Saturday, June 15, 2013

Catch vs Trap Confusion in New York Results in Force Out

Base umpire Lances Barrett and Barksdale combined for a confusing catch/trap and safe/out sequence during the top of the 9th inning of the Cubs-Mets game. With none out and the bases loaded, Cubs batter Darwin Barney hit a sinking line drive to Mets center fielder Juan Lagares, who attempted to field the batted ball in the air for a fly out.
Controlled chaos at Citi causes conundrum.

Though emphatically ruled a trap by 1B Umpire Barrett, Lagares and shortstop Justin Turner attempted to double up Cubs baserunner R2 Ryan Sweeney, who himself attempted to return to second base prior to the throw. 2B Umpire Barksdale ruled Sweeney safe at second base on the return, though because of Barrett's trap call, baserunner R1 Greg Burke was out at second on the force play.

Mistaking Barrett's "safe" call of Sweeney for a "safe" call of Burke, SS Turner threw home for an apparent force out attempt—where no visual mechanic was indicated by HP Umpire Vic Carapazza—before another throw arrived in third baseman David Wright's glove, who stepped on third base for a second apparent force out attempt—where once again, no safe or out call was signaled by 3B Umpire Gary Cederstrom.

Finally, Cubs baserunner R3 Welington Castillo, informed by third base coach David Bell—who may or may not have physically assisted Castillo back to the base (which would be illegal; rules citation: OBR 7.09(h))—of the correct circumstance (that he was not forced out at home and was under no obligation to advance), returned to third base in advance of Wright's tardy tag, eliciting a "safe" call from Cederstrom.

Wrap: Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets, 6/15/13
Video: U1's trap call is not recognized by U2, resulting in an erroneous safe call rectified after the play (NYM)

Friday, June 14, 2013

MLB Ejection 079: Eric Cooper (1; Elvis Andrus)

HP Umpire Eric Cooper ejected Rangers SS Elvis Andrus for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Blue Jays-Rangers game. With one out and one on, Andrus took a 3-2 fastball from Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located knee high and off the inner edge
Andrus argues the K3 call and is heaved.
of home plate (px -1.136), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Blue Jays were leading, 5-0. The Blue Jays ultimately won the contest, 8-0.

This is Eric Cooper (56)'s first ejection of 2013.
Eric Cooper now has -2 points in the UEFL (0 + 2 MLB + -4 N = -2).
Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg now has 4 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (4 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 5).

This is the 79th ejection of 2013.
This is the 37th player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Andrus was 0-3 in the contest with two SO.
This is the Rangers' 2nd ejection of 2013, 2nd in the AL West (OAK 5; TEX 2; LAA, SEA 1; HOU 0).
This is Elvis Andrus' 1st ejection of 2013 and first since July 26, 2011 (Andy Fletcher; QOC = N).
This is Eric Cooper's first ejection since June 14, 2012 (Ian Kinsler; QOC = N).

Wrap: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers, 6/14/13
Video: Andrus disputes Coop's K call, is tossed from the dugout arguing the four-seam fastball (TEX)

MLB Promotes Chris Conroy to Umpiring Staff

Congratulations to new full-time MLB umpire Chris Conroy, officially promoted to the full time staff on Friday. Conroy fills the roster spot vacated by Brian Runge, who did not work a Major League contest this season after an attempted AAA rehab assignment in May.

First reported as a rumor by the UEFL on June 9, The move was confirmed in a Friday press release by Major League Baseball.

