Saturday, July 15, 2017

MLB Ejection 097 - Tom Hallion (1; Rick Renteria)

2B Umpire Tom Hallion ejected White Sox Manager Rick Renteria (Base Award; QOCY) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Mariners-White Sox game. With one out and one on (R1), Mariners pitcher Steve Cishek attempted to pick off White Sox baserunner R1 Tim Anderson, Cishek's errant throw going past first base and out play, resulting in a one-base award. Replays indicate that in executing a jump pivot/jump turn pickoff maneuver, Cishek threw from the pitcher's position, the ball traveled out of play, and the one-base award call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Mariners were leading, 4-3. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

This is Tom Hallion (20)'s first ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Tom Hallion now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (-4 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 0).
Crew Chief Tom Hallion now has 6 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 6).
*Rule 5.06(b)(4)(H): (Runner may advance) "One base, if a ball, pitched to the batter, or thrown by the pitcher from his position on the pitcher’s plate to a base to catch a runner, goes into a stand or a bench, or over or through a field fence or backstop. The ball is dead."

This is the 97th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 52nd Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Chicago-AL's 11th ejection of 2017, 1st in AL Central (CWS 11; KC 4; DET 3; MIN 2; CLE 0).
This is Rick Renteria's 6th ejection of 2017, 1st since June 28 (Hunter Wendelstedt; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Tom Hallion's first ejection since October 11, 2016 (Alex Wood; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs. Chicago White Sox, 7/15/17 | Video as follows:

Boston Files Protest Over Odd Interference No-Call

Boston filed a protest alleging interference by Yankees baserunner Matt Holliday as umpires determined no rule infraction occurred during a peculiar sequence Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Is Holliday guilty of interference in Boston?
The Play: With none out and one on (R1) in the top of the 11th inning of the Yankees-Red Sox game, Yankees batter Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 2-2 sinker from Red Sox pitcher Robby Scott on the ground to first baseman Mitch Moreland, who threw to shortstop Xander Bogaerts at second base to retire baserunner R1 Holliday before the return throw to first base wound up striking Ellsbury, resulting in a fielder's choice force out call (no interference). Replays indicate that as Moreland fielded the batted ball, baserunner R1 Holliday—perhaps under the mistaken belief that Moreland had tagged first base before throwing to Bogaerts—retreated to first base, beginning his slide into his base of origin as Bogaerts stepped on second base to force him out. Due to Holliday's slide into first base, fielder Moreland was unable to field Bogaerts' return throw, which arrived around the time Ellsbury passed first base, the ball hitting Ellsbury and deflecting up the right field foul line, after which Ellsbury remained on first base.

Farrell presents his case to Chief Cederstrom.
The Call: 2B Umpire Adrian Johnson ruled R1 Holliday out on the fielder's choice, and 1B Umpire Gabe Morales ruled Ellsbury safe on the uncaught return throw, further ruling that no interference had occurred.

The Argument: Red Sox Manager John Farrell argued with HP Umpire and Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom that Holliday's slide into first base had prevented fielder Moreland from fielding Bogaerts' throw, and, thus, Holliday had committed interference. Farrell argued that this interference should have resulted in a double play. After the four umpires consulted to discuss the play, the interference no-call prevailed, with Cederstrom and Cooper opting to consult with the Replay Operations Center for a rules check regarding interference and its applicability to the aforementioned play. In all, play was denied for approximately nine minutes.

Official Baseball Rule 6.01: Interference, Obstruction and Catcher Collisions
(a) Batter or Runner Interference: It is interference by a batter or a runner when:
(4) Any member or members of the offensive team stand or gather around any base to which a runner is advancing, to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate or teammates;
(5) Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate (see Rule 6.01(j))...
(10) He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball...if the base runner’s interference is adjudged not to be intentional, the batter-runner shall be awarded first base...
(j) If a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference under this Rule 6.01...A runner who engages in a 'bona fide slide' shall not be called for interference under this Rule 6.01, even in cases where the runner makes contact with the fielder as a consequence of a permissible slide.

Holliday's slide prevents Moreland's catch.
Analysis: The analysis will comprise of two parts. First, it will address which precise rule applies to this play (versus which provisions don't apply), and, second, we'll discuss the history of this applicable rule and its application to rule what is and is not interference (yes, we had a recent Case Play on this very rule).

To best investigate this play, it will be helpful to go rule-by-rule, point-by-point. Let's begin.
> Rule 6.01(a)(4) states that it is interference when a member of the offense stands or gathers at a base "to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders." 6.01(a)(4) does not apply to this play, as it would require R1 Holliday to have stood (or gathered) at first base with the express purpose of confusing, hindering, or adding to the difficulty of the fielders. Without this intent, it is not interference.
> OBR 6.01(a)(5), also known as recently-retired runner's interference, states that a runner who has been erased from the bases (via an out or score) is guilty of interference if he hinders or impedes a following play. 6.01(a)(5) does apply in any event in which a runner commits a hindering or impeding act after leaving his base path (e.g., abandoning his normal base-running responsibilities), but does not apply when the runner is simply completing a base running maneuver that has begun prior to his retirement. OBR 6.01(a)(5) is the applicable rule.*
> OBR 6.01(a)(10) applies to a runner who intentionally interferes with a thrown ball. As Holliday never actually touched the throw (nor did he appear to intentionally interfere), 6.01(a)(10) does not apply.
> OBR 6.01(j) is the force play slide interference rule, and states, in part, "A runner who engages in a 'bona fide slide' shall not be called for interference under this Rule 6.01." Holliday's slide met the bona fide slide rule criteria (slid into base, held the base, etc.), and 6.01(j) cannot apply for that reason. Is it possible to Rule 6.01(j) interference when a runner retreats to a base and commits an illegal slide? Yes, if the runner initiates (or attempts to initiate) contact with a fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play.

About Recently Retired Runner's Interference and Residue of a Legitimate Attempt to Run the Bases: Regarding this brand of interference, the Wendelstedt umpiring manual specifies the precise case of a batter-runner who continues running to first base after being retired (say, on a caught bunt or a third strike that results in an out [e.g., a dropped third strike with first base occupied and less than two out]), and specifies that the retired batter-runner may be guilty of retired runner's interference if he interferes with the play being made back into first base while running outside of the running lane.

In other words, per Wendelstedt, the batter-runner is not out if he "hinders or impedes a following play" if he is legitimately running the bases, even though he has already been retired.

Holiday makes a legit attempt to run the bases.
An even easier "out" here is gleaned from the standard case of a bona fide slide (as illustrated above, and seen during the course of a majority of big league double play attempts). If recently-retired runner's interference applied to any case where a baserunner hindered or impeded the following play being made on another runner, then it would be illegal to slide into second (or third, e.g.) base after being forced out: in other words, if the logic here is that Holliday was out for interfering with the play at first base after being retired at second base, then so too should be all runners who slide into second base after the pivot man receives the ball.

Clearly, a runner is allowed to complete a legal base-running maneuver (e.g., a bona fide slide) and he will not be called for recently-retired runner's interference if he is otherwise legal in his running of the bases as he is put out.

Crew Chief Cederstrom signals the protest.
As for the question of whether Holliday is legally allowed to run (return) to first base: Quite obviously R1 Holliday is forced to advance by virtue of the batter's becoming a runner, but if Holliday legitimately believes the force has been removed, he is permitted to try and return to his base of origin. This is a legal base-running maneuver and only becomes a problem if he actually returns to first base—having not yet been put out—while the batter-runner is standing on first base at the same time.

If this wasn't a legal running of the bases, Rule 5.06(b)(2) ("If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced") would not exist, and a runner would be liable to be declared out for abandonment or for some other cause while retreating to an occupied base. The rule is clear: someone must be put out by the defense, not by the umpire.

Similarly, see Rule 5.09(b)(6), which states, in part, "If the forced runner, after touching the next base, retreats for any reason towards the base he had last occupied, the force play is reinstated, and he can again be put out if the defense tags the base to which he is forced." Again, if retreating was an illegal base-running action, then Rule 5.09(b)(6) would not exist.

Accordingly, Holliday is legally permitted to run to first base and, in accordance with the aforementioned Wendelstedt citation, he is not to be declared out simply for completing his legal base-running action.

