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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejections (x2) - Takahito Matsuda

An ABL batter made no attempt to avoid being touched by a pitched ball, resulting in a pair of ejections in Australia. HP Umpire Takahito Matsuda ejected Melbourne Aces 2B Tanner Vavra & Manager Joe Vavra for arguing a ball (no-HBP / failure to attempt to avoid a pitched ball) call in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Heat-Aces game. With none out and none on, Aces batter T Vavra took a 0-1 fastball from Heat pitcher Daniel Schmidt for a dead ball pitch ruled a ball. Replays indicate the pitch made contact with Vavra's left arm, but Matsuda ruled Vavra failed to attempt to avoid being touched by the ball, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections, the Heat were leading, 4-1. The Aces ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

* OBR Rule 5.05(b)(2)(B) [formerly 6.08] states that the batter is entitled to first base when "he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless the batter makes not attempt to avoid being touched by the ball." Replays indicate Vavra may have actually 'leaned in' to the pitch by extending his elbow toward home plate, but relevant for Matsuda's ruling is that Vavra simply made no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball.
Note: Contrary to the broadcasters' depiction, Matsuda ruled the pitch a ball, not a strike. Had the pitch been located within the strike zone, the proper call would indeed have been a dead ball strike.

Wrap: Perth Heat vs. Melbourne Aces (Australian Baseball League), 11/27/15
(Click the "read more" link for video of this play)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejection - Bob Crawford (Non-INT)

Australian Baseball celebrated American Thanksgiving with an ejection for an interference no-call. 3B Umpire Bob Crawford ejected Bandits Manager Dave Nilsson for arguing a safe call (non-interference) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Bandits-Blue Sox game. With none out and two on, Blue Sox batter Alex Howe hit a 1-1 fastball from Bandits pitcher Rick Teasley on the ground to second baseman Mitch Nilsson, who threw to shortstop Riley Unroe as R1 Joshua Strong arrived at second base, Unroe's attempted throw to first base bouncing off Unroe and deflecting into foul territory, allowing Howe to advance to second on the throwing error. Replays indicate Nilsson slid late, as in a rolling block, and did not attempt to reach second base, the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Blue Sox were leading, 3-1. The Blue Sox ultimately won the contest, 5-1.

*OBR Rule 5.09(a)(13) [formerly 6.05(m)] states that the batter is out when: "A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play." The rule's associated Comment states, "The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play."

As specified in the UEFL's October 11 analysis of Dodgers baserunner Chase Utley's takeout of Mets pivot man Ruben Tejada during Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series, willful and deliberate interference, as interpreted in the MLB Umpire Manual, occurs when a runner fails to make a "bona fide effort to reach and stay on the base." This is an additional criterion for willful/deliberate interference, which, when combined with the "should be able to reach the base with his hand or foot" guideline, and the rolling block guideline (contacting the fielder before sliding on the ground) confirm that R1 Strong's actions in the ABL game constituted willful and deliberate interference, and, thus, a double play. Note that in MLB/pro, there is no "mandatory slide" rule at second base: only the aforementioned criteria requiring a bona fide effort to reach and stay on the applicable base.

Wrap: Brisbane Bandits vs. Sydney Blue Sox (Australian Baseball League), 11/26/15
(Click the "read more" link for video of this play)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Final Results of the 2015 UEFL Rules Summit

The 2015 UEFL Rules Summit is complete and final results are available. Pursuant to UEFL Rules, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces the following rules changes for the 2016 UEFL season. The results of the Summit have been referred to the UEFL Rules Committee for formal codification and adoption.

➤ 6-1: UEFL Challenges/Appeals will require a second in order to be reviewed; 73% Yes, 27% No.
➤ 6-1: UEFL Challenges/Appeals may be initiated by the UEFL Appeals Board; 54% Yes, 46% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5: Calls that may be associated with a QOCY or N will receive such status; 51% Yes, 49% No.
➤ 6-2-b-8: Appeals Board may initiate review of MLB Replay Review decisions; 51% Yes, 49% No.
➤ 8-1-h: Penalized commenters may apply for reinstatement; 53% Yes, 47% No.
➤ Appeals Board: Arik G; 81% Yes, 19% No.
➤ Appeals Board: cyclone14; 83% Yes, 17% No.
➤ Appeals Board: RichMSN; 93% Yes, 7% No.
➤ Appeals Board: tmac; 93% Yes, 8% No. (*92.5% and 7.5% were both rounded up to 93/8*)
➤ Appeals Board: Turducken; 87% Yes, 13% No.

