Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter League Ejections: Fernando Rodriguez (7 Ejected)

7 Ejections in the Dominican Winter League Baseball postseason tournament: HP Umpire Fernando Rodriguez ejected Aguilas Cibaenas (Eagles) pitcher Ramon Pena and Manager Felix Fermin for throwing at Leones del Escogido (Lions) batter Pedro Ciriaco in the bottom of the 4th inning, Lions pitcher Armando Rodriguez and Manager Audo Vicente for throwing at Eagles batter Juan Perez, Lions pitcher Alexis Lara for throwing at Perez and Eagles center fielder Perez and catcher Audry Perez for fighting in the top of the 9th inning of the Eagles-Lions game. With none out and none on in the bottom of the 4th inning, Pena threw inside to Ciriaco, resulting in the ejection of the pitcher and manager; warnings had previously been issued. At the time of the 4th inning ejections, the Lions were leading, 5-3. With none out and none on in the top of the 9th inning, Rodriguez threw inside to Perez, resulting in the ejection of the pitcher and manager. Subsequent pitcher Lara also violated the rule, preceding a fighting incident and the ejection of the remaining two players. At the time of the 9th inning ejections, the Eagles were leading, 7-5. The Eagles ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

Wrap: Aguilas Cibaenas vs. Leones del Escogido (Dominican Winter Baseball Playoffs), 12/29/13
Umpires (6-man crew [Liga de Beisbol Dominicano postseason tournament]): HP: Fernando Rodriguez. 1B: Tom Honec. 2B: Juan Diaz. 3B: Jonathan Bailey. LF: Vladmir Mojica. RF: Mariano Vizcaino.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Close Call of the Week: NFL Unsporting Contact Ejection

This edition of Close Call of the Week considers unsporting behavior on the part of players that results in inappropriate contact with an official. The rule referred to herein is NFL Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1(g).
With 3:50 remaining in the 3rd quarter of the Rams-Seahawks game, Seahawks running back Robert Turbin ran for no gain, followed in short order by a confrontation between the teams, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree. While arguing the call, Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford made contact with Back Judge Steve Freeman, resulting in an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and disqualification. At the time of the ejection, the Seahawks were leading, 13-3. The Seahawks ultimately won the contest, 27-9.
Animated GIF: Langford's backswing hits Freeman; on second shove, Triplette throws the USC flag

12-3-1(g): "Unnecessary Physical Contact."
Replays indicate that during the course of argument with Line Judge Jeff Bergman and Referee Jeff Triplette, Langford swung his arm and (what appears to be) accidentally made contact with BJ Freeman's hat and face, followed seconds later by Langford (what appears to be) not accidentally pushing Freeman's outstretched left arm down. Unnecessary physical contact with an official => ejection. Ho-hum.

Nonetheless, this didn't deter Fox Sports' social media outlet from questioning the decision, fatuously determining that "an official's head got in the way of [Langford's] hand...Seems like a bit of an overreaction, right?"

Wrong. Especially considering Langford's actions in contacting the official a second time after the initial strike.

Rule 12-3-1(g) states unsportsmanlike conduct specifically includes "unnecessary physical contact with a game official." Note 1 states "under no condition is an official to allow a player to shove, push, or strike him in an offensive, disrespectful or unsportsmanlike manner."

An example of acceptable (e.g., not "unnecessary") physical contact includes incidental contact with the official during a live ball while attempting to complete a football play (run, pass, catch, etc.).

An example of unacceptable (e.g., "unnecessary") physical contact with a game official includes any contact—whether intentional/purposeful or inadvertent—that occurs during the course of argument or confrontation. This could include contact with a game official who might not be party to the initial argument, if this contact is unnecessary as in Rule 12-3-1(g). This most certainly includes conscious contact with this same game official for a second distinct time after an accidental wrist to the head.

Accordingly, Triplette's crew ejection of Langford was proper and the correct call according to a rule that all but requires officials disqualify a player who contacts an official in an unsportsmanlike manner.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Close Call of the Week: Butt-Goal - Should it Have Counted?

Monday's Coyotes-Sabres game ended in bizarre fashion 3:47 into the overtime period when Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk's wrist shot, assists to Matt Moulson and Christian Ehrhoff, appeared to come to rest in the back of Coyotes goalie Mike Smith's uniform jersey, just above the pads of the pants, as Smith's rear end drifted into the net, the puck physically crossing the plane of the goal line. The game-ending buttgoal was ultimately confirmed after a (1) conference between referees Greg Kimmerly and Chris Rooney and linesmen Greg Devorski and Brad Kovachik and (2) instant replay review from Toronto's video "war room," allowing Buffalo the 2-1 final. But should the goal have counted?

Puck stays in Referee's sight as butt-goal ends game.
NHL Rule 31.4 grants Referees the authority to "give the final decision in matters of disputed goals" while Rule 38.2 unequivocally states that "every goal is to be reviewed by the Video Goal Judge," who, working in concert with the off-ice official at ice level, will relay the result of the replay review to the referee for final decision. As is generally the case, this review process was correctly executed.

At issue is game flow and the question of when shall the officials rule the puck out of bounds. Rule 85.2 states that a puck is considered unplayable if it becomes lodged in the netting outside of either goal, is frozen between opposing players or if it enters a goal from behind or the side. Rule 85.3 states that "should scramble take place or a player accidentally fall on the puck and the puck be out of sight of the Referee, he shall immediately blow his whistle and stop the play." As the attached image demonstrates, the puck did not fully enter goalie Smith's shirt/pants cradle prior to crossing the goal line; accordingly, play was properly kept alive. Good goal.

Video: Buffalo defeats Phoenix on walk-off #buttgoal win as referee Kimmerly announces the good goal

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 20 Ejections of 2013: An MLB Network Retrospective

Happy Holidays! The UEFL reviews the Top 20 Ejections of 2013, as selected by MLB Network and aired during their offseason "MLB Network Countdown" series, a countdown of baseball history. Included in MLB Network's list are several bench clearing brawls and throwing at ejections, the walk to break up Yu Darvish's perfect game, Big Papi's dugout phone meltdown in Baltimore and the final two ejections of the late Wally Bell's career. Enjoy and have a joyous Christmas/(Much belated) Chanukah/Kwanzaa and to all a Happy New Year!

*Note: Qualities of Correctness are provided in the following format: Y=Correct, N=Incorrect, U=Irrecusable.

MLB Network Countdown: Top 20 Most Unforgettable Ejections of 2013
Note: Click each umpire's name & ejection # to be taken to the associated ejection report from the season.
20: E 172: Andy Fletcher (5); Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez (Safe Call [Crewmate], QOC = N).
19: E 067: Gary Darling (2); Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista (Strike One Call [Eventual K], QOC = Y).
18: E 068, 069: Wally Bell (1, 2); Giants P George Kontos & Mgr Bruce Bochy (Throwing At, QOC = U).
17: E 146: Paul Nauert (2); Braves LF Justin Upton (Strike One Call [Eventual GO], QOC = Y).
16: E 129: Ron Kulpa (1); Rangers C AJ Pierzynski (Ball Two Call [Eventual BB], QOC = Y).
15: E 091, 092: Chad Fairchild (3, 4); Tigers P Luke Putkonen & Mgr Jim Leyland (Throwing At, QOC = U).
14: E 134/5: Marvin Hudson (2, 3); Nationals P Stephen Strasburg/M Davey Johnson (Throwing At, QOC = U).
13: E 062: Tony Randazzo (1); Indians SS Mike Aviles (Strike One [Foul] Call [Eventual AO], QOC = U).
12: E 051: Hunter Wendelstedt (2); Orioles P Jason Hammel (Throwing At, QOC = U).
11: E 057/8: Clint Fagan (1, 2); Cardinals C Yadier Molina & Manager Mike Matheny (Out Call, QOC = Y).
10: E 139: Brian O'Nora (1); Yankees Manager Joe Girardi (Warnings/Intent HBP Non-Ejection, QOC = U).
#9: E 059/60: Dan Iassogna (2, 3); Pirates C Russell Martin & Mgr Clint Hurdle (Ball Two Call, QOC = Y).
#8: E 081: Angel Hernandez (2); Orioles Manager Buck Showalter (Reversed Foul-to-Out Call, QOC = Y).
#7: E 020/21: Tim Timmons (1, 2); Pirates P Jonathan Sanchez & Mgr Clint Hurdle (Throwing At, QOC = U).
#6: E 170/71: CB Bucknor (3, 4); Braves Mgr Fredi Gonzalez & P Alex Wood (Ball Four Call, QOC = Y).
#5: E 071-76: Clint Fagan (3-8); Diamondbacks-Dodgers Brawl (Throwing At & Fighting, QOC = U).
#4: E 003-6: Sam Holbrook (1-4); Dodgers-Padres Brawl (Fighting, QOC = U).
#3: E 105: Tim Timmons (5); Red Sox DH David Ortiz (Strike One Call [Eventual K], QOC = Y).
#2: E 177-79: Doug Eddings/Paul Nauert (3, 4; 3); Brewers [Carlos Gomez]-Braves Brawl (Fighting, QOC = U).
#1: E 030: Angel Hernandez (1); A's Manager Bob Melvin (Replay Reviewed and Upheld 2B Call, QOC = N).

