Saturday, May 21, 2016

MLB Ejection 055 - Dale Scott (6; Yunel Escobar)

HP Umpire Dale Scott ejected Angels 3B Yunel Escobar for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Orioles-Angels game. With none out and one on, Escobar took a 1-2 fastball from Orioles pitcher Zach Britton for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px -.879, pz 1.363 [sz_bot 1.570 / MOE 1.487]), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Orioles were leading, 3-1. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 3-1.

This is Dale Scott (5)'s sixth ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Dale Scott now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (9 Previous + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 7).
Crew Chief Dale Scott now has 8 points in Crew Division (8 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 8).

This is the 55th ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 28th player ejection of 2016. Prior to ejection, Escobar was 1-4 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Anaheim's 2nd ejection of 2016, T-2nd in the AL West (TEX 4; HOU, LAA 2; OAK, SEA 0).
This is Yunel Escobar's first ejection since May 30, 2015 (Andy Fletcher; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Dale Scott's first ejection since May 15, 2016 (Rougned Odor; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5/21/16 | Video available via "Read more"

MLB Ejection 054 - Adrian Johnson (1; Kevin Long)

HP Umpire Adrian Johnson ejected Mets Hitting Coach Kevin Long for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Brewers-Mets game. With none out and none on, Mets batter David Wright took a 2-2 fastball from Brewers pitcher Zach Davies for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and belt high (px .822, pz 2.449), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Brewers were leading, 4-2. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is Adrian Johnson (80)'s first ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Adrian Johnson now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).

This is the 54th ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is New York's 2nd ejection of 2016, 2nd in the NL East (MIA 3; NYM 2; ATL, WAS 1; PHI 0).
This is Kevin Long's first ejection since August 30, 2015 (Joe West; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Adrian Johnson's first ejection since June 14, 2015 (Mark Kotsay; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets, 5/21/16 | Video available via "Read more"

MLB Ejection 053 - Toby Basner (1; Josh Donaldson)

HP Umpire Toby Basner ejected Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson for arguing a strike one call in the top of the 1st inning of the Blue Jays-Twins game. With one out and none on, Donaldson took a 2-0 fastball from Twins pitcher Pat Dean for a called first strike before grounding out on the ensuing pitch. Replays indicate the called strike was located over the heart of home plate and knee high (px -.010, pz 1.671 [sz_bot 1.590]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

This is Toby Basner (99)'s first ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Toby Basner now has 5 in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 3 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 6 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 6).
*This is Toby Basner's second consecutive first-inning ejection.

This is the 53rd ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 27th player ejection of 2016. Prior to ejection, Donaldson was 0-1 in the contest.
This is Toronto's 9th ejection of 2016, 1st in the AL East (TOR 9; BOS 4; BAL, NYY, TB 1).
This is Josh Donaldson's 2nd ejection of 2016, 1st since May 15 (Dale Scott; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Toby Basner's first ejection since July 27, 2015 (Mike Napoli; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins, 5/21/16 | Video available via "Read more"

Friday, May 20, 2016

MLB Ejection 052 - John Tumpane (2; Hector Santiago)

HP Umpire John Tumpane ejected Angels P Hector Santiago for arguing a ball three call in the top of the 3rd inning of the Orioles-Angels game. With two out and one on, Orioles batter Mark Trumbo hit a two-run home run before ensuing batter Matt Wieters took a 2-0 changeup for a called third ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh high (px -1.206, pz 2.255), and that all other applicable pitches were properly officiated (Trumbo hit his home run on a 0-1 pitch), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Orioles were leading, 4-1. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 9-4.

This is John Tumpane (74)'s second ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
John Tumpane now has 9 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Previous + 3 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 9).
Crew Chief Dale Scott now has 11 points in Crew Division (10 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 11).

This is the 52nd ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 26th player ejection of 2016. Prior to ejection, Santiago's line was 2.2 IP, 4 ER.
This is Anaheim's first ejection of 2016, 3rd in the AL West (TEX 4; HOU 2; LAA 1; OAK, SEA 0).
This is Hector Santiago's first ejection since September 22, 2015 (Chris Conroy; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is John Tumpane's first ejection since April 27, 2016 (John Gibbons; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5/20/16 | Video available via "Read more"

MLB Ejection 051 - Hunter Wendelstedt (1; Adam Eaton)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected White Sox CF Adam Eaton for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Royals-White Sox game. With two out and one on, Eaton took a 2-2 fastball from Royals pitcher Wade Davis for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and belt high (px -.66, pz 2.724) and that all preceding pitches during the at-bat had been properly officiated by Wendelstedt, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Royals had won the contest, 4-1.