2016 UEFL Appeals Board: Gil, Jeremy, RichMSN, tmac, Turducken, Arik G, cyclone14, [2 vacancies].

The following proposals did not receive an absolute majority of 'yea' votes and, therefore, did not pass:
➤ 1-3: Modification of drafted umpire structure; 38% Add ump, 12% +1 cc -1 PRM, 50% No.
➤ 3-3-a: Charge the Crew Chief -1 points per QOCN ejection; 36% Yes, 64% No.
➤ 4-7: Remove Replay Review from league scoring; 33% Yes, 67% No.
➤ 6-1: Institute an automatic QOC trigger based on Quick Vote; 22% Yes, 78% No.
➤ 6-2-b-1|2: Make all Borderline/MOE pitches QOCU [Irrecusable]; 48% Yes, 52% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5-b: Eliminate the DiMuro Rule regarding repeat visits; 46% Yes, 54% No.
➤ 8-5: Require a membership or entry fee; 21% Yes, 79% No.
➤ 8-6: Allow for trades during the season; 35% One Trade, 3% 2+ Trades, 62% No.

The following editorial change has been adopted:
➤ 2-b-1: Modifies the Kulpa Rule to reflect a 20" diameter of home plate, or a 0+.833 range, which corresponds to a |.750| to |.916| MOE range, centered at |.833| feet, which replaces |.768| to |.935|.

Thank you all for joining us for the 2015 UEFL season and participating in the year-end Rules Summit. For those sticking around this offseason, we'll continue bringing you ejections from the Fall and Winter Leagues, including the Arizona Fall League, Caribbean Winter Leagues, and Arizona Baseball League, posting video when available. Make sure to follow the @SportEjections twitter account for ejections in these and other major sport leagues. We are also working on a new educational component for the website and hope to have that launched by next UEFL season.

Monday, November 16, 2015

2015 UEFL Rules Summit Ballot and Voting

Voting for the 2015 UEFL Rules Summit is now underway following last week's discussion phase. It is now time to vote for proposals to amend the UEFL Rules Book in advance of the 2016 baseball season.

The following ballot includes a list of proposals, descriptions of each measure, and an opportunity to cast a vote. Upon Commissioner approval, all passing proposals will become rules for the 2015 UEFL season. The Rules Summit ballot also includes a section for the UEFL Appeals Board pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-4-a-4, which affords Appeals Board members the opportunity to sit for re-election during the annual Summit.

Proposals with two options (Yes/No) will pass upon receiving an absolute majority of votes cast while proposals with more than two options require a plurality, wherein the combination of votes cast for similar options in that specific poll has resulted in a simple majority in favor of the option gaining plurality. For more information on Rules Summit procedure, consult UEFL Rule 8-3.

The Rules Summit ballot will close Saturday, November 21, at 11:59 pm PST. A run-off ballot and/or election, if necessary, will follow.

The 2015 Rules Summit includes 12 polls related to proposals and five Appeals Board re-election polls. Carefully consider the below options before submitting your ballot. You may vote in as many or as few polls as you wish. We will review voting records to determine ballot authenticity and adjust the record accordingly to account for suspicious or fraudulent activity or misconduct. Click "read more" to access the ballot.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejection: Riley Barrington

Offseason activity as Australian Baseball League 3B Umpire Riley Barrington ejected Sydney Blue Sox Manager Jason Pospishil for arguing a safe (out of the base path non-) call in the top of the 2nd inning of the Bite-Blue Sox game. With none out and two on, Bite batter Tom Brice hit a 1-1 fastball from Blue Sox pitcher Alex Balog on a fly ball to left fielder Alex Howe, who threw to 3B Joshua Dean as Bite baserunner R2 Jordan Cowan attempted to advance to third base on the sacrifice fly. Replays indicate Cowan jumped around Dean, but are inconclusive as to the timing of Dean's tag attempt relative to the distance Cowan deviated from his base path to third base, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Bite were leading, 3-0. The Bite ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

Rule 5.09(b)(1) [pre-2015 Rule 7.08] states that a runner is out when, "He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."

Wrap: Adelaide Bite vs. Sydney Blue Sox (Australian Baseball League), 11/15/15
Video: Creative baserunning avoids the tag sliding into third base, prompting ejections theatrics (ABL)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 UEFL Rules Summit Discussion

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2015 Rules Summit, the annual forum for discussion of controversial issues which may have surfaced during the past season and to set forth a framework for rectifying these issues by amending the existing UEFL Rules Book ahead of the 2016 UEFL season.

