Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tmac's Teachable Moments - Video Analysis of Four Plays

This edition of Tmac's Teachable Moments is an audio commentary with video of four Replay Review plays that occurred in MLB. First, we see Ben May patiently time an out call on a caught stealing at second base, then 1B Umpire Carlos Torres makes sure a fly ball is caught, James Hoye officiates a banger at first, and Chris Conroy anticipates a potential play at third base and is in great position to rule on a no-look tag attempt.

Podcast Video Minisode 4VM is a Teachable.
Introducing Audio Commentary: The following Teachable is available in audio form via this post and also via our RSS setup for The Plate Meeting Podcast. This episode is a Video Minisode and is labeled Episode 4VM.

Play 1: Our first play features 2B Umpire Ben May officiating a tag play during a stolen base attempt in Texas. Our runner, wearing the protective sliding "oven mitt" over his hand, appears to slide headfirst directly into the fielder's foot, which is guarding the base.

Sidebar: Because the fielder has the ball, there is no "obstruction" conversation to be had.

Watch May wait to make a call as he gets himself a good look as to whether the runner was able to reach the base ahead of the tag. After running the play through and confirming what he has seen, May signals the out, which is affirmed via Replay Review.

Carlos Torres observes a catch in Houston.
Play 2: Next up is 1B Umpire Carlos Torres on a line drive to right field, caught by our Diamondbacks right fielder in Houston during a tumbling head-over-heels catch that takes his glove to all sides, meaning that 2B Umpire Mark Carlson may potentially need to help out as the glove and bare hand holding onto the baseball rotated out of Torres' sight.

Like May in Arlington, Torres in Houston waits to make a call, appears to take a quick look at his crewmate to make sure the ball hasn't fallen out, and finally comes up with the out. This call is confirmed on review thanks in great part to the multiple replay angles that allow us to see that the fielder possessed the ball the entire time, and that it did not hit the grass. On the field, we're only allowed one angle in realtime, and potentially—by visually communicating with a crewmate—an additional angle that can help settle the call.

James Hoye signals safe on the play at first.
Play 3: 1B Umpire James Hoye has to officiate three aspects of a play within a matter of three tenths of a second. First, he has a fair/foul decision on a batted ball, then he has a catch/no catch consideration, and finally (the most challenging call), he has to determine whether the runner made it back to first base before being put out by the fielder's tag attempt on what we call a "reverse force" play in our replay shorthand.

The play explodes in close quarters at first base and with so many things happening at once, it's important to see the big picture. The most important call here will be the safe/out on the tag attempt, and it is vital to stay engaged throughout the play by anticipating the tag issue before it happens. Hoye does this here, is able to exclude the mitt laces from consideration of out/safe, and comes up with a quick safe call that is affirmed after review.

Chris Conroy moves to see the tag play.
Play 4: Finally, 3B Umpire Chris Conroy in San Diego prepares for a potential play at third base on an infield grounder up the right foul line. With a runner at second, we know there is no force play at third, such that the fielder will have to tag the runner if the defense does decide to try for the out at third base. That's precisely what happens, and Conroy moves into position, looking for the keyhole angle that best serves him in being able to see the important aspect of the play: did the runner get to third base and did the fielder tag the runner?

This anticipation and preparedness ahead of the play allows Conroy and the other umpires to best position themselves for these close plays, and to time their calls just right so as to support the highest level of accuracy.

Ben May (Play 1) stays with the tag at second.
In Conclusion, it all starts with your starting position. Where will you want to be at the crack of the bat—or a potential pickoff play—and where will you need to go on a mile-a-minute play like Hoye's in St. Louis? Second, be prepared for anything. If you're the third base umpire and there's a runner on second, be like Conroy and assume the next play will be at third base, even if that probability is realistically low...it still could happen, just like it did in San Diego. Finally, call what you see after you make darn well sure of what it is that you did see. Whether that means waiting to replay the sequence before coming up with a confident call like May or taking a quick peek at your partner like Torres, make sure of what you have and practice good timing when making your call.

Until next time, Happy Umpiring, Everyone!

