All things umpire from a 30+ years retired umpire Dale Scott Part 2
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development.
Dale Scott is a retired MLB umpire. He retired after suffering a severe concussion during the 2017 season. Dale has great stories and great inside from the game of baseball from a different perspective.
On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Dale Scott of, where we discuss all things umpire.
In Part 1 of this Conversation Dale talks about:
- Getting is first all stars appearance.
- Getting his first world series appearance.
- Rule changes and the implementation of it.
- Technology and its role in umpiring.
- The crews and how they interact with one another.
- Getting hit by a pitch or foul ball and positioning self to avoid.
- Any mental barriers coming back from injury.
- Being around the best athletes in the world.
- The best catch he ever been behind and what he learned about them.
- And many more.
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Geoff: Today’s show is part two of our conversation with Dale Scott, the former major league umpire of over 30 years and we’re talking all things on umpire.
Intro: Welcome to another episode of The Baseball Awakening Podcast where we dive into the raw unfiltered, unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs with your host. Geoff Rottmayer.
Geoff: Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, I am Geoff Rottmayer and today is part two of our conversation with Scott, a former major league umpire of over 30 years. We left. We left yesterday’s conversation talking about what the off season look like for an umpire, but be sure to check that out. Dale, I wanted to ask you whatever they rule change or something like that, how does that get relayed to you guys know, it’s got to be interesting, you know, for 10 years this is where we’ve been doing and then all the sudden we got to do this. You know, what that whole process like.
Dale: Well, you know, uh, up until combined, it was a complete change in all of baseball. Uh, instead of having their own separate staffs on separate office president, all of it, they got rid of the presidents. They combined everything under the office of the commissioner and it shows a lot of things. What it also did was you’re combining the umpire staffs, uh, Ashley had. The only real difference was the, does the rule book was the same except that the American date at the Dh that nationally we didn’t, but there were a lot of um, uh, part of the rules, for example, in the American league, a trips the mound by a manager, a coach ended when he left the mound and walked past the foul line. The dragon internationally, that’s trip ended when he left the dirt circle of the mouth. So that’s one of the differences, how they interpreted the same rule book and how they interpret things. And, and then there were also differences, um, car wise little things, a little bit in the American league, a fly ball in the outfield. Uh, there was always whoever had the jurisdiction of where the ball was hit, we’d go out on the fly ball, the NASA lake, the only time they would go out on a fly ball is it for a, a quote unquote troubled law, which means that possibility of a diving catch or a possibility of going off the wall or a spectra interference or that kind of thing. The National League, uh, the first third empires always started out with the pitch was thrown, straddling, straddling the satellite. Uh, even in American league, we always start off with both feet and foul territory. These are little differences, but there was several of them that needed to be worked out because now the umpires were working both with. I’m also starting, the 2000 is we started, he used to be there. They just weren’t real changes in baseball. It was so rare to have a major rule change. I might be a clarification or something, but the rules were pretty much in stone and have been for years. Well, starting 2000. It just started to change every year. There was a real changes that we had. We had pace of play stuff going on. We had a, uh, you know, of course, more recently we had a replay, which is the regulations for replay looks like a mid city phone book. I mean, uh, it’s a lot of stuff. And uh, and so, you know, we had to get together on that stuff. So every year starting in the early 2000, uh, we would have a, what we call a retreat in January. Um, it seems Scottsdale and for about four days, all the empires and the Empire Stat, the supervisory staff and everything would get together and we would go over all the new stuff, how it’s interpreted and how they want us to call it a go over maybe, you know, whatever changes are my bid in, uh, in our, uh, in our contract or travel or whatever it may be. But it was a chance for all of us to be in the same room and get it, you know, a one time from the people in management to get us up to date on how they want things done. And no minor leaks through the same thing during spring training in March, in both Florida and Arizona. They have one designated a day where a or night, whatever it is, I know they get all the minor league umpires that are working in, in, in, in that, in Florida or Arizona, whatever. And they get together for a dinner and they go over all the changes that are happening in the minor leagues. So that’s Kinda, you know, it’s tough. This isn’t until you John, you know, you see guys at the retreat and you see guys in spring training because you know, some guys in spring training because you’re, you’re, you’re working with different guidance spring training. But once the season starts, it’s rare that you even see other empires that you talked to them obviously. But because you know, rarely are two crews in the city at the same time, you get it once in a while with the New York or Chicago. It’s somehow both the home teams or our plane. But that doesn’t usually happen. But, um, but it’s just tough to get everybody together because you’re always constantly on the move. So, so, uh, January, uh, to answer your question, January is when they get together now the retreat and go over, everything is going to happen. That to coming
Geoff: nice for you throughout the entire year. The same four guys stay together.
