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My Martin Weber
Europe, Middle East and Africa Region Umpire Consultant

Too many umpires worry about being perfect and not enough umpires worry about being consistent. As a plate umpire you have to be aware that both pitchers and batters have their “comfort zones.” They’re looking for consistency from you with regard to the baseball entering those comfort zones.

Pitchers, especially the better ones, are going to throw to locations. They expect pitches thrown to the same location to be called the same way. Batters also want to know how consistent you are going to be regarding their comfort zone, or are they just going to have to swing at everything that is in the time zone.

Both the offense and the defense will have gauged your strike zone within a few batters. They expect that pitches thrown to the same location to be called the same way. What everyone is looking for is a consistent zone for both teams throughout the game. If you miss a pitch, and you will, you’re going to know it. Relax, let it go, return to your normal mechanics and concentrate on the next pitch. Never try to fix a missed call with a “make-up” call. This almost guarantees that the game will get out of your control.

Finally, keep in mind that players and managers can and will excuse an occasional bad call, but they cannot excuse an inconsistent umpire. As was said before, teams are looking for consistency regarding their comfort zones. If you’re not calling the same pitch in the same location the same way it’s going to be a long game and you will probably hear a version of this popular European chant:

“Move it in, move it out
move it up, move it down
Mobile Home Plate
It’s a strike it’s a ball,
same location different call
Mobile Home Plate”

You really don’t want to hear that song sung to you. Remember call what you see and call the same pitches the same way.