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)

Video: Unroe's throw strikes a sprinting Strong, who steams into second on late slide (ABL, 1:53:48)


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