Dale: Uh, in the, in the major leagues you have 19 crews. There are 15 cruze at maximum working every night because there’s 30 teams, 15 games a, you have two crews in New York working replay every week. And then there are two crews that are off that week. Every crew gets four weeks off during the season. And uh, and so your, your crews put together. I was a crew chief since, uh, since 2001, uh, the crew chiefs, uh, right around this time of year with submit to uh, uh, the, uh, supervisor, our supervisor, five names, five names of the five guys that you would like to have on your crew, you know, and what they try to do is match you up with at least one of those names if not more. And each crew is, is a set setup. You have your crew chief, then you have your, your to man to man is his first runner up. The crew chief is, is, is gone for whatever reason, a family thing or whatever. Most cases, not always. Most cases, the two men that is the crew chief and they’ll bring up a, uh, a fill in triple a guy on your crew, but yet you’re to ban your three man and your format and, and, and there’s a crew balance so to speak, going to put, you know, for, you know, 15, 20 plus veterans and one crew and then add another crew. Has a crew chief and three third year. I mean, you want to have some balance in there and then, yeah, you know, theoretically if everybody’s healthy and there’s no, uh, silently emergencies or, or, or family leave for a wedding or something, the four guys will work together every single game. Uh, a lot of times that doesn’t quite happen because there are situations where they may need to move your, your, your two man to another crew or your three man to another crew because the crew has to guys out or whatever. They don’t want it to be a, uh, you know, they want, we don’t want to lose too much or experience on a crew. But, but yeah, you, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re up with three other guys. You work with the season together and then the next year you may be together again or you may switch guys around. Uh, you know, they, uh, that, that, that all, you know, that’s, that’s really consistent about that. But, uh, but you, you know, you work at your crew together and you hope hopefully you’re with three guys that you really get along with. I mean, there’s, I’m fired. Just like life. I mean, there’s, some guys just don’t get along. And so, uh, you know, the man, you know, management and our supervisors, they have a pretty good idea who they shouldn’t put together. Um, and, and some crew chiefs just flat out say, you know, here’s the guys I would like to work with, please do not put me with so and so. And it’s not, it’s not so much to, uh, uh, you know, that you’re better than them or whatever. It’s just that, you know, that they, you know, it’s a oil and water, it’s just not gonna work. But at the big league level, even if you’re with somebody that you asked about one of your favorite guys, um, you’re compensated now unlike the minor leagues where, you know, I mean, I, I have literally been on cruise, it doesn’t happen often, but I’ve literally been on cruise in the big leagues where we say the four different hotels, um, and part of it, no, not necessarily because they didn’t get along, but part of it was because this guy is a Marriott guy and he wants to marry up points and this guy was a hiit guy and he wants to Hyatt points and, you know, just stay by the airport and this guy of to stay downtown. And um, uh, is, you know, a lot of it is just preference type is type stuff, but you can do that in the big leagues because you’re making money, you’re making per diem and into my leg or it’s a, it’s a different concept. You’re, you’re, you’re traveling together a lot of times in a, in a van, in the lower minors, um, and, and you’re just forced to spend a lot more time with your partner. So it’s, it’s, it’s almost implies you’re not making it. No one’s making any money, so you’re, you’re, you’re, if you’re, if you’re with guys you don’t get along with, in the minor leagues is going to make for a lot longer season for sure.
Geoff: And you brought up, when you get hit by a foul ball, you know, you get a direct ball to the faith, you know, what, what that light, you know, we can only imagine. But until you’ve been there and experienced it, I don’t really think one could know.
