Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Teachable - Preparing for a Potential Plate Play

This Tmac's Teachable Moment highlights HP Umpire Alfonso Marquez officiating a play at the plate during a pickoff sequence with runners at first and third base. Fonzie's movements highlight the importance of preparing for a potential play at the next base, even if the throw starts somewhere else.

During this play from a Cardinals vs Diamondbacks game, runners are at the corners with one out in the top of the 4th inning. A pickoff throw on the runner at first base falls to the ground as the runner from third base breaks for home. D-Backs first baseman Kevin Cron retrieves the ball and throws home, with Cards baserunner R3 Randy Arozarena sliding headfirst as Arizona catcher Caleb Joseph attempts to apply a tag.

While 1B Umpire Dan Bellino prepares to rule on the pickoff play (which never truly materializes as the ball is dropped), HP Umpire Marquez moves into position by scrambling to his right and away from the point-of-plate, attaining a keyhole angle to see the potential tag on the runner.

Every umpire on the field has a potential play.
In this play, there are two runners and accordingly two immediate potential plays based on the pickoff throw to first base, which involve all four umpires. They are:
R1 into first base (1B Umpire).
R1 into second base (2B Umpire).
R1 in rundown (1st & 2nd base umpires).
R3 into third base (3B Umpire).
R3 into home plate (HP Umpire).
R3 in rundown (3rd and home plate umpires).

As Marquez demonstrates here, anytime the ball is in play, any umpire on the field should be prepared to receive some sort of a play. Here, Marquez simply takes R3 into home plate, but even 3B Umpire Larry Vanover or 2B Umpire David Rackley had potential plays at their bases—or in the areas in front of their bases. The lesson is be prepared so that when the time comes, there's no surprise and desperate attempt to get into position.

This Tmac's Teachable Moment was sponsored by Umpire Placement Course (

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Teachable - Preparing for the Next Play (CCS)


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