Calling Balls/Strikes from Behind the Mound? Follow This Easy Safety Tip

May 23rd, 2020

STAYING SAFE ANNOUNCEMENT from line drives if required and willing to work behind the mound.

Brent Rice who is in charge of officials at the MHSAA (Michigan) and former administrator and instructor at the Wendlestedt Umpire School shared this on an “Umpiring through COVID” Zoom call with the American Sports Officials, Inc.

(Paraphrasing) Distance is not as important as angle. You can get farther back from the mound and still be just as effective calling balls and strikes than if you were hugging the mound.

In other words, find the distance behind the mound that works best for you from both an accuracy and safety standpoint. Backing off helps give you more time to react to a line drive.

And if you feel you need more safety - although it shouldn’t be necessary to wear plate gear - there is supplemental head protection that fits inside your cap.

The supplemental protection Brent is referring to is the Unequal Uncap Protective Flexshell.

Unequal Uncap Protective Flexshell

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About the Author

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President Jim Kirk

Jim has a heart for sports officials and is a leading expert on umpire gear, safety and apparel. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire during the Elbeco shirt years. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought in 2006. Jim is proud of's success, staff and support for multiple groups including Minor League Baseball Umpires, Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy, the Wounded Warriors Umpire Academy and UMPS CARE, the charity of MLB umpires. He served on the UMPS CARE board of directors and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient.


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