Saturday, April 21, 2012

Umpire Odds & Ends: Perfect Game 21

Baseball and the UEFL saw a perfect game for the first time this season and 21st in MLB history today, April 21, when Brian Runge (18) umpired the plate for White Sox pitcher Phil Humber's first career no-hitter and perfect game against the Seattle Mariners. Humber threw 95 pitches, though only 51 were callable, with 28 balls and 23 called strikes

Did Ryan swing?
Watch the following video to see Humber complete the perfect game and decide for yourself whether Brian Runge's game-ending swing call on Mariners batter Brendan Ryan's attempted check swing was the correct or incorrect call.

Video: Humber strikes out Ryan on close check swing call to secure the 21st perfect game in MLB history
Video: Final Out - Side angle of Ryan's attempted check swing (Thanks to TheGunsofHochuli for the link)

Here is a quick look at the statistics of how Brian Runge called Phil Humber's perfect game & no hitter:
Total Pitches: 95
Swinging Strikes: 14
Foul Balls: 12
In Play, Out: 18
Callable Pitches: 51
Balls: 28
Called Strikes: 23

Correct Called Balls: 25
Incorrect Called Balls (Called balls within the strike zone): 3 (1 additional was in the borderline range; correct)
Correct Ball %: <90.0%

Correct Called Strikes: 21
Incorrect Called Strikes (Called strikes outside the strike zone): 2 (3 others were in the borderline range; correct)
Correct Strike %: 91.3%

Correct % of Called Pitches: 90.2%

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball

Friday, April 20, 2012

Umpire Odds & Ends: Hickox Takes Wilson to Court Again

For the second time, Major League umpire Ed Hickox is filing suit against Wilson Sporting Goods claiming damages he sustained while using one of their products. Hickox previously was injured on May 14, 2005 while using an umpire mask that was given to him by a Wilson representative at RFK Stadium. A ball struck Hickox's jaw, which caused the mask to flip up upon impact. As a result, Hickox suffered a concussion and broken bones. He successfully sued Wilson and was awarded $775,000 by a District of Columbia Superior Court jury in April of last year.

At new Yankee Stadium on April 18, 2009, Hickox was calling balls and strikes when a foul ball struck him in the mask. Hickox did not immediately leave the game, but did so two innings later and did not umpire the rest of the 2009 season. He had suffered another concussion and a left ear injury from the hit. Now, Hickox claims that Wilson is liable for those injuries because the mask did not do what Wilson claimed it would doprotect him.

Howard Richman and Patric Regan, personal injury attorneys representing Hickox, have filed a complaint in New York in the State Supreme Court. The claims Hickox makes is that the umpire's mask “cracked into pieces upon impact and didn’t protect an umpire in the way it is reportedly designed to do.” Additionally, Hickox claims he has suffered "mental anguish" from the injury, surgeries and medical costs. Ed Hicox's wife, Lisa, is also listed as a plaintiff in the suit claiming damages for “considerable time caring for and assisting her husband.”

The suit does not ask for a specific monetary amount in damages, but Hickox is looking for punitive damages because they claim that “actual malice or acting under circumstances amounting to a willful and wanton disregard of the plaintiff’s rights" occurred. However, this will not be such an easy suit to win for Hickox. Darren Heitner, a sports attorney, has said that "it's very difficult to prove" and that since he has already previously sued Wilson and no other incidents with Wilson have occurred, it will probably help Wilson's defense. Major League Baseball nor Wilson has released a statement concerning the filed complaint.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

UEFL 2012: Strike Three Call - Ear Training Challenge

An umpire is most human on strike three calls: mechanics vary widely across baseball when that two-strike pitch catches the zone with nary a wave from the batter.

In preparing our yet-to-debut Umpires' Guide, which will feature strike three mechanics as part of the experience presently found on the UEFL Portal's Umpire Roster page, we couldn't help but notice the great variety of sounds emanating from behind home plate on those strike three calls: from the booming to the guttural, the nonchalant drawl to the vigorous bawl, strike three is certainly unique.

So in anticipation of the Umpires' Guide project, we present the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League Strike Three Call / Ear Training Challenge. To begin, reference the following video.

The Ear Training Challenge tests your ability to identify an umpire by his vocal strike three called mechanic. Listen carefully to the following ten items, writing down the umpire's name you believe has produced each numbered vocalized strike three call. The first nine items are worth one point each while item number 10 is worth two points.

When you are finished, you may either e-mail or post a reply here. All posts will remain in moderation (screened) for the duration of the challenge.

The UEFL Strike Three Call / Ear Training Challenge runs through Sunday, April 29, 2012. Good luck.

NBA Referee Nick Buchert Reminds us to Always Carry a Backup Whistle

In Tuesday night's laugher of a basketball game in which the Detroit Pistons thoroughly trounced the Cleveland Cavaliers, 116-77—which at one point had been a 100-50 ballgame—NBA referee Nick Buchert took a wayward pass from Cleveland's Antawn Jamison square in the jaw, giving us one of those ever-popular "teachable moments."

Though as far as teachable moments go, this is one of the least controversial, most tame and, yes, most amusing. With Detroit leading 48-29 in the second quarter, Jamison rifled a no-look pass directly at absolutely no one on either team, hitting Buchert with such force that the official lost his whistle.

One of several notable officials that forgoes the lanyard, Buchert saw his whistle tumble to the floor before alertly reaching into his pocket and pulling out a backup whistle to kill the play (Buchert had a foot out-of-bounds when the basketball hit his face).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NFL Referee Tony Corrente Tumor-Free, Not Yet in the Clear

NFL Referee Tony Corrente began his offseason early to continue cancer treatment following his Saints vs. Lions wild-card playoff game in January.

During a Week One Steelers-Ravens mini-brawl, Corrente had felt a painful sensation in his mouth, prompting an exam and a diagnosis of cancer of the tongue at the throat. Corrente was then placed on chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which would run concurrent with the football season.

Throughout late January and into February, the chemotherapy and radiation treatments' side effects were very intense and very harrowing: "My quality of life was very poor. I felt like total crud with blisters from ear to ear on my neck, ulcerated blisters over most of my tongue and the same blistering in my throat." Corrente's diet was restricted to liquids, his throat unable to process solid food.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ejections 008 & 009: Greg Gibson (1, 2)

HP Umpire Greg Gibson ejected Twins center fielder Denard Span and Manager Ron Gardenhire for arguing a strike call in the top of the 3rd inning of the Twins-Yankees game. With one out and one on, Span attempted to pull his bat back on a 0-0 fastball from Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia, having squared to bunt upon the pitch's release. Replays indicate Span successfully pulled his bat back, though Pitch f/x confirms the pitch was correctly ruled a strike (px value of .887), the call was correct.*^ At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 1-1. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 8-3.

These are Greg Gibson (53)'s first and second ejections of 2012.
Greg Gibson now has 8 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] = 8).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has 2 points in the Crew Division (0 Previous + 2*[1 Correct Call] = 2).
*The call is correct pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1, also known as the Kulpa Rule.
^After review, the Appeals Board has confirmed Quality of Correctness, 5-1-0 ("Correct" ==> "Correct")
^ The Appeals Board's historical decisions may be consulted via the UEFL Portal.

UEFL Standings Update
1) 8 points: cyclone14
2) 6 points: TheGunsofHochuli & millerump18
4) 5 points: JRD
5) 4 points: Spence1222
6) 3 points: BillMueller, Jeremy, JohnShulockFan, nkcaump, Turducken, UmpAtty

These are the 8th and 9th ejections of 2012.
This is the 5th Manager ejection of 2012.
This is the 3rd player ejection of 2012.
This is Ron Gardenhire's first ejection of 2012.
Prior to his ejection, Span was 0-1 in the contest.

Wrap: Twins at Yankees 4/17/12
Video: Span and Gardenhire ejected for arguing called strike, alluding to earlier balk call

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ejection 007: Lance Barrett (1)

HP Umpire Lance Barrett ejected White Sox Pitching Coach Don Cooper for arguing ball calls in the top of the 9th inning of the Orioles-White Sox game. With two out and none on, Orioles batter Matt Wieters took a 3-0 fastball from White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago for ball four. Replays indicate that the 0-0 pitch and 2-0 pitch from Santiago to Wieters were within the bounds of the strike zone, the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 4-4. This Orioles ultimately won the contest, 10-4, in ten innings.

This is Lance Barrett (94)'s first ejection of 2012.
Lance Barrett now has -2 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 3 AAA + -1 Penalty - 4 Incorrect Call = -2).
Crew Chief Gary Darling now has 3 points in the Crew Division (3 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 3).

UEFL Standings UpdateNo Change in UEFL Standings

This is the 7th ejection of 2012.
This is Don Cooper's first ejection of 2012.
This is Lance Barrett's first career ejection.

Video: None

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ejection 006: Dale Scott (1)

HP Umpire Dale Scott ejected Padres Manager Bud Black for arguing a fair ball call in the top of the 9th inning of the Padres-Dodgers game. With none out and two on, Padres batter Jesus Guzman squared to bunt a 0-0 fastball from Dodgers pitcher Javy Guerra, attempting to avoid being hit by the pitch before the ball rebounded toward home plate from the right handed batter's box. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis retrieved the ball near home plate, throwing to third baseman Juan Uribe to shortstop Dee Gordon to first baseman James Loney for a triple play. Replays indicate the ball hit Guzman's bat and was first contacted by Ellis in fair territory, in front of home plate and within the left handed batter's box, the call was correct. The call is now incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 4-4. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is Dale Scott (5)'s first ejection of 2012.
Dale Scott now has -2 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 2 MLB + -4 Incorrect Call = -2).*
Crew Chief Dale Scott has 0 points in the UEFL (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 0).
*After review, the Appeals Board has overturned Quality of Correctness, 3-2-1 ("Correct" ==> "Incorrect")
*The Appeals Board's historical decisions may be consulted via the UEFL Portal.

UEFL Standings Update
1) 6 points: TheGunsofHochuli
1) 6 points: millerump18
3) 5 points: JRD
4) 3 points: BillMueller, JohnShulockFan, Jeremy, nkcaump, Turducken, UmpAtty
10) 2 points: BONZ_kansascity, cyclone 14, hitit2me, Longballs, mtn335, Spence1222

This is the 6th ejection of 2012.
This is the 4th Manager ejection of 2012.
This is Bud Black's first ejection of 2012.

Wrap: Padres at Dodgers 4/15/12
Video: Dodgers turn a rare triple play, thanks to a great deal of confusion; Bud Black ejected by Dale Scott