Saturday, October 20, 2012

College Football Ejections: Jack Wood's crew

Referee Jack Wood's crew (Pac-12 Conference) ejected Southern California (USC) Trojans defensive tackle Leonard Williams for personal foul: unnecessary roughness during the second quarter of the Buffaloes-Trojans game. During a 4th-and-1 successful conversion by Colorado's Christian Powell, Williams was penalized and ejected after he appeared to punch an opponent's face mask while on the ground. At the time of the ejection, the Trojans were leading, 33-6. The Trojans ultimately won the contest, 50-6.

Officials: Jack Wood (Referee), Tim Schroeder (Umpire), Mark Duddy (Head Linesman), Jeff Robinson (Line Judge), Steve Steichen (Back Judge), John Morton (Field Judge), Shane Anderson (Side Judge).

Wrap: Colorado Buffaloes vs. Southern California (USC) Trojans, 10/20/12
Video: USC's Williams ejected after appearing to throw a punch at Colorado player (N/A)

Friday, October 19, 2012

UEFL Year End Award Nominations: 2012 Season

As the 2012 season draws to a close, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League prepares to distribute its Postseason Awards to eligible umpires* who, during the past season, have demonstrated significant performances to fit the terms of one of these awards (UEFL Rule 4-4).

a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire)
b. Noteworthy Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 2 umpires)
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2 umpires)
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
e. Most Improved Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
f. Crew Chief of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)
g. Best Ejection of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2 ejections)
h. Worst Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1 umpire)

Please take your time in consideration of an umpire for as many or as few awards as you prefer; Ballots will be accepted throughout the remainder of the postseason and awards distributed after the World Series has concluded. To cast your ballot, click the below link ("Read more »") to view the entire post.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Greg Willard Officiates Pre-Season Game, to Take Leave

NBA referee Greg Willard, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, worked Tuesday's Jazz-Lakers exhibition contest in Anaheim in what appears to have been Willard's last game of 2012.

Greg Willard (left) officiates a play between Bryant & Utah's
Kevin Murphy, 10/16/12 (AP/Jae Hong).
After the contest, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant visited the referees' locker room, later saying of Willard:
"He's an extremely good ref...Honestly, tonight I wanted him to T me up for old time's sake. I didn't want him to have any kind of special night. I wanted it to be just like it's always been. I wanted to drop a couple F-bombs to him. I wanted it to be like how it's always been. That's the best way."
Willard is presently listed on the 2012-13 NBA officiating roster and his upcoming leave of absence is similar in practice to cancer-related absences seen with MLB umpires Jeff Nelson and John Hirschbeck.

Willard, age 53, is a 25-year NBA veteran official and southern California native. He is scheduled to receive the Spirit of Hope Award during the 15th annual Evening With the Stars gala presented by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fundraiser in Beverly Hills, CA, 10/20/12.

News: NBA official, Long Beach State alum Greg Willard taking leave to battle pancreatic cancer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WNBA Finals Technical Fouls: Michael Price (1, 2)

WNBA Referee Michael Price issued technical fouls to Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen and Head Coach Cheryl Reeve for overt actions indicating resentment to a call during Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Indiana Fever and Minnesota. With 3:18 remaining in the third period, Whalen rebounded a missed shot from Fever guard/forward Karima Christmas and attempted to execute a layup, which was blocked by Fever guard Briann January. At the time of the technical fouls, the contest was tied, 48-48. A technical was later issued to Fever coach Lin Dunn (9:08, 4th Quarter). The Lynx ultimately won the contest, 83-71.

WNBA Rule 12A-Section V-d directs officials to issue conduct technical fouls for unsportsmanlike tactics, including (1) disrespectfully addressing an official, (3) overt reactions indicating resentment to a call, (4) use of profanity and (5) a coach entering onto the court without permission of an official.

Reeve subsequently removed and threw her jacket as Price walked away from the area, but was not ejected.

Officials: #39 Michael Price, #42 Roy Gulbeyan, #43 Brenda Pantoja

Wrap: Indiana Fever at Minnesota Lynx, WNBA Finals Game 2, 10/17/12
Video: After no-call on Whalen drive and miss, Whalen and Reeve hit with technical fouls

Rule 7.05: Extra Base Awards for Runner, Batter-Runner

Baseball's rules book addresses the issue of extra base awards for runners and batter-runners in Rule 7.05; in some situations, the ball becomes dead upon the achievement of certain criteria while in others, the ball remains alive (in play). The following provides a concise categorization of Rule 7.05 awards.

For those looking for the NLCS Gm 3 SF-STL pickoff and corresponding umpires' ruling, see 7.05(h).

