Monday, November 12, 2018

Soto's Ground Rule Out as Fly Ball Hits Tokyo Dome Roof

MLB All-Star Juan Soto lost a potential three run home run when his fly hit the Tokyo Dome roof, turning into a routine "ground rule out" when Samurai Japan caught the ball, cuing Don Mattingly and 1B Umpire Eric Cooper to have a brief conversation about the perils of playing in a domed stadium. Spoiler: Coop & Crew got the call right.

Kobayashi explains the catch call to Don.
The Play: With one out and two on (R1, R2), in the top of the 4th inning of Game 3 of the best-of-five MLB-Japan All-Star Series, Soto hit a fly ball into deep right field that caromed off one of the white panels that comprise the stadium's high ceiling and into RF Shogo Akiyama's waiting glove, on the warning track just shy of the wall.

The Call: Cooper ruled Soto out, the second out of the inning as opposed to a three-run home run. After convening HP Umpire Kyohei Makita, 2B Umpire Kazuhiro Kobayashi, and 3B Umpire Quinn Wolcott, Cooper affirmed his original ruling and maintained the out call.

For an illustration of the Tokyo Dome ground rules, we visit the former Major League stadium in Minnesota, the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome (the Met and Tokyo Dome share iconic design elements, including the iconic paneled dome cover). Let's just say the rules are a lot easier to comprehend in these domes than Tropicana Field's catwalk system in Tampa Bay.

Ball Strikes Metro/Tokyo Dome in Flight and Falls Back into Play: Live Ball.
Eddie Guardado catches a deflected fly ball.
When Minnesota's Randy Bush hit a fly ball off one such panel at the Metrodome in 1983, Toronto's Buck Martinez was able to adjust and catch the batted ball in foul territory for an out. The same thing happened to Detroit's Rob Deer in 1992—twice!—with Minnesota shortstop Greg Gagne catching both for outs. And then there's the infamous Chili Davis fly ball that hit a hanging speaker and was caught by Baltimore's Mark McLemore, or Eddie Guardado's even more notable diving catch on a fly ball that deflected off another such speaker.
Related Video: Pitcher Guardado races off mound and dives to make the catch in foul territory.
Related Video: Greg Gagne hits two inside-the-park home runs thanks to the Metrodome roof.

Ball Strikes, and Remains, in the Space Between Two Panels: Double (if Fair), Foul (if Foul).
Shohei Ohtani's perfect hit turned into two.
This scenario doesn't happen all that often, but because of the unique system of panels that comprise the pressurized domed roof, a baseball can get lost between the tiles and come to rest in the roof itself. If this happens, as it did to Shohei Ohtani playing for Team Japan against Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Softball Confederation's Global Series 2016, the official ruling is a ground rule double for the batter. Oakland's Dave Kingman did the same thing at the Metrodome on May 4, 1984, and was similarly awarded two bases.
Related Video: Shohei Ohtani hits ball through the roof at Tokyo Dome!!

SIDEBAR: These are real "ground rule doubles," opposed to those commonplace batted balls that land on the field before bouncing over the wall and into the stands that lay-folk like to call "ground rule doubles" (they're "rulebook doubles" or "two-base awards").

In conclusion, no, there is no Replay Review in the MLB-Japan All-Star Series, but even if there was, Cooper's call would have been confirmed: that's a live ball and a catch—a ground rule out if there ever was one.

Video as follows:

2018 UEFL Final Standings and the Perfect Crew

With the championship and UEFL awards season now complete, we can now reveal the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's final standings for 2018 as well as this year's Perfect Crew. The Perfect Score this season was 117 while the lowest possible score was -39, a spread of 156 points. (compare to 2017's Perfect Score of 112 and lowest score of -39).
Related Post2017 UEFL Final Standings and the Perfect Crew (11/10/17).

2018 UEFL Perfect Crew (Highest Score): 117 points.
Crew Chief: Bill Welke (19 pts).
Primary Umpires: Joe West (31 pts) & Brian Gorman (25 pts).
Secondary Umpires: John Tumpane (21 pts) & Ted Barrett (21 pts).