Dale: Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s like, it’s just a whole lot of fun. Hopefully. Uh, well, first of all, the things that are in control, which is making sure your equipment, so today your, your, your, your mask and your mask pads are, uh, are, are doing to get new pads every year. Um, just because of the wear during the year. It’s just going to decrease the amount of absorption or cushion that it, uh, you know, you want your equipment a foot properly, all that stuff that’d be best from your control. Things out of your control as you foul balls and catchers missing son or pitchers and catchers are not on the same page. And songs the, this, it’s actually just flat out Mrs. Ball, you know, and, and those are, those are things that, uh, that just happened. And uh, you know, and also in your control is positioning. I mean, there’s a way to work at behind the plate and work behind the catcher that still fortunate that a good look at the pitch and then there’s things that you might do a bit, aren’t necessarily should do, and that will, uh, uh, make a higher percentage of young you might get hit. I took several hits to the legs and the upper side, like a foul ball that bounces and he yelled in a non protective, you know, the sky and I had bruises that were the, you know, um, you know, you take it into the elbow or that, you know. Then of course, the shots to the mask, get the cup. I had to, uh, uh, twice in my career, I to leave a game because of the foul ball into the cup, put me down. And that’s a thrill. So, uh, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s not fun, but it’s not something, you know, it’s quite frankly, it’s not something you dwell on or think about that because if you do, you’re, you’re, you’re not thinking about the pitch and, uh, and, and getting the pitch right, you, it happens, it happens in dealing with it. But, uh, you just, uh, you know, for the most part it’s out of your, you know, process, because that’s, that’s not sounding like you’re selling a hitter’s going up the thing. And Gosh, I hope I don’t strike out. And he’s going there saying, oh, so, you know, that’s part of it, but it’s not a lot of fun. There’s no doubt.
Geoff: You retired when you did the task the past year, right?
Geoff: You’re right. It would, part of that would do to the concussion stuff. And you’ve had several throughout your career. No. What’s it like coming back with their mental barrier or anything coming back?
Dale: Well, the first time in 40 years, I have two and eight months. The second in that eight month period was the one that I, I, I, I didn’t come back to the field after I recovered from that. And, uh, but the first time I, I got a concussion wildness a significant time in three weeks or so before I was cleaner to come back. Uh, ironically, first play games that I had coming back, uh, Strasburg for Washington was the pitcher pitching in Arizona. Uh, when I got the concussion and I so happened my first plate job back in Miami, he, uh, he was with Washington and he was pitching. So I thought, well, this was interesting. Um, but, you know, the thing is he had nothing to do with it. It just has to be on the mound. But uh, but he does throw hard that, you know, as I was recovering for that first one, it honestly never entered my mind would be a little gun shy or something. When I came back and saw a friend of mine about a day before I was leaving, he goes, what do you think you’ll be a little gun shy with you? What? Excuse me? No, no, we can shine. And then in my mind I’m thinking, well, let me, no but, but it. But the fact of the matter is I got back there and that first pitch came in and it was quite frankly just like I hadn’t missed anytime. Maybe you just go to a routine. I’d call a zillion pictures by that point in my career and, and I knew what was going on. I will have to be honest though, after the last one is not really part of the decision to, to knock it back to the field, but it’s certainly something I thought about was that last session when I also had whiplash and it was carted off the field, a stretcher in a neck brace. Um, as I was recovering from that, I thought, well, you know, I’m not sure. I’m just not sure if uh, if I am going to be ready to say, you know, even though unclear, because at that point I was getting tired of getting. I was when they were taking me off the field. I mean, this neck brace, you only look up. I can always look, there is the, is the, uh, is the ceiling or the roof of a, of a sky or whatever they call it now at, uh, in Toronto. And I think to myself, I cannot believe this happened again. I can’t believe that this just happened again. It. And, you know, I’d gone throughout my whole career now. Let me a little side note here. The concussions really weren’t a, as taken as seriously as they should have been and as they are now and so know the early to mid 2000 and there was no doubt in my mind, uh, during the minor leagues and early in my, a majorly career, there were shots that I took it. I probably should have left the field. Uh, but back then it was yelled out. Yes. Yeah, shake chicken off. Yeah, blah, blah blah. Yeah, of course. We know now that that’s absolutely the wrong thing to do. And, and, uh, so there’s no doubt I’ve had concussions before. I’m not saying a lot of them, I’m sure I have, but I’m suddenly in a four year period. Seemed like I was, I was getting whacked every season at some point. And, and, uh, my mechanics were the same. I even, uh, you know, talk to supervisors and reviewed my, uh, you know, video to see what was I doing something different was I put myself in a position that, uh, you know, I shouldn’t be or whatever. Um, I never really wasn’t the case. It was, it was just basically a in the wrong place at the restaurant, you know, you can take all the precautions that you, that you were with positioning everything. The fact that matter is, if the ball’s going to find you, it’s going to find you. And so, uh, that’s, that’s the way it is. There’s many signs you’re taking the foul ball off the, off the mask and there’s no, no problem because it’s the angle of hits or where his son had the mask absorbs it’s and not you, but the ones I took, the three out of the four that I took were shots in the 10 area, um, which is not a good place to get. Uh, and, and, and so, uh, anyway, that, that was, that was my history with that. And, and, and I made the decision, uh, as I was recovering for that last one, I was going to retire in a couple of years anyway. And I had made the decision, you know what I, I talk, I sought out some specialists, uh, talked to three of them total in all three. At the same answer for me when I said what if any longterm effects will these concussions have been? All three of them said, it’s almost like they read the memo, he said, we don’t know, we have no, we don’t have the data yet. We’re trying to get the data. There’s research going on, but at this point we just don’t know if, if you will have any repercussions at all. Um, and, and then they all three basically said, but what we do is the more head blows that you take, the higher percentage that you’re going to have issues, uh, in the future. So you know that to be the same. I’m so close to retirement, uh, and, and, and, you know, I was trying to figure out how I would defend myself if I went back to work and then got hit again. It had to be carted off. How am I going to say, well, why am I doing this? Am I doing it? You know, I mean, I, I’ve had real series, I’ve had a great career. Why, why risk, uh, when you’re almost a retirement, why risk the fact that you may have that one shot that is going to affect you, headaches for the rest of your life, a memory issues, maybe neck issues. Um, why do that? You know, so that’s, that’s why I just said I, I think I’ve got enough that I walked away.