Not Mentioned: UEFL Ejection of the Year, Ejection 110: Jerry Layne (1; Mike Scioscia), QOC = Y.
Not Mentioned: UEFL Ejection of the Year #2, Ejection 055: Joe West (1; Dale Sveum), QOC = N [Crewmate].

Total Correct: 8 / Total Incorrect: 2 / Total Irrecusable: 10 = 80.0% Accuracy (Compare to 72.2% in 2012)
Click here for the 2012 edition, featuring the Top 25 Most Unforgettable Ejections of 2012.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Close Call of the Week: Illegal Bat on Blocked FG

In the 3rd quarter of Sunday's Steelers-Packers game, Green Bay attempted a field goal to tie on 4th and goal. After Packers kicker Mason Crosby's attempt was blocked by Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon, the football bounced towards Steelers safety Ryan Clark who attempted to lateral the ball to William Gay before Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood ultimately contacted the loose ball by batting it out of bounds—and in a forward direction.

Citing Hood's action as illegal batting, referee Carl Cheffers' crew awarded Green Bay a first down, allowing them to retain possession at the Steelers' two-yard line. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's challenge was denied on the grounds that possession is ineligible for review.

Relevant to this play is NFL Rule 12, Section 4, Article 1, which states an illegal bat has occurred when "a player of either team bats or punches a loose ball in the field of play toward his opponent's goal line," or forward, the prescribed penalty for which is a loss of 10 yards and automatic first down (since the foul was committed by the defense and prior to any deemed change of possession).

As for that issue of possession which Tomlin challenged, Rule 15-5 states that "recovery of a loose ball that does not involve a boundary line or the end zone" is specifically non-reviewable. Accordingly, officials properly denied Tomlin's request for instant replay review.

Rule 3-2-3 states that "a loose ball (either during or after flight) is considered in possession of team (offense) whose player kicked, passed or fumbled. [Prior possession] ends when a player secures possession or when the down ends if that is before such possession." Article 7 of Rule 3 states that a player is in possession of a ball when "he is inbounds and has a firm grip and control of the ball with his hands or arms."

As for gaining possession of a loose ball, a player must not only have (1) complete control of the ball, he must additionally (2) "have both feet or any other part of his body, other than his hands, completely on the ground inbounds, and maintain control of the ball long enough to perform any act common to the game. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground, there is no possession. This rule applies in the field of play and in the end zone." Note 1 states that "a player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by an opponent) must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground." Note 1, however, generally is applied during a pass situation.

Replays are inconclusive as to whether Pittsburgh's Clark had possession of the loose ball, although it is clear he attempted to perform an action common to the game in the form of a lateral—again, though, it is unclear whether he gained a firm grip and control of the ball prior to the pitch. The penalty for illegal batting was properly enforced—half the distance (recall the original line of scrimmage) and first down to the offense as the defense was ruled not to have gained possession.

Video: Steelers block Green Bay's game-tying FG attempt, lose the ball out of bounds as penalty flags fly

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Japan's First NPB Umpire School Follows The MLB Model

Japan's first ever NPB Umpire School is underway at the Nippon Professional Baseball League's Lotte Urawa Stadium in Saitama City, with a familiar face providing guidance to Japanese umpiring chief Osamu Ino.

Rinko Shinozaki (age 19) is the only
female student in the inaugural class.
Former MLB umpire and current PBUC Executive Director Justin Klemm, himself a graduate of the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, forged a partnership with the new NPB Umpire School, helping to draft a new curriculum and establish a comprehensive training program required for all future NPB umpiring hopefuls, similar to MLB's model with the PBUC's own The Umpire School and the approved Wendelstedt Umpire School.

Similar to the post-school PBUC evaluation course, NPB will invite its highest-rated graduates to participate in that league's honor course, a 12-team Spring Training and associated independent baseball leagues.

The NPB Umpire School follows a pair of Winter 2013 (Jan/Feb) camps in Tokyo and Osaka, each held over the course of a weekend. The School began December 18 and concludes on the 23rd, with an inaugural class of 52; tuition and expenses for the first five-day class totaled approximately $775 (or $155 daily), compared to nearly $3-$4,000 (or $120-160 daily) for a five-week course plus expenses for the two Florida schools, including tuition, materials (albeit more course materials & apparel/accessories in the US), room & board or meal plan.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Close Call of Week: Hand Part of Basket—Not Base—Ball

When is the hand considered part of the ball; when can a player handle the game ball or puck? It all depends on which sport you are playing; in most cases off the hardwood, the hand is decidedly not part of the ball.

Baseball - Hand is Not Part of the Ball (Hand is Not Part of the Bat)
This most often comes into play during a plate appearance and hit-by-pitch situations wherein a pitched ball strikes (a) the batter's hand or (b) the bat itself. In (a), the batter is awarded first base without liability to be put out unless he has attempted to strike the pitch, in which case a dead ball strike is ruled (if strike three, the batter is out), or he has not attempted to avoid being touched by the ball, in which case a dead ball ball is ruled, or the pitched ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, in which case a dead ball strike is ruled, while in (b), the ball is ruled foul. Rule 6.08(b) awards the batter first base by virtue of becoming a runner and entitlement to the base when "he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit," subject to the above conditions. On defense, the hand is likewise not considered part of the ball while possessing it but is simply deemed a body part capable of catching or holding a ball.

Basketball - Hand is Part of the Ball (when in contact with the ball)
This mid-December Close Call of the Week examines a recent foul non-call during an NBA game that ultimately resulted in the ejection of Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown for his excessive campaign for a foul call (see NBA Ejections: McCutchen, Forte, Wright). Replays indicate that as the offensive player attempted to shoot the basketball, the defensive player's hand contacted the shooter's hand while in contact with the ball. Foul or no foul?

All rules codes agree. Whether NFHS, NCAA or NBA/FIBA, the hand is considered "part of the ball" when it is in contact with the basketball, as in a shot attempt. The NFHS rule book, for instance, reminds us of a very important basketball feature in its definitions section pertaining to incidental contact: "The mere fact that contact occurs does not constitute a foul" (NFHS 4-27-1 & NBA Comments on the Rules II-A-1). In this situation, it is specifically legal for a defender to use the hands to reach to block or slap the ball controlled by an offensive player and "accidentally [hit] the hand of the opponent when it is contact with the ball (NFHS 4-24-2). The NBA specifically expands on this point in its "Comments on the Rules" section: "The hand is considered “part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball. Therefore, contact on that hand by a defender while it is in contact with the ball is not illegal" (II-A-1).

Football - Hand is Not Part of the Ball
In American and Canadian football, the hand is afforded special privileges that only the feet share (e.g., a hand or foot may touch the ground and the ballcarrier is not considered down [NFHS/NCAA] or down by contact [NFL]), though may not be used solely to establish inbounds status (NFL Rule 3-2-6). The hand is used to establish player possession (3-2-7), or to hand off the ball yet no rule exists prohibiting contact with the hand, as inter-squad contact is allowed in this sport.

Hockey - Hand is Not Part of the Puck (penalties for certain extended contact / checks legal)
Though the sport only uses a ball in its "field" and "roller" incarnations, the ball or puck for ice hockey is separate and distinct from the player's hand (or glove). Hockey allows batting of the ball or puck with the open hand, but a glove pass and—except for the goalie —covering or closing the hand over the puck is generally illegal. A player can catch the puck out of mid air, provided the player immediately places or knocks it down to the ice. Skating with the puck to avoid a check or gain territorial advantage results in a minor penalty for closing the hand (NHL 67.1). When the penalty occurs in the goal crease area, a penalty shot shall be assessed or a goal awarded (NHL 67.2, 67.4, 67.5). Checks are legal in hockey for those in possession or playing the puck, but contact with the hand is not distinguished.