This is Hunter Wendelstedt (21)'s first ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Hunter Wendelstedt now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 QOCY = 5).
Crew Chief Jerry Layne now has 8 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 8).

This is the 51st ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 25th player ejection of 2016. Prior to ejection, Eaton was 1-5 (SO) in the contest.
This is Chicago's 4th ejection of 2016, T-1st in the AL Central (CWS, MIN 4; DET 3; KC 1; CLE 0).
This is Adam Eaton's first ejection since September 2, 2014 (Greg Gibson; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's first ejection since August 2, 2015 (Joe Maddon; QOC = U [Replay Review]).

Wrap: Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox, 5/20/16 | Video available via "Read more"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Psychology & Marketing - Why MLB Discipline is Weak

Baseball discipline is weak, and it makes complete sense. From one game suspensions for returning to the field after ejection to fines for participating in a fight, it's no secret that behaving badly in professional sports comes with a side of punishment—it's just not usually a severe one.

Major League Baseball—and to a similar extent fellow pro leagues NBA, NFL, and NHL—have a precarious duality on their hands when it comes to discipline, and MLB's disciplinarians—Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre and Senior VP of Standards and On-Field Operations Joe Garagiola Jr.—must walk a unique tightrope each time a player, coach, or manager does something worthy of supplemental discipline.

In baseball, ejections are theatre. (The Naked Gun)
In baseball, specifically, ejections are theatre: the crowd usually cheers and boos vociferously, and fans can't wait to see what's next. We watch ejection videos ad nauseam, and submit obscenely high-priced bids for mere articles of clothing that played a supporting role during the latest episode of "Manager Meltdown." Sometimes we get an actual fight, and the video views really take off: For every fight that produces over 1 million views, I'll show you a 300th strikeout that's still stuck in the thousands.

...Followed by anything involving Joe West.
In fact, of the Top 28 videos on MLB's Youtube account, 11 concern ejections, fights, bench clearings, or other similar instances of bad behavior—not strikeouts, grand slams, or World Series wins. On this website, fights are generally the most popular ejection reports (followed by anything involving Joe West), and the greater the controversy, the higher the viewership and comment count. The nightly national news probably won't cover a simple game. But it will cover a huge bench-clearing brawl (this Canada-Mexico brouhaha was ABC national news' sole coverage from the 2013 World Baseball Classic).

Yet at the root of a majority of baseball ejections is a distinct disrespect of the umpires, those uniformed personnel charged with officiating the game, upholding its rules so as to make the game fair for all, and, according to the rulebook, serving as the only official representatives of baseball on the playing field during a game. Clearly, to disrespect the umpire is, to a logical extent, a disdain for the Commissioner's office and the sport itself, and must be addressed: After all, to intimidate the umpire or otherwise campaign for calls is to take the official's 50-50 sense of impartiality and turn the tide in one's favor to 51-49, or some similar edge. Doing so clearly bends the rules of the game and makes the game unfair, if by only a fraction of a percent. Such intimidation tactics must clearly and immediately be denounced.

Umpires derive authority from the league, and
wear very specific logos to reflect that fact.
An umpire derives his/her authority from a league office, assignor, conference, UIC, etc., who entrusts said official with carrying out the umpire's duties on game day. Thus, the umpire's decision to dismiss a disrespectful player/coach who has violated the game's rules, logically, must be supported by the office/assignor/conference/UIC, lest the umpire's (and any other umpire's) jurisdiction be diminished and his/her ability to officiate compromised.

Yet Bryce Harper was suspended for just one game (he dropped his appeal during the second game of a doubleheader, a game he may well have sat out regardless of the discipline) after returning to the field following an earlier ejection and yelling profanity at the ejecting umpire; Gibbons did a similar thing last season...and also this season.

How to get the crowd into the game?
Have a meaningless "baseball fight."
And speaking of that Blue Jays-Rangers fight, the sole player (Odor) to throw and land a punch received an eight-game suspension, a pitcher who intentionally threw at a batter (Chavez) and Manager returning to the field after an earlier ejection to fight (Gibbons, who is a return-after-ejection repeat offender) received three games, with other fight participants receiving just a game or just (nominal, albeit "undisclosed") monetary fines.

