Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dale Scott Retires in Wake of Concussion in Toronto

Veteran Crew Chief Dale Scott has retired in the wake of a concussion sustained as plate umpire in Toronto on April 14, 2017. Scott's election of retirement was first reported by the Associated Press.

This concludes Scott's 32-year umpiring career in the American League and Major League Baseball since his 1985 debut, 16th as a crew chief, during which he officiated 3,897 regular season games, three All-Star Games (1993, 2001, 11), the 2013 NL Wild Card Game, 12 Division Series (1995, 97, 98, 2001, 03, 04, 05, 07, 11, 14, 15), six League Championship Series (1996, 99, 2000, 02, 09, 13), and three World Series (1998, 2001, 04).

Scott, who ejected 90 players, managers, and coaches over the course of his career and often opted to wear umpiring's traditional blue polo shirt behind the plate, received the 2015 UEFL Honorable Umpire of the Year Award after becoming the first umpire to publicly come out as gay in MLB history.

He was also one of four MLB umpires—alongside Tim Welke, Laz Diaz, and Mark Carlson—selected to officiate the 2014 Opening Series in Sydney, Australia.

Because of his abbreviated 2017 season, Scott was the only "Perfect Replay" umpire in 2017, having two calls affirmed and zero overturned for a 1.000 RAP in his final campaign.

Scott is retiring from on-field officiating in great part due to concerns over concussion and similar head trauma events, and the potential harm that may result from similar incidents in the future. Over the past few years, Scott has sustained several game-ending head injuries:
> April 14, 2017: Scott is struck in the facemask by a foul ball off of a 95.4-miles-per-hour fastball.
> July 16, 2016: Scott takes a fouled-off 91 mph pitch to the lower jaw portion of his mask.
> August 7, 2013: Scott is hit in the center of the mask by a fouled and deflected pitch.

As for injuries below the neck, Scott left his June 19, 2016 assignment due to a foul ball to the groin, June 24, 2015 game after being struck in the left hip by a line drive while umpiring inside at second base, and a March 5, 2015 Spring Training game after a pitch evaded the catcher and struck Scott's exposed hand/wrist.

Scott isn't the first Major League umpire to retire due, in part, to head injuries.

In 2013, we revisited Tim Tschida's retirement. Tschida, who, like Scott, suffered several concussions and neck injuries over the course of his umpiring career, elected to retire after hearing from multiple medical professionals and other experts who told him, "you're one hard foul tip [ball] away from quality-of-life issues."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Precedent Set, Georgia Faces 2nd Judgment Call Protest

Seven months after a Georgia high school baseball team protested an umpire's judgment call, the GHSA is facing another call to overturn a referee's on-field judgment decision, this time in football.

A judgment call is heading back to the board.
Baseball Background: In May, Lee County High School defeated Johns Creek in the Georgia High School Association Class 6A semifinal in controversial fashion. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the final regulation inning of a tied ballgame, Johns Creek worked a walk and began celebrating as the runner from third touched home plate.

Lee County appealed that the runner from second failed to touch his forced base (third base), and the runner was declared out; because of the forced-to-advance situation under NFHS rules, the run was nullified and the game proceeded to extra innings, where Lee County won the game.
Related PostAsk the UEFL - Protested Game-Ending Appeal Force Play (5/18/17).

Protest and Precedent: Johns Creek protested to the GHSA that the umpires made an error in declaring R2 out for failing to touch third base. Although then-GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips ruled the umpires' decision a judgment call and, therefore, not subject to protest, GHSA counsel Alan Connell allowed Johns Creek to come before the GHSA as long as they dropped their "protest" and picked up an "appeal" instead.

Johns Creek submitted a revised "appeal," and the GHSA Appeals Board subsequently denied the appeal, affirming the umpire's on-field ruling. Johns Creek then petitioned the GHSA Board of Trustees and Trustees President Glenn White overturned the umpire's on-field judgment call, saying "The wrong call was made." Video evidence is inconclusive; however, GHSA Bylaw 2.92(e) states, "The National Federation prohibits the use of video tape to review an official's decision."

For what it's worth, White had previously attempted to force Phillips out by voting to recommend he resign; Phillips was replaced in May 2017 by Robin Hines, who was recommended by the Board of Trustees for the job. Meanwhile, Georgia State Representative John Meadows supported a bill to replace the GHSA with a new statewide governing body, acknowledging that he receives "more complains about the GHSA—from schools, referee, coaches and parents—than about everything else put together."
Related PostDangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call (5/22/17)

Anticipating backlash for his decision to overturn a judgment call, White wrote, "We have set a precedent, so we need to get ready because there will probably be other people coming to see us."

White's anticipated day of reckoning has arrived in the form of another judgment call "appeal"—this time in football.

An incomplete pass on fourth down in GA.
Peach County High School Football Call: A petition circulated by Dimetria Whittaker of Fort Valley, GA calls on the GHSA to overturn a football official's judgment call of "incomplete pass"; Whittaker—and Peach County HS, which supports the petition—are asking GHSA change the call to that of "touchdown," and, in doing so, disregard GHSA Bylaw 2.92(e) regarding the prohibition of video replay in Georgia high school sports. Following Johns Creek's lead, Peach County is bypassing the lower GHSA bodies and going straight to the GHSA Board of Trustees and President Glenn White with an appeal, not a protest.

The controversy occurred with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter of the GHSA Football Class AAA championship game between Calhoun and Peach County on December 8. Down 10-6, Peach County attempted a pass play on fourth down, with receiver Noah Whittington appearing to catch the pass en route to the end zone. However, the play was declared incomplete as the ball rolled on the ground when Whittington extended it over the goal line. At least one commenter posited that Whittington had stepped out of bounds to evade his defender prior to catching the pass, which would be a foul for illegal participation, as in NFHS Rule 9-6-2, which states, "No player shall intentionally go out of bounds during the down and: a. Return to the field; b. Intentionally touch the ball; c. Influence the play; or d. Otherwise participate." The penalty for illegal participation is a loss of 15 yards (not an incomplete pass).
Related VideoPeach County incomplete pass at 4Q 3:40 wipes out possible late TD

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

KBO Fines Korean Teams That Sent Money to Ex-Ump Choi

South Korea's Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) fined three teams 10 million won ($9,230) each for wiring money to disgraced KBO umpire Choi Kyu-Soon in 2012 and 2013. Choi was indicted on gambling and fraud charges in October 2017 and last umpired KBO baseball during the 2013 season.

Former KBO ump Choi Kyu-Soon (C).
Photo from YonHap News Agency.
Choi's purported misconduct goes beyond simply taking money from baseball teams, allegedly borrowing 35 million won ($30,900) from the clubs plus friends, and then failing to pay them back.