Geoff: You got a chance to work in the world series and even from all star Games, what is that like, you know, obviously they’re picking the best. I’m tired of that year to do the game. Am I right?
Dale: Yeah, yeah. It’s again what I said earlier about getting that call to the big leagues for the first time and it’s a goal that you’re trying to achieve from day one at empire school. Once you get to the big leagues, you know, there’s, there’s other goals now and one of them obviously is to work a world series. I mean, you, you, you, uh, that would be the, you know, the pinnacle of a career. And I was fortunate enough to have two or three of them the first time. A funny story. The first time I got that world series call, uh, it was in 1998 and, um, it’s a different system now. And of course, back then it was American lead nationally, so I was only one of three American empires that we would be on the crew in three nationally, guys. But, uh, back in our contract says if you had to for the post season of Empires by September 10th, uh, so, uh, now it’s, it’s much later. It’s only a 10 days before the event. So, um, the, uh, I get this call, I was in Toronto, it was a Saturday and uh, uh, we had a day game was a Saturday night. I get a call and it’s a marty springsteen and the head of the American league. He says, you know, Scotty, you’re, you’re, uh, you’re gonna work at world series this year. And of course we don’t know who’s going to be in the world series or anything, but I just knew I was gonna work. Well, the next day, it just so happened I was thrilled. I mean, I was excited and happy and, and, and I was, they already start to get nervous kinds of things going on the next day. I just, and I, I was acting crew chief would that weekend because they saw she, she was, it hurt his ankle or something. He was a back in St Louis. I’m crew chief and the next day, the next day I had the plate. It was a Boston and Toronto and I ended up that day because of several different places I ended up can both managers and a relief pitcher. So I got the Trifecta, you know, just one of those, one of those days that happened. Well, Marty calls me after the game and he goes, Scotty, I go, hey marty. And he goes by you. You understood the last time when I called you, I said, you got the world series right?You understand that you’re in, right? I didn’t you out the next day. You run three guys. We laughed about that for a long time. But, uh, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s like it’s said, it’s an absolute thrill to be, to be chosen. You know, it’s, it’s, uh, something that you always want as a, as a, uh, you get to the big leagues and, and you know, you have other goals, like I said in one of them is the world series that you always want to get that, that first world series because even if you never get another one, that’s something that, you know, you always hear the Cliche, they can never take that away from you. But it’s true once you, once you were at war, a world series, I’m fired. Um, you could have the other world series, but you know, that first one is the one where you use your now world series. I’m fine. And you get that ring and, and that’s, you know, again, that’s something that you’ll have forever and it’s a, it’s just a, it’s such a pinnacle to her career. So I, I was, I was absolutely thrilled. I, I had a kind of an odd, a career because I had three world series and then seven years and I never had another one. One of my last, my last, uh, 13 years, 12 years, I never got to note. So apparently I was really good for about seven years,
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Geoff: So part of being at the major league level, you’ve got to be around some of the player you know here. These guys are the best in the world of the game of baseball along with you guys. I’m pyre. But in terms of the spleen, the guy and how they go about their business, what. Is there anything that stood out to you or learn from watching the dive?
