Saturday, April 11, 2015

Anatomy of a Rule 7.13 HP Collision Review, SEA-OAK

HP Collision Rule 7.13 visited Oakland during Saturday's game against the Mariners when A's baserunner Josh Phegley attempted to score on a Tyler Ladendorf squeeze bunt to Mariners pitcher Danny Farquhar, who threw to catcher Jesus Sucre as Phegley slid towards home plate. Initially ruled an out on the tag by plate umpire Mark Carlson, the call was upheld following a replay review requested by A's Manager Bob Melvin.

At issue on this play are two separate elements: First, did catcher Sucre legally tag Phegley prior to Phegley touching home plate (The Safe/Out issue), and, second, did Sucre violate Rule 7.13 by illegally blocking access to home plate while not in possession of the baseball? Note that, while a manager may challenge the element of Rule 7.13 on a play at the plate, replay officials are enjoined to consider all relevant aspects of the play in question. Thus, we shall do the same.

Rule 7.13 Issue: A fraction of home plate is exposed to R1.
As such, this is a legal play as R1 has a path to score.
The Safe/Out Issue
One reason Saturday's Mariners-A's play at the plate is a good representation of the replay-at-home issue is that both elements of the collision and safe/out come into play. In regards to the safe/out issue, replays are inconclusive as to whether Sucre tagged Phegley prior to Phegley's foot touching the third-base corner of home plate. The high home camera angle that may have helped determine whether the runner attempting to score was obstructed at the critical point of contact. To this end, HP Umpire Mark Carlson's call of "out" must stand.

The Rule 7.13 (Home Plate Collision Rule) Issue
Rule 7.13 (specifically Rule 7.13[2]), introduced in 2014, states:
Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable
The rule obliges us to consider F2's position prior to gaining possession of the ball: if, during this time, F2 blocks the pathway of the runner (interpreted as affording the runner an opportunity to score via a lane/access to home plate), he may well have violated Rule 7.13, unless the throw took him into the course of the runner's path. Replays indicate that the quality of F1's throw did not require F2 to encroach upon R1's path in order to receive it. Replays also indicate that prior to fielding F1's throw, F2 did not appear to entirely block access to home plate; in other words, F2 was given a lane to home plate, albeit a narrow window that included the front point of the plate closest to third base (the right base of the parallel pentagon) and the corresponding left-side foul-territory facing portion of the plate, as demonstrated by the accompanying screenshot, captured at the time Sucre received the ball. Replays indicate that, after receiving the throw, Sucre shifted the position of his left foot, such that its attitude perpendicular to the third base line effectively blocked R3 Phegley's access to home plate. Because he only shifted his position after gaining possession of the ball, his shifted foot blocking access to home plate is not subject to the restrictions imposed by Rule 7.13. Thus, this is a legal play and a violation of Rule 7.13 did not occur (as such, the no-call of this element of the play may be confirmed as correct).

As such, the call stands due to inconclusive evidence as to whether the runner was tagged prior to his touch of home plate.

Video: Chopped bunt back to the pitcher turns into out on replayed-and-affirmed play at home plate (OAK)

This play was reviewed as part of the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's Ask the UEFL series, in which any UEFL member or guest may request review of a close or controversial play in baseball. Requests may be made via Twitter (@UmpireEjections or @CloseCallSports), Facebook (/UmpireEjections), e-mail or via reply to any post on the CCS/UEFL website.

Friday, April 10, 2015

MLB Ejection 003: Mike Estabrook (1; Scooter Gennett)

HP Umpire Mike Estabrook ejected Brewers 2B Scooter Gennett for arguing a strike three call in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Pirates-Brewers game. With two out and two on, Gennett took a 1-2 fastball from Pirates pitcher Arquimedes Caminero for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and knee high (px -.362, pz 1.557 [sz_bot 1.41]), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Pirates were leading, 6-2. The Pirates ultimately won the contest, 6-2.

This is Mike Estabrook (83)'s first ejection of 2015.
Mike Estabrook now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call =5).
Crew Chief Dana DeMuth now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).

This is the 3rd ejection of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 2nd player ejection of 2015. Prior to ejection, Gennett was 0-1 in the contest.
This is the Brewers' 1st ejection of 2015, 1st in the NL Central (MIL 1; CHC, CIN, PIT, STL 0).
This is Scooter Gennett's first career MLB ejection.
This is Mike Estabrook's first ejection since September 13, 2012 (Billy Butler; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Milwakee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 4/10/15
Video: Gennett protests Estabrook's strike three call too vehemently, drawing an early shower (MIL)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

MLB Ejections 001-002: Tripp Gibson (1, 2; Venable, Black)

HP Umpire Tripp Gibson ejected Padres PH Will Venable and Manager Bud Black for arguing a check swing (strike three) call in the bottom of the 12th inning of the Giants-Padres game. With one out and none on, Venable attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 knuckle curve from Giants pitcher Santiago Casilla for a swinging third strike. Replays indicate Venable attempted to strike the pitch, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Giants were leading, 1-0. The Giants ultimately won the contest, 1-0, in 12 innings.