Video as follows:

Sunday, September 16, 2018

MLB Ejection 168 - Fieldin Culbreth (3; Andy Green)

3B Umpire Fieldin Culbreth ejected Padres Manager Andy Green (unreviewable Fair/Foul call prior to a Replay Review decision that overturned HP Umpire Ryan Blakney's foul ball call to HBP; QOCY) in the top of the 9th inning of the Rangers-Padres game. With one out and none on, Rangers batter Robinson Chirinos attempted to check his swing on a 2-2 fastball from Padres pitcher Trey Wingenter, ruled a foul ball by HP Umpire Blakney. Green requested a review as to the issue of whether the ball, ruled foul, was actually fair (e.g., Green's contention was that the ball hit the bat and then bounded fair, while Blakney's original ruling contended that the ball hit the bat, then batter Chirinos' hand, and then bounded fair), after which the Replay Operations Center informed Culbreth (and Green) that this aspect of the play was not subject to review. At this time, Green was ejected for arguing the unreviewable Fair/Foul aspect of the play.

Upon subsequent Replay Review as the result of a challenge by Rangers Manager Jeff Banister that the ball hit Chirinos' hand prior to striking the bat, Blakney's call was overturned to a hit-by-pitch, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Rangers were leading, 3-2. The Padres ultimately won the contest, 7-3.

This is Fieldin Culbreth (25)'s third ejection of 2018.
Fieldin Culbreth now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth now has 0 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 0).
*This call is correct pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-2-b-6-a regarding displayed reasoning: "Quality of Correctness is governed by the (in)correctness of the call made, not by the quality of reasoning given for such a call." The call in this case is the Replay Official's ruling of HBP, which is QOCY.

*SD vs TEX requests for Replay Review, as pertains to the sequence of events relative to HP Umpire Blakney's original ruling of Pitch => Ball Hits Bat => Ball Hits Hand => Ball Lands Fair.
SD Wanted to Review: Pitch => Ball Hits Bat => (THIS PART OF THE PLAY) Ball Hits Hand.
TEX Wanted to Review: Pitch => (THIS PART OF THE PLAY) Ball Hits Bat => Ball Hits Hand.
In other words, once the umpire rules the ball has hit the bat, no subsequent aspect of the play relative to whether the ball then hit the batter's person may be reviewed. This is similar to the standard "did the batter foul the ball off his foot?" question, which is not a reviewable play...but should it be?
Related PostTmac's Teachable Moments - Let's Fix Replay (3/19/17).

This is the 168th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 69th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is San Diego's 7th ejection of 2018, T-2nd in the NL West (SF 8; ARI, LAD, SD 7; COL 5).
This is Andy Green's 4th ejection of 2018, 1st since June 29 (Angel Hernandez; QOC = Y [Balk]).
This is Fieldin Culbreth's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since July 27 (Rick Renteria; QOC = N [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Texas Rangers vs. San Diego Padres, 9/16/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 167 - Phil Cuzzi (3; Chip Hale)

HP Umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected Nationals Bench Coach Chip Hale (balls/strikes; QOCY) in the top of the 4th inning of the Nationals-Braves game. With none out and none on, Nationals batter Tanner Roark walked, Victor Robles singled, Trea Turner grounded out, Bryce Harper walked, Anthony Rendon popped out, and Juan Soto flied out. Replays indicate that of the 21 callable pitches in the top of the 4th inning, Cuzzi properly officiated 21 of them (21/21, 100% accuracy), and the cited 3-0 pitch to Rendon was located over the inner edge of home plate and above the knees (px -.887, pz 1.751 [sz_bot 1.565]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 5-0. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

This is Phil Cuzzi (10)'s third ejection of 2018.
Phil Cuzzi now has -8 points in the UEFL Standings (-12 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = -8).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has -1 points in Crew Division (-2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 167th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is Washington's 9th ejection of 2018, 1st in the NL East (WAS 9; ATL, NYM 6; MIA 5; PHI 0).
This is Chip Hale's first ejection since July 8, 2016 (Quinn Wolcott; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Phil Cuzzi's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since August 14 (Ben Zobrist; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves, 9/16/18 | Video as follows:

Saturday, September 15, 2018

MLB Ejection 166 - Larry Vanover (2; Bob Melvin)

HP Umpire Larry Vanover ejected A's Manager Bob Melvin (strike three call; QOCN) in the top of the 8th inning of the Athletics-Rays game. With one out and the bases loaded, A's batter Marcus Semien took a 2-2 slider from Rays pitcher Vidal Nuno for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and belt-high (px 1.036, pz 2.317), the call was incorrect.* Following the inning, Semien argued the pitch with Vanover, drawing the attention of Melvin, who was subsequently ejected. Pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-2-b-5-b, the reason for ejection is the underlying strike three call that spurred Semien's initial complaint, regardless of the precise nature of Melvin's ejection. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 4-4. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

This is Larry Vanover (27)'s second ejection of 2018.
Larry Vanover now has 1point in the UEFL Standings (3 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 1).
Crew Chief Larry Vanover now has 21 points in Crew Division (21 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 21).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 1.464 horizontal inches from being deemed a correct call.

