Saturday, March 10, 2012

UEFL Draft 2012: Crew and Primary Umpires

Welcome to the 2012 UEFL Draft for Crew and Primary Umpires. As per Rule 1, the Pre-Season (Spring Training) Draft has been established to distribute crew, primary and secondary umpires. Here's how the process works: First, we'll pick Crew and Primary Umpires and next we'll pick Secondary Umpires. Note: The Live Secondary Draft is scheduled for the afternoon of April 1. If you plan to participate in the the Live Secondary Draft, please send an e-mail RSVP to the UEFL Commissioners. If you will not attend, be advised the non-live Secondary round will run from March 17-30. Prop predictions will be made concurrent with the non-live Secondary round, from March 17-30.

Let's start with Crew and Primaries. This year's draft will employ a secret Crew & Primary pick. That is, until the UEFL draft is complete, all Crew and Primary draft picks shall remain secret (posts will remain unscreened or "in moderation"). Here are some additional Guidelines for Crew and Primary draft choices:
CREWSECTION 2. Prior to the beginning of the year’s regular season, and during the spring training period of the pre-season, each member of the league shall select one MLB crew chief to serve as UEFL crew chief. See Also: Rule 3.
a.     This round shall be conducted privately. Accordingly, two UEFL members may, by chance, pick the same umpire.
b.     In the event of injury to the designated crew chief, the replacement umpire shall be whoever is appointed by MLB to replace the injured umpire as crew chief or acting crew chief of his MLB crew.
c.     Although a member may select a non-MLB crew chief during this round, it is highly recommended that a crew chief be selected.
PRIMARY: SECTION 3. After or concurrent with the crew round, each member of the league shall select one umpire they believe will compile the most league points at the end of the postseason. Spring training and the All-Star Game do not count toward an individual umpire's points total. Primary umpires may be Triple A call-ups and may be the same umpire picked as UEFL Crew Chief.
a.     This round shall be conducted privately. Accordingly, two UEFL members may, by chance, pick the same umpire.
(1)  Primary umpires may be Triple A call-ups and may be the same as the umpire picked in SECTION 2 (crew round).
b.     The primary umpire picked by one league member may be the same primary umpire of another member.
c.     This process is conducted simultaneously and the primary umpire is submitted secretly, to ensure that no league member gains an unfair advantage by knowing any other member's primary umpire.

NC State vs. UNC: End of Game Sequence Correctly Officiated

The end of game NC State vs. UNC sequence was correctly officiated. The following video breakdown shows why (click here for video). The following plays have been reviewed:

Play 1: Kendall Marshall and Alex Johnson No-Call: Disposition: CNC (Correct No-Call)
Play 2: Richard Howell Buzzer-Beater No-Call: Disposition: CNC (Correct No-Call)

Continue past the jump to see why.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Harry Wendelstedt, Former NL Umpire who "Lived for Baseball," Dead at 73

Harry Wendelstedt, former big league umpire and father of current MLB umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, died Friday in Ormond Beach, Florida. He was 73 years old.

Peter Newcomb/Getty Images
It is a sad truth in our world and especially in a profession, such as umpiring, in which education, mentorship and experience is held in such high regard that the most respected amongst us, those who precede us on the field, will invariably precede us out of this world.

Wendelstedt's career spanned 33 years and included three National League Division Series, seven NL Championship Series, five World Series (two as crew chief) and four All-Star games until his 1998 retirement. He umpired five no-hitters, an NL record shared by Hall of Famer Bill Klem.

Wendelstedt also served four terms as President of the Major League Umpires Association and recently won support for his National Baseball Hall of Fame candidacy, receiving a nomination from baseball writer Dr. John McCollister and a second from Hall of Fame manager and Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda, who today declared, "He deserves it."

Harry Wendelstedt worked with his son Hunter (Harry Hunter III) in the National League during the senior Wendelstedt's final big league season in 1998. When the two leagues merged in 1999, Hunter honored his father by selecting uniform No. 21, which he still wears to this day.

The two Wendelstedts additionally have operated the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School—formerly the Al Somers Umpire School—since the 1970s.

