Friday, April 9, 2021

2021 No-Hitter 1, Vic Carapazza (1; Joe Musgrove)

HP Umpire Vic Carapazza called San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove's no-hitter, the first in franchise history, against the Rangers in Texas Friday evening, joined by Crew Chief Jerry Meals, 1B Umpire Jansen Visconti, and 2B Umpire Brennan Miller.

Carapazza saw a total of 253 pitches in his first career no-hitter, of which 139 were callable.

Pursuant to UEFL tradition, we present Carapazza's three plate scores, including the Zone Evaluation-equivalent 97.8%, UEFL f/x 95.7%, and Zero-Error 89.2%.

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 85 called balls outside strike zone / 1 called ball within strike zone = 85/86 = 98.8% accuracy.
Strikes: 48 called strikes within strike zone / 5 called strikes outside strike zone = 48/53 = 90.6% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score for Carapazza = 133/139 = 95.7% accuracy (+6 TEX/skew favored Texas).

MLB Ejection 003 - Ben May (1; Charlie Blackmon)

HP Umpire Ben May ejected Rockies RF Charlie Blackmon (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Rockies-#Giants game. With one out and none on, Blackmon took a 0-2 fastball from Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px -0.86, pz 1.68 [sz_bot 1.60]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Giants ultimately won the contest, 3-0.

This is Ben May (97)'s first ejection of 2021.
Ben May now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Chris Conroy now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 0.65 horizontal and 2.44 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the third ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the second player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Blackmon was 0-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Colorado's 1st ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL West (COL 1; ARI, LAD, SD, SF 0).
This is Charlie Blackmon's 1st ejection since August 28, 2019 (Jerry Meals; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Thursday, April 8, 2021

MLB Ejection 002 - Jeremie Rehak (1; Brandon Hyde)

HP Umpire Jeremie Rehak ejected Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde (dead ball strike call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the #RedSox-#Orioles game. With two out and none on, Orioles batter Rio Ruiz was touched by a 0-1 changeup from Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, ruled a swinging strike on appeal by 3B Umpire Scott Barry, resulting in a dead ball strike two call. Replays indicate Ruiz attempted to strike the pitch as the baseball touched his lower leg, the call was correct (OBR Definition of Terms: "A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which...touches the batter as he strikes at it"). This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board. At the time of the ejection, the Orioles were leading, 3-2. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 7-3.

This is Jeremie Rehak (35)'s first ejection of the 2021 MLB regular season.
Jeremie Rehak now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Dan Iassogna now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).

This is the second ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the first manager ejection of 2021.
This is Baltimore's 1st ejection of 2021, 1st in the AL East (BAL 1; BOS, NYY, TB, TOR 0).
This is Brandon Hyde's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2020 (Brennan Miller; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Jeremie Rehak's 1st ejection since Sept 18, 2020 (Jacob Stallings; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, 4/8/21 | Video as follows:

Conforto Chaos - Umpire's HBP on Strike Three

When Mets batter Michael Conforto took one for the team with a walk-off hit-by-pitch in New York to defeat the Miami Marlins, HP Umpire Ron Kulpa's HBP call took on a peculiar meaning after replays indicated the pitch was located within the strike zone and that Kulpa had begun his strike three (looking) mechanic before abruptly reversing course and signaling that Conforto had been hit by the pitch and thus would be awarded first base.

Play: With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning of a Marlins-Mets game tied at two, Conforto stepped in for a 1-2 pitch from Miami's Anthony Bass. The pitch, located near the upper inside corner, made contact with Conforto's right elbow.

Call: HP Umpire Kulpa, having initially started to signal strike three, appeared to change his call and communicated that Conforto had been hit by the pitch, awarding Conforto first base as a result, resulting in a Mets win and argument from Marlins Manager Don Mattingly and, potentially a protested game.

Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.05(b)(2) states that the batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out when—"He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball." Furthermore, "If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched."

: The first point to note is the pitch was, indeed, located within the strike zone and the baseball appeared to touch the batter while it was located in the strike zone. Accordingly, 5.05(b)(2)(A) applies and renders the judgment relative to whether Conforto attempted to avoid the pitch (or leaned into it) superfluous: as soon as we determine the baseball was in the strike zone when it touched the batter, it doesn't really matter how the batter wound up located in the strike zone: the proper call is a dead ball strike (strike three in this case).

If, however, the umpire ruled the pitch was located outside of the strike zone when it touched the batter, then we must consider how Conforto contorted himself: if Conforto leaned into the pitch (or simply failed to "attempt to avoid being touched"), it would be a dead ball ball and the at-bat would continue with a 2-2 count.

Had Kulpa kept his initial "strike three" call, the outcome of a strikeout would have been correct. By changing to a hit-by-pitch with first base award, the umpire talked himself out of the proper ruling.

Protest: Because judgment calls cannot be protested, the Marlins have but one path to win this protest: If Kulpa maintains that the pitch was located within the strike zone and he awarded Conforto first base even though the baseball was located in the strike zone when it touched Conforto, that would signify an incorrect application of OBR 5.05(b)(2) and, thus, basis for affirming Miami's protest. If, however, Kulpa states that he simply reversed his "strike" call to that of a "ball" by virtue of the pitch being located outside of the strike, then the protest would be denied because pitch location and "did the batter lean into the pitch" decisions are both non-reviewable judgment calls.

After the game, Kulpa spoke with pool reporter Anthony Rieber: "The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone. I should have called him out."

Video as follows:

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Time Play Teachable - Fielder's Choice in Oakland

The Oakland Athletics secured win #1 of the 2021 MLB regular season Wednesday against Los Angeles, but not after a curious time play leading to a Dodgers go-ahead run after HP Umpire Dan Bellino conferred with 3B Umpire Adrian Johnson before scoring LA's second run of the game.

Play: With two out and two on (R2, R3), Dodgers batter Zach McKinstry bunted to A's third baseman Matt Chapman as Dodgers baserunner R3 Max Muncy sprinted for home plate and R2 Austin Barnes ran toward third base. Rather than make a play on McKinstry at first base to end the inning, F5 Chapman opted to tag Barnes as he overslid third base, resulting in the inning's third out.

Ruling: Cognizant of the time play situation, HP Umpire Bellino signaled to the press box to score the run, properly ruling that runner Muncy had touched home plate prior to fielder Chapman recording the third out on runner Barnes at third base.

: Our Ask the UEFL question is whether it matters that batter-runner McKinstry hadn't yet touched first base at the time of the third out. The answer is no. Official Baseball Rule 5.08(a) states that a run scores when a runner legally touches each base in order before three are out to end the inning. As previously established, R3 Muncy touched home plate before R2 Barnes was tagged for the third out.

The exception to 5.08(a) prescribes, "A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made (1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; (2) by any runner being forced out; or (3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases," but this itself is not a time play.

The ruling is that "no run shall score during a play in which the third out is made by the batter-runner before he touches first base." In this situation, the third out of the inning was made by R3 Muncy and not the batter-runner McKinstry, and because R3 Muncy touched home plate before R2 Barnes was tagged for the third out, Muncy's run shall count. Had fielder Chapman, instead of tagging Barnes, successfully thrown out batter-runner McKinstry at first base, R3 Muncy's run would not count, regardless of timing involved, because the third out would have been made by the batter-runner before touching first base.

Video as follows:

A Pesky Corner at Fenway Park & Fan Interference

Rays right fielder Randy Arozarena's apparent catch of Red Sox batter JD Martinez' fly ball at Fenway Park turned into a simple foul ball as umpires ruled a fan, without interfering, had touched the ball near Pesky's Pole before Arozarena was able to secure it.

Originally ruled an out by 1B Umpire Jeremie Rehak, Replay Review overturned the call based on video evidence suggesting that the fan had touched the ball, which descended along the fence-line in the right field corner.

Thus, when Red Sox Manager Alex Cora challenged the call, umpires at Replay Review HQ in New York looked at two elements: First, did the fan actually touch the ball, and, second, did this touching constitute spectator interference or not?

With replays suggesting the fan did touch the ball, Replay turned to the question of where the fan touched the ball. Pursuant to the Official Baseball Rules' definition, "Spectator interference occurs when a spectator (or an object thrown by the spectator) hinders a player’s attempt to make a play on a live ball, by going onto the playing field, or reaching out of the stands and over the playing field."

Thus, because replays showed the fan/ball interaction likely occurred above the top of the wall or fully within the stands, the spectator interference criteria were not fulfilled and Crew Chief Dan Iassogna conveyed the proper ruling upon review: foul ball, considered dead once it touched a spectator in dead ball territory.

As for the top of the wall—a neutral zone of sorts which we know can be considered as part of live ball territory or dead ball territory (see the case of a batted fair ball that strikes the top of the wall and bounds back onto the playing field = live ball vs. a similar batted fair ball striking the top of the wall and bounding into the stands = home run)—the Definition of Terms for Foul [and Fair] Territory helps us by delineating how far, exactly, the playing field reaches to: "extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards."

Accordingly, the fan either remaining fully within the stands or touching the ball on top of the wall has not interfered and, by virtue of touching the ball before Arozarena caught it, has caused the ball to become dead, resulting in the proper call of a foul ball and legal play.

