Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Press Box Ejections: MiLB Umpire Mario Seneca Orders DJ Removed From Single-A Cubs Game

"HP Umpire Mario Seneca ejected Daytona Cubs DJ Derek Dye for playing 'Three Blind Mice' after a close call at first base, #MiLB A Advanced," so read the SportEjections twitter feed's most recent (and most favorited + retweeted) tweet at 6:38 PM on August 1.

File: Professional Baseball (MiLB) Umpire Mario Seneca
With none out and none on in the top of the 8th inning of Wednesday's Florida State League contest between the Fort Myers Miracle and Daytona Cubs, Miracle batter Andy Leer hit a ground ball off of Cubs pitcher Scott Weismann to shortstop Tim Saunders, who threw low to first baseman Taylor Davis. After Davis attempted to snare the dirt-bound ball, which at some point fell out of Davis' glove, 1B Umpire Ramon Hernandez ruled Davis had bobbled the ball, resulting in a throwing error charged to Saunders and batter-runner Leer arriving at first base safely.

As Cubs manager Brian Harper visited Hernandez to argue the lack of possession call, Daytona Cubs deejay intern Derek Dye cued up a baseball organ version of "Three Blind Mice" to play over the Jackie Robinson Ballpark P.A. system. While Hernandez was engaged with Harper, his partner, umpire-in-chief Mario Seneca recognized the childhood tune and knew exactly what he had to do. (Video: Inappropriate Song Plays, Dye Tossed)

If only Dye—an intern from the University of Illinois—was a bit more experienced or versed in stadium entertainment audio operations, he would have known that "Three Blind Mice" was a baseball no-no, a discipline-worthy offense backed by nearly three decades of precedent and past practice.

Cue Seneca, who turned to the press box and authoratively stated, "You're done!" in the direction of Dye. Seneca had further instructions for the entertainment crew: "Turn the sound off for the rest of the night."
OBR Rule 9.01(b) authorizes umpires "to order a player, coach, manager or club officer or employee to do or refrain from doing anything which affects the administering of [the rules of the game], and to enforce the prescribed penalties," which includes ejecting or ordering the offender from the confines of playing field and ordering the offending audio amplification device to be powered down.

Seneca has the professional expertise and perspective to rule on this peculiar situation. A graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law, Seneca, like MLB umpire Dan Bellino, holds a juris doctor—"the lawyer degree"—and is the Second Vice President of the Association of Minor League Umpires.

For any student of law, the concept of "precedent" is absolutely vital to deciphering the present and in this case, Seneca's actions are backed by the past actions of many fellow umpires, all of which have been supported by the League Office or President in charge.

» In 1985, also in the Florida State League, umpire Keith O'Connor ejected Clearwater Phillies organist Wilbur Snapp after Snapp played "Three Blind Mice" in protest of a controversial call.

» In 1988, umpire & crew chief Tony Maners ejected Omaha Royals organist Lambert Bartak for playing "derogatory music" after a close call went against Omaha. Bartak had keyed the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme song during a fifth inning intermission. Intriguingly enough, Maners had not even been involved in the debated call; instead, Royals catcher Larry Owen and manager Glenn Ezell both argued with the umpire who had made the call, HP Umpire Angel Hernandez.
» » Maners claimed he had previously ejected another organist in the International League for  similar actions.

» On August 7, 2001, MLB plate umpire Angel Hernandez (the same one) ejected Cubs 7th inning stretch guest singer & former Bears player Steve McMichael after McMichael impairedly (and with a beer in his hand) stated over the Wrigley Field P.A. system, "I'll have some speak with that home plate umpire after the game... boo!" after a close call the previous half inning.

That brings us to August 1, when Seneca, not involved in the argued call, protected his partner by ejecting the rules offender, who just happened to be in the press box. The only difference, in this day and age, is that offender Dye was not an organist, he was simply a deejay who chose to repeat history by playing a previously banned organ tune, "Three Blind Mice," a piece of music that, considering the context with which it is played, may be ample grounds to invoke Rule 9.01(b) and eject or remove the offender from the ballpark.



Wrap: Miracle vs. Cubs (Class A Advanced), 8/1/12
Video: Seneca ejects Dye for playing offensive song
News: Umpire tosses music intern in Daytona

69 comments :

Anonymous said...

Bravo Mario Seneca, who even looks like Dan Bellino on that file photo pic. One would have thought that a mistake from 1985 and again in 1988 would have been the end of music folks making fun of umpires from the press box, but alas, the vicious cycle continues and history repeats itself. Unfortunately, the modern generation doesn't seem to care enough about the true values of the game to know right from wrong and Dye's actions prove it. It's not baseball, it's a travesty.

Turducken said...

I think the most egregious error here is that the guy played "Three Blind Mice" when there were only two umpires. Good job, good effort, kiddo.

Will said...

Mario was an instructor at JEAPU this year and he is a class act. Very intelligent and a very good umpire

Anonymous said...

http://miraclebaseball.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/audio-miracle-broadcaster-brice-zimmerman-reacts-to-mario-seneca-ejecting-press-box-personnel.html

Big Marc said...

Bruce Froemming (minors '58-'70, Big leauges '71-'07) and Herb Laemmle ('61-'67 minors only) both cleared the press box in Durham, not sure what years, and it wasn't the same year. Evidentally the press box hung very low, close to home plate.
Froemming said he thought he was going to get fired the next day. Laemmle was in Bougainville during WW2 (80% casualties) and later Korea. He told me he never thought about it. Laemmle was partner with John McSherry when John was 19, Carolina League.

Anonymous said...

Get out of here....Mario handled this well I thought...

nwsquid said...

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp3e6B3boiY

Zac said...

The announcer's reaction in that video might be the best part of all of this. He is having a coronary.

Curt Crowley said...

Proving once again that there are many people in this world that take themselves far too seriously.

I'm not sure how much value Harnandez-McMichael has as precedent in this situation, other than to establish the general proposition that an umpire may cause individuals to be removed from the premises. The facts of McMichael are distinguishable. McMichael was visibly intoxicated and made a threat (and it wasn't clearly discernible that he was joking). That caused a packed stadium to erupt. McMichael's actions certainly did pose a substantial risk not only to game administration, but to the umpires' safety.

None of those facts were present in the instant case. No threats were made. No effort was made to incite the crowd. The crowd didn't even react. Nothing was happening on the field at all at that moment. In short, none of the facts that made removal appropriate in the McMichael case were present in this one.

It seems this was more of a case of a bruised ego, as opposed to concern about game administration. The ridiculous ejection mechanic for someone in the press box tells the story.

A wise man once said, "This is baseball. It's supposed to be fun. Fun G*d*mmit.". Another (sometimes not so) wise man once said "just get out there and umpire will ya."
Both good advice in my estimation.

Curt Crowley said...

HErnandez I meant.

Anonymous said...

As someone who umpired at the AAA level, I would like to commend him for removing the DJ. I will tell you that he will receive feedback that he mishandled this situation. Next time, he will not give the big ejection mechanic, but calmly go over to the home dugout and use the phone to call the press box and have the DJ removed. And he will never have the sound turned off for the rest of the game again. Honest mistake from a young umpire.

Turducken said...

"The good news is that I called my league president afterwards, and he said I did the correct thing. His opinion is pretty much the only one that matters, since he's my boss."

Mario Seneca

Anonymous said...

Mario, that's great news. Chuck Murphy is a good man and will be your biggest supporter as long as you're honest with him. I think you're kidding yourself if you think his opinion is the only one that matters. In fact it matters less than the PBUC supervisory staff as I know of more than one guy that got fired from a league and got moved to another. I had a situation that I honestly butchered in the State League and called him and told him. He had my back but it still ended up in my season end eval. It happens.

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad someone did something to a stadium sound man. I've been to two minor league places in the past week where they played a stupid sound effect at least once, sometimes more, between EVERY SINGLE PITCH.