Choi allegedly gambled away most of the borrowed money, with prosectors clearing Choi of the more sinister charge of match-fixing or bribery: Choi allegedly engaged in "personal misdeeds," though officials declined to state the precise nature of Choi's gambling and wagers.

According to YonHap News Agency, the Samsung Lions, Nexen Heroes, and Kia Tigers are the three KBO clubs accused of paying Choi in violation of KBO rules prohibiting financial transactions of any kind between club employees and umpires.

The alleged wire transfers are as follows:
> Samsung to Choi, 4 million won (about $3,700) in 2013;
> Next Heroes, 3 million won (about $2,800) in 2013;
> Kia Tigers, 1 million won (about $925) in 2012;
> Kia Tigers, 1 million won (about $925) in 2013.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Triple-A Call-Up and Fill-In Outlook - 2017 Results

With the 2017 season in the books, we revisit MLB Umpire Observer's hiring outlook and MiLB roundup of Triple-A call-up umpires, with analysis and numbers updated for the offseason. The following list is a follow-up to similar analytics compiled at the 2017 All-Star Break (ASB). Three Tiers are discussed: Tier 1 is classed as most likely to be imminently hired, Tier 2 follows with a year or more remaining in development and Tier 3 are the newest umpires. Casualties are in red.
Related PostFuture MLB Umpire Hiring Outlook at the Break (7/14/17).

Stu Scheurwater - (100 games in 3 years + 153 games in 2017 = 253 total), age in 2018: 35.
ASB Power Ranking: 1. Most likely to be hired full-time in 2018.
End of Year Ranking: 1 (-). Most likely to be hired full-time in 2018. Tier 1 leader.

Chris Segal - (248 games in 3 years + 124 games in 2017 = 372 total), age in 2018: 36.
ASB Power Ranking: 7. Tier 2 - likely to be hired in 2019, but possibly not 2018.
End of Year Ranking: 2 (↑5). Heaviest post-ASB use (77 games), Tier 1 looking for imminent hire.

Ryan Blakney - (230 games in 2 years + 119 games in 2017 = 349 total), age in 2018: 33.
ASB Power Ranking: 6. Likely to be hired either this or next offseason.
End of Year Ranking: 3 (↑3). Heavy usage post-ASB (68 games), Tier 1 fast-tracking behind Segal.

Chad Whitson - (67 games in 3 years + 124 games in 2017 = 191 total), age in 2018: 36.
ASB Power Ranking: 2. Steadily climbing, in line for hiring after next season.
End of Year Ranking: 4 (↓2). Heavy usage post-ASB (60 games), should be first or second in Tier 2.

Nic Lentz - (105 games in 1 year + 109 games in 2017 = 214 total), age in 2018: 28.
ASB Power Ranking: 5. Very likely to remain on constant call-up duty while gaining MLB experience.
End of Year Ranking: 5 (-). Schedule suggests a strong developmental preference to lead Tier 3.

Tom Woodring (192 games in 3 years + 107 games in 2017 = 299 total), age in 2018: 36.
ASB Power Ranking: 4. Unclear how he is perceived by League brass.
End of Year Ranking: 6 (↓2). A reversal from just 36 games in 2016, another year+ as mid-Tier 2.

Ben May - (187 games in 3 years + 104 games in 2017 = 291 total), age in 2018: 36.
ASB Power Ranking: 9. Filler call-up as younger umpires are developed (based on 36 games at ASB).
End of Year Ranking: 7 (↑2). Heavy usage post-ASB (68 games) suggests a second look is in play.

Ramon De Jesus - (97 games in 1 year + 81 games in 2017 = 178 total), age in 2018: 34.
ASB Power Ranking: 8. Wobbler between Tiers 1 and 2.
End of Year Ranking: 8 (-). Likely amongst top candidates in Tier 2 or 2019 and beyond class.

Sean Barber - (217 games in 3 years + 67 games in 2017 = 284 total), age in 2018: 33.
ASB Power Ranking: 13. Not seen in baseball's immediate full-time future.
End of Year Ranking: 9 (↑4). Heavy usage post-ASB (54 games), Low Tier 2 candidate.

Roberto Ortiz - (8 games in 1 year + 66 games in 2017 = 74 total), age in 2018: 33.
ASB Power Ranking: 12. 'Tweener looking for at least 60 games by year's end as an encouraging sign.
End of Year Ranking: 10 (↑2). Solid potential Tier 3 umpire for pipeline development.

Ryan Additon - (rookie + 55 games in 2017 = 55 total), age in 2018: 32.
ASB Power Ranking: 14. Promising young rookie.
End of Year Ranking: 11 (↑3). Mid-Tier 3 umpire with room for development and growth.

Shane Livensparger - (rookie + 40 games in 2017 = 40 total), age in 2018: 34.
ASB Power Ranking: 11. Looking for further development in 2018 and beyond.
End of Year Ranking: 12 (↓1). Mid-Tier 3 umpire behind Additon.

Nick Mahrley - (rookie + 31 games in 2017 = 31 total), age in 2018: 35.
ASB Power Ranking: 16. Freshest of all new call-ups for 2017; only one to debut post-ASG.
End of Year Ranking: 13 (↑3). Fairly optimistic schedule during the second half of 2017.

John Libka - (rookie + 19 games in 2017), age in 2018: 31.
ASB Power Ranking: 15. Bottom of Tier 3 amongst the call-up class of 2017.
End of Year Ranking: 14 (↑1).

Clint Fagan - (453 games in 6 years + 69 games in 2017 = 522 total), age in 2018: 36.
ASB Power Ranking: 3. Possible hire in 2018 IF persevering through constantly getting passed over.
End of Year Ranking: 15 (↓12). Largest fall; a casualty of MLB's failure to hire while he was primed.

Toby Basner - (323 games in 5 years + 26 games in 2017), age in 2018: 33.
ASB Power Ranking: 10. Phasing out started in 2015 and continued in 2017. Looking like release.
End of Year Ranking: 16 (↓6). Second-largest fall behind Fagan; writing on the wall, this is the end.

Umpires that may retire in the next couple of years: Gerry Davis, Dana DeMuth, Joe West, Gary Cederstrom, Tom Hallion, Phil Cuzzi, Jerry Layne, Larry Vanover, Dale Scott (in relation to his April 14 injury), Kerwin Danley (for no other reason than unrelenting history of head trauma).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2017 Rules Summit - Results

The following are results of the 2017 UEFL Rules Summit. Notable changes for 2018 include elimination of the Triple-A ejection bonus point, renaming of the Declining Umpire Award to Most Disappointing Season, elimination of the Worst Umpire of the Year Award, and 30+ day absence replacement eligibility. Appeals Board re-election results are also posted.