Video as follows:

Saturday, April 3, 2021

MLB Ejection 001 - Jim Reynolds (1; Nick Castellanos)

3B Umpire Jim Reynolds ejected Reds RF Nick Castellanos (Unsportsmanlike-NEC/inciting a brawl) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the #Cardinals-#Reds game. With two out and none on, Castellanos took a first-pitch sinker from Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford for a hit-by-pitch. Two batters later with Castellanos at third base, Reds batter Mike Moustakas took a first pitch curveball for a wild pitch and baserunner R3 Castellanos attempted to score by sliding headfirst into home plate as Cardinals pitcher Woodford attempted to tag Castellanos. Replays indicate that after Castellanos slid safely into home plate (HP Umpire Tony Randazzo's safe call was confirmed upon Replay Review as the result of a challenge by Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt), Castellanos taunted Woodford, resulting in a benches-clearing incident. At the time of the ejection, the Reds were leading, 7-2. The Reds ultimately won the contest, 9-6.

This is Jim Reynolds (77)'s first ejection of the 2021 MLB regular season.
Jim Reynolds now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call = 2).
Crew Chief Jim Reynolds now has 1 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 1).

This is the first ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the first player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Castellanos was 1-2 (HBP) in the contest.
This is Cincinnati's 1st ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL Central (CIN 1; CHC, MIL, PIT, STL 0).
This is Nick Castellanos' first career MLB ejection.
This is Jim Reynolds' 1st ejection since September 25, 2020 (Matt Kemp; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds, 4/3/21 | Video as follows:

Friday, April 2, 2021

Draft Results, Site Updated for 2021, Appeals Board Set

As the 2021 MLB regular season gets underway, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League roster is now set with the UEFL Appeals Board set to welcome Scott C to the crew. Draft results are as follows.

In sum, league membership for 2021 will be 114, of which 30.1% of drafted crews will feature Ted Barrett, who overtakes Joe West for most popular crew chief in 2021 (West had been the most popular crew chief drafted from 2015-2020).

Additionally, the following webpages have been updated for 2021:

2021 UEFL Draft Results
Membership: 114 (Repeat Participants: 58% / New to UEFL: 42%).
Crew Chiefs: Ted Barrett (30.1%), Joe West (17.9%), Sam Holbrook (8.1%).
Primary Umpires: Vic Carapazza (17.5%), Joe West (14.0%), Marvin Hudson (13.2%).
Secondary Umpires: Will Little (15.8%), John Tumpane (13.2%), Alan Porter (12.3%).
Appeals Board: ScottC (18.1%), TJW/wwjd220 (16.9%), Robin1720 (9.6%).

Important: Visit the 2021 UEFL Standings to confirm your crew is accurately listed. For those who didn't submit full crews, random selections were chosen. Please reply as a comment or e-mail if an adjustment needs to be made.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Runners Passing Costs Dodgers Run on Opening Day

It took less than three innings for a baseball rules question to find its way to the UEFL inbox and umpire decision quandary takes us to Dodgers-Rockies game in Colorado with Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner combining for a runners passing play, depriving Los Angeles of an early run at Coors Field.

With one out and one on (R1) in the top of the 3rd inning, Dodgers batter Bellinger hits a fly ball to deep left field, off Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia's glove, and over the wall for an apparent home run.

LA baserunner R1 Turner, however, stops watching the ball as Tapia attempts to catch it, and doesn't see the ball fall over the wall, similarly ignoring both the umpires' home run mechanic and Bellinger's own instruction that the ball cleared the outfield fence.

As a result of Turner's This is Not an April Fools' Joke play, the two Dodgers runners end up passing each other on the base path between first and second base, and the umpires invoke Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(9) ("Any runner is out when he passes a preceding runner before such runner is out") to declare Bellinger out, while allowing Turner to complete his free passage to home plate.

The official scoring on this play is an RBI single for Bellinger and the loss of a potential run for Los Angeles. The Rockies subsequently took a 2-1 lead shortly thereafter, and ultimately won the game.

For more detailed analysis and discussion on prior runners passing plays (including why the rule states that the trailing runner is responsible for passing, even if the lead runner was physically more "at fault"), see the following related label. Runners passing featured prominently in our 2020-2021 offseason discussion, including during a Boston-Tampa Bay Spring Training game on March 9, TMU college game on February 12 (also during a home run), and travel ball game we discussed on February 5.
Related Label: Passing Runners.

Officiating on the Big Screen - The Naked Gun

In this April 1 edition of Officiating on the Big Screen, we analyze Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen's) officiating performance in The Naked Gun. HP Umpire Drebin/Nielsen/Enrico Pallazzo ejected Joe West and Hank Robinson in this American League game between the Angels and Mariners in Los Angeles, employing several advanced umpiring techniques and mechanics.

We review this historic performance, including a risky game management move that demonstrates the full influence of a baseball umpire-in-chief.

Video as follows: