Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejection - Brett Robson (Tanner Vavra)

Australian HP Umpire Brett Robson ejected Melbourne Aces SS Tanner Vavra for arguing a strike three call in the top of the 7th inning of the Aces-Heat game. With two out and none on, Vavra took a 0-2 fastball from Aces pitcher Cameron Lamb for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located along the outer edge of home plate (pitch f/x unavailable), the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Heat were leading, 6-3. The Heat ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

This is Tanner Vavra's first ejection since November 28, 2015 (Takahito Matsuda; QOC = Y [HBP/Ball]).

Wrap: Melbourne Aces vs. Perth Heat (Australian Baseball League), 12/29/15
[Video posted below, via 'read more']

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 20 Ejections of 2015 - A UEFL Year in Review

The UEFL presents our Top 20 Ejections of 2015, a year in review. With MLB Network opting to forgo the annual MLB Network Countdown ejections special for the 2015 season, the process of selecting the top ejections of the year falls to the UEFL. Now, with assistance from voter input collected during the 2015 year-end Awards Nomination process, we present the Top 20 Ejections of 2015. We hope you had a happy Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year.

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

Umpire Ejection Fantasy League Year in Review: The UEFL's Top 20 Ejections of 2015
Note: Click each umpire's name & ejection # to be taken to the associated ejection report from the season.
20E 142: Mike Muchlinski (1); Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon (Check Swing [Ball]; QOC = Y).
19: E 180: David Rackley (3); Padres Interim Manager Pat Murphy (Prior Foul Ball Call; QOC = U).
18E 135: Jeff Nelson (1). Twins Manager Paul Molitor (Check Swing [Strike Three]; QOC = Y).
17: E 046: Bob Davidson (1); Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly (Replay Review Catch Call; QOC = U).
16E 168: Doug Eddings (4). Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez (Ball Two Call; QOC = Y).
15: E 021-025: Sam Holbrook (1-5); 3 Royals & 2 White Sox (Fighting [Bench-Brawl]; QOC = U).
14E 119-120: Pat Hoberg (2-3); Cardinals C Yadier Molina & Mgr Mike Matheny (Ball; QOC = Y).
13E 173: Paul Nauert (2); Rays 1B James Loney (Strike Three Call; QOC = N).
12E 167: Dan Iassogna (4). Yankees Manager Joe Girardi (Strike Two & Three Calls; QOC = Y).
11: E 146-150: West/Reyburn; 3 Pirates & 2 Reds (Fighting. Throwing At. Arguing Ejection; QOC = U).
10: E 164-165: Brian Knight (1-2); A's CF Sam Fuld & Mgr Bob Melvin (Interference Call; QOC = Y).
#9: E 179: Dan Bellino (3); Phillies Bench Coach Larry Bowa (Instigating a Bench-Clearer; QOC = U).
#8: E 203: Chris Guccione (1); Rangers Manager Jeff Banister (Fair Ball Call Over 3B; QOC = Y).
#7: E 140: Jerry Meals (2); Nationals RF Bryce Harper (Strike Three Call; QOC = N).
#6: E P-1: Jeff Nelson (3); Pirates 1B Sean Rodriguez (Fighting after HBP; QOC = U).
#5E 191: Mike Winters (5); Giants Manager Bruce Bochy (Check Swing K3 Call; QOC = Y).
#4: E 184: Brian O'Nora (1); Rays Manager Kevin Cash (Non-Replay Out Call; QOC = N).
#3: E S-2: Joe West (S1); Braves C AJ Pierzynski (Ball Three Call ["He's Done"]; QOC = U).
#2: E 055: Jim Reynolds (1); Reds Manager Bryan Price (Pre-Game Meeting; QOC = U).
#1: E 196-197: Bill Welke (3-4); Reds 1B Joey Votto & Mgr Bryan Price (Strike Three Call; QOC = N).

Total Correct: 8 / Total Incorrect: 4 / Total Irrecusable: 8 = 66.7% Accuracy (Compare to 69.2% in 2014).

Links to previous years' "Most Unforgettable Ejections" countdown: 2012 | 2013 | 2014.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Australian Ejection - Blake Halligan (Steve Mintz)

Australian HP Umpire Blake Halligan ejected Adelaide Bite Manager Steve Mintz for Unsportsmanlike-NEC in the top of the 8th inning of the Cavalry-Bite game. With one out and one on, Cavalry batter Derrick Loveless took walk from Bite pitcher Takuro Ito; Mintz was ejected for unsporting conduct during an ensuing mound visit when Halligan asked for the pitching change/substitution information, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Bite were leading, 5-4. The Cavalry ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

Wrap: Canberra Cavalry vs. Adelaide Bite (Australian Baseball League), 12/26/15
[Video posted below, via 'read more']

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejections - Gavin Carson (HBP)

Australian HP Umpire Gavin Carson ejected Bandits P Josh Warner for throwing at Cavalry batter David Harris, Bandits Manager Dave Nilsson and Cavalry LF Harris for fighting, and 3B Umpire Greg Kent ejected Bandits CF Andrew Campbell for Unsportsmanlike-NEC in the bottom of the 1st inning of the Bandits-Cavalry Game. With none out and none on, Cavalry batter Harris took a first-pitch fastball from Bandits pitcher Josh Warner for a hit-by-pitch, resulting in a bench-clearing incident. Replays indicate the pitch was located up and inside, striking Harris on the back of the helmet as Harris then attempted to charge the mound as Warner gestured as if to provoke a fight, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the game was tied, 0-0. The Cavalry ultimately won the contest, 5-0.

Wrap: Brisbane Bandits vs. Canberra Cavalry (Australian Baseball League), 12/20/15
[Video posted below, via 'read more']

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Venezuelan Ejections - Livensparger's Bench Clearer

A pickoff attempt incited a bench clearing brawl and 7 ejections in Venezuelan League action Saturday night as HP Umpire Shane Livensparger ejected Navigantes del Magellan's pitcher Bruce Rondon, catcher Jesus Sucre, substitute pitcher Jean Machi, and Bravos de Margarita 1B Jose Osuna, DH Eliezer Alonzo, and P Luis Ramirez in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Navigantes-Bravos game. 1B Umpire Robert Moreno additionally ejected Bravos Manager Henry Blanco. With none out and none on, Bravos batter Osuna was hit by a pitch from Rondon. During the ensuing at-bat, Rondon attempted to pick off baserunner R1 Osuna, resulting in an incitement and eventual bench clearing incident during which seven people were ejected. At the time of the ejections, the game was tied, 4-4. The Bravos ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

Wrap: Navegantes del Magallanes vs. Bravos de Margarita (Venezuelan League), 12/12/15
[Video posted below, via 'read more']

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejection - Stewart Howe

Australian Baseball League HP Umpire Stewart Howe ejected Adelaide Bite 3B Marc Wik for arguing a strike three call in the top of the 5th inning of the Bite-Aces game. With one out and none on, Bite batter Wik took a 1-2 fastball from Aces pitcher Yasuo Sano for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located near the inner edge of home plate and belt-high, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 1-1. The Aces ultimately won the contest, 7-1.

Wrap: Adelaide Bite vs. Melbourne Aces (Australian Baseball League), 12/12/15
[Video posted below, via 'read more']

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejections (x2) - Takahito Matsuda

An ABL batter made no attempt to avoid being touched by a pitched ball, resulting in a pair of ejections in Australia. HP Umpire Takahito Matsuda ejected Melbourne Aces 2B Tanner Vavra & Manager Joe Vavra for arguing a ball (no-HBP / failure to attempt to avoid a pitched ball) call in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Heat-Aces game. With none out and none on, Aces batter T Vavra took a 0-1 fastball from Heat pitcher Daniel Schmidt for a dead ball pitch ruled a ball. Replays indicate the pitch made contact with Vavra's left arm, but Matsuda ruled Vavra failed to attempt to avoid being touched by the ball, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections, the Heat were leading, 4-1. The Aces ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

* OBR Rule 5.05(b)(2)(B) [formerly 6.08] states that the batter is entitled to first base when "he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless the batter makes not attempt to avoid being touched by the ball." Replays indicate Vavra may have actually 'leaned in' to the pitch by extending his elbow toward home plate, but relevant for Matsuda's ruling is that Vavra simply made no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball.
Note: Contrary to the broadcasters' depiction, Matsuda ruled the pitch a ball, not a strike. Had the pitch been located within the strike zone, the proper call would indeed have been a dead ball strike.

Wrap: Perth Heat vs. Melbourne Aces (Australian Baseball League), 11/27/15
(Click the "read more" link for video of this play)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejection - Bob Crawford (Non-INT)

Australian Baseball celebrated American Thanksgiving with an ejection for an interference no-call. 3B Umpire Bob Crawford ejected Bandits Manager Dave Nilsson for arguing a safe call (non-interference) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Bandits-Blue Sox game. With none out and two on, Blue Sox batter Alex Howe hit a 1-1 fastball from Bandits pitcher Rick Teasley on the ground to second baseman Mitch Nilsson, who threw to shortstop Riley Unroe as R1 Joshua Strong arrived at second base, Unroe's attempted throw to first base bouncing off Unroe and deflecting into foul territory, allowing Howe to advance to second on the throwing error. Replays indicate Nilsson slid late, as in a rolling block, and did not attempt to reach second base, the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Blue Sox were leading, 3-1. The Blue Sox ultimately won the contest, 5-1.

*OBR Rule 5.09(a)(13) [formerly 6.05(m)] states that the batter is out when: "A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play." The rule's associated Comment states, "The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play."

As specified in the UEFL's October 11 analysis of Dodgers baserunner Chase Utley's takeout of Mets pivot man Ruben Tejada during Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series, willful and deliberate interference, as interpreted in the MLB Umpire Manual, occurs when a runner fails to make a "bona fide effort to reach and stay on the base." This is an additional criterion for willful/deliberate interference, which, when combined with the "should be able to reach the base with his hand or foot" guideline, and the rolling block guideline (contacting the fielder before sliding on the ground) confirm that R1 Strong's actions in the ABL game constituted willful and deliberate interference, and, thus, a double play. Note that in MLB/pro, there is no "mandatory slide" rule at second base: only the aforementioned criteria requiring a bona fide effort to reach and stay on the applicable base.

Wrap: Brisbane Bandits vs. Sydney Blue Sox (Australian Baseball League), 11/26/15
(Click the "read more" link for video of this play)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Final Results of the 2015 UEFL Rules Summit

The 2015 UEFL Rules Summit is complete and final results are available. Pursuant to UEFL Rules, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces the following rules changes for the 2016 UEFL season. The results of the Summit have been referred to the UEFL Rules Committee for formal codification and adoption.

➤ 6-1: UEFL Challenges/Appeals will require a second in order to be reviewed; 73% Yes, 27% No.
➤ 6-1: UEFL Challenges/Appeals may be initiated by the UEFL Appeals Board; 54% Yes, 46% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5: Calls that may be associated with a QOCY or N will receive such status; 51% Yes, 49% No.
➤ 6-2-b-8: Appeals Board may initiate review of MLB Replay Review decisions; 51% Yes, 49% No.
➤ 8-1-h: Penalized commenters may apply for reinstatement; 53% Yes, 47% No.
➤ Appeals Board: Arik G; 81% Yes, 19% No.
➤ Appeals Board: cyclone14; 83% Yes, 17% No.
➤ Appeals Board: RichMSN; 93% Yes, 7% No.
➤ Appeals Board: tmac; 93% Yes, 8% No. (*92.5% and 7.5% were both rounded up to 93/8*)
➤ Appeals Board: Turducken; 87% Yes, 13% No.

2016 UEFL Appeals Board: Gil, Jeremy, RichMSN, tmac, Turducken, Arik G, cyclone14, [2 vacancies].

The following proposals did not receive an absolute majority of 'yea' votes and, therefore, did not pass:
➤ 1-3: Modification of drafted umpire structure; 38% Add ump, 12% +1 cc -1 PRM, 50% No.
➤ 3-3-a: Charge the Crew Chief -1 points per QOCN ejection; 36% Yes, 64% No.
➤ 4-7: Remove Replay Review from league scoring; 33% Yes, 67% No.
➤ 6-1: Institute an automatic QOC trigger based on Quick Vote; 22% Yes, 78% No.
➤ 6-2-b-1|2: Make all Borderline/MOE pitches QOCU [Irrecusable]; 48% Yes, 52% No.
➤ 6-2-b-5-b: Eliminate the DiMuro Rule regarding repeat visits; 46% Yes, 54% No.
➤ 8-5: Require a membership or entry fee; 21% Yes, 79% No.
➤ 8-6: Allow for trades during the season; 35% One Trade, 3% 2+ Trades, 62% No.

The following editorial change has been adopted:
➤ 2-b-1: Modifies the Kulpa Rule to reflect a 20" diameter of home plate, or a 0+.833 range, which corresponds to a |.750| to |.916| MOE range, centered at |.833| feet, which replaces |.768| to |.935|.

Thank you all for joining us for the 2015 UEFL season and participating in the year-end Rules Summit. For those sticking around this offseason, we'll continue bringing you ejections from the Fall and Winter Leagues, including the Arizona Fall League, Caribbean Winter Leagues, and Arizona Baseball League, posting video when available. Make sure to follow the @SportEjections twitter account for ejections in these and other major sport leagues. We are also working on a new educational component for the website and hope to have that launched by next UEFL season.

Monday, November 16, 2015

2015 UEFL Rules Summit Ballot and Voting

Voting for the 2015 UEFL Rules Summit is now underway following last week's discussion phase. It is now time to vote for proposals to amend the UEFL Rules Book in advance of the 2016 baseball season.

The following ballot includes a list of proposals, descriptions of each measure, and an opportunity to cast a vote. Upon Commissioner approval, all passing proposals will become rules for the 2015 UEFL season. The Rules Summit ballot also includes a section for the UEFL Appeals Board pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-4-a-4, which affords Appeals Board members the opportunity to sit for re-election during the annual Summit.

Proposals with two options (Yes/No) will pass upon receiving an absolute majority of votes cast while proposals with more than two options require a plurality, wherein the combination of votes cast for similar options in that specific poll has resulted in a simple majority in favor of the option gaining plurality. For more information on Rules Summit procedure, consult UEFL Rule 8-3.