Dale: Well, you’re absolutely correct. You’re on the field with a baseball players in the world and you see a, you know, obviously as your umpiring a game, you’re an umpire, your, your, your responsibilities and that kind of thing. But I, I got to be honest, there were times, especially with like when, and there’s nobody on it and know I’ll see a ground ball deepen the hole at shortstop and so it’s not somehow gets to it and then somehow to, towards himself to make a throw to first, I have no real responsibility on that play and I’ll watch it and just go, wow. You know, and I mean they’re there. They’re at time. Oh Wow. Because it’s just a [inaudible] he just respect to the talent and the athleticism of it. Uh, the players show that. But that’s, you know, and, and, and, and, and reflect on that too after a game because, you know, like for example, if that same way I just described, if I at first base, I don’t have a chance to go well because I got flatter focusing on that. But, um, you know, you, you respect the fact that these are the best in the world. You respect the fact that they are so talented and what they do with it, whether it be hitting or fielding or pitching or catching or overall package. But you also understand that no matter how good or, or sameness or decorated a player is, um, as an umpire, you can’t get caught up in that, uh, you know, three times our younger, whether on the mountain is, there’ll be a pitch that, that the umpire calls a strike and they’ll say, wow, reports on the, well, no, no, you don’t have to get anything. It’s just that this guy is pretty good. And he just painted the corner and he throws strikes, you know, and um, I think it’s a little bit unfair sometimes put in the viewer’s mind fans’ minds that, that we give things to people because of who they are or take away because of who they are as a rookie kid. Her side. But I’m going to call it dragon. He deserve it together. You don’t know any better. It’s, it’s just not even mindset as a like you have, you have a close play at first and, and, uh, the runners really fast and you call them to wow, you know, he gave it to him. He sees a quick read. No, we didn’t give it. I didn’t know that. Oh, this is so much. So in the field. He’s thrown from there. Okay. I’m going to call them defense and, and uh, uh, it’s.So sometimes that’s a little frustrating to hear that because people believe it. They believe that you did a joke at the end of the 93 season was the last game at a jolt into ballparks before they lose it, a new one, which is now going to be replaced by another new one. Currently, I’m, uh, I had the last step. There’s also the last of the Rangers who played Kansas City and it was also the last game for George Brett and Dolan Ryan. They were both retiring and neither one were in the playoffs. And so that was going to be their last game. Well, I way rotation worked out. I was going to be behind the plate that game. And Ryan was supposed to start in and I was telling my, my crew mates, I said there are no, no, this was like a couple of weeks before together. So now what am I supposed to do the last game of the season? So I kinda got to a hall of Famer Nolan Ryan Pitching. I got a hall of Famer, George Brett headed to, who the hell am I supposed? I said, why don’t we make this easy? We’ll have that. He strikes out second and 40 out and everybody was happy, right? We laugh and joke about it. As it turned out, Ryan ended up on the disabled list. He didn’t, he didn’t pitch doors, read, played and, and Ryan and Brent brought out the lineup cards and, and uh, uh, you know, I joked with them, I said, thank God you’re not pitching. They got to realize I didn’t know what they laughed. They thought it was funny, whatever. But, uh, you know, it’s, these guys respect these guys for their talent. But you also just stands at a, you know, you still have to throw strikes, you still have to, you know, throw the guy out or make the tag on the runner or whatever it is. And, and, and so you’re not caught up into the, uh, the fan side of or that you know, you understand who they are, you respect to they are and what they’ve done, but you still have a job to do.
Geoff: Right. So what about, what about the catcher? What made you go, man, this guy’s good.
