Saturday, July 6, 2013

MLB Ejection 089: Bill Welke (2; Mike Redmond)

HP Umpire Bill Welke ejected Marlins Manager Mike Redmond for arguing an out call in the top of the 4th inning of the Marlins-Cardinals game. With one out and one on, Marlins batter Nathan Eovaldi hit a 1-0 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly to second baseman Matt Carpenter, who threw home to catcher Tony Cruz in an attempt to retire advancing baserunner R3 Adeiny Hechavarria on the fielder's choice.
Redmond argues with PU for 2nd time in 2 days.
Replays indicate Hechavarria's foot contacted home plate before the tag was applied, the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Marlins were leading, 4-2. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is Bill Welke (52)'s 2nd ejection of 2013.
Bill Welke now has -4 points in the UEFL (-2 + 2 + -4 = -4).
Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth now has 1 point in the UEFL's Crew Division (1 + 0 Incorrect Call = 1).

This is the 89th ejection of 2013.
This is the 41st Manager ejection of 2013.
This is the Marlins' 2nd ejection of 2013, T-3rd in the NL East (ATL, NYM 4; MIA PHI, WAS 2).
This is Mike Redmond's 2nd ejection of 2013 and first since June 22, 2013 (Mark Wegner; QOC = Y).
This is Bill Welke's first ejection since June 2, 2013 (Terry Francona; QOC = N).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7/6/13
Video: Welke rules Cruz blocked home plate, Adeiny out; disputed by the ejected Mgr Redmond (STL)

Rule 7.08(a)(2): Bunt Double Play due to Abandonment

A batter's bunt in Miami sent Manager Mike Redmond out to argue after umpires ruled a double play in a sequence that could be both supported and refuted by the Official Baseball Rules.
Redmond disputes the call with Culbreth.

With none out and two on (R1, R2), Marlins batter Jacob Turner squared to bunt a 1-1 sinker from Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook, dropping the bunt in front of home plate and catcher Yadier Molina who raced to field the fair ball. B1 Turner, however, did not move, producing contact with Molina who eventually picked up the ball and threw to third base in advance of baserunner R2 Adeiny Hechavarria with R1 Jeff Mathis reaching second base.

After HP Umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruled Turner out for (a) interfering with Molina or (b) being tagged by Molina (see below for why the result of this play makes it clear the call was not interference), 3B Umpire Brian O'Nora ruled R2 Hechavarria out at third base on an assumed force play.

The double play call sent Marlins Manager Mike Redmond out to visit crew chief Culbreth, whose call along with O'Nora's may only be supported by one Rule (do you know which one?), regardless of the QOC of the umpires' judgment. One of the following OBR Rules pertains to this play while the others do not. What follows is an explanation of these rules and whether the specified rule was invoked and/or enforced on this play:

Rule 2.00 Interference, which specifies that offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play, the penalty for which is a dead ball, out and the return of all other runners to the last bases occupied at the time of (because we're speaking about a batter-runner) the pitch ("TOP"). If this was runner's interference, the return would be the last legal touch at the time of interference. Was not enforced as such and is accordingly not applicable.

Rule 7.09(g) specifies that in the case of a batter-runner's willful and deliberate interference with a batted ball or fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, both the batter-runner and the baserunner closest to home plate (in this case R2) shall be declared out. However, if this truly was a 7.09(g) invocation, R1 Mathis should have been returned to first base (he was permitted to remain at second base). Was not enforced as such and is accordingly not applicable.

Did R2 rely on O'Nora's call prior to abandonment?
Rule 7.08(e) is the classic force play and puts the runner out if he or the next base is tagged before he touches it after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner. However, if a following runner (or the batter-runner) is first put out, the force is removed and the runner must be tagged to be put out. R2 Hechavarria was never tagged while the force was removed when B1 Turner was ruled out for having been tagged (again, we've excluded interference based on the above explanation). Therefore, Rule 7.08(e) does not account for the out here. This is certainly not applicable.

Rule 7.08(a)(2) puts a runner out if he leaves the base path, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base. PLAY. If a runner believes he is called out on a tag at first or third base and starts for the dugout, progressing a reasonable distance indicating by his actions that he is out, he shall be declared out for abandoning the bases. This rule applies, was enforced as such.