Accordingly, Harry was trained by Somers and lived baseball until the very end. According to Hunter, his father, "lived for baseball. He lived for umpiring. When we were getting him into the ambulance [Friday morning], he had MLB [Network] on. That's all he would watch."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

UEFL 2012: Draft Order and Pre-Season Information

Welcome to the 2012 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League draft. The process will begin shortly according to the following schedule (all rounds close at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on the date indicated):
  • March 10: Crew and Primary rounds open
  • March 16: Primary round closed
  • March 17: Secondary round open per draft order
  • March 23: Appeals Board nominations closed
  • March 24-30: Voting, Appeals Board
  • March 30: Non-live Secondary round closed
  • April 1: Live Secondary draft, Time TBD
  • April 1: Crew round closed
  • April 3: Last day for authorized roster changes
  • April 4-6: Opening Days, MLB season begins
To illustrate this process and preview the 2012 draft, we have put together the following video with a brief statistical analysis of several umpires in advance of the draft and upcoming season. Read on past the video for a detailed description of upcoming processes:

Monday, March 5, 2012

UEFL Draft 2012: Preparing for Umpire March Madness

Today is the last day of the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's standard registration process (Click here for more information and to register for the UEFL). Standard registration will remain open until 11:59 PM Pacific Time tonight, March 5, 2012. Though registrations are "soft closed" at 11:59, registrations may be received after this date, but will be considered late and may result in a reduced roster of available umpires (e.g., Even though there may be Primary Draft overlap among on-time registrants, if only Brian Gorman and Mike Winters remain after the Primary draft, and a late sign-up takes place, that late signee may be limited to choosing between Gorman and Winters as a Primary umpire). Late registrants are automatically placed at the very end of the secondary draft order list, if applicable.

After standard registration is closed, the Office of the UEFL Commissioner will determine applicable secondary draft order assignments and distribute this to league members by March 9. As a reminder, it is recommended—yet not required—that UEFL members be placed on an e-mail list so that we may expeditiously communicate important site-related news, including UEFL draft order. If you haven't yet signed up and wish to be included, click here to e-mail the primary UEFL Commissioner, referencing your registration information for identification purposes.

Important: The official UEFL member roster is located on the UEFL Portal. If your username does not appear on this roster, we have not received your registration. Please resubmit via e-mail.

At the time of this post, 81 members have signed up for the 2012 UEFL season, an increase of 44 (119%) over last year. This includes 27 veterans and 54 rookies, a retention rate of 73%. More information after the jump:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Training Day III: Crew Chiefs on the Bases

In our first day of Spring Training, we welcomed back Jim Joyce from his injury shortened 2011 season. Today, we make note of a not too common occurrence. In today's Oakland A's-Chicago Cubs Cactus League game, three Major League crew chiefs worked the bases together: Dale Scott (who worked last year's All-Star game and Divisional Series) at 1st base, Gerry Davis (who worked last year's Divisional Series) at 2nd base, and Brian Gorman (who worked last year's Divisional Series) at 3rd base. The three were working along side Bill Miller, who was behind the plate. Miller, a 13 year veteran, was on Tom Hallion's crew last year.

Major League Baseball has yet to release this year's crew list or any official umpiring changes through press release or official announcements. However, we confirmed that in late January, Todd Tichenor was hired by Major League Baseball to replace the retiring Bill Hohn.

Whether Scott, Davis, Gorman and Miller umpiring together was due to logistics or another reason, it is rare to see three crew chiefs working the same game together. Even during the postseason, we only see two crew chiefs paired together. Barring any surprising and unknown changes, there are no vacant crew chief positions. Could MLB be grooming Miller to become the next crew chief when a position opens by working with multiple crew chiefs? Or was this merely an opportunity to give them a chance to work together? Either way, it is not everyday we get to see the game's best crew chiefs work together on the same field.

Video Breakdown and Analysis: Dwyane Wade's Four Fouls in Three Minutes

When the Miami Heat lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 93-83 Sunday afternoon, a number of Heat fans took to Twitter, blaming referees for their team's struggles.

The premise: Officials Monty McCutchen, Bennie Adams and Eli Roe's four foul calls against Heat star Dwyane Wade—that resulted in disqualification after all occurring within the same 3:03 timespan late in the fourth quarter—were bad calls brought on by some ulterior motive the officials had for ensuring Los Angeles beat the Heat.

Strong allegations? Absolutely. Any merit to the claims of "bad calls"? Not a bit. As is the case with officials in most sports who receive the "bad call, ref!" criticism, replays indicate officials got every single fourth quarter foul call against Wade correct.

The following is a Close Call Sports video breakdown of these pivotal foul calls: why they were correct and why they must have been called.