Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ejection 042: Gary Cederstrom (1)

HP Umpire Gary Cederstrom ejected Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz for arguing a ball call in the top of the 3rd inning of the Nationals-Phillies game. With none on and two out, Nationals batter Danny Espinosa took a 0-1 fastball from Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay for a ball. Replays indicate the pitch was thigh high, but off the inside corner of the plate (px value of 0.883), the call was correct.^* At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 4-1. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 5-2.

This is Gary Cederstrom (38)'s first ejection of 2012.
Gary Cederstrom now has 4 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom now has 1 point in the UEFL's Crew division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
^This pitch has a px value of 0.883, which is in the borderline range, therefore the call is correct. This ejection is not eligible for a ball/strikes exemption. (Pitch #1 to the previous batter, Ian Desmond, had a px value of 0.959, which is in the ball range.)
*After review, the Original Ruling has been affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board in a 6-0 decision.

UEFL Standings Update

This is the 42nd ejection of 2012.
This is the 15th player ejection of 2012.
This is Cris Ruiz's first ejection of 2012.
This is Gary Cederstrom's first ejection since September 28th, 2010.
This is the Philadelphia Phillies 3rd ejection of 2012, and first player ejection.

Wrap: Nationals at Phillies 5/22/12
Video: Ruiz is ejected after turning around and arguing balls and strikes
UEFL Video:

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball
Halladay vs. Espinosa (3rd inning)
Halladay vs. Desmond (3rd inning)
*Note: Brooks Baseball is promoting a Sabermetrics seminar hosted by those at the Jimmy Fund with all the money collected going to cancer research, the link to the seminar can be found here.


Anonymous said...

Done with this board again. The pitch was right down the middle of the plate. Challenge even though you won't be fair. You will never learn, so you lost a viewer to your site.

Anonymous said...

Waah waah! Look at the Phillies fan arguing with a computerized strike zone! THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why pitch f/x will never replace umpires—because even with a computer calling balls and strikes, players and fans wouldn't agree with the closest of calls!

UmpsRule said...

Go figure, Cederstrom and Diaz both with ejections in less than a week. Who's next, Fieldin Culbreth?

Jimmy Jack said...

So the pfx was 0.883, and you mention it's in the borderline range/correct. My question here is, because on the chart it looks like a ball by mere fractions of a tenth of an inch, what is the actual width of home plate?

I mean, I know it's 17", but on the pfx chart, where is that vertical black line drawn?

Lindsay said...

This play has been subject to UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1, also known as the Kulpa Rule. Summarily, the absolute values for QOC, assuming proper vertical location, are:
< 0.768 = Always a Strike
0.768 - 0.935 = Borderline, May be Deemed a Strike or a Ball
> 0.935 = May be a Ball

The full text of the Kulpa Rule is reproduced below:
In rendering QOC regarding a pitch location (ball/strike), Pitch f/x shall be the primarily cited source. Borderline pitches, whose outer bounds are located no more than one (1.00) foot from the absolute center of the strike zone (the center of home plate), shall be deemed a strike, if the call on the field was strike, as the pitch f/x plot takes into account the working strike zone (24 inches), which includes the 17" home plate, its edges, plus the diameter of a baseball to either side; however, because pitch f/x records the location of the center of the ball, as opposed to its edges, one radius is subtracted from each side, so that the pitch f/x working strike zone is only 20.432 inches. Converted to feet, the pitch f/x zone is 1.7027 across or 0.8513 to either side. To account for a projected margin of error of no greater than one inch (0.0833 feet), pitches with an absolute horizontal location (px) value of less than 0.768 feet from center shall always be deemed a strike, pitches with an absolute px value between 0.768 and 0.935 shall be deemed borderline, and shall routinely reflect the call on the field as correct unless evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise, and pitches with an absolute px value greater than 0.935 may be deemed a ball. This provision only applies to static borders of the strike zone (e.g.: its horizontal, as opposed to vertical, boundaries). This may be referred to as the "Kulpa Rule."

Lindsay said...

