Friday, May 20, 2011

Umpire Odds & Ends: I Protest

In baseball, as in any other sport, officials should carry an expert understanding and knowledge of their sport's rules. Even so, some officials carry with them a lapse in their rules knowledge, while others may fall into the unenviable position of incorrectly applying or failing to apply a pertinent rule or action. In professional baseball, the end result of an incorrectly applied rule is the potential for a protest by the afflicted party. Rule 4.19 deals with protesting games:
4.19 PROTESTING GAMES. Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire's decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgement decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final.
As specified by rule, a protest is a valid one if a manager is claiming that an umpire has incorrectly applied a rule; a protest will not be entertained if the manager is only claiming an umpire has incorrectly judged a play. To further illustrate the valid protest, we turn to a situation sent in by UEFL follower Jon Terry

In the Class-A Midwest League, the Hot Rods and Whitecaps were locked in a close contest. With the score 4-3 in favor of the Whitecaps, B1 stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning with three on and one out. B1 hit a line drive to F8, who caught the ball on a fly for the second out of the inning. R1 (from first base), R2 (from second base), and R3 (from third base) each attempted to tag up and advance; all three runners crossed home plate while F8 had trouble getting the ball back in. R1 was ruled out on appeal for failure to properly tag up, and after consultation, the umpires decided to disallow R1, R2, and R3's runs: the score remained 4-3, Whitecaps leading. The offensive team's manager protested, the game continued and concluded with a 6-3 score, and the League later ruled to uphold the protest: the game would be replayed from the top of the 6th inning with the score 5-4, the Hot Rods leading. This time around, the Hot Rods would win the contest, 5-4.
7.10 Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when - (a) After a fly ball is caught, he fails to retouch his original base before he or his original base is tagged. 
7.12 Unless two are out, the status of a following runner is not affected by a preceding runner's failure to touch or retouch a base. If, upon appeal, the preceding runner is the third out, no runners following him shall score. If such third out is the result of a force play, neither preceding nor following runners shall score. 
R1 was definitely out, but R2 and R3's runs should have scored as specified by Rule 7.12. Though no runners following R1 may score (there were no runners following R1), the runners preceding R1 (R2 and R3 preceded R1) should have been allowed to score. Because failure to retouch one's base under Rule 7.10 is not a force play, the last sentence of Rule 7.12 is inapplicable and provides further counterpoint to see that preceding runners shall be permitted to score on an appeal play which results in the third out. In this situation, R2 and R3's runs should have been scored. Had R3 been called out on appeal instead, R1 and R2 would properly not have been permitted to score.

It is vital that umpires and officials at all levels maintain expert knowledge of the rules book. Even though we might reference a Major League book and the play in question occurred at the Minor League level, the fundamentals of these rules are the same and constant. Appeal plays might occur during the "slower" part of live ball action, but officials must remain alert at all times, lest they find their game being played under (upheld) protest.

13 comments :

ump_24 said...

Wow, whatever crew was working this game may as well pack their MiLB bags come season's end.

Anonymous said...

released....

Anonymous said...

The 2nd to last paragraph is incorrect. Had R3 been the one called out on appeal, R2 and R1 still would have been allowed to score because since it is an appeal play it becomes a time play. Meaning as long as the runs were scored before the appeal took place then the runs count

Anonymous said...

Wow, bus driver ump_24, remind me to never work with you.

stratbaseballman said...

Anonymous said...

The 2nd to last paragraph is incorrect. Had R3 been the one called out on appeal, R2 and R1 still would have been allowed to score because since it is an appeal play it becomes a time play. Meaning as long as the runs were scored before the appeal took place then the runs count

Wrong,
Directly from the 2011 version of OBR:
4.09 HOW A TEAM SCORES.

(a) One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first, second, third and home base before three men are put out to end the inning.
EXCEPTION: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a ...(3) by a receding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases.