RED HERRING: If you're looking at Rule 6.01(a)(5) Comment ("If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out...") and believe that retreating to a base precludes any protection from interference, you're getting caught up in semantics that don't affect the interpretation of this play.

Relevant PostCase Play 2017-4 - Hurdling a Retired Runner [Solved] (4/30/17)
A similar play occurred in Anaheim in April.
The aforementioned Case Play concentrates specifically on the case of recently-retired runner's interference as occurred during an April game in Anaheim.

Succinctly, with Angels baserunner R3 Ben Revere caught in a rundown between third and home, trail runner R1 Cliff Pennington rounded second and prepared to advance to third base. As Oakland pitcher Kendall Graveman ran R3 Revere back to third, retreating runner Revere began a slide, and was tagged out by Graveman before making it to the bag. With Revere out, trail runner R1 Pennington tried advancing to third base, and F1 Graveman tried to jump over the recently-retired Revere in order to make a play on Pennington. As the fielder leapt over Revere, the recently-retired runner completed his unsuccessful "pop-up" slide and, in doing so, essentially upended Graveman as he attempted to complete the double play on Pennington (he was successful).

In answering this Case Play, we found that Revere's slide into third base constituted a legal running of the bases, even though he subsequently made contact with Graveman after being tagged out as Graveman attempted a play on following runner Pennington. In sum, if the umpires ruled runner Revere's slide—including the pop-up element—as part of a legitimate attempt to run the bases, then he did not interfere with Graveman's play on the following runner. If, however, the umpires ruled that the totality of Revere's slide was not a legitimate attempt at running the bases or that he intended to impede Graveman's play at Pennington, then the proper call would be a double play due to recently-retired runner's interference.

Conclusion: As for the play at Fenway Park, since Holliday entered his slide (prior to or concurrent with Bogaerts retiring him) in a legitimate attempt to run the bases—however misguided it might have been—and furthermore did not intentionally hinder the defense, he did not violate retired runner's interference rule 6.01(a)(5) nor any other rule concerning interference.

Epilogue: Just-scored runner's INT.
One More Illustration: If you're still lost, it might be helpful to consider the second aspect of Rule 6.01(a)(5), which concerns "any runner who has just scored." Consider the attached image of a just-scored interference play at Citi Field in 2013. During that play, Marlins baserunner Juan Pierre legally ran through home plate, but ultimately collided with Mets catcher John Buck as Buck attempted to make a play on a following runner. HP Umpire Jim Joyce properly ruled Pierre's teammate (Dobbs) out at second base for Pierre's interference for his having run through the base, and, in doing so, completing his base-running responsibility before making contact with the catcher. The question is not whether the recently-retired or just-scored runner actually impeded or hindered the fielder, but whether he did so in an illegal way, for instance, by virtue of an illegal slide, intentional act, or illegitimate action following the achievement of a base.

Video as follows:

Friday, July 14, 2017

MLB Ejection 096 - Jerry Layne (1; Clint Hurdle)

HP Umpire Jerry Layne ejected Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle ("Time" call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Cardinals-Pirates game.  With none out and two on (R1, R2), Pirates batter Adam Frazier hit 0-2 splitter from Cardinals pitcher Matt Bowman on the ground to third baseman Jedd Gyorko, who threw to second baseman Kolten Wong for a double play, after which batter-runner Frazier ran to second base with no Cardinal covering as 2B Umpire Chris Guccione sent him back to first, informing him that "Time" had been called. Replays indicate that after completion of the double play, Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter requested "Time," which Guccione granted, subsequently mirrored by 1B Umpire Marvin Hudson, 3B Umpire Chad Whitson, and Layne, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 2-2. The Pirates ultimately won the contest, 5-2.

This is Jerry Layne (24)'s first ejection of the 2017 MLB regular season.
Jerry Layne now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Jerry Layne now has 4 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 4).
*Rule 5.06(c): "While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runs may be scored."
OBR 5.12(b): "The ball becomes dead when an umpire calls 'Time.' The umpire-in-chief shall call “Time—(4) When a manager requests 'Time' for a substitution, or for a conference with one of his players; (5) When the umpire wishes to examine the ball, to consult with either manager, or for any similar cause."

This is the 96th ejection report of 2017.
This is the 51st Manager ejection of 2017.
This is Pittsburgh's 4th ejection of 2017, 1st in the NL Central (PIT 4; CIN, MIL, STL 3; CHC 1).
This is Clint Hurdle's 3rd ejection of 2017, 1st since May 23 (Nic Lentz; QOC = Y [Out of Base Path]).
This is Jerry Layne's first ejection since September 21, 2016 (Craig Counsell; QOC = U [Foul/HBP]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 7/14/17 | Video as follows:

Injury Scout Update After AS Break - Two Umps Return

Two injured umpires have returned to play following the 2017 All-Star Break, while a third remains absent.

2017 1st Half Injury Scout Review.
Kerwin Danley (head): Having left the July 9 Royals-Dodgers game in the 2nd inning as the result of a foul ball-head injury, Danley returned to play on Friday in Milwaukee, effectively missing no games as the result of his injury due to the four-day All-Star Break.

Andy Fletcher (head): After leaving June 21's Diamondbacks-Rockies game in the 7th inning after taking a deflected hit-by-pitch to the mask, Fletcher returned to play on Friday in Detroit, closing out a 22-day absence from the field.

Dale Scott (head): The only remaining umpire on staff who has not returned from injury, Scott's most recent umpiring appearance was April 14 in Toronto, when he was carted off after a foul ball head injury. CT scans were reportedly negative and Harold Reynolds reported a concussion had been diagnosed.

Prior 2017 Injuries (Closed):
CB Bucknor (lower body): Bucknor briefly left the field June 2 after motioning toward his right leg and hamstring area. Though he was off the field for a few days following the apparent leg injury, he returned to the field on June 13.

Tony Randazzo (head): Hit in the head during the 5th inning of May 13's Reds-Giants game, Randazzo didn't leave the field until the game entered the 14th inning. He returned to the playing field after a 28-day absence, on June 9.

CB Bucknor (head): Before June 2, Bucknor had left his April 28 assignment due to a foul ball head injury, returning to play after a 13-day absence, on May 12.

Jeff Nelson (undisclosed/preseason): On March 14, Jeff Nelson left his Spring Training assignment in the middle of the 4th inning for an undisclosed reason, returning to the field on March 17.

Bruce Dreckman (return from pre-existing absence/preseason): Bruce Dreckman concluded his 522-day absence from the field when he officiated his first Spring Training game on March 10.

David Rackley (head): A foul ball facemask/head injury on March 5 sidelined Rackley for three days before his return to play on March 9.

Paul Emmel (upper body): Emmel was struck by an accidentally thrown bat on February 28, and returned to action on March 2, after just one day off the field.

[Undisclosed Reason for Absence]: Brian Knight has been missing from the field since June 13, 2017. He previously was absent from May 15 - June 11.

Future MLB Umpire Hiring Outlook at the Break

As the season's second half gets under way, here's MLB Umpire Observer's hiring outlook and MiLB roundup. Observer's analysis follows each umpire listed, with Gil's Take listed below. Umpires are ranked by how many games they have worked in 2017, Opening Day through All-Star Break:

Stu Scheurwater - (100 games in 3 years + 76 games in 2017) age:34
MLB is high on him so expect him to get a job this offseason.
Gil's Take: As we mentioned in May, Scheurwater has been a constant presence on Dale Scott's crew since late April. A quasi-permanent crew assignment for a call-up like this reminds me of Will Little on Gerry Davis' crew during the very season before he was hired to the staff.

Chad Whitson - (67 games in 3 years + 64 games in 2017) age:35
Saw his first extended MLB action towards the end of last season, I would watch out for him next season; 100 + would be a really good sign.
Gil's Take: Whitson's 64 games in the season's first half nearly matched his total MLB experience during his first three years as a call-up. That's a good omen.

Clint Fagan - (453 games in 6 years + 64 games in 2017) age:35
I expect him to get hired this offseason—the only concern I have is that he has been passed over so many times—but they are still using him so expect him to get a job.
Gil's Take: Fagan appears to be getting into Angel Campos territory—a lot of experience over many years, relatively, but his hiring window may be coming to a close.