This is the 166th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 68th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Oakland's 2nd ejection of 2018, 5th in the AL West (LAA, HOU, TEX 5; SEA 4; OAK 2).
This is Bob Melvin's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since July 10 (David Rackley; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Larry Vanover's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since July 21 (Pat Roessler; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 9/15/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 164-165 - Tripp Gibson (5-6; PIT x2)

HP Umpire Tripp Gibson ejected Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli and Manager Clint Hurdle (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the Pirates-Brewers game. With one out and one on (R2), Cervelli took a 2-2 fastball from Brewers pitcher Jacob Barnes for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -.456, pz 1.524 [sz_bot 1.565 / RAD 1.442]), and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections, the Pirates were leading, 3-1. The Pirates ultimately won the contest, 3-1.

These are Tripp Gibson (73)'s fifth and sixth ejections of 2018.
Tripp Gibson now has 22 points in the UEFL Standings (14 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] = 22).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 16 points in Crew Division (14 Previous + 2*[1 Correct] = 16).
*This pitch was located 1.980 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 164th, 165th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 79th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Cervelli was 1-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 67th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Pittsburgh's 3/4th ejection of 2018, T-3rd in the NL Central (CHC 10; MIL 8; PIT, STL 4; CIN 3).
This is Francisco Cervelli's first ejection since August 27, 2015 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Clint Hurdle's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 28 (Mark Carlson; QOC = N-C [Replay Review]).
This is Tripp Gibson's 5/6th ejection of 2018, 1st since June 19 (Yasmani Grandal; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 9/15/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 162-163 - May, Blaser (2, 4; MIN x2)

HP Umpire Ben May ejected Twins Manager Paul Molitor and 1B Umpire Cory Blaser ejected Twins 3B Coach Gene Glynn (check swing/bunt ball two call) in the top of the 5th inning of the Twins-Royals game. With one out and one on (R3), Royals batter Cam Gallagher aborted his attempt to bunt a 1-0 slider from Twins pitcher Chase De Jong as catcher Willians Astudillo threw to third base to play on Royals baserunner R3 Alcides Escobar, who ran toward home as Twins third baseman Gregorio Petit's return throw hit Escobar in the lower back, ruled no interference by May. This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board. At the time of the ejections, the Royals were leading, 4-1. The Royals ultimately won the contest, 10-3.

This is Ben May (97)'s second ejection of 2018.
This is Cory Blaser (89)'s fourth ejection of 2018.
Ben May now has X points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Previous + 2 AAA + ? Call = X).
Cory Blaser now has X points in the UEFL Standings (8 Prev + 2 MLB + ? Call = X).
Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom now has X points in Crew Division (11 Prev + 2*[? Call] = X).
Related PostAsk UEFL - Foul Bunt or Ball Fouled Away?

This is the 162nd, 163rd ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 66th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Minnesota's 7/8th ejection of 2018, 1st in the AL Central (MIN 8; CWS, KC 7; DET 4; CLE 1).
This is Paul Molitor's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 27 (Pat Hoberg; QOC = N [Balk]).
This is Gene Glynn's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 27 (Gerry Davis; QOC = U [Balk]).
This is Ben May's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since August 17 (Don Mattingly; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Cory Blaser's 4th ejection of 2018, 1st since August 18 (Craig Counsell; QOC = U [Warnings]).

Wrap: Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals, 9/15/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 160-161 - Roberto Ortiz (1-2; TOR x2)

HP Umpire Roberto Ortiz ejected Blue Jays bench player Luke Maile and Manager John Gibbons (ball one call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 2nd inning of the Blue Jays-Yankees game. With none out and two on, Yankees batter Gleyber Torres took a 0-0 fastball from Blue Jays pitcher Sean Reid-Foley for a called first ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px .910, pz 2.314), the call was correct [the previous at-bats are ineligible for review due to the intervening mound visit by Toronto; see UEFL Rule 6-5-c-2 and Table 1 (List of QOC Time Frame and Exemptions)].* At the time of the ejection, the Blue Jays were leading, 3-0. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 8-7.

