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Appeals Board: Affirms E-152 Davis 2 & E-157 Segal 2; Reverses 156-Randazzo 2.
The Left Field Corner: Read the September 2014 Issue of LF Corner

Monday, September 22, 2014

Polls: 2014 MLB Postseason Umpire Speculation Thread

With the 2014 MLB postseason on the horizon, umpire assignments take center stage in the UEFL. As the Wild Card assignment is crafted during this final week of the regular season, we consider assignments for the entire 2014 MLB postseason.

2011 World Series Umpire Brian O'Nora in his First Fall Classic
(Photo: "The Third Team," MLB Network)
Speculation Thread - Predict The Postseason
Wild Card (WC) - 2 Games - 12 Umpires
Division Series (DS) - 4 Series - 24 Umpires
Championship Series (CS) - 2 Series - 12 Umps
World Series (WS) - 1 Series - 6 Umpires

"Choose Your World Series Umpiring Crew" Poll
After a one-year absence, our World Series poll has returned. In the below poll (after the "read more" jump), all umpires eligible for a World Series assignment (e.g., the umpire has previously worked a League Championship Series) are listed. -cc indicates a regular season Crew Chief while an asterisk (*) indicates the umpire has not yet worked a World Series prior to 2014 and would accordingly be a Series rookie. New This Year: In the poll below, the year in parentheses represents the last year this umpire has worked a World Series. For instance, "Barrett, Ted ('11)" signifies that Ted Barrett last worked a World Series in 2011.

The 2013 World Series featured two World Series rookies (Mark Wegner and Paul Emmel), as did the 2012 World Series (Dan Iassogna and Brian O'Nora) and 2011 World Series (Greg Gibson, Ron Kulpa). On a similar note, the 2013 World Series featured three regular season crew chiefs and one who became a crew chief the following year (John Hirschbeck [WS -cc], Dana DeMuth, Jim Joyce; Bill Miller was appointed to Crew Chief for the 2014 season), as did 2012 (Gerry Davis [WS -cc], Brian O'Nora, Joe West; Fieldin Culbreth was made a Crew Chief in 2013).

Per the World Umpires Association's 2009 CBA with MLB, umpires are now eligible to work two, but not three, consecutive World Series. Since this policy came into play, however, no umpire has worked two consecutive World Series. The 2013 World Series crew was John Hirschbeck -cc, Mark Wegner, Dana DeMuth, Paul Emmel, Bill Miller and Jim Joyce.

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1224-1229: Sept 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decisions:

R12243BEddings, Doug20TOR53John Gibbons1OutOverturned
r1225HPBlaser, Cory17TOR54John Gibbons2OutConfirmed
R12261BJoyce, Jim5TOR55John Gibbons8OutOverturned
R12272BCarlson, Mark12STL38Mike Matheny5OutOverturned
R12282BByrne, Jon1ARI43Kirk Gibson5SafeOverturned
R12291BJohnson, Adrian21LAD45Don Mattingly7SafeConfirmed

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1224: SEA@TOR: Valencia's hit overturned to triple in 1st
Video 1225: SEA@TOR: Denorfia nabs Bautista, confirmed in 2nd
Video 1226: SEA@TOR: Tolleson awarded hit after challenge in 8th
Video 1227: STL@CHC: An out call is overturned in the 5th
Video 1228: ARI@MIN: Safe call overturned at second base in 5th
Video 1229: SF@LAD: A safe call is confirmed in the 7th inning

Sunday, September 21, 2014

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1216-1223: Sept 21, 2014

September 21, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decisions:

R12161BBarrett, Lance20BOS43John Farrell7SafeStands
R12171BBlaser, Cory15TB58Joe Maddon6OutOverturned
R12181BBlaser, Cory16TB59Joe Maddon9OutConfirmed
R12192BO'Nora, Brian13HOU38Tom Lawless6OutStands
R12201BGibson, Greg16CHC61Rick Renteria3SafeOverturned
R12211BWolf, Jim13TEX47Tim Bogar8SafeOverturned
R12221BMiller, Bill14ARI42Kirk Gibson6OutStands
R12231BWelke, Tim17CIN33Bryan Price3SafeOverturned

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1216: BOS@BAL: Joseph safe as call stands in the 7th
Video 1217: CWS@TB: Myers safe at first after challenge in 6th
Video 1218: CWS@TB: Rodriguez confirmed out at first in 9th
Video 1219: SEA@HOU: Altuve caught stealing as call stands in 6th
Video 1220: LAD@CHC: Ramirez out at first after challenge in 3rd
Video 1221: TEX@LAA: Pujols out at first after challenge in 8th
Video 1222: ARI@COL: Pollock out as call stands in the 6th
Video 1223: CIN@STL: Safe call overturned after challenge in 3rd

Saturday, September 20, 2014

MLB Ejections 196-197: Marty Foster (4, 5; Garza, Roenicke)

HP Umpire Marty Foster ejected Brewers P Matt Garza and Manager Ron Roenicke for throwing at Pirates batter Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Brewers-Pirates game. With two out and none on, McCutchen took a 1-2 fastball from Garza for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and chest-high, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the game was tied, 0-0. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 1-0.

These are Marty Foster (60)'s fourth and fifth ejections of the 2014 MLB Regular Season.
Marty Foster now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2*[2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable] = 4).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 23 points in Crew Division (21 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Calls = 23).

These are the 196th and 197th ejections of the 2014 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 84th player ejection of 2014. Prior to his ejection, Garza's line was 4.2 IP, 0 ER.
This is the 89th Manager ejection of 2014.
This is the Brewers' 7/8th ejection of 2014, T-1st in the NL Central (CHC, MIL, PIT 8; STL 7; CIN 5).
This is Matt Garza's first ejection since Sept 14, 2013 (Joe West; QOC = Y-crewmate [Check Swing]).
This is Ron Roenicke's first ejection since Aug 27, 2014 (Mark Ripperger; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Marty Foster's first ejection since Sept 15, 2014 (Chase Headley; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 9/20/14
Video: After warnings were issued, Garza goes up-and-in on Cutch and is given the boot, Ron too (PIT)
Video: Garza maintains innocence, says "you're just an idiot" if you think it was a purpose pitch (MIL)

Appeals: The Legalese of Reviewable Base Touching

Umpires consulted Replay Review on a base touch appeal play during the Tigers-Royals game. With one out and two on, Royals batter Omar Infante hit a 2-1 fastball from Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer on a line drive to Ian Kinsler, who attempted to double up Royals baserunner R2 Eric Hosmer, throwing the ball away as Royals baserunner R3 Salvador Perez ran through home plate.

Umps Nauert, Vanover, Carapazza & Hernandez.
After the Tigers executed a live ball appeal during which 3B Umpire Larry Vanover ruled Perez legally retouched (or tagged up at) third base, Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus elected to file a Manager's Challenge, Vanover signaled for New York, and joined HP Umpire Angel Hernandez in donning the replay headsets, landline to MLBAM HQ.

So... what happened? Was the play reviewable, was it actually reviewed, and was the correct call made?
Video: Tigers appeal, third out costs Royals a run (FOX)

Question 1: Was the play reviewable? The relevant regulation citation is Replay Review V.F.3.: "Base Running. The following base running calls are reviewable...Upon an appropriate appeal by the defensive Club, whether a base runner touched a base (see Rule 7.10(b) and Comment)." OBR Rule 7.10(a) is the relevant rule: "Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when—After a fly ball is caught, he fails to retouch his original base before he or his original base is tagged."

Answer 1: YES...but (see 1a), this play is reviewable and may be initiated as the result of a Manager's Challenge (or Crew Chief Review if after the 7th inning and the requesting team has previously unsuccessfully used its Challenge).

Question 1.a: ...But what of Replay Review Regulation V.D.2, which states that "The Umpire's judgment on whether a base runner left early when tagging up" is not subject to review?
Answer 1.a: Depends on Ausmus. The reason V.D.2 may not apply to this play is because Vanover's judgment as to the timing of when R3 Perez left third base did not have to be the subject of Ausmus' inquiry. Replay Review Regulation II.I is Specificity of the Challenge and requires the Manager to "inform the Umpire of the specific calls for which he is seeking Replay Review."

If the specific call Ausmus attempted to challenge was whether R3 Perez touched third base, as in Rule 7.10, which is reviewable pursuant to Replay Review Regulation V.F.3, as specified above in Question 1, the play may be reviewable. If the specific call Ausmus attempted to challenge was whether R3 Perez left third base before the catch (timing), the play is not reviewable. Vanover in post game comments stated that Ausmus challenged that R3 Perez "did not tag properly." This reason for request is too vague to parse whether Ausmus challenged a reviewable or unreviewable part of the play.

Let's get even more technical. Regulation V.F.3 states that "whether a base runner touched a base" is reviewable while V.D.2 states "whether a base runner left early when tagging up" is not reviewable. Thus, the physical act of touching is reviewable and the issue of timing is not reviewable. A retouch, which is "the act of a runner in returning to a base as legally required," is not specifically covered by Replay Review Regulations, but in the tautology of touch/retouch/tag-up/retag, etc., we see that only the extremes of a base touch and leaving a base are covered; the former is reviewable, the latter is not. Retouch falls somewhere in the middle and, therefore, may be technically subject to Replay interpretation.

