Umpire Relations

How to Talk to Umpires

In the wake of two umpire-related events last week—Bob Davidson’s blowout with Joe Maddon, and Joe West ejecting Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle over two disputed balk calls—former big leaguer Eduardo Perez (the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, who has managed in Puerto Rico and is an analyst for ESPN) offered up a brief tutorial on umpire relations, a topic with its own chapter in the unwritten rulebook.

Perez’s key points:

  • “Sometimes (as a manager) you know that the umpire made the right call, yet your player doesn’t seem to think so. In situations like that, you almost always still back your guy up because you don’t want to lose his trust.”
  • “Umpires don’t like it when players use their hands as a form of communication. They would rather have you yell at them than flail your arms because everything is on TV and it makes them look disrespected, like you’re showing them up.”
  • “If I disagreed with a strike call, I was taught to look down at the plate and be specific about what I saw: ‘Hey, I had that pitch 6 inches outside.’ Making eye contact and asking the umpire where the pitch was is the wrong move because you’re making more of a scene and questioning his judgment instead of confidently stating your own opinion.”

– Jason

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