Tuesday, November 19, 2019

By Rule - Analysis of Joe West v Paul Lo Duca

With MLB umpire Joe West suing former catcher Paul Lo Duca for defamation following purportedly false comments made during a podcast on The Action Network, we asked sports lawyer and former MiLB ump Brandon Leopoldus for his expert analysis in By Rule, our legal discussion segment.

In October, West filed suit against LoDuca and The Action Network alleging that the defendants defamed West's character through spreading of false allegations after Lo Duca, in May, said on the air that West purportedly gave Mets pitcher Billy Wagner favorable ball/strike calls in exchange for Wagner giving West the use of his classic car.

MLB's stringent rules prohibiting bribery and the umpiring profession's reputation of neutrality and integrity would reasonably suggest that such an imagined quid pro quo bribe runs afoul of baseball's policies, and, according to West's complaint, have caused West to suffer harm, including but not limited to his professional relationships and impugnment of his integrity, honesty, and professional fitness.
Related PostJoe West Sues Paul LoDuca Over Bribery Claim (10/22/19).

In May, we fact checked Lo Duca's podcast claims and found they were largely false; similar fact-checking is included by West's legal team in his complaint filed in New York court.
Related PostPants on Fire - Paul Lo Duca's Joe West Accusation (5/10/19).

West is represented in his lawsuit by Nicholas J. Zaita of Lewis Dibiasi Zaita & Higgens and Kevin L. Murphy of Murphy Landen Jones, PLLC, both of whom are also representing Angel Hernandez in his discrimination suit against Major League Baseball.

Video as follows:

Monday, November 18, 2019

Abuse of Technology - Umpire's Role in Sign Stealing

In the wake of allegations that the Houston Astros used technology to steal signs in 2017, we looked at the umpire's role in enforcing electronic device rules...if such rules exist in the first place.

It turns out that OBR doesn't address the issue, NCAA has an explicit rule prohibiting electronic devices being used in this manner, and the NFHS book's only reference to video states that an umpire cannot use video to review a call.

In short, sign stealing is 100% legal at all levels. Although the rules book does contain various prohibitions on movements or other actions that are not baseball-related (e.g., OBR 6.01(a)(9)'s interference if "with a runner on third base, the base coach leaves his box and acts in any manner to draw a throw by a fielder" or 6.04(b)'s Unsportsmanlike Conduct "Call 'Time' or employ any other word or phrase or commit any act while the ball is alive and in play for the obvious purpose of trying to make the pitcher commit a balk" and 6.04(c)'s "No fielder shall take a position in the batter’s line of vision, and with deliberate unsportsmanlike intent, act in a manner to distract the batter"), these apply to a member of Team A doing something to distract a member of Team B: Teammates can communicate visually or otherwise, as long as they're not using language to refer or reflect upon opposing players.

Banging on a trash can or pointing that a pitch may be a fastball located inside doesn't fit the bill.

College specifically outlines the electric rule.
NCAA is the only level that explicitly prohibits communication between video personnel and the dugout, as in Rule 5-2-f: "Video and communication equipment used to transmit information between coaches, coaches and players, scouts or other team personnel shall not be allowed for intercollegiate competition. Video for scouting, training or teaching purposes may be recorded from any unmanned camera location. No video from manned or unmanned sources may be transmitted for scouting, training or coaching purposes during the contest."

Robot catchers could benefit from encryption.
In college, the penalty is a warning followed by removal and/or post-participation ejection.

Although the Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual states, "The use of electronic equipment during a game is restricted...such equipment may not be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a club an advantage" (the MLBUM has no such text), there are no explicit penalties for violating this policy.

So, what's an umpire to do? Unless that umpire is working under the NCAA code...largely, nothing. As the MiLB/PBUC manual goes on to say regarding video or audio guidelines, "Umpires are to inform the league office of details concerning any violation."

Video as follows:

2019 Rules Summit Discussion

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its 2019 UEFL Rules Summit, our annual forum for discussion of controversial issues which may have surfaced during the past season, setting forth a framework for rectifying these issues by amending the existing UEFL Rules Book ahead of the 2020 UEFL season.
Related Link: UEFL Rules Book (UEFL Portal).

This discussion thread is an open colloquium for proposal, discussion and debate of potential rules changes. This thread will remain open through Friday, November 22 and voting will begin Saturday, November 23—voting will not occur prior to that date. This will provide ample time for proposal and subsequent discussion of possible rules changes for next year's UEFL. If necessitated by certain below decisions, a Summit runoff ballot may be presented after the initial voting closes.

