Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ejection 071: Kerwin Danley (1)

HP Umpire Kerwin Danley ejected Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny for arguing a safe call in the top of the 1st inning of the Royals-Cardinals game. With none out and two on, Royals batter Eric Hosmer hit a 1-2 curveball from Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly back to the box, Kelly attempting to catch the strong line drive before throwing to first base and then to second for an attempted triple play. Originally ruled a catch (but never signaled or gestured as such), umpire Danley reversed his call upon argument from Royals manager Ned Yost and conference with umpires Porter, Nauert and DeMuth. Replays indicate the comebacker was fielded on a hop and subsequent runner placement appeared appropriate, the call was correct.*^ At the time of the ejection, the Royals and Cardinals were tied, 0-0.

This is Kerwin Danley (44)'s first ejection of 2012.
Kerwin Danley now has 4 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Dana DeMuth now has 3 point in the UEFL's Crew division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*QOC is correct per Rule 6-2-7, which specifies that post-consultation ejections are subject to final QOC.
^After review, the Original Ruling has been affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board in a 6-0 decision.
*Historical Appeals Board decisions may be consulted via the UEFL Portal.*

UEFL Standings Update

This is the 71st ejection of 2012.
This is the 36th Manager ejection of 2012.
This is the second consecutive ejection during a Cardinals home game.
This is the Cardinals' 2nd ejection of 2012, tied for 2nd in the NL Central (HOU 3, PIT 2, CHC 2, MIL 1).
This is Mike Matheny's first ejection since April 24 (Bill Welke; QOC = Incorrect).
This is Danley's first ejection since August 11 (Ned Yost; QOC = Correct).

Wrap: Royals at Cardinals, 6/16/12
Video: Umpires Overturn Potential Triple Play (MLB Must C: Curious)
Video: Apparent Triple Play Argued, Changed; Mike Matheny Ejected for Arguing Reversed Call (UEFL)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NBA Finals: Key Uncalled Foul in Final Seconds of Game 2

Game 2 of the NBA Finals came to a rough end as Thunder forward Kevin Durant unsuccessfully attempted a score with 11 seconds remaining in regulations. As far as video breakdowns go, this one is pretty simple.

It was a foul (Incorrect Call), as video evidence conclusively demonstrates B6 using his left arm to alter and impede W35. Ever the loyal soldier, retired referee Steve Javie did his best to explain the call to a national audience.

Javie correctly surmised that the lead official Tom Washington had a poor angle with which to see the illegal contact, and therefore, the offending arm-bar, clamp and hack were all missed, unseen by the closest man with a whistle.

ESPN gave Javie about 30 seconds of air time Thursday night, just long enough to discuss position adjustments, angles and—without directly saying it—admit that Washington was straightlined for that crucial play.

By virtue of its position relative to the game clock, any controversial call that occurs in the final two minutes will be magnified; any apparent miss in the final 24 seconds will become a mountain and more importantly, will set off that ever-popular firestorm of "the referee cost my team the game," neglecting turnovers, shooting percentages and missed plays that might have led up to the barn-burning loss.

Ejection 070: Jeff Nelson (2)

1B Umpire Jeff Nelson ejected White Sox center fielder Alex Rios for arguing a strike (swinging) call in the top of the 9th inning of the White Sox-Cardinals game. With none out and none on, Rios attempted to check his swing on a 0-0 cutter from Cardinals pitcher Jason Motte. Replays indicate Rios attempted to strike the pitch, the call was correct. The call is now incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Cardinals were leading, 5-3. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

This is Jeff Nelson (45)'s second ejection of 2012.
Jeff Nelson now has 0 points in the UEFL (2 Previous + 2 MLB + -4 Incorrect Call = 0).
Crew Chief Tim Tschida now has 3 point in the UEFL's Crew division (3 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 3).
*After review, the Original Ruling has been reversed by the UEFL Appeals Board in a 3-2 decision.
*Historical Appeals Board decisions may be consulted via the UEFL Portal.*

This is the 70th ejection of 2012.
This is the 27th player ejection of 2012.
This is the 4th ejection of June 14, 2012.
This is the White Sox' 4th ejection of 2012, tied for 3rd in the AL Central (DET 7, KC 3).
This is Alex Rios' first ejection since May 1, 2011 (Cory Blaser; QOC = Incorrect).
This is Nelson's first ejection since May 31 (Tom Brookens; QOC = Irrecusable).
Jeff Nelson was the 2011 UEFL Umpire of the Year.