It really annoyed me at one place, because it was a twinight DH due to a rainout. Thus, the place was kind of empty for the start of Game 1. Being at a game where you are treated to all of the sound going on around the field is kind of cool, except they were ruining it all by playing dumb sound effects between every pitch.

UmpsRule said...

That's hilarious. Dye deserved to get tossed. Eliminating all the sound might have been an overreaction, but the organization hopefully learned their lesson.

Anonymous said...

@ Turducken
Im confused. Are you Mario Seneca?

UmpsRule said...

@ Anon 9:28

No, I believe he was posting a quote from Seneca. I've seen the same quote elsewhere online.

Russ said...

I see Seneca wears a bucket! But on a more serious note, I'm fine with Seneca asking the press box to turn the music off, but the ejection seems over the top. Learn how to take some criticsm. If you want to move up to the next level in the Minors, you are going to be taking some criticism. This just seems a little thin-skinned to me. The ejection mechanic was unnecesary and he caused a scene for no reason.

kickersrule said...

When I went to school in 2008 they told me hockey stlye mask were not allowed in the minors that must of changed in the last 4 years? I was mad that I couldnt even where my $200 mask at umpire school.

Turducken said...

@Anon 9:28, Not Mario Seneca. Former AA Umpire, though, for whatever it's worth.

Anonymous said...

No matter the precedent, playing 'Three Blind Mice' does not "affect the administering of [the rules of the game]".

The umpire just got sensitive, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Neither does a manager calling you a MFer but you're still going to eject him. This isn't amateur ball where most guys would "laugh it off".

Anonymous said...

I remember a situation like around 82 or 83 where I believe it was Joe West who ejected two cameramen in the dugout of the Mets-Braves game because of a disputed call and their cameras showed the replay and showed it to the manager. Not sure exactly how Joe found out, but he tossed out the cameramen in quick fashion.

Anonymous said...

I think this was sooo over the top stupid. Tell rabbit ears to call the game and worry about what is going on on the field and not off.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45

Learn the defintion of rabbit ears. Why do so many people not understand what it means?

Anonymous said...

Wow, the video made the front page of Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/xkaqq/baseball_stadium_dj_ejected_for_playing_3_blind/

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any minor league clubs will try to get cute tonight, and test the umpires working their games.

Anonymous said...

From the Reddit comments:

"I am the PA / music guy for the Kane County Cougars. Mario Seneca was an umpire in our league (Midwest - Class A) last season.

He threatened to eject me for playing the SpongeBob Squarepants Theme. It's one of the many things we play to get the crowd charged up - the kids scream their lungs out. I've been playing it for about a decade.

Mario may be a minor league umpire, but he's a major league douchenozzle a**clown."

ParkBoss said...

If this happened at our facility it would have resulted in Mr. Seneca having a discussion with me at the screen. Discussion would have been 1. if you do not want certain songs played, talk to ME and I will try to accommodate you, 2. if you want someone who is part of the facility staff to leave the facility, come talk to ME about it and I will try to address your concerns, 3. if you want something that deals with lights or sound, talk to ME and I will address your concerns, and 4. if you ever yell at a member of the facility staff again, I will send security down and you can yell at him as you are being escorted out.

Facility and game admins cannot allow game officials to act in this way. We treat officials better than most places basically waiting on them hand and foot and happy to do it. But we would never let this go unresponded to.

Anonymous said...

parkboss

You actually find umpires? You must pay a lot because I would never umpire for someone like you. If you escort the umpire out of the building who would umpire? I garentee you if you escort one out the other one is not going to stay.

UmpsRule said...

@ Anon 3:14

I wouldn't put too much stock in that comment. You don't know if the person is who they claim to be, do you? For that matter, I'm Fieldin Culbreth! Prove that I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if you escort the umpire out, you do realize that's a forfeit and huge fine...

ParkBoss said...

I am not who finds game officials, they are assigned. We treat them good and take care of anything they need. They are always nice to us too. We have never had something like this happen before. When umpires have problemns they know where I am sitting and will come talk to me about it. Then I fix it. I would hope that it would never come to escorting him out because he would listen to me and just not yell at my staff anymore. Most officials would. But if he did it again in front of every body I guess I would have to call security down. Umpires are not the only profession that doesnt want to be showed up.

