Monday, December 29, 2014

MLB Network Countdown's Top 20 Ejections of 2014

The UEFL reviews the Top 20 Ejections of 2014 by umpire & ejected player/manager, as selected by MLB Network and aired during their offseason "MLB Network Countdown" series. As was the case in 2013, this year's list includes several bench clearing brawls, bean-ball ejections and both UEFL Ejections of the Year. Enjoy this year-end recap of the 2014 ejection season and Happy New Year!

*Note: Quality of Correctness is provided in the following format: Y=Correct, N=Incorrect, Y=Irrecusable.

MLB Network Countdown: The Top 20 Most Unforgettable Ejections of 2014
Note: Click each umpire's name & ejection # to be taken to the associated ejection report from the season.
20: E 103: DJ Reyburn (2); Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire (Ball One Call, QOC = Y).
19: E 125: David Rackley (1); Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig (Strike Three Call, QOC = N).
18: E 053-054: Tim Timmons (2-3); Tigers 1B M Cabrera & Mgr B Ausmus (Check Swing, QOC = Y).
17: E 135: Bill Welke (1); Rays SS Yunel Escobar (Strike One Call, QOC = N).
16: E 121-122: James Hoye (3-4); Athletics 2B Nick Punto, M Bob Melvin (Strike Three Call, QOC = N).
15: E 134: Jim Joyce (1); Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus (Replay Review, QOC = Y).
14: E 086-089: Jordan Baker (2-5); ATL-COL Carpenter, Weiss, Masset, Runnels (Bean Balls, QOC = U).
13: E 129-130: T Basner, Jeff Nelson (5, 3); PIT P Justin Wilson, M Clint Hurdle (Throwing At, QOC = U).
12: E 050: Jerry Layne (2); Athletics P Scott Kazmir (Ball Four Call, QOC = N).
11: E 181-184: Kellogg, Bellino (3-5, 7); Marlins x4 (Unsportsmanlike-NEC/Throwing At, QOC = U).
10: E 012-014: Fieldin Culbreth (2-4); MIL Gomez & Narron, PIT Travis Snider (Fighting, QOC = U).
9: E 080-081: Adrian Johnson (1-2); BAL Manny Machado, OAK Fernando Abad (USC-NEC, QOC = U).
8: E 052: Will Little (2); Marlins Manager Mike Redmond (Strike Three Call, QOC = Y).
7: E 033: Laz Diaz (1); Yankees Manager Joe Girardi (Strike One Call, QOC = Y).
6: E 045: Lance Barksdale (1); Marlins Manager Lloyd McClendon (Check Swing, QOC = Y).
5: E 065-068: Bellino, Kellogg (3-5, 2); Red Sox x4 (Arguing Warnings & Throwing At, QOC = U).
4: E 017: Gerry Davis (1); Yankees P Michael Pineda (Illegal Substance/Pine Tar, QOC = U).
3: E P-1|2: Vic Carapazza (P1|2); Nationals 2B A Cabrera, Mgr Matt Williams (Strike 3, QOC = Y).
2: E 137: Mike Winters (1); Marlins Manager Mike Redmond (Replay Review, QOC = Y).
1: E 189: Joe West (3); Phillies P Jonathan Papelbon (Lewd Gesture/Unsportsmanlike-NEC, QOC = U).

UEFL 2014 Ejections of the Year: 1) E 189: Joe West (Ranked #1). 2) E 137: Mike Winters (#2).

Total Correct: 9 / Total Incorrect: 4 / Total Irrecusable: 7 = 69.2% Accuracy (Compare to 80.0% in 2013)
Links to previous years' "Most Unforgettable Ejections" countdown: 2012 | 2013.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

MLB, Umpires Reach Agreement on New 5-Year Contract

MLB and the World Umpires Association reached agreement on a five-year contract according to several sources who wished to remain anonymous. The new CBA which will bring about five more years of labor peace must still be ratified by the umpires and league owners in January, but ratification is expected. As the MLB-Umpires deal was reached prior to the previous CBA's expiration of December 31, 2014, this can be considered outgoing Commissioner Bud Selig's last major labor contract.

Once ratified by both sides, the proposed five-year contract, set to run from January 2015 through December 2019, will replace the present five-year deal signed in 2009.

Umpires were represented by counsel Brian Lam of Washington, DC's Lam Law, PLLC and on-field umpires Joe West (President of WUA), Fieldin Culbreth (Vice President), and Jerry Layne (Secretary/Treasurer), with the governing board comprised of at-large members Phil Cuzzi, Mike Everitt, Sam Holbrook, Dan Iassogna, Jeff Kellogg and Mike Winters.

Source: USA Today/The Associated Press

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Australian Umpire Greg Howard Hit, Taken to Hospital

Australian Baseball League umpire Greg Howard was hit in the head by a bat during the ABL All-Star Game and taken to a Melbourne hospital as a precaution after positive evaluation from training staff. With one out and none on in the top of the 2nd inning of the World All-Stars vs. Team Australia game, World batter C.J. Beatty swung at a Tim Atherton pitch, his bat striking the right side of Howard's head on the back swing. Howard was removed from the game due to injury and replaced by  alternate umpire Michael Lyons. The ABL subsequently tweeted that Howard was given "the all clear."

Howard appears to have been struck on the right side of his traditional-style face mask, above the right ear at the temple.

Wrap: World All-Stars vs. Team Australia (ABL All-Star Game), 12/17/14
Video: Beatty's overswing drills veteran plate umpire Howard in the head during ABL ASG

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MLB Director Justin Klemm Talks Replay at SVG Summit

MLB Director of Instant Replay Justin Klemm recently spoke at the Sports Video Group Summit, addressing baseball's inaugural season of instant replay in the overall framework of deciding what replay system to use. The SVG Summit brings together several representatives and sports production figures from leagues and media outlets across the country to discuss all facets of game presentation.

Video: MLB Director Klemm Talks Replay
Klemm was featured as part of the MLB-centric panel, "Going Deep for Baseball Production: New Workflows, New Technologies," a group featuring MLBAM Broadcast Infrastructure Engineer Tom Psipsikas (Statcast), YES Network's Woody Freiman, Turner Sports Director Matthew Lipp and ESPN MLB senior producer Phil Orlins.

Klemm discussed baseball's decision to incorporate a challenge replay system in the interest of pace-of-game considerations, stating that baseball considered and then opted against using a college football-esque booth initiated review system. Klemm explained the decision making process, saying that if such a system was in place, "the umpires, because they want to get the plays right, they would stop on every close play and, thus, we'd interrupt the flow of the game."

As if to confirm Replay's tremendous influence over professional sports broadcasting, the corresponding NBA panel featured NBA Senior Vice President of Replay and Referee Operations Joe Borgia.

Video: MLB Replay Director Justin Klemm talks pro baseball replay and why challenges exist

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Replaying The Third Team on MLB Network

A few video clips of MLB Network's The Third Team are online as the umpire documentary for 2014 debuted last Friday. Although the show still has a few rebroadcasts scheduled for Monday, December 15 at 4:00 AM Eastern Time and Sunday, December 21 at 5:00 PM Eastern, many American and nearly all international MLB umpiring fans do not have access to the cable channel and are unable to see MLB Network's programming.

MLB Advanced Media—the same technical gurus behind MLB's Replay Operations Center in New York—posted a few segments of 'The Third Team' to MLB Video over the weekend. While these clips do not encompass the entirety of the 2014 episode, posted below is a list of 2014 'Third Team' segments with links to video clips of the segments or micro-features, as available on

MLB Network: "The Third Team" All Access
0. Teaser-Trailer for The Third Team All-Access, World Series (0:15)
I. Introduction
- a. Highlights/Soundbite teaser package
- b. Calling the World Series Crew with MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre at Park Avenue (5:11)
II. Game 1: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals
- a. Feature: HP Umpire Jerry Meals
III. Game 2: SF@KC
- a. Feature: HP Umpire Eric Cooper
- b. Peacemakers: Game management of a quasi-bench clearing incident (2:59)
IV. Game 3: KC@SF
- a. Feature: HP Umpire Jim Reynolds
V. Game 4: KC@SF
- a. Feature: HP Umpire Ted Barrett
- b. Anatomy of a Replay Review: 2B Umpire Kellogg's safe call confirmed by Replay Official Meals (3:59)
VI. Game 5: KC@SF
- a. Feature: HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt
VII. Game 6: SF@KC
- a. Ted Barrett's off-day visit to Negro Leagues museum, last surviving umpire Bob Motley.
- b. Feature: HP Umpire Jeff Kellogg
- c. Former chief ump Motley visits crew prior to Game 6 and is honored as Veteran of the Game.
VIII. Game 7: SF@KC
- a. Feature: HP Umpire Jeff Nelson
- b. Challenge, instant replay review overturns call on slide into first base
IX. Recap and summary

Friday, December 12, 2014

WS Umpires Reynolds, Barrett Join Hot Stove

World Series Umpires Ted Barrett and Jim Reynolds joined MLB Network's Hot Stove as baseball continued its promotion of Friday night's MLB Network Special, The Third Team: All Access.

During Barrett's segment, Ron Darling asked about instant replay review, Matt Vasgergian asked about having a camera crew and microphones following the crew around during the Fall Classic, and Barrett talked about the powder keg of a bench clearing non-incident.

Barrett discussed his umpiring history, calling himself "the luckiest man in the world" while talking about his development in situation handling from eventually provoking conflict to managing the game and its players.

Jim Reynolds: "Can you believe they put me in charge of this?"

Speaking with "cousin" Harold Reynolds and Fran Charles, Jim Reynolds talked about having his family travel to the World Series, the adjustment to instant replay and handling failure, and bearing witness to a perfect game.

Video: Barrett talks World Series and previews The Third Team with Matt Vasgergian, Ron Darling
Video: Reynolds calls into Hot Stove in-studio to discuss umpiring, promote MLB Network Special

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Torre Talks Umpires, Replays, Wendelstedt Joins High Heat

Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and MLB Executive VP of Baseball Operations Joe Torre, soon to be Chief Baseball Officer, joined two MLB Network shows to discuss umpires and expanded instant replay review while promoting Friday evening's The Third Team umpiring special on MLB Network. Wendelstedt joined High Heat's Chris Russo while Joe Torre joined the crew at MLB Tonight.

In his interview with "Mad Dog" Russo, Wendelstedt discussed his plate job during Game 5 of the World Series: "You haven't accomplished everything until you work home plate in the World Series...I was nervous that it was going to be a sweep and I needed Game 5 just to make sure I worked the plate."

Regarding getting wrapped up with a dominant pitcher like Madison Bumgarner, "As an umpire, you have to take your time and focus."

Regarding a pitcher tipping his cap upon exiting the game, "When they come out and they let you know they respect the job you've just done, that makes you feel proud...It's nice to be recognized every once in a while."

Video: Hunter Wendelstedt talks World Series during Third Team promo interview with Russo

Meanwhile in San Diego, Torre positively reviewed the replay system and praised younger umpires in New York overturning veteran officials' calls throughout the system as a sign that "they're all in on it." The UEFL's Instant Replay database for 2014 shows that, on the average, veteran umpires and crew chiefs experienced a greater incidence of overturned calls than younger full-time MLB umpires: the correlation between years of MLB service and % of overturned calls was decidedly positive.

Torre agreed that managers exiting the dugout to stand with the umpire while the video coordinator and bench coach make their decision was an unnecessary component of the process, noting, "we'll probably make an adjustment there...and several other things."

Regarding the pitch clock experiment during the Arizona Fall League: "I thought it worked. It picked up the pace of game." As I wrote in the September 2014 edition of The Left Field Corner, "time between pitches is the single-largest hurdle to MLB reducing its pace of game quotient."

Video: Greg Amsinger leads MLB Tonight's interview with EVP Torre at the Winter Meetings

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MLB-WUA Contract Talks Stall, Lockout Possible (Source)

MLB may lockout its umpires if union-league cannot agree on contract terms, according to an anonymous baseball official. The World Umpires Association, founded in 2000 to replace the former Major League Umpires Association, previously signed a five-year deal in 2009, which at the time was the largest-ever contract in MLB history. That CBA runs through December 31, 2014, which means the WUA and MLB must ratify a new deal prior to the 2015 season or—according to the anonymous MLB source—a lockout is on the horizon.

Ergo, while teams and general managers across the league descend on San Diego for baseball's winter meetings, the umpires attempt to renew and revise their deal with baseball.

At the negotiation table for the umpires is union legal counsel Brian Lam of Washington, DC's Lam Law, PLLC. WUA executive board members include Joe West (President of WUA), Fieldin Culbreth (Vice President), and Jerry Layne (Secretary/Treasurer), with the governing board comprised of at-large members Phil Cuzzi, Mike Everitt, Sam Holbrook, Dan Iassogna, Jeff Kellogg and Mike Winters.

Umpires previously were locked out to start the regular season in 1995, when the MLB club owners held a 120-day standoff with Richie Phillips' MLUA during which replacement umpires were used. A series of news stories from December 23, 1994 had predicted the lockout by showing the differences in what the MLUA wanted and what the AL and NL offices were willing to concede for their umpires. The most recent (and current) CBA was ratified and announced on December 23, 2009.

In 1999, umpires attempted a mass resignation as part of a collective bargaining strategy. Fearing another lockout, baseball simply accepted the resignations while John Hirschbeck founded and assumed leadership of the WUA, leading to not only mass hiring, but years of legal battles and minor league journeys that ultimately brought umpires like West, Bob Davidson and Ed Hickox back to the big leagues.

The NBA and NFL also experienced recent lockouts of their officials.

H/T: @JoshVernier610

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Third Team: MLB Network to Air 2014 Ump Show

MLB Network will air its umpire-centric 'The Third Team" All-Access, a look at and documentary of the 2014 World Series umpiring crew: Jeff Kellogg, Jerry Meals, Eric Cooper, Jim Reynolds, Ted Barrett, Hunter Wendelstedt and Jeff Nelson. The 2014 episode of this MLB Network Special airs Friday, December 12 at 9:00 PM Eastern Time with repeats scheduled for Saturday, December 13 at 1:00 AM and 1:00 PM Eastern, Monday, December 15 at 4:00 AM Eastern, and Sunday, December 21 at 5:00 PM Eastern. The reprisal of "The Third Team" is the network's first since 2012.

Watch the trailer for "The Third Team" All-Access: 2014 World Series Umpires here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fall and Winter Baseball Ejections, November 2014

Here is baseball's November 2014 Fall & Winter Leagues ejections update, including the Arizona Fall, Caribbean Winter & Australian Baseball Leagues:

HP Umpire Ian Fazio: Mesa Solar Sox 2B Tony Renda for arguing balls and strikes (AFL, 11/4)
HP Umpire Emil Jimenez: Caribes de Anzoategui Manager Omar Lopez, strike three call (V, 11/6)
HP Umpire Greg Kent: Sydney Blue Sox P Dae-Sung Koo, ball four call (ABL, 11/9)
HP Umpire Kelvin Bultron: Senadores de San Juan P Malcolm Diaz, balls and strikes (RC, 11/10)
HP Umpire Adam Schwarz: Estrellas de Oriente Manager Dean Treanor, out call (D, 11/13)
HP Umpire Gabrial Alfonzo: Aguilas del Zulia Manager Eddie Perez, ball four call (V, 11/13)
HP Umpire Blake Halligan: Perth Heat Manager Steven Fish, balls and strikes (ABL, 11/16)
HP Umpire Blake Halligan: Perth Heat 2B Luke Hughes, safe call at third base (ABL, 11/16)
3B Umpire Neil Poulton: Adelaide Bite Manager Brooke Knight, out-catch call (ABL, 11/16)
3B Umpire Mariano Vizcaino: Estrellas de Oriente 2B Jordany Valdespin, out call (D, 11/21)
HP Umpire Neil Poulton: Brisbane Bandits C Kuan-Wei Yang, strike three call (ABL, 11/21)
HP Umpire Richard Mason: Sydney Blue Sox Manager Jason Pospishil, fair ball call (ABL, 11/24)
HP Umpire Charlie Rivera: Cangrejeros de Santurce 1B Jonathan Rodriguez, strike three call (RC, 11/24)
HP Umpire Vicente Madero: Aguilas de Mexicali RF Dave Sappelt, strike three call (M, 11/25)
HP Umpire Carlos Cotto: Senadores de San Juan RF Jon Garcia, strike one call (RC, 11/27)
HP Umpire Ron Teague: Gigantes del Cibao SS Jonathan Diaz, strike three call (D, 11/28)
HP Umpire Delfin Colon: Criollos de Caguas CF Miguel Abreu, balls and strikes (RC, 11/28)
HP Umpire Jonathan Parra: Caribes de Anzoategui 3B Niuman Romero, strike three call (V, 11/28)
1B Umpire Travis Eggert: Tiburones de La Guaira Manager Buddy Bailey, safe call (V, 11/28)
HP Umpire Marcelo Alfonzo: Tiburones de La Guaira P Edgmer Escalone, ball four call (V, 11/28)
HP Umpire Tom West: Melbourne Aces 3B Brad Harman, strike three call (ABL, 11/29)
HP Umpire Tom West: Melbourne Aces Pitching Coach John Hussey, DP interference NC (ABL, 11/29)
1B Umpire Takahito Matsuda: Adelaide Bite P Matthew Williams, check swing NC-ball (ABL, 11/30)
HP Umpire Trent Thomas: Perth Heat DH Allan de San Miguel, strike call (ABL, 11/30)

*AFL = Arizona Fall (Finished), ABL = Australian, CS = Caribbean Series (Begins February 2015), D = Dominican, M = Mexicana del Pacifico, RC = Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico), V = Venezuelan*

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dale Scott Comes Out as Gay After Feature Article

Veteran MLB Umpire Dale Scott has publicly come out as gay, marrying his 28-year partner Michael Rausch last November. Those who knew Scott well knew Rausch—the pair traveled to Australia for the 2014 Opening Series—and Scott informally came out and introduced the officiating community to Rausch in Referee magazine's October feature, "Redemption."

Dale Scott & Dan Iassogna listen in on a
Replay Review during the 2014 season.
On December 2, SB*Nation's Outsports division, which covers LGBT issues in athletics, formally publicized Scott's relationships and marriage, having seen the Referee article, subsequently reaching out to Scott and the Referee editorial staff.

Scott knew what his profile in Referee meant: "Obviously, when I sent that picture to [Referee magazine editor] Jeff [Stern], I knew exactly what it meant. In a small way this was opening that door in a publication that wasn't going to be circulated nationwide. It could be picked up, but it's not Time magazine." And it almost was. Sensitive to former umpire Dave Pallone's own story—in which he was publicly outed by the New York Post in 1988 and fired by baseball shortly thereafter (in his book, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, Pallone wrote that baseball forced him out because he was gay)—the UEFL opted not to run the story at that time: Outsports is the more appropriate venue, as is the article's timing.

When Outsports first contacted Scott in September, it was a similar tale: Worried it would cause a distraction from MLB's postseason—and Scott's own assignment to the Dodgers-Cardinals National League Division Series—Outsports and Scott agreed to defer the article to after the postseason.

Said Scott, "I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else and that's the way it should be...If this story or the Referee picture motivates somebody somewhere who's an amateur umpire or is trying to go to umpire school and is trying to get a job in the Major Leagues but maybe has doubts because of their sexuality and sees this and it gives them some confidence, that's great."

Scott is the first active MLB umpire to publicly and voluntarily say he is gay, the first active male official in the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB. The NBA's Violet Palmer was the first active official to declare. She married girlfriend Tanya Stine in the summer of 2014.

Update: Scott's story has been picked up nationally by major news outlets ESPN, Fox Sports, Deadspin, Yahoo!, Bleacher Report, Instinct Magazine, MSN, and locally by many more; "Dale Scott" is trending on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cricket Umpire Hillel Oscar Dies After Being Hit By Ball

Cricket umpire Hillel Oscar of Israel died after being hit by a ball during a weekend game in Ashdod. According to the Israel Cricket Association, Oscar was a former national team captain and since joined both the domestic and European umpiring ranks. Game-side accounts state he was hit in the jaw by a batted ball that had ricocheted off the stumps and died just two days after Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died of a head injury in Sydney.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Minor League Baseball Hires Jim Evans as Ump Advisor

Minor League Baseball hired Jim Evans as Umpire Advisor, a new special advisor position created by MiLB. In his role as a special advisor for the league, Evans will serve as a consultant to the President of Minor League Baseball on umpiring-related matters, including special event assignment.

Former MLB Umpire Jim Evans
Evans is the former chief of the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring (JEAPU), which fell from grace several years ago after an incident at a school-sponsored party.

Prior to 2012, the Florida-based JEAPU and the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School were the only two umpire schools certified by professional baseball to train prospective umpires, which meant that in order to be considered by the Professional Baseball Umpiring Corp. (PBUC), a prospective umpire must have graduated from JEAPU or HW; without going through one of these two feeder schools accredited by MiLB, no umpire would be invited to attend the PBUC evaluation course, another MiLB-placement prerequisite.

In 2012, Minor League Baseball announced the creation of its own feeder school, the league-run The Umpire School (TUS), effectively creating three potential avenues into the competitive and highly selective business of professional umpiring.

Also in 2012, JEAPU threw a bowling party for its instructors after graduation. During this party, one bowling team comprised of Academy employees allegedly wore uniforms resembling white robes associated with the Klu Klux Klan and bowled under the team name, "Klein's Kleaning Krew."

As MiLB reviewed the incident, it consulted PBUC Executive Director Justin Klemm, who also served as Executive Director of The Umpire School, ultimately giving JEAPU the umpiring school's death penalty: Minor League Baseball severed ties with JEAPU, meaning that it would not longer accept JEAPU graduates into the PBUC evaluation course, and, by extension, Minor League Baseball itself.

At the time, Evans wondered whether MiLB's decision, with Klemm's input, was a "conflict of interest." In the years following, The Umpire School's attendance has improved to healthy levels as JEAPU shut its doors to MiLB prospectives. The JEAPU website has not offered online enrollment for any umpiring course since its fateful 2012 class.

These days, Klemm is the Director of Instant Replay for Major League Baseball and is in charge of operations at the New York Replay Operations Center. Klemm accordingly retired from his Executive Director position with PBUC in January of 2014, when he took the MLB post in New York.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Solution for ABL Case Play: Stepping Over the Line

Our Australian Baseball League dead-ball territory Case Play is now complete, the solution below. Play:
With none out and two on, Bite batter Chan Moon hit a sacrifice fly to Heat left fielder Tim Smith in foul territory, Bite baserunner R3 Rocky Gale scoring as R1 Michael Miller remained at first base. Replays indicate F7 Smith slid to catch the fly, then regained his footing before stepping across the venue's out-of-play line and into dead ball territory before throwing the ball back to the infield.
At issue, as argued by the offensive team's coach, was whether F7's actions caused the ball to become dead and, if so, whether R1 should have been awarded second base.

Because the ABL uses the Official Baseball Rules, we can confidently cite MLB's code in solving this Case Play. As it stands, the following comprise our statements of material fact:
➤ The Norwood Oval's ground rules states a line in foul ground delineates live from dead ball territory.
➤ F7 entered his slide, without possession of the ball, while in foul territory, above "in play" ground.
➤ F7 caught the ball and exited his slide, standing on his feet, while in foul territory, "in play."
➤ F7 hopped across the out of play line, such that only his feet/shoes were in contact with the ground.
➤ F7 threw the ball back to the infield while standing wholly in dead ball territory.

F7 legally stands out of play
OBR Rule 5.10(f) states, "When a fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand...If a fielder after making a catch steps into a bench, but does not fall, the ball is in play and runners may advance at their own peril."
OBR Rule 6.05(a) Comment states, "The ball is in play unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead."
OBR Rule 7.04(c) states that each runner may advance one base when, "a fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand, or falls across ropes into a crowd when spectators are on the field."

Because F7 did not actually fall in or onto dead ball territory—he recovered to his feet and maintained his shoes as the only point of contact with the ground—Rule 7.04(c) cannot apply. According to the Wendelstedt Umpire School, "This is covered under 6.05 (a) Comment. It appears that he slides, makes the catch, recovers to his feet, then steps into the out-of-play area. This is perfectly legal under the rules." Thus, the umpires made the correct call. Live ball, B1 is out, R1 stays at first, R3 scores.

Wendelstedt School Director Brent Rice addressed the following potential scenarios to this play:
➤ Had F7 fallen after entering DBT: Dead ball, B1 is out, R1 awarded one base (2B), R3 scores.
➤ Had F7 made the catch and then slid into DBT: Dead ball, B1 out, R1 awarded 2nd, R3 awarded home.
➤ Had F7 caught the ball after entering DBT—or bobbled the ball into DBT: Foul ball, no out.
➤ Had F7 dropped the ball while standing in DBT having already completed the catch: Dead ball, B1 out, R1 awarded two bases (3B), R3 awarded home.

NCAA RULING: Under most circumstances, this same play is legal in NCAAB, pursuant to Rule 6.1.d. However, Rule 6.1.d(1)(b) specifically authorizes a local facility to adopt a ground rule that would preclude a fielder from throwing from dead-ball territory, though the fielder would be legally permitted to re-enter live-ball territory in order to throw. If such a ground rule is adopted, the penalty for this "catch-and-carry" violation is a dead ball and one-base award.

Thanks to all participants: 2015 UEFL CP points for: AJ_Off, cyclone14, Jim, RichMSN, zimmerthechief.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Final Results: 2014 UEFL Rules Summit

Final results for the 2014 UEFL Rules Summit are in. The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces the following rules changes for the 2015 UEFL Season. The results of the Summit have been referred to the UEFL Rules Committee for formal codification and adoption (the 2015 UEFL Rules will be released prior to standard registration, by February 2015):

➤ 6-1-a: Appeals must be initiated within 24-hour statute of limitations; 69% Yes, 26% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5: Ejections for arguing a Replay Review are deemed irrecusable; 66% Yes, 29% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5: Ejections for throwing equipment are judged individually; 74% Yes, 20% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5-c: All check swing ejections are referred to Appeals Board for QOC; 51% Yes, 46% No.
➤ 8-1: Penalty system to be established for violations of community guidelines; 60% Yes, 31% No.
➤ 9-1-a: Appeals Board has elastic clause power rule on unaddressed issues; 69% Yes, 23% No.
➤ Appeals Board: Arik G; 69% Yes, 23% No.
➤ Appeals Board: JD; 69% Yes, 20% No.
➤ Appeals Board: RichMSN; 80% Yes, 11% No.
➤ Appeals Board: tmac; 80% Yes, 9% No.
➤ Appeals Board: Turducken; 74% Yes, 17% No.
➤ Appeals Board: cyclone14; 57% Yes, 31% No.

2015 UEFL Appeals Board: Gil, Jeremy, RichMSN, tmac, Turducken, Arik G, JD, cyclone14.

The following proposals did not receive an absolute majority of yea votes and, therefore, did not pass:
➤ 1-3: Decrease in number of drafted umpires to three (from five); 34% Yes, 54% No.
➤ 3-3-a: Assessment of -1 points for crew chief's incorrect call (from +0); 31% Yes, 60% No.
➤ 4-7: Removal of Instant Replay Reviews from league scoring; 31% Yes, 63% No.
➤ 6-2-b-8: UEFL to determine Replay Review QOC independent of MLB; 46% Yes, 49% No.
➤ 6-2-c-a: Confirmed/Overturned calling official = NY, Stands = Field; 40% Yes, 54% No.
➤ 6-4-a-3: UEFL Appeals Board terms of office extended to three years; 40% Yes, 57% No.
➤ 8-5: UEFL draft to adopt a required entry fee; 11% Yes, 80% No.
➤ 8-3: Voting for Appeals Board restricted to prior year's UEFL membership; 48% Yes, 46% No.
➤ 8-6: 30 QOC Quick Votes in opposition to Original Ruling triggers appeal; 49% Yes, 46% No.
➤ 8-7: UEFL members authorized to trade a team member during season; 44% Yes, 46% No.

Thank you all for participating in the 2014 UEFL Rules Summit and we'll see you in 2015. Stay tuned for the answer to the Stepping Over the Line ABL Case Play and offseason ejection updates/reports.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Case Play (ABL Ejection): Stepping Over the Line

An umpire's out/live ball in play vs. dead ball call sparked an ejection in the Australian Baseball League this weekend as 3B Umpire Neil Poulton ejected Adelaide Bite Manager Brooke Knight for arguing a live ball call in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Heat-Bite game. With none out and two on, Bite batter Chan Moon hit a sacrifice fly to Heat left fielder Tim Smith in foul territory, Bite baserunner R3 Rocky Gale scoring as R1 Michael Miller remained at first base. At issue was not the validity of the out (catch) call, but whether F7 Smith "fell" before throwing the ball back into the infield and keeping Miller at first base. The ground rules for the Norwood Oval specify that an out-of-bounds line shall exist in the corners of the outfield, in front of the bullpens, and that a fielder or ball crossing this line shall be deemed out of play.

Momentum carries F7 across the OOP line.
The ABL uses the Official Baseball Rules; pursuant to OBR Rule 5.10(f), "When a fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand," the ball is dead. However, "If a fielder after making a catch steps into a bench, but does not fall, the ball is in play and runners may advance at their own peril." Rule 7.04(c) specifies that each runner may advance one base when "A fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand, or falls across ropes into a crowd when spectators are on the field." Rule 6.05(a) Comment similarly states that the "ball is in play unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead." Replays indicate F7 Smith slid and caught the ball in the field of play, appearing to regain his footing before stepping over the out-of-play line (see attached photograph).

