Sunday, April 22, 2018

MLB Ejections 023-24 - Cory Blaser (1-2; Davis, Haines)

HP Umpire Cory Blaser ejected Cubs Hitting Coach Chili Davis and Assistant Hitting Coach Andy Haines (Unsportmanlike-NEC/warnings & ejection no-calls; QOCU) in the top of the 1st inning of the Cubs-Rockies game. With two out and none on, Cubs batter Kris Bryant took a 1-2 fastball from Rockies pitcher German Marquez for a hit-by-pitch, the first hit batsman of the game; no warnings or other actions resulted from the HBP. Replays indicate the pitch was located inside and head-high, after which Bryant left the game due to injury, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Cubs ultimately won the contest, 9-7.

These are Cory Blaser (89)'s first and second ejections of 2018.
Cory Blaser now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call] = 6).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson now has 2 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Call = 2).

These are the 23rd and 24th ejections of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is Chicago's 1/2nd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the NL Central (CHC, MIL 2; CIN, PIT, STL 0).
This is Andy Haines' first career MLB ejection.
This is Chili Davis' first ejection since September 7, 1997 (Durwood Merrill; QOC = U [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Cory Blaser's first ejection since August 10, 2016 (Barry Bonds; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies, 4/22/18 | Video as follows:

No No-No? Out of Base Path Call Voids Potential Sox Hit

Three innings before Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea celebrated the first no-hitter of 2018, HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and crewmates Adrian Johnson, Tripp Gibson, and Brian Gorman convened about a potential out-of-the-base-path call at first after Red Sox batter-runner Andrew Benintendi attempted to avoid a tag near the foul line for Boston's first base hit of the game, thus breaking up Manaea's masterpiece.

The implications of this decision were significant: Either no-call the tough-to-tell base path infraction and end a potentially historic night with two outs in the top of the 6th inning, or rule Benintendi out, consequently keeping Manaea's no-hitter intact.
Related Post2018 No-Hitter 1, Hunter Wendelstedt (1; Sean Manaea) (4/21/18).

As Jim Joyce would say, "This isn't a call. This is a history call..."

Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1) states that any runner is out when:
He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely
To be clear, we're not talking about a baseLINE, and the 45-foot runner's lane does not apply to this play (the runner's lane only applies to plays of potential interference...there is no potential for runner's lane interference here). Refer to the following related post to learn about runner's lane interference.
Related PostRunner's Lane Interference Plagues Chicago's Heyward (5/24/17).

The runner's lane is not part of this play.
Instead, we consider whether batter-runner Benintendi ran more than three feet from the direct line between where he was at the time A's first baseman Matt Olson first attempted to tag him and the first base bag (see annotated image at the top of this analysis).

From the available camera angles, this appears a 50-50 call if there ever was one; I see no definitive evidence to support the on-field ruling, nor do I see any clear and convincing evidence to refute it. This is really close to three feet. In sum, it is difficult to ascertain from a distance whether the runner deviated by more than three feet from his established base path, and I wouldn't be able to confirm that he was less than three feet from the direct line. If this call were subject to Replay Review (it's not), I'd have to imagine the Replay Official would rule "call stands."

Gorman's crew rehashes the play near first.
This crew consultation for an out-of-the-base-path no-call suggests that Wendelstedt had doubt as to whether Benintendi illegally exited his base path; after all, with a fielder lunging from one side of the baseline to the other, it is clear that the runner will attempt to avoid this tag. The only question, naturally, is whether the runner ran more than three feet from his path to do so.

U1 Johnson, primarily engaged with the question of tag/no tag—both of player and of base, though this play developed into a pretty clear swipe tag situation—signaled "safe" due to Olson's missed tag; there appeared to be no initial call pertaining to the base path issue.

Gil's Call: Oddly enough, or perhaps not as odd as it is confounding, is that the Jim Joyce safe call during Armando Galarraga's Imperfect Game—one of the plays that was supposedly a catalyst for MLB expanded video replay—has everything, yet nothing, to do with this call.

Did the game situation influence the call?
This out-of-the-base-path play, combined with an official scorer's decision to rule a dropped fly ball an error instead of a base hit, helped keep Manaea's dream alive and made his no-hitter possible. If this call doesn't get made, that no-hitter never happens. The notion is simple, yet the gravity of this call held an untold (and unsounded, and perhaps subconscious if nothing else) weight during the crew consultation. It was the white elephant in the stadium, which, pursuant to the umpire's creed, "had nothing to do with the call that was made."

Finally, Joyce's call had nothing to do with that of the Gorman crew, either, because Joyce's call would have been reviewable today; out of the base path isn't, and absent someone borrowing a yard stick from the Coliseum grounds crew, who's to say whether this call was definitively correct or not? There could be a lengthy debate as to where precisely the runner was when the fielder gained possession of the baseball and moved toward him in order to start his tag.

So when Wendelstedt walked to Red Sox Manager Alex Cora to relay the bad news, and Gibson and Johnson visited with Benintendi, the most notable outcome—besides the no-hitter—was that Gorman's crew now won't have to live with the next line (but most importantly, the final sentence) from the aforementioned Jim Joyce quote: "...And I kicked the sh*t out of it. And I took a perfect game away from that kid who worked his ass off all night."

If the arm is 3 feet, does it ever get to the line?
After the game, Gorman said the crew talked about body parts, "We were discussing the three-foot variation. Your arm is three feet long and you got a glove at the end of it that's a pretty good indicator. He [Benintendi] goes to the side of him [Olson], then he went more than three-feet."

Naturally, the question becomes whether Olson's fingertips ever made it to Benintendi's base path—did the leather ever break the plane formed by the direct line between Benintendi at the time of the tag and first base?

If it did, perhaps a visual exercise could help determine whether another arm length (starting at the direct line) could have reached the runner. If Olson's hand did not make it to Benitendi's path, however, then Gorman's logic becomes faulty: of course the runner was more than three feet away from the fielder's reach...the fielder didn't start the play even with the runner's base path, meaning that the runner had a "head start" of sorts.

Ugh, math.

Benintendi simply surmised that the umpires were looking for a reason to preserve the no-no.

Does he have a point? Would this same play produce the same call in a more relaxed ballgame without a no-hitter on the line?

We've discussed out-of-the-base-path plays many times; click through the various Related Post links that follow to read about several previous plays that also pertained to this rule.
Related PostMLB Ejection 047 - Nic Lentz (2; Clint Hurdle) (5/23/17).
Related PostMarlins File Doomed Protest Over Out of Base Path Call (6/14/16).
Related PostBaez Out of Base Path in Rare Runner's Lane Appearance (5/23/16).
Related PostWhose Call - Runner Out of Base Path Considerations (5/17/16).
Related PostMLB Ejection 133: Alan Porter (3; Mike Redmond) (7/23/14).

Video as follows:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

2018 No-Hitter 1, Hunter Wendelstedt (1; Sean Manaea)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea's no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox, the first of 2018. Wendelstedt was joined for Saturday's game at the Oakland Coliseum by 1B Umpire Adrian Johnson, 2B Umpire Tripp Gibson, and 3B Umpire Brian Gorman (crew chief). This is Wendelstedt's first career MLB no-hitter.

His father, Harry Wendelstedt, called five no-hitters: George Culver on July 29, 1968; Gaylord Perry on September 17, 1968; Bob Gibson on August 14, 1971; Bob Forsch on September 26, 1983; and a combined no-no by Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers, and Alejandro Pena on September 11, 1991. Harry's five no-hitters are the second-most amongst all-time major league umpires, tied with Bill Dinneen (AL, 1909-37) and Hall of Famer Bill Klem (NL, 1905-41). Frank "Silk" O'Loughlin (1902-18) had seven.

