Saturday, May 13, 2017

Injury Scout - Hit in 5th & 8th, Randazzo Leaves in 14th

Tony Randazzo left Friday's Reds-Giants game in the 14th inning, hours after the umpire was hit in the head by a 5th inning Johnny Cueto pitch.

With one out and one on (R2) in the top of the 5th inning, Reds batter Billy Hamilton showed bunt, before pulling the bat back as Giants catcher Buster Posey failed to catch a 91.1 miles-per-hour fastball from pitcher Cueto, resulting in a direct shot into the lower center portion of Randazzo's traditional-style mask, and wild pitch.

After receiving medical attention, Randazzo remained in the game; in the top of the 8th inning, with two out and one on (R1), Reds batter Joey Votto fouled an 84.1 miles-per-hour slider from Cueto into the dirt, whereupon the ball bounced into Randazzo's midsection; Randazzo remained in the game until the conclusion of the 13th inning.

Randazzo was replaced behind home plate by 2B Umpire Clint Fagan, while base umpires Gerry Davis (1B, Crew Chief) and Rob Drake (3B) officiated the field for the rest of the contest. Ryan Blakney replaced Randazzo on Saturday.

Relevant Injury History: There is no recent relevant (e.g., head) injury history. Randazzo dislocated his knee in 2014 and was hit in the hip by a line drive in 2012 (though he remained in the game).

Last Game: May 12, 2017 | Return to Play: TBD | Total Time Absent: TBD.
Video available via "Read More"

Friday, May 12, 2017

MLB Ejection 034 - Adrian Johnson (1; Chase Headley)

HP Umpire Adrian Johnson ejected Yankees 3B Chase Headley (foul ball call/HBP no-call) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Astros-Yankees game. With two out and none on, Headley attempted to bunt a 0-1 cutter from Astros pitcher Will Harris for a foul ball. The pitched ball made contact with the area in which Headley held the bat as Headley attempted to pull the bunt back; New York declined to challenge the play. Replays do not suggest the pitched ball solely and initially contacted Headley's hand, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 4-0. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 5-1.

This is Adrian Johnson (80)'s first ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Adrian Johnson now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Eric Cooper now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).

This is the 34th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 13th player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Headley was 0-2 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is New York-AL's 2nd ejection of 2017, T-4th in the AL East (TOR 4; BAL, TB 3; BOS, NYY 2).
This is Chase Headley's first ejection since September 15, 2014 (Marty Foster; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Adrian Johnson's first ejection since May 21, 2016 (Kevin Long; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees, 5/12/17 | Video via "Read More"

Tmac's Teachable Moments - Standing Still

Today's Tmac Teachable Moment is about stillness. Sounds boring enough, but it could be the difference between a correct call and a rather ugly situation. The play takes us to Anaheim, where we have Alfonso Marquez at 3rd base as the 3B Umpire in a four-man umpiring system, but this play is relevant for a three- or two-umpire system. On this particular play we have three things happening.  There's a potential fair/foul decision, a possible HR, and a chance of a catch/no catch.

Marquez is still as he straddles the foul line.
We'll begin at the start of the video where Marquez correctly reads the swing and the ball off the bat, and IMMEDIATELY runs down the left field line reading his fielder in the process. It's impressive just how much distance he travels. What happens next is one of those, "I'm glad it's not me" plays, but Marquez handles it perfectly.

The key to this play is getting your head still. Look at the video at 1:03-1:04. This is textbook. Get as much distance as you can, then get still. Fonzie chooses to get hands on knees set, and the result is a correct fair call and a correct ball in play call. The play is so unique you'll notice he holds the safe mechanic for quite a while. This is important to note. You don't want to give a quick mechanic here and have people confused on the play.  The 2015 UEFL Umpire of the Year is making a run at another award with this call.

Here are some things to take away. It's important to be still for things like catch/no catch, fair/foul, and HR/No HR decisions. It can also be advantageous to acquire as much distance as you can.  One thing is certain: Watching one of the best in the world handle a tricky play this well is worth everyone's attention.

Video via "Read More"

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MLB Ejection 033 - Vic Carapazza (2; Pete Walker)

HP Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Blue Jays Pitching Coach Pete Walker (balls/strikes) in the top of the 3rd inning of the Indians-Blue Jays game. With none out and none on, Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano walked Indians batters Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion. Replays indicate that of the 10 callable pitches ruled "Ball" to all four Indians batters in the top of the 3rd preceding ejection, all 10 were properly officiated (10/10 = 100% Accuracy), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 3-3. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 8-7.

This is Vic Carapazza (19)'s second ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Vic Carapazza now has 11 points in the UEFL Standings (7 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 11).
Crew Chief Tom Hallion now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).

