Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bill Miller Struck on Knee, Receives Tape Outline Treatment

HP Umpire Bill Miller took a fastball directly off his left kneecap Friday night, causing a tumble and brief delay to the evening's Angels-Giants game. With one out and one on in the bottom of the 9th inning of Friday's Angels-Giants game, Miller took a 3-2 fastball from Angels pitcher Joe Smith head-on on the left knee. After a brief injury delay joined by umpires Doug Eddings, Adam Hamari, Adrian Johnson and the Giants training staff, Miller regained his footing and finished out the game behind the plate.

According to CSN Bay Area, Miller's knee experienced some swelling following the game, but Miller worked Saturday's day game as scheduled. As if to confirm his health, Eddings, Hamari and Johnson built a tape outline in the umpire's dressing room, marking the injury with a red-centered 'X.'

Video: Miller takes a full count fastball to the knee, resulting in a walk, wild pitch, and delay (SF)
Video: Giants broadcast updates Miller's knee status, reports a 9.5/10 score for his fall (SF)

Reviewing the Unreviewable, the 2015 Hrbek/Gant Play

A runner pushed off of a base by a fielder's glove is not reviewable as umpire Andy Fletcher and crew chief Jerry Meals found out Friday night in Texas. With two out and one on in the 8th inning, A's baserunner R1 Mark Canha attempted to steal second base, resulting in a close play with Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. Replays indicate Canha slid to the outer edge of second base and that contact with the base broke upon Andrus' hard tag. Did Andrus commit an illegal act?

Fletcher and Meals consulted with New York's Replay Operations Center, but quickly returned after being told the play of a runner being pushed off a base is not reviewable. The A's ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

Officially deemed a "rules check," this is the first unreviewable play discussed with MLBAM HQ since September 20, 2014's untimely tag-up at third base play in Kansas City, in which umpires ultimately elected to reverse the original (and incorrect) on-field ruling after conference. At the time, some speculated that KC showing the play on the Stadium's videoboard contributed to the decision.

Video: Bob Melvin argues runner improperly pulled off base, no review, out call sticks (OAK)

OBR Rule 7.08(c) [circa 2014] states that a runner is out when "he is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base," as would occur as the result of an overslide, as in Rule 2.00 [OVERSLIDING]: "the act of an offensive player when his slide to a base, other than when advancing from home to first base, is with such momentum that he loses contact with the base."

History (Video Link): In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek tagged out Braves batter-runner Ron Gant, returning to first base, after 1B Umpire Drew Coble ruled Gant overslid the base on his return. Gant had argued that Hrbek forcibly pushed his foot off the base.

Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 UMPS CARE Charities Auction Runs Through May 11

The 2015 UMPS CARE Charities Auction presented by MLB Umpires is now live and runs through Monday, May 11 (10pm Eastern Time).

A Vin Scully-autographed baseball
is one item included in the auction.
The 7th charity's annual online auction offers over 300 items up for bids ranging from game related memorabilia and novelties, such as signed cleats, bats, baseballs and jerseys (including some jerseys from other sports, such as the NFL and NHL), and experiences such as lunch with an umpire events. The auction also includes several umpiring-oriented items, including two traditional-style masks.

Umpires Adrian Johnson, Tim Timmons, Tripp Gibson, Ted Barrett, and Lance Barrett have also contributed individualized gift boxes. Retired MLB Umpire Gary Darling is President of UMPS CARE Charities. Other MLB umpires who serve on the Board of Directors include Marvin Hudson (Vice President), Jim Reynolds (Secretary), Scott Barry, Chris Guccione, Adrian Johnson, Tim Timmons, Jim Wolf and MLB supervisor Larry Young.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Case Play 2015-02, Will the Real F3 Please Stand Up? [Solved]

When an outfielder stands at first base in a five-man infield, what is his position called? Jim Joyce's crew had an eventful weekend (relevant: Ejections 013-017: Greg Gibson & Jim Joyce [KC]), and the rules kept on coming their way in Denver Wednesday evening. With the score tied in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Padres-Rockies game, Colorado loaded the bases with none out. To try and prevent a Coors Field walk-off (the attempt was unsuccessful...walk-off single), Padres Manager Bud Black elected to overload the right side of his infield by bringing in regular center fielder Wil Myers (F8) alongside first baseman Yonder Alonso (F3) and second baseman Yangervis Solarte (F4), creating a five-man infield while leaving left fielder Justin Upton and right fielder Matt Kemp as a two-man outfield. For his first batter, Black instructed Myers to stand next to first base and Alonso to play between Myers and Solarte, such that Myers would likely take any throw at first base.

