Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ejections: Dan Bellino (5)

HP Umpire Dan Bellino ejected Rockies third baseman Ty Wiggington for arguing a strike three call in the top of the 11th inning of the Rockies-Astros game. With two out and two on, Wiggington took a 3-2 curveball from Astros pitcher Fernando Rodriguez for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located belt high and several inches off the inner edge of home plate, the call was incorrect.*^ At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 2-2. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 4-2, in 13 innings.

This is Dan Bellino (93)'s fifth ejection of 2011.
Dan Bellino now has 14 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (16 Previous + 2 MLB + -4 Incorrect Call) = 14.
Dan Bellino is owned as a Secondary Umpire by sachmet, who is now tied for 5th place in the UEFL with 28 points.
*This pitch's px value of -1.074 falls into the "ball" category under UEFL Rule 6.b.ii.a., the Kulpa Rule.
^Quality of Correctness was challenged and summarily confirmed ("Incorrect" ==> "Incorrect").

This is the 195th ejection of 2011.
This is the 87th player ejection of 2011.
Prior to his ejection, Wiggington was 0-5 in the contest.
This contest was the 200,000th game played in Major League Baseball History

Wrap: Rockies at Astros, 9/24/11 Wrap
Video: Rockies-Astros Condensed Game, Pitch & Ejection at 14:25

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball

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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ejections: Ed Hickox (2)

2B Umpire Ed Hickox ejected Rays center fielder B.J. Upton for arguing an out call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Blue Jays-Rays game. With one out and one on, Rays batter Evan Longoria took a 0-1 slider from Blue Jays pitcher Joel Carreno for a called first strike as Rays baserunner Upton attempted to steal second base. Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia threw to second baseman Kelly Johnson who applied the tag as Upton slid into second base. Replays indicate Johnson's glove tagged Upton's thigh prior to Upton touching second base, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Blue Jays were leading, 4-1. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 5-1.

This is Ed Hickox (15)'s second ejection of 2011.
Ed Hickox now has 9 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (5 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call) = 9.
Ed Hickox is owned as a Secondary Umpire by 15_and_done, who is now tied for 28th place in the UEFL with 9 points.

This is the 194th ejection of 2011.
This is the 86th player ejection of 2011.
Prior to his ejection, Upton was 0-3 in the contest.
This is Upton's second ejection of 2011 (Chad Fairchild (1, 2), 5/4/11).

Wrap: Blue Jays at Rays, 9/23/11 Wrap
Video: SOON

Discussions: Playoff Umps

It's that time of year for an umpire and for us: time to start thinking about the postseason. Anonymous writes:
Will there be a Discussions post where we can post who we predict will be assigned to the playoffs? I know in the past MLB has released the umps 2 days before the first game, which would be the 28th, the last day of the season. I would be interested to see what others think, and already have my list ready. It is very hard to take a list of 68 professional umps and bring it down to 36 for the playoffs. (12 CS umps and 24 DS umps.) 
So who do you have in the postseason? Or who would you want to see? Let the list making begin!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ejections: Chris Guccione (3)

3B Umpire Chris Guccione ejected Orioles Manager Buck Showalter for arguing a check swing call in the top of the 5th inning of the Orioles-Red Sox game. With none out and one on, Orioles batter Matt Wieters struck out swinging on a 3-2 slider from Red Sox pitcher Scott Atchison; Orioles R1 Vladimir Guerrero was caught stealing 2nd, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to shortstop Marco Scutaro for a 'strike him out, throw him out double play'. Replays indicate Wieters was unable to check his swing and made an attempt to strike the ball, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Red Sox were leading 5-4. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

This is Chris Guccione (68)'s third ejection of 2011.
Chris Guccione now has 12 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (8 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call) = 12.
Chris Guccione is owned as a Secondary Umpire by tt49, who is now tied for 2nd place in the UEFL with 31 points.

This is the 193rd ejection of 2011.
This is the 95th Manager ejection of 2011.
This is Buck Showalter's third ejection of 2011.

Wrap: Orioles at Red Sox 9/20/11 Wrap
Video: Showalter ejected after arguing a check swing call.

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball

Monday, September 19, 2011

Discussions: Of Papi and Pesky

When it comes to professional baseball stadiums, perhaps no arena is as cherished and as quirky as Boston's Fenway Park.

With a total capacity of 39,067 fans, Fenway Park is the smallest in baseball. Opened on April 20, 1912, Fenway is also MLB's oldest active stadium, and along with Chicago's Wrigley Field, is one of only two jewel box ballparks at the professional level.

Nestled in the heart of Boston's Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, the park Red Sox fans call home contains some of MLB's oddest features. From the Green Monster to "The Triangle" in deep center field, Fenway Park is a hitter's delight and an outfielder's nightmare. Journalist and baseball fan George Will once wrote, "Fenway Park probably adds 5 to 7 points onto batting averages."

Though as tough as Fenway may be for outfielders, it is just as difficult for umpires. Officiating in any sport is all about getting in position to make the call, and in referee lingo, this means getting the proper angle with which to see the play.

Unfortunately, Monday provided further officiating woes, courtesy of that freakish Fenway Park.

With one on and two out in the bottom of the 5th inning of Monday's Orioles-Red Sox game, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz ripped a first pitch fastball from Orioles hurler Jeremy Guthrie into that pesky right field corner. First base umpire Mike Estabrook positioned himself atop the foul line in shallow right field, saw a ball hit a wall, and decisively ruled the play foul.

After a brief visit from Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, Estabrook consulted with fellow umpires Mike Winters, Mark Wegner, and Mike Everitt, before deciding to uphold the original call of foul ball. To ensure the call would remain controversial, Ortiz would strike out to end the inning, leaving a runner on third base.

Right or wrong, Estabrook's call in right field was complicated by two uniquely Fenway features.

First, the angle formed between the right field foul line, where Estabrook was standing, and the right field wall extended into fair territory is in excess of 145 degrees. Compared to most stadiums, whose corresponding angles measure in the 105-115 degree range, Fenway's pesky right field corner is clearly not an umpire's best friend. By contrast, Boston's Green Monster angle in left field is approximately 90 degrees.

Fenway's Pesky RF Foul Line Wall. Note the
 incongruity of the three vertical yellow lines.
Further complicating matters, the nexus point of the right field foul line and the wall do not coincide with the point in which the wall starts its curve towards deep right field, though they are tantalizingly close.

Second, Fenway's right field corner features a curiously placed advertisement banner along the aforementioned 145-degree wall.

To accommodate the full length of this banner, it appears the designers at Fenway actually moved the vertical yellow foul line about one foot to the right. In other words, it appears the vertical yellow foul line in right field was placed completely in foul territory so that a small fraction of the advertisement banner is also positioned in foul territory.

Furthermore, there are three separate vertical yellow lines in Fenway's right field.

The first is a yellow line drawn directly onto the base of the concrete wall. The second is a yellow line painted onto the padding which covers the upper three quarters of the wall. The third is the right field foul pole itself, Pesky's Pole, aptly named for Red Sox hero Johnny Pesky.

Interestingly enough, a comparison of the positioning of these three vertical yellow lines in right field shows that none of these lines appear to share any vertical space with one another, making for a very difficult call.

Replays appear to indicate the ball hit some part of the advertisement banner in right field, which according to the placement of the padding's vertical yellow foul line, is completely in fair territory.

For MLB, these questions might provoke yet another rules change as a result of a stadium quirk. For the Red Sox, however, it's just another example of that old addage:

Fenway giveth, and Fenway taketh away.

This Article Also Featured on Bleacher Report: Boston Red Sox

PS: Estabrook had borrowed Chris Guccione's base jersey prior to this game. Guccione sat out game one of the Orioles-Red Sox double header and returned to work the plate during game two.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ejections: Marty Foster (6)

3B Umpire Marty Foster ejected Cubs Manager Mike Quade for arguing an instant replay: overturned home run call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Astros-Cubs game. With two out and one on, Cubs batter Carlos Peña hit a 1-2 changeup to deep left field. The original call on the field made by Foster was a home run, however after replay review the call was overturned and ruled a double. Replays indicate the ball hit the top of the yellow line on the Wrigley Field basket, but not behind. A ball that hits the top or front of the basket is in play, the call was correct. The primary calling umpire is Jeff Nelson as acting Crew Chief (with the absence of Tim Tschida), who made the determination of overturning the original call.* At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 3-2. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

This is Marty Foster (60)'s sixth ejection of 2011.
Marty Foster now has 23 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (20 Previous + 2 MLB + 1 Correct Call [Crewmate] = 23).
Marty Foster was not drafted in 2011.
*Jeff Nelson is credited as the calling umpire under UEFL Rule 6.b.iii.a.2.

This is the 192nd ejection of 2011.
This is the 94th Manager ejection of 2011.
This is Mike Quade's seventh ejection of 2011, leading Major League Baseball in all non-umpire ejections.

Wrap: Astros at Cubs 9/18/11 Wrap
Video: Nelson overturns Peña's home run.