How to Choose a Baseball Umpire Indicator
The Umpire indicator, or clicker and counter as they are often called, is an essential piece to a baseball umpire’s daily equipment. It is to an umpire, what a cooking knife is to a chef. Beyond the protective pieces that umps wear during the game, the clicker can be considered the most important piece of their repertoire, as it helps them keep count of the balls, strikes, outs, and sometimes the innings and score. Umps are fond of certain clickers, as they give the right fit in their hand, and can feel like they will never roll past the number when keeping count.
The umpire indicator has a series of dials to help them record the balls, strikes, outs, and innings for each batter during the game. Umps have a few different options, based on preference, and can purchase umpire clickers that go to ball four and strike three (4/3/3 indicators meaning 4 balls, 3 strikes, 3 outs), or others that end at ball three and strike two (3/2/2, 3 balls, 2 strikes, 2 outs), so you remember to reset the clicker for the next batter.
On an umpire indicator, you will find that the strike is typically the top dial, followed by balls, outs, and innings, but you can find clickers with balls first, or balls and strikes side-by-side. Since balls are announced first in the count, newer umpires may prefer a clicker with that indicator on top.
Metal or Plastic
Once you have decided on your preference of balls or strikes first, your next option will be whether you want a metal or plastic indicator. Metal indicators will be a bit heavier, more durable, a little slippery, and a lot fancier. Plastic indicators are cheaper in price, lighter, and have a textured surface, which makes it slip-resistant. Indicator dials are starting to switch to a fluorescent yellow color instead of white, to make the numbers easier to read at night.
As an ump in a baseball game, you’re going to want to hold the indicator in your left hand when umping behind the plate. This is because you make strike and out calls with your right hand, and if you were to hold the indicator in that hand, the chances of you accidentally losing grip on it increases when making a call. Some umps will carry a spare indicator in case one is lost, breaks or your partner needs one.
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