Friday, May 11, 2012

Ejection 027: Mike Muchlinski (1)

HP Umpire Mike Muchlinski ejected Braves pinch hitter Eric Hinske for arguing a swinging strike call in the top of the 8th inning of the Braves-Cardinals game.* With one out and one on, Braves batter Eric Hinske attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 changeup from Cardinals pitcher Mitchell Boggs. Replays indicate that even though Hinske held his bat back, his wrists clearly went forward in an attempt to swing at the ball and failed to check his swing, the call was correct. The call is now incorrect.^ At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 6-6. The Braves ultimately won the contest, 9-7, in 12 innings.

This is Mike Muchlinski (76)'s first ejection of 2012.
Mike Muchlinski now has -2 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 3 AAA + -1 Penalty + -4 Incorrect Call = -2).
Crew Chief Mike Winters now has 1 point in the UEFL Crew Division (1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 1).
*Brooks Baseball notes that the 7th (strike three pitch) to Hinske was a called strike three, however the official score, MLB.com, and the mechanics of Muchlinski show it was a ruled swinging strike. 
^Afer review, the Appeals Board has reversed the Original QOC ("Correct" ==> "Incorrect").

UEFL Standings Update
This is the 27th ejection of 2012.
This is the 8th player ejection of 2012.
This is Eric Hinske's first ejection of 2012.
Prior to his ejection, Hinske was 0-1 with 1 K in the contest.

Wrap: Braves at Cardinals 5/11/12
Video: Muchlinski rules Hinske swung; Hinske angers, gets ejected by Muchlinski, and then throws bat

33 comments :

Anonymous said...

No way is that a correct call! The batter had full control of the bat and didn't come close to offering at that pitch. What replay were you watching?

Cricket said...

From a Braves fan...

Hinske is one of my least favorite players to ever play for team. While he is a very useful member, his attitude and demeanor comes off as...well, what you saw in this video.

This is not the first time a Hinske check-swing has led to an ejection; I believe Bobby got tossed in 2010 on a similar swing. If someone could look that up, that'd be great.

As for the call...this is a pretty obvious attempt to strike the ball. A buddy of mine, who's starting MiLB next month, said he was taught in School and PBUC that if you think the ball could have went fair if it hit any part of the bat, it's an attempt to strike.

Anonymous said...

check swings are one of the hardest calls to make. you can ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers...i guess its all about how you interpret the obr's wording...looks like a good call to me.

Anonymous said...

Let's see what a panel thinks of this, rather than just one guy. I think this might be the most contested Appeal yet.

I challenge the ruling.

Jeremy Dircks said...

This ruling has been challenged and is under review by the Appeals Board.

Anonymous said...

I love it! Mike and I used to umpire for NBUA up in Seattle. He was good then. He is great now. So cool seeing him toss Hinske and keep his same calm demeanor. And he went. No doubt about it.

tmac said...

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/zoneplot.php-pitchSel=all&game=gid_2012_05_11_atlmlb_slnmlb_1&sp_type=1&s_type=7.gif


One of the worst plate's of the season... I'm afraid anon 12:33 you may be seeing mike soon!!

I feel for the call-ups there is so much pressure to stand out especially since Mike was down for most of the year after umpiring 500 MLB games being down in AAA all year may have causes a game like this... It wasn't pretty

Let's hope mike can get some confidence back... Working behind Molina was not good.. I thought Molina might have been a little rough on him as they got into it early and Molina's body language was horrible and resulted in Card's manager Matheny yelling from the dugout several times.

mnhopper1s said...

tmac, it's not the players' fault when an umpire is horrible. He couldn't call balls and strikes all night long.

Now I won't say whether this was a good call or a bad call, but there was no doubt that player getting ejected was deserved with that action. He'll likely face a suspension.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why you appeal to the third base umpire. Don't guess, that's what they are there for.

UmpsRule said...

@ Cricket: Here's the video you asked for: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=11512519&c_id=mlb

Anonymous said...

First, let me say that Hinske deserved to get tossed. I won't debate whether it should've been a strike or not...there are varying opinions here. But he should've at least appealed to third.

As for this guy's performance the rest of the night, I agree with tmac. I watched the whole game and the best I can say is he was consistently inconsistent. He was hearing it from pitchers and hitters from both teams and the benches all game. He even gave what I consider a few makeup calls. Terrible performance.

