Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Ejection S-9 - Mike Cascioppo (Scioscia)

HP Umpire Mike Cascioppo ejected Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Manager Mike Scioscia (strike one call) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the Diamondbacks-Angels game. With two out and none on, Angels batter Cameron Maybin took a 1-0 pitch from Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located around the inner edge of home plate and near the hollow of the knee (pitch f/x unavailable), the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Angels were leading, 4-1. The Angels ultimately won the contest, 7-4.

This is Mike Cascioppo (-)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Mike Cascioppo now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief Mike Winters now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).

This is the ninth ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is the 2nd Manager ejection of pre-season 2017.
This is LAA's 1st ejection of Spring Training, 2nd in the Cactus League (CWS, LAD 2; LAA 1).
This is Mike Scioscia's first ejection since September 20, 2016 (Pat Hoberg; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is Mike Cascioppo's first career MLB ejection.

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. LA Anaheim Angels (Cactus), 3/25/17 | Video via "Read More"

Ump Stat - Do Spring Ejections Predict Summer Action?

Do Spring Training ejections predict regular season umpire ejection activity? With eight nine (while I was writing this article, there was yet another ejection) 2017 Spring Training ejections heading into the pre-season's final week, we run the numbers to answer that question of whether a discipline-laden March necessarily leads to a similar fate for the season.

Hypothesis: More Spring ejections mean more regular season ones. The hypothesis of a positive correlation is a reasonable one: for instance, take the theory of a point-of-emphasis that appears in the Spring—such as one involving ejections—carrying over into the regular season and, logically, resulting in similar in-season ejection activity.
REFEREE chart of our ejections data.

The following report uses a particularly small sample size of five seasons, and thus, isn't an ideally statistically reliable report. Spring Training ejection information in summary form simply isn't available for seasons prior to 2012.

Data: That said, let's compare Spring Training to regular season ejections on a year-to-year basis and see if any rudimentary trends emerge:

MLB Year Spring Ejections Regular Season Ejections Proportion
2012 3 178 59
2013 5 180 36 (-23)
2014 7 199 28 (-8)
2015 13 212 16 (-12)
2016 2 190 95 (+79)
2017 At Least 9 TBD ?

Results & Analysis: Given 2016's two ejections, the correlation is weak, yet consistently relative. In other words, the trend of "more Spring ejections = more regular season ejections" (and "less = less") is consistently true, when comparing one year and that which immediately precedes it. The trend does not hold true, however, when comparing across non-consecutive years.

As an example, 2016's two Spring Training ejections and 190 regular season ejections positively correlates to 2015's 13 Spring Training ejections and 212 regular season ejections: the trend from 2015 to 2016 is positive and true: The season with more Spring ejections (2015) also had more regular season ejections (212). However, the trend fails when comparing 2016 to 2013 in that the season with more Spring ejections (2013) did not have more regular season ejections (180, compared to 2016's 190).

On the macro level, regular season ejections have been on the rise—on the whole—since expanded replay review was introduced prior to the 2014 season, which may confound expectations.

Then again, Joe Torre did, in 2016, tell managers to stop arguing balls and strikes, though this led to a rise in coach ejections in the stead of the declining managerial variety.

Still, ball and strike ejections are particularly on the rise, and if 2017's preseason is any indication, the trend should continue into the regular season. Of 2017's eight nine pre-season ejections, four (potentially five) concerned balls and strikes, which is still, on its own, an increase year-over-year of 2016's two total Spring dismissals.

Conclusion: Thus, the conclusion we may draw from the aforementioned data, with low confidence due to the small sample size, is that 2017's regular season should feature more ejections than occurred during 2016's regular season; 2017 should have more than 190 regular season ejections. However, the degree to which ejections may increase is unknown and subject to change and confounding variables similar to the 2016 Torre memo.

Shortform: Based on historical and present Spring Training performance, 2017 should have more regular season ejections than 2016's 190, but to an unknown extent.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Ejection S-8 - Mike Winters (Avisail Garcia)

HP Umpire Mike Winters ejected White Sox RF Avisail Garcia for (strike three call) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Reds-White Sox game. With one out and two on, Garcia took a 1-2 pitch from Reds pitcher Wendy Peralta for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located around the inner edge of home plate and thigh high (pitch f/x was unavailable), the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the White Sox were leading, 4-2. The White Sox ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

This is Mike Winters (33)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Mike Winters now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief Mike Winters now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).