Dale: Well, any catcher that didn’t let the ball hit me was wanting a relationship with catchers because, you know, you’re right, they’re uh, they’re kind of protecting you. Your job is to catch the ball. They don’t probably, and I’m going to protect them apart, but I know, but it’s like anything personality. Some guys are talkers, some guys have a good personality, some guys don’t get along with a, for whatever reason. Um, I’m not a talker when I worked some umpires and we’re more of a conversationalist than I am. And same with some catchers. Talk about what some testers just say anything. And so it’s, you know, I’ve had several, you know, good catchers. I, uh, Mike Cassini who just got fired from the managerial job at St Louis, but he caught for the brewers and then for St Louis and I love the highlights. He was a good catcher. He, he, he, he presented the ball well, caught the ball well. And I remember one time, uh, this catching him in the picture got crossed up. Any misses the ball hit me. And uh, and uh, you went off to, you know, behind him he had to run and get it, cause there’s a player or a veteran or whatever, but he was still saying like, yeah, no, I’ll be, I’m fine. And about not any later he comes down, he goes, you realize of course that if you don’t know how bad I feel that that ball hit you. I said, Mike, it’s okay to just see. I believe his father in law may be improved by two. I thought it was his father was a referee in the NFL. So. So Mike had an understanding of the officials a little bit, you know, he understood that. He may not agree with you all the time, but what guys go through a little bit in a different perspective on that. Dan Wilson, the mariners, he got along with you. I mean there’s a lot of guys who got along with guys that are much better catchers than others and when I say that, as they present the ball much better. The best catcher I ever worked behind as far as making damn near every pitch look like a strike was ba boom, ba boom. Had a uncanny know strong risks and soft hands, that type of thing where he could receive the ball in such a way that he, you know, you hear now about framing and reframing and already framed that pitch. He really fooled the empire. Well, it’s a little overblown that a guy that screams, quote unquote, a lot of times we’ll take a pitch that he, he thinks is outside and when he catches it, he kind of loses his, his, his glove. Yeah. And after he catches it to make it try to look like you caught it, you know, closer to the plate or whatever. Well, as an umpire that, that quick kind of spastic almost movement, uh, of the glove once it catches it, all that says to me is just thought it was outside and you know, so I’m probably going to call it outside because it, you’re not helping your cause. What helps their. Cause? There’s a guy like Bob Boone who would catch that same pitch but been, I’m not sure how he did it, but I always felt he massaged the pitch when he caught it. So where he kinda so softly yet almost gracefully. If you can use that term that were just made that pitch look good. They’ll take that low pitch instead of it’s borderline on the knee. It could be. It’s really close and instead of cash with the glove down, he kept his glove up and, and, and, and it’s the same location but it makes the picture look a lot that he presented the pitch much better. Now you know, we call pitches because of where they are in the strike zone or not in the strike zone. That being said, a catcher is, is very good. Catcher is going to help a pitcher. He’s going to, he’s going to help make a few pitches every game, what probably a other catchers, what you’d call a ball. It was this guy he’ll call strike. It’s the same pitch, but it’s because of how he receives the ball and, and if you trust me as a pitcher, loves catchers that do that because it helps them. Pitchers have real issues when they throw a borderline, a decent borderline pitcher and the catcher butchers that because now it’s called a ball and then, you know, they’re frustrated a lot of times they don’t like to call, but they’re really, they’re also frustrated that their, their, their teammate didn’t, uh, didn’t know, basically butchered the catch
Geoff: with the whole technology coming into play and all that stuff. Has that maybe changed some of the approach of, of game calling?
Dale: Well, I mean it changed the pitch tracking system used to be called quest tech. It was what we had internally as far as our evaluations and judging a fish’s first started around 2002, I believe, and know quite honestly, we had gotten a little bit away from the a rulebook strike zone. We had morphed into a much wider plate and a much a lower top end of the zone. And uh, the bottom zone was up a little bit. In other words, our zone was, was too slow and too wide, too low on the top level and too wide and pitches that quite frankly now if you called strikes back then before the pitch tracking system was put into a fact. Yeah. And everybody did it. Frankly. Pitches that were one, two inches outside. We’re being called strikes just more in kind of evolved into that type of zone. And hitters go to. They didn’t necessarily like it, but they knew it well. It’s sort of interesting sort of pictures because they would, they would used out there. But when this new system where the system came in, it was one of the reasons they implemented this is because we had combined that the staffs in 2000. And you always heard that it was the highest red NASA, his low and blah blah, blah, whatever. But the point is they want it to be much more consistent. Staff wide on, on, on, uh, calling the strike zone. And they wanted us to give more back to the book definition of the strike zone and payer slash what’s acceptable. They, they, they tweaked the rule itself. It used to be the upper part of the zone was, was, was the shoulders that’s just to not necessarily meant to little league and that kind of stuff, but in, in the festival. So now it’s the midpoint between the waste and the shoulders. So that lowered it to about the letters approximately. They also tweaked a little bit the, the, the, the low part of the zone. In effect, what that meant is it brought the low part of the own down about maybe an inch. But what it, what they also want to do is get us back on the plate, especially that outside pitch. And that’s what exactly what that system has done has made the major league strikes. I didn’t, it didn’t happen overnight. It. And we were adjusting our strikes, but we’ve been calling for years. The hitters and pitchers had to adjust to that outstanding pitching staff in Atlanta for years. A smoltz glavin about x. They feasted on off the plate that we’re called strikes and just go straight through them. They were called strikes. You don’t. We were calling strikes out there, but certainly those pictures were balls because of, of, of what was going on. And, and you know, there was a transition period there where they weren’t happy, they weren’t going once. And so there was a learning process for everybody because a hitters, we’re now suddenly getting pitches on the knee that just called low and balls and strikes it like that, that were getting used to have, which is a huge strikes off the plate now being called every bad had to adjust. But after about a year, year and a half of that, um, we all kinda got on the same page and knows what, what is the definition of what they want us to call success has, has the technology teams things. Yes. It has a, I think we needed a, a, an adjustment or it feels like I said we were getting too far off the plate and we weren’t getting the pitches above the belt than practically if it was above the belt, it was a ball, which is just wrong. So, uh, it, it, it did change it and I put them up for, I think it changed it to better
Geoff: that might have had an impact because you hear a lot about, you know, time of play, you know, you think, you know, being a little bit tighter with the zone, maybe more ball to being called. And, and maybe I’m wrong, I haven’t looked at the numbers, but do you think that this contribute to the game being longer?