It's on par with past violent brawls. When Carlos Quentin charged Zack Greinke and broke the pitcher's collarbone, Quentin too received eight games.

KC fans live through Ned Yost for this ejection.
The reason baseball discipline for run-of-the-mill or "ordinary" player/coach/manager ejections—where the ejectee is ejected for disrespecting the umpire (and, by extension, the game itself)—is fairly weak, lenient, or low-key is that, from a marketing standpoint, ejections are extraordinarily good for the game. Ejections drive viewership, generate "buzz" and interest, and #makebaseballfunagain. Getting into the mind of the average fan, if the player disagrees with the umpire's call, chances are the fan does, too. And if the player gets heated about it, chances are the fan is heated, too. Hence, the fan lives that anger (or "passion") vicariously through the player or coach who gets chucked on their behalf, and derive pleasure from their anger being validated in such a way, which further bonds the fan to the game of baseball and posits them to spend more time and money on the game in the future. In other words, ejections help the business of baseball make more money. Yes, something has to be done to preserve order, but not so much as to compromise the business.

Bochy speaks for all of SF as he berates Much.
Thus, baseball tacitly encourages ejection-able behavior through its weak penalties because, as a business—as the American pastime hoping to retain relevance in the new era—it must. Bad behavior has been an exorbitantly wonderful business model for baseball...but there is a limit. Remember Odor getting eight games for throwing and landing a punch?

If Odor were to have injured Bautista—or himself—the game would stand to lose a certain amount of business and popularity. Some order must be maintained, and that order appears to be the (relative) health—insomuch is practical for business purposes—of its participants, and namely its player participants. That's why the home plate collision rule (Posey Rule) exists and why the bona fide slide rule (Tejada Rule) exists. And it is also why pitcher suspensions for intentionally throwing at batters are similarly more severe than ordinary ejection penalties. Baseball loves its bench clearing brawls—just as long as it stays a "baseball fight" where everyone stands around and ultimately does nothing of consequence. Crossing over into hockey territory is too much of a good thing.

Ejections, fights: it all trickles down eventually.
The issue then becomes the effect of baseball's booming business on lower level ball—from NCAA, NFHS, Little League and similar youth or scholastic sports, perhaps even adult leagues. Baseball treats ejections weakly because it's good for the particular and unique dynamics of big league, professional baseball, where contracts run into the millions, as does annual attendance and TV viewership, not to mention gate receipts and revenue. At the lower levels, there is rarely such a consideration, yet, its participants take their cues from the Major Leagues, see Bryce and Papi exhibit bad behavior on a regular basis—usually to the delight of the crowd—and soon enough, some high schooler is emulating a Yasiel Puig rookie-year bat-flip, or a Little League coach is doing his/her best Lou Piniella impression. Perhaps the lower level leagues themselves—especially the less organized ones—take their cues from the big leagues and attempt to apply discipline vis-a-vis Joes Torre and Garagiola. Perhaps the beer league even places the almighty dollar above dignity and excuses bad behavior because the ejected player is paying those lucrative league fees. After all, if Bryce Harper can come back on the field after being ejected, f-bomb the umpire, and get an appealable one-game suspension out of it, surely such conduct is not all that bad...

Lest we forget: It's all competitive entertainment.
Perhaps this is a discussion for another day, but what is clear is that big league ball—baseball, basketball, football, and hockey—is a conglomerate of entertainment. It's why actual entertainment companies own professional sport franchises (the Anschutz Entertainment Group [AEG] has dabbled in half of the Los Angeles market, including current holdings in Lakers, Kings and Galaxy), and financial investment groups pick up the leftovers (sticking with Los Angeles, it's Guggenheim Partners that owns the Dodgers; the group also owns the LA Sparks). It's why the company class is "sports and entertainment."