Award: Advancement to Home Base (Four Base Award Maximum)
7.05(a): Dead. A fair ball leaves the playing field in flight or a ball with similar trajectory is deflected by a fielder's equipment, apparel or thrown gear. Also known as a home run. Video: Canseco's domed deflection.

Award: Three Bases (Time of Pitch; Batter-Runner may advance to home at his own peril)
7.05(b): In Play. A fielder touches a fair ball with detached equipment (except as in 7.05(a)).
7.05(c): In Play. A fielder deliberately throws a glove at and touches a fair ball (except as in 7.05(a)).

Award: Two Bases (Various)
7.05(d): In Play. A fielder touches a thrown ball with detached equipment.
- Archived Call (4/8/10): Was this ball, scooped up by Mariners catcher Adam Moore's face mask, fair or thrown (8:35)? Umpires awarded two bases, concluding "batted ball" status had terminated upon deflection.
7.05(e): In Play. A fielder deliberately throws a glove at and touches a thrown ball.

(b-e) exception: Equipment is not ruled to be detached if the force of the ball or a glove flies off in the commission of making a legitimate catch attempt.
- Archived Call (6/5/99): Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez (El Duque) throws glove to first base for the out after ball lodges in equipment. This is to be considered a legitimate baseball play and is not illegal.

7.05(f): Dead. Two bases if a fair ball bounches or deflects into the stands outside the foul lines or sticks in or goes through any field fence, scoreboard or (Wrigley Field) shrubbery.
- Archived Call(s) (5/4/11): One ball remains live, one dead (lodged) after dying at base of outfield walls.
7.05(g): Dead (two bases from time of pitch if B1 has not yet reached first base; two bases from time of throw otherwise; If batter is not yet a runner, two bases from time of throw). A thrown ball leaves the playing field and goes into the stands, bench, over/under a fence, etc.
- Cross-Reference in Rule 8.01(e): A pitcher who disengages his plate is a fielder, subjecting his errant throw to Rule 7.05(g) and a two-base award. Video: Diaz advances to third on Mijares' throwing error

Award: One Base (Time of Pitch or Throw)
7.05(h): Dead. A thrown or pitched ball by the pitcher from the pitcher's plate goes into dead ball territory.
- Archived Call (NLCS): Was Giants pitcher Matt Cain an infielder pursuant to 8.01(e) or a pitcher pursuant to 7.05(h); was the one base award proper? Similar play: April 28, 2011, pitcher Jeff Karstens.
7.05(i): Dead. A ball four or strike three pitch (for the batter) lodges in the umpire's gear (e.g., plate pocket).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rule 6.05(m): Intentional Interference or Crashing the Pivot

Rule 6.05(m) governs the case of runner's intentional interference in an attempt to break up a double play, stating the batter is out when, "a preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play."

Rule 6.05(m) Comment reads, "The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play."

Note that Rule 7.08(a)(1)—a runner is out when "he runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged"—is a rule change for the 2012 season. Prior to 2012, the bold text read the baseline.

MLB has made the distinction of a runner's personal base path as a direct line between a runner and base established at the time of tag, as opposed to the standard baseline, which is a simple line between bases. This has allowed Rule 7.08(a)(1) to be considered on its own merits and umpires no longer must autonomously decide upon the difference between the two terms. Accordingly, baseline as used in Rule 6.05(m) Comment is not subject to the three-foot provision of Rule 7.08(a)(1).

Case Study: Consider Game 2 of the NLCS between the Cardinals and Giants. (Video: Crash play at 2B)

With two on and one out in the top of the first inning, B1 Allen Craig hit a slow ground ball to shortstop, F6 Brandon Crawford throwing to F4 Marco Scutaro for the force out. As F4 Scutaro attempted to convert the force at second into a double play at first, R1 Matt Holliday barreled into F4 Scutaro, forcing U2 Greg Gibson to consider whether Holliday's act constituted intentional interference by which his action was obviously deliberate, unwarranted and unsportsmanlike. Note that unsportsmanlike and unwarranted are but two criteria of the intentional interference rule.

As for the third, one argument concerning Holliday's foot slipping in advance of second base is plausible and accordingly, it is plausible that Holliday's actions were not deliberate; therefore, one of the criteria employed to judge intentional interference was not satisfied and U2 Gibson was correct to withhold the 6.05(m) call.

As in any rule that requires an umpire's judgment of a player's intent, the official must err on the side of considering the runner's actions unintentional unless overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise. Furthermore, Rule 6.05(m) requires this evidence be of an "obvious" nature.