UmpsRule said...

Yes, give credit to Muchlinski for remaining calm, as he did during the Ryan Theriot incident last year. However, I have a really hard time seeing that as a swing. I don't think this will become quite as interesting as the Dale Scott play in April, but still...

Anonymous said...

Wow. Did you see what Muchlinski was saying to Hinske. "I'm the umpire. I'M...the umpire." Pride of the umpires today is very disconcerting. Why, in a sport where we have automatic ejections after a warning without discussion, do we not have a rule that states that a check swing should always go to the base umpire? Ridiculous. I mean, if he did go, then the base umpire can say so. Why does the home plate umpire feel the need to make that call? And I'm a Cards fan!!

tmac said...

@ anon 8:27.. if you watch the video you do indeed see mike tap his chest and say something twice to Hinske which makes (possibly) Hinske reture after he was walking away.... That part of it no matter if he said "i'm the umpire" "it's my call" or anything was not handled well... You have to let the player walk away and it looked like on the video that Hinske was doing that.... as for the confrontation Mike handled that well but this whole game and incident is/was a disaster

Anonymous said...

anon 8:27: He's saying "It's my call," since Hinske seems to want him to get some help. Of course, once he calls a strike there is no going for help.

Anonymous said...

Bad call. No question. Muchlinski acted like an a-hole as well. Plus his strikc zone was all over the map. He's got a lot to learn about being an MLB umpire. Having said that, Hinske deserved to get tossed and will likely face a hefty fine.

Anonymous said...

Hinske did an horseS** job of holding up, coulda gone either way and Muchlinski handled it fine... jeesh it's like how do you want him to handle it? Saying "That's my call." is FINE! What about how Hinske handled it? All most of the new people on this site seem to contribute is the same old "kill the ump" POV on EVERY SINGLE ejection.

... Boring.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, a home plate umpire shouldn't even make the call unless it's obvious to someone in the Uecker seats. You can't look at balls/strikes and the bat at the same time. If spent all his time just watching balls/strikes and didn't worry about swings, maybe his zone would improve

Cricket said...

I cannot read 75% of these comments anymore...

I have a feeling more and more visitors to this website are not umpires.

Anonymous said...

This is fun. All the major league umpire wannabes, after looking at the replay in slo-motion, make the "correct" call. Try doing it in real time or just shut up.

Jim R. said...

That Brooks chart *can't* be right -- or maybe I'm reading it completely wrong.

There were a couple of pitches one FOOT out of the zone that he called strikes? A FOOT ??????

Anonymous said...

It might look like a foot on the chart but its probably really only about 1 or 2 inches.

Anonymous said...

Todd Tichenor just heaved Frank Francisco in the Mets-Marlins game after some questionable ball calls

wwjd said...

Hp umpire Mark Carldon has just ejected Dogers right fielder Andre Eithet and manager Don Matingly for arguing balls amd strikes rockies rafio affiliate 850 explaned it as a pitch that is always gonna be called a strike I'll be interested too see when it gets posted what the rullind will be but I'll go out on a limb and say it I'll br rulled correct

Anonymous said...

tmac, I think you're being a little hard on Muchlinski here. So what if he said "it's my call" after he ran Hinske? Big deal! If Hinske's going to take offense at something that bland, he's got far bigger problems than Muchlinski does. I thought Muchlinski handled a confrontation with an enraged, bat-throwing Eric Hinske remarkably well, far better than I ever could.

Jeremy Dircks said...

That one that shows a foot out. The very far one out. That is this strike three. Brooks lists it as a strike three called, when clearly it was not a called strike three, but rather a swinging strike three call.

UmpsRule said...

@ Anon 3:56: I think the problem is that Hinske was walking away and Muchlinski didn't let the argument end.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 11:16 - I don't think that's what he said, and it doesn't matter. "I'm the Umpire," or "That's my call" are both inappropriate responses. "There is no way I could get a better view of this than the third base umpire, so there is no need for my pride to get in the way. Therefore I will defer to my colleague in order to make sure we get the correct call, which is the point of my existence anyway." is the only appropriate response.

Jeremy Dircks said...

After review, the original Quality of Correctness of "Correct" has been reversed in a 4-3 decision by the UEFL Appeals Board. Four Appeals Board members elected to Overturn and three elected to Uphold the original ruling.

In its closest decision to date, the Appeals Board has reversed the Original Ruling through the use of a casting vote. The first Appeals Board decision subject to a casting, or tie-breaker vote, by the posting ex-officio member of the Board, the Board made reference to Rule 2.00 STRIKE, which defines the term as a pitch "struck at by the batter and missed." The Official Baseball Rules does not impose comprehensive nor overt criteria for determining a framework for the check or half swing; this is simply a judgment call by the Home Plate Umpire, whose decision may be appealed to a base umpire if the original call is a ball.

In reversing its decision, the Board opined, per curiam:
The call made by Muchlinski of a swinging third strike call is incorrect. Hinske successfully checked his swing on the 3-2 pitch. Using both an objective and subjective standard, Hinske did not attempt to swing. His wrists, although forward, did not break, nor did his bat break the plane of the strike zone. As the ball was passing through the strike zone, Hinske did not make an attempt to strike the ball and restrained himself from doing so.
Thus reversing the Original Ruling is rejected, that "his wrists clearly went forward in an attempt to swing at the ball and failed to check his swing."

Dissenting, Gil opined:
Perhaps no other call in professional baseball carries as much ambiguity as the check swing. There exists no 45-degree line, no plane of the plate, nor barrel of the bat location, nor even a breaking of the wrist—OBR 2.00 STRIKE only authorizes, "a pitch struck at by the batter and missed"; a judgment call that places the onus for criteria creation on the calling umpire—whether the attempt is a strike or a ball rests solely with the umpire, based on that umpire's framework during that specific pitch to that specific batter. In dissent, this call carries no evidence with which to conclusively confirm nor overrule this specific call; therefore, the Original Ruling must prevail. In regards to calling jurisdiction and whether the umpire should have granted appeal, UEFL Rule 6-2-b-6-a advises against this consideration: "Quality of Correctness is governed by the (in)correctness of the call made." Accordingly, the call of strike was made and is the only decision which shall be reviewable.

tmac, in summation: "There is no greater opinion play than a check swing."

Confirmed: None
Upheld: Gil, Albertaumpire, yawetag
Overturned: tmac, BillMueller, RichMSN
Deferred: None
Abstained: None
Casting Vote, Overturned: Jeremy (Posted Original QOC of "Correct")

UmpsRule said...

Good overturn by the board. I'm curious as to why Jeremy reversed himself. Did he change his mind or was he following some sort of rule or what?

Gil Imber said...

In concurrence, RichMSN opined:
I can appreciate the commissioner's dissent -- in MLB a checked swing has only one criteria -- did the player offer or not offer. Unlike the NCAA, who has specifically defined a half-swing and criteria for ruling that half-swing a strike, MLB has chosen not to codify criteria in the rules.

My decision to overturn was based on the same criteria I use while on the field: Did I think the batter offered based on a viewing (one single viewing) of the checked swing. After watching the video, I didn't think it was close, personally, and I'm a person who isn't shy about calling a checked-swing strike from any position on the field.

There may be no specific evidence to conclusively confirm or overrule the particular call, but that doesn't mean the call should be (or must be) considered correct. Reductio ad absurdum: Let's say the bat never left the shoulders, yet Muchlinski rules a checked swing strike. Again, there's no real objective criteria for confirming or overturning his decision (since no such criteria exists), but it's obvious that the call was made in error. While this is not as cut-and-dried, I do think it's closer to this than an obvious full swing. Hence, my vote to overturn.

Until a checked swing decision is considered correct automatically by the rules of the UEFL, it's always going to be a judgment call -- by the umpire, by the deciding commissioner (for the original QOC determination) and by the appeals board (if it comes to that).

Anonymous said...

This site has been ruined by all the non-umpires on here. It's over.

Anonymous said...

@1034, so just because someone doesn't umpire means they can't comment on rules of the game? That never stops umpires from criticizing and decrying manager and coach behavior. Everyone should be free to have opinions and support them with reasonable facts. Everyone, no matter how much you might disagree with them, deserves a chance to speak their mind. Anything else would be suppression and very narrow minded.

By the way, I had a swing and a very obvious ejection. Given Hinsoe acting like a spoiled brat, I thought Muchlinski handled the situation fine.

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