Friday, February 20, 2015

MLB Releases Pace of Game, Replay Changes for 2015

MLB announced changes to pace of game and instant replay review for 2015 designed to cut down on game times. For the upcoming season, Major League Baseball's Pace of Game and Instant Replay Committees—with the approval of the MLB Players Association and World Umpires Association—announced the following rules and enforcement changes:

Instant Replay Review (Video: MLB Network Hot Stove Introduces New Rules)
> Managers now will challenge plays from the dugout. The invocation of the Manager's Challenge will be signaled verbally or with a hand gesture by the manager from the top step of the dugout. The Manager will still be permitted to hold play while consulting with replay and coaching personnel. In the event of an inning-ending play to be reviewed, the Manager will be required to leave the dugout immediately to challenge the call, as in 2014.

> As a result of the unreviewable play that was overturned in Kansas City, MLB has added properly touching a base on a tag-up play (including whether a runner left early) to the list of reviewable plays.

> A manager will now retain the challenge after every overturned call, instead of losing his challenge after its second use, regardless of whether the second call was reversed or affirmed.

> As a result of the Rule 7.13 loophole, wherein safe/out plays at home plate could be reviewed "for free" (Crew Chief Review) instead of by Manager's Challenge, MLB has now decided that all home-plate collision reviews must be initiated via Manager's Challenge, unless the Manager is out of challenge after the start of the seventh inning, in which case the Crew Chief Review is available as it would be for any other reviewable play. This leaves 2008-era HR/boundary calls as the only play that always is initiated by the umpiring Crew Chief.

> During Jewel Events (postseason, regular season tiebreaker and All-Star games), Managers will now have two challenges per game.

Pace of Game Rules Changes and Initiatives
> Umpires will enforce Rule 6.02(d), the batter's box pace of play rule that previously applied only to National Association, or Minor League games. The rule requires batters to keep one foot in the batter's box throughout the at-bat unless: the batter swings at a pitch, the batter is forced out of the box by a pitch, the umpire grants a request of "Time," a play is made on a runner at any base, the batter feints a bunt, a wild pitch or passed ball occurs, the pitcher leaves the dirt of the mound after receiving the ball or the catcher leaves the catcher's box to give signals. The penalty for violation is the award of an automatic strike.

> Inning breaks and pitching changes will now be timed by an MLB timer and the eight-pitch warm-up will be forgone in favor of the time. For instance, a pitcher will have 2 minutes and 15 seconds in which to throw as many warm-up pitches as he wishes for a nationally televised game (1:55 for locally televised games). If he throws less than eight, he forfeits the opportunity to throw the remainder of the traditional allotment. The penalty for violation is a League-issued warning and fine.

Press Release: MLB, MLBPA announce pace of game initiatives, replay modifications (

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 Major League Spring Training Umpire Roster

MLB released its Spring Training Umpires roster for 2015, which includes all 76 umpires on the freshly expanded Major League staff, plus those minor league umpires invited and assigned to baseball's Spring Training in Arizona's Cactus and Florida's Grapefruit Leagues. For the 2015 season, the Major League staff expanded to 76 (from 74) following MLB's hiring of three umpires and the retirement of one.

The Spring Training roster below also includes sleeve numbers for all applicable umpires, including Minor League call-up umpires authorized to fill in at the Major League level during the regular season. "--" indicates umpire is a Minor League (AAA) official and has not been given a sleeve number for the MLB regular season fill-in list. Newcomers to the MiLB Call-Up list are indicated by bold text.

MLB Spring Training Umpires' Roster - 2015 Pre-Season
MLB StaffMLB StaffMiLB Call-Ups
Baker, Jordan 71
Barksdale, Lance 23
Barrett, Lance 94
Barrett, Ted 65
Barry, Scott 87
Bellino, Dan 2
Blaser, Cory 89
Bucknor, CB 54
Carapazza, Vic 19
Carlson, Mark 6
Cederstrom, Gary 38
Conroy, Chris 98
Cooper, Eric 56
Culbreth, Fieldin 25
Cuzzi, Phil 10
Danley, Kerwin 44
Davidson, Bob 61
Davis, Gerry 12
DeMuth, Dana 32
Diaz, Laz 63
DiMuro, Mike 16
Drake, Rob 30
Dreckman, Bruce 1
Eddings, Doug 88
Emmel, Paul 50
Estabrook, Mike 83
Everitt, Mike 57
Fairchild, Chad 4
Fletcher, Andy 49
Foster, Marty 60
Gibson, Greg 53
Gibson, Hal 'Tripp' 73
Gonzalez, Manny 79
Gorman, Brian 9
Guccione, Chris 68
Hallion, Tom 20
Hernandez, Angel 55
Hickox, Ed 15
Hirschbeck, John 17
Holbrook, Sam 34
Hoye, James 92
Hudson, Marvin 51
Iassogna, Dan 58
Johnson, Adrian 80
Joyce, Jim 66
Kellogg, Jeff 8
Knight, Brian 91
Kulpa, Ron 46
Layne, Jerry 24
Little, Will 93
Marquez, Alfonso 72
Meals, Jerry 41
Miller, Bill 26
Muchlinski, Mike 76
Nauert, Paul 39
Nelson, Jeff 45
O'Nora, Brian 7
Porter, Alan 64
Rackley, David 86
Randazzo, Tony 11
Reyburn, D.J. 70
Reynolds Jim 77
Ripperger, Mark 90
Schrieber, Paul 43
Scott, Dale 5
Tichenor, Todd 13
Timmons, Tim 95
Vanover, Larry 27
Wegner, Mark 14
Welke, Bill 52
Welke, Tim 3
Wendelstedt, Hunter 21
West, Joe 22
Winters, Mike 33
Wolcott, Quinn 81
Wolf, Jim 28