You may propose a rules change by replying in a comment to this post and the following list, accordingly, will be routinely updated to reflect such proposals. Nonmaterial proposed modifications and cascading editorial changes are underlined, deletions are printed in strikethrough and material additions are bold faced. Comments/rationale not part of the actual book are indicated by italics. Individual propositions are preceded by the ">>" bullet point symbol.

Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires).
>> 1-4-b: Eliminates entire "Live Secondary Draft" rule.
The UEFL operates its Draft over an extended time period such that this rule no longer is applicable.

Rule 2 (The Season).

Rule 3 (Crew Division).

Rule 4 (League Scoring).
>> 4-2-b-1: 2 points for an ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing a correctly ruled call by the ejector correct call that would be upheld by replay.
4-2-b-2: 1 point for an ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing a call that would stand or is inconclusive by the ejecting umpire or for a correct call by a crewmate.
4-2-b-5: 0 points for an ejection occurring as a result of a player/coach arguing a crewmate's call that is inconclusive or would stand after replay.
>> 4-7-a-1: A call confirmed will result in the addition of two (2) points.
4-7-a: A call that stands will result in the addition of one (1) point.
Rationale: A call that is 100% correct should be rewarded with a higher point reward than a call that some may logically view as incorrect.

>> 4-3-b-4: During the Post-season, ejections as a result of an incorrect call by a crewmate will result in the application of minus two (-2) minus three (-3) points.
Rationale: During the regular season, QOCN by another ump reduces the points from that ejection down to zero for a primary ump. This is just making it the same in the postseason [since postseason base points are +3 instead of +2]. It's a minor change, but I feel like it would be more symmetric, especially because [calling] QOCN drops to -6 for the postseason.

>> 4-4-AR: Fill-In umpires that work a minimum of 115 games over the course of the season shall be eligible to receive awards a-e, and h. All umpires with an ejection shall be eligible to receive the Best Ejection of the Year award.
Rationale: Formally establishes that all umpires, including call-ups, are eligible for Ejection of the Year.

Rule 5 (Statistics).

Rule 6 (Challenges and Appeals).
>> 6-2-a and -b: Eliminates all references to Margin of Error.
Rationale: By using a MOE, you're unfairly giving more credit to the calling umpire, leading to a larger percentage of "correct" calls as it relates to ball/strike ejections. If MLB is using a system that allows the adjustment of pitch locations after the game is complete, then no MOE should be used to determine the accuracy of the pitch location - the "adjusted" location (probably better defined as "final location" or "reviewed location", as there's a chance it's not moved after review) should be considered the most-accurate rendering of a pitch's location.

>> 6-2-b: QOC for Ball/Strikes shall be determined at the earlier of the following:
1) Adjusted numbers are released, or;
2) 24 hours after the end of the game.
Rationale: This delay allows time for more-accurate numbers to be posted. This delay will prevent adjustment of points earned and less confusion to members who may not see updates to the original posts.

Rule 7 (Unresolved Classifications and References).

Rule 8 (Umpire Odds & Ends and Community Issues).

Rule 9 (Unaddressed and Authorized Provisions).

The final portion of the Rules Summit ballot will feature 2019 UEFL Appeals Board members seeking re-election for 2020, as afforded by the process delineated by UEFL Rule 6-4-a-4. Click here to view the Board's 28 decisions in 2019.

Following the 2019 Rules Summit's discussion phase, voting will occur. No voting shall take place prior to 11/23, until the discussion phase has ended and all proposals become part of the finalized ballot.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Teachable - Triple Touch & Tag Tasks

Tmac takes us to Baltimore in this Teachable Moment as Orioles batter Rio Ruiz's triple down the right field line led to touch & tag responsibilities for 1B Umpire Jeremie Rehak, U2 Alfonso Marquez, and U3 Dan Bellino, whose safe call was challenged and upheld via Replay Review.

On Ruiz's line drive down the line, 1B Umpire Rehak signaled the ball fair and, while maintaining awareness of the bounding ball's location, pivoted back toward the infield to observe batter-runner Ruiz's base touch at first base.

Meanwhile, 2B Umpire Marquez prepared to take Ruiz through second base, setting up on the outside of the base to observe the base touch and stay out of the runner's way. Because runners generally cut the inside corner while rounding the bases, Rehak and Marquez knew that the most likely part of the base to observe would be that closest to the pitcher's mound.