Anonymous said...

He just mad cause he got a law degree and makes 800 bucks a month. loser

UmpsRule said...

@ ParkBoss

I understand where you are coming from, but who showed who up? Seems to me that nobody forced Dye to play Three Blind Mice for the whole ballpark to hear.

Anonymous said...

People on these boards need to stop posting from an amateur perspective. There are standards of conduct that are to be upheld in a professional setting. It is common knowledge in professional baseball that "Three Bling Mice" is off limits. It's tacky and classless. I would not be surprised if there were more than a few general managers and league personnel from around Minor League Baseball who were embarrassed by Mr. Dye's actions during last night's game.

@ParkBoss your scenario is ridiculous, Minor League Umpires do not get escorted off fields. In fact, if you attempted that you would probably be looking for employment the next day because your parent club would never let that "go unresponded to".

Curt Crowley said...

"There are standards of conduct that are to be upheld in a professional setting."

Thanks for the heads up. Do you plan on letting the umpires know?

"It's tacky and classless."

Yeah, like that ridiculous "look at me look at me" ejection mechanic, and shutting down the announcer who had done nothing wrong.

The problem with the Seneca cheerleading is one of perception. The average fan does not care if your feelings get hurt by the organist. The public does not understand why someone would get bent out of shape over this. The reason they don't understand it is because most normal, well-adjusted adults do not have such an inflated view of their own self worth that they would be offended by this. The public just sees a mildly witty joke. And a tool that can't take one.

If the public or "amateurs" appear incapable of understanding, it's not because they are stupid and you are all-knowing. It's because they are normal, and the crap of which you speak is abnormal.

Anonymous said...

Anon @3:56. Hey Cubby!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Curt, I'm going to show up at your workplace and bully you throughout your day. I hope you take it well because if you utter one word of dissent or make one funny look, you're just as bad as an umpire.

SJR said...

@Curt, what perspectives/experiences do you bring to these discussions? Umpire, Coach, player, fan, etc. I'm not asking out of disrespect, but out of curiosity. While some of your opinions seem radical sometimes, I can appreciate the educated manner in which you present them. Thanks.

Curt Crowley said...

@6:18, please note that the assessment I gave in the most recent comment was not a recitation of my own thoughts on this situation or umpires in general. I was relating how these situations come across to the average fan. As I said, it causes a "perception" problem.

My own take is that if there is an unwritten rule against TBM, the remedy is to walk over, get on the horn and put a stop to it. See anon 7:26 cmt above. Problem solved and no one is the wiser. Putting on a show only pisses off the fans and looks bad to the public.

Go watch the video again. When the song started playing, the crowd was dead. No indication they even noticed it was playing. When did the crowd get riled up? After Prime Time called everyone's attention to it. By handling it in this manner, he essentially showed himself up, and caused the very problem the rule was intended to avoid.

Mark said...

I wonder what Curt would say if an umpire had a perfectly good reason to eject a player, did it with a reasonable ejection mechanic, did not escalate the situation, and neither went after the ejecting player, nor the coach coming in to defend him - but merely went back to doing his job. I imagine that Curt would lambast said umpire for his shoes not being shined well enough - or that he wasn't quick enough at dusting the plate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Curt on this one. I think Seneca was being a little too sensitive with this one. Playing Three Blind Mice is not abusive. A warning should have sufficed, and if the DJ didn't stop, then an ejection would be appropriate.

I bet you the intern will never play the song again.

Anonymous said...

"PBUC Manual (most recent printing): 1.3 STANDARDS FOR REMOVAL FROM THE GAME

7. Actions by team personnel specifically intended to ridicule an umpire are grounds for ejection."

Could he have handled it differently? Certainly, but he was well within the guidelines to remove the person running the music.

UmpsRule said...