Conroy has been a regular big league fixture in 2013 and his 129 games worked in 2012 ranks third amongst call-ups that season (Mike Muchlinski [ranked #8], 132; DJ Reyburn [ranked #7], 130). Conroy has umpired professionally since 2000 and was promoted to Triple-A in 2006 before working his first spring training in 2009. A Massachusetts native, Conroy worked both the Pacific Coast and International Leagues (AAA) before his promotion to the full-time MLB staff.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MLB Ejections 077, 078: Hirschbeck (2), Reynolds (3)

1B Umpire John Hirschbeck ejected Rockies pitcher Wilton Lopez and 3B Umpire Jim Reynolds ejected Rockies Pitching Coach Jim Wright for arguing a balk call by 2B Umpire Bob Davidson in the top of the 7th inning of the Nationals-Rockies game. With two out and one on and Nationals batter Steve Lombardozzi at
Davidson calls balk.
the plate, Nationals baserunner R2 Ian Desmond was awarded third base and subsequently home plate on two successive balk calls (the first by HP Umpire James Hoye) on Lopez for violations of OBR Rule 8.01 ("any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits [the pitcher] to the pitch without alteration or interruption" [applicable to both Windup and Set Position]). Rule 8.05(a) declares such a motion violation with failure to deliver the pitch a balk. Prior to coming set, "the pitcher shall have one hand on his side; from this position he shall go to his set position as defined in Rule 8.01(b) without interruption and in one continuous motion." Replays indicate that in both instances, Lopez's actions violated Rule 8.01 and were correctly officiated as balks pursuant to Rule 8.05(a), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 3-3. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is John Hirschbeck (17)'s second ejection of 2013.
This is Jim Reynolds (77)'s third ejection of 2013.
John Hirschbeck now has 7 points in the UEFL (4 Previous + 2 MLB + 1 Correct Call [Crewmate] = 7).
Jim Reynolds now has 9 points in the UEFL (6 Previous + 2 MLB + 1 Correct Call [Crewmate] = 9).
Crew Chief John Hirschbeck now has 5 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (3 Previous + 2 Correct Call = 5).
*A Post-Inning Exemption has been applied.

These are the 77th and 78th ejections of 2013.
This is the 36th player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Lopez's line was 1.0 IP, 1 ER.
This is the Rockies 1st/2nd ejection of 2013, T-4th in the NL West (LAD 8; ARI 7; SF 4; COL, SD 2).
This is Wilton Lopez's first career ejection.
This is Jim Wright's first career ejection.
This is John Hirschbeck's first ejection since May 5 (Bryce Harper; QOC = Y).
This is Jim Reynolds' first ejection since April 25 (Curt Young; QOC = U).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies, 6/13/13
Video: Summary of the two balk calls that led to the ejections and the unsporting behavior following (COL)
Video: Desmond is awarded third base on a balk called by HP Umpire James Hoye (WAS)
Video: Lopez's back-to-back balks results in a tie game, courtesy Balkin' Bob at second base (WAS)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

MLB Ejections 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076: Clint Fagan (3-8)

HP Umpire Clint Fagan ejected Diamondbacks P Ian Kennedy and Manager Kirk Gibson for throwing at Dodgers batter Zack Greinke and Diamondbacks Assistant Hitting Coach Turner Ward, Dodgers Batting Coach Mark McGwire, RF Yasiel Puig and P Ronald Belisario for fighting in the bottom of the 7th inning of the
Fight drifts in front of the 1B dugout, camera well.
Diamondbacks-Dodgers game. With one out and none on, Kennedy hit batter Greinke with a 0-1 fastball thrown up and inside resulting in a bench clearing incident. Prior to the Kennedy-Greinke HBP, Fagan warned both benches after D-Backs catcher Miguel Montero was hit by a 2-1 Greinke fastball in the top of the 7th inning, which followed a Kennedy HBP of Puig on a 1-2 count in the bottom of the 6th inning. Puig, who was hit in the head, was attended to by medical staff and remained in the game. At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 2-2. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

These are Clint Fagan (82)'s third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth ejections of 2013.
Clint Fagan now has 28 points in the UEFL (10 Previous + 6*[3 AAA + 0 Irrecusable] = 28.
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 8 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (2 Previous + 6 Irrecusable Call = 8).

