The Role Of Umpires In Softball
All the decisions related to the plays are made by the umpires of the game who monitor and control the game of softball. The role of these umpires in most of the circumstances is similar to that of the referees in case of American Football. The range of the umpires that are allowed to participate in a game of softball is between a minimum of one to a maximum of seven. Not more than one plate umpire is allowed to be a part of the game. The number of base umpires can go up to three and there are up to three umpires allowed in the outfield. A crew of two umpires is used in most of the fast pitch games. This crew includes one base umpire and one plate umpire.
The use of an indicator is generally made by the plate umpire. This is called as the clicker or counter. This indicator helps in keeping a track of the entire game. Since the uniform of the officially appointed umpires of this game is generally blue in color, therefore, most of the times these umpires are called by a nickname of ‘blue’. According to some of the jurisdictions that have been defined by NCAA, ASA and ISF games, it is required that the umpires of softball must wear slacks which are navy blue in color along with a short which is light powder blue in color and a baseball cap which is also navy colored. The umpires in Canada are however allowed to wear either a red or a light blue shirt. There can be definite variations seen in the uniforms of the different umpires across the world.
Umpires make use of the hand signals so as to indicate their decisions. They also do so by vocalizing or by making a call. Flat hands are generally used for making safe calls. In such a case, the flat hands are generally kept away from one another and they are moved in downward direction. At the same time, the umpire verbally calls ‘safe’. In order to make the out calls, the umpire generally raises his right hand with fist in the clenched form and simultaneously he would verbally also call ‘out’. The role of the plate umpire is primarily to call out the strikes. He makes the same movement of raising his hands with a clenched fist but he would verbally also call ‘strike’. The ball calls are made verbally only without any physical gestures using the hands. An umpire may also use the option of completely being quiet on the different balls. For the obviously foul balls, the umpires will generally not convey any signal. The balls that are however at the borderline, the use of a signal is made acknowledge the situation.
The decisions that are conveyed by the umpires are considered to be final in all respects. Only in cases, where misinterpretation of some of the rules has happened may allow for some kind of protest against the decision of the umpire. There may be a presence of an interpreter for rules or a Tournament Chief Umpire (TCU) in case of some of the tournaments who is generally allowed to make judgments in case of some of the protests that may have happened.