This is the 33rd ejection report of 2017.
This is Toronto's 4th ejection of 2017, 1st in the AL East (TOR 4; BAL, TB 3; BOS 2; NYY 1).
This is Pete Walker's first ejection since April 26, 2014 (Jeff Kellogg; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Vic Carapazza's 2nd ejection of 2017, 1st since May 8 (John Gibbons; QOC = Y [Obstruction]).

Wrap: Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 5/10/17 | Video via "Read More"

Charlesworth-Seiler 2nd Woman Hired into GCL in 2 Yrs

Minor League Baseball hired Emma Charlesworth-Seiler to umpire Gulf Coast League games, the latest woman to enter the professional officiating ranks, and first instance that two women have been hired into pro ball in back-to-back years in Minor League history.

MiLB Ump Emma Charlesworth-Seiler.
Photo: Historic Dodgertown.
Last season, MiLB hired Jen Pawol and similarly assigned her to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Pawol was promoted to the Short-A New York-Penn League ahead of the 2017 season.

Unlike Pawol, who was hired into pro baseball after a noteworthy college officiating career, Charlesworth-Seiler enters the Minor Leagues at just 22 years of age, with experience that includes Little League Baseball, Australian ball, scorer for the independent-league St. Paul Saints, and several MLB/MiLB programs and camps.

Charlesworth-Seiler's credentials include service as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in Minnesota and affiliation with the Halsey Hall (Twin Cities of Minnesota) chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), having served on the Women in Baseball Research Committee.

The complete list of women to have umpired in the Major/Minor League baseball system includes:
Bernice Gera (1972);
Christine Wren (1975-77);
Pam Postema (1977-89);
Theresa Cox Fairlady (1989-91);
Ria Cortesio (1999-2007);
Shanna Kook (2003-04);
Jen Pawol (2016-);
Emma Charlesworth-Seiler (2017-).

The Charlesworth-Seiler hire, on the heels of Pawol's MiLB foray, suggests a potential emphasis on opening baseball's umpiring door to women, which, eventually, and in what appears to be closer to fruition, will render obsolete articles like this one.

Still, there remains an ambition gap in camp and school attendance. Charlesworth-Seiler was the only woman out of 100 participants at the MiLB Umpire Training Academy in Vero Beach, Florida, which, like Pawol, she attended on a scholarship from MLB's Umpire Camps program.

Minor League Baseball's rookie-level Gulf Coast League begins its season on June 26, 2017.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MLB Ejection 032 - Laz Diaz (1; Daniel Murphy)

HP Umpire Laz Diaz ejected Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy (strike three call) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Nationals-Orioles game.* With none out and one on (R2), Murphy took a 3-2 fastball from Orioles pitcher Mychal Givens for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -1.049, pz 1.870 [sz_bot 1.565]), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 4-2. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 5-4, in 12 innings.

This is Laz Diaz (63)'s first ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Laz Diaz now has -3 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Previous + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = -3).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has -1 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = -1).
*Murphy struck out in the top of the 9th, but was not ejected until after the bottom half of the inning.
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 32nd ejection report of 2017.
This is the 12th player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Murphy was 1-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Washington's 1st ejection of 2017, T-2nd in the NL East (MIA 4; PHI, WAS 1; ATL, NYM 0).
This is Daniel Murphy's 1st ejection since April 27, 2014 (Seth Buckminster; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Laz Diaz's first ejection since May 9, 2016 (Jeff Banister; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles, 5/9/17 | Video via "Read More"

MLB Ejection 031 - Bill Welke (3; Kevin Cash)

3B Umpire Bill Welke ejected Rays Manager Kevin Cash (balk call; failure to notify umpires of Windup Position) in the top of the 3rd inning of the Royals-Rays game. With none out and one on (R3), Rays pitcher Matt Andriese attempted to deliver a 0-0 pitch to Rays batter Alcides Escobar, and was called for a balk. Replays indicate that prior to his delivery, Andriese stood with his pivot foot in contact with and parallel to the pitcher's plate and his free foot in front of the plate, as in Set Position, and then began his delivery by taking a step back with his free foot, as if in Windup Position while appearing to reset his pivot foot on the pitcher's plate, in contravention of the new hybrid position rule for the 2017 season, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 4-1. The Royals ultimately won the contest, 7-6, in 12 innings.