To conclude, B1 was ruled out on F2's tag while R3 was ruled out for abandonment under Rule 7.08(a)(2). The fact that U3 O'Nora employed an improper mechanic (ruled R3 out due to a Rule 7.08(e) force) would appear irrelevant and enter into a "Scott Rule" (Dale Scott's inadvertent foul ball mechanic in 2012 that led to a triple play and Bud Black's ejection arguing the misleading mechanic) type of situation.

In May, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia filed a protest after Culbreth's crew permitted the Astros to substitute a pitcher before that pitcher had fired a single pitch, in violation of Rule 3.05(b). After the Angels subsequently won the ballgame, rendering that protest null and void, MLB suspended Culbreth and sanctioned crewmates O'Nora, Adrian Johnson and Bill Welke for failure to enforce the rule.

Following the current play, Redmond did not elect to protest the game, for under the confines of Rule 7.08(a)(2) and abandonment, the umpires technically made the correct call, even if an erroneous mechanic led to it.

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7/5/13
Video: Jacob Turner out interfering with Cards catcher Molina's attempt to play the ball, resulting in DP (MIA)

Friday, July 5, 2013

MLB Ejections 087, 088: A Hernandez (3, 4; Laird, Gonzalez)

HP Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Braves C Gerald Laird and Manager Fredi Gonzalez for arguing a strike three call in the top of the 3rd inning of the Braves-Phillies game. With none out and none on, Laird took a 0-2
Laird confronts Angel Hernandez following K3.
fastball from Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee for a called third strike. Replays indicate the decisive pitch was located over the inner half of home plate at the midpoint between the top of the uniform pants and the shoulders (sz_top 3.320 pz CI (3.278, [3.361], 3.44) and that the two previous pitches were correctly ruled strikes, the call was correct. At the time of the ejections, the Phillies were leading, 3-0. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

These are Angel Hernandez (55)'s 3rd and 4th ejections of 2013.
Angel Hernandez now has 10 points in the UEFL (2 Previous + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] = 10).
Crew Chief Dana DeMuth now has 4 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (2 Previous + 2 Correct Call = 4).

These are the 87th and 88th ejections of 2013.
This is the 39th player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Laird was 0-1 in the contest.
This is the 40th Manager ejection of 2013.
This is the Braves' 3rd/4th ejection of 2013, T-1st in the NL East (ATL, NYM 4; PHI, WAS 2; MIA 1).
This is Gerald Laird's 1st ejection of 2013 and first since August 5, 2012 (Sam Holbrook; QOC = N).
This is Fredi Gonzalez's 2nd ejection of 2013 and first since June 1, 2013 (Larry Vanover; QOC = Y).
This is Angel Hernandez's first ejection since June 21, 2013 (Buck Showalter; QOC = Y).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

MLB Ejection 086: Mike Everitt (1; John Buck)

1B Umpire Mike Everitt ejected Mets catcher John Buck for arguing a strike (swinging) call in the bottom of the 12th inning of the Diamondbacks-Mets game. With none out and none on, Buck attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 fastball from Diamondbacks pitcher Tony Sipp. Replays indicate Buck attempted to strike the pitch, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the contest was tied, 2-2. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the contest, 3-2, in 15 innings.

This is Mike Everitt (57)'s first ejection of 2013.
Mike Everitt now has 4 points in the UEFL (0 + 2 MLB + 2 Y = 4).
Crew Chief Tim Welke now has 6 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 6).

This is the 86th ejection of 2013.
This is the 38th player ejection of 2013. Prior to his ejection, Buck was 0-1 in the contest.
This is the Mets' 4th ejection of 2013, 1st in the NL East (NYM 4; ATL, PHI, WAS 2; MIA 1).
This is John Buck's 1st ejection of 2013 and first since July 2, 2012 (Derryl Cousins; QOC = N).
This is Mike Everitt's first ejection since August 15, 2012 (Adrian Gonzalez, Bobby Valentine; QOC = U).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets, 7/4/13
Video: Buck argues from the field and dugout immediately following his strikeout, is dismissed (NYM)

Infield Fly Rule Knowledge Costs Giants as Reds Turn Two

Brandon Phillips took advantage of the infield fly rule to turn a double play, thanks in great part to the Giants baserunner's apparent lapse of rules knowledge. With one out and two on (R1, R2), Giants batter Hunter Pence hit a 0-1 fastball from Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani to Phillips at second as 2B Umpire Bill Welke called
Diagramed play: Infield Fly called, mirrored.
"infield fly," judging that infielder Phillips could catch the fair fly ball with ordinary effort. Phillips allowed the ball to drop untouched in front of him, fielded the ball and threw to shortstop Zack Cozart, who tagged Giants baserunner Buster Posey, who had taken off for second base, unaware of the rule's invocation.