Items which have gained passage (indicated in green highlight) will become rules for the 2018 UEFL season. Text of items which did not pass are indicated in red highlight.

Rule 1 - Selection of Umpires
Prop 1-2: Addition of Drafted Crew Chief - 27.0% YES.
> Would have added one crew chief (2 cc). Count remains one (cc).

Prop 1-3: Restructuring of Drafted Crew - 25.8% YES.
> Would have modified crew structure to (cc + 1 PRM + 1 SEC + 1 Fill-In); structure remains as (cc + 2 PRM + 2 SEC).

Prop 1-5-b: Mid-Season Replacement - 68.9% YES.
> Any consecutive 30+ day absence during the season qualifies as a circumstance for replacement.

Prop 1-5-c: Trade and Switch - 34.9% YES.
> Would have authorized one mid-season trade or replacement at the All-Star Break.

Rule 3 - Crew Division
Prop 3-3: Penalty for Incorrect Ejection - 41.9% YES.
> Would have deducted one point (-1) from crew chief's score for an incorrect crew ejection.

Rule 4 - League Scoring
Prop 4-2-a: Elimination of AAA Bonus Point - 55.6% YES.
> Eliminates the Triple-A ejection bonus point; all ejections are now allocated two base points.

Prop 4-2-b-3: Full Game Performance Points - 41.9% YES.
> Would have allowed full-game accuracy to mitigate QOCN ball/strike ejection loss of points.

Prop 4-3-c: Post-Season Appearance Points - 35.5% YES.
> Would have added one point to each round of the postseason.

Prop 4-4-h: Modification of Declining Umpire Award - 60.6% YES (Renaming), 30% Elimination.
> "Most Declining Umpire the Year" shall be renamed to "Most Disappointing Season."

Prop 4-4-i: Elimination of Worst Umpire Award - 51.5% YES.
> The "Worst Umpire of the Year" Award is removed from the postseason awards slate.

Rule 6 - Challenges and Appeals
Prop 6-1: Challenger Eligibility - 24.6% YES.
> Would have allowed any person logged into DISQUS to file a challenge.

Prop 6-2-b-1: Pitch f/x and Statcast - 75.9% YES.
> Statcast language shall be adopted while allowing Pitch f/x terms to still be used interchangeably.

Prop 6-2-b-5: Consistency and Meals Rule - 20.3% YES.
> Would have allowed consistent intra-at-bat ball/strike calls to be QOCU instead of QOCN.

Prop 6-2-b-5-c: Check Swings - 35.5% YES.
> Would have removed automatic Appeals Board referral for Check Swings.

Prop 6-4-a-3: Appeals Board Terms of Office - 45.2% YES.
> Would have extended at-large Appeals Board members' terms of office from one to two years.

Prop 6-4-a-4: Early Re-Election Elimination - 23.7% YES.
> Would have eliminated at-large Appeals Board members' re-election votes in the Rules Summit.

Prop 6-5-a -b: Appeal Language - 81.4% YES.
> UEFL Rules language for appeals shall be changed to match Appeals Board internal terminology.

Prop 6-5-c-5: Realistic Result - 32.8% YES.
> Would have removed the 3-0 count from list of "different outcome" counts.

Rule 8 - Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues
Prop 8-1: Restrict Commenters - 49.2% YES.
> Would have restricted commenting to only members registered and signed into DISQUS.

Prop 8-1-h: Comment Penalty - 27.0% YES.
> Would have instituted a mandatory seven-day penalty for violative/removed comments.

Prop 8-5: League Fee and Prizes - 11.7% YES.
> Would have instituted a fee for the league and allowed for a year-end prize.

UEFL Appeals Board (The Following At-Large Members sought re-election to the Board)
Arik G - 87.5% YES.
cyclone14 - 87.0% YES.
jvick2017 - 73.6% YES.
MarkCanada - 86.5% YES.
MLBUmpireObserver - 89.1% YES.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 AFL Championship Game Roster

The following four minor league umpires officiated Saturday's Arizona Fall League Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium. The AFL staff includes 12 officials from Triple-A Baseball's International (IL) and Pacific Coast (PCL) Leagues.

Related Post2017 Arizona Fall League Umpire Roster

2017 AFL Championship Game Umpires
HP: Roberto Ortiz, IL. 2016 AFL, MLB Fill-In.
1B: Bryan Fields, PCL. 2017 MiLB Postseason.
2B: Jeremie Rehak, IL. 2017 MLB Spring Training2017 MiLB Postseason.
3B: Garrett Patterson, PCL. 2016 AFL, 2017 MLB Spring Training2017 MiLB Postseason.

Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 UEFL Rules Summit Ballot and Voting

Voting is now open for the 2017 UEFL Rules Summit. Visit the Discussion thread for a detailed look at the various proposals and items up for consideration in this year's ballot.

Each measure up for vote is listed in the following ballot, including descriptions. Upon Commissioner approval, all proposals receiving a majority of votes, or a plurality where appropriate pursuant to Rule 8-3, will become rules for the 2018 UEFL season. Each at-large Appeals Board member receiving a majority of votes cast in the affirmative shall be re-elected to the 2018 UEFL Appeals Board.

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

The 2017 Rule Summit includes 21 Rules proposals, and five Appeals Board retention polls. You may vote in as many or as few polls as you wish, but only may submit one ballot. We will review voting records to determine ballot authenticity and adjust the record appropriately to account for suspicious or fraudulent activity or conduct, pursuant to the framework and procedure delineated by UEFL Rule 4-4-j. Click "read more" to access the ballot.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rob Manfred Vows Pace of Play Rules Changes for 2018

Speaking at an owner's meeting, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated pace of play rules changes are coming in 2018, with or without support from the player's association, though he prefers MLBPA's sign-off.

MiLB's pitch clock is coming.
The Arizona Fall League is presently testing several pace of play-related rules. Here's a look at the AFL rules tests from the 2016 and 2017 October-November seasons.