In all, ejections survived the onset of instant replay, and will continue to persevere through any computerized strike zone or mandatory slide rule: as long as no discernible physical harm befalls its participants, big league baseball will continue to dole out weak discipline for ejections and manager theatrics. After all, it's just good business.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MLB Adds Impediment to Bona Fide Slide Rule Interp

MLB quietly modified its bona fide slide rule interpretation, issuing a clarification to Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus and providing a spokesperson's statement reflecting that the strict application of new rule 6.01(j)—the bona fide slide rule—has been relaxed concurrent with increased scrutiny applied to the defensive player's ability to turn a double play. A runner must now actually hinder and impede the fielder's ability to complete a double play in order for the DP to be awarded.

To review the bona fide slide rule 6.01(j) that made its debut at the beginning of the 2016 season:
The runner attempting to break up a double play must engage in a bona fide slide:
1) Runner begins his slide and makes contact with the ground before reaching the base;
2) He is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;
3) He is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home) after completing the slide; and
4) He slides within reach without changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

Not Impeded: Machado didn't hinder the turn?
The circa-Opening Day penalty for failing to satisfy all four criteria was an automatic double play, a ruling and interpretation that manifested mere hours into the young season, when 2B Umpire Paul Nauert ruled an automatic double play for a bona fide slide violation: an overturned ruling in Tampa Bay effectively ended an Opening Series game by wiping out a Toronto lead and turning it into a Rays victory. Similarly, not a week went by without a neighborhood play being overturned for the fielder's failure to tag second base.

These days, however—and especially since Ausmus' happenstance May query to the MLB office—Replay Officials are much less likely to overturn bona fide slide AND neighborhood play challenges and reviews subject to instant replay. Why? Well, here's what that MLB spokesperson said about 6.01(j):
Even though the judgment was that runner failed to engage in a bona fide slide, the Replay Official must still find that the runner's actions hindered and impeded the fielder's ability to complete a double play. In the absence of the hindering/impeding element -- which is a judgment call -- the runner cannot be found to have violated 6.01 (j). The judgment on this one was that there was no hindering or impeding of the fielder.
Did you catch that? The "new" interpretation about bona fide slides is that, "the Replay Official must still find that the runner's actions hindered and impeded the fielder's ability to complete a double play." In other words, the bona fide slide rule violation's penalty has changed from "automatic" to a more "nullify the act" approach that is more in line with other interference/obstruction calls.

Yet unlike the 2014 Press Release and fanfare surrounding a new mid-season rule interpretation for catch/transfer plays, MLB has been fairly unenthusiastic about bona fide slides and neighborhood plays.

Since Opening Week (April 8 and Dan Bellino's slide rule interference ruling against Houston), not one Rule 6.01(j) challenge has resulted in an interference ruling nor an overturned call. In terms of pulled foot calls at second base (the "neighborhood play"), the last out call that was overturned to a pulled foot (safe) ruling upon video review occurred in late April (Adam Hamari/Red Sox).

Neighborhood Play Returns: So he's...out?
In other words, the bona fide slide rule and neighborhood plays have not been overturned to interference or safe/pulled foot, respectively, since baseball's opening month.

Yet it's not as if these types of plays have stopped happening. Tmac has been charting Replay Review decisions and noting when the New York decision appears to have been made in error (e.g., when video evidence indicates the call was missed and should have been overturned, yet the Replay Official failed to do so). Failed neighborhood play overturns have accounted for two of the four improper replay decisions since Ausmus received that clarification e-mail.

Or, more bluntly, in response to the Orioles' question of, "don't you actually have to touch the base?" the answer these days appears to harken back to a more traditional time when the answer was simply, "no."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MLB Ejection 050 - Bill Miller (2; John Farrell)

HP Umpire Bill Miller ejected Red Sox Manager John Farrell for arguing a strike one call in the top of the 7th inning of the Red Sox-Royals game. With one out and none on, Red Sox batter Mookie Betts took a 0-0 cutter from Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px .584, pz 1.427 [sz_bot 1.490 / MOE 1.407]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Royals were leading, 5-4. The Royals ultimately won the contest, 8-4.

This is Bill Miller (26)'s second ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Bill Miller now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 8).
Crew Chief Bill Miller now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).