These are Roberto Ortiz (40)'s first and second ejections of 2018.
Roberto Ortiz now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has 9 points in Crew Division (8 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 9).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 1.944 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 160th, 161st ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 65th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is the 78th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Maile did not appear in the game whatsoever.
This is Toronto's 9/10th ejection of 2018, 1st in the AL East (TOR 10; NYY 9; BOS 5; BAL 3; TB 2).
This is John Gibbons' 7th ejection of 2018, 1st since August 19 (Jansen Visconti; QOC = N [Out/Safe]).
This is Luke Maile's first career MLB ejection.
This is Roberto Ortiz's first career MLB ejection.

Wrap: Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees, 9/15/18 | Video as follows:

Friday, September 14, 2018

Odd - Harper-Diaz Feud Adds to Hallion-Frazier Mystique

HP Umpire Laz Diaz and Nationals CF Bryce Harper held an hour-long disagreement in Atlanta, the feud between official and player extending from the fifth to seventh inning during Washington's game against the Braves and involving skipper Dave Martinez in the process, as well. It was the second curious umpire-player interaction in as many days, following Tom Hallion's interesting positioning on top of home plate during a walk-off home run trot by New York's Todd Frazier on Thursday afternoon.

Bryce Harper and Laz Diaz had a spat Friday.
Diaz and Harper Carry on a Spat: In the top of the 5th inning, Harper struck out swinging after appearing to take umbrage with a first-pitch fastball Diaz had ruled a strike. The thigh-high pitch was located just off the outer edge of home plate (px -.923). Per UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule), the pitch would have been deemed correctly officiated had its px value been -.914 or closer to zero, which amounts to just over one-tenth of an inch into conclusively "incorrect" territory (-.923 + .914 = .009 * 12 = .108 inches).

The disagreement continued into the bottom of the 5th, when Braves batter Dansby Swanson took a 1-2 fastball outside for a called second ball (px 1.387, or about six inches off the plate) and Harper's purported discontent from his position in center field drew Diaz's attention. For what it's worth, Dansby had taken a called strike earlier in the at-bat which was similarly outside, albeit closer to home plate (the 1-0 pitch, ruled strike one, was off the outer edge of home plate by 2.664 inches; px 1.136).

It was at this time that Diaz informed Nats Manager Martinez, "He needs to cut it out, you need to talk to him...you take care of him or I will."

Relevant History: This should remind ardent Left Field Corner-era UEFL'ers of Ed Rapuano's August 9, 2009 ejection of Shane Victorino in Philadelphia for arguing a ball call from his position in center field. As was the case with Harper's protestation of Diaz's call from the outfield, Victorino likewise was admonished by the umpire for arguing a correctly officiated pitch.
Related PostEjections: Ed Rapuano (4) (8/9/09).

Laz Diaz addresses the Nationals dugout.
In the top of the 7th inning, Diaz called strike two on a 1-2 offering to Harper, drawing further discontent and a brief delay as Martinez exited the dugout to address Diaz. More-so than the fifth inning pitch, this one was located off the plate (px -1.353), 5.268 inches from the Kulpa Rule's .914 outer mark.

Harper grounded out and the game eventually ended without further incident, but Harper let his feelings be known following Washington's loss, telling the press that Diaz made inappropriate comments during the 7th inning disruption, adding: "That's my biggest thing this year is I don't want to get tossed. So I think I go to the edge, then kinda quiet up."

Harper, who as recently as 2016 (and also 2017) was MLB's biggest hothead player, according to ejection statistics and specifically the games-per-ejection (GPE) metric, has greatly simmered down over the past year; his last ejection occurred in July 2017.
Related PostMLB Ejection 107 - Chris Segal (2; Bryce Harper) (7/26/17).
Related PostPassing the Torch - Papi Out, Harper In as Biggest Hothead (5/13/16).

Martinez's summation was more pointed as he appealed to Major League Baseball to investigate the incident:
I'm not going to make any comments on balls and strikes there, but umpires are supposed to be non-confrontational, they're supposed to uphold the peace on the baseball field...For me, I think the MLB needs to take a look at that. That's all I'm going to say. I've known Laz for a very long time, and I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus, but we're in a pivotal moment of the game, and he's saying things to Harp, and I thought that was uncalled for.
And then Martinez commented on balls and strikes: "He called a pitch on him that was pretty ridiculous, but hopefully MLB will take a look at it and decide what to do."