This discussion thread is an open forum for the proposal, discussion and debate of potential rules changes. This thread will remain open through Sunday, November 15, which will provide ample time for the proposal and subsequent discussion of possible rules changes for the 2016 season. If necessitated by certain below decisions, a Summit runoff ballot may be presented after the initial voting closes.

The following section is grouped by Rule number and includes those matters presently on the docket for the Rules Summit ballot. During this discussion phase, any UEFL member or guest may contribute an idea for inclusion on the docket by replying to this thread. In turn, I will update the docket below to incorporate such proposal. Proposed rules modifications or changes are identified by italics, deletions by strikeout and additions by bold text. Editorial changes are underlined and individual propositions are preceded by the ">>" bullet point symbol.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires)

Rule 2 (The Season)

Rule 3 (Crew Division)
>> Section 3. Adds the attribution of negative one (-1) points for each QOC incorrect ejection by a crew chief's crew.

Rule 4 (League Scoring)

Rule 5 (Statistics)

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals)
>> Section 2-b-1. Modifies the Kulpa Rule (2-b-1) to reflect a 20" diameter of home plate (17" plate + 3" diameter of a baseball), or a range from (-.833 to +.833). Shifts the .768 to .935 range (which is centered at 0.851 feet) to a .750 to .916 range, which is centered at 0.833 feet. This change more accurately reflects the horizontal edge of the strike zone.
>> Sections 2-b-1 & 2-b-2. Specifies that Quality of Correctness for all Borderline Pitches (those within the Kulpa Rule's borderline range and within the Miller Rule's margin of error [MOE]) shall be Irrecusable.
>> Section 2-b-5. Modifies the Irrecusable QOC, specifying that a QOC of Irrecusable shall be limited to no more than the unsporting acts already listed in 2-b-5: Fighting, Throwing At, Unsportsmanlike Conduct-NEC, or Excess Contact. Effectively eliminates Subprovisions 2-b-5-a (non-active roster ejections) and 2-b-5-b (DiMuro rule regarding repeat visits).
>> Section 2-b-5-b. Independently proposes eliminating the DiMuro rule regarding repeat visits and restoring these ejections to QOC (In)Correct status.

Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References)

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues)

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions)

Appeals Board Membership: Re-Election Ballot (Click here to view 2015 Appeals Board decisions)
This section includes 2015 UEFL Appeals Board members who are seeking re-election via the 2015 Rules Summit and will be completed in advance of Rules Summit voting.

To review, this is the discussion phase of the 2015 Rules Summit, anyone may propose a rules change by replying to this thread through 11/15, at which time all proposals will be officially drafted and voted upon. Please do not vote within this thread.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 UEFL Final Standings

With the final award in the books, the UEFL announces its final standings for the 2015 season. The "Perfect Score" this season was 97 while the "Worst Score Possible" was -32. Perfect Score is calculated using the highest points possible per draft category to form the "perfect" or highest-scoring crew, which is comprised of a Crew Chief + 2 Primary Umpires + 2 Secondary Umpires, while Worst Score Possible is simply the lowest possible score. Prop Predictions and Case Plays do not factor into the Perfect Score nor the Worst Score.
2015 Perfect Crew: 97 = 19 John Hirschbeck -cc + 22 Sam Holbrook -P1 + 21 John Tumpane -P2 + 20 Mark Carlson -S1 + 15 Gary Cederstrom -S2.
2015 Worst Possible Crew: -32 = -8 Gerry Davis -cc + -10 Ben May -P1 + -3 Carlos Torres -P2 + -6 Mark Ripperger -S1 + -5 Lance Barrett -S2.

UEFL Final Standings
1) RichMSN (88 pts)
2) Furax01 (85 pts)
3) toss 'em (81 pts)
4) youthministeradam (76 pts)
5) CricketChapman (75 pts)
6) BkSl14812 (74 pts)
7) cyclone14 (72 pts)
8) Russ (65 pts)
9) QuickTrigger3RadioPearl (62 pts)
11) Williec14 (61 pts)
12) kickersrule, Wesc371, wwjd2200 (60 pts)
15) johnnyg08, OC-Ump (59 pts)
17) chewy6294, jahoops10 (58 pts)
19) CohenS3, JCopp80, timjdow (57 pts)
23) Bob Abouy, Steve Holt (56 pts)
25) Big Catch 22 (55 pts)
26) GDK Team Blue (54 pts)
27) Krwill96, UmpAtty, XtremeUmp (53 pts)
30) ajbeisheim, Jeremy407, Sarge3097 (52 pts)