Dale: Well, the length of, of Major League Baseball Games, I think there’s several factors that played into this. I mean, when I came my year in the big list six, the average, a nine inning game in baseball is to have approximately two hours. Forty minutes. Uh, the average, uh, uh, last 2:17 was, it was about three hours now. Um, that’s, that’s the average. So you got a lot of games that are going beyond that night. Any Games, they don’t count any extra, any games and these figures, you know, I mean, you get some of those, uh, uh, red sox, Yankees, they’re almost four hours, three to 3:40 5:50. It’s, it’s insane. Um, now what plays into that? Well, okay, you were asking about the pictures or the strike. So, um, you know, granted we are um, you know, refill, we refined the plate or in the strike zone, but that I think would have a small effect on it. I don’t think that’s the major thing I hit. First of all, games have more commercial time now the, the, in between innings is longer because, you know, tv pays the bills and uh, and, and, and, and, and when you get into the postseason and longer, I mean it, uh, right now, uh, a major league baseball game that’s not a, not a, a, a national game like the Saturday Fox with a Sunday. ESPN or the Sunday Tvs, uh, you have in between innings of a, a two. Oh five. And if it’s a, if it’s a, a, one of those games are just solely about it. It’s 2:25 or 2:35, something like that. Now that you know, that’s the only, you know, 20, 30 seconds difference. Yeah. But that’s every half heading. So, you know, whatever that is. So you, so you’ve got that. And then in the postseason, I mean in the world series, I think the breaks are or three minutes and there’s like two or three names where the breaks are three and a half minutes. That’s a long time. Uh, uh, you know, for, you know, lot, some pitchers are ready after, you know, 45 seconds later, boom, they’re ready to go on. And a lot of times nowadays we just tell them, hey, we got long breaks. They’ll just sit in the dugout for the first minute because they don’t want to be out there, you know, just throwing, throwing, throwing. But uh, that’s one of the factors we have. We have factors now that the philosophy of baseball, many, it didn’t used to be a lot of things there. This now almost every team does this. They, they want to work pitch counts, they want the picture to, to work more. They want, they don’t, they, they want you to work the accounts to, to, you know, two to three, two, they, um, are much more, uh, you know, trying to get hitters and be much more selective and, and, and, and, and, and get to pitch count up, especially on starters. Um, so that takes time. You have, you have a lot of hitters now, stadiums, you have your walk up music and you guys won’t even leave the leave. The batting circles was intel and sell their walk up music stars and they were announced, you know, and it’s like, again, these are little things, but when you combine all these things together, you have, it seems like you have some pictures that are human rain delays on the mountain. They get it right, they get a runner on and they’re constantly stepping off. Are they constantly changing signs to constantly, you know, stepping off, taking the first or they’re throwing it first and, and, and it’s almost like you’re scared to throw.Uh, we, you know, baseball has made some adjustments on game or trying to make adjustments to help game time and one of them was trips to the mountains because it used to be a catcher first base when they have to go out there and say something to him. And then there was all this dead time, uh, between, between action, they have what they call a pace of play and basically if, if, if the pace of play picks up your game times will be better. They’re not trying to necessarily just say, you know, focus on the time per se. They’re trying to focus on the game itself and have less downtime between pitches and what’s going on. And they’ve tried several things since the early two thousands to, to occur. This son that worked well, some not so much. Um, and you know, uh, you know, they’re constantly trying to do it.There’s, there’s you, they have the pitch clock now where we didn’t use to have that. They have the, the uh, uh, the clock for, for uh, if you’re going to challenge you and ask for a replay, you have only so much time to, you know, to do that and try to just get the pace picked up. So, you know, one little change was when they started the pitch clock a few years ago, used to have pictures that would Mosey onto the mound and take their warmups and, and uh, you know, and just be kind of on their own, their own time. And if it was a really hot day, uh, after the third hour they have to go back out onto the mound. So some guys went wild. They get up and stretch a little bit and they said they tell office of, you know, might. Yes, just, just, you know, dead time while they put the uh, the uh, pitch clock up there and all of a sudden these same guys that used to take a little time now, now because there’s something on there actually ticking and it’s something they can see. They started, they started moving pretty good. You only surgery. I kind of jogging out there and uh, and uh, uh, you know, picking it, picking up the pace a little bit, and again, these are little things, um, but when you put them all together, it’s a little things that have made the games longer and it’s a little things that are going to bring the game, uh, you know, reduce the time and then it’s a major focus in the admissions office and you’re going to see more settings to come because it’s a baseball, it’s just taking too long.
