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Situation Positioning
60' Field

B Position

Runner On 1st Base

Pick-off

 

   It is very important that the base umpire assume the proper starting position with a runner on 1st base. This starting position is particularly critical when it comes to pick-offs at 1st base. If the umpire is too "deep" or too close to 2nd base to start, he/she will never be able to get a proper angle for the pick-off at 1st base and will end up looking up the back end of the play at 1st. Assuming that the base umpire is in the correct starting position, he/she will be focused on the pitcher prior to the pick-off. As he/she sees the pitcher begin to throw to 1st base in a pick­off attempt, there are two acceptable methods of covering the play. These two methods differ only in the steps taken by the umpire as he/she moves into position for the play, and either of the following two procedures is acceptable:

  1. The umpire will take a quick step with his/her left foot, moving in the direction of the foul line. After taking this initial step, the umpire will turn (pivoting on his/her right foot), face the play, and set for the call.

  2. The umpire will take two quick steps starting with his/her right foot, moving in the direction of the foul line. After taking two steps forward (right followed by left), the umpire will turn (pivoting on his/her right foot), face the play, and set for the call. The preceding two techniques are very similar; the basic difference being which foot begins the pick-off move. The second alternative allows the umpire to take one extra step towards the foul line before turning (by pivoting on his/her right foot) and facing the play. As mentioned previously, either of the preceding two techniques is acceptable in covering pick-off at 1st base.

   As was the case with steal plays, it is imperative that the umpire be completely stopped and set for the pick-off play at 1stbase. His/her body should be facing the play, and it would be best if the umpire is set with his/her hands on his/her knees for this play. Angle is critical for pick-offs, and, it is very important that the umpire set up in the proper starting position and that he/she move, towards the foul line for the pick-off. It is possible that the catcher may try to pick off the runner at 1st base with a quick throw following a pitch. If this should happen, the base umpire's movements would be virtually the same as just described for a pick-off move by the pitcher.   
   Occasionally the runner on 1st base may get into a rundown after a pick-off attempt. If this occurs, it would be handled by the base and plate umpires as
indicated here (click), only the base umpire will stay on the outside.