For an instance of Rule 6.05(m) enforcement, consult this play in which R1 clearly—and obviously—interferes with F6's attempt to complete a play. After umpire consultation, U2 Iassogna correctly invoked Rule 6.05(m).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Post-Season Ejection 01: Jeff Nelson (6)

2B Umpire Jeff Nelson ejected Yankees Manager Joe Girardi for arguing a safe call (Unsportsmanlike-NEC) in the top of the 8th inning of the Tigers-Yankees game. With two out and one on, Tigers batter Austin Jackson hit a 1-1 sinker from Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to right field, outfielder Nick Swisher throwing to second baseman Robinson Cano in an attempt to retire Tigers R1 Omar Infante after he rounded second base. Replays indicate Cano's tag preceded Infante's return touch of second base, the call was incorrect; however, because Girardi was ejected during a pitching change following an ensuing RBI single by Avisail Garcia, Quality of Correctness is irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Tigers were leading, 2-0. The Tigers ultimately won the contest, 3-0.

This is Jeff Nelson (45)'s sixth ejection of 2012.
Jeff Nelson now has 7 points in the UEFL (4 Previous + 3 MLB Post-Season* + 0 Irrecusable* = 7).
Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg now has 9 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (8 Previous + 1 Irrecusable* = 9).
*Umpires receive 3 postseason base points pursuant to UEFL Rule 4-3-a. See 6-2-b-5 for irrecusibility.
Nelson said the following quote postgame: "The hand did not get in before the tag ... The call was incorrect."

UEFL Standings Update

This is the 179th ejection of 2012 and 1st ejection of the 2012 Postseason.
This is the 82nd Manager ejection and Joe Girardi's 5th ejection of 2012.
This is the Yankees' 6th ejection of 2012, T-3rd in the AL East (BOS 13; TB 7; NYY, TOR 6; BAL 4).
This is Joe Girardi's first ejection since September (Tony Randazzo; QOC = Correct).
This is Jeff Nelson's first ejection since October 2 (Freddie Freeman; QOC = Incorrect).

Wrap: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, ALCS Game 2, 10/14/12
Video: Omar Infante ruled safe at second base attempting to return after rounding on single to RF Swisher
Video: Nelson ejects Girardi during Boone Logan/Joba Chamberlain pitching change
Video: MLB Exec VP of Baseball Operations Joe Torre fields reporters' questions post-game
Video: Girardi pleads with professional baseball to expand instant replay beyond home runs

Polls: 2012 World Series Umpire Speculation & Wish List

With just the World Series umpire crew yet to be announced, the UEFL opens the floor for the annual World Series umpire speculation & poll: From the Eligible List, choose your World Series Umpires (Select 6).

Note that the Eligible List includes only the 19 umpires eligible for practical World Series consideration. These umpires have (1) worked the 2012 Division Series and (2) worked a previous League Championship Series, though not a 2012 LCS.

Eligible umpires who worked the 2012 All-Star Game include: Davis (HP), Jim Joyce (1B) and Tony Randazzo (3B). In 2011, All-Star Game plate umpire Dale Scott worked the Division, but not World Series, while 1B Umpire Jerry Layne served as World Series crew chief. In 2010, ASG UIC Mike Reilly did not work the World Series, although 1B Umpire Mike Winters did. In 2009, ASG plate Dana DeMuth did work the Series, as did ASG 1B Brian Gorman. Davis, whose hadn't worked ASG since 2002, served as 2009 WS crew chief.

Spoiler/UEFL Newsbreak below:
*Today's UEFL unconfirmed story (10/13): Gerry Davis has been selected as World Series Crew Chief*
*Confirmed (10/18): Dan Iassogna and Brian O'Nora will umpire their first World Series this year*

In the below poll, -cc indicates a potential World Series crew chief while an asterisk (*) indicates the umpire has not yet worked a World Series prior to 2012 and would accordingly be a Series rookie. The 2011 World Series featured two WS rookies (Greg Gibson, Ron Kulpa) as did 2010 (Sam Holbrook, Bill Miller), though the 2009 crew all had previous World Series experience, breaking MLB's trend of incorporating first-timers (2007 & 2008 had three rookies each while 2004, '05 and '06 featured two newcomers).

Following the 2009 season, major league owners ratified a new CBA with the World Umpires Association that would allow for umpire eligibility to work two, but not three, consecutive World Series. Since 2009, no umpire has worked two conescutive World Series, though Alfonso Marquez, who worked both the 2011 World Series and 2012 Division Series, accordingly remains eligible for 2012 World Series consideration.