Wendelstedt received 52 callable pitches from Manaea, a total of 33 balls and 19 called strikes. The look:

Balls: 32 called balls outside of strike zone / 1 called ball within strike zone = 32/33 = 97.0% Accuracy.
Strikes: 18 called strikes inside strike zone / 1 called strikes outside strike zone = 18/19 = >94.7% Accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score for Manaea = 50/52 = 96.2% Accuracy (+0 [Neutral Skew]).
Overall Game Score: 78/80 Balls + 37/41 Strikes = 115/121 = 95.0%. +2 BOS. Plots via "Read More"

Diversity Crew - WBC Caliber Lineup in Detroit

An umpiring crew in Detroit took on a World Baseball Classic quality Friday night, bringing together umpires from several countries to officiate one MLB regular season game.

Torres, De Jesus, Ortiz & Danley.
H/T: @MRTeevs (MLB PR VP Mike Teevan).
Umpire Crew, Kansas City vs Detroit, 4/20/18:
HP: Carlos Torres (Venezuela).
1B: Ramon De Jesus (Dominican Republic).
2B: Kerwin Danley -cc (Los Angeles, California).
3B: Roberto Ortiz (Puerto Rico).

Friday evening's was Game 2 of a doubleheader between the Royals and Tigers; regular crew member Scott Barry worked the plate for Game 1 and Ortiz was called up to fill in as Umpire #5 for the day. De Jesus, meanwhile is officiating in place of Paul Nauert, whose last game was last week, and Danley is serving as acting crew chief in place of Dana DeMuth, who hasn't officiated whatsoever this season.

The only Puerto Rican-born umpire on either the staff or call-up list, Ortiz worked the 2018 Puerto Rico series between Cleveland and Minnesota earlier this week in San Juan. The last umpire from Puerto Rico to call major league games was Delfin Colon (46 games from 2008 to 2009).
Related PostSpecial Event Roster - 2018 Puerto Rico Umpires (4/17/18).

Friday, April 20, 2018

10th Annual Umps Care Charities Auction Underway

The 10th annual @UmpsCare Charities Online Auction is underway on, and back are the popular "Lunch with an Ump" experiences, umpire gift boxes, tickets and suites, and signed memorabilia.
UMPS CARE was founded by MLB Umpires.

334 items are up for bids in this year's UMPS CARE Charities auction, whose motto is, "Helping People is an Easy Call."

On To the Goods
Below are a few highlights of this year's auction, from a UEFL point-of-view. All items, including the 326 not listed here, are worthwhile exploring.

> Lunch for Two with ESPN TV Director and Tickets to a Nationals or Orioles Game. This unique experience gives the winning bidder a chance to ask a broadcast director about television coverage. Personally, we'd use this experience to try and figure out why ESPN continues to use a faulty K-Zone graphic.

> Golf and Lunch for 2 with NBA Referees at the Raven Golf Club (Phoenix, AZ). The National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) gets into the act with an opportunity to hang out with NBA officials Bill Kennedy and Mark Ayotte in the summer of 2018, which goes to show that the officiating family transcends sports.

Recently-retired umpire Dale Scott's gift box.
> MLB Umpire Dale Scott "Memory Lane" Gift Box. A sentimental item to see as part of this auction and generously donated by Scott, this gift basket is a history lesson through Dale Scott's storied professional career with baseballs from the 2004 World Series, 2011 All-Star Game, 2014 Opening Series in Sydney, and one of Dale's on-field trademarks—his classic #5 blue base uniform shirt. True to his love of the Oregon Ducks, you'll also take home a few Duck-branded item. Let's Go Ducks!

> Signed Mother's Day and Father's Day masks. In 2017, umpires wore pink masks for Mother's Day and blue masks for Father's Day, in conjunction with MLB's breast and prostate cancer awareness missions associated with those days. The masks being auctioned off have been signed by the entire crews from those games—Gabe Morales, Roberto Ortiz, Ron Kulpa, and Adrian Johnson for Mother's Day; Fieldin Culbreth, Manny Gonzalez, CB Bucknor, and Mark Carlson for Father's Day. The signatures aren't MLB authenticated, but the mask itself is.

This baseball was signed by the entire staff.
> 2018 Umpire Staff Signed Baseball (Not MLB Authenticated). Does this ball look a little "busy" to you? Well it's been signed by every 2018 MLB staff umpire. That's a lot of ink!

> Vin Scully Signed Baseball. This could be the last time to pick up a ball signed by Vin. Don't miss out!

> $150 Gift Card to Starting bid here is $75. What a steal!

About UMPS CARE: Founded in 2006, this nonprofit, whose executive board features retired umpire Gary Darling as President, alongside active umpires Marvin Hudson and Jim Reynolds as Vice President and Secretary, respectively, provides financial, in-kind, and emotional support for America's youth and families in need. The annual online auction is but one of many UMPS CARE events, which include ticket donations and on-field experiences, scholarships, golf tournaments, and hospital visits.

Click here to access UMPS CARE Charities' 10th Annual Online auction. The auction ends April 30.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Injury Scout - Jerry Layne Out on Foul Ball to Arm

Jerry Layne left Thursday's assignment at Angel Stadium of Anaheim after a fouled-off fastball struck him in the unpadded upper right arm.

In the bottom of the 1st inning of the Red Sox-Angels game, Angels batter Mike Trout fouled off a 93.4-mph 0-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez into Layne's arm, resulting in his removal from the game.

1B Umpire Greg Gibson replaced Layne behind home plate, with 2B Umpire Vic Carapazza sliding over to first base and 3B Umpire Jordan Baker remaining as the second field umpire. Gibson served as acting crew chief in Layne's absence.

Relevant Injury History: In August 2017, Layne left his plate game in Houston after a foul ball injury to the lower arm/wrist area. He returned to play the next day.
Related PostInjury Scout - Jerry Layne Hit in Wrist by Foul Ball (8/19/17).

Last Game: April 19 | Return to Play: TBD | Time Absent: TBD | Video as follows:

Abandonment Call in Seattle Helps M's Turn Triple Play

For all the times we have discussed Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(2) regarding abandonment, rarely does such a play occur. Thursday's game at Safeco Field turned the tide, as 1B Umpire Brian Gorman ruled Astros batter-runner Evan Gattis out after he started for the dugout, apparently unaware of how many outs there were, thus indicating by his actions that he was out.

Gorman and Tripp Gibson signal Gattis out.
The Play: With none out and two on (R1, R2), Gattis hit a check-swing ground ball to Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who stepped on third base ahead of baserunner R2 Jose Altuve's arrival, and threw to second baseman Robinson Cano, who stepped on second base ahead of baserunner R1 Carlos Correa's arrival. Although Seattle seemed quite content with the double play, batter-runner Gattis, after touching first base, made a wide turn and began jogging toward Houston's dugout on the third-base side of the field. Seattle first baseman Daniel Vogelbach called for the ball, chased after, and tagged Gattis.

The Call: After progressing a reasonable distance toward the dugout with no indication that he intended to return to first base, 1B Umpire Gorman invoked Rule 5.09(b)(2) and declared Gattis out for abandoning his effort to run the bases; Vogelbach's tag occured after Gorman's declaration of abandonment (thus, the inning ended the moment Gorman ruled that Gattis had abandoned his effort, not when the tag was made). This would be important in determining whether a runner would have scored prior to the third out, as in a time play.

SIDEBAR: Abandonment in this situation triumphs over out-of-the-base-path rule 5.09(b)(1) because the three-foot base path rule ("He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball") requires Gattis' actions to be an attempt to avoid being tagged. Gattis' movement stems from abandoning his effort to touch the next base, as opposed to an attempt to avoid being tagged. By the time Gattis first becomes aware of a tag attempt and begins moving to avoid being tagged, he has already been declared out for abandonment.

Gorman's out call precedes Vogelbach's tag.
OBR 5.09(b)(2): Any runner is out when: after touching first base, he leaves the base path, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base.

The rule's comment elucidates the principle: "Any runner after reaching first base who leaves the base path heading for his dugout or his position believing that there is no further play, may be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases. Even though an out is called, the ball remains in play in regard to any other runner."