This ruling has been challenged and is under review.

tmac said...

not a strike never has been a strike never will be.... if that same call went against a phillie player and was called a strike they'd be nuts.. that's why they are FANS...short for fanatic or fanatical... not fantastic!!!

That all being said... fans pay for the players which long story short give the umpires $$$$ which allows us to talk on a website about a game!!! How cool are the fans now?? Very!!

UmpsRule said...

How in the world was this pitch "right down the middle of the plate"?

Anonymous said...

You should just deny all challenges on ball-strike calls. The proof is in the chart.

Anonymous said...

That's a strike all day.

Anonymous said...

This website has made many improvements (especially over this past off-season), but the one glaring flaw is still the Kulpa Rule.

"May be Deemed a Strike or a Ball" by definition is not an objective examination of what took place on the diamond — it's a cop-out that defers to the call that was made, which again, defies objective analysis.

I propose a hard horizontal value that has nothing to do with the call on the diamond. All that should be examined is the location of the pitch, and the metrics of what constitutes a ball and a strike. To include the on-the-diamond ruling in any interpretation is not an objective analysis of the play.

Hopefully this website keeps improving.

Anonymous said...

all i got to say as long as gary cederstrom is umpiring bob davidson will never be the worst umpire in the majors!!!!!!!!

UmpsRule said...

@ Anon 7:46

That's all you've got to stay? I'd imagine so, seeing as there is nothing you can say to support your claim.

Lindsay said...

@7:33pm, keen observation; unfortunately, the one limitation we have in that regard is the accuracy of the Pitch f/x system. Sportvision claims an accuracy of "to within an inch," which is the benchmark we have used since the technology debuted. Marv White has declared pitch f/x to be accurate to within half of an inch at the front edge of home plate, as has Dr. Alan Nathan. This does not account for seasonal calibration error; In Philadelphia, for instance, average horizontal error for pitch f/x is very low, estimated at an average of 0.1 inches after calibration in 2010, after a 0.4-inch error in 2009.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for umpires), we have decided to err on the side of awarding umpires with a correct calls given a lack of evidence to the contrary: Correct until proven incorrect.

The good news here is that as the pitch f/x technology improves—and I'm mainly referring to pitch f/x calibration, as the technology itself is already within 0.5 inches of accuracy—I fully expect the Kulpa Rule to gradually decrease the "borderline" zone until it is all but eliminated.

Again, it depends on the continued improvment of pitch f/x calibration, but that day will eventually be upon us; when it is, expect that hard horizontal value.

Anonymous said...

well the last couple of years he used instant replay on a play he couldn't and also call a strike in detroit that was 16 inches off the plate

Anonymous said...

And he worked the world series last year and is easily one of the best CC's and umpires in the game.

tmac said...

@ anon 8:09.. I believe the strike you are talking about was to Johhny Damon and i think it was determined it was 7 inches center of ball which is quite a bit off the plate but not 16... why not go for 100 inches while you're at it!!

Anonymous said...

yes and that pitch too forgot about that one thank you good point that one was bad too

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for Mr. Cederstrom's worst call (or perhaps controversial is a better word) it was on June 23, 1994. He was the original Jim Joyce and Bobby Witt played the role of Armando Galarraga. Although like Mr. Joyce, he is a good umpire and has served the game well over many years. We are all human.

Arik said...

Im surprised that no one mentioned that Ruiz pulled that pitch back towards the middle of the plate. Dead give away that he didnt think it was a strike either. It was a good job and looked fluid but it was obvious that he caught it on the inside corner and pulled it back to the middle.

Catchers that do that kind of stuff can cost their pitcher a pitch an inning by doing that. And that is a lot of pitches over a season.

JPINFV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JPINFV said...

To add to the discussion of the strike zone and PitchFx, I think it would be interesting to see what the difference between location on pitches at the front plane and the rear plane (arguably the point, but realistically the back of the square portion of the plate). After all, a strike is a ball that passes over the plate within the vertical bounds, not a pitch that crosses the front of the plate within the vertical bounds.

Jon Terry said...

I would submit that people who argue against this call are not umpires. I would also say that people who don't like the 'may or may not' language on borderline calls also are not umpires. Here is why.

Umpires know that how a catcher handles a borderline pitch is a factor in how the pitch is called. Now I suppose it could be argued that at the major league level, with electronic pitch tracking, that this might not happen. However, I recently sent Gil the link to a study that shows otherwise.

In the video, it can clearly be seen that the catcher reached for, snatched, and pulled the pitch back toward him. By doing so, he makes the pitch look farther out than it actually is, costing himself the borderline call. Better catchers get more calls. Perhaps a more skillful catcher gets this call.

We all also know that no matter how much technological watchdogging we do, we can't possibly have every umpire calling precisely the same strike zone. Some are wider, some are tighter. That will never change, as long as humans are calling. That's another reasonable knock against a hard line.

Finally, I agree with the poster earlier who criticized the probably Phillie fan, who disputed the electronic evidence and mistakenly claimed the pitch was heart of the plate. Last year multiple managers were ejected after arguing calls made with the aid of replay. If fans, players and managers aren't willing to believe technology blindly, then there is no benefit in using it.

In the long run, I can certainly see how an umpire could make this call either way, and be perfectly right.

red said...

here's the mlb video: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21663539

Anonymous said...

MLB umpires are given a two inch buffer on both sides of the plate. If a pitch passes through the buffer and it is called a strike, they are given credit for a correct call. I'm not sure if this is because the league wants strikes called or because the technology has a margin of error. Either way, why not call the pitch a strike and keep the batters swinging.

Anonymous said...

Catchers gotta know he can't turn around. That's automatic. Only umpires are allowed to "show up" a player or manager; not the other way around!

RichMSN said...

I'm a lifelong Phillies fan and Ruiz is a very good catcher. But he was turned around way too long here.

The pitch could've been called either way. That's my look at it. Ruiz, had he stuck the pitch where he caught it instead of moving his glove, may have gotten that call. But borderline pitches, when the catcher moves the glove, make it really easy for the plate guy to call a ball.

Lindsay said...

After review, the original Quality of Correctness of "Correct" has been affirmed in a unanimous 6-0 decision by the UEFL Appeals Board. Six Appeals Board members elected to Confirm the Original Ruling and zero elected to Overturn it.

In reviewing this ruling, the Board considered whether or not Pitch #2 was a ball or a strike. With a px value of 0.883, the Board determined this pitch was in the borderline range established by Rule 6-2-b-1, the Kulpa Rule. The Board found, that without any margin of error, home plate shall run from -0.833 to +0.833: Without any margin of error, this pitch would conclusively be a ball. Furterhmore, pitch f/x has been proven to possess a 0.5-inch accuracy at the front plane of home plate, if properly calibrated. Assuming a calibration error of 0.1 inches (2010 number for PHI), this is, at most a 0.6-inch margin of error, which extends the 0.833 zone to an assumed 100% confidence interval of (0.792, 0.875). Because the measured px value of 0.883 is outside of this assumed 100% confidence interval, the Board unanimously confirms the call of Ball.

Because the pitch in question was a two-seam fastball, the Board unilaterally rejects the argument that the pitch might have entered the strike zone behind the front edge of home plate: As no other pitches called Ball during this half inning were closer to the strike zone than Pitch #2, the Board affirms the Original Ruling of Pitch Exemption ineligibility.

Therefore, the Board unanimously affirms the Original Ruling.

Confirmed: Gil, tmac, Albertaumpire, BillMueller, RichMSN, yawetag
Upheld: None
Overturned: None
Deferred: None
Abstained: Jeremy (Posted Original QOC)

Quality of Correctness has been affirmed, 6-0.

Dave D said...

@Jon Terry - thank you for continuing to be a voice of sanity and reason. I truly appreciate your assessments and posts.

At this level if you, as a catcher, move your mitt that much (on this type of pitch), it's going to be called a ball. That's the other part of the human element that people rarely talk about (other than here, of course) not the umpire, but the catcher. In many cases, catchers have 'bought' strikes by being alert to pitches, getting out in front and grabbing that strike. In this case, the pendulum went the other way. I believe it evens out in the end.

Anonymous said...

That pitch was a strike

UmpsRule said...

I'm a little late on this, but who is Cris Ruiz?

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