These are the 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th and 76th ejections of 2013.
These are the 33rd, 34th and 35th player ejections of 2013. Prior to ejection, Kennedy's line was 6.1 IP, 2 ER.
Prior to his ejection, Puig was 0-2 in the contest with one HBP and one R.
This is the 34th Manager ejection of 2013.
This is the Diamondbacks' 5-7th ejection of 2013, 2nd in the NL West (LAD 8; ARI 7; SF 4; SD 2; COL 0).
This is the Dodgers' 6-8th ejection of 2013, 1st in the NL West (LAD 8; ARI 7; SF 4; SD 2; COL 0).
This is Ian Kennedy's first career ejection.
This is Kirk Gibson's 2nd ejection of 2013 and first since April 20 (Chad Fairchild; QOC = Y).
This is Turner Ward's 1st ejection of 2013 and first since August 10, 1994 (Ted Barrett; QOC = U).
This is Mark McGwire's 1st ejection of 2013 and first since August 16, 2001 (Tim Timmons; QOC = U).
This is Yasiel Puig's first career ejection.
This is Ronald Belisario's 1st ejection of 2013 and first since August 28, 2010 (Marty Foster; QOC = U).
This is Clint Fagan's first ejection since June 2 (Yadier Molina, Mike Matheny; QOC = Y).
This is Brian Gorman's 2nd bench clearing brawl of 2013 (March 9, Canada-Mexico, World Baseball Classic).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 6/11/13
Video: Kennedy drills Greinke up and in, resulting in a massive and empassioned bench clearing brawl (LAD)
Video: Compilation of the hit-by-pitches that resulted in the melee in front of the Arizona dugout (LAD)
Video: Montero is struck and benches clear, but umpires elect to only issue warnings (LAD)
Video: Puig is injured in the nose by a bean ball to the head in the sixth inning, but stays in the game (LAD)
Video: After the brawl, Greinke slides hard into second base in an attempt to break up a double play (LAD)
Video: Mattingly discusses the fight during his post-game presser / Gibson and Kennedy give their thoughts
Related Video: In the 4th, umpires lose track of the count, giving Kennedy 4 strikes with which to K Puig (ARI)

MLB Ejection 070: Jordan Baker (3; Billy Butler)

HP Umpire Jordan Baker ejected Royals DH Billy Butler for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Tigers-Royals game. With none out and one on, Butler took a 3-2 splitter from Tigers pitcher
Butler, Baker share a disagreement over location.
Jose Valverde for a called third strike. Replays indicate the strike three pitch was located belt high and off the inner edge of home plate (px -.0959), the call was incorrect. The call is now irrecusable (overturned to Unsportsmanlike-NEC by the UEFL Appeals Board 3-1-0). At the time of the ejection, the Tigers were leading, 3-2. The Tigers ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

This is Jordan Baker (71)'s third ejection of 2013.
Jordan Baker now has 9 points in the UEFL (6 Previous + 3 AAA + 0 Irrecusable Call = 9).
Crew Chief Dana DeMuth now has 2 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 2).

This is the 70th ejection of 2013.
This is the 32nd player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Butler was 0-3 in the contest.
This is the Royals' 3rd ejection of 2013, 2nd in the AL Central (CLE 5; KC 3; CWS, DET, MIN 1).
This is Billy Butler's 2nd ejection of 2013 and first since May 26 (Marty Foster; QOC = U).
This is Jordan Baker's first ejection since June 5 (Alan Trammell; QOC = U).

Wrap: Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals, 6/11/13
Video: Butler strikes out to begin the 9th and is ejected for arguing the call all the way to the dugout (KC)

MLB Ejections 068, 069: Wally Bell (1, 2; Bochy, Kontos)

HP Umpire Wally Bell ejected Giants P George Kontos & Manger Bruce Bochy for throwing at Pirates batter Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Giants-Pirates game. With one out and one on, and
Bell shows Kontos the door.
after warnings were previously issued to Starling Marte earlier in the inning, Kontos hit McCutchen with a 2-0 fastball. At the time of the ejection, the Pirates were leading, 8-2. The Pirates ultimately won the contest, 8-2.