This is the 50th ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 22nd Manager ejection of 2016.
This is Boston's 4th ejection of 2016, 2nd in the AL East (TOR 8; BOS 4; BAL, NYY, TB 1).
This is John Farrell's 2nd ejection of 2016, 1st since May 6 (Ron Kulpa; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Bill Miller's first ejection since May 6, 2016 (Robin Ventura; QOC = U [Warnings]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals, 5/17/16 | Video available via "Read more"

Whose Call - Runner Out of Base Path Considerations

2B Umpire Rob Drake ruled Juan Lagares out for leaving his base path in Colorado, ending a Mets' 8th inning threat via double play. With one out and two on (R1, R2), Mets batter Lucas Duda hit a ground ball softly to Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who fielded the grounder as Mets baserunner R2 Lagares passed in front and out of his reach, before throwing to first base in advance of Arenado. This play produced the rare double-call/blarge/sout, albeit for different reasons, as 3B Umpire Carlos Torres ruled Lagares safe on the missed tag attempt, while 2B Umpire Drake ruled Lagares out for illegally avoiding the tag by leaving his base path. We'll get to talking about mechanics later on, but first, here is a rules refresher.

Is this distance more than three-feet?
Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1) states that any 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." Though we always bring it up, we'll bring it up again for potential first-timers to help clear up any myths: The call is not "out of the baseline," it is "out of the base path." A base LINE is the direct line from base to base—exactly 90 feet, and each succeeding base LINE is constructed perpendicularly to its predecessor. A base PATH, as portrayed in the aforementioned OBR citation, is the straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach, established at the time of the tag attempt. A baseline is only relevant to a runner under one situation: whether a runner attempting to break up a double play leaves the baseline in an attempt to crash the pivot man.

That said, back to the Lagares play.

Video analysis indicates that immediately upon fielding the batted ball, third baseman Arenado's first play is an attempt to tag baserunner Lagares; Torres correctly determined that the tag missed. Because we are not privy to a camera view looking straight down the 2B-to-3B baseline (the "high" or "low" third cam), we don't have an angle with which to conclusively judge whether a three-foot deviation from Lagares' base path occurred. We can do our best to piece together the mid-home (live broadcast) and center field camera angles, but even so, our look is inconclusive. For reasons we'll discuss below, Drake's look is much better for answering the base path deviation question.

MECHANICS: What IS conclusive, however, is that Torres signaled "safe" and Drake signaled "out." By default, with runners on first and second base (and less than two out), on an infield ball, the third base umpire has all plays going into third. Thus, it would appear 3B Umpire Torres read the play coming his way and ruled on the tag attempt: no tag = safe. 2B Umpire Drake had Ligares' run between the two bases and ruled on it: > 3-feet = out.

According to the MLB/WUA Joint Committee on Training, in regards to catch/no catch responsibilities, "A general rule of thumb is for the umpire to whom the glove is opening to take the ball." Specifically, a third base umpire will generally take any ball hit directly at the third baseman or that takes the third baseman to his right, while the second base umpire will take a ball that takes the third baseman to his left. In this fashion, the odd spin of the baseball took F5 Arenado to his left, which opened the play up for 2B Umpire Drake to call after he slid over to gain a parallel look, similar to the two-person crew's button hook technique in taking a BR into second base: the point here is that Drake moved to put himself in optimal position to observe the play.

In other words, U2 Drake obtained the so-called keyhole angle: He was in best position to see metaphorical daylight between R2 and F5 AND to see whether R2's run was legal, since the play opened up to him and he was positioned far behind the runner with a wide look. U3 Torres, meanwhile, was closer to the play, but behind the fielder: He was not in optimal position to rule on the runner's legality due to his sharp angle and closed look, but was in optimal position to rule on a play into third base: had Arenado opted to chase Lagares, Torres would have had a great look on a potential tag. As it stands, he was looking Arenado's back; Drake was looking at Arenado's action area (his arms, including left glove hand) as well as Lagares' movement, which is why he was able to confidently rule Lagares out of his base path and convincingly explain the call to Mets Manager Terry Collins.

Monday, May 16, 2016

MLB Ejection 049 - Doug Eddings (1; Brad Ausmus)

HP Umpire Doug Eddings ejected Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Twins-Tigers game. With two out and none on, Tigers batter Nick Castellanos took a 0-2 fastball from Twins pitcher Pat Dean for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh high (px -.991, pz 2.301), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Tigers were leading, 8-7. The Tigers ultimately won the contest, 10-8.

This is Doug Eddings (88)'s first ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Doug Eddings now has -2 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = -2).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has 3 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 3).