Soccer (Football/Futbol) - Hand is Not Part of the Ball (except for goalkeepers, is generally illegal use)
Because the use of hands is generally prohibited in this sport save for throw-in situations (deliberate handling of the ball except for the keeper in the penalty area results in a direct free kick / it is a send-off [red card] offense if it denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity [DOGSO]), it is clear the hand is not part of the ball (FIFA Law 12). As for goalkeepers attempting to play a loose ball at the same instant an attacking player attempts to kick or deflect the ball, Law 12 simply states, "when a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball with his hands, he cannot be challenged by an opponent." Because a goalkeeper generally attempts to secure possession through the use of the hands/torso/neck/head area, it may be considered "playing in a dangerous manner...that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone," which is an offence (Law 12). A goalkeeper illegally handling a ball in the penalty area by virtue of a >six-second possession, touching the ball again with the hands after releasing from possession, touching the ball with hands after a deliberate kick or throw-in from a teammate results in an indirect free kick (Law 12).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Close Call of the Week: NBA Flagrant & Technical Ejections

Referees Scott Foster (crew chief), David Jones (R) & Marat Kogut (R2/Umpire) ejected Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard for a flagrant foul penalty two and Philadelphia 76ers center Daniel Orton for a technical foul in the 4th quarter of the Trail Blazers-76ers game. With 7:19 remaining in the 4th period, Leonard and Orton became entangled at the lower defensive block, away from the ball. Replays indicate Leonard committed a takedown upon Orton, both players falling to the ground as Leonard was whistled for the flagrant foul (type two). During the dead ball skirmish on the ground, Orton appeared to punch/throw an elbow at Leonard's jaw, resulting in a technical foul and ejection. At the time of the ejections, the Trail Blazers were leading, 126-92. The Trail Blazers ultimately won the contest, 139-105.

Wrap: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 12/14/13
Video: Physical altercation during play in blowout game leads to throw down, elbow to the mouth

Discussion Point: How is play resumed? What is the proper ruling in college (NCAA), high school (NFHS)?

NBA: Instant Replay is used to determine Leonard (herein "A1")'s foul constituted a flagrant foul penalty two—the takedown was both excessive and unnecessary. Orton (herein "B1") was assessed a technical foul for unsportsmanlike acts during the dead ball period immediately after A1's FF2 foul. The technical is shot first. Because both players were ejected, play is resumed with one technical foul free throw, taken by any of the four remaining players on the floor for Portland (herein "Team A"). Immediately thereafter, the opposing ("Team A") coach shall select the shooter from Philadelphia (herein "Team B")'s bench to shoot the two free throws for the flagrant foul. Team B basketball at the free throw extended. (Rules 12A-V-j, 12B-IV-b, 13-I-a(3), Case Play 123).
- tldr, A1=FF2, B1=Tech, A1 & B1 = Ejected; 1 Tech FT to Team A; 2 FF2 FTs to Team B (HC A choice); B ball.

NCAA: Using Instant Replay, officials rule A1's foul constitutes a flagrant 2 personal foul, resulting in automatic ejection, as in the NBA ruling. B1 is issued a Class A Unsporting Technical for flagrantly (severe/extreme) contacting an opponent while the ball is dead; he too is automatically ejected by rule. Because this is a false double foul (second foul occurred while the clock was stopped for the first foul) and includes a contact dead ball technical foul, the fouls are penalized in the order they occurred. After awarding two free throws for the flagrant foul to B1's substitute, any player from Team A shoots two free throws for the technical foul. Team A basketball at the division line. (Rules 8-3-2, 8-3-4, 10-1-17, 10-1-PENALTY-d-2, 10-3-1-d/e, 10-3-PENALTY, 11-2-1-d-1, A.R. 235).
- tldr, A1=FF2, B1=Cl A Tech, A1 & B1 = Ejected; 2 FF2 FTs to B1's sub; 2 Tech FTs to Team A; A ball.

NFHS: Officials rule A1's foul constitutes a flagrant personal foul, resulting in automatic disqualification to the team bench. B1 is assessed a flagrant technical foul for his dead ball actions, resulting in automatic disqualification to the team bench. As in the NCAA scenario, this is a false double foul; each foul carries its own penalties and are penalized in the order they occurred. After awarding two free throws for the flagrant foul to B1's substitute, any player from Team A shoots two free throws for the technical foul. Team A basketball at the division line. (Rules 8-2, 8-3, 8-6-3, 10-3-7, 10-PENALTY-7).
- tldr, A1=FF, B1=Flag Tech, A1 & B1 = Disqualified; 2 FF FTs to B1's sub; 2 Tech FTs to Team A; A ball.

NBA Ejections: Monty McCutchen, Brian Forte, Sean Wright

Referees Monty McCutchen, Brian Forte & Sean Wright ejected Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown for arguing a no-call (blocked shot) during the 2nd quarter of the Cavaliers-Heat game. With 3:14 remaining in the 2nd period, Cavaliers forward Alonzo Gee attempted to score a fast break layup, but was blocked by Heat forward Shane Battier, the carom rebounded by Heat center Chris Bosh. Replays indicate Battier's hand pressed atop the basketball in Gee's hand, the foul non-call was correct (NCC). Brown was issued a first technical for running onto the playing area to argue the play and a second disqualifying technical for continuing to violate the NBA's Respect for the Game guidelines. At the time of the ejection, the Heat were leading, 55-45. The Heat ultimately won the contest, 114-107.

Wrap: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat, 12/14/13
Video: Mike Brown passionately campaigns for foul call on Battier's all-ball stuff of forward Gee

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MLB Rules Committee Approves HP Collision Ban

MLB will ban home plate collisions in 2014, requiring catchers provide a path to home plate and runners to slide or otherwise look to avoid contact, if a proposal by baseball's Official Playing Rules Committee is approved by the MLB Players' Association. If the Association, which is expected to approve the rules change, vetoes the proposal, MLB may still be able to institute the rule for the 2015 regular season.

As announced by MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre and Rules Committee Chairman Sandy Alderson, the collision prevention rule will prohibit base runners from initiating contact with the catcher. In turn, catchers will be prohibited from blocking access to home plate. The precise language of the rule change—including procedures, case plays and prescribed penalties—have not yet been determined. Brian Gorman is the only active umpire to serve on MLB's Playing Rules Committee.

Rule 7.06(b) NOTE, which pertains to Obstruction Type B, presently states, "The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand." Though unclear if this definition will be expanded if the rule is approved, the expectation is that the catcher will lose the right to block access to home plate even when in the process of fielding or in possession of the baseball.

With MLB's proposed change to OBR on the table, let's review malicious contact ("MC") and flagrant collision as the terms appears in high school (NFHS) and college (NCAA) rule codes, respectively.

NFHS: Rule 3-3-1 pertains to malicious contact, providing penalties for initiating MC from either the offensive or defensive position. Upon MC, (1) the ball is dead, (2) if on offense and not already removed from the base paths ["out" or "scored"], the offending batter/runner is declared out, and (3) the offending player is ejected from the game. If the defense commits the MC, the umpire shall award penalties that in his/her judgment will nullify the act of MC (similar to obstruction B or fan interference). MC can be used to augment other calls (e.g., MC added to interference, as in NFHS 2009 Rule Interpretation 17 [With R1, B1 interferes with fielder taking throw at first base maliciously so that R1 may advance to 3B; Ruling: Eject B1, return R1 to base occupied at time of interference].

Malicious Contact has been a point of emphasis ("POE") in high school for several years, most recently for the upcoming 2014 season (it claims the #1 spot for 2014 POEs).

NCAA: High school's "malicious contact" compares to college's "Flagrant Collision," as in NCAA Rule 2-30. Additionally, Rule 8-7 is the "Collision Rule" and states "the rules committee is concerned about unnecessary and violent collisions with the catcher at home plate, and with infielder at all bases. The intent of this rule is to encourage base runners and defensive players to avoid such collisions whenever possible." However, NCAA does not presently prohibit its fielders (catchers) from blocking the base/plate, as long as there is "clear possession of the ball." When a collision between runner and fielder occurs, the umpire shall judge whether the defense has provided access to the base/plate and the offense's legitimate attempt to advance/reach in a legal fashion and without the use of flagrant or malicious contact. The specifically states that "contact above the waist that was initiated by the base runner shall not be judged as an attempt to reach the base or plate...The runner must make an actual attempt to reach the base (plate)."  The penalties for flagrant collisions are similar to that of NFHS MC.

NCAA recognizes that if a runner's path to the base is blocked, "unavoidable contact" may occur and may qualify as obstruction pursuant to Rule 2-54 (but not if the fielder is in possession of or in the act of fielding the ball).

Therefore, it is clear the present order (e.g., circa 2013 season) of HP collision tolerance is, from least restrictive to most restrictive, OBR => NCAA => NFHS.

It remains to be seen, however, whether OBR will surpass NCAA restrictions in actively requiring, as opposed to simply encouraging its catchers not to block the plate.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Close Call of the Week: NHL Overtime Penalty Strength

Last night, a CCS follower asked a question about NHL overtime rules, specifically how on-ice strength is determined during the extra 4x4 period when one or both teams suffers two or more concurrent or subsequent penalties, as was the case during Tuesday's Kings-Ducks freeway rivalry game, decided in a shootout.

The Play: With just 29 seconds remaining in regulation of a 2-2 game, Kings RW Justin Williams received a two-minute minor for slashing against Corey Perry, giving Anaheim a power play to end the third period. The score still tied, the teams headed to overtime and four-on-four skating, only with the Kings down to three due to the wraparound Williams penalty. 27 seconds into the five-minute overtime period, Perry drew another penalty, a slash by Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who joined Williams in LA's penalty box.

Question: Is Anaheim allowed to skate with five during the overtime two-man advantage?
NHL's Table 20 - Rule 84 - Overtime Penalties

Short Answer: Yes, Anaheim is awarded a fifth skater because Los Angeles is obliged to add one skater to bring its on-ice strength up to three. (LAK 2 + 1 = 3 / ANA 4 + 1 = 5)

Explanation and References: According to NHL Rule 84 regarding overtime and Table 20 regarding overtime penalty assessment, once a team receives a second minor penalty, each team must add one player to their on-ice strength. For Los Angeles, adding one player effectively increases on-ice strength from two to three while for Anaheim, this increases on-ice strength from four-to-five. The reason for this is that no team shall skate with an on-ice strength of less than three skaters.

Bonus: Playing five-on-three, the Ducks received a minor penalty at 1:24 due to Dustin Penner's interference against Jarret Stoll, creating a four-on-three situation. When LAK Williams' penalty expired at 1:31 and he exited the penalty box, the teams skated four-on-four even though each team had one player serving a penalty. The rules state play shall continue four-on-four, but at the next stoppage of play (prior to the expiration of either penalty), the strength shall be adjusted to three-on-three, the standard procedure for coincidental minor penalties during overtime. In this situation, the Kings skated four-on-three when Mitchell's penalty expired at 2:27 while both teams returned to full strength (4x4 for OT) when Penner's penalty expired at 3:24.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter Baseball Ejection Update, November 2013

Offseason winter baseball leagues produced the following ejections during the month of November, 2013:

HP Umpire Tom Honec: Toros del Este Manager Orlando Merced for arguing a ball call (D, 11/30)^
1B Umpire Felipe Romero: Mayos de Navojoa SS Jose Chavez for arguing an out call (M, 11/27)
2B Umpire Gabrial Alfonzo: Aguilas del Zulia 2B Jose Pirela for arguing a strike call (V, 11/27)
HP Umpire Oscar Marin: Algodoneros de Guasave 1B Mark Hamilton for arguing a strike three call (M, 11/24)
1B Umpire Delfin Colon ejected Indios de Mayaguez Manager Carlos Baerga; out call, (RC, 11/24)`
1B Umpire Demian Hernandez: Yaquis de Obregon LF Doug Clark & Manager Eddy Diaz; out call (M, 11/24)
HP Umpire Trent Thomas: Canberra Cavalry Manager Michael Collins for arguing balls & strikes (ABL, 11/22)
HP Umpire Carlos Rey: Indios de Mayaguez Manager Carlos Baerga for arguing balls & strikes (RC, 11/22)
HP Umpire Delfin Colon: Criollos de Caguas 3B Andy Gonzalez & Manager Pedro Lopez; strike 3 (RC, 11/21)`
HP Umpire Charlie Rivera: Leones de Ponce DH Ivan De Jesus & Mgr Carmelo Martinez; strike 3 (RC, 11/21)
3B Umpire Santo Castillo: Aguilas Cibaenas Manager Felix Fermin; check swing strike (D, 11/21)
HP Umpire Domingo Polanco: Tigres del Licey Manager Mike Guerrero for arguing a strike call (D, 11/21)
HP Umpire Luis Gonzalez: Tiburones de La Guaira DH Alex Cabrera & Mgr Tony DeFrancesco; K 3 (V, 11/20)
3B Umpire Marco Nava: Naranjeros de Hermosillo Manager Matias Carrillo Sr.; check swing strike (M, 11/18)
HP Umpire Ryan Blakney ejected Leones del Caracas pitcher Angel Calero; balls and strikes (V, 11/17)^
HP Umpire Pat Hoberg: Surprise Saguaros CF Tyler Naquin; strike three call, (AFL, 11/14)^

*AFL = Arizona Fall, ABL = Australian, D = Dominican, M = Mexicana del Pacifico, RC = Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico), V = Venezuelan*

^Signifies MiLB (Rookie, A [+/-], AA or AAA) umpire. `Delfin Colon is a former MiLB call-up umpire (08-09).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

NFL Ejections: Referee Carl Cheffers' Crew

Referee Carl Cheffers' crew ejected Vikings DB Chris Cook for unsportsmanlike conduct: contacting an official during the 3rd quarter of the Bears-Vikings game. With 5:15 remaining in the 3rd period, Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught a 46-yard pass from quarterback Josh McCown for a touchdown, evading defender Cook in the process. Replays indicate that after the play, Cook contacted side judge Laird Hayes in an unsporting manner, resulting in an automatic 15-yard USC penalty and disqualification, as prescribed by rule. At the time of the ejection, the Bears were leading, 12-7.

Wrap: Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings, 12/1/13
Video: Jeffery evades Cook for athletic touchdown / Cook grabs Hayes to argue after the play, is ejected

Friday, November 29, 2013

Final Results: 2013 UEFL Rules Summit

Final results for the 2013 UEFL Rules Summit are in. The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces the following rules changes for the 2014 UEFL Season. The results of the Summit have been referred to the UEFL Rules Committee for formal codification and adoption (the 2014 UEFL Rules will be released prior to standard registration, by February 2014):

3-3-a: Incorporation of Instant Replay Challenges (Crew Chiefs), pending MLB adoption of expanded replay.
➤ Points as follows... Upheld/Correct: +1, Overturned/Incorrect: -1 (40%; 35% [+1, +0]; 16% [+.5,-.5])

4-2-b/c: Instant Replay Review (Challenge) ejections will be treated similarly to umpire consultation ejections.
4-7: Incorporation of Instant Replay Challenges (Primary/Secondary Umpires), pending MLB adoption.
➤ Points as follows... Upheld/Correct: +1, Overturned/Incorrect: -1 (44%; 19% [+2, -1]; 16% [+1, -0])

6-1: Filing an appeal will be restricted to UEFL members with no restriction on # of appeals/season 23%).
➤ Points for Original Ruling Upheld (appeal unsuccessful): -1 (65%; vs. 33% [-0] vs. 2% [-2])
➤ Points for Original Ruling Overturned (appeal successful): +1 (56%; vs. 44% [+0])
6-5-b-8: If, after appeal, the Original Ruling is overturned, the post shall be edited to reflect the revised Ruling.
6-5-c: Pitch count descriptors will be assigned to define the "realistic effect" or difference ball/strike QOC.

2014 UEFL Appeals Board: Gil, Jeremy, RichMSN, tmac, BT_Blue, Turducken, [vacancies via '14 election]

Thank you all for participating in the 2013 UEFL Rules Summit and we'll see you in 2014. Now stay tuned for the December feature, "Top 25 Ejections of 2013" as well as quasi-weekly updates on ejections around the sports world, including the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and Caribbean Winter Leagues, featuring MiLB umpires such as Ryan Blakney, Ben May, Jon Saphire (Venezuela); Kelvin Bultron (Roberto Clemente); Jonathan Bailey and Adam Hamari (Dominican). Former MLB fill-in umpire Delfin Colon (Roberto Clemente) and WBC alumns such as Paul Hyham (Australia), Carlos Rey and Jair Fernandez (Mexicana del Pacifico) also work these winter ball leagues.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Close Call of the Week: Tomlin Steps Out (NFL)

Welcome to "Close Call of the Week," the CCS expansion of "Ask the UEFL" in which we analyze a significant play across the sports world and its resulting calls or no-calls. In this debut feature, we examine Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's sideline adventure during an NFL kickoff play on Thanksgiving Day.

The Play: With 6:26 remaining in the 3rd quarter of Thursday's Steelers-Ravens game, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham kicked off to the opposing goal line, where Ravens return man Jacoby Jones caught the fly and returned the ball past midfield and into Steelers territory. As Jones approached the 40-yard line, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin appeared to be straddling the sideline at the 38-yard line with his back to the play, sidestepping onto the thick white stripe of the sideline as Jones approached. Jones appeared to have slightly altered his route, changing trajectory from running parallel to the sideline to a thirty degree angle in, his body position changed from being directly even with the sideline to clear of the two-foot long sideline hash mark before being tackled at the 27-yard line.

Question: Did Tomlin commit an infraction of the rules and if so, what is the appropriate penalty?

Short Answer: Yes, Tomlin's actions violated NFL rules. At minimum, Tomlin should have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The 15-yard penalty ("half the distance") would place the ball at the 13.5-yard line. At most, Tomlin could have been disqualified (ejected) for a flagrant or palpably unfair act and a touchdown awarded to Baltimore. Intent is not relevant in determining that Tomlin's positioning violated zone restrictions, though intent may be relevant in determining whether or not Tomlin's actions were flagrant or palpably unfair. Rules 1-1, 13-4, 13-5, AR 13.7, AR 13.8.

Explanation and References: NFL Football contains a series of restricting zones on both sidelines of the field, prescribing where chain crew, officials, coaches, situation substitution players, bench personnel and the media may—and may not—position themselves during play. When the ball becomes live, the six-foot "white stripe" of sideline closest to live ball territory is reserved for the chain crew and officials only, the next six feet between the 32-yard lines for coaches and situation substitution players only, followed by bench personnel further back and the media no closer than 36-feet (12-yards) removed from the field of play between both halves' 32-yard lines. Rules for marking or lining a field are codified in Rule 1-1 (The Field) while rules restricting team personnel to their respective zones are codified in Rules 13-4 and 13-5.

Because Tomlin clearly violated zone integrity, he should have been penalized, at minimum, 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. Enforcement action 13-1(b) specifies the Referee (white hat) may, after consulting with crew, award the 15-yard penalty from "whatever spot...[he] deems equitable, if the ball was in play." If Tomlin's violation was considered flagrant, the Referee may have excluded or ejected him from the game.

Approved Ruling 13.7 and A.R. 13.8 specifically address the case of "coach in six-foot border." The NFL's official case book concludes that if the officials encounter a coach within the six-foot border (white stripe) and interference, impedance or any effect on play results, the officials "may enforce whatever penalty they think is equitable under the circumstances," including the negation or award of a score.

OFFICIATING ANALYSIS: This is an incorrect no-call (NCI). The proper call would have either been a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty ("half the distance") for infraction of Rule 13-1 or the award of a touchdown for this same violation; the difference between a Quality of Correctness of "correct" and "incorrect" for this call is whether or not the officials (1) recognized the foul and (2) enforced the penalty, which video evidence conclusively shows did occur. For the safety of participants involved (the (1) offending team personnel and (2) flank official whether side judge, field judge, head linesman or line judge), this penalty must be called.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Results: 2013 Rules Summit

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2013 Rules Summit has concluded its first round of voting. The following includes a list of proposals and initiatives which have been adopted and those rejected or subject to further review by the UEFL Office of the Commissioner. These proposals are now rules and will take immediate effect.

**The 2013 Summit has resulted in the necessitation of a run-off vote. Click here to jump to this ballot.**

Key: Measures in bold have passed and are now rules. Proposals in italics did not pass and are not adopted.

3-3-a: Crew Chief Points, Incorrect Call (49%). CC QOC points structure will remain at 2013 levels.
3-3-b: Crew Chief Points, Instant Replay Challenge (68%). Points to be determined via run-off ballot.

4-2-b/c: Instant Replay Review and Consultation (98%). IR added to instances of "umpire consultation."
4-4-i: Active Duty Death and the Wally Bell Memorial Award (49%). Addressed on case-by-case basis.
4-7: Instant Replay Challenges (84%). Now tracking IR. Points to be determined via run-off ballot.

6-1: Restriction on Appeal Eligibility (80%). Only UEFL'ers may file appeal. Terms via run-off ballot.
6-1: Refiling or Re-Challenging a Ruling (45%). Appeals may only be filed once per ejection(s) event.
6-2-b-5-c: Throwing of Equipment as Irrecusable (50%). Addressed on case-by-case basis.
6-2-b-5-d: Check Swings as Irrecusable (30%). Check swings assigned QOC status, as previous.
6-5-b-8: Post-Appeal Editing of Original Post (82%). Description must reflect revised QOC.
6-5-c: Defining the Realistic Different Outcome (56%). Pitch count descriptors assigned for QOC.
8-3: Entry Fee (22%). UEFL remains free to join.

Appeals-1: BT_Blue (71%). BT_Blue is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.
Appeals-2: RichMSN (90%). RichMSN is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.
Appeals-3: tmac (84%). tmac is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.
Appeals-4: Turducken (79%). Turducken is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.

Registration for the 2014 UEFL, Appeals Board nomination and sign up information, including information regarding the Crew, Primary and Secondary Umpires' drafts, will be available by February 2014.

Click the below "Read more" link to access the run-off election ballot. It will close Thursday at 11:59 PM PT.

Friday, November 22, 2013

NBA Ejections: Bill Kennedy, Sean Corbin & Josh Tiven

Referees Bill Kennedy (crew chief), Sean Corbin (R) and Josh Tiven (R2/umpire) ejected Bulls forward Taj Gibson for a second technical foul in the fourth quarter of the Bulls-Nuggets game. With 0:39.4 remaining in the third period, following his rebound and one-foot putback dunk, Gibson received his first technical foul. With 1:16 remaining in the fourth period, following a Nuggets' shot clock turnover, Gibson received his second technical foul, resulting in disqualification. At the time of the ejection, the Nuggets were leading, 96-85. The Nuggets ultimately won the contest, 97-87.

Wrap: Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets, 11/21/13
Video: Gibson is tossed in the fourth quarter after disrespectfully addressing official Sean Corbin

Monday, November 18, 2013

NBA Ejections: Bill Kennedy, Mark Ayotte, John Goble

Referees Bill Kennedy (crew chief), Mark Ayotte (R) and John Goble (R2/umpire) ejected Grizzlies guard Tony Allen for a flagrant foul type two in the 1st quarter of the Grizzlies-Clippers game. With 1:51 remaining in the 1st period, Allen kicked Clippers ballcarrier Chris Paul in the face, resulting in the assessment of a flagrant foul penalty two and ejection. At the time of the ejection, the Grizzlies were leading, 25-13. The Grizzlies ultimately won the contest, 106-102.

Wrap: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 11/18/13
Video: Allen's kick to Paul's head results in flagrant foul, deemed dangerous and unnecessary

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Polls: 2013 UEFL Rules Summit Voting

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces 2013 Rules Summit voting, which follows the Summit's discussion phase. It is now time to vote for UEFL rules modifications in advance of the 2014 baseball season.

The following ballot includes a description of proposals and an opportunity to vote on each measure. Upon Commissioner approval, all passing proposals will become rules for the 2014 UEFL season. Pursuant to the terms of UEFL Rule 8-1, a proposal with two options (e.g., Yes/No) is considered passing if it receives an absolute majority.

The Rules Summit ballot will close Saturday, November 23, at 11:59 pm PST. A run-off ballot and/or election will follow, beginning the afternoon or evening of Sunday, November 24.

The 2013 Rules Summit includes five proposals with 16 polls. Carefully consider the below options before submitting your ballot. As in years past, you may vote in as many or as few polls as you wish. Be advised we will review voting records to determine ballot authenticity, which includes allegations or suspicions of fraudulent activity or misconduct. Click "read more" or click here to access the ballot.

NBA Ejections: Marc Davis, Marat Kogut & Michael Smith

Referees Marc Davis (crew chief), Marat Kogut (R) and Michael Smith (R2/umpire) ejected Pacers forward Chris Copeland and Bulls forward Carlos Boozer for unsporting technical fouls in the 4th quarter of the Pacers-Bulls game. With 0:21.9 remaining in the 4th period, a double technical foul was issued to Boozer and Copeland for a charged physical altercation. At the time of the ejection, the Bulls were leading, 110-94. The Bulls ultimately won the contest, 110-94.

Wrap: Indiana Paceers vs. Chicago Bulls, 11/16/13
Video: Copeland and Boozer are deemed to have fought with time running out in the 4th

NBA Ejections: Ron Garretson, Matt Boland, Kevin Scott

Referees Ron Garretson (crew chief), Matt Boland (R) and Kevin Scott (R2/umpire) ejected Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers for a flagrant foul type two in the 4th quarter of the Mavericks-Heat game. With 5:01 remaining in the 4th period, Chalmers was charged with elbowing opponent Dirk Nowitzki in the head, resulting in a flagrant foul penalty two, which was upheld upon instant replay review. At the time of the ejection, the Heat were leading, 98-93. The Heat ultimately won the contest, 110-104.

Wrap: Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat, 11/15/13
Video: Chalmers swings elbow around the neck/head area, resulting in flagrant 2 call and auto-heave

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Instant Replay: Owners Approve Funding, Tweak Challenges

MLB owners approved funding for expanded instant replay during Thursday's GM meetings in Florida, clearing a financial hurdle and setting up a final owners' vote on the technology in mid-January when the owners have their quarterly meetings in Phoenix. Funding was approved in a unanimous vote.

The final rules and replay terms are expected to be in place for that January vote.

Reviews will be conducted remotely in New York.
Though expanded replay graduated the November session with a financial green light, the plan was adjusted. Instead of a one-plus-two system, wherein managers would be given one challenge for innings #1-6 and two challenges for 7+, as previously proposed, the new iteration of replay calls for two unsuccessful challenges per manager per game, theoretically putting into a play a scenario of unlimited (successful) challenges, though with a 99.5% umpiring accuracy rate, such an event would be unlikely. The penalty for an unsuccessful challenge under the new framework would simply be the loss of one challenge for the remainder of the game.

Play eligibility for expanded replay was not wholly addressed during the funding vote. During the 2013 Arizona Fall League, nearly all plays save for balls and strikes (and balks, check swings, foul tips) were reviewable, including one hit-by-pitch/foul ball call that was upheld upon instant replay review. Also unaddressed at this stage was the so-called neighborhood play and other less overt situations and calls such as obstruction, interference or invocation of the infield fly; the issue of camera locations and angles—whether all stadiums will incorporate the same placement plan in both number and position—remains unknown.

News: Major League Baseball owners approve funding for expanded instant replay (

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NBA Ejections: Ken Mauer, Nick Buchert, Scott Wall (x2)

Referees Ken Mauer (crew chief), Nick Buchert (R) and Scott Wall (R2/umpire) ejected Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and Clippers forward Matt Barnes in the 2nd quarter of the Thunder-Clippers game. With 0:06.2
remaining in the 2nd period, Clippers forward Blake Griffin rebounded a Chris Paul miss and was fouled in the act of shooting by Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha. Following the foul call, Griffin and Ibaka remained entangled; disengagement was violent and Griffin received a technical foul while Ibaka and Barnes were ejected for fighting, as confirmed following instant replay review. At the time of the ejection, the Thunder were leading, 58-52. The Clippers ultimately won the contest, 83-78.

Wrap: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 11/13/13
Video: Griffin and Ibaka remain locked after foul, leading to technical and flagrant ejections

Discussions: 2013 UEFL Rules Summit

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2013 Rules Summit, a postseason forum with a purpose of discussing any controversial issues which have surfaced during the past season and to set forth a framework for rectifying these issues by altering the existing UEFL Rules Book in advance of the 2014 UEFL season.

This discussion thread is an open forum for the proposal, discussion and debate of potential rules changes. This thread will remain open through Friday, November 15, which will provide ample time for the proposal and subsequent discussion of possible rules changes for the 2014 season. If necessitated by certain below decisions, a Summit runoff ballot may be presented after the initial voting closes.

The following matters are presently on docket for 2013 Rules Summit consideration. Any UEFL'er or guest may contribute an idea by replying to this thread; in turn, the following list will be updated to reflect the added item(s). Proposed rules modifications or changes are identified by plaintext, deletions by italics and additions by bold text. Editorial changes underlined. Individual propositions are identified by the ">>" symbol.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires).

Rule 2 (The Season).

Rule 3 (Crew Division).
>> Section 3-a. Adds provision: "Each incorrect ejection committed by a UEFL crew chief's crew shall result in the assignment of negative one (-1) points toward a UEFL member's overall score."
>> Section 3-b. Adds provision: "Each upheld instant replay challenge during a Crew Chief's purview shall result in the addition of X points toward a UEFL member's overall score. Each overturned instant replay challenge shall result in the addition of -X points." If this measure passes, precise points assignment will be determined during the Summit's runoff (supplemental) ballot. Also see proposal 4-7.

Rule 4 (League Scoring).
>> Section 2-b-6. Adds "or instant replay review" to each instance of the phrase "consultation" so the phrase will read "consultation or instant replay review."
>> Section 2-b-8. Adds the proposed text: "Quality of Correctness for an ejection that occurs after instant replay review and reversal shall be adjudged as to whether the call after reversal is correct or incorrect."
>> Section 2-c-1-a. Adds "or instant replay review" to "umpire consultation" so the phrase will read "...umpire consultation or instant replay review."
>> Section 2-c-1-b. Adds the phrase "home run" before "instant replay review" to reflect the grandfathered home run review procedure so the phrase will read "...home run instant replay review..."
~~~~~~ If 2-c-b is modified, the associated Approved Ruling will also be modified to reflect HR review.
>> Section 4-i. Adds provision: "X points shall be awarded to any umpire who passes away during the season. Known as the 'Wally Bell Memorial Award.'" Note: If this provision passes, precise points assignment will be determined during the Summit's runoff (supplemental) ballot.
>> Section 7. Adds section "INSTANT REPLAY CHALLENGES." "Points shall be assessed as a result of instant replay challenges throughout the championship and post-season pursuant to the following schedule: X" If this measure passes, precise points assignment will be determined during the Summit's runoff (supplemental) ballot. Also see proposal 3-3-b.

Rule 5 (Statistics).

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals).
>> Section 1. Editorial change: Replaces "Challenges" with "UEFL Challenges." This change reflect's MLB's adoption of instant replay challenges and is meant to clearly delineate an on-field instant replay challenge from an online UEFL challenge or appeal.
>> Section 1. Removes the phrase "or visitor/guest to the UEFL." Removes the ability of a non-participant to appeal an Original Ruling.
>> Section 1. Adds requirements for challengers. (1) Must be logged in, and/or (2) balls/strikes [pfx] cannot be challenged, and/or (3) adds a penalty and/or reward for (un)successful challenges. If points penalty/rewards are incorporated, precise assignment will be determined during the Summit's runoff (supplemental) ballot.
>> Section 1. Adds sentence: "A challenge denied on QOC grounds may be renewed as irrecusable and vice versa."
>> Section 2-b-5-a. Editorial change: Adds the phrase "and/or argument" to complete the lede "repeat visit and/or argument ejections." This change reflects the Approved Ruling that an ejection that does not qualify as a repeat visit, but does as a repeat argument, may be deemed irrecusable.
>> Section 2-b-5-c. Adds provision: "Ejections exclusively for the throwing of equipment not related to actions indicating overt resentment at an umpire's call shall be deemed Irrecusable."
>> Section 2-b-5-d. Adds provision: "Ejections exclusively concerning the call of check swing (ball or strike) shall be deemed Irrecusable."
>> Section 5-a. Editorial change: Replaces the phrase "upheld or denied" with "upheld or overturned." This change reflects the wording of "denied" to signify challenges summarily struck by the Appellate Interpreter while "overturned" signifies a challenge considered and voted down by the Appeals Board. The word "appeal" shall be changed to "Original Ruling."
>> Section 5-b-8. Adds provision: "UEFL post language shall routinely and directly reflect the associated Quality of Correctness. APPROVED RULING: If QOC is reversed as the result of a challenge, the original ejection post shall be edited such that its language reflects the revised QOC value."
>> Section 5-c. Adds formal clarification the "realistically resulted in a different outcome of the at-bat" standard as it relates to balls/strikes called during a single at-bat pursuant to the following schedule, given that such contributing pitch has preceded a decisive pitch (not necessarily consecutively):
~~~~~ YES (Offense) = x-1, x-2 or 3-x ==> Called Strike (Unless x-2 results in a foul ball); or
~~~~~ YES (Defense) = x-2, 1-x, 2-x or 3-x ==> Called Ball; and
~~~~~ NO (Offense) = 0-0, 1-0, 2-0 ==> Called Strikes / NO (Defense) = 0-0, 0-1 ==> Called Ball.

Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References).

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues).
>> Section 3. Adds section requiring entry fee. If passed, terms will be drafted during runoff ballot.

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions).
>> Section 2. Adds APPROVED RULING: "Challenges may be reinstated based on newly discovered evidence not present at the time of the initial decision."

Appeals Board Membership: Re-Election Ballot (Click here to view 2013 Appeals Board decisions)
The following 2013 UEFL Appeals Board Members are seeking re-election via the 2013 Rules Summit.
>> This section will be completed in advance of Rules Summit voting.

Again, this is the discussion phase of the 2013 UEFL Rules Summit and will remain active until 11/15, after which proposals will be officially drafted and voting will commence. Please do not vote in this thread.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Basketball: To Save or Not to Save? Two Points in Question

With basketball season well underway, it's time for a quick rules review. During last week's Falcons-Wildcats NCAA Men's Basketball game, Kentucky freshman James Young attempted to save a ball headed out of bounds, throwing the ball high above his head back onto the court, a successful save...until the ball happened to fly straight through opponent Montevallo's basket, referees ruling a two-point award for the Falcons pursuant to NCAA Rule 5, Section 1, Article 4, Provision a (5-1.4.a), which states, “When a player scores a field goal in the opponent’s basket, it shall count two points for the opponent regardless of the location on the playing court from where it was released. Such a field goal shall not be credited to a player in the scorebook but shall be indicated with a footnote.” NFHS and NBA codes agree (NFHS 5-2-1 "two points for the team into whose basket the ball is thrown" and 5-2-3 and NBA 5-I-d), though the NBA credits such a goal to "the opposing player nearest the player whose actions caused the ball to enter the basket."

Young saves ball, back to bucket.
Scenario: (a) Had Young saved the ball but instead had been a member of the Falcons team, what would be the result? (b) What if instead of entering the goal, the ball clanked off the rim and was rebounded by a (Falcons) teammate and the Falcons were unable to get a shot off in, for instance, 23 [NBA] or 34 [NFHS/NCAA] seconds? (c) Young is fouled in the act of saving the ball, after releasing the ball: score the goal?

Answer, NFHS: Three points (5-2-1, "A successful try, tap or thrown ball from the field by a player who is located behind the team's own 19-foot, 9-inch arc counts three points" / Though a try is "an attempt by a player to score two or three points by throwing the ball into a team's own basket" [4-41-2], a try is not presently required for a three-point goal [Case Play 5.2.1 SITUATION B]).
Answer, NCAA: Three points (5-1.4, "A successful try from beyond the three-point line shall count three points..." and 5-1.1, "A try for field goal is an attempt by a player to score two or three points by throwing or tapping the ball into his basket" / BUT Approved Ruling [A.R.] 138[1], "Score three points [on pass attempt entering basket]" // NCAA Rules Error [AR clearly specifies that a ball thrown [passed] @ basket shall be scored two-, or three-, if successful, but does not account for this scenario in Rule 5-1.4 re: 3-pt FG tries]).
Answer, NBA: Three points (5-I-c, "A successful field goal attempt from the area outside the three-point field goal line shall count three points" and 4-X, "A field goal attempt is a player's attempt to shoot the ball into his basket for a field goal...the term is also used to include the flight of the ball until it becomes dead or is touched by a player" and Case Book 370, "If a ball on its upward flight [e.g., pass] toward the basket...continues into the basket, three points shall be awarded").

Answer, NFHS: No penalty (for states not employing a shot clock) / Shot clock violation (for states using a 30- or 35-second boys' shot clock; for instance, CIF addition NFHS 9-14, "the team in control shall attempt a try within 35 seconds").
Answer, NCAA: Shot clock violation (9-12.4, "It is a violation when a try for field goal does not leave the shooter's hand before the expiration of the allotted shot-clock time...or when it does leave the shooter’s hand before the expiration of the allotted shot-clock time and the try does not subsequently strike the ring or flange or enter the basket" and A.R. 136, "When a passed [thrown] ball hits the ring and does not enter the basket, there is no reset of the shot clock").
Answer, NBA: No penalty (7-IV-c, "the 24-second clock shall be reset...(2) ball from the playing court contacting the basket ring of the team which is in possession" and Case Book 437, "The 24-second clock is reset anytime the ball from inbounds touches the basket ring of the team which has possession").

Answer, NFHS: No. Young was never in the act of shooting [no try or tap for goal] and, therefore, the ball became dead immediately upon the foul being committed (6-7, "The ball becomes dead, or remains dead, when...7. a foul occurs...EXCEPTION: a. Article 7 occurs while a try or tap for a field goal is in flight").
Answer, NCAA: No (6-5-1, "The ball shall become dead or remain dead when...d. an official blows the whistle except when a try is in flight" and A.R. 176 "dead while in flight...not a legal try").
Answer, NBA: Yes (6-IV-a, "The ball becomes dead and/or remains dead when...(1)official blows his/her whistle...EXCEPTION: If a field goal attempt is in flight, the ball becomes dead when the goal is made, missed or touched by an offensive player").
All codes agree: continuous motion does not apply when no try for field goal or free throw exists.

Wrap: Montevallo Falcons vs. Kentucky Wildcats, 11/4/13
Video: Falling out of bounds, Young's emergency toss comes crashing through opposing team's bucket
Video: In an attempt to save teammate's blocked shot, Young accidentally throws ball into wrong goal (ALT)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NBA Ejections: D Crawford, Gary Zielinski, Steven Anderson

Referees Dan Crawford (crew chief), Gary Zielinski (R) and Steven Anderson (R2/umpire) ejected Wizards forward Nene and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook for second technical fouls in the 4th quarter of the
Wizards-Thunder game. With 7:50 remaining in the 3rd period, Westbrook and Nene were issued double technical fouls after Wesbrook's one-foot driving layup was blocked by Nene and the players engaged in a confrontation following the play. With 3:19 remaining in the 4th period, Westbrook and Nene again tangled following Westbrook's offensive foul (third personal) and earned a second pair of technical fouls, resulting in both players' ejection from the game. At the time of the ejection, the Wizards were leading, 92-82. The Thunder ultimately won the contest, 106-105, in one overtime period.

Wrap: Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 11/10/13
Video: After offensive foul, Nene shoves Westbrook who responds by throwing punch; both are DQ'd

AFL Instant Replay: 20% of Challenged Calls Overturned

20% of challenged plays were overturned in baseball's instant replay experiment during the week's slate of Arizona Fall League games televised on MLB Network. The same MiLB umpiring crew comprised of chief Tripp Gibson, Sean Barber, Jeff Gosney and Patt Hoberg was employed for the duration of the test games, played at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Here is the breakdown of the instant replay test plays, challenges and their results:
Game 1: 4 Challenged / 4 Upheld: 3 Safe/Out at first base + 1 Catch/Trap in left field.
Game 2: 7 Challenged / 4 Upheld: 2 Safe/Out (Tag) + 3 Safe/Out (1B) + 2 Missed base appeal (2/3B).
Game 3: 0 Challenged (No plays were challenged during Thursday's Game 3 event).
Game 4: 1 Challenged / 1 Upheld: 1 Safe/Out (1B)
Game 5: 3 Challenged / 3 Upheld: 1 Safe/Out (2B), 1 Safe/Out (Tag at 2B) + 1 HBP/Foul Ball (HBP)
Totals: 15 C / 12 U: 8 Safe/Out (Force) + 3 Safe/Out (Tag) + 2 Base Touch + 1 Catch/Trap + 1 HBP/Foul

80% of challenged calls were upheld, consistent with data finding that around 20% of close calls are erroneous.