Runners don't always touch their bases.
Standing on the outside of the base is a great place from which to observe this specific touch while staying out of the players' (runner/fielder) way. Yet unless the defense appeals the base touch, an umpire's work in observing the runner's legality will largely go unnoticed.

3B Umpire Bellino takes the sliding play at third base by setting up in a keyhole angle in line with the runner's path toward the base. By positioning himself in this manner, Bellino spots the daylight (or, nightlight) between the runner's body and fielder's glove, thus enabling him to spy a potential swipe tag or miss.

In this case, the swipe tag is missed, Bellino's safe call is upheld as communicated by Crew Chief Larry Vanover, and all four umpires on the field complete their responsibilities without fanfare: Rehak's fair/foul and base touch, Marquez's base touch, Bellino's tag play, and Vanover's ability to don and remove a Replay Review headset.

This Tmac's Teachable Moment was sponsored by Umpire Placement Course (UmpCourse.com).

Video as follows:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Podcast - Little League World Series with RichMSN

In 2019, Alan Porter became the second MLB umpire to officiate both the Little League and Major League World Series in a two-month span. We've heard from past guests about the big league fall classic, but now we hear from a bona fide LLWS umpire. Rich Fronheiser (RichMSN) joins the show to discuss the Little League umpiring experience.

Rich walks us through the process for applying for the Little League World Series, beginning with local tournaments and a favorable performance at the regional in years preceding the LLWS, and takes us onto the fields at Williamsport—Volunteer and Lamade Stadiums.

We go through the Williamsport experience, beginning well before the World Series itself and including some training with Gerry Davis (the first MLB umpire to work both the Little League and MLB World Series in the same season), and a minor difference between the Little League and Major League Baseball Replay Review processes.

Click the below play (▶) button to listen to "Episode 21 - Little League World Series with Rich Fronheiser" or visit the show online at https://anchor.fm/the-plate-meeting. You can also access The Plate Meeting on Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Google, Castbox, Spotify, TuneIn, and other podcast services.

Alternate Link: Episode 21 - Little League World Series with Rich Fronheiser

Additional Links, Videos, and Other Media:
The Plate Meeting is brought to you by OSIP, where Outstanding Sportsmanship Is Paramount.

And by Umpire Placement Course. Continue your career at UMPCourse.com.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2019 UEFL Final Standings and the Perfect Crew

Awards Season concludes with the 2019 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's final standings and perfect crew. This year's perfect score was 136 and the lowest score possible was -23, a points spread of 159 (compare to 2018's Perfect Score of 117 and lowest score of -39).
Related Post2018 UEFL Final Standings and the Perfect Crew (11/12/18).

2019 UEFL Perfect Crew (Highest Score): 136 points.
Crew Chief: Sam Holbrook (26 pts).
Primary Umpires: Mike Estabrook (41 pts) & Jeff Nelson (24 pts).
Secondary Umpires: Alan Porter (24 pts) & Bill Miller (21 pts).

PRM Points Leaders:
1) Mike Estabrook (41).
2) Alan Porter (28).
3) Bill Miller, Jeff Nelson, Larry Vanover (24).
6) Carlos Torres (22).
7) Kerwin Danley, Sam Holbrook, Mike Muchlinski (20).
10) Gary Cederstrom, Doug Eddings (19).

2019 UEFL Imperfect Crew (Lowest Score): -23 points.
Crew Chief: Joe West (-5 pts).
Primary Umpires: Ryan Additon (-8 pts) & Gerry Davis (-2 pts).
Secondary Umpires: Gabe Morales (-4 pts) & Dan Iassogna (-4 pts).

Final Standings for the 2019 UEFL Season.
Replay Review Ranking by Umpire (RAP)
T-1) Laz Diaz (.800, 12-for-15).
T-1) Mike Muchlinski (.800, 12-for-15).
3) Bill Miller (.800, 8-for-10).
4) Kerwin Danley (.786, 11-for-14).
5) Greg Gibson (.769, 10-for-13).
6) Manny Gonzalez (.750, 6-for-8).
T-7) Gary Cederstrom (.714, 10-for-14).
T-7) Quinn Wolcott (.714, 10-for-14).
9) Roberto Ortiz (.706, 12-for-17).
T-10) Jeff Nelson (.700, 7-for-10).
T-10) DJ Reyburn (.700, 7-for-10).
12) Marvin Hudson (.692, 9-for-13).
13) Sam Holbrook (.688, 11-for-16).
14) Adam Hamari (.682, 15-for-22).
15) Chad Fairchild (.643, 9-for-14).
T-16) Chris Segal (.636, 14-for-22).
T-16) Hunter Wendelstedt (.636, 14-for-22).
T-18) Lance Barksdale (.636, 7-for-11).
T-18) Alan Porter (.636, 7-for-11).
T-18) John Tumpane (.636, 7-for-11).
T-18) Chad Whitson (.636, 7-for-11).
22) David Rackley (.632, 12-for-19).
T-23) Ted Barrett (.625, 10-for-16).
T-23) Tom Hallion (.625, 10-for-16).
T-25) Ben May (.625, 5-for-8).
T-25) Brennan Miller (.625, 5-for-8).
Full Results: UEFL's MLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics & Sabermetrics

Most Raw Overturns (Greatest # of Overturned Calls)
1) 14: Dan Iassogna.
2) 13: Ron Kulpa.
3) 12: Bill Welke.
4) 11: Dan Bellino, Vic Carapazza, Rob Drake, Alfonso Marquez.
8) 10: Ryan Blakney, Chris Conroy, Mike Everitt, Andy Fletcher, Ed Hickox, Stu Scheurwater, Jansen Visconti, Mark Wegner.

2019 Ejection Leaders
1) Mike Estabrook (13).
2) Larry Vanover (9).
3) Jeremie Rehak, Joe West (7).
5) Alfonso Marquez (6).

2019 UEFL Final Standings (Ties resolved per Rule 5-3)
1) RC2004 (87 pts).
2) trevortinyrichards (78 pts).
3) ralphus95 (68 pts).
4) Umppat (66 pts, 18 PRM-A [Gonzalez]).
5) JROD (66 pts, 14 PRM-A [West]).
6) Twnorton93 (66 pts, 11 PRM-A [Hamari]).
7) UmpBarrett (60 pts).
8) ADUB (59 pts).
9) Bob Abouy (58 pts).
10) ohmlb (57 pts).
11) Chewy6294 (56 pts, 13 PRM-A [Bellino], 41 PRM-B [Estabrook]).
12) BradleyEjAgain (56 pts, 13 PRM-A [Bellino], 14 PRM-B [West]).
13) ref44 (55 pts, 14 PRM-A [West], 24 PRM-B [Nelson]).
14) cyclone14 (55 pts, 14 PRM-A [West], 3 PRM-B [Tumpane]).
15) Fearsome Four (54 pts, 24 PRM-A [Bi Miller]).

Complete Final Standings, points, and results available via the UEFL Portal's 2019 Standings page.
Umpire Leaders available at UEFL's MLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics page.

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

Monday, November 11, 2019

2019 UEFL Award for Umpire of the Year - Jim Wolf

Jim Wolf is the UEFL's (Best) Umpire of the Year for 2019 [2018: Ted Barrett].
Voting (Top 5): Wolf (18.3%), Eric Cooper (17.7%), Sam Holbrook (12.8%), Barrett (8.5%), Al Porter (5.5%).

Jim Wolf wins the UEFL Umpire of the Year Award for 2019. Having officiated his first Major League game in 1999, Wolf celebrates two decades in the big leagues, and six consecutive postseasons (2014-19). Wolf's second career World Series in 2019 capped a year that reportedly saw him ranked first amongst all MLB umpires behind home plate.

He finished the season with zero ejections (his second consecutive season with no ejections) and one no-hitter (Houston's combined no-hitter against Seattle on August 6). Wrote Turducken, succinctly, "You get a game 7 WS, you're the best."

UEFL Awards History, Jim Wolf
Noteworthy Umpire of the Year: 2011

Jim Wolf now has 12 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (7 Previous + 5 Award = 12).
Final Standings will be released this week.

Friday, November 8, 2019

2019 UEFL Award for Ejections of Year - Cuzzi & Miller

Phil Cuzzi and Brennan Miller had 2019's Best Ejections of the Year [2018: Joe West & Nic Lentz].
The two umpires' ejected a month apart, but as New York Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and OF Brett Gardner appeared to target minor league call-up plate umpires, the two ejections were every bit related.

Each of New York's seven post-All Star Break ejections in 2019 occurred with a Triple-A call-up behind the dish, pertained to ball/strike calls, and Brett Gardner's three most recent ejections were courtesy of Triple-A call-up umpire Jeremie Rehak (9/9/18), Triple-A call-up umpire Chris Segal (8/9/19), and full-timer Cuzzi (8/17/19).

Voting Results (Top 3): 162 Cuzzi (28.8%), 123 Miller (22.7%), P1 Sam Holbrook (21.2%).

Because MLB Ejections 162 Cuzzi (Brett Gardner) and 123 Miller (Aaron Boone) go rather hand-in-hand, perhaps it is best to discuss them chronologically, even though Cuzzi's ejection garnered more votes.

Call-up umpire Brennan Miller ejects Boone.
On July 18, 2019, Brennan Miller ejected Yankees Manager Aaron Boone following a balls/strikes disagreement that extended through multiple batters.

It all started with a strike three call to batter Brett Gardner, who returned to the dugout and indicated his disproval by yelling and slamming the dugout's bat rack and ceiling with his bat. While Gardner was busy studying the finer points of carpentry, Boone chirped umpire Miller, which continued through a strike one call to subsequent batter DJ LeMahieu.
Related PostMLB Ejection 123 - Brennan Miller (1; Aaron Boone) (7/18/19).

Call-up umpire Chris Segal ejects Gardner.
After an ensuing foul ball, Miller ejected Boone for his continued complaining, resulting in the infamous "savages" in the batter's box meltdown. Miller weathered the storm without crew chief Gerry Davis' assistance until Boone had walked away.

The Gardner-Boone sideshow became a story in 2019, and even necessitated a visit from MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who publicly backed a different Triple-A call-up umpire's ejection of Gardner after he again banged his bat on the dugout ceiling (Ejection 157 - Chris Segal).

It soon became quite apparent that Boone and Gardner were specifically effecting their respective unsportsmanlike behaviors when a minor league umpire was officiating behind home plate, and the New York tandem's act was making its rounds throughout baseball with a quick pitstop in Toronto.
Related PostJoe Torre Backs Ump Segal in Gardner Ejection (8/13/19).
Related PostWhat We Learned from Segal, Gardner, and Torre (8/14/19).

Triple-A Call-Up Umpires Have No Rights: The MiLB fill-in umpires knew that at the call-up stage of their career, they could ill afford the spectacle of simply standing up for themselves and would need help from an umpire with more clout in order to go beyond a 'standard' ejection.

Full-timer Cuzzi ejects Gardner & Sabathia.
Enter 1B Umpire Phil Cuzzi, who on August 17, witnessed HP Umpire Ben May's ejection of Boone after a strike call to Cameron Maybin. When Gardner started up his bat-banging routine again—again, with a minor leaguer calling balls and strikes—Cuzzi shut it down immediately by ejecting Gardner.

When CC Sabathia—a player on the injured list—argued, Cuzzi tossed him out, too. Leaving zero room for misunderstanding, Cuzzi gestured very clearly that Gardner had been ejected for taking his bat to the dugout canopy, and in doing so, thus protected his crew mate and call-up umpire May.
Related PostMLB Ejections 161-163 - May, Cuzzi (NYY) (8/17/19).

Perhaps an honorable mention in this year's ejection award, given the Yankees' multi-month tantrum, goes to Joe West, who on September 21, ejected Aaron Boone in the very first inning in the Bronx after strike calls and an ejection from HP Umpire Jeremie Rehak—another call-up—who had ejected Hitting Coach Marcus Thames.
Related PostMLB Ejections 213-14 - Jeremie Rehak, Joe West (NYY) (9/21/19).

Angel Campos never did make the MLB staff.
In conclusion, this is the rare Ejections of the Year Award that, although awarded to separate umpires in separate games, very much relates to the same storyline.

Miller wins it for taking care of business and taking the heat while only pausing to inform Boone that his bill had made contact with Miller's cap, and Cuzzi wins it for standing up for a youngster who was somewhat handcuffed in his ability to situation-handle by ejecting more than one person, lest the League mark him down on the situation handling category and sour on him a la Angel Campos.

Phil Cuzzi now has 18 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (17 Previous + 1 Award = 18).
Brennan Miller now has 1 point in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (0 Previous + 1 Award = 1).
The final postseason award, (Best) Umpire of the Year, will be released Monday.

Video as follows:

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Teachable - Runner's Lane Interference

After an exciting postseason, this edition of Tmac's Teachable Moments discusses runner's lane interference and an umpire's responsibilities during an RLI no-call during the 2019 Puerto Rico-Chinese Taipei WBSC #Premier12 tournament game.

Play: During this Opening Round game, TPE batter Li Lin stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 5th inning with two runners on (R1, R2) and none on, bunting the ball to Puerto Rico pitcher Fernando Cruz. After a brief hesitation toward third base, Cruz threw to first, hitting batter-runner Lin in the back and sending the ball into shallow right field, allowing the other runners to advance.

