Ground Ball to Infield:
PU busts up the line, getting a step or two beyond the 45′ line, but is still stopped to observe the play at 1B. U3 moves across from his starting position beyond 3B for a potential play at 2B. We need to see more hustle from U3, in case the play breaks down, as they are responsible for a play on the BR at 2B. Of course, U1 is off-camera at a position appropriate for this play.
Base Hit to Outfield, No Umpire Goes Out:
Crews have two options for coverage on base hits with no runners on:
1) Standard Coverage: PU will stay home. U3 is responsible for all plays at 2B and 3B.
2) Advanced Coverage: U3 is responsible for all plays at 2B. PU will rotate to 3B and take any play at 3B. Once the batter-runner commits to attempting to advance to 3B, U1 will cover the plate. This coverage allows umpires covering 2B & 3B to work the base in order to get the optimal look at the play, instead of being forced to take the play from inside the cutout.
Fly Ball Coverage
It is not necessary for umpires to go out on line drives or fly balls to the gap that are obviously uncatchable and pose no risk of a HR / GRD, or line drives down the foul line where the umpire will not have the chance to gain additional distance before the ball lands, when there is no chance of the ball going out of play or being interfered with by a spectator or player in the bullpen.
U1 Goes Out:
PU will bust up the 1B line to take all plays on the B-R at 1B, while U3 moves into the working area. It is permissible for PU to work 1B from foul territory (first 3 clips) in the event there is a play back into 1B. PU should remain at 1B until the ball is securely held in the infield or the B-R reaches 2B, at which point they shall return to the plate. On grey area fly balls (first clip), PU should read both U1 and U3 to confirm which umpire has gone out on the ball.
U1 must go out on all fly balls that may be caught by a fielder (routine or trouble), leave the playing field (HR / GRD), require a fair / foul call down the line, or hard ground balls that are heading towards an active bullpen / out of play area. On balls hit to CF, it is critical U1 and U3 read the ball, the fielder, and each other in order to determine which umpire should go out. U1 has priority in determining whether or not they will go out on a ball to the centre fielder.
It is highly suggested for U3 to move toward 2B in a direction parallel to the 2B-3B basepath on any grey area fly ball while reading U1. This technique is known as rim-reading.
Again, umpires should not remove themselves from infield coverage on balls that are clearly going to land uncaught, or those which require fair / foul decisions only a few feet beyond the umpires position down the line.
Finally, just because a ball leaves the playing field does not mean umpire responsibilities are over. While umpires need not bust to cover their responsibilities once a ball has gone out of play, crisp hustle is expected. Umpires should always avoid walking on the field, as exhibited in the two home run clips. Regardless of whether or not the ball remains in play, assess the videos and ask yourself which umpires appear most (and least) credible based on their hustle and effort.
U3 Goes Out:
If the ball is “trouble” (difficult catch / no catch, potential HR / GRD), it is permissible for U1 to bust into the infield without pivoting to be able to assist U3 should a crew consultation be required, although U1 should still make an attempt to watch the B-R touch 1B over their shoulder. On all other non-trouble balls, U1 is expected to pivot. U1 will only enter the cutout at 2B or 3B if a play on the B-R is imminent (ball and runner arriving at the base). Should a play develop at 3B, U1 is expected to arrive ahead of the B-R and be stationary in the 3B cutout. Therefore, it is critical U1 stay ahead of the B-R at all times.