2016 Arizona Fall League Pace of Play Initiatives:
In 2016, MLB tested the following pace-of-play rule modifications during the Arizona Fall League. Those adopted by MLB for the 2017 season are indicated by an asterisk (*); those adopted by Minor League Baseball are indicated by a caret (^):
> 2:15 Inning Break and 2:25 Pitching Change Timers^, beginning at the third out or call to the pen.
> Batter's Box Rule^*, requiring the batter keep a foot in the box absent exceptions (repeat of 2014/15).
> 15-Second Pitch Clock^, during which the pitcher must begin his motion or come set (penalty: ball).
> 35 Seconds Between Batters Timer, beginning as soon as the prior play concludes (same penalty).
> 30 Second Mound Visit Timer^, at which time coaches and teammates must vacate the mound.
> Three "Time Out" Rule, capping "Time" conferences at three per game, per team (repeat of 2014/15).
^Note: some MiLB adoptions were not MiLB-wide, but league specific (e.g., the FSL or A-ball).
*Other adoptions appeared during previous AFLs (e.g., the no-pitch intentional walk - 2014 AFL)
Pitch Clock Penalties: If the pitcher fails to begin his pitching position within 20 seconds, the umpire shall call a ball. If the batter steps out of the box without authorization at any time during the 20-second countdown, the pitcher may pitch the ball for a called strike.

2017 Arizona Fall League Pace of Play Initiatives:
> 2:15 Inning Break Clock, a repeat of the 2016 experiment (in 2014, for instance, it was 2:05).
> 12-Second Pitch Clock with No Runners On Base, down from 15 seconds in 2016.
> 15-Second Pitch Clock with Runners on Base, identical to the 2016 experimental rule.
> 30 Seconds Between Batters, which is five seconds fewer than the 2016 AFL rule.
> 30 Second Mound Visit Timer, same as the 2016 provision.
> Extra-Inning Runner, beginning in the 10th inning, and placing a runner at second base prior to the inning's commencement (the runner is the player who immediately precedes the lead-off batter).

Some AFL 'ideas' already exist in OBR...
Some of these "experiments," such as the 2016 AFL's batter's box rule, already exist in the Official Baseball Rules. For instance, existing Rule 5.04(b)(4)(A) states, "The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the batter’s time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate." The exceptions listed in OBR (swing, bunt, check swing appeal, forced off balance by a pitch, "Time" called, pickoff/play at a base, pitcher leaves mound, catcher leaves box, wild pitch, passed ball) correspond precisely to the exceptions indicated by the 2016 AFL rule.

...They're just not enforced in MLB.
Similarly, in 2017, the 12-second pitch clock with no runners on base corresponds to existing Official Baseball Rule 5.07(c), Pitcher Delays, which states, "When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call 'Ball.'" Again, the rule already exists, but it appears MLB, and AFL, is simply trying to strictly enforce it.

Here's an example of the issue with 12-second violation enforcement: 2B Umpire Doug Eddings, using his stopwatch, attempted to apply the rule in 2007 against Cleveland, calling pitcher Rafael Betancourt for an automatic ball for taking longer than 12 seconds to deliver a 0-2 pitch to batter Carlos Guillen with no runners on base in the 8th inning. Then-Indians Manager Eric Wedge ran out of the dugout and vehemently argued the call with Eddings, resulting a delay much longer than 12 seconds.

Undeterred, Eddings would later call Betancourt for another 12-second violation in the 9th inning.

Said umpire supervisor Jim McKean, "It wastes more time if you call it than if you don't call it, because as soon as you call it you've got a full-scale argument...the clubs will complain."

Baseball hopes that by putting the time on stadium-wide pitch clocks visible to all participants, an umpire's enforcement of the pace of play rules will become less controversial.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

2017 UEFL Rules Summit Discussion

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2017 UEFL Rules Summit, our annual forum for discussion of controversial issues which may have surfaced during the past season, setting forth a framework for rectifying these issues by amending the existing UEFL Rules Book ahead of the 2018 UEFL season.

This discussion thread is an open colloquium for proposal, discussion and debate of potential rules changes. This thread will remain open through Thursday, November 16, at which time voting will proceed—voting will not occur prior to that date. This will provide ample time for proposal and subsequent discussion of possible rules changes for the 2018 season. If necessitated by certain below decisions, a Summit runoff ballot may be presented after the initial voting closes.

You may propose a rules change by replying in a comment to this post and the following list, accordingly, will be routinely updated to reflect such proposals. Nonmaterial proposed modifications and cascading editorial changes are underlined, deletions are printed in strikethrough and material additions are bold faced.  Comments/rationale not part of the actual book are indicated by italics. Individual propositions are preceded by the ">>" bullet point symbol.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires).
>> 1-2. ...each member of the league shall select one two MLB crew chiefs to serve as UEFL crew chiefs.
COMMENT: Adds a second crew to chief to list of drafted umpires (2 cc + 2 PRM + 2 SEC = 6).
>> 1-3. ...each member of the league shall select two one umpires...Primary umpires may not be Triple-A call-ups... [Primary Umpire]
      1-4. ...league members select two one additional umpires. [Secondary Umpire]
      1-6. Subsequent to the Secondary Draft, each league member shall select one umpire chosen only from the list of umpires classified as "AAA" or fill-in. [Fill-In Umpire]
COMMENT: Replaces current 1 cc + 2 PRM + 2 SEC crew with 1 cc + 1 PRM + 1 SEC + 1 Fill-In.
>> 1-5-b. An umpire may be replaced pursuant to 1-5-a if the originally drafted or replaced umpire has missed at least 30 consecutive days during the season.
COMMENT: Authorizes replacement of a clearly absent or injured umpire midseason.
>> 1-5-c. Up to one umpire of any class, regardless of injury status, may be replaced at the All-Star Break pursuant to the procedure prescribed in UEFL Rule 1-5-a concerning points structure.
COMMENT: Authorizes a midseason "trade" or replacement of no more than one healthy drafted umpire.

Rule 2 (The Season).

Rule 3 (Crew Division).
>> 3-3. ...Each incorrect ejection committed by a UEFL crew chief's crew shall result in the subtraction of one (-1) point toward a UEFL member's overall score...
COMMENT: Changes present rule (+0) to (-1) for an incorrect call by a crew chief's crew.

