Saturday, May 4, 2013

Utah Soccer Referee Punched by Teenage Player Dies

Utah soccer referee Ricardo Portillo, punched into a coma by a player, died Saturday, according to police.

According to the investigation, last weekend, Portillo was officiating a La Liga Continental de Futbol soccer game when he issued a yellow card to a 17-year-old player for a foul. Because soccer officiating guidelines specify the referee shall be in close proximity to a player when issuing yellow or red cards, "the suspect was close to Portillo," according to Unified police spokesman Justin Hoyal.

After displaying the card, Portillo started to enter notes into his referee's book when the suspect allegedly "punched [Portillo] once in the face." Police claim the punch caused Portillo to become faint, vomit blood and, eventually, enter into a coma. Now, it seems, the player's punch to Portillo's temple may very well be the soccer official, husband and father's cause of death. An autopsy is planned to confirm the theory.

According to Hoyal, the player "immediately [struck] that referee in the face." Hoyal also stated Portillo's serious head injuries were "a result of that assault."

The teenage player, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, was arrested following the alleged aggravated assault. In the wake of the referee's death at the suspect's hands, authorities "will consider additional charges," which presumably may include murder and/or manslaughter. Though the suspect is presently being held at a juvenile detention facility, police indicated charges could rise to the adult level.

The player's team, which has not been identified, was playing its very first game in the league when the suspected aggravated assault occurred.

Ricardo's oldest daughter, Johana Portillo, spoke about her father's condition last week, stating that while she was not present at the fateful match, multiple witnesses and detectives working the case told her that the suspect player struck Ricardo in the side of the head: "When he was writing down his notes, [the player] just came out of nowhere and punched him."

According to the family, Ricardo Portillo previously suffered multiple assaults and batteries in La Liga, sustaining serious injury. According to daughter Johana, five years ago, a player upset with a call broke Ricardo's ribs while several years earlier, a player broke his leg. When the family urged Ricardo to quit, he declined, citing his tremendous passion for the sport. She stated that other referees who worked La Liga had been victimized as well.

In the wake of the violent battery, not only have the team and suspect player been kicked out of the league, La Liga Continental has hired off-duty police officers to provide security for future games which will continue to be played on weekends at a suburban Salt Lake City middle school.

Meanwhile, the Granite School District—whose Eisenhower Jr. High school La Liga uses for games—issued a formal warning to La Liga president Mario Vasquez stating that La Liga Continental is in danger of having its rental agreement revoked, citing not just the present assault, but also previous complaints that La Liga didn't clean up trash, violated the ban on drinking alcohol and brought and smoked tobacco products (cigarettes) on the school grounds in contravention of policy and the signed agreement.

News: Utah soccer referee punched by player dies, police say (FOX News) (5/5/13)
News: Utah soccer league hires off-duty police officers to monitor games after ref is assaulted (FOX, 5/4)
News: Family says ref in a coma after attack by teen has been assaulted before (FOX News) (5/3/13)

9th Inning West-ern Becomes Twitter Show of Cowboy Joe

Umpire Joe West's return to the dish created a ninth inning spectacle after depleted Dodgers batsman Nick Punto stuck out looking in the frame's top half, Punto animatedly accosting West who removed his mask and gestured Punto away (Video: Punto gives West an earful, West gives Punto a wag of the finger). Accordingly, Giants fans spouted amusement ("Joe West with the, no, no, not today!") whereas Dodgers fans disgustedly denounced the warning as did CBS Sports (meanwhile UEFL fans hoped for an ejection).

West trends in LA and SF.
On April 28, umpire Alfonso Marquez employed a finger gesture of his own during an argument and subsequent ejection of Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire (MLB Ejection 025).

Giants' fans attitudes changed after West cautioned Giants reliever Sergio Romo several pitches later for attempting to quick pitch Dodgers batter Matt Kemp. Kemp had stepped out of the batter's box following a swinging strike—an acceptable act pursuant to OBR Rule 6.02(d)(1)(i)—and prior to Kemp becoming "reasonably set" upon returning, Romo assumed Set Position. Nonetheless, the legality of Kemp's actions (legal per 6.02(d)) was still questioned.