UEFL Express Final Standings (Umpire Draft Points Only, No Prop Predictions, No Case Plays)
1) Furax01 (83 pts)
2) youthministeradam (69 pts)
3) RichMSN (67 pts)
4) CricketChapman (65 pts)
5) QuickTrigger3 (62 pts)
6) Russ, Williec14 (61 pts)
8) Wesc371 (60 pts)
9) toss 'em, OC-Ump (59 pts)

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

2015 UEFL Umpire of the Year - Alfonso Marquez

Alfonso Marquez is the UEFL's Umpire of the Year for 2015. [2014: Ted Barrett]
Voting Results (Top 5): Marquez (10.3%), Barrett (9.8%), Jim Wolf (7.9%), Mark Carlson & Jeff Nelson (7.5%).

Alfonso Marquez wins the UEFL Umpire of the Year Award for 2015, which marks his second overall UEFL year-end award (Honorable Umpire, 2011). Marquez finished first in the league amongst postseason-eligible umpires (by virtue of games worked) in replay review with just two calls overturned. Marquez subsequently received two postseason assignments in the American League Division Series and World Series, where one commenter noted he chewed gum instead of tobacco to "set a good example to younger viewers when it matters," compared to Ejection 095 (Robin Ventura), when, "looks [like] Alfonso Marquez has an entire package of redman in his cheek." His 98.1% plate score during Game 3 of the ALDS was also the highest of that round (19 games total).

Alfonso Marquez now has 15 points in the UEFL Standings (10 Previous + 5 Award = 15).
Final Standings will be released later tonight.

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Ejections of the Year - Bill Welke & Jim Reynolds

Bill Welke & Jim Reynolds had 2015's Best Ejections. [2014: Joe West & Mike Winters]
Voting Results (Top 4): Welke-196|7 (11%), Reynolds-055 (10%), West-S2 (8%), O'Nora-184 (5%).

Bill Welke & Jim Reynolds were the two umpires for the UEFL's 2015 Ejections of the Year. In Ejection 196-197: Bill Welke (3-4; Votto, Price), HP Umpire Bill Welke ejected Reds 1B Joey Votto and subsequently Manager Bryan Price for arguing a strike two call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the September 9 Pirates-Reds game. For the second time during a 2015 ejection, Votto initiated unsporting contact with the ejecting umpire and the league ultimately suspended Votto for his actions.

In Ejection 055: Jim Reynolds (1; Bryan Price), acting crew chief Jim Reynolds ejected Price during pregame festivities for arguing calls from the previous game, presumably then-HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez's strike zone. One observer summed up the totality of the ejection sequence thusly: "Bryan Price really did not accomplish much of anything in this ejection and Reynolds handled it like a pro, sticking up for a crew member of his who was being disrespected by Price. Very entertaining."

Bill Welke now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Previous + 1 Award = 7).
Jim Reynolds now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Previous + 1 Award = 5).
The final postseason award, Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

2015 Noteworthy Umpires - Mark Carlson & Alan Porter

Mark Carlson & Alan Porter are the 2015's Noteworthy Umpires. [2014: Vic Carapazza, Angel Hernandez]
Voting Results (Top 5): Carlson (11%), Porter (11%), Carapazza (9%), Alfonso Marquez (8%), Dan Bellino (7%).

Mark Carlson and Alan Porter are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 noteworthy umpires of the year. Carlson "did an extremely good job as acting crew chief this season and would be deserving of becoming -cc next season." After a successful Division Series appearance in the National League Division Series (Game 4 plate), Carlson was named to his first World Series roster, joining Crew Chief of the Year Gary Cederstrom's crew, starting in the rotation as the first base umpire.

Alan Porter is said to "represent the 'new guard' of MLB umpires, taking care of business every game." In addition to excellent seasonal plate work and a postseason assignment in the National League Division Series as the Game 1 home plate umpire (Mets-Dodgers), he was noted for "great leadership in situations" and marked as a rising star to watch for: "I can see [him] working LCS/WS in the near future."

Mark Carlson now has 23 points in the UEFL Standings (20 Previous + 3 Award = 23).
Alan Porter now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (7 Previous + 3 Award = 10).
The next postseason award, Ejection(s) of the Year, will be released tomorrow.