Rule 4 (League Scoring).
>> 4-2-a-1. 3 points for each non-incorrect ejection by a primary AAA umpire; OR a. In the event of an ejection resulting from an incorrect call, either by himself or a crewmate, the AAA Umpire will receive just 2 base points instead of 3 points.
     4-2-a-2. 2 points for each ejection by a primary MLB umpire...
COMMENT: Eliminates bonus point for QOCY and QOCU ejections by a AAA-level umpire.
>> 4-2-b-3-i. +2 points, applied concurrently with -4 QOCN (thus, -4 + 2 = -2) for a QOCN ball/strike ejection wherein the umpire achieved 95.0% or greater accuracy for the entire game. [AND]
     4-2-b-3-ii. +1 points, applied concurrently with -4 QOCN (thus, -4 + 1 = -3) for a QOCN ball/strike ejection wherein the umpire achieved 93.0-94.9% accuracy for the entire game.
COMMENT: Allows umpire to earn points to mitigate the -4 QOCN penalty based on whole-game performance.
>> 4-3-c. Post-season appearance points... (1) Wild Card +2, Division Series +3, Championship Series +4, World Series +5.
COMMENT: Adds one additional point per round for on-field postseason umpires.
>> 4-4-h. An umpire recognized as Most Declining Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire) will receive -1 bonus points.
EDITORIAL CHANGE: 4-4: Umpires receiving the distinction of subsection (h/i) will have shown a regression in ability and might have had a regrettable situation occur in-season.
COMMENT: Eliminates one of the two negative postseason UEFL Awards.
>> 4-4-h. An umpire recognized as Most Disappointing Season (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire) will receive -1 bonus points.
COMMENT: Replaces "Most Declining" with an award whose vision and mission is clearer.
>> 4-4-i. An umpire recognized as Worst Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire) will receive -3 bonus points.
EDITORIAL CHANGE: 4-4. ...Umpires receiving the distinction of subsection (h/i) will have shown a regression in ability and might have had a regrettable situation occur in-season.
COMMENT: Eliminates one of the two negative postseason UEFL Awards.

Rule 5 (Statistics).

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals).
>> 6-1. Any logged-in person may file a UEFL Challenge.
COMMENT: Allows any person logged into DISQUS to challenge/appeal an Original Ruling.
>> 6-2-b-1. In rendering QOC regarding a pitch location (ball/strike), Pitch f/x, or Statcast, whose titles shall herein be used interchangeably, shall be the primarily cited source.
EDITORIAL CHANGE: 6-2-b-2. ...shall be calculated using pitch f/x, or statcast, data.
COMMENT: Acknowledges MLB/MLBAM's change to the Statcast platform while allowing the "Pitch f/x" phrase to continue to be used, so as to maintain consistency in identifying the stats' purpose.
>> 6-2-b-5. A balls/strikes ejection concerning multiple similar ball/strike calls during the same at-bat may be deemed irrecusable if the multiple calls were consistently officiated, even if otherwise QOCY or QOCN. May be referred to as the "Meals Rule."
COMMENT: Neither rewards nor punishes umpire whose pitch calls were consistent during the eventful AB.
>> 6-2-b-5-c. Ejections for the reason of "Check Swing" shall be adjudicated based on whether the batter attempted to strike the pitch as the pitch crossed home plate automatically, be referred to the UEFL Appeals Board for QOC determination. No UEFL Challenge shall be accepted for any such ejection.
COMMENT: Eliminates automatic Appeals Board review of check swings and restores the ability of the membership to challenge the Original Ruling via referral to the Appeals Board.
>> 6-4-a-3. At-large terms shall be limited to two years one year in length with no term limits.
COMMENT: Extends at-large UEFL Appeals Board terms from one to two years (3 elections each year).
>> 6-4-a-4. At the conclusion of the season and during the Rules Summit, Appeals Board members may sit for re-election/retention. An absolute majority is required for re-election. If a Board member fails to ascertain this during a first ballot, a run-off may be initiated.
COMMENT: Eliminates Appeals Board re-election vote prior to the general pre-season election.
>> 6-5-a. In the event that a play under appeal can be conclusively categorized or adjudged as Correct/Incorrect as a result of this action, through the use of conclusive and/or clear and/or convincing evidence, the appeal shall be either Upheld or Denied Original Ruling shall be confirmed or overturned, as specified in Rule 6-4-b-1 or -2, respectively.
COMMENT: Aligns language with actual voting terminology used by the UEFL Appeals Board.
>> 6-5-b. In the event that a play under appeal cannot be conclusively categorized or adjudged as Correct/Incorrect as a result of this action, through the lack of conclusive nor clear nor convincing evidence, the appeal shall be upheld or deferred, as specified in Rule 6-4-b-2 or -3, respectively.
COMMENT: Aligns language with actual voting terminology used by the UEFL Appeals Board.
>> 6-5-c-5-b. YES (Defense) = x-2, 1-x, 2-x, 3-1, or 3-2 or 3-x ==> Called Ball. [AND]
     6-5-c-5-c. NO (Offense) = 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 ==> Called Strike.
RATIONALE: Changes ball/strike ejection pitch count criteria, specifically related to a 3-0 pitch ruled a "strike." Disqualifies a 3-0 strike from being considered as having "realistically resulted in a different outcome of the at-bat," provided the ejection occurred after the at-bat's conclusion or other subsequent pitch (e.g., an ejection after the 3-0 pitch, but prior to the 3-1 pitch, will still be QOC adjudicated based on the QOC of the strike one call).


Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References).

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues).
>> 8-1. Comments shall be restricted to members registered with the DISQUS commenting platform.
COMMENT: Turns off guest comments; reduces likelihood of spam, violative, and/or trolling.
>> 8-1-h. Any removed comment shall result in a seven-day penalty wherein the offending author may not receive league points for a seven-day period, beginning after comment removal.
COMMENT: Creates a stricter penalty for removed comments; eliminates penalty discretion.
>> 8-5. A grand prize shall be instituted and awarded to the UEFL member who earns the most points at the end of the postseason. As such, a league entry fee shall be imposed at an amount set by the Commissioner, which must be paid prior to the start of the regular season.
     Note: Pursuant to Rules vote, participation in the official Umpire Ejection Fantasy League shall remain free of charge to members.
COMMENT: Adds a prize for the winner while instituting a registration fee; eliminates free play.

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions).


The final portion of the Rules Summit ballot will feature 2017 UEFL Appeals Board members seeking re-election for 2018, as afforded by the process delineated by UEFL Rule 6-4-a-4. Click here to view the Board's decisions in 2017.

Following the 2017 Rules Summit's discussion phase, voting will occur. No voting shall take place prior to 11/16, until the discussion phase has ended and all proposals become part of the finalized ballot.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 UEFL Final Standings and the Perfect Crew

With UEFL awards season now complete, it is time to unveil the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's Final Standings for 2017, as well as the Perfect Crew. This year's "Perfect Score" was 112 while the lowest score possible was -39, a spread of 151 points.

2017 Perfect Crew (Highest Scoring Crew): 112 points.
Crew Chief: Joe West (23 pts).
Primary Umpires: Will Little (26 pts) & Vic Carapazza (22 pts).
Secondary Umpires: Mark Wegner (23 pts) & Chad Fairchild (18 pts).

2017 Imperfect Crew (Lowest Scoring Crew): -39 points.
Crew Chief: Jerry Meals (-6 pts).
Primary Umpires: Tony Randazzo (-6 pts) & Dan Bellino (-6 pts).
Secondary Umpires: DJ Reyburn (-12 pts) & Lance Barrett (-9 pts).