Geoff: They were down in Jupiter ball level and they were talking crazy stuff like one one count and stuff like that. They’re not going to go that far. Are they?
Dale: Baseball lives on traditional statistics, you know, and that kind of stuff. I mean, it looks how it was just a major, you know, when they went from 154 games, 162 and that’s when Maris and manual, we’re having the home run derby at year and they want to put an asterisk by his name because he had more games to play, blah blah. But, you know, so any major change, uh, you know, started with one one count or whatever it is. I don’t see that happening now. What I do see happening, uh, and I think may happen in the future here is after, again, those extra one is after like a two x or any babies attempting to 11, you know, it’s still tied. You’re going to start with a runner at second base and they’re doing that in the minor leagues. And the reason is, you know, we had that unbelievable 18 inning game in the world series this year, seven hours and 20 minutes or something like that. And that’s phenomenal. And you think, oh my God, and all that, all the things that go with that. But frankly, the longer you get into the extra Indians that you might be pitching, you know, position players, you know, you’ve used your whole bench. You know, you can’t, you can’t pinch it down with, with a runner in scoring position because you have nobody on the bench anymore. You’ve used everybody up and, and, and the product itself gets diluted as the Indians go. Uh, so, you know, baseball, not only the timelines is that just, you know, huge, but they’re thinking, you know, what, our product isn’t that good once we get into 15, 16th any, because, you know, maybe they’re not scoring because whatever it is. So I, I do think that you will have some someday see something to the effect of after two extra Indians, you know, you’ll have to render a second or whatever trying to stimulate scoring. It’s like, it’s like people hated it when hockey went to the, to the shootout. So it’s not that we did a, a place where there’s a winner on, but kind of getting used to it because, you know, at some point we got to end this game, you know, let’s, let’s, let’s get it done. And we got 162 to play. So let’s get this done. You know,
Geoff: looking at the clock and then noticing the kind of end with this, now that you are retired, what are you going to do now?
Dale: Well, first of all, I missed almost the entire 17 disease, although technically certainly grabs on staff. That’s when I got hurt. So I officially retired, I’ve been retired since January, first of 2018. I’ve loved it. I’ll be honest with you. I know even though the jury prompted me to move up my retirement a couple of years, I was ready. I was ready and it’s already two years in the big leagues, a long time, 38 years total. And professional baseball. It’s a, it’s a lot of foul tips as I like to say. Uh, so, um, I, I’m enjoying life. I’m enjoying it. Like in 2017 I lived in Portland, Oregon, the summaries in the northwest and I would miss every single one of them since they’re going to baseball because I would be somewhere else. Uh, and really just enjoy doing the things that people do in the summer. Uh, in the northwest. I got at least you get a pirate groups around the country. Uh, I’m working with the American players, a group out of Indianapolis and doing some evaluating for them in June and July for a week, you know, my hand at a little bit and helping, you know, helping out where I can, but also keeping my schedule. But I don’t want, I’m not looking for something that’s going to take me away from home for weeks at a time or, or many times a year because, uh, I, I’ve done that all my license, you know, just enjoy it would be enough. And, and, uh, and I’m having fun doing it.
Geoff: This has been one of my favorite conversation. Been interesting to me from your perspective of the empire. But anyway, I really appreciate your time.
Dale: I had a great time. Thanks for asking me.
Outro: I am Geoff Rottmayer and thank you for listenting to our conversation