Saturday, April 21, 2012

Umpire Odds & Ends: Perfect Game 21

Baseball and the UEFL saw a perfect game for the first time this season and 21st in MLB history today, April 21, when Brian Runge (18) umpired the plate for White Sox pitcher Phil Humber's first career no-hitter and perfect game against the Seattle Mariners. Humber threw 95 pitches, though only 51 were callable, with 28 balls and 23 called strikes

Did Ryan swing?
Watch the following video to see Humber complete the perfect game and decide for yourself whether Brian Runge's game-ending swing call on Mariners batter Brendan Ryan's attempted check swing was the correct or incorrect call.

Video: Humber strikes out Ryan on close check swing call to secure the 21st perfect game in MLB history
Video: Final Out - Side angle of Ryan's attempted check swing (Thanks to TheGunsofHochuli for the link)


Here is a quick look at the statistics of how Brian Runge called Phil Humber's perfect game & no hitter:
Total Pitches: 95
Swinging Strikes: 14
Foul Balls: 12
In Play, Out: 18
Callable Pitches: 51
Balls: 28
Called Strikes: 23

Correct Called Balls: 25
Incorrect Called Balls (Called balls within the strike zone): 3 (1 additional was in the borderline range; correct)
Correct Ball %: <90.0%

Correct Called Strikes: 21
Incorrect Called Strikes (Called strikes outside the strike zone): 2 (3 others were in the borderline range; correct)
Correct Strike %: 91.3%

Correct % of Called Pitches: 90.2%

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball

36 comments :

UmpsRule said...

Looks like Runge did a good job for the most part. That last call could cause a brouhaha however, especially when people find out about his suspension in 2008.

It appears that Ryan was not ejected from the game. He very easily could have been. If you look at the numbers though, Runge does not have a quick hook.

Jimmy Jack said...

Looks like Brian Runge got a bit excited there at the end, bouncing out from behind the catcher to point and declare a swing, but can you really blame him? If Humber isn't throwing a perfect game's final out, that gets appealed down to first where the check swing call will be confirmed, no swing, ball four the first walk of the game.

Anonymous said...

I dont think that the final batter at the plate for the Mariners swung at the last pitch there. He did check his swing. Poor call for the umpire which cheapens the perfect game in my opinion. What everybody else here?

Anonymous said...

Challenge!

Wait, wrong post :p

Jay said...

Postgame ejections rarely are put in the box score, though I'm pretty sure that when Reynolds threw out Russell Martin on the Dodgers (I think it was Martin) a few years ago when he made the final out at second base against the Angels, the ejection was so fluid with that final out being recorded, it got a listing in the box. Then again, that game's ending was dependent on the runner from third not scoring before the third out was recorded (time play); it was a one-run game, so that specific ejection might have meant something.

Anything that happened in Seattle today, though, that ejection if there really was anything other than an equipment violation for throwing gear - shin guard, helmet, bat - probably won't see the box score.

Anonymous said...

Think about this abstractly for a second...

Jim Joyce's imperfect game with Armando Galarraga was made possible by an incorrect safe call that prevented the perfect game from being thrown.

Runge is sort of the opposite, an apparent incorrect swing strikeout call securing a perfect game that might not have been appropriate. Still, the no-hitter was intact here even if the correct call gets made.

Jared said...

Look, if he calls this a no swing and the first base umpire calls it no swing too, you get the Bruce Froemming effect when he called ball four—the call was right, but it was the most unpopular thing to do. The Safeco Field fans here - Mariners home crowd - was cheering for a perfect game, not for Brendan Ryan to come along and break it up by two inches of not swinging at a breaking ball.

I like this call, even if it might not have been 100% the correct call by rule. HUMAN ELEMENT>

Anonymous said...

Now I really hope this is an ejection officially so it gets written up, we see an official UEFL Quality of Correctness, and I'm sure this will be appealed either way and we get to see the Appeals Board make a Dale Scott triple play kind of close decision.

UmpsRule said...

@Jay. Yes, you are probably right. On August 2, 2009, Jack Wilson was supposedly ejected at the end of a game. It is not noted in the MLB.com box score. Here is the video: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=5895079&c_id=mlb

I doubt that Ryan was ejected anyway. Runge has had very few ejection in his career.

@ anon 3:52. The fact that Ryan did not make a significant effort to run down to first would also cheapen the perfect game, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what anyone says, Armando Galarraga pitched Major League Baseball's 21st perfect game.

Jason said...

Any other broadcast angles? All I saw (and I watched this game live on Fox) was that live straight on angle and then they showed that same angle's instant replay too. I'd love to see a side angle here - first base dugout, camera well, etc. From straight on center field, it looks like a no swing. It's a close call either way, and either way someone will be angry. I think Ryan, Runge, and really all players coaches and umpires can live with this being a swing than if it was the other way around. Still waiting for that alternate camera angle though for final review.

Anonymous said...

@UmpsRule, Ryan is like the Padres with Dale Scott: Too busy arguing the call to play out the play and like Dodgers catcher AJ Ellis, Pierzynski (also AJ) completed the play and let the umpires sort it out at the end, let the guys who are supposed to make the calls make the call. Ryan didn't do that and that might be part of the reason he didn't beat out the potential wild pitch down at first base - could have been safe had he not stopped to argue and throw a tantrum.

Jean said...

All it takes is one play at the end of the game to screw everything up for people's perception of umpires. What about outs number 1 through 26? It's always the two-out, ninth-inning call that sticks in people's minds.

UmpsRule said...

@Anon 4:11 That's exactly right and can you imagine a perfect game getting broken up on a strikeout and wild pitch?

mnhopper1s said...

Anon 4:11,

I can't agree with you here. The Dodgers triple play and this are different. The Padres players reacted to hand signals that the umpire made. The Dodgers catcher had the advantage of not seeing those signals so he get moving fluidly through his play.

In this case, I think there is a chance (however small) that Ryan could have beat this throw. But instead he was too busy arguing. If he hustles down the line and beats it, the end result is no different than if it were called ball 4...

I'm not so sure about this swing call...

Anonymous said...

the mlb tonight crew thought he went around

Anonymous said...

Yet again, I'm baffled by close to half of the comments on this site! There is absolutely no way for you to see whether or not he made an attempt. The only angle that Fox showed was from the center field camera...and from that angle it looks really really close. So many people on this site are ALWAYS certain of the call.

I also disagree with most of the people saying to lean one way or the other on a call based on the situation. When you're umpiring a professional baseball game, you will always be aware a situation like a potential perfect game, but once you start allowing the situation to dictate what you're going to call...you have compromised your credibility.

Anonymous said...

The rule is whether the umpire believes he attempted to strike the pitch, that's how you determine check swing calls. No bat barrel crossing the plate, no wrist breaking, no planes or anything. Just judgment of intent. That's is. Can't really put together an argument for or against that call, there's just nowhere in the rules to justify, confirm or refute it.

Jeb said...

Basically, if i'm an umpire sitting out in center field here, I have no swing, ball four, take your base. If I'm behind the plate or at first base, I might have something else, but from the angle given, I have no swing.

UmpsRule said...

@ Anon 4:28 The MLB Tonight also didn't like Bill Welke's ejection of Clayton Kershaw last year. And they were dead wrong on that.

Anonymous said...

@umpsrule how were they wrong

UmpsRule said...

Quite simply: If a pitcher hits a batter on purpose, he should be ejected. Based on the evidence, you can make a sufficient case for saying Kershaw had to go.

Anonymous said...

Did the pitcher get the benefit of the doubt ont this call? I think so. Was it a missed call, was it outright wrong? No.

Anonymous said...

When pausing the Must C: Classic video at 0:27, it appears that Runge made the correct call. I wish we had a side angle to confirm, but based off of the available replay, it looks like Ryan made a legitimate attempt to strike the ball.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, Humber pitches a perfect game and Runge calls a great game and there are people on this thread wanting to see different angles on the called check swing. Really?

Cricket said...

It amazes me how poor the commenting has been on posts so far this season.

How anyone could say that was a bad call from the angle given is absurd. I cannot say it was a good call, either.

My observation from the given angle: Ryan's hands are completely in front of his body. It is reasonable for an umpire to conclude Ryan attempted to strike the ball.

Anonymous said...

who cares he threw a dadgum perfect game

sincerely, the hawk

Ed Drew said...

The ump needs to find a new occupation, he clearly can't call baseball games. It was a terrible call, meant only to preserve a perfect game. All the people here seeing a correct call should schedule appointments with you eye doctors.

Anonymous said...

It looked close from the angle we saw which wasn't the greatest. However, if it's close, don't you think the umpire is going to rule in the favor of the pitcher?

Arik said...

It was really interesting listening to the last half inning here in Portland, OR on the Mariners radio network. It was a lot of fun to hear Rick Rizz and the other fella (still learning who is who) really pulling for Humber to finish off the game. Even commented that they didnt think Ryan went around but gave Runge the benefit of the doubt in the interest of baseball history.

It was a total blast!

Bill said...

Dear Ed Drew:

Thank you for your insightful comments regarding the work of Brian Runge while officiating the White Sox/Mariners game yesterday. It is only through the efforts of posters like you that those of us who actually umpire games can stay in touch with what the "man in the stands" thinks.

You'll be happy to know that I have aleady contacted my opthalmalogist, at your suggestion, to schedule an appointment. On behalf of all the other real umpires here, I thank you for your continued concern for our well being.

LouOCNY said...

I believe Runge invoked the Babe Pinelli Rule yesterday.....

UmpsRule said...

Of course people want to see a side angle! It was a controversial call to end a perfect game. Why does it seem strange that we want to know if the call was correct or not? As for Mr. Ed Drew, seeing that as of yet we have not reached a consensus on the accuracy of the call, I'm curious to know why you say Runge clearly can't call baseball games?

Gil Imber said...

TheGunsofHochuli has generously provided us with a side angle still photo of Ryan's attempted check swing, taken more or less along the third base line extended into foul territory. Did he go?

cyclone14 said...

thanks for the angle...i don't really think that we can made any more of a definitive judgment based on it though...the depth perception is extremely off!

Anonymous said...

After looking at the video, I don't think he swung. Unfortunately, this was a no-win situation for Brian Runge. If he ruled it a no swing and the first base umpire upheld the ruling, Runge would have been vilified in the press worse than Jim Joyce. Going off subject briefly, Jim Joyce was probably only saved by his stellar reputation. Brian Runge while not a horrible umpire is no Jim Joyce - I don't think he could have survived a media backlash. So then his other option was to rule the pitch a strike, ensuring the perfect game. Now many people want to put an asterisk next to this perfect game because they are convinced the batter didn't swing and should have walked. Either way Runge was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

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