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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Challenge of Overturned Call Voids 30-Second Limit

With managers subject to a 30-second time limit to challenge after the conclusion of play, why did Crew Chief/2B Umpire Sam Holbrook honor Cardinals manager Mike Shildt's replay request a minute later? Let's review the exception to this rule: The overturned call false double manager's challenge.

Play: With one out and two on (R1, R2) in the top of the 6th inning of Wednesday's Nationals-Cardinals game, Nationals batter Howie Kendrick hit a ground ball to Cardinals third baseman Tommy Edman, who threw to second baseman Kolten Wong (R1 Juan Soto out at second), onto first base as Kendrick arrived (ruled out for an inning-ending double play).

Background: Earlier this month, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon was shut down by Paul Emmel when he attempted to challenge a time play in Chicago after Mariners Manager Scott Servais' unsuccessful challenge of an out call at second base. At the time, we wrote that Maddon failed to notify the umpires of his challenge within 30 seconds after the conclusion of play, and this is why he was denied.
Related PostJoe Maddon's Untimely Challenge Costs Cubs (9/4/19).

Washington requests a Replay Review.
So why was Shildt's seemingly-tardy request honored when Joe's wasn't? The following analysis bookends the exception-to-rule example posed during the Chicago play.

WAS & STL Challenge: The answer is the overturned call exception to the 30-second rule. With the top of the 6th inning over due to St. Louis' double play, Shildt had no reason to challenge any aspect of the play. Washington, however, did challenge the play at first base regarding Kendrick, resulting in an overturned call.

With the call in the process of being overturned from out to safe, the inning continued (two outs as opposed to three), meaning that Shildt now had reason to review Soto's slide at second base on the basis of potential slide rule interference, which he explained to HP Umpire John Tumpane, who alerted his crew chief.

Shildt questions the slide violation no-call.
The Replay Review regulations, in place since 2014, allow a delayed challenge only if a call is overturned, for the challenge consideration period for the revised call technically doesn't begin until the call is actually overturned. So in this case, Shildt's challenge was legal and timely because the Kendrick play at first base was overturned.

Had—for instance—there been zero outs in the inning and no runner on second base prior to the play (0 outs, R1 only), Shildt's challenge would still be deemed timely in the event of an overturned call (since, again he'd have no reason to challenge for slide interference if it was called a double play).

Can MLB mic up the Crew Chief or UIC?
If, like Maddon in Chicago, the play in St. Louis (assume 0 outs, R1 and R2) was confirmed or if the outcome was call stands, Shildt's challenge would be deemed untimely if not filed within 30 seconds or prior to Holbrook speaking to New York via the headsets. The rationale is that the call on the field should be treated as that basis for decision up and until the point at which that call is changed (upon which new considerations may be made).

Finally, the Cardinals TV broadcast said what may of us were thinking in the midst of the confusing scene: MLB umpires providing audio explanations to fans via the stadium public address a la NFL or NHL referee microphones could be very useful and clear up potential rules miscommunications that occur when fans and broadcasters attempt to sort through odd situations on their own. In January 2017, Tmac wrote as bullet point number on a how to fix instant replay article: Give the Crew Chief a microphone. Still waiting...
Related PostTmac's Teachable Moments - Let's Fix Replay (1/19/17).

Video as follows:

Ask UEFL - Runner's Lane INT No-Call in STL

When Cardinals pitcher Genesis Cabrera fielded Nationals batter Adam Eaton's weak ground ball up the first base line, his throw to first base hit Eaton in the back as HP Umpire Jim Wolf considered whether to invoke runner's lane interference Rule 5.09(a)(11).

This Ask the UEFL analysis is an exercise in the four criteria umpires should weigh in determining whether or not to call runner's lane interference (RLI) when a batter-runner going to first base potentially impedes the defense's ability to record an out.

Rule: To recap, Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11) states that any runner is out when, "In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of ) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of ) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball."

Four Criteria: The shortcut for umpires in taking the rulebook and applying words and sentences to a real-life, on-field situation is to consider whether or not four criteria have been satisfied. They are:

1) Is the ball being fielded to first base? For instance, yes, the St. Louis play was going to first base.
2) Is the batter-runner not within the lane? Yes, Eaton has both feet to the left of the line prematurely.*
3) Does BR hinder/impede the fielder taking the throw at first base? Yes, the ball hits Eaton's back.
4) Could the throw reasonably retire the runner? Maybe...this is the toughest litmus test of the bunch.


The runner is clearly not within the lane.
*A runner is permitted to exit the lane during the final step/stride to first base, but this exemption does not apply to a runner who has prematurely exited the lane (or never entered the lane whatsoever; that is a Jim Evans interpretation since adopted).