PFX indicates K3 was located outside.
Replays indicate the strike three pitch to Punto was located outside of the strike zone whereas Romo, had he been permitted to pitch, may have indeed violated Rule 8.05(e) pertaining to illegal pitches known as those of quick return. The rule explicitly states, "the quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted." On April 17, Bob Davidson referenced 8.01(b) in ruling an automatic ball after Mariners pitcher Oliver Perez was adjudged to have delivered a quick pitch in an effort to catch Tigers batter Victor Martinez off guard.

Derek C summed up his views on #Umpshow: "Took 8+ innings, but we finally get The Joe West Show in the 9th."

One fan put it bluntly, "Well Joe West Really (sic) sucks tonight." Another: "Joe West is awful." A third: "...idiot..." A fourth: "Dudes (sic) terrible." The bandwagoning rolls on.

Meanwhile, others disgracefully resorted to allusions of violence. On a slightly related note, this week, a Utah soccer referee was sucker punched into a coma while an ejected Jersey coach struck a teenage umpire.

Instead of baseless accusations, how about some concrete evidence to support the claim? Of two plays at the plate, West correctly ruled both runners out. Furthermore, Pitch f/x data indicates West officiated 151 out of 158 callable pitches correctly, for an accuracy rate of 95.6%. By comparison, MLB umpires averaged a low of 92.91% accuracy in 2003 before rising to an average of 95.38% in 2007.

Despite attacks to the contrary, West was named the most consistent umpire by the Hardball Times in 2007.

Wrap: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, 5/3/13

On a related note, NBA referee Joe Crawford was also seen trending in the wake of these ejections, causing some tweeters to make the connection, "Joe West and Joey Crawford are related."

Others, still, were clearly left in the dark: "Joe West is the Jerry Crawford of umpires. And vice versa."

Friday, May 3, 2013

NBA Ejections: Crawford/Mott/Stafford (x2)

Referees Joe Crawford (crew chief), Rodney Mott (R) and Derrick Stafford (R2/umpire) ejected Clippers guard Chris Paul and Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph for second technical fouls received during the 4th quarter of the Clippers-Grizzlies game. With 7:11 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Randolph received an unsporting technical foul; with 6:07 remaining in the 3rd period, Paul received his first technical foul. In the 4th period, Paul received his second unsporting technical foul with 2:29 remaining in the contest, while Randolph received his second technical foul for violating the NBA's Respect for the Game guidelines with 1:57 remaining in regulation. At the time of the Paul ejection, the Grizzlies were leading, 113-99. At the time of the Randolph ejection, the Grizzlies were leading, 115-99. The Grizzlies ultimately won the contest, 118-105, clinching the series and eliminating the Clippers from the playoffs.

These are Joe Crawford (17)'s third and fourth involvements with ejection of the 2012-13 NBA season.
These are Rodney Mott (71)'s third and fourth involvements with ejection of the 2012-13 NBA season.*
These are Derrick Stafford (9)'s fourth and fifth involvements with ejection of the 2012-13 NBA season.*
*Mott and Stafford previously ejected Dwight Howard during these 2013 NBA playoffs.

Wrap: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies (NBA First Round Western Conference Playoffs), 5/3/13
Video: Paul called for blindside foul on Gasol and ejected; Randolph tossed for poor sportsmanship (ESPN)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Serious Medical Condition: O'Nora Tears Intestine, West In

Brian O'Nora's serious medical condition is an intestinal tear; accordingly, O'Nora is out indefinitely. Last Friday, O'Nora hastily exited the Phillies-Mets game in the first inning. Initially reported by beat reporters as "O'Nora swallowed his chew," MLB PR quickly diffused the charges, noting that O'Nora not only left the game due to a "serious medical condition," but that O'Nora does not even use "any tobacco products."

O'Nora before his plate game in the 2012 World Series
O'Nora's abrupt absence caused Fieldin Culbreth's crew of Adrian Johnson and Bill Welke to be without a fourth umpire Friday. On Tuesday, "Country" Joe West, fresh off his Triple-A MiLB rehab assignment that took him to Oklahoma City, joined Culbreth and company as the third base umpire for the 4/30/13 White Sox vs. Rangers game in Arlington.

MLB indicated there is no timetable for O'Nora's return.

O'Nora and West both were selected to work the 2012 World Series; O'Nora had home plate for the Giants' clincher.

News: Ump recovering from intestinal tear (ESPN/Associated Press)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Phil Cuzzi Inducted into Belleville High Fence of Fame

MLB Umpire Phil Cuzzi was inducted in the Belleville HS Fence of Fame, the school's version of a Hall of Fame, on Tuesday, joining Yankees alum Jack Cullen as the first individuals inducted in six years.

Chipper Biafore of the '76 team (L) and Phil Cuzzi at Belleville.
Photo: Fred R.
The 1976 Bellevhille High baseball team, which won the Big 10 league in New Jersey and was ranked #2 All Metropolitan and fourth in the state, was also inducted with Cuzzi and Cullen.

Cuzzi graduated from the school in 1973, where he played baseball and football before working his way into professional baseball as an umpire, joining the full-time Major League staff in 1999.

As a big league umpire, Cuzzi has worked five postseasons—four Division Series and the 2005 NLCS—and the 2008 All-Star Game.

News: Essex Baseball: Current MLB umpire Phil Cuzzi among inductees to Belleville's Fence of Fame (NJ)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kerwin Danley Calls 19 Innings, Squats for 597 Pitches

HP Umpire Kerwin Danley worked a 2013-MLB record 19 innings of baseball Monday night and Tuesday morning, joining crewmates Vic Carapazza (1B), Gary Cederstrom (2B, crew chief) and Lance Barksdale (3B) for 6 hours and 32 minutes of deadlock before the Oakland Athletics walked off the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on a two-run home run by A's 1B Brandon Moss in the bottom of the 19th inning.

How many pitches did umpire Danley see in those 19 innings of work?

Danley calls the 19th inning.
For such a long contest, pitch counts were surprisingly balanced. With 156 total plate appearances, Danley saw 298 pitches from the eight Angels who took the mound and 299 from Oakland's eight hurlers for a sum of 597 total pitches or 'squats,' 372 of them for strikes (62.3%).

According to MLB, there were 716,257 total squats in 2012 by home plate umpires, or an average of 8,427 for full-timers. With 11,216 ups and downs, Gary Darling squatted the most, averaging 295 pitches per game.

On Monday night/Tuesday morning, Danley saw 597.

The 19-inning affair marks the longest game in Major League history since a 20-inning, 6:53 Mets-Cardinals game in St. Louis on April 17, 2010. That game's home plate umpire was CB Bucknor, who saw 652 pitches, 399 of them strikes (61.2%). Joining Bucknor were Doug Eddings (1B), Dana DeMuth (2B, crew chief) and Danley (3B).

Prior to that, it was a 22-inning Colorado-San Diego contest on April 17, 2008 (6:16), Alfonso Marquez presiding over 658 total pitches, 413 for strikes (62.8%). Marquez's crew consisted of Andy Fletcher (1B), Mike Reilly (2B, crew chief) and Bob Davidson (3B) In part due to that game, Marquez won the 2008 squats lead award with 11,254 pitches seen that season.

Though HP Umpire Barry McCormick's May 1, 1920 performance with 1B Umpire Bob Hart during the Brooklyn Robins' 26-inning, 1-1 tie vs. the Boston Braves featured 186 batters, pitch counts were not kept at that time, nor were they during Jim Evans' plate job for the 25-inning Chicago White Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers game on May 8, 1984, which went 8 hours, 6 minutes after being suspended in inning 17.

Though Marquez and Bucknor's games are the longest on record with available pitch count data, the June 3, 1989 Dodgers-Astros tilt, featuring plate umpire Fred Brocklander with Bob Engel (1B), Paul Runge (2B) and Dutch Rennert (3B) on the bases, saw 643 pitches thrown. Interestingly, when the Dodgers beat the Expos in 22 innings later that season on August 23, 1989, Greg Bonin calling balls and strikes with Frank Pulli (1B), Mark Hirschbeck (2B) and Davidson (3B), the pitch count tracker was deactivated after inning #16.