And if all that weren't enough, the Rules Committee saw fit to include a case play to illustrate the concept of abandonment: "Runner believing he is called out on a tag at first or third base starts for the dugout and progresses a reasonable distance still indicating by his actions that he is out, shall be declared out for abandoning the bases."

We have discussed the issue of a game-ending situation relative to abandonment many times over.
Related PostWalk On - Bases Loaded HBP Abandonment Forces Extras (4/6/18).

Abandonment can occur during a home run.
KEEP IN MIND: This rule also applies to potential walk-off situations. If, during a potential game-winning home run, a baserunner cuts across the field instead of completing the base touch responsibilities (e.g., if R1 touches second, but then runs back to first to celebrate and makes no effort to run the bases), that baserunner would be out for abandonment. Unless there are two out (in which case the inning is over and no following runners may score), the batter-runner would still be permitted to score. This type of abandonment is important to know, because the timing of abandonment relative to a potential "passing a preceding runner" situation would dictate the batter-runner's ability to advance. A trailing runner, obviously, cannot be declared out for passing a preceding runner if such preceding runner has already been declared out for abandonment prior to the potential passing.
Related PostCase Play 2016-11 - Time to Pass a Runner [Solved] (9/16/16).

TELL THEM APART: Running more than three feet out of the base path to avoid a tag 5.09(b)(1) can be differentiated from abandonment 5.09(b)(2) by the runner's actions: if there is intent to avoid a tag attempt, the out is 5.09(b)(1). If the reason for the runner's movement is principally "I'm not running the bases anymore," the out is 5.09(b)(2). Keep in mind that until a runner actually passes a base to which the runner is headed, abandonment has not occurred and a trailing runner may declared be out for passing. This also applies to any batter-runner who has already touched first base (or run past first base without physically touching it sans appeal). If the BR hasn't yet touched first, he can be retired by simply stepping on the base with the ball. Unlike abandonment rule 5.09(b)(2), out-of-the-base-path rule 5.09(b)(1) does apply to a runner at all times, whether or not the runner has already touched first base.
Related PostO's Lodge Protest Over Runners Passing Rule Application (4/7/18).

Video as follows:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Leaving Early - Ump Heads Out to Catch a Flight

Sunday's American Athletic Conference game started with three umpires and ended with two not due to injury or illness, but because an umpire had to catch a flight out of town.

Bob Emslie left a game early to catch a train.
Moments earlier, 3B Umpire Matthew Hensel had ejected Tulane Green Wave coach Travis Jewett for arguing an out call at third base, only to find himself also leaving the ballgame due to a Sunday night time crunch.

Sunday's fun actually began Saturday, when inclement weather forced host Tulane to postpone the second game of its series against Houston, opting for a doubleheader on Sunday.

Additional weather concerns prompted the delay of Game 1 Sunday morning, which pushed back the second game into a conflict with Hensel's scheduled flight out of New Orleans.

According to the American Athletic Conference, which in 2018 assigns three-person crews for league games, an umpire may leave early in order to catch a flight out of the city on the last day of a series, referred to as absenteeism. In such case, the game will finish with two umpires. An AAC spokesperson said the conference will begin assigning four-person crews in 2019.

Tulane, which generally hires four umpires for all non-conference games, reportedly offered to provide Hensel with an additional night of lodging and meal per diem, but the deal did not work out.

NCAA Rule 3-6-h states, "No umpire may be replaced in a game unless the individual becomes ill or injured" (the equivalent OBR citation is 8.02(d), but unlike NCAA Baseball, the professional book hasn't yet adapted "the individual" and still uses the gendered pronoun, "he").

There is no rules restriction in place for an umpire leaving early, and Hensel's departure is hardly the first time a delayed game has interfered with an umpire's postgame travel plans. Rather, Hensel's exit simply follows a nearly 150-year baseball history of umpires leaving games early to catch a train or plane.