The preceding runner (R3) is declared out, so all runners following do not score. Yet it it a timing play but there is an exception covering this.

BTW to the crew who kicked this call, I would see if you can still enroll for summer quarter in your local college, because otherwise it could be a boring summer with nothing to do.

Weird substitutions involving double switches, and teams losing the DH, and then having an illegal an/or unreported sub or batting out of order are the types of things I understand because a young player or manager or umpire mas miss something that happened and make a mistake, but this missing of a rules application is beyond me, I know guys who can't work a U10 game that can get that one right.

Jasper

yawetag said...

ump_24: Umpires: HP: Dustin Klinghagen. 1B: Mike Patterson. 2B: . 3B: .

Anonymous #1, you're wrong. Look again at 7.12: If, upon appeal, the preceding runner is the third out, no runners following him shall score.

Anonymous #2, this rule is a basic rule that all umpires, ESPECIALLY ones that have been trained professionally and passed on to PBUC, should know. They missed it, and even when given the opportunity to fix it, they still missed it.

Anonymous said...

To the poster above that said R2 and R1 would still score if R3 had been called out on appeal...this is incorrect.

OBR 7.12 reads: "Unless two are out, the status of a following runner is not affected by a preceding runner’s failure to touch or retouch a base. If, upon appeal, the preceding runner is the third out, no runners following him shall score. If such third out is the result of a force play, neither preceding nor following runners shall score."

Since R3 would have been the third out in this case, R2 and R1 WOULD NOT have scored.

Gil "CASD" said...

All, as this Odds & Ends has become a Case Play, commenting for this post, though still open, will remain moderated until the Case Play has concluded Monday morning. Comments left in either Odds & Ends or in Case Plays will be credited (if they are correct and respond to (a) and/or (b) of the case play scenario). Click here to go to Case Plays: Anonymous Protests.

Anonymous said...

Eric Gregg said in his book that he thought he was held back a year since his crew in the PCL had 2 protests upheld in one year. It did not cause him to be released, although I do not believe he was the crew chief either.

ump_24 said...

@ anonymous:

1) Sorry for pointing out the harsh reality that is life as an MiLB umpire. As a matter of fact, one of my friends who has experience with PBUC advised that they could be fired on the spot, not just after the season

2) This is a call a good amateur umpire should be able to get right, let alone a professional. If you have issue with me not being pleased with a pro crew losing a protest over something as simple as this, you probably wouldn't be able to get this right either, so remind ME not to work with YOU.

Anonymous said...

Also

Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team's chances of winning the game.

So, if the score had been 12-3 when the violation occurred, and if in the opinion of the League President the violation did not adversely affect the protesting teams chances of winning the game, in which case the protest is denied, do the umpires loose their job and get released now?

Anonymous said...

ump_24

Never said I had a problem with you not being pleased with a pro crew losing a protest.

I basically was asking a question. Why was Eric Gregg and his partner allowed to loose 2 protests in a year without being fired since you mentioned the "crew" should pack their bags. Eric said he thought it pushed his career back a year.

Does only the crew chief take responsibility for the error with PBUC and the non-crew chief is off the hook. Since Eric's crew missed 2 protests, why not invoke that part about being fired on the spot?? Eric was not the crew chief.

Why let the crew work the rest of the season if the final outcome of their careers is already decided once you loose the protest. Bring in the next group now, rather than waste their time and PBUC's time?

Anonymous said...

Truth is, many (serious) amateur umpires have spent years diving into the rules and having situations happen to them. Umpires in the low minors may have the benefit of five weeks of school and a short-season of rookie ball.

I've seen a lot of people come back from school and think that five weeks of umpire school should vault them over people who have worked hard at their craft for 15-20 years and the school graduates quickly find out that being exposed to "amateur" situations over time is a very good teacher, as well.

I wouldn't fire these guys and I wouldn't necessarily mark them for release. They made a mistake they'll never make again and it will be a black mark. But I'd use it simply as a data point over their entire season.

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