Q: Does this constitute a "fall" under Rule 5.10(f) or a "step into a bench"? Is a bullpen a bench?
HINT: MLBUM #24(5).
Case Play Note: Yes, the 2014 UEFL season has concluded. However, up to two Case Play points for the 2015 UEFL season may be gained through contributing to this discussion.

Wrap: Perth Heat vs. Adelaide Bite (Australian Baseball League), 11/15/14
Video: Sac fly to LF gives Bite a 3-1 lead and fireworks, too, on question of Smith's status (ABL)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Polls: 2014 UEFL Rules Summit Voting

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces 2014 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 22, at 11:59 pm PST. A run-off ballot and/or election will follow, beginning the afternoon or evening of Sunday, November 23.

The 2014 Rules Summit includes 19 polls related to proposals and six Appeals Board re-election 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.

Roster: 2014 Arizona Fall League Championship Game

Umpire Ryan Blakney plates the Arizona Fall League Championship Game played Saturday, November 15, 2014. He is joined by Doug Vines (1B), Ryan Goodman (2B) and Shaun Lampe (3B). The AFL Championship is the final game of the Arizona Fall League season, pitting together top prospects in baseball on the fall stage. The 2014 AFL Championship is being played at Scottsdale Stadium and features the Peoria Javelinas and Salt River Rafters.

Umpiring Crew, 2014 Arizona Fall League Championship Game (Peoria vs Salt River):
HP: Ryan Blakney (AAA: Pacific Coast League)
1B: Doug Vines (AAA: International League)
2B: Ryan Goodman (AAA: PCL)
3B: Shaun Lampe (AAA: PCL)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Roster: 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series

Umpire Chris Conroy & Crew Chief Mike Winters are in Japan for MLB's All-Star Series, joining local officials Fumihiro Yoshimoto and Hideto Fuke for the Exhibition Game at Koshien Stadium in Osaka. Veteran Fumihiro Yoshimoto worked his 1,000th career game in Nippon Professional Baseball in July 2014. In the postseason, Winters served as crew chief for the 2014 NLDS with Chris Conroy assigned to NY's Replay Operations Center while both Yoshimoto and Fuke officiated the NPB's equivalent for the Pacific League. Game 1 vs. Samurai Japan saw the addition of Jerry Layne while Game 3's combined no-hitter featured Mike Winters behind the dish.

Look closely and you might see the portable camera mounted on the hockey-style mask of plate umpire Fumihiro Yoshimoto. MLB Network will show replays from the camera throughout the broadcast.

Umpiring Assignments, MLB All-Stars vs Hanshin-Yomiuri*, Exhibition Game:
HP: Fumihiro Yoshimoto (JPN)
1B: Chris Conroy (USA)
2B: Hideto Fuke (JPN)
3B: Mike Winters (USA)

Umpires, MLB All-Stars vs. Samurai Japan (Japanese National Team), Game 1:
HP: Chris Conroy (USA)
1B: Takanori Yamamoto (JPN)
2B: Jerry Layne (USA)
3B: Katsumi Manabe (JPN)

Umpires, Samurai Japan (Japanese National Team) vs. MLB All-Stars, Game 2:
HP: Shoji Arisumi (JPN)
1B: Jerry Layne (USA)
2B: Chikara Tsugawa (JPN)
3B: Chris Conroy (USA)

Game 3:
HP: Mike Winters
1B: Kyohei Makita
2B: Jerry Layne
3B: Masanobu Sasaki

Game 4:
HP: Masao Yanada
1B: Mike Winters
2B: Kinji Nishimoto
3B: Chris Conroy

Game 5:
HP: Jerry Layne
1B: Kunio Kiuchi
2B: Mike Winters
3B: Norihiro Akimura

Sunday, November 9, 2014

ABL Ejection: Greg Kent (1; Dae-Sung Koo)

Here's a textbook ejection from the Australian Baseball League to brighten your offseason. HP Umpire Greg Kent ejected Blue Sox pitcher Dae-Sung Koo for arguing a ball four call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Blue Sox-Cavalry game. With one out and one on, Cavalry batter Mitch Walding took a 3-1 pitch from Koo for a called fourth ball. After the walk, Koo walked to home plate, pointed down at the inner edge where he believed the pitch was located, and was dismissed by Kent. At the time of the ejection, the Blue Sox were leading, 7-5. The Blue Sox ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

Wrap: Sydney Blue Sox vs. Canberra Cavalry (Australian Baseball League), 11/9/14
Video: Dae-Sung Koo is ejected in textbook ejection for drawing line in the dirt on 'black' of plate (ABL)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014 UEFL Rules Summit: Discussion

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2014 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 2015 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 14, which will provide ample time for the proposal and subsequent discussion of possible rules changes for the 2015 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 2014 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 italics, deletions by strikeout and additions by bold text. Editorial changes underlined. Individual propositions are identified by the ">>" symbol.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires).
>> Section 3 amended as follows: "...each member of the league shall select two umpires one umpire..." Section 4 shall be amended as follows: "...shall select two additional umpires one additional umpire." Proposal would decrease # of drafted umpires from 1 cc + 2 PRM + 2 SEC to 1 cc + 1 PRM + 1 SEC.

Rule 2 (The Season).

Rule 3 (Crew Division).

Rule 4 (League Scoring).
>> Section 7. Eliminates Section "Replay Challenges and Reviews." Proposal would eliminate all points from Replay Review and return to scoring of *just* ejections.

Rule 5 (Statistics).

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals).
>> Section 2-b-5. Adds phrase: "The Quality of Correctness for all reasons of Fighting, Throwing At, Unsportsmanlike Conduct-NEC, arguing a Replay Review decision or Excess Contact shall be judged as "Irrecusable" by default..."
>> Section 2-b-5-c. Adds provision: "Ejections exclusively concerning the call of check swing (ball or strike) shall be referred to the UEFL Appeals Board for a vote of Confirm/Uphold (QOC Correct) or Overturn (QOC Incorrect). Because no Original Ruling will be crafted in the case of a check swing, the Board's ruling will determine Quality of Correctness, which may not be appealed."
>> Section 2-b-8. Adds provision: "Quality of Correctness for Replay Reviews shall be determined by the UEFL independent of the outcome of the Replay Review."
>>>>> Note: This would require the following editorial changes: Rule 4-7-a: "Calls affirmed or upheld as correct or inconclusive Correct/Inconclusive calls will result in the addition of one (1) point." 4-7-b: "Calls overturned or found to be incorrect will result in the application of negative one (-1) points."
>> Section 2-c-a amended as follows: "...after umpire consultation and calls that stand after or instant replay challenge shall revert to whichever umpire would have had primary responsibility (calling) had the consultation or challenge not occurred." Section 2-c-b amended as follows: "All classifications in regards to calls that are confirmed or overturned after instant replay review shall revert to reflect the crew chief replay official as the calling umpire, such that any on-field ejection that results shall be a crewmate ejection."
>> Section 4-a-3 amended as follows: "[Appeals Board] At-large terms shall be limited to one year three years in length with no term limits."

Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References).

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues).
>> Section 3. Adds section requiring entrance fee. If passed, terms determined via runoff ballot.

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions).

Appeals Board Membership: Re-Election Ballot (Click here to view 2014 Appeals Board decisions)
The following 2014 UEFL Appeals Board Members are seeking re-election via the 2014 Rules Summit.
>> This section will be completed in advance of Rules Summit voting.

Again, this is the discussion phase of the 2014 UEFL Rules Summit and will remain active through 11/14, after which proposals will be officially drafted and voting will commence. Please do not vote in this thread.

Friday, November 7, 2014

2014 UEFL Awards: Umpire of the Year: Ted Barrett

2014 UEFL Awards: Umpire of the Year: Ted Barrett (65) [2013 Winner: Jim Joyce]
Voting Results (min. 10%): Ted Barrett (11%), Greg Gibson (10%).

MLB Umpire Ted Barrett
In his 18th MLB season, Ted Barrett concluded 2014 with four ejections (089: Ron Washington, 095: Kirk Gibson, 096: Evan Marshall, 136: Ron Gardenhire) and was 10-for-22 (.455 RAP) in Replay Review. with one UEFL'er describing Barrett as "MLB's most underrated umpire, while simultaneously being among the league's best." Barrett's 2014 Division and World Series appearances marked his 10th straight postseason (he last missed the playoffs in 2004, but worked the Division Series annually from 2000-2003), and his third Fall Classic overall (2007, 2011). Barrett's three years between World Series is the shortest span between two such appearances since Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg worked the Fall Classic in 2008 and 2010, and matches the 2009/12 and 2010/13 splits by Gerry Davis and John Hirschbeck, respectively. Barrett also won the 2014 Honorable Umpire and Crew Chief of the Year Awards, which marks the first time in UEFL history that an umpire has won the "Triple Crown" of postseason awards.

Ted Barrett now has 26 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (21 Previous + 5 Award = 26).

With the final award in the books, the UEFL announces the final standings for the 2014 UEFL season.
The "Perfect Score" this season was 162. Perfect score is calculated using the highest points possible per category (32 [Miller -cc] + 36 [Carapazza] + 30 [Bellino] + 23 [Guccione] + 22 [T Barrett] + 19 CP/Props = 162 Total Points). Accordingly, the "Perfect Crew" was comprised of Bill Miller (crew chief), Vic Carapazza (primary #1), Dan Bellino (primary #2), Chris Guccione (secondary #1) and Ted Barrett (secondary #2).

UEFL Final Standings
1) Russ (102 pts)
2) Fikester (101 pts)
3) AlwaysOsinski (99 pts)
4) BkSl14812, flaump22, Tom Slick (96 pts)
7) toss 'em (94 pts)
8) CricketChapman (91 pts)
9) BigCatch22, dmcneeley, eastern36, youthministeradam (86 pts)
13) jdphenicie (83 pts)
14) johnnyg08 (80 pts)
15) DNS67665 (78 pts)
16) UmpAtty (77 pts)
17) JRD, thejaigner (73 pts)
19) brettjwhaley, johnnyd8833 (71 pts)

UEFL Express Final Standings
1) Tom Slick (96 pts)
2) youthministeradam (86 pts)
3) jdphenicie (83 pts)
4) johnnyg08 (80 pts)
5) hohnforpresident (60 pts)
6) JJBilinski, wwjd220 (57 pts)
8) kickersrule (56 pts)
9) Krwill96 (55 pts)
10) QuickTrigger3 (52 pts)

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 Ejections of the Year: Joe West & Mike Winters

2014 UEFL Awards: Ejections of the Year: Joe West, Mike Winters (Ejection: [189], [137])
Voting Results (min. 10%): Joe West-189 (18%), Mike Winters-137 (14%), Andy Fletcher-119 (10%).

Umpire Joe West ejects Jonathan Papelbon
Ejection 189: Joe West (3; Jonathan Papelbon); On September 14 in Philadelphia, 2B Umpire Joe West ejected Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon for a lewd gesture made while Papelbon was leaving the field during a pitching change. Replays indicate the existence of an obscene gesture, which MLB Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre confirmed was "appropriately" disciplined by West with expulsion from the game. After the ejection, Papelbon confronted West, who in turn appeared to grab Papelbon's jersey to brush the player aside as West continued walking from the first base area back to his position in shallow center field. MLB reacted to the incident by suspending Joe West one game for initiating physical contact with a player. Joe West previously won the UEFL's 2013 Ejection of the Year Award.

Umpire Mike Winters ejects Mike Remond
Ejection 137: Mike Winters (1; Mike Redmond); On July 31 in Miami, HP Umpire Mike Winters ejected Marlins Manager Mike Redmond for arguing a Replay Review decision that overturned Winters' Rule 7.13 violation no-call (out), resulting in the tying run being awarded to the visiting Reds. Following Redmond's prompt dismissal, the catcher-turned-manager untucked his jersey, threw his cap and animatedly argued New York's ruling. UEFL'ers observed during the review that Winters appeared "beyond aggravated on the headset. He goes out and tells Redmond, 'that's bullshit,' then hands the ball to F1 and says, 'I agree, as well.'"

Joe West now has 17 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (16 Previous + 1 Award = 17).
Mike Winters now has 8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (7 Previous + 1 Award = 8).

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

UEFL Awards: Noteworthy Umps: Carapazza, Hernandez

2014 UEFL Awards: Noteworthy Umps: Vic Carapazza, Angel Hernandez (19, 55) [2013: Wegner/Iassogna]
Voting Results (min. 10%): Carapazza (12%), Hernandez (12%), Alan Porter (11%), Chris Guccione (10%).

MLB Umpire Vic Carapazza
In his 4th MLB season, Vic Carapazza finished the year with seven ejections (5 regular season; 038: Mike Maddux099-100: Alex Rios & Michael Choice112: Kevin Seitzer160: David Ross + 2 postseason; P-1|2: Asdrubal Cabrera & Matt Williams). In Replay Reviews, Carapazza was 15-for-18 (.833 RAP), good enough for fifth-best in the league ahead of Mike Estabrook and behind Hunter Wendelstedt. Carapazza worked the 2014 All-Star Game and the 2014 National League Division Series (both his first). UEFL'ers praised Carapazza for moving well to secure angles and his patience in situation handling. Wrote one, "was somewhat skeptical about his preparedness for MLB, but he's turned out to be doing just fine."

Umpire Angel Hernandez
In his 22nd MLB season, Angel Hernandez concluded 2014 with three ejections (020: Matt Kemp058: Anthony Recker118: Jean Machi). In Replay Reviews, Hernandez was nine-for-20 (.450 RAP), or 58th place, ahead of CB Bucknor and behind Ted Barrett. In Award co-recepient Vic Carapazza's August ejection of David Ross, Hernandez joined Crew Chief Larry Vanover and took the lead by restraining Ross from following Carapazza, who was walking away. UEFL'ers also praised Hernandez for his actions during Ejections 058-060 in helping calm a bench clearing incident by removing instigator Yunel Escobar from the fighting situation. Hernandez was also involved in the June bench-clearing (Ejections 080-081) in Baltimore after Manny Machado threw his bat toward third base, where U3 Hernandez stopped the projectile with his foot. Hernandez received the UEFL's Noteworthy Umpire of the Year Award in 2012.

Vic Carapazza now has 36 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (33 Previous + 3 Award = 36).
Angel Hernandez now has 1 point in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (-2 Previous + 3 Award = 1).

The next postseason award, Ejection(s) of the Year, will be released tonight.

2014 UEFL Awards: Honorable: J Hirschbeck, T Barrett

2014 UEFL Awards: Honorable Umpires: John Hirschbeck & Ted Barrett (17, 65) [2013: Bell/Barrett]
Voting Results (min. 10%): John Hirschbeck (15%), Ted Barrett (10%).

Umpire John Hirschbeck
In his 31st MLB season, Hirschbeck suffered the loss of his second son, who passed away at the age of 27. In 1993, Hirschbeck's other son died of complications of adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a rare brain disease. Hirschbeck is a cancer survivor, having seen a remission from testicular cancer episodes in 2009 and 2012. Prior to his April departure from the field, Hirschbeck had his only challenged play confirmed by Replay Review, making him the only MLB umpire to have a perfect replay record in 2014. Hirschbeck returned to baseball in late September, working from New York's Replay Operations Center, but did not return to the playing field. Hirschbeck previously won the UEFL's 2013 Crew Chief of the Year Award, a season in which Hirschbeck served as crew chief for his third All-Star Game and the 2013 World Series (his fourth Fall Classic).

Umpire Ted Barrett
Prior to his 18th MLB season, Barrett, along with 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 whereas Barrett was a UEFL Honorable Umpire of the Year in 2013 (Barrett also won the Award in 2012, making 2014 his third-straight Honorable Umpire of the Year Award win). A founder of the baseball-themed ministry Calling for Christ, a ministry for professional baseball umpires, Associate Pastor Barrett holds a Pastoral Ministry PhD in theology from Trinity Theological Seminary and also won the 2014 UEFL Crew Chief of the Year Award. He is the only active umpire to serve as a pastor for the ministry. Chris Guccione, Rob Drake, Mike Everitt, Marvin Hudson and Alfonso Marquez round out the group's Board.

John Hirschbeck now has 3 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (1 Previous + 2 Award = 3).
Ted Barrett now has 21 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (19 Previous + 2 Award = 21).

The next postseason award, Noteworthy Umpire(s) of the Year, will be released later today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2014 UEFL Awards: Crew Chief of Year: Ted Barrett

2014 UEFL Awards: Crew Chief of the Year: Ted Barrett (65) [2013 Winner: John Hirschbeck]
Voting Results (min. 10%): Ted Barrett (21%), Dale Scott (12%), Joe West (12%).

MLB Umpire Ted Barrett
Ted Barrett is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2014 crew chief of the year. In his 18th MLB season, Barrett finished 2014 with four ejections (089: Ron Washington095: Kirk Gibson096: Evan Marshall136: Ron Gardenhire), three of which (089, 095, 136) were ejections for arguing Replay Review decisions concerning a crewmate's call. Regarding Replay Review, Barrett was 10-for-22 (.455 RAP). Both Barrett and crewmate Paul Schrieber made the 2014 postseason (Alfonso Marquez was not eligible due to having worked too few games; Will Little for being a fill-in), which marked Schrieber's first postseason since 2001. UEFL'ers praised Barrett for "being among the league's best," noting Barrett's selection to the World Series crew relatively soon after his 2011 assignment and 2013 promotion to regular season crew chief. Specifically, Barrett "cares for his crew & not just himself," and in doing so, "signified everything that a Crew Chief should."

Ted Barrett now has 19 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (18 Previous + 1 Award = 19).
The next postseason award, Honorable Umpire(s) of the Year, will be released later tonight.

2014 UEFL Awards: Fill-In of the Year: Tripp Gibson

2014 UEFL Awards: Fill-In Umpire of the Year: Tripp Gibson (73) [2013 Winner: Clint Fagan]
Voting Results (min. 10%): Gibson (27%), Will Little (18%), Adam Hamari (12%), John Tumpane (10%).

Umpire Tripp Gibson
Hal "Tripp" Gibson III is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2014 fill-in (AAA) umpire of the year. In his second Major League Baseball fill-in umpiring season (first full), Gibson finished 2014 with one ejection, Ejection 092: Tripp Gibson (1; Josh Donaldson). Gibson finished the year 10-for-18 in Replay Reviews for a .556 Replay Affirmation Percentage, tied with Tom Hallion and Jerry Meals and ahead of the league average by .031 points. Gibson led all call-up and full-time MLB umpires in games worked in 2014 with 149 games, ahead of Mark Ripperger's 142 and Will Little's 141. UEFL'ers predict Gibson is a leading candidate for off-season hiring to the MLBU staff, nominating Gibson for the Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award based on his "awesome mechanics" and an on-field presence that "commanded respect," handling arguments "like a tenured veteran."

Tripp Gibson now has 9 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (7 Previous + 2 Award = 9).
The next postseason award, Crew Chief of the Year, will be released later today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

2014 UEFL Awards: Most Improved Umpire: CB Bucknor

2014 UEFL Awards: Most Improved Umpire: CB Bucknor (54) [2013 Winner: CB Bucknor]
Voting Results (min. 10%): CB Bucknor (24%), Alan Porter (11%), Bob Davidson (10%).

Umpire CB Bucknor
CB Bucknor is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2014 most improved umpire of the year, which marks his second consecutive season receiving this award. In his 16th Major League Baseball umpiring season, Bucknor finished 2014 with one ejection; Bucknor ejected four times in 2013. Bucknor's 2014 ejection concerned a correctly ruled strike three call in Boston (Ejection 149: Bucknor [1, Mike Napoli]). In Replay Review, Bucknor finished eight-for-eighteen for a RAP of .444, which includes our overturned comic relief replay of the year when CB fell down on a stolen base attempt in Milwaukee. UEFL'ers described Bucknor as having "grown" over the past few seasons while complimenting his crisp mechanics. During the postseason, Bucknor served on baseball's inaugural Division Series replay crew.

CB Bucknor now has 15 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (2 Previous + 1 Award = 3).
The next postseason award, Fill-In of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2014 UEFL Awards: Worst Umpire of Year: Tim Welke

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its postseason awards schedule, beginning with the Worst Umpire of the Year, below, and continuing with Most Improved Umpire, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Honorable, Noteworthy, Ejection(s) of the Year and concluding with Umpire of the Year. 157 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process.

Pursuant to UEFL Rule 4-4, the postseason Awards distribution now begins with Worst Umpire of the Year.

2014 UEFL Awards: Worst Umpire of the Year: Tim Welke (22) [2013 Winner: Marty Foster]
Voting Results (min. 10%): Tim Welke (14%), Angel Hernandez (13%).

Umpire Tim Welke
Tim Welke is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2014 Worst Umpire of the Year. In his 31st Major League Baseball umpiring season, Welke finished 2014 with zero ejections; Welke ejected zero times in 2013 and once in 2012. Welke finished baseball's inaugural season of Replay Review with a .353 Review Affirmation Percentage—11 of his 17 challenged plays were overturned. Early on in the season, Welke served as crew chief for the 2014 Opening Series in Sydney, Australia and officiated his 4,000th MLB game in early April. Welke also was the first plate umpire to have an out call overturned on the auspices of experimental Rule 7.13 regarding catchers blocking home plate and was one of the first umpires to have two of his calls overturned during the same game, on May 1. , UEFL'ers described Welke as declining: "how the once mighty have fallen" and "Enrico Palazzo was better." Several voters pointed to Welke's deficiency as a crew chief, referencing Ejections 101-102: Mark Carlson (2, 3) in Washington, DC. After HP Umpire Carlson ejected a batter for arguing 1B Umpire Welke's check swing call, "Welke stayed at his position at first base and did nothing to help Carlson out." During Carlson's second ejection, Welke likewise remained at first base while MiLB fill-in Clint Fagan walked down to assist: "It just makes Welke look incompetent as a CC."

Tim Welke now has -8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (-5 Previous + -3 Award = -8).
The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released later tonight.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Postseason

Welcome to the 2014 UEFL Postseason. The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League begins the postseason with its Year End Awards. Nominations remain open through Sunday, November 2 with distribution beginning Monday, November 3. Following the Awards is the annual UEFL Rules Summit, the sandbox for discussion of controversial issues and other topics that surfaced during the 2014 season. The Summit concludes with a round of voting on proposed rules changes.

For instance, the 2013 Rules Summit gave us our points structure for Instant Replay Reviews and restriction of appeal eligibility.

The UEFL Appeals Board has also rendered its final decision of the 2014 season with reversals of E-181 and E-182: Kellogg, Bellino 3, 7. Present members of the UEFL Appeals Board have the option of sitting for re-election during the Rules Summit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Discussion: 2014 World Series

As the 2014 World Series gets underway, we again open the umpire forum to discussion. Notes include home plate umpire performance according to pitch f/x and UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a (horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule") and 6-2-b-b (vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"). Plays include significant plays and instant replay reviews, if such plays occur. For future games, notes include home plate umpire probables. Call +/- also included/highlighted.

- 10/21, SF@KC 1: Jerry Meals (1st): pfx (106/109 Balls, 44/50 Strikes = 150/159 = 94.3%). +5 SF.
- 10/22, SF@KC 2: Eric Cooper (1st World Series): pfx (91/93 B, 37/40 S = 128/133 = 96.2%) +5 SF.

- 10/24, KC@SF 3: Jim Reynolds (1st World Series): pfx (89/90 B, 39/45 S = 128/135 = 94.8%) +3 SF.
- 10/25, KC@SF 4: Ted Barrett (3rd World Series): pfx (115/115 B, 39/48 S = 154/163 = 94.5%) +3 KC.
- 10/26, KC@SF 5: Hunter Wendelstedt (1st World Series): pfx (81/81 B, 29/39 S = 110/120 = 91.7%) +4 KC.

- 10/28, SF@KC 6: Jeff Kellogg (Crew Chief): pfx (90/97 B, 40/45 S = 130/142 = 91.5%) +4 SF.
- 10/29, SF@KC 7: Jeff Nelson (3rd World Series): pfx (68/68 B, 39/43 S = 107/111 = 96.4%) NU.
Series Complete: WS Giants defeat Royals (4-3), net advantage Giants, +10 pitches (won series).

Instant Replay Reviews (R-QOC Coloring: Green [Confirmed], Yellow [Stands], Red [Overturned]):
1) 2B Umpire Jeff Kellogg's safe call on pickoff attempt is confirmed by Replay Official Jerry Meals
2) 1B Umpire Eric Cooper's safe call is overturned for a double play by Replay Official Jerry Meals

Other Plays (Green [Correct], Yellow [Irrecusable or Inconclusive] or Red [Incorrect]):
- WS 1: Umpires have a conference to rule Perez's check swing a foul ball, Replay shows U3 call play dead
- WS 2: 2B Umpire Ted Barrett calls a close third out at second base; Bochy doesn't challenge
- WS 2: 2B Umpire Ted Barrett rules in San Francisco's favor at second; Yost does not file
- WS 2: With game out of reach, Umpires separate Giants, Royals after Infante HR, bench clearer
- WS 4: 1B Umpire Hunter Wednelstedt rules Hosmer safe as Vogelsong cannot find first base
- WS 4: 1B Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt calls Crawford out on footrace with Vargas to the bag
- WS 5: 1B Umpire Jeff Kellogg punches out Perez on Belt's slide into first base
- WS 6: 1B Umpire Jeff Nelson rules Escobar safe at first base on missed tag by Belt
- WS 6: 1B Umpire Jeff Nelson calls Cain out at first as Belt keeps his foot on the base
- WS 7: 3B Umpire Ted Barrett sees Gordon safely into third on slide around Sandoval's foot
- WS 7: 2B Umpire Jim Reynolds bangs out Escobar on high chopper fielded by Crawford

Friday, October 17, 2014

Roster: 2014 World Series Umpires

The umpire assignments for MLB's World Series are now available. MLB has not yet issued its official press release; however the Associated Press has confirmed our rumor posting.

The World Series Umpiring Crew is listed in its Game 1 configuration. Overall, the World Series crew features four regular season crew chiefs and four first-timers, the most since the 1996 World Series. Five of the seven umpires chosen for this crew scored better than the league average in Replay Review Affirmation Rate (RAP); the second-best performing umpire in Replay eligible for the World Series received the assignment.

World Series (WS) - San Francisco Giants (NL) vs. Kansas City Royals (AL) - Game 1 Config.
HP: Jerry Meals* (2 Previous + 4 World Series = 6) [T-34th/8th: .556, 10/18] (Games 1-2, then Replay).
1B: Eric Cooper (6 Previous + 4 World Series = 10) [T-11th/4th: .700, 7/10].
2B: Jim Reynolds (9 Previous + 4 World Series = 13) [T-15th/T-5th: .667, 14/21].
3B: Ted Barrett* (14 Previous + 4 World Series = 18) [57th/13th: .455, 10/22].
LF: Hunter Wendelstedt (19 Previous + 4 World Series = 23) [4th/2nd: .846, 11/13].
RF: Jeff Kellogg* -cc (15 Previous + 4 World Series + 1 Crew Chief Assignment Bonus = 20) [T-43rd/10th, .500].
Replay: Jeff Nelson* (22 Previous + 4 World Series = 26) [T-38th/9th: .533, 8/15] (Games 1-2, then LF).
Replay Assistant: Brian O'Nora.

Crew Chosen by You via UEFL Poll: Dale Scott -cc, Ted Barrett, Jim Wolf, Hunter WendelstedtJeff Nelson, Jeff Kellogg, Chris Guccione. 4/7 Correct Predictions. (Chris Guccione was the #1 Replay Umpire in 2014).

-cc denotes Crew Chief, *asterisk denotes regular season Crew Chief, BOLD TEXT denotes first WS assignment. Instant Replay Review scores listed in [League Rank/League Rank of Umpires Eligible for World Series who Worked Division Series: RAP, Affirmed/Total Chances] following points. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the World Series shall receive four bonus points for this appearance; crew chief shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (five points total). Note that the WS Replay Assistant does not receive additional points for this role.

UEFL Year End Award Nominations: 2014 Season

Award Nominations: As the 2014 season draws to a close, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League prepares to distribute its Postseason Awards to eligible umpires* who, during the past season, have demonstrated significant performances to fit the terms of one of these awards (UEFL Rule 4-4).

a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire)
b. Noteworthy Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 2 umpires)
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2 umpires)
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
e. Most Improved Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
f. Crew Chief of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
g. Best Ejection of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2 ejections) [Link: 2014 MLB Ejections (UEFL Portal)]
h. Worst Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)

Please take your time in consideration of an umpire for as many or as few awards as you prefer; Ballots will be accepted until 11:59 PM PT on Sunday, November 2; Awards distribution will begin Monday, November 3. To cast your ballot, click the below link ("Read more »") to view the entire post and to access the voting form.
Points scale for post season awards: a. (+5); b. (+3); c. (+2); d. (+2); e. (+1); f. (+1); g. (+1); h. (-3).
*Eligible umpires are listed on the ballot for each applicable category. For instance, only umpires on the full-time staff roster are eligible for Awards a-c, e and h.