These are Tripp Gibson (73)'s first and second ejections of 2015.
Tripp Gibson now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct] = 8).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 Y = 2).
*This call was referred to the UEFL Appeals Board.

These are the 1st and 2nd ejections of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 1st player ejection of 2015. Prior to ejection, Venable was 0-1 in the contest.
This is the 1st Manager ejection of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
These are the Padres' 1st/2nd ejections of 2015, 1st in the NL West (SD 2; ARI, COL, LAD, SF 0).
This is Will Venable's first career MLB ejection.
This is Bud Black's first ejection since August 30, 2014 (Clint Fagan; QOC = N [Check Swing]).
This is Tripp Gibson's first ejection since June 14, 2014 (Josh Donaldson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres, 4/9/15
Video: After Gibson rules Venable failed to hold up, a pair of Padres are sent packing one out prematurely (SD)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Joe West Becomes Longest-Tenured MLB Umpire

Joe West is now MLB's longest-tenured umpire with 38 years of service in which West worked at least one Major League game. With his first game of 2015 in Detroit, Cowboy Joe surpassed the mark of 37 years held by umpires Bruce Froemming and Hall of Famer Bill Klem, who remain the only two people to have officiated over 5,000 games at the big-league level (Klem called 5,372 games, Froemming 5,163; As of Opening Day 2015, West umpired 4,684 MLB games). West has worked under six of the 10 Commissioners in MLB history and has umpired on the field alongside 51 Hall of Famers, including umpires Nestor Chylak and "God" Doug Harvey.

Joe flexes after being hit by a foul ball
West also has officiated the second-most Postseason games in MLB history (114), second to fellow veteran Gerry Davis (128 games). Froemming made 11 postseason appearances while Klem visited October 103 times (all World Series games), including every year from 1911 through 1915, an MLB record. He is the most popular draft choice in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's Crew Chief Division.

Klem retains the ejection crown with 277 career ejections, compared to West's mark of 158 (Country Joe's Spring Training ejection of AJ Pierzynski doesn't count...his 2014 Ejection of the Year of Jonathan Papelbon does), while West's patented West Vest chest protector and related Wilson products are used by more than 95% of the Major League staff. West is president of the World Umpires Association, which in December (and ratified in January), reached agreement on a five-year collective bargaining agreement with MLB, said to be the largest sports officiating CBA in history.

West's crew for 2015 includes Kerwin Danley, Rob Drake, and DJ Reyburn.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Opening Night Finishes with no Replays, Prop Bets

UEFL Prop Bets are now available for the 2015 season. Earn extra points for correctly forecasting events that may occur during the upcoming year. Click here to access the 2015 Prop Board and submit your wagers. You are free to wait before submitting, but be advised that if a particular bet is fulfilled before, and up to an hour after, you submit your form (e.g., MLB experiences its first bench-clearing brawl ejection before you have submitted your form or a bench clearer ejection occurs up to an hour after you have submitted your form), you will be ineligible to participate and receive points for that particular prop bet. The hour-after period is to account for developments occurring within ballgames that might influence prop betting. Certain other bets have specific due dates (e.g., Ejections in April and Reason for Final Ejection of April both must be submitted by April 15). Good luck!

Replay Review reporting for 2015 has changed formats. In lieu of daily posts, Replay Reviews will now be reported on a weekly basis following the conclusion of the final Sunday game (an MLB week runs from Monday through Sunday). For instance, Week #1 begins Monday, April 6 and runs through Sunday, April 12. Opening Night, played on a Sunday, is classified as having occurred during the season's Week #0 and is reported below.

Games played the week of March 30-April 5 featured the following MLB Replay Review decisions:


MLB Instant Replay Review Videos (MLB Advanced Media):
Video 0: No Replays During Week 0 (Spring Training & Regular Season Games ending April 5)

MLB Assigns Call-Ups Blakney, Torres Sleeve Numbers

MLB added umpires Ryan Blakney and Carlos Torres to the 2015 Minor League Call-Up roster and assigned the pair uniform sleeve numbers to make it official. The numbers—36 and 37—were most recently used by veteran crew chiefs Tim McClelland and Gary Darling, respectively, who retired in 2014. Inclusion on the 19-umpire MiLB Call-Up roster allows Blakney and Torres to be used as fill-in umpires during the 2015 MLB regular season.

Ryan Blakney - No. 36: Born in May 1985, Blakney has been a Minor League umpire since 2006 and has officiated the Arizona, Northwest, Florida, Midwest, Carolina, Texas, Venezuela Summer, Arizona Fall, International and Pacific Coast Leagues. He resides in Arizona.

Carlos Torres - No. 37: Born in September 1978, Torres has been a Minor League umpire since 2009 and has officiated the Gulf Coast, New-York Penn, South Atlantic, Carolina, Southern, Arizona Fall and International Leagues. He resides in Venezuela.