Comments on Instant Replay: Joe Garagiola Jr.Tony La RussaJoe Torre

Saturday, November 9, 2013

2013 UEFL Awards: Umpire of the Year: Jim Joyce

2013 UEFL Awards: Umpire of the Year: Jim Joyce (66)
Voting Results (min. 10%): Joyce 32%, Wally Bell 20%, John Hirschbeck 13%, Mark Wegner 10%.

Jim Joyce is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2013 Umpire of the Year.

In his 26th MLB season, Jim Joyce concluded 2013 with one ejection following one ejection in 2012. Promoted to the position of crew chief prior to the regular season alongside Ted Barrett and Fieldin Culbreth, Joyce drew praise during his sole ejection of the season, Ejection 126 (8/10), with one UEFL'er commenting, "I want to say, Joyce is one of the best umpires out there. He handles situations so professionally and his calls are usually spot on." Another pointed out Joyce's patience, which was on display during the September 9 bench clearing and odd managers' dispute between New York and Baltimore. Upon being named to his second consecutive Division Series and third overall World Series, Joyce fell into the national spotlight during the Fall Classic's Game 3 thanks to a 9th inning tie-up between baserunner and fielder at third base. Joyce's immediate obstruction call was textbook and proper. At the time, some noted "redemption for Jim Joyce." Joyce umpired the final game of the 2013 World Series behind Fenway Park's home plate.

Joyce previously received the UEFL's Umpire of the Year (2009) and Honorable Umpire (2010, 2012) Awards.

Jim Joyce now has 8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (3 Previous + 5 Award = 8).

With the final award in the books, the UEFL announces the final standings for the 2013 UEFL season.
"Perfect Score", formula based on highest points possible per category: (14 [DeMuth or Gorman -cc] + 30 [Fagan] + 23 [Fairchild] + 14 [Iassogna] + 15 [Hirschbeck] +16 CP/Props = 112 Total Points)
UEFL Final Standings
1) Turducken (70 pts)
2) NorthStarUmpire#2 (61)
3) Niicker (59)
4) bjweig01, cyclone14, falangarner, rgoldar2 (58)
8) RadioPearl (55)
9) alexsimon99, toss 'em (53)
11) BrooklynUmp, krishudspeth (52)
13) sarge3097 (51)
14) BRUMP, DanNJ316 (50)
16) Kevin Nichols (49)
17) BC_UMP, CrickenChapman, IWU_Titan, TXWrangler (48)

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

2013 Ejections of the Year: Jerry Layne & Joe West

2013 UEFL Awards: Ejections of the Year: Jerry Layne, Joe West ([Ejection 110], [Ejection 055])
Voting Results (min. 10%): Layne-110 15%, West-055 12%, Fagan-057|058 11%, DeMuth 101 10%.

Ejection 110 (Layne) and Ejection 055 (West) are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's ejections of the year.

Ejection 110: Jerry Layne (1; Mike Scioscia); On July 30, 1B Umpire Jerry Layne ejected Mike Scioscia over a safe call at first base. Replays conclusively indicated Layne's call was correct and Scioscia was ejected in short order after running out to argue the play, presumably after uttering the "magic words." UEFL'ers enjoyed Layne's post-ejection "silent treatment" of Scioscia, allowing the Angels manager to continue venting while stoically listening to his concerns without saying a word reminiscent of Layne's actions last season in San Francisco (Ejection 118: Jerry Layne [1; Bruce Bochy]): "Best ejection of the year so far. That was hilarious" and the philosophical observation, "silence can't be misquoted."

Ejection 055: Joe West (2; Dale Sveum); On June 1, HP Umpire Joe West ejected Dale Sveum over a safe call by 1B Umpire Toby Basner. Replays conclusively indicated Basner's call was incorrect, but as Sveum prolonged his argument with the AAA call-up umpire, West arrived to escort Sveum back to the dugout and away from the young umpire. As Sveum's ire turned to the crew chief West, Joe ejected the Cubs skipper. Though the call preceding ejection was erroneous, UEFL'ers praised West's handling of the situation, noting, "That's the cowboy taking care of business. Great crew chief," and "The respect I already had for Joe has just increased ten-fold. If I'm a rookie out there, he is the crew chief I would want to have my back."

Jerry Layne now has 14 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (13 Previous + 1 Award = 14).
Joe West now has 11 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (10 Previous + 1 Award = 11).

The final postseason award, Umpire of the Year, will be released late tonight.

Friday, November 8, 2013

2013 Noteworthy Umpires: Mark Wegner, Dan Iassogna

2013 UEFL Awards: Noteworthy Umpires: Mark Wegner, Dan Iassogna (14, 58)
Voting Results (min. 10%): Wegner 14%, Iassogna 12%, Jim Joyce 11%, Wally Bell 10%, Joe West 10%.

Mark Wegner and Dan Iassogna are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2013 noteworthy umpires.

In his 15th MLB season, Mark Wegner concluded 2013 with one ejections following a two ejection season in 2012. Wegner's Ejection 082 (6/22) in San Francisco concerned fan interference and its associated runner placement and base award after a spectator reached over the top of a high wall and restraining rail to interfere with a live ball in play. Wegner called his first no-hitter in San Diego (7/13) to a tune of 97.9% accuracy, missing just two pitches thrown by Tim Lincecum; he was 100% percent on called balls. After working the 2013 World Baseball Classic and his second consecutive Division Series, Wegner was named to the 2013 World Series crew, his first Fall Classic.

In his 12th MLB season, Dan Iassogna concluded 2013 with three ejections following a four ejection season in 2012. In Ejection 017 (4/25), Iassogna dismissed Charlie Manuel for arguing an interference no-call by HP Umpire Mark Carlson pursuant to Rule 7.09(j) Comment concerning batter-catcher contact at home plate following a batted ball. The play ran in stark contrast to a 2011 Matt Kemp-Hank Conger collision, Iassogna ruling Kemp out for interference as 7.09(j) Comment did not apply. Iassogna's out call of David Murphy was featured in UEFL Case Play 2013-05, a ball four call during a stolen base attempt. Iassogna was also featured in a REFEREE Magazine profile. During the postseason, Iassogna worked his first Wild Card Game and his second Championship Series.

Mark Wegner now has 12 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (9 Previous + 3 Award = 12).
Dan Iassogna now has 17 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (14 Previous + 3 Award = 17).

The next postseason award, Ejections of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2013 Honorable Umpires: Wally Bell & Ted Barrett

2013 UEFL Awards: Honorable Umpires of Year: Wally Bell & Ted Barrett (35, 65)
Voting Results (min. 10%): Bell 35%, Barrett 12%, Jim Joyce 10%.

Wally Bell and Ted Barrett are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2013 honorable umpires of the year.

In his 21st MLB season, Bell concluded 2013 with two ejections. In 2012, Bell had two ejections. Bell worked the final round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2013 All-Star Game and the NLDS. Just days after completing his NLDS assignment and after attending the Austintown Fitch Hall of Fame Dinner, Bell suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 48. To honor Bell's memory, Championship Series and World Series umpires wore a "WB" patch atop their sleeve numbers while moments of silence were held in both Los Angeles and Detroit; Detroit's crew lined up in a "missing man" formation during the moment of silence while in Los Angeles, a "WB" sign hung in an office window facing the playing field while another "WB" sign was placed outside the umpires' room with NLCS crew chief Gerry Davis' quote, "A true umpire's umpire." After undergoing open heart surgery in 1999, Bell began volunteering for the American Heart Association; he was also a high school basketball referee during the offseason. The UEFL Appeals Board voted unanimously to give Bell an honorary 2013 World Series assignment.

In his 17th MLB season, Barrett concluded 2013 with two ejections after a zero ejection season in 2012. Barrett worked the final round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2013 American League Wild Card Game and the NLCS. Prior to the season, Barrett & Mexico native Alfonso Marquez travelled to Mexico, as they do every year prior to spring training, to develop Mexican League umpires and for children who are lacking clothing and other necessities ("Fonzie's Kids"). Marquez was the UEFL's Honorable Umpire of the Year in 2011. A founder of the baseball-themed ministry Calling for Christ, a ministry for professional baseball umpires, Associate Pastor Barrett earned his Pastoral Ministry PhD in theology from Trinity Theological Seminary this year. Barrett was promoted to the position of crew chief prior to the 2013 season.

Wally Bell now has 8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (6 Previous + 2 Award = 8).
Ted Barrett now has 9 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (7 Previous + 2 Award = 9).

The next postseason award, Noteworthy Umpires of the Year, will be released later today.