Analysis & Gil's Call: On first glance from the press box camera angle, I had runner's lane interference—largely because of criterion two: Eaton was plainly not within the lane. Yet the more I watched this play on replay, the more I questioned whether the throw could have reasonably retired the runner—not just whether the throw is true per se, but whether it could have "reasonably retired the runner" (that is a Wendelstedt interpretation).
Related PostRunning Lane Interference and Advancing to 1st Base (9/6/15).

RLI falls within a plate umpire's domain.
Was the quality of Cabrera's throw such that the ball was sailing into foul territory? Would the runner have beat the play regardless of where the throw did or did not wind up?

In the end, fittingly enough, I'm missing a conclusive camera angle, one that would have solved the former of my two questions and turned the tide of my opinion on the matter.

That camera angle just happens to coincide with precisely where Wolf was standing: a point behind the runner within the runner's lane extended back toward home plate—which also confirms exactly why umpiring mechanics routinely designate RLI for the plate umpire and not the first base umpire (e.g., U1 John Tumpane has other things to worry about in this situation, such as an actual out/safe call [timing/tag] at first base).

Call Stands, you mileage may vary | Video as follows:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Injury Scout - Jeremie Rehak Jogs Off in BAL

1B Umpire Jeremie Rehak jogged toward the Camden Yards umpires' entrance/exit during play in Baltimore for an unknown reason, ultimately leaving the field through the Orioles dugout during Blue Jays batter Teoscar Hernandez's at-bat in the top of the 2nd innings.

No apparent in-game injury occurred prior to Rehak's departure, though he did not appear entirely comfortable in the field during a check swing call earlier in the inning.

2B Umpire Alfonso Marquez moved to the first base position for the remainder of the game, with 3B Umpire Dan Bellino and HP Umpire and Crew Chief Larry Vanover rounding out the three-person crew.

Relevant Injury History: N/A (Undisclosed Injury or Illness).

Last Game: September 17 | Return to Play: TBD | Time Absent: TBD | Video as follows:

Monday, September 16, 2019

Replay Error Costs Chicago in Loss to Seattle

MLB admitted a Replay Review miscommunication between 2B Umpire & Crew Chief Marvin Hudson and White Sox Manager Rick Renteria during Mariners batter Omar Narvaez's walk-off home run hurt Chicago and sealed Seattle's victory, all while the HR never actually left the playing field in flight.

Had the play been reviewed, the Replay Official would have likely overturned 2B Umpire Hudson's on-field ruling of "home run" to "in play" based on the batted ball's caroming off the top of the outfield wall and back into play, likely placing batter-runner Narvaez at second base. Instead, Seattle walked off the White Sox.

Major League Baseball released a statement after Saturday's game, attempting to explain why the controversial walk-off homer wasn't reviewed:
In last night's game there was conversation between the umpires and the White Sox as to the procedure for potentially reviewing two different aspects of the game-ending play. There was then a misinterpretation regarding Chicago's desire to have any aspect of the play reviewed. We regret that this miscommunication resulted in not reviewing the home run call on the field.
HR is signaled without a replay decision.
Pursuant to Replay Review regulations, a manager must specify which part(s) of a play the team wishes to challenge, a provision called, appropriately enough, "Specificity of the Challenge" (which also applies to Crew Chief Reviews).

The Specificity of Challenge regulation states:
When invoking a Manager's Challenge or otherwise requesting a Crew Chief review, it is the Manager's responsibility to ensure that the Umpire knows the specific calls for which he is seeking Replay Review, but the Manager need not state the reason for his belief that the call was incorrect.
Replays indicate that Narvaez's batted ball did not clear the wall—it likely would have been reversed to a double had it been reviewed—and that Renteria timely sought out the umpires to seek a review.

Because it was a home run-related boundary call, the play would fall under "Crew Chief Review" rather than a Manager's Challenge, and at some point, the concept of a challenge on Narvaez's base touch at home plate entered the picture and HP Umpire Adrian Johnson prepared for a possible appeal play as well. The code allows for a manager to challenge a second aspect of a play already subject to Crew Chief Review.

Johnson anticipates an appeal play at home.
Instead, Hudson apparently asked Renteria if he still wanted to challenge the call (he only can challenge one call [base touch], while the other [HR/Not HR] is a Crew Chief Review), Renteria said no (reportedly under a mistaken assumption that the HR/Not HR issue had already been decided), and Hudson took this to mean he didn't even want the home run reviewed, thus ending the game.