Hallion stands in front of Frazier in New York.
Add in a Mix of Hallion-Frazier and You've Got a Busy Two Days: If MLB does pick up the Harper-Diaz case, it would mark MLB's second investigation of a player-umpire incident in the past few days. Earlier Friday, the New York Post reported that MLB is investigating Tom Hallion's positioning during Todd Frazier's home run to end the first game of New York's doubleheader against Miami on Thursday.

This video of Frazier's walk-off HR shows Hallion standing on the third baseline side of home plate as the Mets' batsman approached home. After the game, Frazier said, "I am not looking too far into it, but at first I was just befuddled," surmising that, "There have been some quirky things going on with me and the umpires and baseballs and home plate incidents and I looked back and saw Tom and he was kind of smirking like he did something."
Related Video: Todd Frazier's walk-off HR ends with umpire obstruction at home plate (NYM)

Frazier's 2018 history includes a recent ejection care of Hallion crewmate Dan Bellino, admitting to willfully fooling 3B Umpire Mark Wegner at Dodger Stadium by pretending to catch a foul ball in the seats, and, earlier this season, calling out the entire MLB umpire staff, saying, "These umpires have got to get better."
Related PostMLB Ejection 158 - Dan Bellino (2; Todd Frazier) (9/11/18).
Related PostReplay Rewind - Hollywood Magic at Dodger Stadium (9/5/18).
Related PostTodd Frazier - "These Umpires Have Got to Get Better" (5/3/18).

Video (Diaz-Harper) as follows:

Case Play 2018-8 - Kick a Ball, Make a Call [Solved]

Boston clinched a playoff berth Tuesday night following an unusual play in the 6th inning with Toronto at bat, when the home plate umpire inadvertently kicked a wild pitch with a runner at third, calling "Time" and sending the Blue Jays baserunners back to their bases of origin.

HP Umpire Jim Wolf searches for a wild pitch.
What is the proper call for an umpire's kicked ball?

The Play: With one out and one on (R3), Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi's 3-0 pitch to Jays batter Kendrys Morales dove into the dirt and near HP Umpire Jim Wolf, who inadvertently kicked the ball far away from Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon, prompting Blue Jays baserunner R3 Devon Travis to jog toward home plate. Wolf called "Time" and sent Travis back to third (and awarded Morales first base on ball four).

Question: Is this the correct call and were the runners placed properly (R3 Travis sent back to third and batter-runner Morales to first)? If so, is this umpire interference or does some other rule apply?

Answer: The first thing one should notice about the umpire interference rules as portrayed in 5.06(c)(2), 6.01(f), and the Definition of Terms is that Umpire Interference exists under only two scenarios: 1) The plate umpire hinders the catcher's throw (to a base/runner or back to the pitcher), and, 2) a fair [batted] ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder other than the pitcher, or before touching any other player.
Related VideoUEFL University: Umpire's Interference - Reviewing its Two Types (4/23/18).
Related PostStayin' Alive - The Umpire-Aided Triple Play (4/23/18).
Related PostRules 2.00 & 6.01(f): Umpire Interference (7/5/12).

Joe West kicks a ball into left field.
Accordingly, this play is not subject to any of the aforementioned rules. Yet during this play, clearly, baserunner R3 has absolutely zero intention of scoring until the plate umpire kicks the ball. What's the resolution?

Look no further than to Joe West for an example of another kicked ball—this one batted past the infield—that led to an extra base when a batter-runner had no intention of advancing beyond first until 2B Umpire West kicked the ball into shallow left field. Like Wolf, West put a new impetus on the ball by accidentally kicking it away from the fielders (or, more accurately, away from the charging outfielders), but unlike Wolf, West kept play alive because he kicked the ball after it had passed the infielders.
Related PostA Rare Off-The-Cowboy-Joe Double - Rule 5.06(c)(6) (8/24/16).

Counterpoint: How about Unintentional Interference, Rule 6.01(d) Comment, which states, "The question of intentional or unintentional interference shall be decided on the basis of the person’s action. For example: a bat boy, ball attendant, policeman, etc., who tries to avoid being touched by a thrown or batted ball but still is touched by the ball would be involved in unintentional interference. If, however, he kicks the ball or picks it up or pushes it, that is considered intentional interference, regardless of what his thought may have been"?