These are Wally Bell (35)'s first and second ejections of 2013.
Wally Bell now has 4 points in the UEFL (0 + 2*[2 MLB + 0 U] = 4).
Crew Chief Tim McClelland now has 3 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (1 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Call = 3).

These are the 68th and 69th ejections of 2013.
This is the 31st player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Kontos' line was 1.1 IP, 3 ER, 1 HR.
This is the Giants' 3rd/4th ejection of 2013, T-2nd in the NL West (LAD 5; ARI, SF 4; SD 2; COL 0).
This is George Kontos' first career ejection.
This is Bruce Bochy's 3rd ejection of 2013 and first since May 25 (Alfonso Marquez; QOC = N).
This is Wally Bell's first ejection since August 23, 2012 (Scott Diamond/Ron Gardenhire; QOC = U).

Wrap: San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 6/11/13
Video: Kontos hits McCutchen after a game of the HBP and is tossed along with skipper Bochy (PIT)
Video: Marco Scutaro hit by a Tony Watson fastball on the hands and is forced to leave the game (SF)
Video: Compilation of all hit batsmen and inside heaters that led to Kontos and Bochy's ejections (PIT)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bench Clearing in Tampa Results in Warnings not Ejections

When benches cleared after a Red Sox-Rays HBP, ejections were withheld in favor of warnings.

It all started in the first inning, with a leadoff home run by Rays right fielder Matt Joyce off of Red Sox pitcher John Lackey that, at the time, narrowed the Sox' lead to a 6-1 Rays deficit.

In the bottom of the second, Joyce had the green light on a 3-0 count and turned on the ensuing fastball, sending a foul ball deep into the right field corner bleachers. After a 3-1 groundout to end the frame, Lackey engaged Joyce in confrontation, apparently perturbed at Joyce's disposal of his bat following the foul. Lackey believed Joyce flipped the bat as if to show up the hurler on a home run, while Joyce claimed he dropped the bat in disappointment the ball had hooked foul.
Brawl that wasn't: Benches clear, but no punches.

In the sixth, with two out, none on and a 0-1 count, Lackey hit Joyce with an up-and-in 90-mph fastball, sending Joyce and Lackey into an immediate confrontation while Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped in between the two, putting his hands (and mitt) on Joyce, who shoved back, inciting the benches to clear as Lackey walked into the fray.

After some animated pushing and shoving by both teams, plate umpire Tom Hallion and crewmates Phil Cuzzi, Chris Guccione and Ron Kulpa conversed and elected to issue warnings in lieu of ejecting any personnel from either team. After a Ben Zobrist double, Lackey was lifted from the game amidst a chorus of Tropicana Field boos.

Rule 8.02(d) governs the case of a pitcher intentionally throwing at a batter and obliges the umpire to:
1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or
2. Warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager.
If, in the umpire's judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially "warned" prior to the game or at any time during the game. 
In regards to a fight situation, each umpire has the authority to disqualify team uniformed personnel for "objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language" [OBR Rule 9.01(d)].

Video: A hit-by-pitch, interpreted as intentional by Tampa Bay, results in warnings but no ejections (TB)
Video: MLB Network analyzes Joyce's at-bats against Lackey leading to the bench-clearing incident (MLB)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rumor: AAA Umpire Conroy May be Hired, Replacing Brian Runge

Rumor: A call-up Triple-A umpire will replace Brian Runge on the MLB roster this season, which, if true, would mark the second Triple-A promotion to the full-time staff during the regular season since the NL and AL umpiring staffs merged and created the new era of unified MLB umpiring.* The situation is described as "fluid" yet potentially imminent. This is an unconfirmed rumor from a pro-ball source and is presented as such.

Brian Runge in 2011.
Runge, who has not worked an MLB regular season game dating back to August 30, 2012, worked a rehab assignment Triple-A New Orleans earlier this May; according to an anonymous source, Runge's attempt at the MiLB return was a failed venture, unlike similar assignments undertaken by crew chiefs Joe West and Gary Cederstrom, who both returned to MLB ball. An umpire will often work a minor league rehab assignment after significant injury or similar event that results in an extended absence from the sport.

Brian Gorman, for instance, who missed approximately 50 games to begin the 2013 MLB season, spent Memorial Day week in Triple-A Memphis before returning to the show. Rob Drake worked with Cederstrom in the Pacific Coast League before returning.

After surgery forced him to miss the entire 2006 and most of the 2007 major league seasons, MLB umpire Bill Hohn worked Tucson Sidewinders games for over a week before returning to the big league field. After being placed on umpiring's disabled list for the entire 2011 season, Hohn officially retired from baseball prior to the 2012 season, ending a NL/MLB career dating back to 1987; Todd Tichenor, who served as Hohn's de facto replacement during the 2011 season, was hired in his wake.

This past season, injuries claimed two umpires' professional on-field careers. After taking the brunt of foul balls resulting in concussions and neck injuries for years, crew chief Tim Tschida opted to retire upon hearing from multiple experts who told him "you're one hard foul tip away from quality-of-life issues." Tschida transitioned from professional umpiring to serving as a high school baseball assistant coach.

Meanwhile, Ed Rapuano retired to the position of MLB Umpire Evaluator due to similar injury concerns.

Though a midseason umpiring roster change is an exceptionally rare occurrence, the UEFL Rules Book specifically addresses the case of an umpire hire or release/retirement during the baseball season:
Rule 1-4-d: Umpire classification as AAA or MLB shall be determined during the pre-season draft period, and shall not be altered for scoring purposes during the regular or post-season unless... (2) the umpire is promoted to the MLB staff.
Rule 1-5-a: ...If a significant personnel modification (hiring, firing, release or retirement, except as exempted by Rule 1-4-d) occurs after the pre-season, no UEFL roster may be modified. 
In other words, a Runge retirement or placement on the umpiring Disabled List would not allow for modification to the UEFL roster while a Conroy or other MiLB promotion would cause the retroactive assessment of MLB-level points for all prior ejections.

tmac's pre-season MiLB umpire power rankings placed Conroy in fourth position, behind fellow umpires Mike Estabrook, Lance Barrett and Jordan Baker. Conroy has been a regular big league fixture in 2013 and his 129 games worked in 2012 ranks third amongst call-ups that season (Mike Muchlinski [ranked #8], 132; DJ Reyburn [ranked #7], 130).

*After a blood clot developed as a complication from a knee injury and the ensuing surgery, Terry Craft missed a great part of the late 2001-early 2002 season. He retired in July 2006, prompting MLB to add Lance Barksdale to the Major League staff.

MLB Ejection 067: Gary Darling (2; Jose Bautista)

HP Umpire Gary Darling ejected Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista for arguing a strike  call in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Rangers-Blue Jays game. With one out and two on, Bautista took a 0-0 slider from Rangers
Bautista argues pitch #1, shown as a strike.
pitcher Joe Nathan for a called first strike and was ejected after striking out swinging on a 0-2 breaking ball. Replays indicate the strike one pitch was located knee-high and over the outer half of home plate (pz 1.738; sz_bot 1.500), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Rangers were leading, 6-4. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

This is Gary Darling (37)'s second ejection of 2013.
Gary Darling now has 4 points in the UEFL (0 + 2 MLB + 2 Y = 4).
Crew Chief Gary Darling now has 1 point in the UEFL's Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).

This is the 67th ejection of 2013.
This is the 30th player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Bautista was 3-4 in the contest.
This is the Blue Jays' 6th ejection of 2013, 1st in the AL East (TOR 6; TB 4; BAL, BOS, NYY 1).
This is Jose Bautista's 1st ejection of 2013 and first since August 26, 2011 (Bill Welke; QOC = Y).
This is Gary Darling's first ejection since April 24 (Ron Roenicke; QOC = N).