This might be worth a post: http://www.cbssports.com/olympics/blog/eye-on-olympics/19711737/investigations-underway-after-apparent-crooked-boxing-match

Curt Crowley said...

Mark, you don't have to wonder what I would say.

See Eddings 6/8, Porter 6/10, Davidson 7/25, Winters 7/28 (on a real stinker of a call from an umpire I do not care for), Bellino 7/16, Holbrook 7/7.

It's a case-by-case analysis, not an either/or proposition.

Anonymous said...

So curt we are still wondering if you're an umpire, coach, player or just a fan.

Anonymous said...

By Curt no answering a bunch of people asking him if he is an umpire coach or fan Im thinking he is just a fan that has never umpired or coached a game in his life besides little league. He just doesnt want to say that because then no one will take him seriously again. Not that anyone does now.

SJR said...

If Curt doesn't want to answer, it's fine with me - it's his choice and I don't hold it against him. Like I said, I was only curious because, in my opinion, his posts are well-written and usually interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hey curt, this is pro ball. People are actually held accountable for their actions. Notice that no one associated with the team is mad?

Curt Crowley said...

SJR, I don't mind answering your question. My perspective comes from playing baseball, being a baseball fan and formerly umpiring baseball. I have never coached or umpired at the little league/travel ball etc level (as I heard it would sour one's attitude).

Thank you for your compliments re my posts. I do actually consider the facts of the situation before commenting. Sometimes I conclude the umpire is right. Sometimes not.

Anonymous said...

@anon 8:09

Can you be more specific about team personnel? To me, that says players, coaches, trainers, and ball boys/girls.

Curt Crowley said...

@9:52, maybe you're right. But I'm sure everyone takes you seriously, anonymous guy. Nothing screams "credibility" like some tool posting anonymously, especially when his comments are devoid of fact, analysis or any substance whatsoever.

10:09, seriously dude? People are actually held accountable at the professional level? That has to be the dumbest statement I've ever heard, as it is disproven by history. Did you copy and paste that from your pro school notebook?

As far as no one with the team being upset, that is the second dumbest comment I've ever heard. If no one with the team has voiced displeasure, could that possibly be because they don't want to get fined or suspended for violating the rule against publicly calling an umpire an attention-seeking melodramatic self-important fool?

In case you boys missed it, I'm not the only one who thinks Prime Time should have gone to the phone and called it in instead of showing out.

Big Marc said...

Who ever posted, "People on these boards need to stop posting from an amateur perspective".
Is clearly a pro.
Depending which side of this issue you are on, it really does show if you look at the game through the Pro world, or if your an amateur.

This thread shows how naive posters are about umpiring. (not to curt) If I was one of the pro guys on here posting, I wouldn't waste my time ever again, responding to the names associated with comments on this particular thread, against this ejection.
I would instead bang my head on a wall for 2 hours. It's really a lateral move....... Respond to nonsense, or head against wall.

Big Marc said...

Curt, dude at 10:09 went to school and got a job, by my reading between the lines.

Seriously Curt (dude) do you know more than a dude who made it? You do realize he paid the money, and went through all the trainging right?
Do you have no respect for another man? Let alone getting a very exclusive job?
Curt you are so far out of line, you don't even know it.
You keep posting stuff like, "that's the dumbest", and "2nd dumbest".
Everytime you post, and call somebody dumb, it really seems like your talking about yourself.
I would not be surprised if in the near future, you posted 2 words, "Just Kidding".
It almost seems like your making this stuff up, just to pull our legs.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who agrees with or defends this imbecile Seneca needs to to get their head examined. This was a class a minor league game and the kid was haviing a little fun with the umpires. It was not dirty, it was not mean spirited. The problem here is Mario Seneca and all like him. He is a thin skinned moron who is clueless and has no sense of humor. He would have made a great nazi. I hope to God this robot umpires a game that I attend I will make it my mission to make him miserable from the first pitch....hell I might even sing three blind mice.

Curt Crowley said...