Or how about the MLBUM interpretation of 5.06(b) (ball goes out of play) that differentiates between a fielder deflecting the ball directly out of play, a fielder accidentally kicking the ball out of play, and a fielder intentionally kicking or deflecting the ball out of play?

Is there a way to incorporate 6.01(d) Comment or the MLBUM interpretation of 5.06(b) by using Rule 8.01(c)—umpiring's elastic clause ("Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules")—to invoke common sense and fair play?
Related PostUEFL Case Play 2018-6 - Kicked Out of Play [Solved] (7/23/18).
Related PostMLB Ejection 057 - Fieldin Culbreth (1; Terry Collins) (6/1/17).

The answer, it turns out, is "no." 6.01(d) does specifically cover the application of unintentional interference by exempting the following classes of persons from its purview: "except members of the team at bat who are participating in the game, or a base coach, any of whom interfere with a fielder attempting to field a batted or thrown ball; or an umpire." [Underlined-bold text added for emphasis.]

Similarly, 5.06(b) very clearly talks about fielders, not umpires.

As 5.06(c)(2), 6.01(f), and Definition of Terms clearly illustrate where precisely umpire interference occurs, it is not within the rules nor within the spirit of the rules to use 8.01(c) to apply discretion to the aforementioned.

This is not umpire interference, the ball shall remain alive, and the runner, unfortunately (for the team that threw the wild pitch, that is), shall be permitted to score. The rules simply don't allow the umpires to correct for a situation caused, initially, by a defensive miscue to begin with. Whether one believes this is fair play or not is, ultimately, irrelevant: the rulebook allows little discretion for choosing when umpire interference does and does not apply.

Silver Lining? Wolf so confidently sold the call from the get-go that there was very little doubt as to what it was and why he made it. Unfortunately, it just wasn't supported by any concrete rule.

The ump giveth and the ump taketh away.
Common Sense and Fair Play: Ruling this play dead and sending the runner back to third base because he had no intention of scoring prior to the umpire's accidental kick might scream out, "that's fair," but it could get you into trouble with a manager who knows the rules real quick.

If Toronto protested the game based on this call (and lost by a reasonable margin, etc.), it stands to reason that the protest would be affirmed based on the rules that dictate this accidental kick by an umpire is not means to call the ball dead and return the runner.

That said, if the explanation was, simply, "I accidentally called time" (which, I don't believe it was...it sure looked like "Time" was purposefully called), it becomes a matter not subject to protest. But knowingly ruling this umpire interference based on the kick is not supported by the rules.

Now if someone could help me out with determining whether Enrico Pallazzo's ejection of Joe West and Hank Robinson had anything to do with umpire interference or not, I'd be much obliged.
Related VideoSEA@LAA: Enrico Pallazzo Ejects Umpires Robinson, Cowboy Joe West (4/1/13).
Related PostEjections 1, 2: Enrico Pallazzo (Joe West, Hank Robinson) (4/1/13).

Official Baseball Rules Library
OBR 5.06(c)(2): "The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out, when—The plate umpire interferes with the catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pick-off play; runners may not advance."
OBR 5.06(c)(2) Comment: "Umpire interference may also occur when an umpire interferes with a catcher returning the ball to the pitcher."
OBR 6.01(f): "If a thrown ball accidentally touches a base coach, or a pitched or thrown ball touches an umpire, the ball is alive and in play."
OBR 6.01(f) Comment: "Umpire’s interference occurs (1) when a plate umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pick-off play; or (2) when a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder. Umpire interference may also occur when an umpire interferes with a catcher returning the ball to the pitcher."

Video as follows:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Randazzo Subs Out After Mid-Inning Throw Hits Wrist

Tony Randazzo left Thursday's Mariners-Angels game after being struck by a ball in the wrist, returning half an hour later after receiving medical attention.

An errant throw by Angels 1B Jose Fernandez to teammate David Fletcher after the final out of the top of the 3rd inning careened into the unsuspecting Randazzo's wrist as Randazzo was turned away from Fernandez. Randazzo returned to the game in the 4th, rejoining HP Umpire Lance Barrett, 1B and Crew Chief Bill Welke, and 3B Umpire Ryan Additon.

Relevant Injury History: There is no relevant injury history.

Last Game & Return to Play: September 13 | Time Absent: ½ Inning | Video as follows: