Notes from Kleiner's Korner
Week 6: Emphasizing the importance of being STOPPED and STILL on force plays
March 15, 2023
Be Stopped and Still for Force Plays
In order for an umpire to increase his odds for getting a force play correct, it is best if he is in the optimal position to view the play. He must be stopped and still.
While many umpires are programmed to be making moves or adjustments as tag plays evolve, force plays are best judged from a totally stopped and still position. On force plays the umpire moves quickly to the best position, and stops and faces the base after the throw is released. It is recommended that once the umpire is in his final position and facing the base, he remains still and focuses on the play.
Many umpires ask if they need to go set at first base. It is no longer mandatory for an umpire to assume a down position like scissors or "hands on knees" set. On plays at first base where the play seems routine, a hands on knees set is usually okay. Occasionally, the umpire may see a play that is not routine, such as a likely pulled foot or the fielder having to come off the base to tag the runner. For these non-routine plays it is far easier to make adjustments from a standing set. At second base force plays, umpires should remain in a standing set-not going hands on knees.