Ejection 069: Eric Cooper (1)

HP Umpire Eric Cooper ejected Texas Rangers designated hitter Ian Kinsler for arguing a strike call in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Diamondbacks-Rangers game. With none out and none on, Rangers batter Ian Kinsler took a 1-2 fastball for a called strike three from Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson. Replays indicate that the strike three pitch was knee high, but off the inside edge of the plate (px value of -1.01), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Diamondbacks were leading, 9-1. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the contest, 11-3.

This is Eric Cooper (56)'s first ejection of 2012.
Eric Cooper now has -2 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2 MLB + -4 Incorrect Call = -2).
Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg now has 1 point in the UEFL's Crew division (1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 1).
*The strike three pitch had a px value of -1.01, which is in the ball range.

This is the 69th ejection of 2012.
This is the 26th player ejection of 2012.
This is the Rangers' 3rd ejection of 2012, tied for first in the AL West (OAK 3, LAA 1, SEA 0).
This is Ian Kinsler's first ejection since May 29, 2011 (Mike Estabrook; QOC = Correct).
This is Eric Cooper's first ejection since July 17, 2011 (Brad Mills; QOC = Correct).
Cooper last ejected Kinsler on June 25, 2010 (QOC = Correct).

Wrap: Diamondbacks at Rangers 6/14/12
Video: Kinsler argues strike three call in 6th, Cooper shows Kinsler the door

Ejection 067, 068: Dan Iassogna (1, 2)

HP Umpire Dan Iassogna ejected Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 2nd inning and Royals Manager Ned Yost for arguing a foul ball (no interference) call in the top of the 4th inning of the Brewers-Royals game. In the 2nd, with none out and none on, Francoeur took a 0-2 cutter from Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located belt high and off the inside edge of home plate (px of -1.21), the call was incorrect. In the 4th, with none on and none out, Brewers batter Nyjer Morgan attemped to bunt a 0-1 sinker from Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar before the ball struck him in fair territory. Ruled a foul ball by Iassogna, replays indicate Morgan was in a legal batting position as prescribed by Rule 6.03 when he contacted the fair batted ball, the call was correct.* At the time of both ejections, the Brewers and Royals were tied, 0-0. The Royals ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

These are Dan Iassogna (58)'s first and second ejections of 2012.
Dan Iassogna now has 2 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2*[2 MLB] + -4 Incorrect + 2 Correct Call = 2).
Crew Chief Dale Scott now has 3 points in the UEFL's Crew division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*This call was correct per Rule 6.05(g), which was featured in a recent UEFL rules article.


These are the 67th and 68th ejections of 2012.
This is the 25th player ejection of 2012.
This is the 35th Manager ejection of 2012.
These are the Royals' 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2012, last in the AL Central (DET 7, MIN 4, CLE 4, CWS 3).
This is Jeff Francoeur's first ejection since April 24, 2011 (Brian Knight; QOC = Incorrect).
Jeff Francoeur was also ejected during Spring Training on March 25 (John Tumpane; QOC = Incorrect).
This is Ned Yost's first ejection since August 16, 2011 (Kerwin Danley; QOC = Correct).

Rule 7.06: Obstruction, What a Pickle!

Obstruction can be an offense's best friend and a defensive team's worst enemy. Rules 2.00 and 7.06(a) & (b) address the definition, criteria for enforcement and penalties for this illegal act.

Rule 2.00 (Obstruction)
Definition: Occurs when the fielder, who is not in possession of the ball nor in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.
Exception: A fielder may occupy his position to receive a thrown ball, as in a catcher blocking home plate while fielding a throw. If, in the umpire's judgment, the fielder is "in the act of fielding a ball," contact with the offense may be legal. However, if the fielder has already missed his attempt, his "act of fielding" protection is lifted and it is obstruction if he impedes the runner.
Clearing Up the Misconception: Contact need not occur for obstruction to be called. The runner must simply be impeded.

Obstruction is additionally categorized as 7.06(a) or 7.06(b), also known as Type A or Type B. Each type applies only in certain, mutually exclusive situations and each type carries slightly different penalties.

Rule 7.06(a) [Type A Obstruction]
Criteria: Play must be attempted on obstructed runner at the moment obstruction is called.
Criteria 2: All instances of batter-runner obstruction before he reaches first base, regardless of whether or not there is a play being made on him at the instance of obstruction, granted an air out has not occurred.
Execution: Ball is immediately dead and penalties imposed.
Penalty, All Runners: Umpire's discretion, to bases "they would have reached...if there had been no obstruction."
Penalty, Obstructed Runner: Mandatory minimum of a one-base award (awarded from last base legally touched at the time of obstruction). May be awarded additional bases.

Rule 7.06(b) [Type B Obstruction]
Criteria: No play is being attempted on the obstructed runner at the moment of obstruction.
Execution: Ball is live, play proceeds until no further action is possible. Penalties imposed after play.
Penalty, All Runners: Umpire's discretion, imposition of penalties to "nullify the act of obstruction."
Risk: Because the ball is live throughout Type B Obstruction, an obstructed runner may be declared out if he runs past the base he would have been awarded under Type B's penalty.

Obstruction is a Judgment Call / Penalties and Risk may be a Rule Interpretation Issue
While obstruction itself is a judgment call, improper application of Type A or B obstruction may put a team at a disadvantage (e.g., Type A obstruction improperly ruled Type B may put the offensive team in a position of risk they otherwise wouldn't have encountered) and as such, this rules interpretation may be grounds for a protested game, under Rule 4.19.

Test Yourself and try to identify Type A vs. B Obstruction: Examples: 12, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8

Read on for the answer key.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Record Breaker: Another Perfecto, Umpiring History Made

Yet again, for the fifth time this season the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League and Major League Baseball witnessed a no-hitter (the 277th in MLB history) and perfect game for the second time this season and 22nd in MLB history today, June 13, when Ted Barrett (65) umpired the plate for San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain's first career no-hitter and perfect game (and the Giants franchise's first perfect game) against the Houston Astros. Tonight's no-hitter becomes the third such contest in less than two weeks. Cain struck out 14 Astros and threw 125 pitches, though only 68 were callable, with 39 balls and 29 called strikes.

MLB is on pace for a record 11 no-hitters in 2012
Brian Runge, who called the most recent both the most recent no-hitter and the most recent perfect game (and the last to work the plate for a Giants no-hitter, thrown by Johnathan Sanchez) worked third base, taking part in his third no-hitter of the year. Barrett also partook in his third no-hitter of the season tonight and his second no-hitter calling balls and strikes in as many seasons. He umpired Angels pitcher Ervin Santana's no-hitter of the Indians on July 27, 2011. Umpires Mike Muchlinski and Angel Campos (both AAA fill-ins) were not part of either previous no-hitter Runge & Barrett worked in 2012.

With this perfect game, Ted Barrett becomes the first umpire in Major League history to work the plate for two perfect games in a career. Barrett called balls and strikes for David Cone's perfect game in July of 1999.

With the increased frequency of the no-hitter, there very well may possibly be something to the idea that we will easily surpass the logarithmic trend prediction of six no-hitters in the 2012 season. Could it be thanks to the human element? The umpiring? Whatever is stirring the pot in 2012, there is no shortage of hair thin close calls.

With another no-hitter, we all of course saw yet another very close play that kept the perfect game and no-hitter intact, as in the previous four no-hitters. The previous four were: Brian Runge's inconclusive ruling of a swing made by Brendan Ryan, Angel Hernandez's correct call of a batted foul ball, Adrian Johnson's incorrect call of foul on a batted ball by Carlos Beltran, and Ted Barrett's inconclusive call of out on Dee Gordon at first base. This time, it was yet another fair/foul call. 1B Umpire Mike Muchlinski ruled a 1-2 batted ball by Astros batter Jordan Schafer foul on a bouncing ball that bounded near the bag at first. Astros Manager Brad Mills shortly questioned the call, as replays showed a very close play.

Rules 6.05(g) & 6.05(h): Batted Ball Batter's Interference

Rules 6.05(g) and (h) interference occurs when the batter interferes with the natural course of a fair batted ball. When this interference occurs, the bases may not be run; all runners not declared out by virtue of offensive interference shall return to the last base legally touched at the time of interference. When batter's interference occurs, runners must return to the base last occupied at the time of the pitch (as opposed to the time of interference).