Joe West led 2017's "Perfect Crew."
UEFL Final Standings (Ties resolved per Rule 5-3)
1) tjskip (87 pts).
2) Aztrini47 (68 pts).
3) Bino (64 pts).
4) wgvaz (64 pts).
5) sonderweg74 (62 pts).
6) KTurner14 (62 pts).
7) toss 'em (62 pts).
8) Bryce Swanson (62 pts).
9) spballsandstrikes (61 pts).
10) writingump (61 pts).
11) jwwhite47 (60 pts).
12) dwlockman (59 pts).
13) skippyINC (59 pts).
14) hadstein87 (58 pts).
15) L'Ump (58 pts).
16) MWmoney (57 pts).
17) Denny Crane (56 pts).
18) FVB6 (54 pts).
19) Burtrh3 (54 pts).
20) Jeremy407 (53 pts).
21) s0m0teitbe (52 pts).
22) dmcneeley (52 pts).
23) emkst22 (52 pts).
24) Bluewillie100 (51 pts).
25) davidsteinle (50 pts).
26) Bleacher Bums (49 pts).
27) Commander Red (49 pts).
28) Spence1222 (48 pts).
29) Mortonkc (47 pts).
30) 618Umpire (47 pts).
Complete Final Standings, points, and results available via the UEFL Portal: 2017 Standings page.

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

2017 UEFL Award for Umpire of the Year - Mark Wegner

Mark Wegner is the UEFL's (Best) Umpire of the Year for 2017 [2016: Chris Guccione].
Voting Results (Top 5): Wegner (34.2%), Alfonso Marquez (7.0%), Jim Reynolds (6.1%), Chad Fairchild (5.3%), Ted Barrett/Laz Diaz/Hunter Wendelstedt (3.5%).

Award Winner: Mark Wegner.
Mark Wegner wins the UEFL Umpire of the Year Award for 2017. In his 20th season in the majors, Wegner went ejection-less until the postseason, when he ejected then-Red Sox Manager John Farrell for arguing balls and strikes, drawing praise in opting not to ejected batter Dustin Pedroia for Pedroia's unsporting actions. Wegner also finished seventh in Replay with 15-of-21 affirmed calls (.714 RAP), including two in the World Series.
Related Post: MLB Ejection P-1 - Mark Wegner (1; John Farrell) (10/9/17).

Wegner's heads-up year started early with a ball out of play & base award ruling on the very first day of Spring Training back in February: While players and coaches stood around after a thrown ball exited the playing field, 3B Umpire Wegner alertly awarded bases, apparently one of the only people on the field paying attention to the ball's journey as it bounced into, and then out of the dugout and back onto the playing field.
Related Post: First Play of Spring - Overthrown Two Base Award (2/24/17).

In the end, it was Wegner serving as plate umpire for Game 7 of the World Series as the Astros defeated the Dodgers, marking his fifth consecutive year appearing in either the League Championship Series or World Series—the only umpire to possess such an active streak. Wegner has now made the postseason every year since suffering a torn calf muscle in 2011.
Related Post: Umpire Odds & Ends: Wegner Injured (5/28/11).

UEFL Awards History, Mark Wegner
Noteworthy (Promising) Umpire of the Year: 2013.

Mark Wegner now has 24 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (19 Previous + 5 Award = 24).
Final Standings will be released later tonight.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2017 UEFL Award for Ejection of the Year - Gerry Davis

Gerry Davis had the Best Ejection of the Year for 2017 [2016: Joe West & Bob Davidson].
Voting Results (Top 4): Davis-109 (56%); Bellino-FAN/Cuzzi-117/Kulpa-001/Little-WBC6 (4%).

Award Winner: Gerry Davis.
In MLB Ejections 109-110 - Gerry Davis (1-2; Beltre, Banister), 2B Umpire Gerry Davis ejected Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre for, essentially, moving the on-deck circle after being told to stay in the circle as the on-deck hitter. Late in a blowout game (the Marlins were leading Texas, 18-6), Davis walked from his position inside of second base toward the right field foul line and instructed on-deck batter Beltre to move from his position along the warning track behind the dirt circle to the batter's box between the dirt circle and dugout, pursuant to Rule 8.01(b) [authority to order a player to "do or refrain from doing anything which affects the administering of these rules"]. Beltre heard Davis' instruction of "stay in the circle" differently, as Adrian picked up the circle itself and dragged it toward his preferred position closer to the backstop behind home plate. Davis then ejected Beltre for objecting to his order, as in Rule 8.01(d), and Manager Jeff Banister for arguing Beltre's ejection, prompting many commenters to declare the odd exchange as Ejection of the Year-worthy.

Gerry Davis now has 13 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (12 Previous + 1 Award = 13).
The final postseason award, (Best) Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2017 Promising Umpires - Cory Blaser & Chad Fairchild

Cory Blaser & Chad Fairchild are 2017's Promising Umpires of the Year [2016: Holbrook & Porter].
Voting (Top 5): Blaser (12.9%), Fairchild (11.6%), Quinn Wolcott/John Tumpane (8.9%), Adam Hamari (7%).

Cory Blaser & Chad Fairchild are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 Promising Umpires of the Year.

Award Winner: Cory Blaser.
Blaser's season started early, with a trip to the World Baseball Classic in Japan, where Replay Review affirmed a fan interference call at the Tokyo Dome. He finished the regular season with zero ejections and a .591 Review Affirmation Percentage, 27th best in the league, earning a trip to the postseason where he plated Game 1 of the Cubs-Nationals NL Division Series, calling a neutral 96.7% game, eventually going three-for-three on reviews during the series. In complimenting Blaser, one commenter called him "a quality young ump who had a very good season & was excellent in the postseason."
Related PostDiscussion of 2017 AL and NL Division Series (10/5/17).

Award Winner: Chad Fairchild.
Fairchild's three ejections in 2017 accounted for his first dismissals since the 2015 season, when he ejected Terry Collins. Meanwhile, his two overturned calls in 13 total replays (.846 RAP) was fourth-best in baseball, leading to praise of a "terrific season" and "good situation handling" concerning his ejection of Jose Bautista in September. Fairchild earned his first League Championship Series assignment with a visit to the 2017 ALCS, working the plate for Game 1 and putting up the highest plate score of the 12 total LCS games at a 97.4% clip, along with two challenged and confirmed calls via replay in Games 1 and 2.
Related PostDiscussion of 2017 AL & NL League Championship Series (10/13/17).

UEFL Awards History, Cory Blaser & Chad Fairchild
None.

