Did you umpire softball games? I am not talking about baseball strike calls, and I am not talking about calling a runner out or safe. I understand why you would not want to rush a call on an out, because maybe the first baseman dropped the ball or took their foot off the bag early. You want to make sure the call is correct before making it at a base, but I’m not talking about that kind of call.
I’m specifically talking only about strike signals in a softball game. Watch a softball game some time, high school or college (my daughter plays high school softball). When a pitch is a strike, the umpire will yell, giving a verbal strike call, then wait 2 or 3 seconds, then make the hand gesture that signals the strike call. The problem is, when the game is on TV, most of the time you cannot hear the verbal call, so you are waiting 2 or 3 seconds after every pitch for the hand gesture signal. Every softball umpire does this, so they are obviously trained to make strike calls in this specific way. I’m just wondering what the reason is for the strike hand signal to be delayed by 2 to 3 seconds. In baseball, a strike signal is given almost immediately. Why is it supposed to be delayed for softball?
Here are the rules per the official rules of softball re "umpire calling a strike"
Sec. 4.A STRIKE IS CALLED BY THE UMPIRE.
. (FP ONLY) When any part of a legally pitched ball enters the strike zone before touching the ground and at which the batter does not swing. (SP ONLY) For each legally pitched ball entering the strike zone before touching the ground and at which the batter does not swing. EXCEPTION: It is not a strike if the pitched ball touches home plate and is not swung at.
. (FP ONLY) For each legally pitched ball struck at and missed by the batter. (SP ONLY) For each pitched ball including an illegal pitch, struck at and missed by the batter. NOTE: Sec. 4a & b (SP ONLY) The batter cannot legally swing at any pitched ball that hits the ground or plate. However, if the batter swings and misses the pitch prior to the ball hitting the ground or plate, it is a strike.
EFFECT - Sec. 4a & 4b: (FP ONLY) The ball is in play and runners may advance with liability to be put out. (SP ONLY) The ball is dead and runners may not advance.
. For each foul tip. EFFECT - Sec. 4c: (FP ONLY) The ball is in play and runners may advance with liability to be put out. The batter is out if it is the third strike. (SP ONLY) The batter is out if it is the third strike.
. For each foul ball when the batter has less than two strikes.
. (SP Only) For each foul ball, including the third strike.
. For each pitched ball struck at and missed which touches any part of the batter.
. When any part of the batter's person or clothing is hit with his own-batted ball when he is in the batter's box and he has less than two strikes.
h. When a pitched ball hits the batter while the ball is in the strike zone.
. When the batter fails to enter the batter's box within 10 seconds after the umpire calls "PLAY BALL."
. When an offensive team member deliberately erases the lines of the batter’s box. Effect – Section 4a-j (SP ONLY – the ball is dead on any strike and runner(s) must return to their bases without liability to be put out
I see nothing in the rules that covers your question
And no I haven't umpired any games in softball...No interest in the sport at all, just follow the LadyVol forum and try to input and help any thread I can
My own theory...An umpire might want to take a moment to make sure he is relaying the correct signal to the crowd...He announces it immediately to the batter and then does a visual so that someone 300 feet away would clearly know the call. It would be more embarrassing to knee-jerk the wrong call than it would to take a pause and make sure he/she is sending the right visual,,,just a theory