Gil's Call: For all officials: slow down. This communication error may have been averted by taking more time to glean precisely what Renteria wanted reviewed, as opposed to a walk-and-talk from several yards away (with an excited crowd cheering a walk-off win). Pursuant to Specificity of the Challenge, it's important to know exactly what the manager does and doesn't want reviewed, so double checking before finalizing the HR and declaring the game over could have helped. It's a failure to communicate mistake that could benefit from taking extra time to make sure everyone's on the same page—pace of play be darned.

Postscript: Watch Adrian Johnson on the replay and notice how he signals to his crewmates that Renteria wants a Replay Review prior to Narvaez arriving at home plate. Because this hold occurs during Narvaez's home run trot and prior to the celebration, it logically follows that Renteria wants something reviewed that occurred prior to Narvaez touching (or failing to touch) home plate. I believe that *something* was whether the wall-scraper in the outfield was indeed a home run or not.

Video as follows:

Sunday, September 15, 2019

MLB Ejection 209 - Bill Welke (5; Matt Joyce)

HP Umpire Bill Welke ejected Braves RF Matt Joyce (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 5th inning of the #Braves-#Nationals game. With none out and none on, Joyce took a 1-0 curveball from Nationals pitcher Anibal Sanchez for a called first strike and 3-2 fastball for a called third strike. Replays indicate the 1-0 pitch was located over the heart of home plate and knee-high (px -0.05, pz 1.60 [sz_bot 1.56]) and the 3-2 pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -0.73, pz 1.91), the call was correct by 2.21 horizontal inches. At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 5-0. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 7-0.

This is Bill Welke (3)'s fifth ejection of 2019.
Bill Welke now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Tim Timmons now has 6 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 6).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 209th ejection report of 2019.
This is the 102nd player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Joyce was 0-2 (SO) in the contest.
This is Atlanta's 8th ejection of 2019, 3rd in the NL East (WAS 10; PHI 9; ATL 8; MIA, NYM 5).
This is Matt Joyce's 1st ejection since June 8, 2016 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Bill Welke's 5th ejection of 2019, 1st since Sept 14 (Brian Snitker; QOC = x [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals, 9/15/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 207-208 - Gabe Morales (Harper, Kapler)

HP Umpire Gabe Morales ejected Phillies RF Bryce Harper and Manager Gabe Kapler (strike three call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the #RedSox-#Phillies game. With none out and one on (R1), Harper took a 1-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello for a called third strike; he was not ejected until arguing during subsequent batter Rhys Hoskins' plate appearance. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 0.98, pz 2.06), the call was incorrect by 0.79 horizontal inches.* At the time of the ejections, the Red Sox were leading, 5-1. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

These are Gabe Morales (47)'s second and third ejections of 2019.
Gabe Morales now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 0).
Crew Chief Jerry Meals now has -2 points in Crew Division (-2 Previous + 0 QOCN = -2).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

These are the 207th and 208th ejection reports of 2019.
This is the 101st player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Harper was 0-2 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is the 94th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Philadelphia's 8/9th ejection of 2019, 2nd in the NL East (WAS 10; PHI 9; ATL 7; MIA, NYM 5).
This is Bryce Harper's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 22 (Mark Carlson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Gabe Krapler's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since July 16 (Chris Conroy; QOC = U [Warnings]).
This is Gabe Morales' 2/3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 13 (Kyle Schwarber; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 9/15/19 | Video as follows:

Saturday, September 14, 2019

MLB Ejections 205-206 - Carlos Torres (4-5; SD)

3B Umpire Carlos Torres ejected Padres 1B Eric Hosmer and Manager Andy Green (check swing strike two call) in the top of the 5th inning of the #Padres-#Rockies game. With one out and two on (R1, R3), Hosmer attempted to check his swing on a 0-1 changeup from Rockies pitcher Peter Lambert, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Paul Nauert and a swinging second strike on appeal by 3B Umpire Carlos Torres, before grounding out two pitches later. On-Field Ruling was adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Rockies were leading, 9-5. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 11-10.

These are Carlos Torres (37)'s fourth and fifth ejections of 2019.
Carlos Torres now has 17 points in the UEFL Standings (13 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 17).
Crew Chief Paul Nauert now has 0 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 0).

These are the 205th and 206th ejection reports of 2019.
This is the 100th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Hosmer was 1-2 (RBI) in the contest.
This is the 93rd Manager ejection of 2019.
This is San Diego's 7/8th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL West (SD 8; COL 6; SF 5; ARI 4; LAD 3).
This is Eric Hosmer's 1st ejection since May 27, 2017 (Bill Welke; QOC = Y-c [Check Swing]).
This is Andy Green's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 15 (Bill Welke; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).
This is Carlos Torres' 4/5th ejection of 2019, 1st since July 19 (David Bell; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies, 9/14/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 204 - Chris Guccione (2; Dale Sveum)

HP Umpire Chris Guccione ejected Royals Bench Coach Dale Sveum (ball two call; QOCN) in the top of the 2nd inning of the #Astros-#Royals game. With none out and none on, Astros batter Alex Bregman took a 1-0 sinker from Royals pitcher Mike Montgomery for a called second ball before taking a 3-1 sinker for a called fourth ball. Replays indicate the 1-0 pitch was located over the heart of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px -0.09, pz 1.73 [sz_bot 1.55 / MOE 1.63] [sz_bot 1.54 / MOE 1.62]) while the 3-1 pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -0.82, pz 2.54), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 6-1.