The Rules Summit ballot will close Saturday, November 21, at 11:59 pm PST. A run-off ballot and/or election, if necessary, will follow.

The 2015 Rules Summit includes 12 polls related to proposals and five Appeals Board re-election polls. Carefully consider the below options before submitting your ballot. You may vote in as many or as few polls as you wish. We will review voting records to determine ballot authenticity and adjust the record accordingly to account for suspicious or fraudulent activity or misconduct. Click "read more" to access the ballot.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Australian Baseball Ejection: Riley Barrington

Offseason activity as Australian Baseball League 3B Umpire Riley Barrington ejected Sydney Blue Sox Manager Jason Pospishil for arguing a safe (out of the base path non-) call in the top of the 2nd inning of the Bite-Blue Sox game. With none out and two on, Bite batter Tom Brice hit a 1-1 fastball from Blue Sox pitcher Alex Balog on a fly ball to left fielder Alex Howe, who threw to 3B Joshua Dean as Bite baserunner R2 Jordan Cowan attempted to advance to third base on the sacrifice fly. Replays indicate Cowan jumped around Dean, but are inconclusive as to the timing of Dean's tag attempt relative to the distance Cowan deviated from his base path to third base, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Bite were leading, 3-0. The Bite ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

Rule 5.09(b)(1) [pre-2015 Rule 7.08] states that a runner is out when, "He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."

Wrap: Adelaide Bite vs. Sydney Blue Sox (Australian Baseball League), 11/15/15
Video: Creative baserunning avoids the tag sliding into third base, prompting ejections theatrics (ABL)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 UEFL Rules Summit Discussion

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2015 Rules Summit, the annual forum for discussion of controversial issues which may have surfaced during the past season and to set forth a framework for rectifying these issues by amending the existing UEFL Rules Book ahead of the 2016 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 Sunday, November 15, which will provide ample time for the proposal and subsequent discussion of possible rules changes for the 2016 season. If necessitated by certain below decisions, a Summit runoff ballot may be presented after the initial voting closes.

The following section is grouped by Rule number and includes those matters presently on the docket for the Rules Summit ballot. During this discussion phase, any UEFL member or guest may contribute an idea for inclusion on the docket by replying to this thread. In turn, I will update the docket below to incorporate such proposal. Proposed rules modifications or changes are identified by italics, deletions by strikeout and additions by bold text. Editorial changes are underlined and individual propositions are preceded by the ">>" bullet point symbol.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires)

Rule 2 (The Season)

Rule 3 (Crew Division)
>> Section 3. Adds the attribution of negative one (-1) points for each QOC incorrect ejection by a crew chief's crew.

Rule 4 (League Scoring)

Rule 5 (Statistics)

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals)
>> Section 2-b-1. Modifies the Kulpa Rule (2-b-1) to reflect a 20" diameter of home plate (17" plate + 3" diameter of a baseball), or a range from (-.833 to +.833). Shifts the .768 to .935 range (which is centered at 0.851 feet) to a .750 to .916 range, which is centered at 0.833 feet. This change more accurately reflects the horizontal edge of the strike zone.
>> Sections 2-b-1 & 2-b-2. Specifies that Quality of Correctness for all Borderline Pitches (those within the Kulpa Rule's borderline range and within the Miller Rule's margin of error [MOE]) shall be Irrecusable.
>> Section 2-b-5. Modifies the Irrecusable QOC, specifying that a QOC of Irrecusable shall be limited to no more than the unsporting acts already listed in 2-b-5: Fighting, Throwing At, Unsportsmanlike Conduct-NEC, or Excess Contact. Effectively eliminates Subprovisions 2-b-5-a (non-active roster ejections) and 2-b-5-b (DiMuro rule regarding repeat visits).
>> Section 2-b-5-b. Independently proposes eliminating the DiMuro rule regarding repeat visits and restoring these ejections to QOC (In)Correct status.

Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References)

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues)

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions)

Appeals Board Membership: Re-Election Ballot (Click here to view 2015 Appeals Board decisions)
This section includes 2015 UEFL Appeals Board members who are seeking re-election via the 2015 Rules Summit and will be completed in advance of Rules Summit voting.

To review, this is the discussion phase of the 2015 Rules Summit, anyone may propose a rules change by replying to this thread through 11/15, at which time all proposals will be officially drafted and voted upon. Please do not vote within this thread.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 UEFL Final Standings

With the final award in the books, the UEFL announces its final standings for the 2015 season. The "Perfect Score" this season was 97 while the "Worst Score Possible" was -32. Perfect Score is calculated using the highest points possible per draft category to form the "perfect" or highest-scoring crew, which is comprised of a Crew Chief + 2 Primary Umpires + 2 Secondary Umpires, while Worst Score Possible is simply the lowest possible score. Prop Predictions and Case Plays do not factor into the Perfect Score nor the Worst Score.
2015 Perfect Crew: 97 = 19 John Hirschbeck -cc + 22 Sam Holbrook -P1 + 21 John Tumpane -P2 + 20 Mark Carlson -S1 + 15 Gary Cederstrom -S2.
2015 Worst Possible Crew: -32 = -8 Gerry Davis -cc + -10 Ben May -P1 + -3 Carlos Torres -P2 + -6 Mark Ripperger -S1 + -5 Lance Barrett -S2.

UEFL Final Standings
1) RichMSN (88 pts)
2) Furax01 (85 pts)
3) toss 'em (81 pts)
4) youthministeradam (76 pts)
5) CricketChapman (75 pts)
6) BkSl14812 (74 pts)
7) cyclone14 (72 pts)
8) Russ (65 pts)
9) QuickTrigger3RadioPearl (62 pts)
11) Williec14 (61 pts)
12) kickersrule, Wesc371, wwjd2200 (60 pts)
15) johnnyg08, OC-Ump (59 pts)
17) chewy6294, jahoops10 (58 pts)
19) CohenS3, JCopp80, timjdow (57 pts)
23) Bob Abouy, Steve Holt (56 pts)
25) Big Catch 22 (55 pts)
26) GDK Team Blue (54 pts)
27) Krwill96, UmpAtty, XtremeUmp (53 pts)
30) ajbeisheim, Jeremy407, Sarge3097 (52 pts)

UEFL Express Final Standings (Umpire Draft Points Only, No Prop Predictions, No Case Plays)
1) Furax01 (83 pts)
2) youthministeradam (69 pts)
3) RichMSN (67 pts)
4) CricketChapman (65 pts)
5) QuickTrigger3 (62 pts)
6) Russ, Williec14 (61 pts)
8) Wesc371 (60 pts)
9) toss 'em, OC-Ump (59 pts)

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

2015 UEFL Umpire of the Year - Alfonso Marquez

Alfonso Marquez is the UEFL's Umpire of the Year for 2015. [2014: Ted Barrett]
Voting Results (Top 5): Marquez (10.3%), Barrett (9.8%), Jim Wolf (7.9%), Mark Carlson & Jeff Nelson (7.5%).

