes that the runner has committed to 3rd and that a play at 3rd base is likely (or in fact, imminent); he/she will cut into fair territory somewhere between halfway and three-quarters of the way to 3rd. He/she will break quickly ("bust") towards the cutout at 3rd, and communicate loudly to his/her partner, "I've got 3rd, Sam! I've got 3rd!" When the base umpire -- who at this point has come into the infield and pivoted (into the "working area") to observe the play and watch the

runners touch their bases -- hears the plate umpire communicate, "I've got 3rd!;, he/she will then transfer responsibility of the runner originally at 1st to the plate umpire. If the base umpire does not hear the plate umpire declare "I've got 3rd", the base umpire must assume that all the runners at all the bases are his/her responsibility and the base umpire will let the ball take him/her to whatever play that develops. The base umpire, from the working area, will try to get into the best angle/distance position that he/she can to make the call. This is why it is VERY IMPORTANT that the umpires communicate often and loudly and that they never take anything for granted. At that point the base umpire will start to slide over to the 1st base side and pick up the batter-runner, who at this point becomes his/her only runner. If the batter-runner rounds 1st and commits to 2nd, the base umpire will quickly move towards the 2nd base cutout. If the batter-runner rounds 1st and holds up there, the base umpire will slide still closer to the 1st base cutout -- but he/she will not go all the way back to the cutout in case the runner originally on 1st should happen to get into a rundown between 3rd and 2nd. (And should a rundown develop between 2nd and 3rd, the entire rundown would belong to the base umpire until the plate umpire could move into position and help with half) On the other hand, if the plate umpire sees there will be no possible play going into 3rd on the runner from 1st (indicating that the runner from 1st will either (1) hold up at 2nd; or (2) will easily attain 3rd base with no play on him/her -- and instead the possibility exists of a play at the plate on the runner), the plate umpire will retreat back towards home in foul territory and communicate to his/her partner, "Going home, Sam! Going home!" at the moment he/she recognizes no play will occur going into 3rd base.

 

   When the plate umpire sees that there is a good possibility for a play at 3rd, as previously mentioned, he/she would communicate to the base umpire as he/she moves into the cutout at 3rd. At that point he/she should immediately get into position for the play at 3rd, obtaining proper distance and angle for the play. He/she should be completely set at the cutout and waiting for the play (ball and runner), NOT timing his/her arrival so that he/she is getting set as the play is about to occur. In getting into position for the play, the plate umpire should initially square his/her body towards 3rd base as he/she sets for the play and watches the ball by turning his/her head.

   If the runner is declared out at 3rd base, the plate umpire will pivot out of the cutout and head back to home plate in foul territory, keeping the ball in front of him/her and his/her eye on the ball. If the runner is safe at 3rd, the plate umpire will again keep his/her eye on the ball, and after the ball is thrown to the pitcher he/she will pivot out of the cutout, come across the 3rd base foul line into foul territory, and head back to home plate. If the ball is over thrown at 3rd base (so that the runner may get up and start home), the plate umpire will stay in fair territory and take responsibility of the runner going home. In this situation, he/she should pivot out of the cutout at 3rd with his/her left leg opening up towards home and move in fair territory in the direction of the home plate cutout, staying, of course, off of the foul line so as not to interfere with the runner's progress. Again, he/she must turn with the ball and keep his/her eye on the ball.
   Should a play develop at the plate, the plate umpire will be set in fair territory (usually in front of the plate) with proper distance and angle for the play. In the meantime, the base umpire will be with the batter-runner, his/her only runner at this time.