Thursday, April 4, 2013

Close Plays Find Baseball's Opening Series Finale

Close plays permeated MLB on Thursday, as two notable tag plays and a passing out call resulted in three manager-umpire discussions, resulting in two upheld calls, one overturned and zero ejections.

Rays batter Evan Longoria was called out for passing runner Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Orioles-Rays game. With none out and two on, Longoria hit a first pitch fastball to deep center field, driving in R2 Sean Rodriguez and sending R1 Zobrist to third as Longoria himself cruised into second base with an apparent double. Unfortunately for the Rays, 1B Umpire James Hoye ruled Longoria out under the auspices of Rule 7.08(h)—passing a preceding runner before such runner is out—resulting in the official scoring of a single, Longoria out advancing to second. Zobrist retained third base.

Though Rays Manager Joe Maddon argued a pass situation had not occurred, it was to no avail, as the call was upheld after Hoye consulted crew chief and 2B Umpire John Hirschbeck. What is your QOC?
Longoria ruled out for passing a preceding runner, Zobrist

Meanwhile in Cincinnati, HP Umpire CB Bucknor's timed safe call on Angels runner Albert Pujols' slide past Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan made MLB's "Must C" list, as replays indicate that even though the ball beat Pujols quite handily, Hanigan failed to tag Pujols; as his momentum pushed Pujols to retouch the point of home plate prior to Hanigan's attempted retag, Bucknor gave a timed safe tag, a mechanic that is correct by rule and instruction.
Bucknor shows patience in formulating an excellent safe call at the plate

Finally, in Atlanta, 1B Umpire Scott Barry reversed his initial safe call after conferring with crewmates after a high throw by Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons pulled first baseman Freddie Freeman off the bag, who replays demonstrate successfully tagged Phillies baserunner Erik Kratz as he ran by.


Lindsay said...

Here's Maddon: "I didn't have as good of an angle as Jim Reynolds did, who also had a better angle, I think, than James Hoye did." Was Hoye actually looking at the play or was it just that one glance over the shoulder that did it?

As for CB, that is an excellent call. Catcher blocks the plate and doesn't tag the runner, we have no collision - it's a slide, and runner finally finds a corner to touch before the tag is actually applied, we have a delayed safe call. Someone show this to Tim McClelland circa Padres vs Rockies tiebreaker playoff game.

Barry looks to be too quick to make a call here, just timing got thrown off and that's why it looks like a trainwreck. He had it right and then thought too much. Good thing they got it in the end though.

Bucknor getting the job done!

Lindsay said...

I'm honestly not sure how they can make that call in the Rays/Orioles game. Hirschbeck was looking in the outfield, and Hoye was running somewhere, I assume to maybe cover second base? He glanced at Zobrist, which looked more like he was making sure he got out of his way, and he was not looking at the runners when Longoria was alleged to have passed Zobrist.

Unless HP umpire Jim Reynolds made the call, but I didn't see him involved in the very lengthy discussion with Joe Maddon. Just a bizarre looking play to me.

And regardless of the call, how did Maddon not get tossed there? He was out there for a good 3 minutes.

Lindsay said...

To me, the Hoye call is incorrect. Not saying that he got the call incorrect [it is inconclusive], but you have be to definite when ruling someone out for passing another runner. Don't think there's any way you could discern that live in his position, or on the video.

Lindsay said...

Just an observation here, if Hoye does a PROPER PIVOT rather than that lazy over the shoulder check (I know he had his eyes on a trouble ball, but this isn't 2-man, he's got 3 other partners looking at it) maybe he doesn't have to whip himself back around to get a look at the runners converging. Anyone else agree?

Lindsay said...

Call what you see and see what you call...don't we all hear that from day 1?
I don't see how Hoye could see a runner over passing from that angle. That, coupled with the simple fact that it was an easy double off the wall and that there was no additional controversy...why pull this rule out of the dark corners of the book and make the technicalities part of the game at this point?

CB made a heck of a call. I'm happy every time we take another step toward making the right call and away from the whole mentality of the ball beat the runner so he must have been out mentality! Remember all those plays from the 70s & 80s--the unwritten rules? Too many cameras and replays now to make calls based on the unwritten rules!

Lindsay said...

I cant believe none of these resulted in an ejection. I think if it was later in the year they all would have.

Lindsay said...

Just catching some of this Giants and Cardinals game -- any particular reason why Dana DeMuth wears a long sleeve shirt underneath the standard MLB polo rather than just wearing the long sleeve polo? ... Looks unprofessional.

Lindsay said...

Ok Let's break down the James Hoye play:

We have a slide situation with multiple runners on... what does this mean? It mean's Hoye's responsibility is taking batter runner into 2nd on a fly ball to the left side of the outfield in which the 3rd base umpire goes out. Hoye elects to come into the infield and pivot as opposed to rimming which is staying on the outside.

Hoye unfortunately isn't looking at the ball, but does appear to see the touch of 1st.... at no time does he see according to cameras the batter-runner pass r1. So where should Hoye be looking? In the Trop it's very important to keep as many eyes on the baseball as possible with the overhangs in the outfield.... PLUS the potential for a trap agaist the wall or something bizarre happening..... A missed touch of 1st really isn't life or death. If Hoye rims and the outfielder gets spun he may have the best angle.... Notice 2nd base umpire focused on the potential Fan interference and the catch. This is about knowing PRIMARY responsibilities. If you've ever heard of keep all eyes on the baseball THIS is that time.
The next disaster is the handling of the situation. Remember last year when Jim Joyce had to protect Hoye in a situation. Hoye appears clueless at times on the baseball field. Hirschbeck did an outstanding job at calming the situation but again we see Hoye can't handle guys by himself.... If he was still a call up we'd be saying send him back down.... But he's a full-time MLB umpire and should be able to handle this by himself.

This all being said.... I'm STILL not 100% who made the call or WHEN it was made. HP umpire Jim Reynolds would have the best look. Is it possible Hirscbeck wouldn't let Maddon go to him b/c Maddon went to the wrong umpire to start and received an explanation? Unlikely, as a stand up umpire would have interjected himself.... SO it would appear Hoye or Hirschbeck made the call and the result is a mess.

LESSON: when you get on the baseball field don't guess... call what you see but NEVER guess what you see.... But still have the guts to made the hard call even if it's right. This was a hard call that appears to be wrong.

Lindsay said...

he's been doing that for years.

Lindsay said...

Nicely stated. Baltimore's MASN showed Hoye making that call.

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