Marc, saying it's the "dumbest" thing I've ever heard is hyperbole. Obviously, I've heard much dumber things. Making a blanket statement that people are held accountable is just laughable. I repeatedly read comments on this site complaining about that very fact. Maybe organists are held accountable, but there are plenty of examples of players, managers and yes, even umpires, not being held accountable for bad behavior.

What is the problem with my position on this issue? Yes, I think it's rather Mickey Mouse to get bent out of shape about TBM. But regardless, if that's one of the unwritten rules, fine. He should have called up there and taken care of it. Other pros have taken the same position in previous comments. So what's the problem?

In the Hernandez case, that's exactly how it was handled. And that was actually a big freaking deal. Hernandez had every right to be livid, but he didn't turn the proceedings into the Angel Hernandez Show. My position is consistent with the way the McMichael situation was handled. So how is my position unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Curt to an extent here. When this event was first reported, there was no video and it sounded like the umpire was right and the DJ intern was wrong. Then we got audio only and while the DJ was still wrong, the umpire sounded a little loud, but still justified. Then we got video and while the DJ is STILL in the wrong here and the umpire is still justified to eject the kid for playing a stupid song, the umpire didn't exactly have tact in how he handled it. It looked way too emotional.

Bottom line though, the umpire had the right to throw the kid out, his execution was lacking tho.

UmpsRule said...

FWIW, I have absolutely no umpiring experience. That doesn't mean my opinions are irrelevant. For that matter, Curt's opinions are not relevant or irrelevant based solely on his umpiring experience. Also, while I may disagree with Curt most of the time, I do agree that Seneca overplayed his handling of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Wow. Annnnd Wow!

Parkboss, based off your use of the terms "game admins"/"game officials" I'd say it's safe to assume you're nothing more than a JUCO AD, but I still feel The need to address this nonsense.

In professional baseball the umpires are the
sole authority figure over all aspects of the
baseball game. That includes sound, video
and on field promotions. If something needs to be shut down, the umpire does not need to call you over to the screen for your permission.

Please give me the name of the league president (errr conference commissioner) that would support you having an umpire removed
From the field for "screaming at Facility staff". I'm dying to work for THAT guy!

Anonymous said...

My only issue is that Seneca would no longer even allow the P.A. guy to continue. It sounded as if he was trying to announce the batter and Seneca essentially told them to cut the mic. I think that was a little much.

Also, I don't think he needed to make it all dramatic. Could have just walked over to whomever he was speaking to and told that person Dye needed to be removed. Quiet and efficient. Also lowers the risk of throwing out his shoulder with his big ole heave-ho.

Russ said...

More about Malachi Moore.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120716&content_id=35035638&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

UmpsRule said...

Thanks Russ. That was a great read.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet that if Mario had known this incident would make the news all over the country, he would have handled it differently. In this day and age, nothing is too small to go unnoticed. Not even a mid-season FSL contest with maybe 1,000 fans in the stands.

Bryan Zegers said...

CCS LAA Manager is protesting an out of the base line call against the white sox i believe, please look into to this, hawk harrelson is saying angels are protesting, prob will not be held up. Bottom 1st bases load 1 out

Anonymous said...

Mario Seneca is an idiot! If it doesn't affect the outcome of a game, then turn your rabbit ears off.

UmpsRule said...

Yet another commenter that doesn't know the meaning of the term 'rabbit ears' and this misuse is just brutal. If one can hear something, he's not using rabbit ears.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to minor league umpires, they way they are treated, bargain hotels, having to drive hundreds and hundreds of miles at low pay, you can do what you want. When it comes to major league umpires, the standards are a little higher.

basketballprs said...

Mario Seneca is a serious student of the game who has worked very hard to advance himself. I have worked both basketball and football with the young man. As Division I official in both sports I can assure that Mario applies the rules in the proper context and would never toss a DJ (regardless of the idiot's attempt to embarass the crew)if it wasn't in rule book.

I find it amazing that people can attack and ridicule officials but when they get tossed for their verbal abuse the officials are at fault. Proper behavior applies at work, school and yes the ball park.

Mario, keep fighting the good fight.

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