2018 UEFL Imperfect Crew (Lowest Possible Score): -39 points.
Crew Chief: Tom Hallion (-6 pts).
Primary Umpires: Brian O'Nora (-8 pts) & CB Bucknor (-6 pts).
Secondary Umpires: Phil Cuzzi (-10 pts) & Sam Holbrook (-9 pts).

Final Standings for the 2018 UEFL Season.
2018 Replay Review Ranking by Umpire (RAP)
1) Chad Fairchild (.722, 13-for-18).
2) Fieldin Culbreth (.714, 15-for-21).
3) Tim Timmons (.714, 10-for-14).
4) John Tumpane (.684, 13-for-19).
5) Brian Gorman (.667, 16-for-24).
6-T) Mike Estabrook (.667, 8-for-12).
6-T) Brian Knight (.667, 8-for-12).
8-T) Lance Barrett (.647, 11-for-17).
8-T) Ed Hickox (.647, 11-for-17).
8-T) Jeff Nelson (.647, 11-for-17).
12) Pat Hoberg (.643, 9-for-14).
13-T) Mike Muchlinski (.636, 7-for-11).
13-T) Stu Scheurwater (.636, 7-for-11).
15) Jim Wolf (.625, 5-for-8).
16-T) Ted Barrett (.619, 13-for-21).
16-T) Ryan Blakney (.619, 13-for-21).
18-T) Tripp Gibson (.611, 11-for-18).
18-T) DJ Reyburn (11-for-18).
20) Joe West (.600, 12-for-20).
Full Results: UEFL's MLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics.

2018 Ejection Leaders
1) Will Little (9).
2-T) Andy Fletcher, Tripp Gibson, Brian Gorman, Adam Hamari, Hunter Wendelstedt (6).
7-T) Eric Cooper, Joe West (5).
9-T) L Barrett, Blaser, Eddings, Foster, G Gibson, Porter, Rehak, Ripperger, Tumpane (4).

2018 UEFL Final Standings (Ties resolved per Rule 5-3)
1) UEFLwatcher (79 pts).
2) GDK Team Blue (78 pts).
3) toss 'em (72 pts).
4) LaRikardo (71 pts).
5) Bjweig01 (70 pts).
6) ADUB (68 pts).
7) jbenedek (65 pts, 21 PRM-A [T Barrett]).
8) DNS67665 (65 pts, 16 PRM-A [Wendelstedt]).
9) Yuri.macchiavelli (65 pts, 15 PRM-A [Carapazza]).
10) stk004 (64 pts).
11) oki96 (63 pts, 31 PRM-A [West]).
12) southsidehitman (63 pts, 25 PRM-A [Tumpane]).
13) Michael (63 pts, 15 PRM-A [Carapazza]).
14) RadioPearl (63 pts, 0 PRM-A [Bellino]).
15) kruss8888 (61 pts).
Complete Final Standings, points, and results available via the UEFL Portal's 2018 Standings page.
Umpire Leaders available at UEFL's MLB Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics page.

The Rules Summit will begin tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series Umpire Roster

Major League umpires Eric Cooper, Jeff Kellogg, and Quinn Wolcott are in Tokyo for the 2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series, joining several NPB umpires for the exhibition series. Meanwhile, the umpire mask camera that we saw in use during the 2014 series is back. For instance, here is a Juan Soto home run from said ump cam.

In 2014, Chris Conroy, Jerry Layne, and Mike Winters traveled to Japan for the best-of-five series between the MLB All-Stars and Samurai Japan (Japan's national team), plus one exhibition game between the MLB squad and a combination squad comprised of teams from Hanshin and Yomiuri. This year, the pre-series exhibition game featured MLB's team against the Yomiuri Giants.
Related PostRoster: 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series (11/11/14).

MLB Umpires
> Eric Cooper.
> Jeff Kellogg.
> Quinn Wolcott.

Nippon Professional Baseball Umpires
> Atsushi Fukaya.
> Shinichiro Hara.
> Takayuki Ichikawa.
> Kenjiro Mori.
> Kazuaki Nakoh.
> Naoto Shikita.

While MLB sent Cooper, Kellogg, and Wolcott to Japan, NPB sent umpires Shinji Hashimoto and Chikara Tsugawa to the Arizona Fall League, where they have been working with AFL umpires for the past few weeks.
Related PostArizona Fall League Welcomes NPB (Japan) Umpires (11/2/18).

Friday, November 9, 2018

2018 UEFL Award for Umpire of the Year - Ted Barrett

Ted Barrett is the UEFL's (Best) Umpire of the Year for 2018 [2017: Mark Wegner].
Voting (Top 5): Barrett (43.6%), Jeff Nelson (10.1%), Joe West/Jim Wolf (6%), Chad Fairchild (4.7%).

Award Winner: Ted Barrett (65).
Ted Barrett wins the UEFL Umpire of the Year Award for 2018. In his 22nd season in the majors, Barrett was ejection-less and finished 16th in Replay Review (.619 RAP, eight overturns). A three-Award winner for the second time (also: 2014), Barrett chiefed the World Series and called 18 innings (seven hours, 20 minutes) behind home plate in Game 3, seeing 561 pitches (286 callable) and, on average, missing just one pitch per hour of game time.
Related PostTwofer - Plate Umpire Ted Barrett's 18-Inning Night (10/30/18).

A postseason regular (that's now 14 consecutive seasons with a playoff assignment [2005-18], the highest active streak amongst the staff), Barrett officiated his fourth World Series in October just 11 years after he worked his first Fall Classic (2007, 11, 14, 18), and just four years after his third, which in turn was three years after his second, which was four after his first. So we can expect to see him in the 2022 World Series as well.

UEFL Awards History, Ted Barrett
Umpire of the Year: 2014, 2018.
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 201220132014, 2018.
Crew Chief of the Year: 2014201620172018.

Ted Barrett now has 21 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (16 Previous + 5 Award = 21).
Final Standings will be released this weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Umpire Cody Coffman Killed in California Mass Shooting

Camarillo Pony Baseball lost its umpire-in-chief, 22-year-old Cody Coffman, in Wednesday's Thousand Oaks, California mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill.

"He loved working with the kids."

Cody's father, Jason, spoke with local media Thursday, recalling the last conversation with his son before Cody left for "College Country Night" at the bar.

According to a friend, Coffman died trying to save others: "He was protecting everyone."

Conejo Valley Little League remembered Camarillo's UIC Cody in a tribute on its Twitter page: "Hug your players close tonight, as Camarillo Pony Baseball mourns the loss of former player, current umpire and dad, Cody Coffman. We at CVLL extend our sincerest condolences to the league and the family of this fine man."

At least 12 people lost their lives during Wednesday's mass shooting.

News: ‘I’m Speechless, Heartbroken’: Father of 22-Year-Old Killed in Thousand Oaks Shooting Tells of His Pain (KTLA) | Video as Follows:

MLBUA Joins Officiating Unions in Support of NFLRA

After the NFL fired down judge and former baseball umpire Hugo Cruz in the middle of football season, the MLB Umpires Association (MLBUA) joined the National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) and Professional Soccer Referee Association (PSRA) in defense of the NFLRA and the league's "knee-jerk reaction" in dismissing an official during the season.

In a statement from former NFL referee and NFLRA executive director Scott Green, the union said it will fight the league's move: "The NFLRA will protect the collectively bargained rights of all officials and will challenge this reckless decision through the Grievance process."

Our football officiating counterparts at were the first to report on the NFL's termination of down judge Hugo Cruz (94) on October 25.

The joint statement, released by the NBA refs, is as follows:
The recent actions by the National Football League (NFL) in suddenly dismissing an official in the middle of the season is an affront to all professional officiating. As the standard-bearers of the integrity in our respective sports, the National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA), the Major League Baseball Umpires Association (MLBUA) and the Professional Soccer Referee Association (PSRA) support the National Football League Referees Association (NFLRA) in their challenge of the reckless decision made by the NFL.
When a league takes the extraordinary and unprecedented step of dismissing an official in the way the NFL did, it undermines the credibility of the game itself. The NFL sought to garner a hollow public relations victory at a time when trust is essential, if the ultimate goal is to work together to improve officiating. The disregard for the due process rights of the person involved is hurtful to him and his family.
This knee-jerk reaction by the NFL resulted in the unfair dismissal of an official who met the requirements to work in the playoffs in two out of his first three full seasons in the league. It is an example of mismanagement that results in a loss of trust among other professional officials.
We stand in solidarity with the NFLRA today, and every day, and for the rights of the expert officials in all sports, who protect the integrity of the game.

2018 UEFL Award for Ejections of the Year - West & Lentz

Joe West and Nic Lentz had the Best Ejections of the Year for 2018 [2017: Gerry Davis].
Voting Results (Top 3): 062 West (11%), 153 Lentz (10%), 010 Timmons (5%).

Award Winners: Joe West (22) & Nic Lentz (59).
In MLB Ejection 062, HP Umpire Joe West ejected Padres Manager Andy Green for arguing a foul ball call in Atlanta. Although West initially appeared to signal the play a swinging strikeout, the call was properly changed (as affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board) to a foul ball, due to the ball bouncing before entering the catcher's mitt. Simply put, "It was fun seeing Andy Green and West going at each other along with the mics picking up Green’s audio in the end."

In MLB Ejection 135, HP Umpire Nic Lentz ejected Yankees Manager Aaron Boone over a strike two call in New York. Said one voter, "Whenever I vote this award I always vote for the funniest ejection and to me nothing beats Aaron Boone pretending to be a catcher to show where the pitch was. Was it over the top? absolutely. But it was also hilarious." This was the rare game in which both managers were ejected, as Paul Nauert tossed Ron Gardenhire later in the contest.

Joe West now has 31 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (30 Previous + 1 Award = 31).
Nic Lentz now has 11 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (10 Previous + 1 Award = 11).
The final postseason award, (Best) Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

Videos as follows:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2018 Promising Umpires - Hamari & Blaser

Adam Hamari & Cory Blaser are 2018's Promising Umpires of the Year [2017: Blaser & Fairchild].
Voting (Top 5): Hamari (10.2%), Blaser (10%), Stu Scheurwater (8%), John Tumpane (7%),  Will Little (6%).

Winners: Adam Hamari (78), Cory Blaser (89).
Adam Hamari & Cory Blaser are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2018 Promising Umpires of the Year.

In his second season on the big league staff, Hamari earned an assignment to the NL Central tiebreaker game, concluding his season with six ejections, and earning praise for ejecting Rick Renteria in July after a check swing ball two call by 1B Umpire Chad Whitson. Hamari, central in the leaked video of Noah Syndergaard's ejection for throwing at Chase Utley, received credit in the comments: "I knew Hamari was going to be a good umpire a couple years ago when he handled the Mets throwing at Chase Utley. He did this as a AAA call up umpire. He runs his game the way it should be run. Now I don't if they got the check swing right or wrong- very close, but he handled Renteria absolutely perfect."
Related PostMLB Ejection 095 - Adam Hamari (1; Rick Renteria) (7/14/18).

Hamari placed 80th in Replay Review with a .333 RAP (five-for-15).

Transitioning to Blaser, here's what one voter had to say: "Blaser is more established than Hamari at this point, but both look like future stars. Blaser is an outstanding ball/strike guy despite a slightly disappointing postseason plate and should be a CC in the future in addition to regular postseasons. Hamari appears to be the best of the recently hired crop and he had an excellent season including behind the plate."

Blaser's fourth postseason in four seasons of eligibility (2015 Wild Card, 2016-18 Division Series) led to a consecutive nod for Promising Umpire. He finished with four ejections and 25th in Replay Review with a .583 RAP (seven-for-12).

UEFL Awards History, Adam Hamari
Fill-In of the Year: 2016.

UEFL Awards History, Cory Blaser
Promising Umpire of the Year: 2017.

Adam Hamari now has 11 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (8 Prev + 3 Award = 11).
Cory Blaser now has 18 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (15 Previous + 3 Award = 18).
The next postseason award, Ejection of the Year, will be released tomorrow.

2018 UEFL Award for Honorable - T Barrett & P Cuzzi

Ted Barrett & Phil Cuzzi are 2018's Honorable Umpires of the Year [2017 Winner: John Tumpane].
Voting Results (Top 5): Barrett (13.7%), Cuzzi (10%), Kerwin Danley/Doug Eddings (5.8%), Tumpane (3%).

Award Winners: Ted Barrett (65) & Phil Cuzzi (10).
Ted Barrett & Phil Cuzzi are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2018 Honorable Umpires of the Year.

Barrett received praise after working 18 innings of baseball for over seven hours during Game 3 of World Series, as well as the crew's UMPS CARE Charities visit to Boston Children's Hospital on the morning of Game 2.
Related PostTwofer - Plate Umpire Ted Barrett's 18-Inning Night (10/30/18).
Related PostWorld Series Crew Embarks on Boston UMPS Care Visit (10/25/18).

Cuzzi, who finished the year with three ejections, including the Ben Zobrist "that's why we want an electronic strike zone" ejection in August, continued his ALS work this season. Cuzzi's charity, the Robert Luongo ALS fund, was established in 2003 in honor of Luongo, who died in 2004 from the disease, and its annual winter dinner draws baseball celebrities from Bob Costas to Tony LaRussa, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, and more.
Related PostMLB Ejections 119-120 - Phil Cuzzi (1-2; Maddon, Zobrist) (8/14/18).
Related PostPhil Cuzzi Fulfills Promise to Late Friend Luongo (2/20/17).

UEFL Awards History, Ted Barrett
Umpire of the Year: 2014.
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 201220132014.
Crew Chief of the Year: 201420162017, 2018.

UEFL Awards History, Phil Cuzzi

Ted Barrett now has 16 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (14 Previous + 2 Award = 16).
Phil Cuzzi now has 19 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (17 Prev + 2 Award = 19).
The next postseason award, Promising Umpire of the Year, will be released tonight.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

2018 UEFL Award for Top Crew Chief - Ted Barrett

Ted Barrett wins the UEFL's 2018 Crew Chief of the Year Award [2017 Winner: Ted Barrett].
Voting Results (Top 3): Ted Barrett (48.3%), Jeff Nelson (14.0%), Tom Hallion (12.6%).

Award Winner: Ted Barrett (65).
Ted Barrett is the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2018 Crew Chief of the Year, which marks his fourth time Barrett has won the Crew Chief of the Year Award, and third consecutive season receiving an award (second consecutive Crew Chief of the Year selection). In his 22nd MLB season, Barrett experienced zero ejections.

Earlier this summer, Barrett and runner-up Nelson were inducted into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame, the first two umpires ever selected to enter the AFL's Hall. Barrett officiated the AFL from 1993 through 1995 prior to his American League debut in 1994. Barrett joined the MLB staff in 1999 and became a full-time crew chief prior to the 2013 season.
Related PostTed Barrett, Jeff Nelson Named to AFL Hall of Fame (7/8/18).

As was the case in 2017, all four members of Barrett's regular season crew—Barrett, Kerwin Danley, Lance Barksdale, and Will Little—officiated during the postseason, including Danley's second selection to the World Series, and Barrett's first time chiefing the Fall Classic.

With his own Division and World Series selections this fall, Barrett has officiated the postseason for 14 consecutive years (2005-18). He finished 16th amongst 88 tracked umpires with a .619 Replay Affirmation Percentage, having been overturned eight times in 21 reviews, including the postseason.

UEFL Awards History, Ted Barrett
Umpire of the Year: 2014.
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2012, 2013, 2014.
Crew Chief of the Year: 2014, 2016, 2017.

Ted Barrett now has 14 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (13 Previous + 1 Award = 14).
The next postseason award, Honorable Umpire of the Year, will be released tomorrow.