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