|Torre is ejected arguing balls/strikes in 2011.|
At the heart of the matter, however, Torre is concerned about an overall increase in the number of managerial ball/strike ejections, which has indeed risen relative to the past few years, and is on pace to return to 20-aught levels. On a related note, the number of overall ejections in baseball has already returned to pre-expanded replay 'lull' levels, having increased annually since a post-2010 low of 178 in 2012 (2015's 212 regular season ejections topped 2014's 199 ejections, which in turn marked an increase over 2013's 180 heave-hos, etc.); 2016 is presently on pace for 201 regular season ejections.
|2016 is on pace for another ejection increase.|
As previously posited, the proportion of ball/strike ejections relative to overall ejection numbers has increased in baseball ever since expanded replay's 2014 debut. We've known this for some time now.
Still, there is, in baseball, a right way and a wrong way to argue calls—even ball and strike calls.
As the UEFL Video Rulebook entry on Ejections tells us, and as the MLB Umpire Manual instructs its umpires, "if a manager, coach, or player makes reference to having observed a video replay that purportedly contradicts the call under dispute, such person is subject to immediate ejection from the game" (highlighted, as this phrase appears both in MLBUM's Standards for Removal from the Game and as part of MLB Replay Review Regulation II.K.5).
|The Mets abused video replay during ejection.|
Citing an alarming trend of managers and coaches relying on video material as evidence during ball/strike arguments during games, Torre stated, "This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately." Similarly, we know that any manager—or player for that matter—will be ejected for arguing balls and strikes if he "leaves his position" (e.g., the dugout) to do so. Vin Scully told us that the last time Dave Roberts was ejected over a strike call.
|Brad Ausmus displays inappropriate conduct.|
Of the 47 managerial ejections thus far in 2016, 25—or 53%—have concerned ball and strike arguments. Of those 25 ball/strike ejections, umpires have been correct 68% of the time (17/25), which is on par with, if not slightly higher than, the historical accuracy of 65-67% for all ejections. John Gibbons presently leads all Managers with three balls/strikes ejections (2 QOCN & 1 QOCY).
|Mgr Leaders, Ejection Type: Balls/Strikes.|
Thus, a bench coach who utilizes the dugout's Replay phone after a strike three call or similar 'ordinary' called pitch not subject to Replay Review is himself in violation of MLB rules, as is his manager in using information gleamed from the video replay coordinator during the course of a balls/strikes argument. It is this abuse of Replay which baseball is most concerned with.
|Melvin likely didn't allude to replay on Friday.|
On the other hand, Diamondbacks Manager Chip Hale has, on multiple occasions this season, found himself ejected between innings and during pitching changes for arguing balls/strikes, with some time between the pitch call in question and Hale's exit from the dugout which could have conceivably allowed Bench Coach Glenn Sherlock and video coordinator Allen Campbell to relay information to their skipper.
Torre acknowledged that, "Although disagreements over ball and strike calls are natural, the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue. This conduct not only delays the game, but it also has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the umpires on the field."
In a final admonishment, Torre warned managers and coaches that any further ejections for arguing balls and strikes "hereafter will be disciplined, including at least a fine," which might carry the startling and hopefully incorrect implication that such ejections were not previously subject to discipline.