Cory Blaser now has 9 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (6 Prev + 3 Award = 9).
Chad Fairchild now has 21 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (18 Previous + 3 Award = 21).
The next postseason award, Ejection of the Year, will be released tonight.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017 UEFL Award for Honorable Umpire - John Tumpane

John Tumpane is 2017's Honorable Umpire of the Year [2016: Rob Drake & John Hirschbeck].
Voting Results (Top 5): Tumpane (37.4%), Phil Cuzzi (9.2%), Ted Barrett/Drake (6.5%), Bill Welke (5.2%).

John Tumpane is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 Honorable Umpire of the Year.

Award Winner: John Tumpane.
In his first complete season as a full-time MLB umpire, having been hired to the staff midway through the 2016 regular season, Tumpane ejected six players and managers, finishing 15th on the RAP leaderboard with a .647 (11-for-17) Review Affirmation Percentage.
Related PostMLB Officially Hires John Tumpane to Full-Time Staff (7/1/16).

On June 28, Tumpane intervened upon observing a woman standing on the river-bound side of the Roberto Clemente Bridge, speaking with her and eventually helping pull her back toward the bridge and away from the Allegheny River below.
Related PostMLB Umpire John Tumpane Saves Suicidal Woman's Life (6/28/17).
Related PostLet's Talk - Mental Health in an Abusive Environment (10/10/17).

After the regular season, Tumpane officiated his first postseason game as a member of Mike Winters' AL Wild Card Game crew; Tumpane's postseason assignment after just his first full season as a full-time umpire virtually ties a modern-era Major League record for quickest playoff assignment after hire (Ted Barrett, for instance, worked the 2000 National League Division Series round after promotion to the staff in July 1999).
Related Post2017 Wild Card & Division Series Umpires Roster (10/2/17).

UEFL Awards History, John Tumpane
Fill-In Umpire of the Year: 2015.

John Tumpane now has 18 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (16 Prev + 2 Award = 18).
The next postseason award, Promising Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2017 UEFL Award for Crew Chief - Ted Barrett

Ted Barrett wins the UEFL's 2017 Crew Chief of the Year Award [2016 Winner: Ted Barrett].
Voting Results (Top 3): Ted Barrett (24.5%), Joe West (16%), Mike Winters (12.3%).

Award Winner: Ted Barrett.
Ted Barrett is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 Crew Chief of the Year, which marks his third time winning the Crew Chief of the Year Award, and second consecutive award. In his 21st MLB season, Barrett experienced one ejection as the result of a correctly officiated balk call in Anaheim.
Related PostMLB Ejection 056 - Ted Barrett (1; Brian Snitker) (5/31/17).

Earlier in the season, Barrett identified the rarely-seen disruptive variety of unsportsmanlike conduct embodied in Rule 6.04—which prohibits any fielder from taking a position in the batter's line of vision and acting in a manner to distract the batter—and ordered the violative fielder Jonathan Villar to stay put with the help of 2B Umpire Lance Barksdale, who efficiently relayed the message.
Related PostCase Play 2017-3 - Illegal Batter Disconcertion [Solved] (4/27/17).

As was the case in 2016, all four members of Barrett's regular season crew—Barrett, Angel Hernandez, Lance Barksdale, and newcomer John Tumpane—officiated during the postseason, including Tumpane's first-ever selection to the playoffs.

All members of Barrett's crew worked October.
With his own ALDS selection this fall, Barrett has officiated the postseason for 13 consecutive years (2005-17). He finished 16th amongst 92 tracked umpires with a .643 Replay Affirmation Percentage, having been overturned five times in 14 reviews.

UEFL Awards History, Ted Barrett
Umpire of the Year: 2014.
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2012, 2013, 2014.
Crew Chief of the Year: 2014, 2016.

Ted Barrett now has 12 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (11 Previous + 1 Award = 12).
The next postseason award, Honorable Umpire of the Year, will be released tonight.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

2017 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - Stu Scheurwater

Stu Scheurwater wins UEFL's 2017 Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award [2016 Winner: Adam Hamari].
Voting Results (Top 3): Scheurwater (48.2%), Ryan Blakney (13.6%), Chris Segal (8.2%).

Award Winner: Stu Scheurwater.
Stu Scheurwater is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 Fill-In Umpire of the Year. In his fourth season as a Major League fill-in, Scheurwater worked the vast majority of the season at the MLB level, more than doubling his prior big league experience of 100 games from 2014-16, and spending the bulk on the season on the injured Dale Scott's crew.
Related PostA Look at the Dale Scott Crew Without Their Crew Chief (5/24/17).

Scheurwater concluded the season with five ejections, including his first career heave-ho in late April over a correctly officiated balk call. Said one commenter, "He handled both the call and the aftermath like a star. I have a feeling he is going to be full time next year."
Related PostMLB Ejection 021 - Stu Scheurwater (1; Buck Showalter) (4/30/17).

Scheurwater listens to and ejects Joe Girardi.
In Replay Review, Scheurwater's 11-for-21 affirmation rate (.524 RAP) beat out the league average of .504, and ranked fifth amongst call-up umpires (Sean Barber, Segal, Blakney, Shane Livensparger).

Scheurwater served in the Pacific Coast League in 2017, his sixth overall season in Triple-A.
Related Post2017 Pacific Coast League Umpire Roster (3/11/17).

UEFL Awards History, Stu Scheurwater
None.

Stu Scheurwater now has 11 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (9 Previous + 2 Award = 11).
The next postseason award, Crew Chief of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2017 UEFL Award for Most Improved - Marty Foster

Marty Foster wins the Most Improved Umpire Award for 2017. [2016 Winner: Angel Hernandez.]
Voting Results (Top 3): Marty Foster (37.1%), Phil Cuzzi/Dan Iassogna (5.2%).

Award Winner: Marty Foster.
Marty Foster is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 most improved umpire of the year. In his 22nd Major League Baseball umpiring season, Foster ejected three people and drew praise for improvement over the past few seasons working on veteran Mike Winters' crew: "Sometimes you just need that crew you work well with and Foster has found it."

For the first time in a decade, Foster earned a position in the postseason, serving on Ted Barrett's crew for the Boston-Houston American League Division Series.
Related Post2017 Wild Card & Division Series Umpires Roster (10/2/17).

Foster's three overturned calls via Replay Review—paired with seven affirmed rulings for a RAP of .700—earned him a RAP rank of ninth in the League, and a tie for sixth place for fewest overturns.

One commenter said, of Foster and the Most Improved award, "he's really the only candidate," and the voting results support that notion: Foster easily won this award, defeating tied-for-second umpires Cuzzi and Iassogna by over 30% of the vote.

