Saturday, September 24, 2011

Umpire Odds & Ends: Lancing an Out

Lance Barrett (0 ejections) worked his first MLB regular season game in 2010, joining the likes of Vic Carapazza (5 ejections), Cory Blaser (4), John Tumpane (2), Alan Porter (2), Mark Ripperger (1), Manny Gonzalez (0), and David Rackley (0) as the so-called Class of 2010, now into their second collective season of big league games. Like all AAA call-up umpires, Barrett is trying to set himself apart so he can get a full time job at the MLB level.

Sometimes, proving yourself to the MLB brass involves making a big time call in a potentially confusing situation. Last season, the Class of 2009's Dan Bellino won over many UEFL'ers as well as MLB Supervisors with an ejection following a confident and correct obstruction call in Washington. Bellino was hired by MLB prior to the 2011 season.

Barrett's Bellino moment may have come in Pittsburgh tonight. In the top of the 5th inning of the Reds-Pirates game, with one out, runners on first and second, and the possibility of an infield fly fresh in all of our minds, Reds batter Drew Stubbs lined a Jeff Locke fastball to Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

To put it concisely, R1 was ruled out, R2 safe, and B1 safe at first. The already-retired R1 proceeded to get confused and get in a rundown between first and second where he was needlessly tagged out for a second time. During this pandemonium, R2 ran from second to third base. HP Umpire Mike Winters called time, the umpires conversed, and decided to return R2 to second base; one out, two on.

Discussion point: Based on your understanding of Rule 7.09(e) [and it's associated comment], with regard for Rule 9.01(c), was this the right call? Is this Barrett's make-it-or-break-it play?

A modified version of this article is also featured on Bleacher Report.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you mean 7.09(e) and comment...As I see it, the rule states to me that the runner put out must interfere on a play on ANOTHER runner, which did not happen, and the comment simply states exactly what happened in this case. A runner was put out and continued to advance, that's it, there was no play on another runner. Well there was the tag of R2, but the force had been removed. Then the defense gets stupid.

Keeping R2 at 2B is questionable to me, if the defense is dumb enough to make a play on a runner already out, why not leave the runner on 3B when he advanced on the defensive stupidity.

Is there a rule that would make the play dead upon the defense making a play on a runner already out?

Anonymous said...

As for this play, it appears that R1 should have been ruled out, R2 Safe, and B1 had passed 1B by the time that the ball was thrown to first. Correct call here by the crew.
Also, I had the chance to observe Manny Gonzalez at quite a few MILB games I have gone to, and think he shows quite a bit of promise. He showed great effort to me, hustling down the lines to make sure he got a better angle, and issuing warnings at one particular game I went to with the up most professionalism.
David Rackley has not got much attention, either, and I think he has done a good job in the limited time he has been up.
Ripperger is the only one on that list that I do not like. He's had two notable incidents this year, the first coming in Atlanta, when he seemed to widen the K zone on Chipper Jones in the last inning of a BAL@ATL game. Then, in a BOS@SEA game, he made a call at home plate that had to be overturned by a base umpire, leading to that one ejection.
The rest are pretty good to start off, hopefully Estabrook gets hired full-time next year.
I would also be interested to know if anyone has any idea of who might retire after the season. Also, will Bill Hohn be returning next year?

Gil "R.O." said...

Good catch. Interestingly enough, I typed 7.09(e) at Bleacher Report, and it somehow became 7.09(c) here. Fixed either way.

As for a rule making a play dead upon the defense making a play on a runner already out, no. R1 is obviously out, B1 is obviously safe, and R2 is obviously safe. The only question is whether R2 should be placed at 2B or at 3B. As I wrote at b/r, it looks as if Winters & crew combined 7.09(e), its comment, and Rule 9.01(c) to come up with this ruling...

"Putting the two together allows for an explanation of why the umpires ruled the way they did. Phillips' post-put out actions were not enough on their own to be considered interference. This is clearly specified in Rule 7.09(e) Comment. However, the Phillips rundown clearly did confuse the fielders and allow Volquez to advance toward third base.

In the end, Winters correctly invoked Rule 9.01(c) to deliver a fair and just judgment: Phillips was out, Stubbs was safe at first, and Volquez would also be ruled safe, but fairly returned to second base."

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 7:58,

I am not sure who will retire, but I don't think there will be that many. My guesses are Jim Joyce and Tim McClelland. Joyce has missed a lot of the season this year and when he was up, you could tell he wasn't right. McClelland has just kind of lost it. He was a great umpire, but I think it is clear his best days are behind him. On close safe-out calls, he is really having a tough time making correct calls and his strike-zone just seems a lot more erratic. He missed the palyoffs lsat year and unfortunately I think he will miss them again.

As far as AAA umpires, I basically have three categories for them. Do you guys agree?

First 4 Called Up (in no particular order):

Mike Muchlinski
Mike Estabrook
Angel Campos
DJ Reyburn

Next 3:

Alan Porter
Vic Carapazza
Cory Blaser

In the Future:

Chris Conroy
Lance Barrett
John Tumpane
Manny Gonzalez
David Rackley
Mark Ripperger

Need To see More:

Clint Fagan
Mark Lollo
Tyler Funnemann

Anonymous said...

I think Lance would have let Volquez stay at third base, and I would be okay with that. Winters solidifies his selection as a crew chief by coming in and making things fair again by sending Volquez to second.

Good call by Barrett, his initial mechanic of out, then point-you're safe was great. The only thing I'd change is when they tagged R1 who was already out, I'm not sure Lance should have made the out mechanic again. That second out signal I think helped the Pirates think they had gotten three outs and a double play.

jrd said...

I think that Al Porter made his "big call" when he nailed that Out call at third in the Indians-Tigers game when he was working with Joe West and Tim McClleland. That was about the best bang-bang call we have seen all year, took a lot of guts. Then he kept Betemit and Lamont in the game, and took his time in running Jimmy Leyland. I was impressed

Bill said...

11:44 Anon....

Replace Estabrook with Porter, and I think it's a great list. Conroy moves up to Porter's spot.

Campos should have been up last year, IMO. I think Estabrook really shot himself in the foot with that big time show up of the Royals catcher last season, and is farther from a job.

Ruben said...

Your description is a little too concise. B1 hit a sharp grounder to F6, not a line-out as the write-up suggests.

Anonymous said...

There are a couple of mechanics issues here, which leads me to believe that once Barrett made the correct decision and mechanics, he, himself, became confused with the rundown situation. Here's why.
He made the correct mechanic of signaling the out for the force at second on R1, and pointing and signaling safe for the tag of R2. However, once the rundown begins (BTW, nothing illegal in itself about the rundown), MLB umpires are instructed to continue to point and signal that R1 is out. If a play occurs on the runner, like it did at second, umpires are instructed to disregard that play entirely. Signaling an out here by Barrett either (1) indicates he does not know this mechanic, causing more confusion, or (2) was confused himself, and called R1 out again. I would guess the latter.
Finally, R2 should be allowed to stay at third as just running the bases in itself should not be considered interference by a runner who has been put out.

tmac said...

We've talked about this before.. when breaking down who will and won't be hired... Performance isn't and has NEVER been the top priority. When you look at the next four hires being Vic, Porter, Campos, and Estabrook... I'm sure you will see there are other guys below them that are very deserving.. but will need more time. We've seen on this site Campos correct ball strike calls are well below average.

Bill hohn will NOT be coming back next year and there will be two additional retirements (at least) after the season.. THis has been discussed quite a bit in the umpire forum (right tab on top of page)

Scott said...

Perhaps the reason R2 was returned to second was because he "beckoned" R1 to continue to second. If R2 already knew who was out and who was safe (which is quite possible), then this was interference, as he confused the defense to allow himelf to advance to 3B. If this is the reason that the umpires ruled as they did, then I think I would agree - his actions did not warrant an out, but his advance to 3B should be nullified. If, however, it was for a different reason, then I have trouble agreeing with this call.

Big Marc said...

@jrd- Could not have said it better myself, give the guy a job already. Best call of the year.

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