The Catcher/Umpire Relationship
One of the most important relationships in sports is that of the cather and the umpire.
Why is this relationship important anyway? In my nearly 20 years of catching, the one thing that remained the same with every umpire I had, was that they were all human beings. Yep, that's right, they truly are humans. That means they are imperfect and they have emotions. Some umpires are more imperfect than others, and some more emotional than others. But the fact of the matter is they are going to make mistakes and they are going to experience emotions throughout a game.
How do we apply this information to our game or our success a a catcher? We acknowledge the fact that they are humans and we consider this fact in the way that we catch and in the way we treat and communicate with umpires. In other words, we enter every game with the foreknowledge that the umpire will make some bad calls during the game, it is just going to happen. Our response to those mistakes is important.
Here are some Do's and Dont's that will help you build a good relationship with umpires throughout your career.
Call him by the name he gives you
Respectfully ask questions about borderline pitches
How? Keep your eyes forward rather than turning to look the ump in the eyes
ex. John, where did you have that pitch?
John, is that as far as the zone is going today?
John, what do I need to do to get that pitch?
Give the umpire a good line of sight to the ball
Keep every ball off the umpire
Talk to him about things other than pitches
Let him know you have his back
Pull obvious balls back to the zone
Stick pitches for too long trying to show him up
Argue with a call (leave that to coach)
Let early blocks hit him
Fart (seriously, nobody wants to smell your stink)
Be a pushover (Be respectful but be in charge)
These tips will greatly help your success as a catcher. Follow these and you will see improvements in your games.