This is the 49th ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 21st Manager ejection of 2016.
This is Detroit's 3rd ejection of 2016, T-2nd in the AL Central (MIN 4; CWS, DET 3; KC 1; CLE 0).
This is Brad Ausmus' 2nd ejection of 2016, 1st since April 9 (Paul Emmel; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Doug Eddings' 1st ejection since August 20, 2015 (Fredi Gonzalez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers, 5/16/16
Video: Brad Ausmus gets chucked arguing a third strike, breaks into theatrics at home ("Read more")

MLB Ejection 048 - Mike Winters (1; John Gibbons)

HP Umpire Mike Winters ejected Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Rays-Blue Jays game. With one out and none on, Blue Jays batter Troy Tulowitzki took a 3-2 fastball from Rays pitcher Drew Smyly for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -.237, pz 1.603 [sz_bot 1.62 / MOE 1.537]), and that all other callable pitches in the at bat were properly officiated, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 11-0. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 13-2.

This is Mike Winters (33)'s 1st ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Mike Winters now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Mike Winters now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).

This is the 48th ejection report of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 20th Manager ejection of 2016.
This is Toronto's 8th ejection of 2016, 1st in the AL East (TOR 8; BOS 3, BAL, NYY, TB 1).
This is John Gibbons' 3rd ejection of 2016, 1st since May 15 (Dan Iassogna; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Mike Winters' first ejection since September 2, 2015 (Bruce Bochy; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Blue Jays, 5/16/16
Video: Facing an 11-run deficit, Gibby argues a strike call and gets to leave early ("Read more")

Sunday, May 15, 2016

MLB Ejections 040-047 - Scott & Iassogna (TOR-TEX Fight)

1B Umpire Dale Scott ejected Blue Jays First Base Coach Tim Leiper for arguing a balk non-call in the top of the 3rd, HP Umpire Dan Iassogna ejected Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons for arguing a ball one call in the bottom of the 3rd, 1B Umpire Scott ejected Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista and 3B Josh Donaldson, and Rangers 2B Rougned Odor and Bench Coach Steve Buechele for fighting in the top of the 8th inning, and HP Umpire Iassogna ejected Blue Jays P Jesse Chavez and Acting Manager/Bench Coach DeMarlo Hale for throwing at Rangers batter Prince Fielder in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Blue Jays-Rangers game. In the top of the 3rd with none out and one on (R1), Blue Jays batter Donaldson hit a 3-2 slider from Rangers pitcher Cesar Ramos to left field for a fly out. Replays indicate Ramos stayed true to his natural motion in delivering his pitches and did not commit a balk, the call was correct. In the bottom of the 3rd, with one out and one on, Rangers batter Odor took a 0-2 fastball from Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez for a called first ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and thigh high (px 0.681, pz 1.977 [sz_bot 1.340 / MOE 1.423]), the call was incorrect. In the top of the 8th, with one out and one on, Blue Jays batter Justin Smoak hit a 2-0 fastball from Rangers pitcher Matt Bush on the ground to third baseman Adrian Beltre, who threw to second baseman Rougned Odor, who attempted to throw to first baseman Mitch Moreland as Blue Jays baserunner R1 Jose Bautista arrived at second base. Replays indicate Bautista's slide violated the bona fide slide rule concerning interference at second base, prompting a bench-clearing incident and an automatic double play, the call was irrecusable. In the bottom of the 8th, with none out and none on, Rangers batter Fielder took a first-pitch fastball for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located inside and struck fielder on the backside, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the Leiper and Gibbons ejections, the Blue Jays were leading, 1-0. At the time of the Bautista, Donaldson, Odor, Buechele, Chavez, and Hale ejections, the Rangers were leading, 7-6. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

These are Dale Scott (5)'s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th ejections of the 2016 MLB regular season.
These are Dan Iassogna (58)'s first, second, and third ejections of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Dale Scott now has 9 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 4*2 MLB + 2 QOCY + 4*0 [U] = 9).
Dan Iassogna now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 3*2 MLB - 4 QOCN + 2*0 [U] = 1).
Crew Chief Dale Scott now has 8 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 7 Correct & [U] Calls = 8).
*This is the longest ejection report in the history of the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League.
**These are the most ejections in one game since April 22, 2000 (11; DET-CWS, 2-brawl game).

These are the 40th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th & 47th ejection reports of the 2016 regular season.
This is the 19th Manager ejection of 2016.
These are the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th player ejections of 2016.
This is Toronto's 2/3/4/5/6/7th ejection of 2016, 1st in the AL East (TOR 7; BOS 3, BAL, NYY, TB 1).
This is Texas' 3/4th ejection of 2016, 1st in the AL West (TEX 4; HOU 2; LAA, OAK, SEA 0).
This is Tim Leiper's first career MLB ejection.
This is John Gibbons' 2nd ejection of 2016, 1st since April 27 (John Tumpane; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Jose Bautista's first ejection since July 12, 2015 (Jerry Meals; QOC = Y [Balk]).
This is Josh Donaldson's first ejection since June 14, 2014 (Tripp Gibson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Rougned Odor's first career MLB ejection.
This is Steve Buechele's first ejection since June 11, 1995 (Jerry Meals; QOC = N/A [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jesse Chavez's first ejection since September 18, 2012 (Jerry Meals; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is DeMarlo Hale's first ejection since August 2, 2015 (Jim Wolf; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is Dale Scott's first ejection since October 14, 2015 (Mark Buehrle; QOC = U [Also TEX-TOR]).
This is Dan Iassogna's first ejection since August 22, 2015 (Terry Francona; QOC = N [Out/Safe]).

Wrap: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers, 5/15/16
Video: 8 Non-Balk, Balls/Strikes, Bench-Clearing Brawl, and Intent HBP ejections ("Read more")

MLB Ejection 039 - Joe West (1; Brock Holt)

HP Umpire Joe West ejected Red Sox LF Brock Holt for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Astros-Red Sox game. With one out and one on, Holt took a 2-2 sinker from Astros pitcher Scott Feldman for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -.745, pz 1.470 [sz_bot 1.480 / MOE 1.397]) and that all other callable pitches during at bat had been properly officiated, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 9-8. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 10-9.

This is Joe West (22)'s first ejection of the 2016 MLB regular season.
Joe West now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (3 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 7).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 5 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 5).

This is the 38th ejection report of the 2016 MLB regular season.
This is the 20th player ejection of 2016. Prior to ejection, Holt was 0-4 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is the Red Sox's 3rd ejection of 2016, 1st in the AL East (BOS 3; BAL, NYY, TB, TOR 1).
This is Brock Holt's first career MLB ejection.
This is Joe West's first ejection since August 30, 2015 (Kevin Long; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox, 5/15/16
Video: Brock Holt earns his first career ejection courtesy of Cowboy Joe West ("Read more")

Tmac's Teachable Moments - Pickoff Tag at First Base

One of our most often overturned calls at the MLB level this year and the most missed in 3-person crews is the pickoff at first base. Today's edition of Tmac's Teachable Moments concerns this type of play, why the call's accuracy might be lower than that of other calls, and how its QOC might be improved.

Umpire Mike Estabrook finds The Keyhole.
This call occasionally gets missed when umpires are unable to see the actual tag attempt and the reason for this is because we are blocked out on a pickoff by the runner. This occurs when a throw from the pitcher results in a tag not on the hand, but rather into the body. Think about it: we're positioned behind the play, and if the throw is short, the entire action takes play on the plate-facing of the runner whereas we're standing on the outfield-facing side of the runner. In response, a lot of umpires are now attempting to get into what I affectionately call, "the keyhole." The keyhole is the small window of daylight where you find the angle, no matter how small, to see the play. In the accompanying diagrammed photo, you'll note that the keyhole gets the umpire in position to see over top of the sliding runner, so he can actually see the action area on the runner's plate-facing side.

In the accompanying video, Mike Estabrook does a textbook job in finding that spot and getting the call right.  Estabrook reads the play and understands he has more time because the runner from 1st took his initial step on the pick off to 2nd base. If you feel like you are going to get blocked, why not take a step or two in this case due to a poor throw or the runner's delayed return slide?  Reading the play is so important on the bases and this is the new wave approach to plays at 1st.  About 20 years ago, Joe West started doing this and I remember thinking, "Wow."  West has always been a man ahead of his time.  Now you see several of the best taking this play from much closer to the bag where you can actually see the play.  We live in an age where getting the call right is the most important thing no matter if we're moving or not on a tag play.  So, keep in mind that it's not wrong to be moving, as long as it leads to a better position.

Video: Estabrook runs into the frame at the key moment of Freeman's tag on Hosmer ("Read more")