UEFL Awards History, Marty Foster
Worst Umpire of the Year (2012, 2013).

Marty Foster now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Previous + 1 Award = 3).
The next postseason award, Fill-In Umpire of the Year, will be released tonight.

Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 UEFL Award for Most Declining - Paul Emmel

Paul Emmel wins the Most Declining Umpire Award for 2017. This award was not given from 2011-2016.
Voting Results (Top 3): Emmel (10.5%), Joe West (8.6%), Kerwin Danley/Jerry Layne (T-7.6%).

Award Winner: Paul Emmel.
Paul Emmel is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 most declining umpire of the year, which marks his first postseason award. In his 19th Major League Baseball umpiring season, Emmel was promoted to Crew Chief, having served as an acting crew chief on multiple occasions in 2016.
Related PostSource - Jim Joyce Retires, Holbrook & Emmel Promoted (1/16/17).

Emmel concluded the 2017 season with five ejections (.800 QOC) and 11 overturned calls via Replay Review out of 20 total calls sent to review (.450 RAP, ranked 53rd in the league).

In opting for Emmel for this selection, one commenter summarized 2017 as "a disaster of a season for him," referencing the aforementioned replay numbers, ball/strike statistics, and crew chief woes.

In regards to the latter, Emmel received criticism for his response during a September game wherein a fastball from Detroit pitcher Buck Farmer struck HP Umpire Quinn Wolcott on a direct shot as catcher John Hicks failed to catch the pitch. The offending fastball was Farmer's first pitch to Indians batter Yandy Diaz, effected immediately after Farmer walked Carlos Santana, and after Wolcott had ejected Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus and catcher James McCann for arguing a previous ball four call. No further ejections occurred.
Related PostMLB Ejections 172-173 - Quinn Wolcott (McCann, Ausmus) (9/13/17).

Quinn Wolcott is hit by a pitch in September.
In our visual analysis of the sequence, we noted that while 1B Umpire Brian O'Nora entered into a sprint toward home plate after Wolcott was struck by the pitch, 2B Umpire Emmel appeared to walk, then ultimately jog, to the plate. Noted one commenter, "Emmel shouldn't be the chief of this crew. Brian O'Nora should." Another said, "[Emmel] really needs to step it up."
Related PostDid Detroit Throw at Umpire Wolcott? A Visual Analysis (9/14/17).

Emmel, as crew chief, also presided over the first illegal re-entry in MLB history during an August game at Fenway Park when Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez replaced DH Chris Young in the top of the 9th inning, only for Young to illegally return and pinch hit for Ramirez in the bottom frame.
Related PostPlayer Illegally Re-Enters Game for 1st Time in MLB History (8/30/17)

In July, when Angel Hernandez sued the Commissioner's Office alleging racially-motivated discrimination, one of his arguments was that MLB promoted less qualified, white umpires to the position of Crew Chief, while more deserving minority umpires were passed over. While the suit did not specifically name Emmel (or any other individual umpire) as a less-deserving candidate for crew chief, one commenter included Emmel in a short list of recently promoted umpires that "are a bit questionable."
Related PostAngel Hernandez Sues MLB for Racial Discrimination (7/3/17).

UEFL Awards History, Paul Emmel
None.

Paul Emmel now has 11 points in the UEFL Standings (12 Previous - 1 Award = 11).
The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2017 UEFL Award for Worst Umpire - CB Bucknor

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its postseason awards schedule, beginning with the Worst Umpire of the Year, below, and continuing with Most Declining, Most Improved, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Honorable, Promising, Ejection(s) of the Year and concluding with Umpire of the Year. 127 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process.

UEFL Rule 4-4 governs postseason awards distribution, which begins with the Worst Umpire of the Year.

2017 UEFL Awards: Worst Umpire of the Year: CB Bucknor (54) [2016 Winner: Vic Carapazza].
Voting Results (Top 3): CB Bucknor (12.7%), Angel Hernandez (11.8%), Carlos Torres (11.8%).

Award Winner: CB Bucknor (54).
CB Bucknor receives the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2017 Worst Umpire of the Year Award. In his 22nd Major League Baseball umpiring season, Bucknor concluded the year with one ejection; he ejected once in 2016 and three in 2015. In a rare instance of an award apparently determined during the season's first month, Bucknor ejected Mariners Manager Scott Servais on April 16 (MLB Ejection 006 - CB Bucknor (1; Scott Servais)), with commenters acknowledging the correctness of the call, but decrying Bucknor's mechanics—first signaling "Time" before indicating "out" upon an apparent request by an opposing player—as contributing to the ejection.

Unfortunately, just days later, Bucknor was again involved in a controversial sequence, this time in Atlanta. On April 18, Bucknor called the Nationals and Braves back to the field after reversing an initial strikeout call to that of "foul ball." When the game concluded shortly thereafter, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth confronted Bucknor, airing further grievances through the media thereafter.
Related PostBucknor's False Strikeout, Non-Ejection (Jayson Werth) (4/18/17).

UEFL Awards History, CB Bucknor
Most Improved Umpire of the Year (2013, 2014).

CB Bucknor now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (7 Previous - 3 Award = 4).
The next postseason award, Most Declining Umpire of the Year, will be released later this afternoon.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

2017 Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game Roster

The Arizona Fall League selected four Minor League umpires to officiate Saturday's Fall Stars Game, played at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The AFL umpiring staff is composed of 12 umpires from the International (IL) and Pacific Coast (PCL) Leagues.

Related Post2017 Arizona Fall League Umpire Roster.

HP: Javerro "JJ" January. PCL, 1st AFL.
1B: Jansen Visconti. IL, 1st AFL.
2B: Ramon De Jesus. PCL, 2nd AFL, 2017 MLB Spring TrainingMLB Fill-In.
3B: Alex Tosi. IL, 1st AFL, 2017 MLB Spring Training.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

UEFL Year End Award Nominations for 2017

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League prepares to distribute 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). The process begins with nominations and voting.

a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire)
b. Promising 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 (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: 2017 MLB Ejections (UEFL Portal)]
h. Most Declining Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
i. Worst Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)

Click here for the complete history and list of UEFL Postseason Awards recipients.

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 Sunday, November 5; Awards distribution will begin Monday, 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 (-1); i. (-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, h, and i. You may also write in an umpire if such umpire does not appear by commenting on this post. Make sure you use the phrase "Write In" so it is counted.

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. Most Declining Umpire of the Year: The antithesis of the Most Improved Award, this umpire's performance may have dropped or declined more dramatically than any other. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.
i. 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.

The ballot is available below. Click "read more" to view and vote.