This is Chris Guccione (68)'s second ejection of 2019.
Chris Guccione now has -4 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = -4).
Crew Chief Mike Everitt now has 4 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 4).
*The 1-0 pitch was located 1.20 1.32 vertical inches from being deemed a correct call.
Overnight processing changed Bregman's sz_bot value from 1.55 to 1.54 (-0.12 inches).

This is the 204th ejection report of 2019.
This is Kansas City's 11th ejection of 2019, T-1st in the AL Central (CWS, DET, KC 11; MIN 4; CLE 1).
This is Dale Sveum's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 17 (Joe West; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Chris Guccione's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 22 (Gabe Kapler; QOC = N-c [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals, 9/14/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 203 - Bill Welke (4; Brian Snitker)

1B Umpire Bill Welke ejected Braves Manager Brian Snitker (check swing/bunt dead ball strike one call) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Braves-#Nationals game. With none out and two on (R1, R2), Braves batter Charlie Culberson squared to bunt a 0-0 fastball from Nationals pitcher Fernando Rodney as the pitch traveled inside and struck Culberson in the face, ruled a HBP by HP Umpire Timmons and a bunt attempt/dead ball strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Welke; the relevant rule is Definition of Terms [Bunt]: "A BUNT is a batted ball not swung at, but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly within the infield"; if the batter has intended to meet the ball with the bat, it is a missed bunt; if the batter has struck at the ball and missed, it is a swinging strike; otherwise it is officiated as to the result of the pitch (ball/strike/HBP/foul ball/etc).* On-Field Ruling was adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (0-8), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 1-1. The Braves ultimately won the contest, 10-1.

This is Bill Welke (3)'s fourth ejection of 2019.
Bill Welke now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 2).
Crew Chief Tim Timmons now has 5 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 0 QOCN = 5).
*Related PostAsk UEFL - Foul Bunt or Ball Fouled Away? (8/29/18).
Related: Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton injured during swing & miss in Milwaukee (9/11/14).

This is the 203rd ejection report of 2019.
This is the 92nd Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Atlanta's 7th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the NL East (WAS 10; ATL, PHI 7; MIA, NYM 5).
This is Brian Snitker's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since August 20 (Mark Wegner; QOC = U [Warnings]).
This is Bill Welke's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since June 15 (Manny Machado; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals, 9/14/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 201-202 - Alfonso Marquez (5-6; CHC)

HP Umpire Alfonso Marquez ejected Cubs pitcher Dillon Maples and Manager Joe Maddon (throwing at Pirates batter Erik Gonzalez after warnings; QOCU) in the top of the 9th inning of the #Pirates-#Cubs game. With one out and none on, Pirates batter Elias Diaz was hit by a pitch after which subsequent batter Gonzalez took a 3-1 curveball from Maples for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch struck Gonzlaez in the left shoulder; warnings had previously been issued when Cubs batter David Bote was hit by a pitch from Pirates pitcher Clay Holmes in the 6th inning, the call was irrecusable (there is a relevant history, see Heads Up).* At the time of the ejections, the Cubs were leading, 14-1. The Cubs ultimately won the contest, 14-1.

These are Alfonso Marquez (72)'s fifth and sixth ejections of 2019.
Alfonso Marquez now has 12 points in the UEFL Standings (8 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 0 QOCU] = 12).
Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez now has 9 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 2*[1 Irrecusable] = 9).
Heads UpMLB Ejection 111 - Joe West (6; Joe Maddon) (7/4/19).

These are the 201st and 202nd ejections of 2019.
This is the 99th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Maples' line was 0.1 IP, 2 HBP.
This is the 91st Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Chicago's 8/9th ejection of 2019, 3rd in the NL Central (CIN 23; PIT 12; CHC 9; MIL 8; STL 3).
This is Dillon Maples' first career MLB ejection.
This is Joe Maddon's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since July 4 (Joe West; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).
This is Alfonso Marquez's 5/6th ejection of 2019, 1st since August 19 (Ron Gardenhire; QOC = U [Pace of Play]).

Wrap: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs, 9/14/19 | Video as follows: