The Plate Meeting

   Related Pages
      The Pregame Meeting
      The Pregame Meeting Checklist  

The plate umpire is the de facto umpire in chief for the game. Among other responsibilities, you must run the pre-game meetings. There are two pregame meetings that every UIC should convene before every game, without exception:

  • The umpire's pregame meeting
  • The plate meeting with the team managers

In this article we cover the plate meeting; we discuss the pregame meeting in the article of the same name.

The plate meeting, where the umpire crew meets with team managers, is required by rule (Rule 4.03). Five minutes before the game's scheduled start time, you and your crew proceed to home plate and call the team managers out to home plate for the pregame conference. 

The plate meeting should be short and to the point. You should cover the following (although this varies somewhat from league to league):

  • Review each manager's lineup, confirm there are no final changes. If there are changes, ensure the change gets onto both managers' copies and also that the changes goes to the scorekeeper. Then, ensure that lineups are exchanged. At this point the lineups are official.
  • Ask coaches to confirm that their players are properly equipped, and that all equipment is regulation. (This is a requirement in Little League and some of the private leagues. Confirm with league or tournament officials whether this is necessary.)
  • Go over ground rules for the field. Typically you'll ask the home team manager to go over the ground rules. In some cases (for example, at tournaments on neutral fields), the umpires may receive the ground rules in advance from the tournament director. In this case, you should go over the ground rules yourself at the plate meeting. If your field is not fully enclosed, be sure to clarify boundaries for the field of play, and where dead-ball territory begins.
  • Cover special rules, if any (for example, clarify tournament rules, league rules, etc., if any apply).
  • Insist that both teams play with the highest regard for sportsmanship. Remind the coaches that they, and only they, can call on the umpire to discuss a call, and that they should wait for action to stop and then ask for time before doing so.
  • Answer questions, if any, but do not let your plate meeting turn into a rules clinic.