Rule 6.05(g) specifies the case of batter's interference:
His fair ball touches him before touching a fielder. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball
Rule 6.05(h) specifies the case of interference wherein a foreign object contacts the ball:
After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball.
Rule 6.03 specifies that a batter's legal position is established with both feet within the batter's box.

Subsequently, Rule 6.05(h) Comment addresses several components of batter's (non-)interference:
Broken Bat (Fair): If batted ball hits broken bat in fair territory, there is no interference and the ball is live.
Broken Bat (Foul): If batted ball hits broken bat in foul territory, the play shall be declared a foul ball.
Helmet (Fair): If a fallen batting helmet is accidentally hit with a batted ball in fair territory, there is no interference and the ball is live.
Helmet (Foul): If a fallen batting helmet is accidentally hit with a batted ball in foul territory, it is a foul ball.
Self: If a batter is hit by a batted ball while in the batter's box immediately after an attempted hit, it is a foul ball. Though subject to umpire's discretion, it is foul whether it hits the batter on the fly or on a bounce.
Thrown Bat: If a whole bat thrown into fair territory interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play, it is interference, whether the bat was thrown intentionally or accidentally.
Thrown Miscellaneous Equipment: If any other equipment is thrown and interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play, it is interference. Elastic clause Rule 9.01(c) covers all other unique situations.

Batter's Interference is a Judgment Call
Like most other calls in the sport of baseball, offensive (batter's) interference is a judgment call. 

Test Yourself: Examples: 11A, 2345, 6, 7, 8

Read on for the answer key.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ejection 066: Alfonso Marquez (1)

HP Umpire Alfonso Marquez ejected Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Diaz for arguing a ball call in the top of the 9th inning of the Yankees-Braves game. With none out and none on, Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez took a 1-0 sinker from Braves pitcher Jonny Venters for a called ball two. Replays indicate the 1-0 sinker from Venters to Rodriguez was over the outside part of the plate and at the hollow of Rodriguez's knees (norm_ht of -0.912 and Lower Bound, Upper Bound of [-1.009, -0.813]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Yankees were leading, 3-0. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 3-0.

This is Alfonso Marquez (72)'s first ejection of 2012.
Alfonso Marquez now has -2 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2 MLB + -4 Incorrect Call = -2).
Crew Chief Tom Hallion now has 0 points in the UEFL's Crew division (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 0).
*Under the Miller Rule (UEFL Rule 6-2-b-2 and Comment), when at any point the Lower Bound, Upper Bound is less than |1.000|, the pitch may be a strike.
Note: This ejection was added to the official box score after the conclusion of the game.


This is the 66th ejection of 2012.
This is the 24th player ejection of 2012.
Diaz was out of the game at the time of his ejection going 0-1 with 1 K as a pinch hitter.
This is the Braves' 3rd ejection of 2012, tied for 1st in the NL West (3; ATL / 3; NYM / 3; PHI).
This is Matt Diaz's first ejection since June 12, 2011 (Bob Davidson; QOC = Correct).

Referee Greg Willard Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer

Long time and veteran National Basketball Association referee Greg Willard was scheduled to work last Wednesday's Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, but had to remove himself from the assignment due to an illness and troubling blood test results. On Monday, Willard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The 24 year NBA veteran official has officiated over 1,500 regular season games (including 61 this year) and over 120 postseason games. Only four days before Willard was scheduled to work Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, he worked Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics that went to overtime. Willard had worked the previous two NBA Finals, but will be physically absent from this year's Finals.

Rule 3.16: Spectator Interference on Batted Ball

Spectator or fan interference is not a rule book nor ground rule double. Umpires must be familiar with Rules 2.00 [Interference (d)], which defines spectator interference as occuring when "a spectator reaches out of the stands, or goes on the playing field, and (1) touches a live ball or (2) touches a player and hinders and attempt to make a play on a live ball."

On any interference, the ball is immediately dead. Rule 3.16 specifically addresses the issue of spectator interference, prescribing the following course of remedy:
When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.
During Sunday's contest between the Nationals and Red Sox at Fenway Park, 3B Umpire Dana DeMuth followed a ball past third base that had deflected off of third baseman Will Middlebrooks toward the stands. As the ball approached the short wall down the left field line, a fan reached over and plainly interfered by virtue of touching the live ball. As if to cover all bases, the fan and Middlebrooks additionally made contact.

As DeMuth and his crew conferenced in regards to runner placement, the umpires kept in mind that final fragment of Rule 3.16, authorizing an umpire to "impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference." Nullify—to cancel out, invalidate, make of no use or value.

Based on batter-runner Ian Desmond's actions, the umpires determined that had no interference occurred, Desmond would have held at first base; Desmond was accordingly awarded first, but not second, base.

Rule 3.16 also authorizes umpires to declare an out as a penalty to nullify the act of interference:
APPROVED RULING: If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out.
Here are some additional instances and video clips of spectator (fan) interference:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ejection 065: Greg Gibson (3)

HP Umpire Greg Gibson ejected Rockies Manager Jim Tracy for arguing a safe (no catch) call in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Angels-Rockies game. With none out and one on, Rockies batter Carlos Gonzalez hit a 1-1 sinker from Angels pitcher Scott Downs on a line drive back to the mound, where Downs threw to shortstop Erick Aybar (force out at second) to first baseman Albert Pujols (force out at first) for a double play. Replays indicate Downs appeared to have caught the comebacker and dropped the ball in an attempted transfer from glove to hand—release appeared voluntary and intentional as prescribed by Rule 2.00 [Catch], the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Angels were leading, 10-8. The Angels ultimately won the contest. 10-8.

This is Greg Gibson (53)'s third ejection of 2012.
Greg Gibson now has 6 points in the UEFL (8 Previous + 2 MLB + -4 Incorrect Call = 6).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has 2 points in the UEFL's Crew division (2 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 2).
*After review, Quality of Correctness has been affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board, 6-0.
*The Appeals Board's historical decisions may be consulted via the UEFL Portal.


This is the 65th ejection of 2012.
This is the 34th Manager ejection of 2012.
This is the Rockies' 1st ejection of 2012, tied for 3rd in the NL West (6; LAD / 2; SD / 1; SF).
This is Jim Tracy's first ejection since August 26, 2011 (Hunted Wendelstedt; QOC = Correct).
This is Greg Gibson's first ejection since April 17 (Denard Span/Ron Gardenhire; QOC = Correct).

Case Plays: Ball Hits Bat Twice (Part 2)

This Case Play has been completed. Congratulations to UEFL League Members BrooklynUmp, kickersrule, MSN_UMP, nwsquid, Penwhale, tt49, Turducken, ump_24 and fan SJR for correctly answering one or both parts of the posted scenario. The correct response is:

(a) and (b): The ball is dead and no runners may advance at the moment of unintentional second contact by the bat while the batter is in a legal position within the batter's box (Rules 6.05[h], 6.03). The ball is foul; R1 is returned to first base and play proceeds with two outs and a two strike count on B1.

Points Distribution
+2: BrooklynUmp, nwsquid, Penwhale, tt49, ump_24
+1: kickersrule, MSN_UMP, Turducken

Thank you for participating in this Case Play and stay tuned for further Case Plays. The original Case Play post has been reproduced below.

Ejection 064: Al Porter (3)

HP Umpire Al Porter ejected Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine for arguing a strike call in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Nationals-Red Sox game. With two out and one on, Red Sox batter Dustin Pedroia took a 1-1 fastball from Nationals pitcher Tyler Clippard for a called second strike. Replays indicate the pitch was belt high and off the outer edge of home plate (px value of 1.051), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 4-3. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

This is Al Porter (64)'s third ejection of 2012.
Al Porter now has -6 points in the UEFL (-4 Previous + 3 AAA - 1 Penalty - 4 Incorrect Call = -6).
Crew Chief Dana DeMuth now has 2 points in the UEFL's Crew division (2 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 2).

UEFL Standings Update

This is the 64th ejection of 2012.
This is the 33rd Manager ejection of 2012.
This is the Red Sox's 4th ejection of 2012, which ties the Blue Jays for 1st in the AL East (3; NYY).
This is Bobby Valentine's first ejection since May 18 (Gary Darling; QOC = Correct).
This is Al Porter's first ejection since May 25 (Jamey Carroll/Ron Gardenhire; QOC = Incorrect).

Wrap: Nationals at Red Sox, 6/10/12
Video: One strike away from game's end, Red Sox skipper Valentine tossed for arguing Porter's strike zone