Covering fly balls in a 3-umpire system

Covering fly balls is an important responsibility for base umpires in a 3-umpire system .

• If a base umpire does not cover a fly ball, the plate umpire is responsible for for the call.

From standard starting position

• U1 has center fielder to the right field dead ball line
• U3 has center fielder to the left field dead ball line.
• Plate umpire has no chase responsibilities

From rotated starting position

• U1 has right fielder to the right field dead ball line. U1 has the right of first refusal on balls hit to the right-fielder
• U3 has the “V” from the left-fielder (F7) to right-fielder (F9). U3 has no fair/foul responsibilities.
• Plate umpire has left fielder to the left field dead ball line.

From the counter-rotated starting position

• U1 has the wedge from the center fielder to right fielder. U1 has the right of first refusal on balls hit to the center fielder. U1 has no fair/foul responsibilities, except when using a situational mechanic
• U3 has center fielder to the left-field, dead-ball line
• Plate umpire has right fielder to the right field dead ball line.

Additional information

• The first-base umpire has first right of refusal on covering fly balls.
• Know your coverage areas
• Cover when the ball is
o hard hit in the air (unless no doubt leaving the park)
o near the warning track or side fences
o when two fielders are converging, gapper
o near the lines
o on all bloopers.
• Verbalize “covering”, “going,” ‘gone” or “two man.”
• When the ball is hit in your partner’s area, know if they covered (listen and verbalize).
• Never assume that your partner has covered or not covered
o Quickly look at your partner when the ball leaves the infield
o Look again at your partner as you move into position
o Then look a third time
• When your partner covers, move to your new position.
• When your partner does not cover, move to the normal position.