This is Bill Welke (3)'s third ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Bill Welke now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (-3 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 1).
Crew Chief Mike Everitt now has 5 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 5).
*This is a new rule for 2017Rule 5.07(a)(2) Comment (also new for 2017) states, "With a runner or runners on base, a pitcher will be presumed to be pitching from the Set Position if he stands with his pivot foot in contact with and parallel to the pitcher’s plate, and his other foot in front of the pitcher’s plate, unless he notifies the umpire that he will be pitching from the Windup Position under such circumstances prior to the beginning of an at-bat."
*See Rule 5.07(a) Comment (also new for 2017): "The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b)."
*Replays indicate Andriese failed to make such notification and declaration of his preferred stance (notice the pitch clock. Had the notification been made, the umpires would have declared "Time" and informed both teams of the Windup Position, and the pitch clock operator would have turned off the timer as a result of the "Time" call). The 2017 MLB Umpire Manual States: "Once the pitcher notifies the home plate umpire of his intention to pitch from the Windup, the umpire should call "Time"; the ball is dead; and the umpire should indicate to the other members of the crew and each Club that the pitcher has elected to pitch from the Windup." Thus, the fact that the pitch clock remained on until Andriese assumed his position on the mound (see 1:35 of the accompanying video) indicates that Andriese failed to notify the umpire-in-chief of his pitching position. Notice at 0:34 of the video, Welke asks HP Umpire Bruce Dreckman if Andriese notified him of his intent to work out of Windup Position.

This is the 31st ejection report of 2017.
This is the 19th Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Tampa Bay's 3rd ejection of 2017, T-1st in the AL East (BAL, TB, TOR 3; BOS 2; NYY 1).
This is Kevin Cash's 2nd ejection of 2017, 1st since April 19 (Larry Vanover; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Bill Welke's 3rd ejection of 2017, 1st since May 3 (Joe Girardi; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 5/9/17 | Video via "Read More"

MLB Ejections 029-30 - Andy Fletcher (2-3; MIA x2)

HP Umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Marlins CF Christian Yelich and Manager Don Mattingly (strike three call) in the bottom of the 1st inning of the Cardinals-Marlins game. With one out and none on, Yelich took a 2-2 curveball from Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and waist-high (px -.99, pz 3.14), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Andy Fletcher (49)'s second, third ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Andy Fletcher now has -2 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Previous + 2*[2 MLB - 4 Incorrect] = -2).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 7 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 7).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 29th, 30th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 11th player ejection of 2017. Prior to ejection, Yelich was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 18th Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Miami's 3rd/4th ejection of 2017, 1st in the NL East (MIA 4; PHI 1; ATL, NYM, WAS 0).
This is Christian Yelich's first career MLB ejection.
This is Don Mattingly's 3rd ejection of 2017, 1st since May 8 (H Wendelstedt; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Andy Fletcher's 2/3rd ejection of 2017, 1st since April 23 (Matt Barnes; QOC = U [Throwing At]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins, 5/9/17 | Video via "Read More"

Monday, May 8, 2017

MLB Ejection 028 - H Wendelstedt (1; Don Mattingly)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Marlins Manager Don Mattingly (strike three call) in the bottom of the 2nd inning of the Cardinals-Marlins game. With two out and none on, Marlins batter Derek Dietrich took a 1-2 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh high (px -.955, pz 2.526), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Cardinals were leading, 3-0. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 9-4.

This is Hunter Wendelstedt (21)'s first ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Hunter Wendelstedt now has -2 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect = -2).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 6 points in Crew Division (6 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 6).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 28th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 17th Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Miami's 2nd ejection of 2017, 1st in the NL East (MIA 2; PHI 1; ATL, NYM, WAS 0).
This is Don Mattingly's 2nd ejection of 2017, 1st since April 5 (Ron Kulpa; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's 1st ejection since February 25, 2017 (Edison Frias; QOC = U [Throwing At]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins, 5/8/17 | Video via "Read More"

MLB Ejection 027 - Vic Carapazza (1; John Gibbons)

2B Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons (obstruction call) in the top of the 8th inning of the Indians-Blue Jays game. With none out and two on (R2, R3), Indians batter Francisco Lindor hit a 0-2 slider from Blue Jays pitcher Joe Smith on a line drive to right field, whereupon right fielder Jose Bautista threw to first baseman Justin Smoak, who threw to shortstop Ryan Goins, to second baseman Devon Travis as Lindor became involved in a rundown between first and second base. Replays indicate that after Travis threw the ball back to Goins in furtherance of the rundown, he impeded Lindor's progress through his position in Lindor's base path, resulting in an Obstruction Type 1 (Type A) ruling awarding Lindor second base as the other Indians baserunners scored, the call was correct.* Ruling was challenged and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0-0), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Blue Jays were leading, 4-2. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

This is Vic Carapazza (19)'s first ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Vic Carapazza now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (3 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 7).
Crew Chief Tom Hallion now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
*Rule 6.01(h)(1) states, "If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction."
*Rule 6.01(h)(1) Comment: "When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls 'Time,' with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given."
*Definition of Terms: "OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner."

This is the 27th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 16th Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Toronto's 3rd ejection of 2017, T-1st in the AL East (BAL, TOR 3; BOS, TB 2; NYY 1).
This is John Gibbons' 3rd ejection of 2017, 1st since April 24 (Toby Basner; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Vic Carapazza's 1st ejection since July 1, 2016 (Russell Martin; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 5/8/17 | Video via "Read More"

Sunday, May 7, 2017

MLB Ejection 026 - Paul Emmel (2; Rick Renteria)

HP Umpire Paul Emmel ejected White Sox Manager Rick Renteria (strike two call) in the top of the 3rd inning of the White Sox-Orioles game. With one out and one on (R1), White Sox batter Avisail Garcia took a 2-1 slider from Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman for a called second strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 1.031, pz 2.158), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Orioles were leading, 4-0. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 4-0.

This is Paul Emmel (50)'s second ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Paul Emmel now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (3 Previous + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 1).
Crew Chief Paul Emmel now has 4 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 4).

This is the 26th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 15th Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Chicago-AL's 1st ejection of 2017, T-2nd in the AL Central (MIN 2; CWS, DET 1; CLE, KC 0).
This is Rick Renteria's first ejection since March 19, 2017 (Quinn Wolcott; QOC = U [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Paul Emmel's 2nd ejection of 2017, 1st since April 23 (Andy Green; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, 5/7/17 | Video via "Read More"

Balk - Pitcher Blown Off Mound, OBR Adopts Hybrid Rule

A gust of wind blew a pitcher off the mound for a balk, and hybrid stances are losing their luster thanks to a rules change enacted for the 2017 season.

Scribner literally falls off the mound.
With one out and a runner on second base during Saturday's Triple-A game between the Omaha Storm Chasers and Salt Lake Bees, Bees pitcher Troy Scribner prepared to deliver a 3-2 pitch to Storm Chasers batter Raul Mondesi. After assuming Set Position, Scribner noticed that winds in the ballpark had begun to pick off and attempted to step off the pitcher's plate.

Instead, with gusts at one point Saturday night topping 30 miles-per-hour, one such gale interrupted Scribner's step-off and caused him to stumble from the mound, off balance, resulting in a balk and baserunner R2 Dean Anna's advancement to third base as HP Umpire Nate White, joined by 1B Umpire Mike Cascioppo and 3B Umpire Paul Clemons, signaled the odd-looking infraction.

Unfortunately for Scribner, Balk Rule 6.02(a) makes no exception for extreme weather, and neither does Set Position Rule 5.07(a)(2).

Circa-2015 chart of Windup Position legality.
OBR: New Rule Resolves Windup vs Set Confusion.
Speaking of Rule 5.07(a)(2), baseball added a provision to the rule's comment regarding so-called hybrid stances, which in the past allowed the pitcher to skirt the Windup vs Set restrictions by assuming such a stance that allowed him to essentially choose either Windup or Set (without having to tell anyone of this choice). Visually and ordinarily, feet pointed towards home plate usually signify Windup Position whereas feet angled parallel to the pitcher's plate indicate Set Position; a hybrid stance may also be deemed a "diagonal" or scatterbrain stance (see attached diagram) because a pitcher positions his feet ambiguously, thus creating the perception that he could be in either Windup or Set. If anything goes wrong, the pitcher retains plausible deniability. For example...

In August 2015, Dan Iassogna ejected Padres Interim Manager Pat Murphy for arguing a balk non-call in a situation complicated by Rockies pitcher Chris Rusin's use of such a hybrid stance.

During the Iassogna-Murphy ejection play, with the bases loaded, 2B Umpire John Tumpane called Ruslin for a balk for failing to stop after bringing his hands together before delivering a pitch to the batter (Rule 6.02(a)(13): "It is a balk when—The pitcher delivers the pitch from Set Position without coming to a stop"). Upon conference amongst the umpires, Tumpane's call was reversed based on the rationale that Ruslin was not in Set Position, but in the Windup. There is no "stop" requirement for Windup Position, as there is for Set; thus, the balk was rescinded.

The newly added Comment to 5.07(a)(2) resets the Windup vs Set binary by taking away ambiguity:
With a runner or runners on base, a pitcher will be presumed to be pitching from the Set Position if he stands with his pivot foot in contact with and parallel to the pitcher’s plate, and his other foot in front of the pitcher’s plate, unless he notifies the umpire that he will be pitching from the Windup Position under such circumstances prior to the beginning of an at-bat. A pitcher will be permitted to notify the umpire that he is pitching from the Windup Position within an at-bat only in the event of (i) a substitution by the offensive team; or (ii) immediately upon the advancement of one or more runners (i.e., after one or more base runners advance but before the delivery of the next pitch).
Thus, under the new rule, Ruslin would have been presumed to be in Set Position (as Tumpane had initially ruled), and, absent Ruslin notifying the umpires of his intention to utilize Windup Position, the balk call would have been correct (under the new 2017 rule).

Video via "Read More"