Tom Woodring - (192 games in 3 years + 63 games in 2017) age:35
I don't think MLB is done figuring out him yet with the way they have handled him the last couple of years.
Gil's Take: The powers-that-be clearly want to see more of Woodring at the major league level, and that's a refreshing step in the right direction for an umpire whose year-by-year game total was 102 (2014), 54 (2015), and 36 (2016).

Nic Lentz - (105 games in 1 year + 52 games in 2017) age:27
I would expect him to keep getting more games.
Gil's Take: At over 100 assignments, Lentz's rookie campaign was very busy. Adding over 50 by the All-Star Break this season is consistent with an approach of trial by fire for a very young umpire that seems to be on the fast track toward MLB work. This reminds me of Jordan Baker's hiring in 2014, though Baker was helped greatly by MLB's instant replay expansion, as he was one of seven umpires hired that offseason. Baker had officiated 72 MLB games in 2012 and 125 in 2013 for a total of 197 games of big league experience at the time of his promotion.

Ryan Blakney - (230 games in 2 years + 51 games in 2017) age:32
I think he will have a job after this season or next season.
Gil's Take: Blakney earned his fill-in sleeve number in the same class as Carlos Torres. Though Torres was hired prior to the 2017 season, Blakney is also about seven years younger than him and led the entire call-up staff in officiating 142 big-league games in 2016. 50+ assignments through the Break is a lower pace than 2016, but is still a promising vote of confidence from the League.

Chris Segal - (248 games in 3 years + 47 games in 2017) age:35
Probably not going to get hired this offseason but he most likely will get a full time job.
Gil's Take: Segal has been in Triple-A for six-and-a-half years (PCL: 2011-15; IL 2016-present). It's starting to be a long time at that level of ball, though it's only his second season in the International League. Nearly 50 games in the Majors through the Break, though, is a promising sign.

Ramon DeJesus - (97 games in 1 year + 35 games in 2017) age:33
If there are more than three I can see him getting a job this offseason.
Gil's Take: The assignment trend reflects a positive development for a minor leaguer ready to break into the first tier amongst call-ups.

Ben May - (187 games in 3 years + 36 games in 2017) age:35
I don't think he is in MLB's plans, I think he is just a filler until younger people are ready.
Gil's Take: It's too early to tell which way the League will go here. May is on pace to match his assignment total of 69 last season; this would appear to be a schedule for a Tier 2 call-up umpire.

Toby Basner - (323 games in 5 years + 21 games in 2017) age:32
I don't think he is in MLB's plans. I hope I am wrong but I don't think he will get a job.
Gil's Take: There seems to be a phasing out taking place, as Basner's yearly MLB games have decreased from a high of 106 in 2014, to 93 in 2015, 88 in 2016, and on pace for just 40 this season.

Shane Livensparger - (rookie + 20 games in 2017) age:33
We will see more of him next year.
Gil's Take: Since his June 10 debut, Livensparger has received the most work of the 2017 rookie class. Notably, on June 23, Livensparger had an Obstruction A play in Texas, but employed Type B mechanics before properly enforcing the penalty with the help of his crew, awarding the obstructed baserunner one base, as prescribed by rule. Though the mechanics weren't, the call itself (and the result of the play) was correct.

Roberto Ortiz - (8 games in 1 year + 17 games in 2017) age:32
60+ games would be a good sign for him this season; under 60 would be bad. I don't think he is in MLB's long term plan, but we will see.
Gil's Take: Ortiz was a 'tweener last season, in that it would appear that the League needed somebody to fill in, and drew Ortiz's number for a cup-of-coffee or two. This suggests a low tier, but Ortiz is also the freshest non-rookie on the call-up list.

Sean Barber - (217 games in 3 years + 13 games in 2017) age:32
I don't think he is in MLB's plan so I would expect him to keep getting fewer games.
Gil's Take: Barber didn't make his first appearance this season until late June, but he's been up for the two weeks ever since.

Ryan Additon - (rookie + 15 games in 2017) age:31
I think we will see more of him going forward.
Gil's Take: Additon drew a doubleheader debut and has received fairly reliable assignments ever since.

John Libka - (rookie + 14 games in 2017) age:30
50+ games this season would be a good sign.
Gil's Take: I wouldn't get optimistic about 50+ games just yet, but since breaking in during a May 27 doubleheader, Libka has been on standby to fill-in for the vacationing umpire here or there. This is consistent with simply getting a novice umpire more experience.

Nick Mahrley - (rookie) age:34
I am surprised they even put him on the fill in list for this season. We will see what MLB has in the plans for him.
Gil's Take: We're looking at a similar back-up call-up motif as we were with Ortiz last year. If Nick gets in, it will likely be for a series here or there, to get his feet wet.

Umpires 60 or older that may retire in the next couple of years: Gerry Davis, Dana DeMuth, Joe West, Gary Cederstrom, Tom Hallion, Phil Cuzzi, Larry Vanover, Dale Scott (not over 60 but may retire in relation to his April 14 injury).
Gil's Take: While West has indicated a desire to remain in the game as he pursues Bruce Froemming and Bill Klem's all-time games-worked records, the others are listed as a portrayal of spots that might be opening for the above call-up umpires.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

UMPS Care Feature - Winters Crew Pre-Game

Here is one more umpire feature to get you through the remainder of the All-Star Break.

Last month, ESPN joined Mike Winters' crew behind the scenes as they discussed their pre-game routine, and UMPS CARE Charities experience at a Children's Hospital in St. Louis.

Mike Muchlinski, the plate umpire, discussed his preparation in advance of the game, and the crew identified Marty Foster as "the biggest talker" out on the field.

The feature aired during ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball's matchup between the Dodgers and Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Angel Hernandez, MLB, and Discrimination (Part 2)

Our discrimination analysis of Angel Hernandez vs MLB  takes us beyond one umpire's race to religion, sex, color, and national origin—the protected classes of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC § 2000e-2).

Disclosure: This is Part 2 of the Hernandez v MLB analysis. As in Part 1, Part 2 continues with a discussion of themes, ideas, and theories that may be uncomfortable for some readers. Hernandez's suit alleges a severe charge of race discrimination, and this provokes analysis and a comprehensive overview of all that might explain its existence, as well as discrimination that occurs on the basis of other protected characteristics, all of which are, on some level, related.

Race Discrimination: First, to address the final point from Part 1, there is a real and statistically significant disparity in the racial makeup of the professional players' cohort and the professional umpires' cohort. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as looking at PBUC/MiLBUD hiring rates: the disparities still exist at the graduation level, and also exist in the schools themselves (it appears that there is more diversity at Wendelstedt than at The Umpire School, but I have no theory to explain this perception). On the whole, however, white (and other mainstream classes) are overrepresented even before the first classroom session at umpire school.

An umpire's journey formally starts at school.
Because umpire schools by-and-large don't review and rule on applications in the same way a college or university normally does, there are no meaningful "acceptance rate" statistics to consider. Instead, it would appear that minority and protected class individuals simply don't attend umpire school at a rate comparable to those racial minorities that play the game or try out for the minor leagues, much less comprise the national sample. This is best illustrated and confounded by the great disparity in foreign-born players vs foreign-born umpire school hopefuls.

Perhaps now we should consider a profession with a similar racial representation problem (though not to such a drastic extent): law enforcement.

Police Demographics: Whites comprise 67% of the US population and make up 75% of all police departments (2007). In cities with greater minority share in the general population, there exists a much greater disparity that led one sociologist to declare that certain police departments are "so out of sync with the racial composition of the local population." For instance, consider the following MLB cities' police departments. Baltimore PD features 20% more white officers than % of white residents, preceded by St. Louis (21% more white officers in the heart of the city), New York (+21%), Chicago (+23%), Arlington (+24%), Cobb County [Georgia] (+26%), Houston (+27%), Kansas City (+29%), Phoenix (+35%), and Anaheim (+42%).
Anaheim might have the most overrepresented police force in all of big league baseball.
Color: Where does that disparity come from? For one, non-whites are 12% less confident in the police institution than are whites, which would contribute to an ambition gap. Non-whites are more likely to report having negative interactions with police, exposure to media reports police misconduct, and to live in high-crime areas with a perception that the police cannot be trusted and/or counted on. Finally, like in any career, a police recruit, assuming successful training and probationary periods, ordinarily will spend a good 20+ years in the profession.

In Part I, we discussed it taking at least 10 years—usually a bit longer—for umpiring to catch up to player composition changes (e.g., Jackie Robinson broke the players' color barrier in 1947; Emmett Ashford broke the umpires' color barrier in 1966). In law enforcement, it similarly will take time—longer than 20 years—to catch up to demographic or immigration trends. People can move from one place to another very quickly, and this will ordinarily outpace the rate of new-hires into police departments, which helps perpetuate the disparity.

These factors contribute to a scenario in which whites are more likely to become law enforcement candidates, even if just because of a more persistently positive perception of the career. Why join something one does not trust?

A similar circumstance exists in umpiring, relative to the Hernandez lawsuit and claims of Latino underrepresentation. Are non-whites underrepresented in umpiring? Yes.

Is umpire school too white, and, if so, why?
National Origin: Bluntly put, umpires (of any race/origin/etc) officiating in the United States are respected to a higher degree relative to umpires officiating in the countries of Latin America. Umpires of any ethnicity that officiate Latin ball may be assaulted or simply demonized in a way that umpires in the USA are not: For example, in US ball, umpires generally will not (or shouldn't) entertain an argument with more than one person. In traditional Latin American ball, however, arguing with a group of angry players and coaches is far more prevalent. There is a similar disparity in soccer/fĂștbol referee treatment/perception in Latin America vs abroad, and an incredibly significant difference with how officials are treated in soccer vs, for instance, rugby, whose referees just might be the most respected officials in all of sport. The difference is primarily cultural.

Such a disparity in national decorum might serve to dissuade Latino prospects, for instance, from seeking out the officiating profession due to the negative treatment of officials they have witnessed, while, conversely, encouraging USA prospects to pursue officiating, due to the positive example they are shown.
Related PostUmpire Roberto Moreno Injured in Venezuelan League (11/26/16).
Related Video: Yorvit Torrealba shoves umpire Dario Rivero Jr (12/23/11).
Related Video: Jose Offerman throws a punch at DJ Reyburn in the Winter League (1/16/10).
Related Video: Compilation of rugby referees (11/10/16).

Sports Leagues players' racial diversity.
Finally, minorities become players at a greater rate and continue pursuing that athletic endeavor longer than American whites, who are more likely to pursue officiating as a more realistic way to stay in the game after an attempt at playing doesn't work out. Again, as this Undefeated article that examines the declining rate of American white players in basketball demonstrates, part of it is cultural.

The NHL perhaps best demonstrates what that means. Hockey requires a very specific set of conditions to play, namely smooth ice and an ability to skate on it. Add the significant cost of equipment to the cold temperature and resurfacing requirements, and you'll begin to understand why hockey is so often associated with Canada—white Canada (the present Canadian population estimate is 2.5% black)—as well as nordic Europe, and the northernmost US states, which are generally whiter and chillier than elsewhere in the country. Accordingly, professional hockey is very heavily white, with niche groups like TheColorOfHockey looking to track diversity in the sport.

NHL bias: French referees vs English players.
Interesting Stat: Though 13.2% of the full-time MLB officiating staff is of a racial minority group, that figure is just 3% in the NHL (NHL players are 93% white, including white European).

Meanwhile, hockey's version of racial bias is claiming that French Canadian referees call penalties at significantly faster rates on English Canadian players than do English Canadian referees.

NOTE: Under limited and narrow circumstances, discrimination along these lines is allowed, but only when necessary to the operation of the business (called the bona fide occupational qualification). For instance, discrimination when hiring an actor to fill a certain role where historically accuracy is a necessity (say, the role of George Washington) is legal discrimination based on the BFOQ. The BFOQ likely would not apply to officiating.
Are non-Americans underrepresented in umpiring? Yes.

Religious Discrimination in Baseball: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from requiring an employee to attend a religious service, while the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals additionally ruled that mandatory worship in the workplace is a violation of law. It is also illegal for an employer to coerce an employee to participate in a religious activity (though context is key...if the employer is a hospital and the employee is a chaplain, such participation is necessary for the job itself and may qualify for an exemption).

Is Calling for Christ all-inclusive?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (to which Hernandez first complained of MLB's allegedly discriminatory practices in June, and which issued Hernandez a right-to-sue notice) states that religious harassment—which occurs when an employee is coerced into adopting a religious practice as a condition of employment—is illegal. In other words, the EEOC holds that in a country where freedom of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, in the workplace, no one employee has a greater right than another employee to express his/her faith, and to constantly push the subject on a coworker of a different religion may constitute unlawful religious harrasment.

The situation gets especially complicated and downright tricky when this coercion exists not as an explicit "condition of employment," but as an implicit expectation of getting on (or remaining on) the boss (or crew)'s good side through, for instance, camaraderie or cohesion.

Imagine, if you will, that an umpire did not want to participate in an on-field group prayer, as portrayed by the Calling for Christ graphic, above, which is a screenshot from a regional telecast on Fox Sports in Kansas City. Nowadays, CFC makes sure its umpires are comfortable and won't perform the prayer unless everyone opts in.

I refer below to a 2008 New York Times article about a Jewish umpire named Josh Miller, who worked in professional baseball from his Wendelstedt graduation in 1999 until his release in 2007, including a stint as a Wendelstedt School instructor (2001-06) and MLB Spring Training invitation.

Former professional umpire Josh Miller.
The article described the struggle of being a religious minority—a Jew—in professional umpiring: "From Day 1 it was uncomfortable," Miller, 31, said, "I was in extended spring training, and on Sunday there was a knock on the door. I thought it was a joke. This guy was coming to preach to us in our little locker room. He had two little handouts that said Baseball Chapel and prayer of the week."

With a message of, "Our purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ!", one can imagine how someone of a different religion would feel uncomfortable with the Baseball Chapel entering the locker room: "It was very uncomfortable. They’d say Jesus this and Jesus that. At the end they’d say ‘in Jesus’ name.’ Minor league locker rooms are small. It’s not like I could hide...I always stretched and got mentally prepared. You have a guy coming in and preaching to you about something you don’t believe in, it throws you off mentally."

Religion usually stays out of the workplace, but professional baseball is no ordinary line of work.

The Baseball Chapel, Pre-2008: The reason, naturally, that Baseball Chapel exists is to accommodate personnel who are unable to attend church due to, say, a Sunday day game, by bringing church to the ballpark. Yet, while players ordinarily leave the teams' locker rooms to attend Baseball Chapel in a larger meeting space, the ministry came into Miller's umpire rooms for their sessions. In other words, while players were free to stay behind in the locker room if they didn't want to attend Baseball Chapel, the umpires' Chapel took place in their locker room, meaning that if an umpire didn't want to participate or bear witness to the religious exercise, simply "staying behind" was not an option. The act of leaving the room, furthermore, only would serve to draw attention to the minority umpire's absence. Additionally, leaving would mean forfeiting the opportunity to be part of all activities that occurred during the religious session: for instance, missing out on "shop talk" or camaraderie that might fill the void between ceremonial actions.

Sometimes leaving wasn't even a physically practical option for Miller: "The umpires’ room [at North Carolina] was a shed in left field. If I left that shed, I’m in 100-degree heat and I don’t need to be standing out in 100-degree heat any longer than [necessary]." Another facility's umpire room opened up to a public area, and Miller—like many umpires—did not want to mix with potentially adverserial fans on the last day of a weekend series.

Said Miller, "One umpire I worked with [my] last year called me Jewie and I said I wasn't comfortable with it. It took a more senior guy to get him to stop."

Baseball Chapel's logo touts a Christian cross.
If there was a lawsuit to be had, Miller's portrayal of his time in baseball sure sounded like it was leading into one.

On the other hand, at the MLB level, if there are no or very few religious minorities to object to it, why suspend the Chapel service, given its positive message for a Christian audience?

Left unabated and without proper oversight, conscious restriction without explanation could breed resentment based on the colloquial saying, "to the privileged, equality feels like oppression."