Official Baseball Rule 1.13 allows the first baseman to wear a leather glove or mitt that is distinctly different in build than gloves allotted to any other fielder, as in Rules 1.12 (the catcher) and 1.14 (all other fielders). For simplicity's sake and the purposes of illustration in this case play, we shall refer to the first baseman's Rule 1.13 hand covering as a "mitt" and all other fielder (except catcher)'s Rule 1.14 device as a "glove."

Case Play Question 2015-02: Is "regular" F3 Alonso permitted to keep his first baseman's mitt while "regular" F8 Myers is occupying the dirt mound closest to first base, or must he trade his mitt in for a glove? Conversely, is Myers permitted to pick up a first baseman's mitt for this play?
Participation in this discussion is worth two points for UEFL owners.

Case Play Answer 2015-02: In short, yes, F3 Alonso is permitted to keep his first baseman's mitt (if certain conditions are met). Rules 1.12-14, regarding gloves and mitts, clearly indicate that only one catcher and first baseman may be in the field at any given time. In other words, regular F8 and regular F3 cannot both be considered first basemen: the positions are mutually exclusive in this regard.

Rule 2.00 defines the battery [catcher/pitcher] & infielders/outfielders, but not specifically "first baseman."

Rule 4.03(c) states that any fielder, other than pitcher and catcher, "may station himself anywhere in fair territory." This means, for instance, that a first baseman could station himself closer to second base, or anywhere else in fair territory.

Rule 10.03(a) Comment instructs scorekeepers how to handle a defensive shift: "When a player does not exchange positions with another fielder but is merely placed in a different spot for a particular batter (for example, if a second baseman goes to the outfield to form a four-man outfield, or if a third baseman moves to a position between the shortstop and second baseman), the official scorer should not list this as a new position." As such, they key phrase is "exchange [of] positions." Just as substitutions may occur "at any time the ball is dead," as in Rule 3.03, so may exchanges (known as a "change" in Rule 3.03 Comment).

In the above play F3 Alonso exchanged his mitt for a glove while Myers exchanged his glove for a mitt—in other words, they exchanged positions. How do we determine who is F3? Jeremy407 summed it up thusly, "As long as F3 has the mitt, he is officially F3." So to answer the Case Play question, F3 may keep his mitt as long as he is officially declared to be F3. If, as was the case in the accompanying video, F3 and F8 exchange mitts/gloves, then the old F8 is officially F3 for the purposes of the new play (since old F8 is now wearing the first baseman's mitt). The mitt tells us who the real F3 is; we're legal as long as only one fielder is wearing the F3 mitt at a time.

Thanks to all participants, each of whom shall receive two points for discussion of this play.

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies, 4/22/15
Video: Daniel Descalso hits a pinch-hit game-ender with the Friars' five-man infield drawn in (COL)
Video: Black motions for Myers, getting LHP Rearick instead as gloves are exchanged (SD)

Monday, April 27, 2015

MLB Ejections 033-034: Hirschbeck, B Welke (1, 1; ATL)

3B Umpire John Hirschbeck ejected Braves 1B Freddie Freeman for arguing a check swing call in the bottom of the 5th and HP Umpire Bill Welke ejected Braves bench player Jonny Gomes for Unsportsmanlike-NEC in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Nationals-Braves game. In the 5th, with two out and one on, Freeman attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 curveball from Nationals pitcher Doug Fister. Play was reviewed and affirmed, the call was correct. In the 7th, with none out and none on, Braves batter Andrelton Simmons took a 0-0 fastball from Nationals pitcher Rafael Martin for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located inside, resulting in warnings issued by PU Welke, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the the Freeman ejection, the Braves were leading, 2-1. At the time of the Gomes ejection, the Braves were leading, 5-2. The Braves ultimately won the contest, 8-4.

