Friday, May 6, 2011

Ejections: Angel Hernandez (2)

HP Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Red Sox Manager Terry Francona for arguing a balk call in the top of the 2nd inning of the Twins-Red Sox game. With two out and two on, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield was called for a balk; Twins R3 Ben Revere scored and R1 Denard Span was awarded second base. Replays indicate Wakefield failed to properly step directly toward a base with his non-pivot foot while in contact with the rubber and/or disengaged and immediately and in practically the same motion "wheeled" and threw to first base, under MLB Rule 8.05(c) and 8.05(c) Comment, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Twins were leading, 4-1. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 9-2.

This is Angel Hernandez (55)'s second ejection of 2011.
Angel Hernandez now has 8 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (4 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 8).
Angel Hernandez is owned as a Primary Umpire by yawetag, who is now in 1st place in the UEFL with 17 points.
Angel Hernandez is owned as a Primary Umpire by MrBillMueller, who is now tied for 2nd place in the UEFL with 8 points.
Angel Hernandez is owned as a Primary Umpire by Ring_Tail, who is now tied for 2nd place in the UEFL with 8 points.
Angel Hernandez is owned as a Primary Umpire by ump_24, who is now tied for 2nd place in the UEFL with 8 points.
Angel Hernandez is owned as a Secondary Umpire by BONZ_kansascity, who is now tied for 7th place in the UEFL with 4 points.
*Quality of Correctness was challenged and denied ("Correct" ==> "Correct").
This is the 29th ejection of 2011.
This is the 16th Manager ejection of 2011.
This is Terry Francona's second ejection of 2011.


Video (1): Francona ejected for arguing a balk

Video (2): Wakefield balks in a run

Video (3): Francona on the balk and his ejection


Anonymous said...

Joe West and his crew are an embarrassment to the MLB. I hope they show the full NESN feed, as BOTH TITO and Joe West should be suspended. While the call and ejection were warranted, what problem does that crew have with letting a manager talk to an umpire? That was ubsurd. Tough week can't describe it for old Joe's crew.

SPballsandstrikes said...

I hope you find this call to be incorrect..Francona made the first contact with West,but the further contact was made by West.

Love when Francona goes Nuclear, if only it happened more!He had every right to be upset on this one.

Anonymous said...

Disagree with both posters. You can't argue a balk, every manager knows that. Francona was the aggressor in this situation and West had every right as crew chief to separate him from Hernandez.

jhagen88 said...


I'm both a Twins fan and an Angel Hernandez fan.

I gotta disagree with this call. There was no balk.

Wakefield clearly stepped to 3rd and broke contact with the rubber then turned and threw to 1st. At full speed it looks kinda funny, but the replay clearly shows it was clean.

Can't believe Angel had that quick a trigger too, but Francona was totally out of line. He bumped West and then continued to try and get past him to get to Hernandez.

tmac said...

Just watched this on MLB.TV... I know you're not allowed to argue a balk but can't you at least ask what he did? And even though i believe the call was correct at least watching the NESN feed from the high above angle shows there was distance but no direction

Anonymous said...

The step was to the plate, not third. It's a balk.

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that Francona came out to ask about why the balk was called, not necessarily to argue the call. Hernandez had his hand up (as West often does) as if to say, "you can't even come out here."

There is a difference between arguing a balk and asking for a clarification as to what was called.

That said, I don't see a balk, either.

highschoolump said...

Good call and I have no problem with West's actions, he only made contact with Francona in trying to restrain him so I have no problem with that. Francona may get suspended but if he does it should only be for the elbow shiver that he used in trying to get past West or for throwing his gum at Hernandez as he was leaving. This was pretty similar to the incident last year when Francona got thumbed by Bellino with West and Hernandez.

Jon Terry said...

A balk is a judgement call. If Angel thinks the pitcher balked, he balked. We don't get any replay or different angles, and we don't get his angle, so our information is limited.

Furthermore, Francona's ability to ask questions is limited by the umpire's willingness to answer. If Hernandez says no, then it's no and Francona needs to walk away.

Finally, West has not only every right but a responsibility to be in the middle of that confrontation. Earlier this week, someone complained about an ejection where no one else from the crew came to walk the ejected party away. If Hernandez doesn't want to talk to Francona (as he clearly doesn't), the West needs to be between them. If Francona is so resistant to that, that he has to get physical, then he gets what is coming to him. I've physically blocked coaches away from partners, and I expect the same.

Truthfully, does anyone here believe that, if given an explanation, Francona would have just walked away? Or would he have pushed it? Who knows what has already been said between them, especially since Angel has the plate.

Any chance we could start looking at crew ejection stats? It would be interesting to see if specific crews or crew chiefs lead in ejections from year to year.

Anonymous said...

Jon - Retrosheet does list ejections for each umpire. Joe West, Bob Davidson, and Bill Hohn, typically have a high number of ejections each year. Dana DeMuth, Tim McClelland, and Gerry Davis are three umpires I can think of off the top of my head who typically have very few ejections each year.

I actually like Joe West and think that he calls a good game behind the plate and usually gets the close ones right on the bases. Unfortunately, he is just too confrontational and calls attention to himself too often. If he wasn't so quick to engage in an argument, few people would be complaining about him.

Anonymous said...

i think we know which crew would win this year.
francona looked calm coming out, and after being run even said that he didn't say anything. clarification is different than arguing, and that type of attitude is what gives umpires a bad rap of being all-mighty and confrontational. there should be some element of mutual respect between the MLB managers and umpires

Anonymous said...

Cowboy Joe has some dance moves to go along with his country music

Anonymous said...

I like this call. I know just because something looks odd, that doesn't mean it's a rule infraction, but this DOES look like Wake is trying to deceive the runner. I think the call is great, gutsy, great ejection. Joe always seems to get a bad rap, but I think he does his job as a crew chief here. He keeps an irate Francona away from Hernandez, and that is exactly what his role is. Done. Good job Angel. Good job Joe.

Lindsay said...

@Jon Terry, we used to have a CREW division of the UEFL. I stopped the CREW division in 2009 as the League grew in popularity, but I am 100% open to restarting the CREW division.

BTW, so far this year, West's Crew "B" does indeed lead the League in ejections, by more than twice as many as second place Crew M (Cousins/Joyce/Kulpa/Wolf) and Crew O (Layne/Davidson/Wendelstedt/Knight)

Crew B - 7
West - 2
Hernandez - 2
Schrieber - 1
Fairchild - 2

Crew M - 3
Cousins - 0
Joyce - 3
Kulpa - 0
Wolf - 0

Crew O - 3
Layne - 0
Davidson - 1
Wendelstedt - 0
Knight - 2

Dan said...

I have no problem with what Joe West did there. I wish there were more Crew Chiefs that took the initiative to get involved that he does. They are supposed to maintain law and order on the field. There are some CC's that act like they're anchored to their base when an argument starts, but Joe is not one of them.

And regardless of whether the call is right or wrong, you can't come out of the dugout on a balk. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Joe has slimmed down considerably...he was looking downright spry out there!

Anonymous said...

Joe shows why he's a Crew Chief here. I like it.

JPINFV said...


I disagree to an extent. If the conversation is, "Why is that a balk?"
"He step towards home and not third, hence it's a balk."
"Oh, ok." [manager walks back towards dugout]
...then I don't see why that should be an ejection. Anything else, and sure.

thexfactor264 said...

I think that physically grabbing Francona was unnecessary in this situation. I noticed that Joe West's intervention is what actually infuriated Francona, and only made the situation worse. I like that Joe intervened, and I really like him as an umpire, but I don't like the fact that he made contact with Francona, because it just made the situation worse.

Anonymous said...

For those who think Wakefield didn't gain distance and direction towards third, check out this picture which contains two screen captures. The top portion shows Wakefield when he comes set; the bottom shows his step towards third.

Jim said...

If anything, that photo makes it look even more like a balk. Wake is setting up completely on the 1st base side of the rubber. This photo just proves that he has more momentum toward home plate than anything else. Photo #2 sure looks like he's going to the plate, it looks like deception of the R1 because even after that, he sure looks like he's wheeling over there.

clement30 said...

It's really too bad that we are calling out Joe West because he's a good ump. Angel Hernandez would have interceived in the same way if Joe was the guy who had thrown Terry out. I just don't like that/ Maybe you could wait until , 30 seconds say, and then walk in. This crew has some really good umpires, but they are very strict and that upsets people.

Anonymous said...

RichMSN: I think he gained distance, but his direction was to the plate, not third.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone besides an umpire on this crew (including Balkin' Bob) would call the Must C: Clips video, they show a better angle, and he definitely appears attain the distance and direction towards 3rd...he also disengages the rubber accordingly, so I'm not really sure what Angel was calling here. really like the idea of bringing back the crew division!

jhagen88 said...


I challenge under the following basis:

1) Pitching is all about deception. Decieving runners and hitters in a legal way.

2) The rule say he must step to the base he is throwing to but if you are an umpire and have been to Pro School you learn how that is interpreted. The pitcher must step to at least a 45 degree angle to not balk and must gain distance to the base. Wakefield starts all the way on the 1st base side of the rubber and he clearly stepped to the 45 and gained good distance to 3rd, but because he starts where he does it looks like a balk.

3) Wakefield disengaged his pivot foot when he stepped to 3rd making any other movement after that totally legal.

ump_24 said...

From the 2010 MLBUM:

"...umpires should indicate balks called under 8.05c (no step) by slapping the side of their leg after calling the balk. This indicates the balk is for failure to step directly towards a base."

"A manager, coach, or player may not come onto the field or leave his position to protest the call of a balk as defined in OBR 8.05c...If such a protest is made, the manager, coach, or player shall be ejected from the game."

You don't see it on the video, but Angel will have indicated to the bench it was a step balk through the slapping of his leg. There was no need for Francona to leave to ask "why?" Angel did this in Toronto when Pavano balked trying to pick off Snider on Opening Day, and Gardenhire and Pavano didn't argue.

If he did want to ask "why?" he should have calmly waited until the end of the inning. Unless, of course, if he wanted to get dumped.

Jeremy Dircks said...

This ruling has been challenged.

After review, the Quality of Correctness has been confirmed. The call is now correct.

Upon initial examination, Wakefield did appear to balk.

Upon further examination, including examination of the replay and real-time play, the determination of upholding the original Quality of Correctness was made. Replays show that Wakefield did not make a direct step before throwing the ball, as required under Rule 8.05(c). Rule 8.05 (c) Comment does state that the pitcher may make a fake to third, throw to first move, however, Wakefield never made a direct step towards third base to constitute a legitimate and legal fake. Even if Wakefield did step directly toward third, his actions still constitute a balk, under Rule 8.05 (c) Comment, which states, "...if, with runners on first and third, the pitcher, while in contact with the rubber, steps toward third and then immediately and in practically the same motion “wheels” and throws to first base, it is obviously an attempt to deceive the runner at first base, and in such a move it is practically impossible to step directly toward first base before the throw to first base, and such a move shall be called a balk." Wakefield in his same motion threw to first after attempting to fake to 3rd, in one continuous "wheeling" motion. This is specifically prohibited by rule. Additionally, the MLB rule book does not state that a pitcher must step at a 45° angle to not balk. The rule exists so that pitchers cannot use deception techniques in specific instances, including this particular "wheeling" motion.


Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely terrible decision, showing a lack of understanding about rule 8.05. The approved interpretation is that the pitcher must gain distance and direction to a base he is throwing or faking to. It is quite clear he did that (see photo link in previous comment).

The step towards third, followed by the throw to first were in no way "the same motion." They were two distinct actions.

It is going to be interesting to see what action MLB takes in regards to the Francona/West confrontation.

John said...

@Anonymous, no under 8.05(c), he either steps directly toward 3rd or he doesn't. Go on about distance & direction, but at the end of the day, he didn't step toward third - he stepped toward the plate. That's all there is to it. At least leave your name next time, "anonymous" is as bad as fans heckling the umpire to no end... until Davidson ejects them for bothering Molina...

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the balk call, I thought it was q great call. I just question Hernandez not allowing Terry to ask him what the pitcher did, and no, I think a coach is entitled to more than just a tapping. of the leg....

LouOCNY said...

Lets remember that it is always more than the rule book - its also the Umpire's Manual - and managers are NOT allowed to question balks.

Also we were NOT there, and do NOT know what Francona said to Hernandez - if he goes "why the f*** was that a balk?" he is GONE....

And as far as West is concerned, all he has to do is tell the MLB office is that he felt his partner needed protecting.

And did anyone see Francona toss his gum towards Hernandez at the end? You can see it plainly on the Twins feed. That alone should be worth a game or two.

Jon Terry said...

I agree that this is all one continuous motion. Specifically, how can the pitcher claim a 'fake' to third without any throwing motion to third? Without that throwing motion, the step to third is nothing more than a ruse to draw the runner off first. I think this is a clear vioation of 8.05(c).

Adam & Katie said...

While I am a Red Sox fan, I do agree with the call, based on not taking a direct step to third base. You either step towards the base or you don't.

@Jon Terry, I completely agree a balk is a judgement call, and sometimes it's tough to duplicate what was exactly seen. I've never heard that you have to have a throwing motion to a base. But in any respects if you look he did put his arm up as if you bring it back to throw. You don't have to complete that motion though.

@Jeruhmed, please read your "wheeling" motion rule again. It states "while in contact with the rubber". Wakefield broke contact with the rubber. There was no "wheeling" what so ever. So while I agree with your interpretation of the lack of direction, I strongly disagree with you calling it a "wheeling" motion.

With this being said. I would like to call for some consistency in challenges. I put forward the other no-call balk on 19 April 2011 where Jim Reynolds sent Terry (again) back to the clubhouse. That scenario has a nearly identical direction (mirrored though) to a base. If one is a balk then the other surely should be as well.

Adam Volcek

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