Calling for Christ's mission is to "Reach, teach, and disciple," and since 2008, the ministry has grown beyond the cross.

CFC's Ted Barrett is routinely praised.
He has 3 UEFL Honorable Umpire Awards.
Calling for Christ and Baseball Chapel Post-2008: CFC is an extremely positive endeavor for its Christian umpires: it brings them together, united by faith, for a mutually beneficial ministry that augments the umpire experience. It even publicly portrays prayer with tens of thousands of witnesses. The only bump in the road, naturally, would be if an umpire did not subscribe to the Christian faith. Left unmetered, that could cause waves.

Would an atheist umpire have trouble finding work on, say, Rev. Dr. Ted Barrett's crew, given that Barrett's crew holds regular prayers? Barrett is one of the most decorated and praised umpires on this website—he has featured in six UEFL Awards (2014 Umpire of the Year2012, '13, '14 Honorable Umpire; 2014, '16 Crew Chief of the Year)—and as long as his crew is fully Christian, the prayers are a very positive part of working on the crew, but what if one of the crew members wasn't Christian or didn't want to pray?

The answer, explains Barrett, is that CFC's modern mission is one of spirituality and acceptance, no matter an umpire's path—be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, or otherwise. In forming a relationship with his 75 MLBU colleagues, Barrett estimates that about 15 are actively part of CFC, some are atheist, and all beliefs are respected. CFC has a relationship with a California-based rabbi, and could call up another religion's cleric if so requested. No prayer? No biggie.

As for Baseball Chapel, the ministry is no longer in the umpire room at the minor league level while the major league staff handles it on a crew-by-crew basis.

The impetus for change: These changes occurred as baseball re-evaluated its stance on spirituality in the workplace, in light of Miller's 2008 complaints. At the time, Miller had said, "You don’t want to be rude to them because it might get back to somebody and it could affect your chances. [One evaluator was] a very religious guy, so I was really uncomfortable leaving. He’d ask, ‘Why are you leaving?’ I’d tell him I’m Jewish, and who knows what that would do. It was something I didn’t want to have to deal with."

Dolly Stark was the first Jewish NL umpire.
As described above, Miller's was a situation of implicit coercion to participate or bear witness to a religious activity that runs in contrast to one's beliefs: Miller was afraid that speaking up "could affect [his] chances" in professional baseball.

Muslim ballplayer Khalid Ballouli—now an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina with a PhD in Sports Management—echoed Miller's sentiment: "[I had] a very Christian coach who was very passionate about Sunday chapel and bible study...We had a tight-knit team, so we had a pregame meal, and one of the more awkward moments is when he would have players go around and give the blessing. He would go to players — and you could decline. But in some ways it was tough. It put the player in an awkward position, if he’s Jewish or Muslim or another religious minority. Even by declining, you’re calling attention to yourself. Or, if you agree to it, it calls even more attention to yourself, because they don’t know what you’ll do. I was probably the only person who was not Christian on the team to decline the prayer."

Umpires—including Angel—pray in St. Louis.
Miller reiterated that his complaint was never with the people running the ministry (the "messengers" so to speak), it was with the religious content: "They’re very friendly guys, for the most part. And the umpires don’t have too many friends on the road, so it’s always nice to have a friendly face come in." Still, it's one thing to see friends (or just friendly people), and quite another to be party to a religious service—of a religion that is not your own, preaching in contravention of your beliefs, and with no accommodation made for your beliefs.

Rabbi Ari Sunshine (who campaigned for Jewish ballplayers) told the story of harmful rhetoric in a diverse clubhouse, "In one case, an athlete was told that his girlfriend was going to hell because she was Jewish," stating, "the locker room of the Nationals is being used to preach hatred."

In 2005, Nationals outfielder Ryan Church had asked the Nationals' volunteer chaplain, Jon Moeller, whether Jews were "doomed" for eternity because "they don't believe in Jesus," to which Moeller apparently agreed by nodding his head. Church responded, "If only they knew. other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word."

Sunshine wrote to then-Commissioner Bud Selig (also Jewish) to complain about Baseball Chapel, noting that other Christian ministries don't "emphasize 'faith-based' salvation to a degree that denigrates legitimate religious alternatives."

Selig agreed that Moeller's comments were offensive and agreed to investigate Baseball Chapel; the team dismissed Moeller and Church apologized. Three years later, however, Selig said, "If players want to have that type of thing, they’re entitled to have them. I frankly think people are free to make that choice."

Though the origins of Baseball Chapel featured a minority of religious Christian players who felt uncomfortable around their gallivanting and hedonistic teammates—who were also Christian, just not religiously so—and campaigned for a ministry at the ballpark instead of at the teams' hotels to put such gluttonous behavior on hold, the program seemed to swing too far onto the other side of the pendulum until Miller's 2008 story, after which the ministries have returned to center in order to restore confidence and comfortability to all uniformed personnel.

For instance, born-again Twin Gary Gaetti and teammate Kent Hrbek had a public disagreement about religion in baseball during the 1988 season: they stopped being roommates and their close friendship dissipated: "He's Gary Gaetti on the field...but he's somebody I don't know off the field," said Hrbek, "It's almost like he passed away."

The boiling point for Hrbek might have been the 1988 All-Star Game, when Gaetti was named to the American League All-Stars, and during pre-game introductions, had written "Jesus is Lord" on his batting glove, where he also wrote, "Hi Rex," in a tribute to Hrbek's nickname. As the story goes, as soon as the not-as-religious Hrbek, back in Minnesota, saw Gaetti's glove on the broadcast, he turned the TV off.

Fellow born-again Brian Harper noticed the strain: "At first, Gary was outgoing about his beliefs. But you have to be careful of what you say and when you say it. The best witness is your life, to show you're happy and peaceful. It's not always the right time to talk about religion."

Given his 2007-era perspective, it's no coincidence that Miller didn't agree to an interview until after he had been released from MiLB: "There are so few spots that they basically look for reasons to get rid of you. So I thought that if this is something that I brought up, they would hold it against me...I didn’t know it was such a big deal and it was infringing on my rights."

Jewish Umpire Al Clark: The only Jewish umpire in American League history, Al Clark, famously wrote in his memoir of the anti-Semitism he faced while serving as a minor leaguer (e.g., player Denny McLain and Ray Busse's rant, "What the f* is a Jew doing in our game? You don't deserve to be here. Go the f* home, you k* m*f*").

Clark also dished on Hall of Fame umpire Al Barlick, who allegedly said of Judaism while working as an NL umpire supervisor and scout, "I’ll tell you one thing. As long as I’m alive, there will never be another f*n’ Jew umpire in my league."

Had Torre said to Hernandez something like Barlick's statement to Clark, that absolutely would prove Hernandez's discrimination case. As it turned out, Clark was hired by the American League, so he didn't have to deal with the NL's Barlick as a supervisor.

There's the story of Bruce Froemming, who referred to MLB Umpiring Department employee Cathy Davis as a "stupid Jew bitch."

Again, with the exception of Clark's player- and manager-related events, these are all incidents that occur against umpires at the hands of other umpires or the league itself. With Barlick, it was an umpire supervisor and future Hall of Famer making an anti-Semitic remark directly to a young Jewish umpire. For additional non-umpiring incidents, see also Marge Schott and Delmon Young.
Are non-Christians underrepresented in umpiring? Yes.

Sex Discrimination: To date, no woman has ever officiated a regular season Major League game. The only question is whether this is because women don't attend umpire school due to a non-discrimination-related ambition gap (see above) or whether there is discrimination once in the system.

Though women have historically comprised a very small portion of overall umpire school attendees, there have been a few notable cases of successful placements into professional baseball.

Pawol & Scott Molloy opted to stay together.
Photo: Minor League Baseball.
None, however, made it to the big leagues. Before continuing, it bears mention that the argument against intersex crews relies, at least partially, on facilities and accommodations. This is an easily solved logistical misnomer.

Last season, Jen Pawol gave an interview after her first year in professional baseball in which she stated that although some teams offered separate facilities, she had different ideas: "Scotty [Molloy] and I preferred, as a crew, to stay together as often as possible. We both felt comfortable. As long as he had privacy and I had privacy to change, we worked with each club with the facility they had. Sometimes they provided separate spaces, but maybe we just felt they were too far away on opposite sides of the building and we didn't feel comfortable. We stayed together in those situations. Because there's a lot we have to talk about."

Even so, the NBA—who has seen a handful of women in its refereeing ranks—contractually ensures dressing rooms and/or separate changing areas for both its men and women in stripes (well, technically in grey...). Again, cost is a convenient excuse, but isn't especially practical.

I'd also interject here that the issue of intersex crews never seems to be quite the issue in women's sports as it does in men's. Again, the double-standard is cultural and historical.

For example, the WNBA, NCAA Women's sports (basketball, softball, etc.), and NWHL routinely assign mixed-sex crews, and not many observers so much as bat an eye. Thus, in the spirit of equality, if a man who meets all officiating requirements can officiate a women's league, a similarly qualified woman can officiate a men's league.

In 1969, Bernice Gera graduated umpire school and received a contract to work in minor league baseball, or so it appeared. However, the very day before her first game, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL) rescinded the contract. Gera took the case to the New York State Human Rights Commission, which ordered her reinstated. She finally got to work in 1972, and promptly resigned after umpiring just one minor league game: "I was physically, mentally, and financially drained...It is hard to get used to having people spit at you and threaten your life."

Bernice Gera fought for her right to ump.
Subsequently, two women did reach settlement with professional baseball as the result of sex discrimination litigation filed and settled decades ago. The first was Pam Postema, who worked in professional baseball from 1977 until her release from Triple-A in 1989.

Postema had been in position for a big-league gig during her final few years in professional baseball—working her final seven in the Pacific Coast League—but, according to her complaint, kept getting passed over in favor of male colleagues.

As this was a time when the AL and NL still had active presidents, the Major League Commissioner's power related to umpires generally was reserved for the World Series and similar events that brought the two leagues together. In 1988, the League invited her to umpire spring training and Commissioner Bart Giamatti invited Postema to officiate that year's Hall of Fame Game between the AL Yankees and NL Braves. Postema saw that as a sign of hope for a contract with one of the Leagues.

However, mere months after Giamatti suddenly passed away in 1989, Postema's minor league contract was not renewed. Giamatti had been seen as one of Postema's key allies and someone with significant influence over the league presidents. Giamatti's hand-picked successor, Fay Vincent, however, did not have the same clout as his predecessor, and Postema fell victim to a system that wanted her gone.

Unfortunately, it wasn't Postema's first brush with apparent sexism in baseball. As her story goes, she had to threaten a lawsuit to gain admittance to Al Somers' umpire school. When she did finally file that 1991 sex discrimination lawsuit against MLB, it took another six years before it was settled out of court in 1997.

The second woman to settle her discrimination lawsuit against professional baseball was Theresa Cox Fairlady, who joined MiLB in 1989 and was released from Single-A in 1991.

Under Bud Selig, Jim Evans Academy graduate Ria Cortesio advanced into Double-A and even drew a PBUC assignment to work the Futures Game at All-Star weekend in 2006. On the other hand, Cortesio was chosen to work third base at the Futures Game, even though she was the senior-most umpire on the crew. Cortesio ended up spending four years in Double-A—more than most umpires—before being invited to work a 2007 MLB Spring Training game (traditionally, higher-ranked Double-A umpires are invited to work one or two games during the final week of Spring Training).

John Tumpane, Cortesio & Jason Kiser.
Photo: Takeshi Hirabayashi.
2007 was Cortesio's final year in professional baseball, after which she said something that sounded quite similar to Miller and Clark's comments: "It was evident after two [years] that my biggest disappointment in the game was going to be the quality of people in it. And just within the umpire community, well, some treat you more horribly than others, but there's not one umpire who would stand up for me...You know that umpires call players rats, right? Well, hands down the biggest rats I've ever encountered in my life are professional umpires."

As umpire veteran Perry Barber put it, "Ria's rise to the top of the Double AA ranks was as close as baseball ever intended to allow her to get to the majors."

Jen Pawol and Emma Charlesworth-Seiler are presently the only two woman in professional umpiring; it remains to be seen whether baseball has changed its collective mind as to seeing a woman make it to the show, naturally, depending on the twosome's umpiring abilities.

In 2016, the University of Florida Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport released a Racial and Gender Report Card for Major League Baseball, giving the League a combined grade of B (82.4 points) for its racial (90.5%) and gender (74.3%) hiring practices.
Are women underrepresented in umpiring? Yes.

Orientation Discrimination: Since sexual orientation doesn't display in the same overt way as do the other characteristics (race, sex, religion), the literature on this brand of discrimination in umpiring is rather limited, but it certainly does exist.

Pallone: "The NL fired me because I was gay."
In his 1990 Behind the Mask book, former big league umpire Dave Pallone wrote about being gay in professional baseball. In 1988, Pallone was outed and, as he tells it, forced out of the game by a League that simply did not want a gay umpire amongst its ranks.

Like Miller, Clark, Postema, Cox-Fairlady, and Cortesio, Pallone waited until he was out of baseball—and perhaps out of the umpiring family—in order to air his grievance.

The national Civil Rights Act does not apply to orientation discrimination, though many states have since adopted sexual orientation as a protected class (in California, for instance, it is just one of 18 total protected characteristics, including race, color, ancestry, citizenship status, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, gender identity/expression, AIDS/HIV, medical condition, political activities/affiliations, military/veteran status, and domestic violence/assault/stalking victimization).

By contrast, in Ohio, where Hernandez filed his lawsuit, sexual orientation is not a protected class.

Dale Scott says MLB has supported him.
Because sexual orientation doesn't especially pertain to officiating sports, or, more so, because Pallone's treatment essentially confirmed a keep-it-secret necessity (and, as stated, orientation discrimination is still technically legal in some jurisdictions)—in a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy-of-the-90s type of way—we have nothing to go by after Pallone...until Dale Scott came out as gay in 2014. By then, heteronormativity had begun to break down in more progressive locales, and acceptance of others had become more commonplace (yet not universal), as evidenced by the various major sports' pride-related initiatives...which are still not honored in all cities.

There is probably a case to be made connecting religious discrimination with orientation discrimination, but we'll wait for that specific suit to be filed first.

Conclusion: Hernandez's claims aren't the first against a sport that, like a great deal of the United States, hasn't always been all that diverse, nor all that welcoming toward underrepresented or protected classes—that's why they're called "protected classes" in the first place. If Hernandez is to win his lawsuit, the persuasive argument will rely on a comprehensive look at the objective evaluative criteria used by Major League Baseball to evaluate and promote its umpires.

If MLB can prove that its objective criteria justifies Hernandez's current position in the game, and that similar logic can account for the greater claim of Latino underrepresentation in on-field supervisory positions, MLB will stand a good chance at winning the suit.

Angel's skill level is culturally irrelevant.
If such objective criteria does not exist, or fails to support MLB's personnel decisions, a jury may side with Hernandez, not because of his own umpiring ability, but because of his racial composition and MLB's treatment of protected classes, including religion and sex.

Regardless of the result, the lawsuit paints MLB in a negative light—Hernandez, on the other hand, was perceived negatively by the fandom before the suit, so filing it won't necessarily change that perception...yet it sheds light on a factual underrepresentation of racial minorities on staff and in supervisory roles. If a fan wishes to dig a bit deeper, it also begins to peel the wound of religious minorities and women in baseball, where both histories are—and continue to be—black marks on the sport.

The idea of summary dismissal based on the perception that Hernandez is a "bad umpire" avoids the elephant in the room: Hernandez has accused MLB of unlawful discrimination, and such discrimination—race, religious, sex, or otherwise—is bigger than Angel Hernandez and bigger than baseball itself. An umpire can be both "bad" and a victim of discrimination.

Similarly, a too-quick settlement from baseball simply kicks more dirt under a rug which is beginning to tear apart. To brush that aside with the excuse of "bad umpire" is a rather short-sighted response to what is a much more significant issue in professional baseball. It may be unfortunate that an umpire of contested skill has filed this lawsuit, but other than in actual litigation, Hernandez's umpiring ability—as strange as it sounds—shouldn't actually matter.

Naturally, a settlement is important for the hope of saving Hernandez-and-MLB's employee-employer relationship. The best outcome for protected classes would be a settlement in which MLB publicly acknowledges its history of persecution, without admitting any wrongdoing in the Hernandez case. Hernandez introduced key facts in his Complaint relative to minority underrepresentation in umpiring: his numbers are correct, and should be addressed. There are potentially legitimate reasons out there to explain the various disparities, and baseball should not shy away from discussing them.

In Part 1, we discussed Alfonso Marquez's merits over five other (white) umpires promoted to crew chief. We cited both postseason experience and Replay Review RAP statistics. Marquez has also successfully served as an acting crew chief and "#2" backup crew chief. Though MLB surely evaluates umpires using many more metrics than just those publicly available ones, imagine our plaintiff was not Angel Hernandez, but Marquez.

Would summary dismissal still be appropriate?

Angel's lawsuit represents not only himself and not only Latinos. Standing with Hernandez are Miller and Clark, Postema and Cortesio, Gera and Pallone. It is part of a larger issue that unites several protected classes whose collective voice hasn't yet been heard.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Intentional Drop Rule Stars in Triple-A Midsummer Classic

Baseball's intentional drop rule, third-cousin of the infield fly, found its way into Triple-A's All-Star Game Wednesday night as the Pacific Coast League attempted to turn a crafty double play, only to have "Time" called instead.

PCL Ump Cunha calls a drop on the PCL team.
The Play: With one out and two on (R1, R2) in the top of the 7th inning of the INTL-PCL affair, International League batter Chance Sisco hit a line drive to PCL second baseman Ildemaro Vargas, who momentarily caught the ball before it dropped to the infield dirt as IL baserunner R2 Rusney Castillo ran back to retouch second base.

2B Umpire Billy Cunha of the Pacific Coast League immediately called "Time," pointed toward first base, and signaled batter Sisco out on the caught line drive under the intentional drop rule.

The Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(12) states that the batter is out when—"An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases."

The fielder is allowed to allow the ball to fall untouched, but is liable for an intentional drop if he makes contact with the fair fly ball or line drive before allowing it to fall.

This rule is superseded by the infield fly rule, meaning that had batter Sisco hit a fly ball high in the air instead, such that infielder Vargas could have caught it with ordinary effort, and Vargas intentionally dropped the fly after letting it fall into his glove, the infield fly rule would be invoked: Sisco would be out, but the ball would remain live.
Related PostBernier Burned by Baserunning on Pseudo Infield Fly [legally untouched drop] (7/24/13).
Related PostInfield Fly Rule Knowledge Costs Giants as Reds Turn Two [dropped infield fly] (7/4/13).

Video as follows (thanks to the invaluable jpg901c YouTube channel):

Angel Hernandez, MLB, and Discrimination (Part 1)

With Angel Hernandez's MLB All-Star Game over, it's time to analyze his lawsuit against Major League Baseball. This lengthy discussion is split into two parts, the first of which touches on Hernandez' allegations of racial discrimination, while the second will discuss historical examples alleging religious and sex discrimination in professional baseball, along with factors that contribute to a near-universal underrepresentation of protected classes (non-caucasians, non-whites, non-USA-born persons, non-Christians, and women) in the professional umpiring ranks.

UEFL Analysis of the Hernandez v MLB suit.
Introduction (and Recap): To summarize the main points of this litigation, Hernandez sued MLB alleging racial discrimination and seeking renumeration in the form of back pay (the amount of which was not disclosed in the Complaint), compensatory and punitive damages, and employment benefits to remedy the discrimination (similar to an obstruction type B's "nullify the act" clause).

Hernandez also asked the court to place an injunction against MLB (from, say, retaliation for statements made related to these proceedings), and to grant a jury trial.

Read the full narrative of Hernandez's July 3 complaint here: Angel Hernandez Sues MLB for Racial Discrimination (7/3/17).

Disclosure: The following analysis is theoretical, opinionated, and contains no findings of fact relative to any specific cases. It is based on hypothetical situations of how proceedings might play out, and in no way attributes any statements, characteristics, or findings to the individuals mentioned. The themes, topics, and theories discussed may be uncomfortable for some readers.

Analysis: Hernandez's complaint makes strong and repeated claims against MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, stating that before Torre's arrival in the Commissioner's Office, Hernandez's evaluations were positive and trending upward, but after Torre's arrival in 2011, the evaluations took a downturn into less-than-satisfactory territory.

The reason this is so important to note is that, ordinarily, an employee does not have a strong cause of action against his/her employer, simply because of a belief that the boss is acting unfairly. Similarly, a lawsuit will not be successful if the claim simply states that one manager or, perhaps, bad boss, is responsible for negatively evaluating an employee.

Paul Emmel ejects Joe Torre.
As Hernandez's supervising Officer at MLB's corporate office, Torre has the right and responsibility to critically evaluate Hernandez's performance, and, if Torre believes Hernandez's performance is substandard for whatever behavioral reason, he is well within his rights to notate that. Even if he repeats claims from 2001 all the way into 2011, Torre as Hernandez's boss has the right to do so unless, for some reason, Torre were to admit that he made those 2011-era evaluations without bothering to see or consider Hernandez's 2011-era job performance.

It is difficult to believe that any boss under suit would admit to such meddling without even bothering to observe their employee. Simply put, if Torre says Hernandez hasn't changed since 2001, that's all there is to his defense: As Hernandez's boss, he's allowed to say it.

Timeline of Hernandez's pre-suit actions.
Even Hernandez admitted that a perceived feud with Torre isn't legally tenable, in Paragraph 66 of the Complaint, stating, "Though it may seem as if Major League Baseball’s problems with Hernandez begin and end with some personal animus Torre and some other individuals in the Office of the Commissioner may have towards Hernandez, an overview of how Major League Baseball has treated minorities such as Hernandez shows a much deeper and more troubling trend."

As an aside, it probably helps support Torre's "put yourself in the spotlight" comment that Hernandez's first game since filing his lawsuit was the 2017 All-Star Game. Both sides knew well in advance of the filing of the lawsuit that Hernandez had been selected to officiate the All-Star Game, and both sides knew of Hernandez's scheduled week off the field from July 3 through the All-Star Break (umpire schedules are generally predetermined).

Thus, Hernandez must consider a different strategy that is legally actionable. There are two ways to go here. Both relate to discrimination, the first of which is covered under Title I of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the second under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Oddly enough, tantrum behavior is...fun?
ADA: Since Torre's "routinely attempting to put yourself in the spotlight" comments appear to be a theme in Hernandez's lawsuit, an ADA-related claim to counter would rely on the argument that such comments are discriminatory based on a disability. The one that most closely responds to such comments is narcissistic personality disorder, whose symptoms of exaggerated feelings of self-importance would address Torre's critical comments; However, there is no evidence (nor admission) to suggest Hernandez suffers from NPD. He has never invoked NPD, and no organization has alleged it (it is just being mentioned here as an example of a legal response to Torre's comments that could support a charge of discrimination). Hypothetically, even if a diagnosed plaintiff were to allege ADA discrimination, this would call for doctors as expert witnesses, intense scrutiny relative to diagnosing the disability, and, even if the disability were severe, consideration of what a "reasonable accommodation" from the employer would look like. Furthermore, an NPD claim wouldn't as easily address Torre's comments regarding Hernandez's alleged lack of rules knowledge, as in the March 2017 letter.
...Heaven forbid an umpire ever fights back.

Civ Rights: Because Hernandez identifies as Latino in his Complaint, discrimination based on a protected characteristic is a much more suitable course of action: no diagnoses, no doctors, no third-degree: Hernandez has a Cuban heritage and that's it. The Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. Hernandez's protected characteristic is "Latino."

Perhaps it is easier to define what is not protected under Title VII than that which is:
Race: Caucasian;
Color: White;
National Origin: United States of America;
Religion: Christian;
Sex: Male.

The race/color/nat origin route also allows Hernandez to cite statistics that go beyond Torre's critical evaluations and into MLB's overall hiring and promotion history (as alluded to by Paragraph 66, as above).

Not all foreign-born umps go full-time.
Based on legal precedent, a discrimination claim puts the employer in the unenviable position of proving its promotions were based on criteria unrelated to race. If it has ample paperwork and the "math adds up," MLB could successfully refute this claim.

