TRICKS

OF THE TRADE

They've only been umpires for a few weeks, but Northwoods League umps Malachi Moore and Sam Hansen have already picked up a few do's and don'ts:

FOUL INDEED

Park on the street, if possible, not in the ballpark lots. Too many dent-causing foul balls. CORRECT TERMINOLOGY If a manager complains about a close pitch from the dugout and asks why it wasn't a strike, stick to "inside" or "outside" if possible. He can judge the pitch's height from the dugout but not its location.

BELT ... UP

Use the term "up" to describe a pitch that's above the belt, never "high." The latter too often triggers some version of "You must be high," which leads to unnecessary conflict.

ART OF DIPLOMACY

If a player or coach is objecting too loudly from the bench, walk over between innings, pretend to confer with the manager about the lineup card, and tell him to get it stopped. That avoids inciting the crowd or team.

ART OF DIPLOMACY II

Similarly, if a pitcher or catcher is complaining, brush off the plate while you discuss it with the catcher.

TO-DO LIST

The day before you travel to the next city, call the general manager to confirm game times, just to be safe. MINTY FRESH When you check into a hotel, ask for complimentary toothpaste. At this salary, every penny counts.

PHIL MILLER