This three-person crew grew to four.
For instance, the first date of an umpire change recorded in Retrosheet's database indicates that home plate umpire Mays left the August 11, 1871 matchup between Forest Cities and Kekiongas for the reason, "Catch train." Mays was replaced by Mort Dawson.

Between 1903 and 1906, four umpires left early to catch trains, including Jack Sheridan, Bob Emslie, Tim Hurst, and Billy Evans. On August 26, 1913, Tommy Connolly left the Senators-White Sox game in the 8th inning in order to catch a train east toward his next assignment at Fenway Park.

The most recent umpire to leave a game early in order to catch a train, Al Barlick, made it to the 11th inning of September 28, 1952's Braves-Dodgers game before he left for home following that final game of the season; he was replaced behind home plate by Tom Gorman.

On the other side of the equation, umpires' late arrivals have delayed the start of games—see April 10, 2013 in Washington—since 1891; the most recent umpire to enter a game after it had already started is Joe West, who joined the April 20, 2017 Tigers-Rays game in the first inning as an emergency replacement for Larry Vanover.
Related PostTrain Delay: Umpires Stuck in Traffic, Game Stalled 16 Min (4/10/13).
Related PostInjury Scout - Larry Vanover Out, Joe West In for DET-TB (4/20/17).

Traffic around Dodger Stadium.
A late arrival and delayed start time perhaps contributed to Hunter Wendelstedt's 2011 ejection of Rockies Manager Jim Tracy for arguing a balk call at Dodger Stadium. Wendelstedt's crew, including chief Jerry Layne, Bob Davidson, and Brian Knight, had gotten stuck in notoriously gridlocked Friday night Los Angeles freeway traffic.

According to a Dodgers spokesperson, "they were delayed by a fatal accident on the freeway that didn’t involve the umpires."
Related PostEjections: Hunter Wendelstedt (7) (8/26/11)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MLB Ejection 022 - Vic Carapazza (1; Albert Pujols)

HP Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Angels DH Albert Pujols (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Red Sox-Angels game. With two out and one on (R1), Pujols took a 1-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher David Price for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -.628, pz 2.435) and that all pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Red Sox were leading, 9-1. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 10-1.

This is Vic Carapazza (19)'s first ejection of 2018.
Vic Carapazza now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 2).
Crew Chief Jerry Layne now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*The pitch was located 3.432 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 22nd ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 14th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Pujols was 1-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Anaheim's 1st ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL West (HOU, LAA 1; OAK, SEA, TEX 0).
This is Albert Pujols' first ejection since August 8, 2017 (Ramon De Jesus; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Vic Carapazza's first ejection since Sept 13, 2017 (Robinson Cano; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 4/17/18 | Video as follows:

Special Event Roster - 2018 Puerto Rico Umpires

MLB appointed the following umpires to officiate the 2018 Puerto Rico series between Cleveland and Minnesota at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan.

Umpire Roberto Ortiz is a PR native.
Game 1 Assignments
HP: Cory Blaser.
1B: Eric Cooper.
2B: Gary Cederstrom -cc.
3B: Roberto Ortiz.

Ortiz, who made his big league debut in 2016, is originally from Puerto Rico and is the second Puerto Rican to officiate Major League Baseball games, the first being former MiLB call-up Delfin Colón. Ortiz, who is on the 2018 Pacific Coast League roster, was born in Caguas, which is less than a 30-minute drive from the ballpark and makes history as the only PR native to officiate a regular season MLB game in Puerto Rico.
Related PostMajor League Debut of Umpire Roberto Ortiz (40) (5/14/16).

MLB has previously assigned foreign-born umpires to significant games featuring their lands of origin. For instance, Canadian umpire Stu Scheurwater recently officiated the Blue Jays' preseason exhibition games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, while Angel Hernandez and Laz Diaz—both of whom have Cuban heritage (Hernandez was born in Havana and Diaz's parents emigrated to the United States from Cuba)—officiated MLB's Cuba exhibition series in 2016.
Related PostMLB in Cuba Roster Features US Umps Diaz, Hernandez (3/22/16).