Question 2: Did the Tigers actually execute an appeal?
Answer 2: YES. Contrary to the broadcast's remarks, the Tigers filed a legal appeal prior to Ausmus' challenge by stepping on third base (the alleged missed base) and appeal to the umpire for a ruling on R3, who had since scored. An appeal must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play, and must be made while the ball is alive. Though it is most common to see an appeal initiated from the pitcher standing on the mound after the umpire has declared "Play" following a dead ball, the rules allow for an appeal to be made during the same play sequence as the alleged offensive violation to be appealed, all while the ball is live. Had the Tigers not filed an appeal, the play would not have been reviewable (until a proper and legal appeal was filed).

I'll say it again. Contrary to the FOX broadcasters' claim, the Tigers did appeal at third base.

Question 3: Was it actually reviewed?
Answer 3: NO. Vanover and Hernandez spent two-and-a-half minutes on the headsets, yet MLB claims the play was not reviewable (and thus was not reviewed by New York). If the play was not actually reviewed (e.g., no decision was rendered by New York), the error is charged to the Replay Officials for not reviewing a play eligible for review via Manager's Challenge. If the play was indeed reviewed and resulted in an overturned call, this decision was proper and correct. Instead, it appears the on-field umpires reversed the original call after on-field conference with Vanover, Hernandez, 1B Umpire Paul Nauert and 2B Umpire Vic Carapazza.

Question 4: Was the correct call ultimately made?
Answer 4: YES. Video evidence is quite clear and convincing that R3 Perez failed to retouch third base.

I'll say that again, too. YES, the on-field umpires got the call right. R3 didn't retouch and was properly declared out on appeal.

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1211-1215: Sept 20, 2014

September 20, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decisions:

R12112BGibson, Greg15CHC60Rick Renteria3SafeStands
R12121BDrake, Rob13PIT44Clint Hurdle2OutOverturned
r12131BBarber, Sean13CWS40Robin Ventura2HRStands
R12142BReynolds, Jim20CLE41Terry Francona7SafeOverturned
r1215HPFairchild, Chad8WAS41Matt Williams7OutConfirmed

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1211: LAD@CHC: Safe call at second stands in 3rd inning
Video 1212: MIL@PIT: Out call overturned in the 2nd inning

Video 1213: CWS@TB: Umpires review Franklin's homer in the 2nd, stands
Video 1214: CLE@MIN: Safe call overturned in the 7th inning
Video 1215: WSH@MIA: Out call confirmed at the plate in the 7th

Friday, September 19, 2014

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1204-1210: Sept 19, 2014

September 19, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decision:

R12041BGibson, Tripp18CHC59Rick Renteria2OutOverturned
R12051BFoster, Marty16MIL30Ron Roenicke8SafeConfirmed
r1206HPJohnson, Adrian20COL39Walt Weiss5OutStands
R12072BReyburn, DJ24SEA41Lloyd McClendon4OutOverturned
R12081BWendelstedt, Hunter13HOU37Tom Lawless8OutStands
R12092BFagan, Clint17CIN32Bryan Price2OutStands
r1210HPGorman, Brian13LAA45Mike Scioscia7OutConfirmed

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1204: LAD@CHC: Cubs challenge call at first, overturned
Video 1205: MIL@PIT: Safe call at first is confirmed in the 8th
Video 1206: ARI@COL: Umpires review play at the plate in the 5th, stands
Video 1207: SEA@HOU: Out call at second overturned in the 4th
Video 1208: SEA@HOU: Astros challenge play at first in 8th, stands
Video 1209: CIN@STL: Out call stands at second in the 2nd inning
Video 1210: TEX@LAA: Martin's throw home reviewed in the 7th, confirmed

Thursday, September 18, 2014

MLB Instant Replay Reviews 1198-1203: Sept 18, 2014

September 18, 2014 featured the following MLB Instant Replay Review decision:

R11981BCuzzi, Phil19CHC58Rick Renteria9SafeConfirmed
R11991BVanover, Larry19CLE39Terry Francona1OutOverturned
R12002BHernandez, Angel20HOU36Tom Lawless9LiveOverturned
R12011BVanover, Larry20CLE40Terry Francona9OutOverturned
R12021BCulbreth, Fieldin15STL37Mike Matheny8OutOverturned
R12031BConroy, Chris16LAA44Mike Scioscia5SafeOverturned

MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 1198: LAD@CHC: Safe call in 9th challenged, confirmed
Video 1199: CLE@HOU: Ramirez's out call overturned in 1st
Video 1200: CLE@HOU: Bourn's hit to left-center overturned in 9th
Video 1201: CLE@HOU: An out call is challenged, overturned in 9th
Video 1202: MIL@STL: Cardinals challenge out at first in the 8th, overturned
Video 1203: SEA@LAA: Angels challenge safe call at first in 5th, overturned