Pursuant to Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly), the ball remained alive and baserunners Gregor Blanco (R2) and Buster Posey (R1) were permitted to advance at their own risk. Batter Pence was declared out upon Welke's declaration of "Infield Fly."

Phillips camps, Welke calls, Blanco tags.
Replays indicate Welke's mechanized infield fly signal was immediately mirrored by 1B Umpire Fieldin Culbreth and HP Umpire Brian O'Nora (3B Umpire Adrian Johnson was not visible in replay angles shown on either broadcast) and that Welke's call preceded Posey's attempt at advancement; Posey had retreated to first base and took of for second upon the dropped ball, apparently unaware of the umpire's call.

Though all broadcast crews credited Phillips with a heads up play, San Francisco's Jon Miller had his own take on who dropped the ball (figuratively): "1B Coach Roberto Kelly should be just screaming it out to Buster and I also did not see 3B Coach Tim Flannery [call to Blanco]."

The Cincinnati Reds, leading 1-0 at the time, ultimately won the contest in walk-off fashion in extra innings.

Brandon Phillips has shown his baseball smarts before, as pertains to the infield fly rule. In 2010, he turned the trick, perhaps accidentally, against St. Louis after Cardinals batter Matt Holliday popped up to Phillips in shallow right. 2B Umpire Mike Reilly called for an infield fly as the ball fell untouched, Phillips fielding the ball and throwing to second base where Orlando Cabrera stepped on the bag. Mistakenly thinking he had been forced out, baserunner R1 Albert Pujols left first base and headed for the Cards' dugout as Cabrera tagged him for the final out of the inning. (Video: Phillips engineers double play.)

Video: After infield fly call, Phillips allows ball to drop untouched, doubles up the running Posey (CIN)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No-Hitter Bailey: Homer's is First of 2013 MLB Season

The UEFL on Tuesday watched Homer Bailey throw the first no-hitter of the 2013 MLB season, as called by home plate umpire Adrian Johnson with Brian O'Nora (1B), Fieldin Culbreth (2B) and Bill Welke (3B).

Tuesday marked Johnson's second plate no-hitter (first: June 25, 2010; Edwin Jackson) and the first MLB no-no since Bailey's September 28, 2012 performance (Ed Hickox presiding).

With 52 callable pitches, including 35 balls and 17 called strikes, here is how Johnson called Bailey's no-no:

Balls: 33 called balls outside of strike zone / 2 called balls within strike zone = 33/35 = 94.3% Accuracy.
Strikes: 14 called strikes inside strike zone / 3 called strikes outside strike zone = 14/17 = <90.0% Accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score = 47/52 = 90.4% Accuracy (+1 in favor of CIN/Bailey)
Wrap: San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7/2/13 (Reds defeat Giants, 3-0; Bailey: 9 IP, 0 H, 1 BB)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MLB Ejection 085: Alan Porter (1; John Gibbons)

HP Umpire Alan Porter ejected Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons for arguing a called strike in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Tigers-Blue Jays game. With one out and none on, Blue Jays batter Munenori Kawasaki
Porter entertains Gibbons as Layne walks in.
attempted to bunt a 1-1 changeup from Tigers pitcher Chris Benoit. Replays indicate the low and inside pitch struck Kawasaki's ankle as Kawasaki made an attempt to bunt the ball, the call was correct pursuant to the definition of "strike" as defined by the Official Baseball Rules.* At the time of the ejection, the Tigers were leading, 7-6. The Tigers ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

This is Alan Porter (64)'s first ejection of 2013.
Alan Porter now has 4 points in the UEFL (0 + 2 MLB + 2 Y = 4).
Crew Chief Jerry Layne now has 3 points in the UEFL's Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*OBR Rule 2.00 [Strike]: A strike is a legal pitch, which (e) touches the batter as he strikes at it.

