Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Training: Umpire Jim Joyce is Back

Umpire Jim Joyce is officially off the Disabled List after working Friday's Spring Training debut matchup of the Cactus League's Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Joyce joined HP Umpire Doug Eddings and fellow MLB umpires Brian Runge and Ron Kulpa on the bases. As is customary during Spring Training, Joyce, Runge and Kulpa rotated through the three base positions throughout the contest.

Joyce had suffered a season-ending knee injury last year, working his last 2011 contest on June 9th. AAA fill-in John Tumpane was Joyce's replacement. Prior to his injury, Joyce had compiled four ejections and 16 points in 2011's UEFL.

MLB Announces Second Wild Cards, Added Playoff Game: How This Affects Umpire Ejection Fantasy League

Umpire Ejection Fantasy League: Help us decide how MLB's expanded postseason and second wild cards will impact the UEFL in 2012

After several days of speculation, Major League Baseball sent out an official press release, announcing their much-anticipated plan of expanding the postseason to 10 teams in 2012, as opposed to eight, which was the 2011 model. The additional two teams will be comprised of a second Wild Card, one in each league (AL/NL).

The UEFL has long attributed points for postseason umpiring assignments according to the following schedule:

+1 point for a Division Series appearance (+2 for DS Crew Chief)
+2 points for a Championship Series appearance (+3 for CS Crew Chief)
+3 points for a World Series appearance (+4 for WS Crew Chief)

Current Poll: With the new Wild Card playoff game—which is officially and technically part of the postseason, it is not a Game 163 tiebreaker—how should the UEFL attribute postseason points?
Option A: WC = 1 point, DS = 1 point, CS = 2 points, WS = 3 points, -cc = +1 point (any assignment)
Option B: WC = 1, DS = 1, CS = 2, WS = 3, -cc = +1 (DS, CS and WS, but not WC)
Option C: WC = 1, DS = 2, CS = 3, WS = 4, -cc = +1 (any assignment)
Option D: WC = 0 [nothing], DS = 1, CS = 2, WS = 3, -cc +1 (any assignment, including WC)
Option E: WC = 0 [nothing], DS = 1, CS = 2, WS = 3, -cc +1 (DS, CS and WS, but not WC)

In essence, Options A, B, D and E maintain our present DS/CS/WS points structures, Option C adds a point to preserve the sliding scale, Option D only recognizes the WC crew chief and Option E recognizes none of the WC umpires.
*WC = Wild Card, DS = Division Series, CS = Championship Series, WS = World Series, -cc = Crew Chief

How should the UEFL attribute Wild Card postseason play-in assignment points (Rule 4-3)?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

MLB Umpire Alfonso Marquez Gives Back to His Native Mexico

The United States of America hardly owns a monopoly over officiating camps, clinics and schools and MLB umpire Alfonso Marquez—the first and only Mexican born umpire on the big league staff—is back in his native Mexico, doing exactly what umpires like Dana DeMuth, Greg Gibson and Hunter Wendelstedt have done here: Fonsie is giving back.

Márquez, MiLB coordinator Jorge Bauzá and Ted Barrett
in Monterrey. Photo: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol
Marquez and fellow MLB umpire Ted Barrett traveled to El Carmen, Nuevo Leon, Mexico this past week and have been working to train, evaluate and instruct young umpires looking to climb the ladder in baseball's Mexican League (La Liga Mexicana de Béisbol).

In an interview with La Afición, Marquez discussed the enjoyment he takes from giving back, also admitting his next big dreams: to receive a promotion to crew chief and to work a World Baseball Classic, since Marquez was injured and unable to work during the most recent WBC.

Unconfirmed: MLB won't expand instant replay in 2012

According to a source, MLB will not expand instant replay in 2012. It is unknown whether the umpires' union or playing rules committee (or some other MLB entity) rejected the proposal, but if this rumor is confirmed as accurate, it will be the first update regarding the expanded replay proposal since late 2011, when the players and owners ratified their newest labor contract with expanded replay on the docket. At the time, the deal was still pending umpire approval.

Baseball's Instant Replay "Box"
As I wrote in December (MLB News: Proposed Labor Deal Includes Expanded Instant Replay), the new CBA indicated a desire to expand instant replay to include Fair/Foul, Catch/No Catch (Catch/Trap) and Stadium-wide Spectator Interference calls (the present model only allows for instant replay when the spectator interference occurs in fair territory where it might interfere with a home run).

According to the UEFL's August 2011 poll, 36 percent of UEFL'ers were in support of Fair/Foul replay, 30 percent supported Catch/No Catch and 68 percent supported spectator interference.

At the time of this post's publishing, no other sources have confirmed nor denied this anonymous account; as such, this is being posted under the heading of Unconfirmed Rumor. This is the first we at the UEFL have heard regarding possible instant replay expansion since 2011 and it is the first we have heard regarding MLB potentially not expanding replay after all.