Barber, Sean 29
Basner, Toby 99
Blakney, Ryan --
Buckminster, Seth 67
Byrne, Jon 59
Fagan, Clint 82
Goodman, Ryan --
Gosney, Jeff 40
Hamari, Adam 78
Hoberg, Pat 31
Johnson, Anthony 48
Lentz, Nic --
May, Ben 97
Morales, Gabe 47
Pattillo, Marcus 18
Scheurwater, Stuart 85
Segal, Chris 96
Torres, Carlos --
Tumpane, John 74
Vines, Doug --
Whitson, Chad 62
Woodring, Tom 75

(22 MiLB Umpires)
(76 MLB Umpires)
(98 Total Umpires)

Information obtained by
UEFL on 2/18/2015.
Some observations:
  • MiLB invites dropped by six (from 2014), while full-time MLB umpires increased by two.
  • Bruce Dreckman, John Hirschbeck and Sam Holbrook are returning, Tim McClelland is not.
  • Angel Campos (11 years of Triple-A experience; MLB 2007-2012, 2014) has been released.
  • Umpires who appeared on the 2014 Spring Training MiLB invitee list, but who have been cut for the 2015 preseason are: Allen Bailey, Angel Campos, Shaun Lampe, Jeff Morrow, Brad Myers, Alex Ortiz, and David Soucy.
  • Of these 2014 invitees cut from the 2015 invite list, Shaun Lampe, Jeff Morrow, and Alex Ortiz have been assigned to the 2015 Pacific Coast League. Brad Myers and David Soucy were IL Umpires in 2014. (Baseball switched Campos to the 2014 IL after several years in the PCL.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Retirement of MLB Umpire Tim McClelland

Veteran MLB Umpire Tim McClelland has retired from baseball's full-time umpire roster. McClelland retires after a 33-year career in the American League (1981-99) and in Major League Baseball (2000-2013).*

Retiring MLB Umpire Tim McClelland
The second-tallest umpire at the time of his retirement (tallest: Jordan Baker), McClelland concludes his illustrious MLB career with 77 ejections, spanning from his first career ejection on July 24, 1983, of Royals infielder George Brett for using a doctored bat as part of the infamous "pine tar game." Lost in the tale of the tape was the story of McClelland's other three ejections that day: Kansas City Manager Dick Howser, coach Rocky Colavito, and pitcher Gaylord Perry, for interfering with the umpires' confiscation by stealing Brett's bat.

Over the years, McClelland ejected Hall of Famers and other legendary ballplayers, including Yankees catcher-turned-manager Yogi Berra, Orioles ironman Cal Ripken, future broadcaster Joe Morgan, PED poster children Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, future boss Joe Torre and scores of others in between.

McClelland presided over David Wells' perfect game in 1998 and tied with fellow crew chief Tom Hallion for taking part in (being on the field for) the most no-hitters amongst active umpires—seven. He participated in three All-Star Games (1986, '98, 2003) and 15 postseasons, reaching the Fall Classic in 1993, 2000, 2002 and 2006. He made the playoff roster every year from 2000 through 2009, when multiple missed calls in Anaheim's AL Championship Series hit the front pages of mainstream sports media.

McClelland's final career ejection occurred June 9, 2012, when he ousted Oakland Athletics Manager Bob Melvin for arguing balls and strikes (QOC = Correct).

*McClelland's final game was in September 2013 as he spent the 2014 season as a member of the full-time MLB staff, but on the Disabled List.

As part of McClelland's retirement, 2014 acting crew chiefs Jerry Meals and Larry Vanover have been permanently promoted to the Crew Chief position.