This is the eighth ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is the 6th player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Garcia was 0-4 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is CWS' 2nd ejection of Spring Training, T-1st in the Cactus League (CWS, LAD 2; Others 0).
This is Avisail Garcia's first career MLB ejection.
This is Mike Winters' first ejection since September 10, 2016 (Mike Scioscia; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago White Sox, 3/23/17 | Video via "Read More"

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Ejection S-7 - Angel Hernandez (Asdrubal Cabrera)

HP Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera (time-not-granted call) in the top of the 4th inning of the Mets-Nationals game. With one out and none on, Cabrera requested "Time" during a 3-1 pitch from Nationals pitcher Erick Fedde, resulting in a called second strike when Hernandez subsequently denied Cabrera's request. Cabrera ultimately hit a single on a line drive to right fielder Bryce Harper and was ejected for arguing the "Time" issue while at first base. Replays indicate that Cabrera requested time out while pitcher Fedde was already into his delivery as in Rule 5.04(b)(2), the denial/call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 1-0. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 1-0.

This is Angel Hernandez (55)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Angel Hernandez now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief A Hernandez now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
A similar play and denied request from 2013.
*Rule 5.04(b)(2) states, "The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup."
*Rule 5.04(b)(2) Comment states, "Umpires will not call 'Time' at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims 'dust in his eyes,' 'steamed glasses,' 'didn’t get the sign' or for any other cause."
"Umpires may grant a hitter’s request for 'Time' once he is in the batter’s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter’s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter’s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched."
Related Ejection: Todd Tichenor - Jonny Gomes (time out request refusal), 7/14/13
Reason for Rule 5.04(b)(2): Preventing injuries, like this one sustained by Johnny Cueto in 2012.
Case Play Note: If the denied "Time" request disrupts the pitcher's delivery, "the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from 'scratch.'" More: Starting From Scratch - Batter Disrupts Pitcher's Delivery.

This is the seventh ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is the 5th player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Cabrera was 1-2 in the contest.
This is NYM's 1st ejection of Spring Training, T-1st in the Grapefruit League (HOU, NYM, STL, TB 1).
This is Asdrubal Cabrera's first ejection since June 22, 2015 (Kerwin Danley; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Angel Hernandez's first ejection since July 19, 2016 (Brian Snitker; QOC = Y [Balk]).

Wrap: New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals (Grapefruit), 3/23/17 | Video via "Read More"

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WBC Game 2 Breaks Replay Review Record

After setting a new Replay Review record Monday, Tuesday's World Baseball Classic Championship Round game broke a different record—for most Replay Reviews in a nine-inning game—and it took just five innings to do it, conducting five reviews in that span.

Eric Cooper and Trevor Grieve during review.
As was the case during Monday's semifinal game between Puerto Rico and Netherlands, Tuesday's USA vs Japan game also featured modified international rules suspending the Manager's Challenge and allowing teams to request Crew Chief reviews at any point during the game.

In other words, don't expect this record to be broken during the upcoming 2430-game MLB regular season. Had Monday's game been played under Manager's Challenge rules, Team USA would have lost its first challenge in the second inning, while Japan would have lost its challenge in the bottom of the third, meaning that only two reviews—total—would have been conducted.

Fortunately, Tuesday's five reviews were completed more expeditiously than Monday's four, as the USA-Japan reviews averaged under one minute from the time the umpires donned their headsets until they removed the devices to render a final decision. Despite the five reviews, the United States' 2-1 win on Tuesday took just three hours, 12 minutes to complete.

The first Replay Review during the USA-Japan game occurred in the top of the 2nd inning, while the fifth and final record-breaking review took place in the bottom of the 5th.

Replay Review 1, Top 2: Out/Safe timing play at first base on Eric Homer's groundout, initially ruled "out" by 1B Umpire Eric Cooper. After review, Cooper's ruling was affirmed. Out.

Replay Review 2, Top 3: Out/Pulled foot play at second base on Japan second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi's attempted turn of a double play (formerly the neighborhood play), baserunner Buster Posey initially ruled "out" by 2B Umpire Trevor Grieve. After review, Grieve's ruling was overturned. Safe.

Replay Review 3, Bot 3: Out/Pulled foot play at second base on USA second baseman Ian Kinsler's attempted retirement of Japan baserunner Seiji Kobayashi, initially ruled "out" by 2B Umpire Trevor Grieve. After review, Grieve's ruling was affirmed. Out.

Replay Review 4, Bot 3: Out/Safe play at second base on Japan baserunner Tetsuto Yamada's stolen base attempt, initially ruled "safe" by 2B Umpire Trevor Grieve. After review, Grieve's ruling was affirmed. Safe.

Replay Review 2, Top 5: Out/Safe play at first base on Japan batter Nobuhiro Matsuda's groundout, initially ruled "safe" by 1B Umpire Eric Cooper. After review, Cooper's ruling was overturned. Out.

Accordingly, Reviews #1-4 on Tuesday tied the record established during Monday's WBC semifinal for most Replay Reviews over a two-inning span, while Reviews #1-5 set a new mark for most reviews over a four-inning (or three-and-a-half inning) period.

Ejection S-6 - Jordan Baker (Haselman & The 1B Glove)

HP Umpire Jordan Baker ejected Dodgers Coach Bill Haselman over an illegal equipment/glove dispute in the top of the 3rd inning of the Brewers-Dodgers game. With one out and one on (R1) in the top of the 3rd inning of the Brewers-Dodgers game, Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe was prohibited from wearing a first baseman's glove, as in Rule 3.05, during a bunt situation in which first baseman Scott Van Slyke had strategically relocated closer to home plate in order to field a bunt attempt from Brewers batter Matt Garza; Van Slyke retained the first baseman's glove for the duration of the play and inning in question, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is Jordan Baker (71)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Jordan Baker now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief Jim Wolf now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).

*Believe it or not, we've previously encountered and solved a Case Play about this very (or somewhat similar) play.

In 2015, we asked, "Will the Real F3 Please Stand Up?" and posed the question, "if an outfielder stands at first base in a five-man infield, what is his position called and who may wear the first baseman's glove or mitt?"

Let's review the answer.

> Rule 3.05 allows the first baseman to wear a glove or mitt measuring 13"x8" with a web of width no greater than 5", as opposed to a fielding glove, as in Rule 3.06, whose corresponding maximum dimensions are 13"x7.75" with a web no wider than 4.5". There are additional stylistic and material differences between the two categories of gloves.
> The OBR Definition of Terms defines the battery [catcher/pitcher], but not specifically "first baseman."
> Rule 4.03, regarding the lineup cards, states that "each lineup card presented to the umpire-in-chief should list the fielding positions to be played by each player in the batting order."

With that said, the answer lies within the rarely-referenced Rule 9 (formerly Rule 10 in 2014-era OBR) concerning The Official Scorer. Rule 9.03(a) Comment tells the tale: "When a player does not exchange positions with another fielder but is merely placed in a different spot for a particular batter (for example, if a second baseman goes to the outfield to form a four-man outfield, or if a third baseman moves to a position between the shortstop and second baseman), the official scorer should not list this as a new position."

Accordingly, because second baseman Forsythe did not actually exchange positions with first baseman Van Slyke (since Van Slyke did not assume the customary second baseman's position between first and second base), and because the Forsythe/Van Slyke shift was only in place for batter Garza and his expected bunt attempt, Rule 9.03(a) Comment applies and the two players' positions remain unchanged: Jordan Baker was correct, Forsythe was not entitled to wear the first baseman's glove/mitt because Van Slyke remained the first baseman during this play.

This is the sixth ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is LA-NL's 2nd ejection of Spring Training, 1st in the Cactus League (LAD 2; CWS 1; Others 0).
This is Bill Haselman's first ejection since May 7, 2002 (Gary Cederstrom; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).
This is Jordan Baker's first ejection since Sept 26, 2016 (Sean Rodriguez; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Cactus), 3/21/17 | No Video

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WBC Sets New Review Record in 1st Game of Full Replay

World Baseball Classic set a new Replay Review record for most video reviews over a two-inning span in just its first game of having full replay at its disposal, while tying an expanded Replay Review record for most reviews in a single contest.

Lance Barksdale and Eric Cooper in the 5th.
Due, in part, to the suspension of Manager's Challenge rules for the WBC tournament (all replays are initiated via Crew Chief Review in international play), Crew Chief Eric Cooper and his fellow umpires donned the headsets four times during Monday's Puerto Rico-Netherlands game at Dodger Stadium, with their first replay occurring in the top of the 4th inning and the final one taking place in the bottom of the 5th—setting a new professional baseball record for most replays over the fewest amount of innings played.

Not so coincidentally, those two innings—top 4 through end 5—took over an hour (1:03:15 to be exact) to complete, corresponding a pace of play of 4:44:33 over nine innings. For the record, just one run was scored between the teams during the two-inning span.

Rob Drake and Eric Cooper await word.
Never before had Major League Baseball experienced four replays in just two innings of play, or one replay per half inning over that period. The replays contributed to a total game time of four hours, 19 minutes for 11 innings of work: that prorates to a 3:32 nine-inning game, which is significantly greater than the league-average mark of three hours, one minute (and the game's 11th inning would have taken longer had the 11th's two half-innings not started with runners placed at first and second base, pursuant to WBC tie-breaking rules).

One Replay Review occurred in each of the four middle-inning frames—the top of the 4th, bottom of the 4th, top of the 5th, and bottom of the 5th—and only one resulted in an overturned call. Here is a recap:

Replay Review 1, Top 4: Tag play at second base on Kalian Sams' infield single, initially ruled "safe" by 2B Umpire Rob Drake. After review, Drake's ruling was affirmed. Safe.

Replay Review 2, Bot 4: Tag play at third base on Eddie Rosario's attempted steal, initially ruled "out" by 3B Umpire Eric Cooper. After review, Cooper's ruling was overturned. Safe.

Replay Review 3, Top 5: Tag play & home-plate collision/blocking rule 6.01(i)(2) on Jonathan Schoop's attempted score, initially ruled "out" and no catcher's violation by HP Lance Barksdale. After review, Barksdale's ruling was affirmed. Out, and no violation of the HP collision rule.

Replay Review 4, Bot 5: Slide interference rule 6.01(j) on Angel Pagan's slide at second base, initially ruled "out" and no runner's violation by 2B Umpire Rob Drake. After review, Drake's ruling was affirmed. Out, and no violation of the bona fide side rule.

In 2015, the first instant replay cycle in MLB history occurred in Boston when umpires reviewed one play at every base. Of the four reviews, two were confirmed and two were overturned.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Ejection S-5 - Ryan Blakney (Nick Franklin)

HP Umpire Ryan Blakney ejected Rays LF Nick Franklin for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Phillies-Rays game. With none out and one on (R1), Franklin took a 1-2 pitch from Phillies pitcher Cesar Ramos for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and around the midpoint, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 5-0. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 8-0.

This is Ryan Blakney (36)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Ryan Blakney now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).

This is the fifth ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is the 4th player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Franklin was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is TB's 1st ejection of Spring Training, T-1st in the Grapefruit League (HOU, STL, TB 1; Others 0).
This is Nick Franklin's first career MLB ejection.
This is Ryan Blakney's first ejection since September 18, 2016 (Joc Pederson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Grapefruit), 3/19/17 | Video via "Read More"

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Ejection S-4 - Quinn Wolcott (Rick Renteria)

HP Umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected White Sox Manager Rick Renteria for arguing balls and strikes in the middle of the 3rd inning of the Dodgers-White Sox game. After striking out Dodgers batter Trayce Thompson to end the top of the 3rd inning, White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer engaged Wolcott in a dispute about the strike zone, upon which Renteria was ejected in pursuit of the conflict, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Dodgers were leading, 2-0. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 13-7.

This is Quinn Wolcott (81)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Quinn Wolcott now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief Quinn Wolcott now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).

This is the fourth ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is the 1st Manager ejection of pre-season 2017.
This is CWS's 1st ejection of Spring Training, T-1st in the Cactus League (CWS, LAD 1; Others 0).
This is Rick Renteria's first ejection since September 26, 2014 (Jeff Nelson; QOC = Y [Balk]).
This is Quinn Wolcott's first ejection since March 12, 2017 (Edgar Gonzalez; QOC = U [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox (Cactus), 3/18/17 | Video via "Read More"

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Ejection S-3 - Nick Mahrley (Matt Adams)

HP Umpire Nick Mahrley ejected Cardinals 1B Matt Adams for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Mets-Cardinals game. With none out and none on, Adams took a 1-2 pitch from Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located around the inner edge of home plate and belt high, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Mets were leading, 3-1. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 5-4.


This is Nick Mahrley (-)'s first ejection of Spring Training, the 2017 MLB preseason.
Nick Mahrley now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Spring Training = 0).

This is the third ejection report of Spring Training 2017.
This is the 3rd player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Adams was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is STL's 1st ejection of Spring Training, T-1st in the Grapefruit League (HOU, STL 1; Others 0).
This is Matt Adam's first career MLB ejection.
This is Nick Mahrley's first career MLB ejection.

Wrap: New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Grapefruit), 7/18/17 | Video via "Read More"