Starting Positions and Fly Ball Coverage
Having U3 go out on a trouble ball from the middle of the infield is an advanced professional mechanic that is not a Baseball Canada mechanic. For more information, see our Advanced Mechanics page.
If U1 goes out on a fly ball, U3 and PU will revert to the two-umpire system. U1 is not required to go out on obviously non-catchable, non-trouble fly balls, or fair balls down the line that are not susceptible to going out of play, interference from a member of the bullpen, or spectator interference.
Ground Ball to Infield
On a ground ball to the infield with R1 only, the plate umpire remains at the plate, unlike the two-umpire system, unless he has to advance up the line to make a fair/foul call. With a double play situation, once the out is recorded at 2B, the plate umpire should begin moving up the 1B line trailing the B-R, as they would with no runners on base. If there is an overthrow, the plate umpire will be responsible for the overthrow. Once the ball is fielded, or if it deflects and remains in the infield, the plate umpire will not rush a rotation, and leave coverage to the BUs. As we see in the video, all umpires react accordingly; once there is an error on the front end of the double play, leaving two runners; U3 breaks for 3B with R1 and then verifies that U1 has come into the infield to cover the B-R before continuing to 3B.
The umpire is straddling an imaginary line from home plate to the edge of the pitcher’s mound which continues to the umpire’s starting position, not too far or too close from 2B. As the play develops, the umpire does not get too close to 2B, allowing the ball to turn him to the play, is set to observe the play, and makes the call. Do not get too close to this play – the closer one gets, the later they would turn with the ball, thus the greater tendency for a close steal play to explode on the umpire.
All HBUA umpires shall use the 1B side of the field with R1 only.
Base Hit (No Umpire Goes Out)
Even if there will be no play on R1 at 3B, PU must get all the way to 3B, so as to be in position should a play occur unexpectedly.
Baseball Canada now permits PU to take the play at 3B from the outside, if U1 has not gone out and will cover the plate. Therefore, there is no reason for PU to take a play from fair territory in this situation. See our Advanced Mechanics page for more information on how to properly work 3B from the outside.
U1 meanwhile, must rotate to the plate once R1 commits to 3B. U1 must be at the point of the plate as soon as possible and would make any call at the plate using standard play at the plate mechanics. Creating good habits by busting to the plate every time there is a rotation makes it less likely U1 will be caught out of position should a play at home actually occur.
Finally, U3 must remain in the working area patiently allowing the play to develop. In order for U1 to release to the plate, R1 will have committed to 3B – that leaves U3 with only the B-R to cover. Only in the event that the B-R holds at 1B is U3 be required to move to 1B to cover the B-R. In cases where the B-R will advance to 2B, it is permissible for U3 to simply await the B-R’s arrival at 2B.
The video’s continued reference to 3-2, 2 out situations should be interpreted to mean that because of R1’s head start, as they are no doubt running on the pitch, should have all umpires aware to the fact R1 will likely advance two bases on a routine base hit. This means that PU and U1 must be prepared to rotate immediately.
Base Hit (U1 Goes Out)
Should U1 go out, PU must always enter the cutout and take a play at 3B from fair territory since U1 is not available to cover the plate. As soon as PU reads there will be no play on R1 at 3B, regardless of how far the PU has or hasn’t advanced down the line, they should return to the plate at once. In the video, we see PU start up the line, realize that R1 will reach 3B uncontested, and returns to the plate. Although PU is back to the plate in plenty of time, PU actually could have made this decision even sooner.
With U1 out, U3 must shade the ball side of the field, but also react to the location of the hit, ensuring they stay ahead of the B-R at all times. On anything more than a single, regardless of where the play will occur on the B-R, U3 must be in the cutout to observe the play. The above video shows U3 reacting way too late to an obvious double (potential triple) and they are therefore not in the 3B cutout when the B-R arrives at 3B. Although no play occurs, this failure to read the play is not acceptable.