The lane looks simple...from the proper angle.
HP Umpire Naoto Shikita, having ruled the batted ball fair, deemed there was no runner's lane interference. Despite Lin being hit while outside the runner's lane, replays indicate Lin ran to first base within the lane until his last stride to first base, thus satisfying the exception to the runner's lane rule (Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11)'s "A batter is out when...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" and OBR 5.09(a)(11) Comment's "The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base").

This play runs in stark contrast to HP Umpire Sam Holbrook's invocation of runner's lane interference during Game 6 of the 2019 World Series when Nationals batter-runner Trea Turner failed to run within the runner's lane at any point during his journey to first base. Both Holbrook's RLI/out call and Shikita's no-INT/safe call were correct: Holbrook's runner didn't run in the lane while Shikita's runner did.
Related PostWorld Series Interference - Blame the Rule, not the Umpire (10/30/19).

Lin's is a textbook example of a legal run.
Teachable: As specified, Lin's jaunt to first is a perfect example of legal baserunning within the lane. The responsibilities of each umpire on the crew during this developing play—after the throw got away, the other runners advanced—are as follows, starting with the base umpires:

1B Umpire Ray Gregson: Move into fair territory in anticipation of a play at first base (out/safe, throw or tag). When the throw gets away, be prepared to assist on a potential boundary issue by finding the ball (if it bounds to foul territory), ensure BR has touched first base, and circle around the scrambling fielders and runner. Prepare for a potential play on BR back into first base.

Every umpire has somewhere to be.
2B Umpire Hiyoung Park: Once it's apparent the pitcher will not throw to second, be cognizant of runner R1's base touch and prepare for a potential play on either R1 or BR at second. Position adjustment may be necessary to get a better angle.

3B Umpire Alan Izaguirre: Move into foul territory in anticipation of a potential force play at third base. From there, watch for base touches and prepare for a potential play on R2 or R1 at third base.

HP Umpire Shikita: Move up the line for the fair/foul call. From there, responsibility shifts to ensuring BR's legality re: the runner's lane. Once the throw hits the runner in the back, either call "Time" (if there was interference) or signal safe (to signify "that's nothing"), a verbal declaration may also be helpful. If the ball has caromed into foul territory, keep an eye out on a potential boundary issue while preparing to dash back toward home plate for a potential play on R2.

Though the play may be hectic due to the wild nature of a throw hitting a runner, maintain patience with play-calling and, especially for the plate umpire, don't veer too far away from your base.

This Teachable Moment is sponsored by Umpire Placement Course (umpcourse.com).
Video as follows:

2019 Promising Umpire Award - Hoberg & Porter

Pat Hoberg & Alan Porter are 2019's Promising Umpires of the Year [2018: Hamari & Blaser].
Voting (Top 5): Hoberg (16.4%), Porter (10%), John Tumpane (7.6%), Hamari (7%), James Hoye (5%).

Pat Hoberg & Alan Porter are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2019 Promising Umpires of the Year.

Since his 2017 hiring, Hoberg has worked the postseason in each year of eligibility (2018 Wild Card, 2019 NL Division Series) and scored the highest plate during the NLDS (98.2%) - a plate in his second postseason. Hoberg had one ejection in 2019 (Justin Verlander) and perhaps the reason we don't hear too much about him is because he flies under the radar while steadily climbing the ranks.

Wrote Russ, "I think he often gets lost in the shuffle because he has so few situations to deal with. But he is proving that is a stud and I expect to continue to see him in the Playoffs for years to come."

Like Hoberg, Porter has worked the postseason in every year of eligibility since his 2013 hire: that includes the 2014, 15, 16, 17 & 19 Division Series, 2018 Wild Card Game & League Championship Series, and 2019 World Series.

Porter, who ejected four in 2019 (Marcus Semien, Stephen Piscotty, Bob Melvin, and Brad Miller) dazzled in his first career World Series plate, his 98.2% scoring the highest of the series. As baseballfollower wrote, "World Series assignment for his major league experience is especially impressive. He also had a great WS plate, and think he is going to be one of the next wave of top umpires."

UEFL Awards History, Pat Hoberg

UEFL Awards History, Alan Porter
Noteworthy Umpire of the Year: 2015, 2016.
Fill-In Umpire of the Year: 2011, 2012.

Pat Hoberg now has 8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (5 Prev + 3 Award = 8).
Alan Porter now has 27 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (24 Previous + 3 Award = 27).
The next postseason award, Ejection of the Year, will be released tomorrow.