Alfonso Marquez wins the UEFL Umpire of the Year Award for 2015, which marks his second overall UEFL year-end award (Honorable Umpire, 2011). Marquez finished first in the league amongst postseason-eligible umpires (by virtue of games worked) in replay review with just two calls overturned. Marquez subsequently received two postseason assignments in the American League Division Series and World Series, where one commenter noted he chewed gum instead of tobacco to "set a good example to younger viewers when it matters," compared to Ejection 095 (Robin Ventura), when, "looks [like] Alfonso Marquez has an entire package of redman in his cheek." His 98.1% plate score during Game 3 of the ALDS was also the highest of that round (19 games total).

Alfonso Marquez now has 15 points in the UEFL Standings (10 Previous + 5 Award = 15).
Final Standings will be released later tonight.

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Ejections of the Year - Bill Welke & Jim Reynolds

Bill Welke & Jim Reynolds had 2015's Best Ejections. [2014: Joe West & Mike Winters]
Voting Results (Top 4): Welke-196|7 (11%), Reynolds-055 (10%), West-S2 (8%), O'Nora-184 (5%).

Bill Welke & Jim Reynolds were the two umpires for the UEFL's 2015 Ejections of the Year. In Ejection 196-197: Bill Welke (3-4; Votto, Price), HP Umpire Bill Welke ejected Reds 1B Joey Votto and subsequently Manager Bryan Price for arguing a strike two call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the September 9 Pirates-Reds game. For the second time during a 2015 ejection, Votto initiated unsporting contact with the ejecting umpire and the league ultimately suspended Votto for his actions.

In Ejection 055: Jim Reynolds (1; Bryan Price), acting crew chief Jim Reynolds ejected Price during pregame festivities for arguing calls from the previous game, presumably then-HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez's strike zone. One observer summed up the totality of the ejection sequence thusly: "Bryan Price really did not accomplish much of anything in this ejection and Reynolds handled it like a pro, sticking up for a crew member of his who was being disrespected by Price. Very entertaining."

Bill Welke now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Previous + 1 Award = 7).
Jim Reynolds now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Previous + 1 Award = 5).
The final postseason award, Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

2015 Noteworthy Umpires - Mark Carlson & Alan Porter

Mark Carlson & Alan Porter are the 2015's Noteworthy Umpires. [2014: Vic Carapazza, Angel Hernandez]
Voting Results (Top 5): Carlson (11%), Porter (11%), Carapazza (9%), Alfonso Marquez (8%), Dan Bellino (7%).

Mark Carlson and Alan Porter are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 noteworthy umpires of the year. Carlson "did an extremely good job as acting crew chief this season and would be deserving of becoming -cc next season." After a successful Division Series appearance in the National League Division Series (Game 4 plate), Carlson was named to his first World Series roster, joining Crew Chief of the Year Gary Cederstrom's crew, starting in the rotation as the first base umpire.

Alan Porter is said to "represent the 'new guard' of MLB umpires, taking care of business every game." In addition to excellent seasonal plate work and a postseason assignment in the National League Division Series as the Game 1 home plate umpire (Mets-Dodgers), he was noted for "great leadership in situations" and marked as a rising star to watch for: "I can see [him] working LCS/WS in the near future."


Mark Carlson now has 23 points in the UEFL Standings (20 Previous + 3 Award = 23).
Alan Porter now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (7 Previous + 3 Award = 10).
The next postseason award, Ejection(s) of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2015 Honorable Umpires - John Hirschbeck & Dale Scott

John Hirschbeck and Dale Scott are 2015's Honorable Umpires of the Year [2014: Hirschbeck & Ted Barrett]
Voting Results (Top 5): Hirschbeck (15%), Scott (14%), Ted Barrett (13%), Sam Holbrook (9%), Will Little (8%).

John Hirschbeck and Dale Scott are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 honorable umpires of the year, which marks Hirschbeck's second consecutive season receiving this award. UEFL'ers noted that Hirschbeck dedicated the 2015 season to the memory of his son as driving his receipt of this award: "It's tough to top a father honoring his late son and Hirschbeck's motives for the 2015 MLB season are the definition of honorable." Said another regarding Hirschbeck's return to baseball: "Like or not for how he handles things on the field, for him to come back after a year removed from losing another child should give hope to all of us battling things off the field in our lives."

Support for Dale Scott as Honorable Umpire of the Year referred to "another solid season in what could have been a shit show of both positive and negative publicity coming off his disclosure," which refers to the December 2014 Outsports feature, "MLB umpire Dale Scott comes out as gay in quietest way possible," which itself referred to an October 2014 Referee Magazine feature. Both Scott and Hirschbeck worked postseason baseball, Scott the Division Series and Hirschbeck the League Championship Series.

Other than Hirschbeck, umpires who recently experienced immediate loss include Holbrook (9%) and Little (8%).

John Hirschbeck now has 17 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (15 Previous + 2 Award = 17).
Dale Scott now has 8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (6 Previous + 2 Award = 8).
The next postseason award, Noteworthy Umpire(s) of the Year will be released later tonight.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

2015 UEFL Award for Best Crew Chief - Gary Cederstrom

Gary Cederstrom wins the UEFL's 2015 Crew Chief of the Year Award. [2014 Winner: Ted Barrett]
Voting Results (Top 3): Gary Cederstrom (23%), Ted Barrett (21%), Dale Scott (10%).

Gary Cederstrom is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 Crew Chief of the Year, which marks his first UEFL Award. Cederstrom finished 2015 with one ejection; he ejected zero times in 2014. In addition to the rare ejection (Ejection 190)—Cederstrom last ejected someone in 2012—Cederstrom was treated to the privilege of serving as crew chief during the controversial Chase Utley-Ruben Tejada play at second base during Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Following that round of postseason play, Cederstrom was named as crew chief of the World Series, his third such assignment.

Gary Cederstrom now has 16 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (15 Previous + 1 Award = 16).
The next postseason award, Honorable Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2015 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - John Tumpane

John Tumpane wins the UEFL's 2015 Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award. [2014 Winner: Tripp Gibson]
Voting Results (Top 3): John Tumpane (26%), Adam Hamari (21%), Chris Segal (6%).

John Tumpane is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 Fill-In Umpire of the Year, which marks his first UEFL Award. In his 6th Major League Baseball umpiring season, Tumpane had three ejections; he ejected four times in 2014. Tumpane's ejection of Kyle Seager (Ejection 053) prompted this comment: "This guy is ready for a big league spot. Has been for a while. Tumpane earned my respect a long time ago, and got this call right," while his April 19 ejection of David Ortiz for crew chief Jerry Meals' call (Ejection 012) was a "rookie umpire sticking up for his crew mate." Tumpane also called Mike Fiers' no-hitter (2015 No-Hitter #5), missing just two pitches, or, "as accurate as you can get."

John Tumpane now has 21 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (19 Previous + 2 Award = 21).
The next postseason award, Crew Chief of the Year, will be released later tonight.

Friday, November 6, 2015

2015 UEFL Award for Most Improved - Angel Hernandez

Angel Hernandez wins the UEFL's 2015 Most Improved Umpire Award. [2014 Winner: CB Bucknor]
Voting Results (Top 4): Angel Hernandez (29%), CB Bucknor (8%); Alfonso Marquez, Bill Welke (7%).

Angel Hernandez is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 most improved umpire of the year, which marks his second consecutive season receiving an award (2014 Noteworthy Umpire). In his 25th Major League Baseball umpiring season, Hernandez had two ejections; he ejected three times in 2014. Hernandez's 2015 ejections of managers Ryne Sandberg (Ejection 059) and John Gibbons (Ejection 079) earned him praise for protecting crewmate Scott Barry while his postseason performance at the Division Series proved impressive: "Solid year and a good playoff round. Given his past body of work, if he stays good he may earn a crew chief position."

Angel Hernandez now has 10 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (9 Previous + 1 Award = 10).
The next postseason award, Fill-In of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2015 UEFL Award for Worst Umpire - John Hirschbeck

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. 221 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process, which is a 41% increase over 2014.

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

2015 UEFL Awards: Worst Umpire of the Year: John Hirschbeck (17) [2014 Winner: Tim Welke]
Voting Results (Top 3): John Hirschbeck (12%), Andy Fletcher (11%), Tim Welke (10%).

John Hirschbeck is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2015 Worst Umpire of the Year. In his 33rd Major League Baseball umpiring season, Hirschbeck finished with seven ejections, which includes one postseason ejection; Hirschbeck ejected zero times with a reduced schedule in 2014 and twice in 2013. UEFL'ers described Hirschbeck as confrontational: "Although he has gone through a lot of bad things in his personal life, he constantly takes it out on the field and acts unprofessional and bitter towards players and managers." Commenters were particularly critical of Hirschbeck's actions in ejecting Troy Tulowitzki during the postseason (Ejection P-4), Joe Girardi (Ejection 206), Pablo Sandoval (Ejection 183), and the tandem of Bruce Bochy and Angel Pagan (Ejections 089, 090): "He looks uninterested, combative and worst of all, unprofessional. Been seeing cracks in the armor for a while, most of which got a pass for the respect he’s earned over 31 years….it’s time [for retirement]."

John Hirschbeck now has 15 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (18 Previous - 3 Award = 15).
The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released later tonight.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

UEFL Year End Award Nominations for the 2015 Season

Award Nominations: 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: 2015 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 Thursday, November 5; Awards distribution will begin Friday, November 6. To cast your ballot, complete the following 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, f and h.

a. Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the best MLB Umpire the past year, bar none. This Umpire has been more dedicated, professional, and positive than all others. This award will be given to one umpire.
b. Noteworthy Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been dedicated, professional, and has worked hard. Perhaps a rising star, the Noteworthy Umpire of the Year is an umpire to keep an eye on, for an expectation of great things down the line. This award will be given to one or two umpires.
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the most honorable Umpire during the past year. Perhaps through Community Service, or through struggling with and overcoming his own difficulties, this Umpire has been the most personally admirable of all. This award may or may not be given to either one or two umpires.
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the best AAA Call-Up Umpire the past year, bar none. This Umpire has been the most dedicated, professional, and positive AAA/Non-MLB Full Time Umpire of all non-MLB Full Time Umpires. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.
e. Most Improved Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has improved his overall performance from the previous season more noticeably than any other Umpire. Generally, this umpire has developed into a solid arbiter within the past year. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.
f. Crew Chief of the Year: This Umpire has been the best MLB Umpire Crew Chief, the past year, bar none. This Umpire has led his crew(s) better than all others. This award will be given to one umpire.
g. Best Ejection of the Year: In the form of "Ejection 123: Umpire (1)," this award recognizes the best ejection(s) of the year. Nominated and selected due to form, mechanics, entertainment value, reason for ejection, or overall quality, the Best Ejection of the Year is awarded to one or two umpires for one or two specific ejections. The award may be given to one umpire for two separate ejections, in which case, he receives one point for each ejection.
h. Worst Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has shown a continual regression in ability, and might have had a regrettable incident(s) occur in-season. The Worst Umpire of the Year is unprofessional and does a disservice to Umpires and the game. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Discussion of 2015 World Series

Postseason umpire discussion continues with the World Series. 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. Call +/- also included/highlighted.

- 10/27, NYM@KC Gm 1: Bill Welke: pfx (145/147 Balls + 64/68 Strikes = 209/215 = 97.2%) +0 NU.
- 10/28, NYM@KC Gm 2: Mark Carlson: pfx (96/100 Balls + 42/47 Strikes = 138/147 = 93.9%) +1 NYM.

- 10/30, KC@NYM Gm 3: Mike Winters: pfx (92/94 Balls + 53/55 Strikes = 145/149 = 97.3%) +0 NU.
- 10/31, KC@NYM Gm 4: Jim Wolf: pfx (97/97 Balls + 43/48 Strikes = 140/145 = 96.6%) +1 NYM.
- 11/01, KC@NYM Gm 5: Alfonso Marquez: pfx (126/128 Balls + 55/59 Strikes = 181/187 = 96.8%) +4 KC.
Series Complete (WS KC 4 - NYM 1): 96.4%, 813/843 pitches. Skew: +2 KC.

Instant Replay Reviews (R-QOC Coloring: Green [Confirmed], Yellow [Stands], Red [Overturned]):
- Royals challenge 2B Umpire Mike Winters' safe call (tag play); Call Overturned
- Mets challenge 3B Umpire Gary Cederstrom's safe call (tag play); Call Overturned
- Royals challenge 3B Umpire Mike Everitt's safe/timing call (tag-up play); Call Stands

Lenny Dykstra Claims He Blackmailed Umpires

Lenny Dykstra says he blackmailed umpires during his playing career, revealing his purportedly extortive scheme to broadcaster Colin Cowherd on the morning of the 2015 World Series.

Here is Dykstra's claim (Video: Dykstra's interview):

I said ‘I need these umpires,’ so what do I do? I just pulled a half-million bucks out and hired a private investigation team. Their blood is just as red as ours. Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble. Some of them do whatever … It wasn’t a coincidence do you think that I led the league in walks the next two years, was it?... Fear does a lot to a man.

Dykstra justified his actions, saying, "I had to do what I had to do to win and to support my family."

Though we do not have an immediate copy of the policy and procedure documents from Dykstra's playing days in the 1980s-era (the first CBA was negotiated in 1968), the 2012-16 Basic Agreement states that, "Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law."

This is hardly the first mention of extortion or blackmail of umpires in baseball history, though such events were more common earlier, rather than later, in the profession. For instance, umpires Paul Runge and Bill McKinley were allegedly extorted by two non-players in 1960, while as recently as 2008, the World Umpires Association claimed that baseball investigators were especially aggressive in their activities, with WUA spokesman Lamell McMorris claiming that MLB security supervisor Tom Christopher was "essentially defaming umpires in their communities by conducting strange, surreptitious, and poorly-executed investigations resembling that of secret police in some despotic nation," such as asking neighbors of Greg Gibson, Ron Kulpa, and Sam Holbrook if either umpire was a member of "groups" such as the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2001, New York Times columnist Dave Anderson accused Major League Baseball of trying to intimidate its umpires. He interviewed resigning AL umpiring supervisor Larry Barnett, who said: "It was time for me to leave [retire] because there were things I didn't believe in."

After diplomatically criticizing the over-the-top conduct, then-WUA president John Hirschbeck acknowledged, "We know we live in a fishbowl, and it's different than other people."

Page 5 of the MLB Umpire Manual states, "MLB Umpires are expected to exhibit and uphold the standards of integrity of the umpiring profession," listing several desirable attributes on and off the field, including honesty, high ethical standards, and conduct "in a manner consistent with an exemplary image and reputation of Major League umpires."