This is the 85th ejection of 2013.
This is the 39th Manager ejection of 2013.
This is the Blue Jays' 7th ejection of 2013, 1st in the AL East (TOR 7; TB 4; BAL 3; BOS 2; NYY 1).
This is John Gibbons' 4th ejection of 2013 and first since May 24, 2013 (Dan Bellino; QOC = Y).
This is Alan Porter's first ejection since June 10, 2012 (Bobby Valentine; QOC = N).

Wrap: Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 7/2/13
Video: Dead ball strike results in ejection, clear example of why Buck Martinez needs a rule book (TOR)

Source: Brian Runge Terminated by MLB for Drug Violation

According to the AP, MLB fired umpire Brian Runge for a drug violation, marking the first known termination of a Major League umpire for violating Major League Baseball's Umpire Drug and Alcohol Testing Program.

Pro-baseball's drug suspensions in MLB/MiLB, 2006-12.
Runge's termination marks the first known firing of an umpire
directly attributed to an abuse of the drug policy.
/ Graph: MLBDD, Sources: USA Today, Baseball America
Pursuant to the Commissioner's Drug Prevention Policy, all Major League Umpires are subject to unannounced testing pursuant to the Umpires Drug Testing and Treatment Program. According to its terms, any umpire who refuses to test, fails to appear for a test or deliberately attempts to evade or alter a test result is subject to discipline. Like the players, umpires may receive a 50-day suspension without pay for the first violation of this policy with greater sanctions for subsequent violations.

According to the anonymous sources, Runge previously failed one drug test and was sanctioned; the source alleges Runge failed to abide by the terms of his post-failure employment agreement and accordingly was released from the Major League umpiring staff. His first MLB game was in 1999.

First reported as a rumor by the UEFL on June 9 and confirmed on June 14, Chris Conroy was promoted to the full-time roster where he replaced Runge after a failed return at Triple-A New Orleans in May.

News: AP Sources: MLB Umpire Let Go After Drug Violation (Associated Press/"The Big Story")

NCAA Suspends Mulkey for Disparagement of Officials

The NCAA suspended Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey for making disparaging comments about the officials following Baylor's regional semifinal loss to Louisville on March 31 that eliminated the Bears from the NCAA Division I women's tournament.

The Women's Basketball Committee described Mulkey's behavior as "unacceptable" and having "no place in the women's basketball championship. Chairperson Carolayne Henry noted the decision was unanimous and based on Mulkey's history.

In 2011, Mulkey received a public reprimand for complaining about a referee.

As such, Mulkey's second violation in three years prompted the Committee to issue a more severe penalty in the postseason suspension, reprimand and withholding of the postseason travel per diem, which carries the effect of a fine.

In 2011, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos soccer player Machael David was suspended three games for verbal abuse of the referee following a 2010 postseason match. Seniors Waid Ibrahim and Tim Pontius were also punished via the per diem sanction while head coach Tim Vom Steeg was issued a public reprimand and fined $600.

Following the 2012 Men's Water Polo Championship, the NCAA suspended UCLA head coach Adam Wright one postseason game for his verbal abuse of officials following elimination from the tournament.

News: Baylor coach Mulkey given one-game postseason suspension, reprimand (NCAA)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Solution for Case Play 2013-05: Murphy Runs Out to Stray

Case Play 2013-05 (Murphy Runs Out to Stray Past Second) is now final. Answer appears below.

To refresh, with two outs and R1, R2, R3, B1 checks his swing on a 3-2 pitch, ruled no swing and ball four. F2 throws down to second base and F6 tags R1 after he overslides second base, resulting in the inning's third out. R3 has not yet touched home plate and only does so after R1 is tagged past second base. The scenario asked, "shall the run score?"

Answer, Case Play 2013-05
In responding to the scenario, the following rule was identified and referenced: OBR Rule 7.04(b) Comment.

7.04(b) CommentA runner forced to advance without liability to be put out may advance past the base to which he is entitled only at his peril. If such a runner, forced to advance, is put out for the third out before a preceding runner, also forced to advance, touches home plate, the run shall score.

The Jaksa/Roder Manual confirms this: Time play criteria do not apply to a consecutive runner at third who is awarded home due to a batter-runner's award to first (BB, HBP, etc.). All that is required in such a case for the run to score is that the batter-runner touch first and the runner from third touch home.

The principle at work is the theory that the run is forced home by the walk and that the run scores because R3 simply needs to touch home plate. The rules state this is specifically an exemption to the time play.

Accordingly, Rule 4.09(a) regarding scoring a run "before three are put out" is not applicable.

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