Wrap: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Oakland Athletics, 4/29/13 through 4/30/13

MLB Ejection 026: Bill Miller (1; Bruce Bochy)

1B Umpire Bill Miller ejected Giants Manager Bruce Bocy for arguing an out call in the top of the 5th inning of the Giants-Diamondbacks game. With one out and two on, Giants batter Hunter Pence hit a 2-2 fastball from
Bochy argues mid-inning and is expelled.
Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy on the ground to shortstop Cliff Pennington who threw to second baseman Martin Prado for the force on R1 Buster Posey, to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for a double play. Replays indicate Pence's left foot touched the first base bag before Goldschmidt caught the throw, the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 4-4. The Giants ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

This is Bill Miller (26)'s first ejection of 2013.
Bill Miller now has -2 points in the UEFL (0+2-4=-2).
Crew Chief Dale Scott now has 1 point in the Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Incorrect Call = 1).

This is the 26th ejection of 2013.
This is the 11th Manager ejection of 2013.
This is the Giants' 1st ejection of 2013, T-3rd in the NL West (ARI, LAD 3; SD, SF 1; COL 0).
This is Bruce Bochy's first ejection since August 13, 2012 (Jerry Layne; QOC = N).
This is Bill Miller's first ejection since September 13, 2012 (Lucas Harrell; QOC = Y).

Wrap: San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 4/29/13
Video: After GIDP, Bochy tossed between innings (second video in playlist; SF)

Monday, April 29, 2013

NJSIAA Brawl Results in 36 Player Ejections, 1 Parent Arrest

A New Jersey baseball brawl resulted in 36 player ejections and one arrest for assault as Rumson-Fair Haven and Red Bank Regional players fought during the bottom of the 6th inning after Red Bank baserunner R3 attempted to score on a botched suicide squeeze. Although the batter missed the ball, R3 charged toward home plate and executed a rolling shoulder block on the Rumson-Fair Haven catcher who was waiting to apply the tag. Immediately ejected by HP Umpire Vinny Smith under the auspices of NFHS's malicious contact rule, the event nonetheless incited a brawl as the Rumson-Fair Haven catcher allegedly "retaliated by fighting," resulting in a bench-clearing incident during which 22 Rumson-Fair Haven players and 14 Red Bank Regional players were ejected. No coaches from either squad were thrown out since "they did a commendable job in trying to break it up and they were very cooperative at the end of the game."

According to the Little Silver Police Department, parent Patrick Maisto, 49, was arrested and charged with simple assault after an alleged altercation with a Red Bank player.

At the time of the ejections, the contest was tied, 1-1. Since the contest was prematurely terminated, neither team ultimately won the game; both were subsequently disqualified from post-season tournament eligibility.

News: Assault arrest after bench-clearing brawl (The Asbury Park Press NJ)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

MLB Ejection 025: Alfonso Marquez (1; Ron Gardenhire)

3B Umpire Alfonso Marquez ejected Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire for arguing an out call in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Rangers-Twins game. With none out and two on, Twins batter Eduardo Escobar
Marquez listens to Gardenhire's ill-fated protest.
attempted a sacrifice bunt on a 2-1 pitch from Rangers pitcher Joe Ortiz, bunting directly back to pitcher Ortiz, who fielded the bunt and threw the ball to third baseman Adrian Beltre as baserunner R2 Oswaldo Arcia arrived at third base. Replays indicate Beltre fielded Ortiz's throw prior to Arcia touching the base; specifically, Arcia's slide took his feet and legs past the base before his left arm and hand was able to hook the base, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Twins were leading, 3-0. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 5-0.

This is Alfonso Marquez (72)'s first ejection of 2013.
Alfonso Marquez now has 4 points in the UEFL (0+2+2=4).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 1 point in the Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).

This is the 25th ejection of 2013.
This is the 10th Manager ejection of 2013.
This is the Twins' 1st ejection of 2013, 2nd in the AL Central (CLE 2; MIN 1; CWS, DET, KC 0).
This is Ron Gardenhire's 1st ejection since August 23, 2012 (Wally Bell; QOC = U).
This is Alfonso Marquez's 1st ejection since September 12, 2012 (Ross/Valentine/Royster; QOC = Y).

Wrap: Texas Rangers vs. Minnesota Twins, 4/28/13
Video: Twins can't believe Marquez's call; Arcia's bad slide correctly identified by the umpire (MIN)

NBA Ejection: Stafford/Adams/Mott (Dwight Howard)

Referees Derrick Stafford (crew chief), Bennie Adams (R) and Rodney Mott (R2/umpire) ejected Lakers center Dwight Howard for a second technical foul in the 3rd quarter of the Spurs-Lakers game. With 0:50.3 remaining in the 1st quarter, Howard was issued his first technical foul for violating the NBA's Respect for the Game guideilnes. With 9:51 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Howard committed a lost ball turnover leading to Spurs points and was assessed his second, disqualifying technical foul for unsporting conduct. At the time of his ejection, the Spurs were leading, 55-34. The Spurs ultimately won the contest, 103-82 and eliminated the Lakers from playoff contention in a four-game series sweep.

This is Derrick Stafford (9)'s third involvement with an ejection of the 2012-13 NBA season/post-season.
This is Bennie Adams (47)'s third involvement with an ejection of the 2012-13 NBA season/post-season.
This is Rodney Mott (71)'s second ejection of the 2012-13 NBA season and post-season.

Wrap: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference First Round Playoffs, 4/28/13)
Video: With game nearly decided, Howard seals it by losing temper, accruing T2 from Mott, exits game

MLB Ejection 024: Tom Hallion (1; Jeremy Hellickson)

HP Umpire Tom Hallion ejected Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson for arguing ball calls and/or Unsportsmanlike-NEC in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Rays-White Sox game. With two out and none on, White Sox batter Dewayne Wise took a 1-2 fastball from Rays pitcher David Price for a called ball. Though replays indicate the pitch was located belt high and over home plate (px -.640), UEFL Rule 6-5-c-4 specifies QOC of a post-at bat ejection, shall be judged "in relation to the holistic effect of the argued call(s)/pitch(es)" and this/these call(s) must have "realistically resulted in a different outcome of the individual at-bat." Because Wise grounded out to Price to end the inning, the ball call did not realistically result in a "different outcome of the individual at-bat," the call was irrecusable.* At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 3-3. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 8-3.

This is Tom Hallion (20)'s first ejection of 2013.
Tom Hallion now has 2 points in the UEFL (0 + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable = 2).
Crew Chief Tom Hallion now has X points in the UEFL's Crew Division (X + 1 Irrecusable = X).
*Per the Appellate Interpreter: Strikeout vs. groundout does not meet the burden of "different outcome."
In the bottom of the 7th, Price and Hallion exchanged words. According to Price, Hallion said, "Throw the ball over the f***** plate." Upon hearing Price's characterization, Hallion allegedly responded, "I'll come right out bluntly and say he's a liar." Hallion claims he instead said, "Just throw the ball."

This is the 24th ejection of 2013.
This is the 12th player ejection of 2013.
Prior to his ejection, Hellickson was a bench player and did not participate in the game.
This is the Rays' 2nd ejection of 2013, 2nd in the AL East (TOR 3; TB 2; BAL, BOS, NYY 0).
This is Jeremy Hellickson's first career ejection.
This is Tom Hallion's first ejection since July 29, 2012 (Josh Beckett; QOC = Y).
Video: Hellickson heckles Hallion and hooks a hasty heave-ho (TB)

Pitch f/x graphic courtesy Brooks Baseball

MLB Ejection 023: Chris Conroy (1; DeMarlo Hale)

HP Umpire Chris Conroy ejected Blue Jays Bench Coach DeMarlo Hale for unsportsmanlike-NEC in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Blue Jays-Yankees game. With two out and one on, Yankees batter Lyle Overbay homered on a 1-1 knuckleball from Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey. Replays indicate the next batter, Eduardo Nunez, experienced a delay in arriving to the batter's box and Hale argued this time delay, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Yankees were leading, 3-2. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

This is Chris Conroy (98)'s first ejection of 2013.
Chris Conroy now has 3 points in the UEFL (0 + 3 AAA + 0 Irrecusable Call = 3).
Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg now has 4 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (3 + 1 Irrecusable = 4).

This is the 23rd ejection of 2013.
This is the Blue Jays' 3rd ejection of 2013, 1st in the AL East (TOR 3; TB 1; BAL, BOS, NYY 0).
This is DeMarlo Hale's first career ejection.
This is Chris Conroy's first ejection since May 7, 2012 (Fredi Gonzalez; QOC = U).