Umpires are specifically instructed: "No umpire should ever threaten a player, manager, coach, or club with future retaliation."

As for the players? Refer to the General Agreement, which does not particularly specify any such standard, except for conduct by baseball personnel directed to members of the media only. All the CBA specifically prohibits in regards to players' actions toward umpires are: physical assaults, but only "in a manner that endangers his health or safety," and making public statements that question the integrity of umpires.

In regards to and the Official Baseball Rules, though, any such intimidation may be deemed ejectable unsporting conduct. As for the personal risk and harm from extortion, OBR states only this: "Umpire dignity is important but never as important as 'being right.'" (General Instructions to Umpires).

Threats, extortion, intimidation or blackmail—none of these are mentioned in MLB's Standards for Removal from the Game, though the MLBUM does refer to the integrity of baseball and gambling: "If an umpire is contacted by anyone for the purpose of influencing the umpire to do an improper act that would affect the outcome of a game, the umpire must advise the Office of the Commissioner immediately."

MLBUM instead refers to the opposite scenario of a player giving a gift or promising a reward to an umpire for service rendered or calls made: "Any player or person connected with a club who gives, or offers to give, any gift or reward to an umpire for the umpire's decision on anything connected with the playing of a game will be declared permanently ineligible."

In that vein, Dykstra's claim, if true, could conceivably justify a campaign through which baseball could declare him "permanently ineligible."

The most recent person banned from baseball was former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott (banned in 1996 - reinstated in 1998), preceded by Steve Howe (1992-1993), George Steinbrenner (1990-1993), and, most famously, Pete Rose (1989-present).

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 World Series Umpire Roster

MLB has announced the 2015 World Series Umpires, the final round of the postseason.

World Series (WS/NYM@KC)
HP: Bill Welke*^
1B: Mark Carlson^
2B: Mike Winters
3B: Jim Wolf^
LF: Alfonso Marquez
RF: Gary Cederstrom -cc
Replay: Mike Everitt*
Replay Assistant: Ron Kulpa

*Bill Welke will work with the on-field crew for Games 1 and 2 and then serve as Replay Official for Games 3-7. Mike Everitt will serve as Replay Official for Games 1 and 2 and then assume an On-Field role as LF Umpire for Game 3, remaining with the crew through the remainder of the series.

-cc denotes Crew Chief, ^ denotes first career World Series assignment. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the World Series shall receive four bonus points for this appearance; crew chiefs shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (five points total). Officials assigned to replay review only (replay assistant) do not receive points for this role.

Monday, October 19, 2015

MLB Ejection P-4: John Hirschbeck (7; Troy Tulowitzki)

HP Umpire John Hirschbeck ejected Blue Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Royals-Blue Jays game. With none out and none on, Tulowitzki took a 2-2 fastball from Royals pitcher Kris Medlen for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and thigh high (px .833, pz 2.121), as were the ensuing called strikes to batter Russell Martin, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Blue Jays were leading, 10-4. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 11-8.

This is John Hirschbeck (17)'s seventh ejection of 2015.
John Hirschbeck now has 13 points in the UEFL Standings (8 Previous + 3 MLB-PS + 2 Correct = 13).
John Hirschbeck now has 17 points in Crew Division (16 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 17).

This is the fourth ejection of the 2015 MLB Postseason and 214th overall ejection of 2015.
This is the 100th player ejection of 2015. Prior to ejection, Tulowitzki was 2-4 in the contest (2 SO).
This is the Blue Jays' 14th ejection of 2015, 1st in the AL East (TOR 14; BOS 10; NYY 9; BAL, TB 5).
This is Troy Tulowitzki's first ejection since June 6, 2014 (Dan Iassogna; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is John Hirschbeck's first ejection since September 20, 2015 (Joe Girardi; QOC = U [DiMuro]).

Wrap: Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (AL Championship Series Game 3), 10/19/15
Video: Tulo gets tossed after arguing a strike three call to end the Blue Jays' 7th (FS1)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Discussion of 2015 AL and NL Championship Series

Postseason umpire discussion continues with the AL and NL Championship Series. 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. Call +/- also included/highlighted.

- 10/16, TOR@KC Gm 1: Tony Randazzo: pfx (88/88 Balls + 47/52 Strikes = 135/140 = 96.4%) +1 TOR.

- 10/17, TOR@KC Gm 2: Laz Diaz: pfx (92/95 Balls + 37/45 Strikes = 129/140 = 92.1%) +7 KC.
- 10/17, CHC@NYM Gm 1: Rob Drake: pfx (80/80 Balls + 47/52 Strikes = 127/132 = 96.2%) +1 NYM.

- 10/18, CHC@NYM Gm 2: Tim Timmons: pfx (113/114 Balls + 55/58 Strikes = 168/172 = 97.7%) +2 NYM.

- 10/19, KC@TOR Gm 3: John Hirschbeck: pfx (94/96 Balls + 47/49 Strikes = 141/145 = 97.2%) +0 NU.

- 10/20, KC@TOR Gm 4: Hunter Wendelstedt: pfx (120/122 Balls + 38/44 Strikes = 158/166 = 95.2%) +2 KC.
- 10/20, NYM@CHC Gm 3: Ted Barrett: pfx (93/95 Balls + 44/51 Strikes = 137/146 = 93.8%) +1 CHC.

- 10/21, KC@TOR Gm 5: Dan Iassogna: pfx (82/83 Balls + 40/41 Strikes = 122/124 = 98.4%) +0 NU.
- 10/21, NYM@CHC Gm 4: Paul Emmel: pfx (126/128 Balls + 66/67 Strikes = 192/195 = 98.5%) +1 NYM.
Series Complete (NLCS NYM 4 - 0 CHC): 96.7%, 624/645 pitches. Skew: +3 NYM.

- 10/23, TOR@KC Gm 6: Jeff Nelson: pfx (93/94 Balls + 46/51 Strikes = 139/145 = 95.9%) +0 NU.
Series Complete (NLCS KC 4 - TOR 2): 95.8%, 824/860 pitches. Skew: +8 KC.

Instant Replay Reviews (R-QOC Coloring: Green [Confirmed], Yellow [Stands], Red [Overturned]):
- Royals challenge 1B Umpire John Hirschbeck's out call (play at first); Call Overturned
- Mets challenge 1B Umpire Tim Timmons' out call (play at first); Call Stands
Blue Jays challenge HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt's safe call (tag play); Call Confirmed
- Royals challenge HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt's HBP non-call (HBP/foul); Call Overturned
- Blue Jays challenge 2B Umpire Jeff Nelson's safe call (tag play); Call Overturned
- Royals challenge HP Umpire Dan Iassogna's run scores call (time play); Call Confirmed
- Umpires Review 2B Umpire Laz Diaz's home run call (HR/boundary); Call Stands
- Blue Jays challenge 2B Umpire Laz Diaz's safe call (tag play); Call Stands

2015 League Championship Series Umpire Roster

MLB has announced the 2015 League Championship Series Umpires, the third round of the 2015 Playoffs.

