Less Than 2 Out
With R2 and R3 and less than two out, U1 and U3 will position themselves identical where they would with R2 only and less than 2 out. U1 has the option of the professional starting spot, used by the umpires in the first and second clip, or the Baseball Canada starting spot, used in clip three. We will get to the starting spot of U1 in the fourth clip in a moment.
The first clip depicts a base hit to the outfield. U3 remains at 3B, U1 has any play on the B-R at 1B or 2B, and PU obviously has all plays at the plate. As we discuss in the Plays at the Plate section, although we do recognize that Third Baseline Extended (3BLEx) is the safe place to adjust to on all plays, we ideally want to see every umpire start from the point of the plate, and adjust from there, instead of starting from 3BLEx.
The second clip is a fly ball to the outfield where U3 does not go out. With R3 only, we discussed a common mistake of U3s wanting to line up R3’s tag. In this scenario, if U3 does not go out, he shall line up R3’s tag. U1 will take the ball, as in this clip, unless a fair / foul call down the RF line is required, in which case PU will move down the line as far as the play will allow, making the decision, and returning to the plate. Getting back to the clip, we see U1 take the ball; he is also responsible for R2’s tag. Since U3 did not go out and can take R3’s tag, PU can simply remain at the point of the plate.
In our third clip, U3 goes out, requiring a change in coverage. PU now has R3’s tag and U1 has all plays on all runners on the bases. Once U3 goes out, U1 does a good job of moving to the 3B side of the working area, as that is the side of the field the ball is on, while not drifting too far to 3B due to the presence of the B-R at 1B. Also, PU should not get more than a step or two off of the dirt circle to line up R3’s tag – this principle applies in any situation. PU moved properly, directly to his left from his initial position behind the plate, to do so, but drifted a bit too far away from the plate. We prefer to see the PU remain closer to the plate to allow them to be back at the plate in ample time to adjust to the play.
The final clip inserts an interesting wrinkle: infield playing in. U1’s starting position is completely acceptable, although we would prefer it be used only as a last resort. Obviously, F4 is standing in U1’s normal position. The appropriate adjustment would be to move forward into the starting position advocated by Baseball Canada and then move a step or two to the right. If you still feel at risk of interfering with the play, go ahead and move behind F4. For the purpose of fly ball coverage, U1 is still considered in the infield. Once the ball is hit, as soon as possible, bust back into the working area, as you see U1 do here. Since U3 obviously went out, it is acceptable, and we would prefer to see, U1 go straight to the approximate position where they finished in this clip, rather than drifting back to 1B and then moving across the infield on an obvious double, as we see here. PU properly stays at the point of the plate before moving in the direction of the ball when the overthrow occurs.
With 2 outs, the base umpires will flip positions, as with R2 only and 2 out. U1 will return to the 1B line and U3 will come into the infield.