Objective measures would prove most helpful for MLB, as such standard evaluative practices would demonstrate MLB's business operation and personnel movement is not based on subjective conjecture, but rather substantive and logical calculation. As long as the methods are consistently applied to all of its employees—and, moreover, MLB is able to convincingly demonstrate this—then proving unlawful discrimination will be difficult.

Race Composition of Umpires and Supervisors: Hernandez makes some pretty incredible observations about umpires and race statistics, notably that a permanent minority crew chief hasn't existed in the major leagues since the days of AL and NL staffs, with Crew Chief Rich Garcia, who led an American League crew from 1985 through his final game in 1999, when MLB accepted his resignation. Instead of returning to the playing field thereafter, Garcia joined the Commissioner's Office and served as an Umpire Supervisor from 2002 to 2010, when he, Marty Springstead, and Jim McKean were ousted as the result of events that occurred during the 2009 postseason.

Chuck Meriwether has Sup'd since 2011.
Presently, two minority Supervisors serve in the BOC (Cris Jones and Chuck Meriwether), while the current full-time MLB staff features ten minority umpires (Kerwin Danley, CB Bucknor, Laz Diaz, Manny Gonzalez, Hernandez, Adrian Johnson, Alfonso Marquez, Gabe Morales, Alan Porter, Carlos Torres), or 13.2% of the staff.

Four (Gonzalez [2013], Morales [2017], Porter [2013], and Torres [2017]) were hired since Torre took office, and all four filled spots previously held by caucasian umpires.

Carlos Torres was hired to the staff in 2017.
In January 2017, four umpires were hired to the staff. The most experienced had 461 of Major League experience, the second had 389 games, the third had 354 games and the fourth had 160 games. Torres of Venezuela was the 160-game umpire, and leapt over seven non-hired (white) Triple-A call-ups with more experience to get the full-time MLB gig. Torres, at 38-years-old, however, was also the oldest.

To prove Major League Baseball engaged in a pattern of racially-motivated discrimination, Hernandez would need to find evidence that deserving minority umpires were denied justly deserved promotions and assignments at the expense of their non-protected colleagues. Again, this goes back to the existence of objective criteria and evaluations mentioned above, and the quality of MLB's paperwork will determine whether these claims are supported or refuted.

If we are to believe, as we are told, that postseason assignments are an award for exceptional in-season performance, we can surmise that those umpires with routine postseason assignments in the later rounds (e.g., League Championship Series and World Series) are those that MLB has routinely rated the highest on staff. These are surely not the only objective measures MLB has to offer, but they are amongst the only ones that are public knowledge. In his complaint, Hernandez makes specific reference to the World Series, so we'll discuss Fall Classic assignments.

Sampling 'Bubble' White and Latino Umpires for Promotion: Take the case of Alfonso Marquez (Latino), who had officiated three World Series (2006, 11, 15) before his newly-promoted crew chief, Larry Vanover (white), had officiated even one (2016); Fonzie still has more postseason experience than other newer white crew chiefs, such as Fieldin Culbreth (two WS), Sam Holbrook (two WS, 2010 & '16) Paul Emmel (one WS, '13) and Jerry Meals (one WS, '14), yet Marquez himself is not a crew chief. The experience advantage extends to earlier postseason play (e.g., the League Championship Series) as well.

By contrast, Hernandez has officiated two World Series (2002, 05) [beats Vanover, and ties all others, except Marquez, who outpaces Hernandez by one].

Marquez's #s sure look promotion-worthy...
As for Replay Reviews and Review Affirmation Percentage (RAP), Marquez again comes out a winner. His 2016 RAP of .667 ranked seventh in the League (compared to Holbrook [20th], Vanover [25th], Culbreth [29th], Emmel [46th], and Meals [81st]). In 2015, Marquez again beat out his colleagues, finished second in the entire League with a .750 RAP (Holbrook [5th], Culbreth [11th], Emmel [18th] Vanover [42nd], Meals [64th]). In 2014, Marquez' .700 RAP [11th] again beat the other recent crew chiefs (Culbreth [15th], Vanover [32nd], Meals [34th], Emmel [78th], Holbrook [BL]).

By contrast, Hernandez's .389 RAP ranked 65th in 2016 (beats only Meals), .579 RAP ranked 26th in 2015 (beats Vanover and Meals), and .450 RAP ranked 58th in 2014 (beats only Emmel).

Why Marquez was not promoted at the expense of less-experienced and less-accurate white umpires is a conundrum, but one that MLB as a private entity has the right to keep secret (perhaps, until Hernandez's suit goes to trial [if it gets that far]; if Marquez never actually sought promotion, that'll be disclosed at discovery). As for Hernandez, personally, he doesn't stand above-and-beyond as Marquez does—on these specific metrics. Still, Marquez's non-promotion bolsters Hernandez's claim, especially when Fieldin Culbreth, as Crew Chief, in 2013 was suspended for incorrectly applying baseball rules during a pitching change sequence in Houston...yet Hernandez received comments from Torre criticizing his own rules knowledge.

General Discrimination (Race/Religion/Sex): Finally, the underlying message is one of systematic discrimination that begins all the way at the bottom of professional baseball, at PBUC/MiLBUD's hiring program for the Rookie Leagues, and for every promotional step along the way. To get into those statistics would surely take weeks to discuss, suffice it to say, but I have a theory—and it doesn't seem too absurd—that the composition of students at the two Umpiring Schools (Wendelstedt's HWS, and MiLB's TUS) are still majority-white, Christian, and male.

It's a historical perspective: In the past, I'd surmise that the racial makeup of each class was less diverse (thus, more white), and that in recent times, that composition has trended toward more equitable representation. It's a slippery slope argument to extract the precise reason for underrepresentation at school, and there are likely many causes.

First, the schools' cost can prove prohibitive to poorer students, who may trend toward racial minority status. To address the cost, MLB, MiLB and similar entities have instituted scholarships.

Second, there may exist an "ambition gap" wherein certain underrepresented groups (e.g., women [*administrative note* women aren't minorities]) remain underrepresented due to a lack of interest in the profession. Emerge America: Women Leaders for a Democratic Future, for instance, found that "the greatest hurdle for women in achieving gender parity in politics is not in the number of votes they get or their level of fundraising. It's overcoming the political ambition gap and convincing more women to run for office."

Third, and this is related to the ambition gap, if a potential umpire doesn't feel like (s)he will be successful in professional baseball, that person will likely not seek to attend school.

SABR demonstration of MLB's ethnic makeup.
We know that it routinely takes up to a decade's time for the chosen ones to reach the MLB level, which means that in Hernandez's class, there's an even greater chance Latinos were underrepresented at school, and thus, were underrepresented every step of the way up to and including in Major League Baseball.

Bear in mind that when Hernandez debuted in 1991, just 16% of players were Latino. Considering the amount of time it takes the average umpire to break into the Majors, even with the league's racial composition on the rise, umpiring's distribution, by necessity, will likely always be behind the curve, unless intervention causes the balance to skew by promoting umpires too quickly or keeping them in the minor league game too long.

Comparison, Racial Makeup of MLB Players vs Racial Makeup of MLB [Full-Time] Umpires:
Players: In 2007 ("10 years ago"), 26.1% of players were Latino. In 2016, it was 27.4%.
Umpires: In 2007, 5% of umpires were Latino. In 2016, it was 5.4%. In 2017, it's 7.9%.
*Non-Hispanic Black Players, 2007: 8.5%; 2016: 6.7%.
*Non-Hispanic Black Umpires, 2007: 4.4%; 2016: 4.0%.
*Asian Players, 2007: 2.2%; 2016: 2.1%. Asian Umpires, Both Years: 0.0%.

Putting it another way, 86.8% of 2017's umpires are white. By contrast, the last time 86.8% of MLB players were white was 1958. The last time only 7.9% of the league's players were Latino was 1961, and the last time 4.0% were black was 1953.

The natural question here is whether these percentages correspond to the umpires coming out of school (~10 years prior to the respective marks). If the statistics are comparable, we go back to the school attendance and ambition gap, and posit a theory as to why minorities are underrepresented at school. If not, we need to dig deeper.

We'll have more on this tomorrow...