American League Championship Series (ALCS/TOR@KC)
HP: Tony Randazzo*
1B: Laz Diaz
2B: John Hirschbeck -cc
3B: Hunter Wendelstedt
LF: Dan Iassogna
RF: Jeff Nelson
Replay: Jim Reynolds*
Replay Assistant: Mike Estabrook

*Tony Randazzo will work with the on-field crew for Games 1 and 2 and then serve as Replay Official for Games 3-7. Jim Reynolds will serve as Replay Official for Games 1 and 2 and then assume Randazzo's role as LF Umpire for Game 3, remaining with the crew through the remainder of the series.

National League Championship Sereis (NLCS/CHC@NYM)
HP: Rob Drake*
1B: Tim Timmons
2B: Ted Barrett -cc
3B: Paul Emmel
LF: Eric Cooper
RF: Bill Miller
Replay: Mark Wegner*
Replay Assistant: Mike Estabrook

*Rob Drake will be the Replay Official for Games 3-7 while Wegner will join the on-field crew for Games 3-7.

-cc denotes Crew Chief, all assigned umpires have officiated at least one previous LCS. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the League Championship Series shall receive three bonus points for this appearance; crew chiefs shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (four points total). Officials assigned to replay review only (Estabrook as the replay assistant) do not receive points for this role.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MLB Ejection P-2|3: Carapazza, Scott (5, 2; Saunders, Buehrle)

3B Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Blue Jays OF Michael Saunders for arguing an interference no-call in the top of the 7th and HP Umpire Dale Scott ejected Blue Jays P Mark Buehrle for Unsportsmanlike-NEC in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Rangers-Blue Jays game. In the top of the 7th, with two out and one on, Rangers batter Shin-Soo Choo took a 1-2 fastball from Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez for a called second ball as catcher Russell Martin's return throw inadvertently hit Choo's bat while Choo was in a legal position within the batter's box. In the bottom of the 7th, Blue Jays batter Jose Bautista hit a 1-1 fastball from Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson for a three-run home run. Bautista subsequently flipped his bat as Blue Jays players exited their dugout to celebrate, resulting in a bench-clearing incident after Texas recorded the final out of the inning, during which Buehrle was ejected. Neither player was on the Blue Jays' active roster at the time of the ejections, the calls were irrecusable.* At the time of Saunders' ejection, the Rangers were leading, 3-2. At the time of Buehrle's ejection, the Blue Jays were leading, 6-3. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

This is Vic Carapazza (19)'s fifth ejection of 2015.
This is Dale Scott (5)'s second ejection of 2015.
Vic Carapazza now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (5 Previous + 3 MLB-PS + 0 Irrecusable = 8).
Dale Scott now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (-2 Previous + 3 MLB-PS + 0 Irrecusable  = 1).
Dale Scott now has 1 point in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Call = 1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-5-a states, "All ejections of players/coaches not on the active roster (e.g., Disabled List) shall be associated with a reason listed under aforementioned UEFL Rule 6-2-b-5 [irrecusable ejections]."
Related Discussion: Carefree Throw, Extended Bat, Blue Jays Protest (Martin's throw hits Choo's bat)

These are the second and third ejections of the 2015 MLB Postseason and 213th overall ejection.
These are the 98th and 99th player ejection of 2015. Prior to ejection, neither player was on the active roster.
This is the Blue Jays' 12/13th ejection of 2015, 1st in the AL East (TOR 13; BOS 10; NYY 9; BAL, TB 5).
This is Michael Saunders' first ejection since September 18, 2012 (Jordan Baker; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Mark Buehrle's first ejection since August 22, 2013 (Ted Barrett; QOC = N-C [Catch/Trap]).
This is Vic Carapazza's first ejection since July 22, 2015 (Dominic Leone; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is Dale Scott's first ejection since April 25, 2015 (Ron Roenicke; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays (2015 MLB Postseason: AL Division Series Game 5), 10/14/15
Video: Odor's run counts following consultation amongst the six ALDS umpires, Replay Review (FS1)
Video: Benches clear after Tulo pops out to end the frame, non-roster player Buehrle is tossed (FS1)

Carefree Throw, Extended Bat, and Blue Jays Protest

Blue Jays protest after Russell Marin's wild throw off Shin-Soo Choo's bat in Toronto resulted in a run and Rangers lead. With two outs and a runner on third in the top of the 7th inning of a tied ALDS Game 5, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin caught a pitch from pitcher Aaron Sanchez. While attempting to return the ball back to Sanchez, Martin's throw hit Rangers batter Choo's bat and subsequently rebounded down the third base line. As the ball bounced freely onto the infield, Rangers baserunner R3 Rougned Odor ran toward home plate as HP Umpire and crew chief Dale Scott removed his mask and called for "Time" as Odor approached and stepped on home plate.

Following a consultation amongst the six-person umpiring crew, Odor was permitted to score, Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons requested and received a Crew Chief-initiated replay review concerning a rules check, and ultimately protested the game when the umpires' call was not overturned. Choo eventually struck out to end the inning after Toronto fans littered the field with bottles and other debris in a postseason scene reminiscent of the 2012 NL Wild Card Game when LF Umpire Sam Holbrook's infield fly call drew the ire of Atlanta Braves fans.

Walking Through the Play: F2 Martin catches a pitch, B1 Choo stretches out in the batter's box, and PU Scott keeps the play alive (e.g., no time out due to a foul, ball in the dirt, etc.). F2 Martin haphazardly throws the ball toward the mound, but it strikes Choo's bat, which has been extended from Choo's person, but is still within the confines of the left-handed batter's box. The ball caroms away, R3 Odor runs toward home plate, PU Scott calls "Time" before Odor arrives at home, and immediately thereafter, Odor touches home plate.

Analysis: First refer to Rule 5.04(b)(5) [OBR 2014 Rule 6.03], which states, "The batter's legal position shall be with both feet within the batter's box." Replays conclusively indicate B1 Choo was legal during the entire play up to the point of his bat contacting the thrown ball. Rule 5.09(c)(2) allows for a dead ball when the umpire interferes with the catcher's throw attempting to retire a runner, but this is specifically umpire interference.

Rule 6.01(a)(10) [Formerly 7.09] states it is interference and an out when: "He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball." The key is intentionally interferes. Replays indicate Choo's actions did not appear intentional; hence, no interference.

The penalty for interference: "If the umpire declares the batter, batter-runner, or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules."

As for Scott calling "Time", consult Rule 5.01 [5.02]: "After the umpire calls “Play” the ball is alive and in play and remains alive and in play until for legal cause, or at the umpire’s call of “Time” suspending play, the ball becomes dead." In other words, even though Scott did not call "Time" for a legal cause, his inadvertent whistle, to borrow from other sports' terminology, nonetheless caused a dead ball situation.

Rule 5.06(c) [5.02] concerns dead balls: "While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runs may be scored, except that runners may advance one or more bases as the result of acts which occurred while the ball was alive (such as, but not limited to a balk, an overthrow, interference, or a home run or other fair ball hit out of the playing field)." Hence, even though Scott's call of "Time" was improper, the rules still allow for an umpire to score a run if, in his judgment, the runner would have scored as the result of acts which occurred while the ball was alive.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Replay Review & Late Slides, Too: Utley's Tejada Takeout

Analysis of Chase Utley's slide into Ruben Tejada at Dodger Stadium and the out-overturned-to-safe call during Game 2 of the National League Division Series requires consultation of several key baseball documents: The Official Baseball Rules, the Replay Review Regulations, and the MLB Umpire Manual for starters. The Baseball Rules Differences is also useful to explain the MLB-uniqueness of this play.

So let us begin.

In SummaryThis would constitute a textbook case of interference and a double play at any level of baseball—other than professional OBR. In FED or NCAA, R1 is out, B1 is out, and R3 is returned to third base (run does not score). In MLB, however, this play is more complicated and may be called multiple ways. NOTE: The second base umpire's positioning starting from Deep B (edge of the infield grass on the second baseman's side near the cutout) also played a role in the adjudication of this play as he viewed the slide from behind as opposed to from the side. Had he been positioned for a lateral view, as in Deep C (edge of infield grass on the shortstop's side near the cutout), the judgment as relates to interference may have been different.

The Play (VIDEO HERE): With one out and runners on first and third base in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Mets-Dodgers game, Dodgers batter Howie Kendrick hit a 1-2 fastball from Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon on the ground to second baseman David Murphy, who threw to shortstop Ruben Tejada as Dodgers baserunner R1 Chase Utley arrived at second base, R3 Enrique Hernandez scoring and B1 Kendrick arriving at first base without a throw. Replays indicate a violent collision between Utley and Tejada and that Tejada retained possession of the baseball throughout his fall. 2B Umpire Chris Guccione ruled Utley out on the force play, determining that F6 Tejada caught Murphy's throw and tagged second base before Utley's arrival.

While Tejada received medical attention from team trainers and Los Angeles-area EMTs at second base due to having suffered a broken leg during Utley's slide, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly elected to challenge the play, specifying to the umpires that he believed F6 Tejada failed to touch second base. Upon Replay Review, New York Replay Officials headed by crew chief Tim Welke overturned Guccione's on-field ruling of out: Utley was awarded second base and play continued with one out and runners on first and second base.

The Analysis
Relevant Rule (OBR): Rule 5.09(a)(13) [formerly 6.05(m)] states that the batter is out when: "A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play." The rule's associated Comment states, "The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play."
Relevant Interpretation (MLBUM): Rule 5.09(a)(13) [6.05(m)] is also addressed in the MLB Umpire Manual. The official interpretation states that if there is "willful and deliberate interference" with a fielder attempting to catch or throw a ball "with the obvious intent to deprive the defense of the opportunity to make a double play, the umpire shall declare the runner out for interference and shall also declare the batter-runner out for the interference of his teammate."
Guidelines - A Checklist (MLBUM): To determine whether a runner's actions constitute "willful and deliberate interference," the following guidelines may be applied (relevant to the Utley/Tejada play, GREEN highlighted text shall indicate that Utley satisfied the guideline (mitigating evidence) while RED shall indicate Utley failed to satisfy the guideline (aggravating). GREEN = no interference; RED = possible interference:
> In sliding to a base, the runner should be able to reach the base with his hand or foot.
> A runner who, in the judgment of the umpire, contacts or attempts to make contact with a fielder with a slide or roll block that is not a bona fide effort to reach and stay on the base may be called out for interference, and, when appropriate, a double play may be called.
> Any definite change in direction by the runner to contact the fielder would be considered interference.
> If a runner hits the dirt, slides, and rolls, it does not constitute a rolling block unless the runner leaves his feet and makes contact with the fielder before the runner slides on the ground. If the initial contact is with the fielder instead of the ground for the purpose of breaking up a double play, it is a roll block.
Analysis and Conclusion Regarding Potential Interference: Utley was able to reach the base with his hand (pursuant to guideline, he does not actually have to touch the base), did not make a bona fide effort to stay on the base, did not definitively change direction to contact Tejada, and did contact the ground with his knees prior to contacting Tejada—though barely. By spirit of the rule, it was a rolling block, however. In other words, Utley's actions may be considered willful and deliberate interference, but his actions did not meet the criteria which mandates such a ruling.

Sidebar: In NFHS (High School), this play follows Rule 3-3-1n ("A runner may not maliciously crash into a fielder, whether the fielder is in or out of the base path, or with or without the ball. The ball is immediately dead. PENALTY: The runner is out and ejected."). The slide must be "in a direct line between the bases (2-32-2f, 8-4-2b). In NCAA (College), the slide must be "on the ground and in a direct line between the two bases (8-4a). Rule 8-7 prescribes the penalty for malicious contact/collision: "The ball is dead, and the offender is out, regardless of the result of the play." Under both rules sets, all runners return to the bases last legally occupied at the time of interference. In pro-ball, there is no such rule as relates to malicious contact.

Relevant Rule (Replay Review, Neighborhood Play): With interference not called, Dodgers challenged U2's out call. Replay Review Regulation V.D.1. precludes the basic element of the so-called neighborhood play from Replay Review consideration. The following is not reviewable: "The Umpire's judgment that a runner is clearly out on a force play at second base under circumstances in which the defensive player may or may not have touched second base in his attempt to complete a double play and avoid a collision with the runner. All other elements of the call shall be subject to review, including whether the fielder caught the ball, had control of the ball, was drawn off the bag, or tagged the runner. In this regard, a determination as to whether the fielder made a catch before dropping the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch shall be reviewable."
Analysis of Neighborhood Play: U2 ruled that F6 did not vacate or remove his foot from contact with or immediately around second base for the purpose of avoiding a collision with the runner. Because F6 did not vacate second base with this express purpose, U2 ruled the play was not excluded from review by neighborhood exemption V.D.1. Further, U2 allowed that there was a chance the throw drew F6 off the base, which is itself reviewable.

Relevant Rule (Replay Review, Fielder and Runner Both Miss Base): Because U2 ruled this was not a neighborhood play, the issue of whether F6 touched second base is reviewable. Replays indicate he did not. Replays also indicate R1 did not touch second base. Replay Review Regulation V.F.3. addresses this situation: "If the Replay Official determines both that the runner did not touch home plate and that the fielder did not tag the runner (or, in the case of a force play, did not touch home plate), the Replay Official shall rule the runner "safe" at home plate unless the defensive Manager appeals the failure of the runner to touch home plate prior to the Crew Chief making contact with the Replay Official." This provision applies to plays at any base, not just home plate.
Analysis of Dual Missed Base: Replays conclusively indicated neither person touched second base; by rule, the runner is "safe" and awarded second base, the call is overturned. Because there was no defensive appeal, the runner's obligation to touch second base terminated at the time of the erroneous out call. The incorrect out call supersedes R1's abandonment of running the bases, since the incorrect out call occurred prior to such abandonment.

Conclusion: The rules would support an interference ruling (and, thus, a double play and cancelled score) because the slide failed to meet at least one criterion on the legal slide checklist. It is a borderline roll block, which would constitute willful and deliberate interference. That said, once the umpires ruled this was not interference and not a neighborhood play, it became subject to replay review, wherein Replay Officials correctly followed written regulations to overturn the initial out call. MOST IMPORTANTLY: From 2B Umpire Chris Guccione's angle (picture from the 1B IF camera provided to the right), R1 Utley's slide doesn't look especially egregious (willful/deliberate). From the 3B IF camera angle (see this article's first image), the look is quite different.

Video: Utley's hard slide breaks Ruben Tejada's leg, prevents double play; all are safe (TBS)