This is John Hirschbeck (17)'s first ejection of 2015.
This is Bill Welke (52)'s first ejection of 2015.
John Hirschbeck now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5)
Bill Welke now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (-1 Previous + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable = 1).
Crew Chief John Hirschbeck now has 9 points in Crew Division (7 Prev + 1 Y + 1 U = 9).

These are the 33rd and 34th ejections of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
These are the 16th and 17th player ejections of 2015. Prior to ejection, Freeman was 2-3 in the contest.
This is the Braves' 1/2nd ejection of 2015, T-1st in the NL East (ATL, NYM 2; MIA, PHI, WAS 0).
This is Freddie Freeman's first ejection since Sept 15, 2014 (Tim Timmons; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jonny Gomes' first ejection since May 25, 2014 (Larry Vanover; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is John Hirschbeck's first ejection since June 13, 2013 (Wilton Lopez; QOC = Y-C [Balk]).
This is Bill Welke's first ejection since August 30, 2014 (Mickey Callaway; QOC = N [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves, 4/26/15
Video: Hirschbeck rules Freeman out on strikes, says "watch your mouth," and throws him out (ATL)
Video: Gomes takes great offense to HBP to lead off the 7th, prompting an early exit for Jonny (ATL)

MLB Replay Reviews, Week 3 (April 20-26, 2015)

MLB umpires experienced 51 instant replay reviews during the week of April 20 - April 26 (+5 over prior week). Games played during this period featured the following MLB Replay Review decisions:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

MLB Ejection 032: Manny Gonzalez (1; Jeff Banister)

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Rangers Manager Jeff Banister for arguing a Replay Review decision that overturned 1B Umpire Jim Reynolds' foul ball (no fan interference) call in the top of the 8th inning of the Rangers-Angels game. With none out and none on, Rangers batter Elvis Andrus hit a 2-2 fastball from Angels pitcher Mike Morin on a fly ball down the right field line and near the seating area, where the baseball ended up in the stands after Angels RF Kole Calhoun unsuccessfully attempted to make a catch. Upon Replay Review as the result of a challenge by Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, U1 Reynolds' ruling was overturned and Andrus was declared out on fan interference, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 2-2. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 5-4, in 11 innings.

This is Manny Gonzalez (79)'s first ejection of 2015.
Manny Gonzalez now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable = 2).
Crew Chief Jim Reynolds now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 1).

This is the 32nd ejection of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 14th Manager ejection of 2015. Prior to ejection, Kemp was 2-4 in the contest.
This is the Rangers' 1st ejection of 2015, T-1st in the AL West (HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA , TEX 1).
This is Jeff Banister's first career MLB ejection.
This is Manny Gonzalez's first ejection since May 30, 2013 (Jhonny Peralta; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 4/26/15
Video: On looping pop fly to right field wall, Scioscia's successful challenge prods a reversal (LAA)
Video: Andrus is called out on a reversed replay review, resulting in Banister's early departure (TEX)

MLB Ejection 031: Sean Barber (1; Lloyd McClendon)

HP Umpire Sean Barber ejected Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon for Unsportsmanlike-NEC in the top of the 4th inning of the Twins-Mariners game. With none out and one on, Twins batter Chris Herrmann took a 1-1 curveball from Mariners pitcher Roenis Elias for a called second strike. Replays indicate all pitches during the inning were correctly officiated and the call immediately preceding ejection benefitted McClendon's team; thus, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Twins were leading, 2-0. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 4-2, in 11 innings.

This is Sean Barber (29)'s first ejection of 2015.
Sean Barber now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 3 AAA + 0 Irrecusable Call = 3).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Irrecusable = 2).

This is the 31st ejection of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 13th Manager ejection of 2015.
This is the Mariners' 1st ejection of 2015, T-1st in the AL West (HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA 1; TEX 0).
This is Lloyd McClendon's first ejection since March 31, 2015 (Alan Porter; QOC = U [Warnings]).
This is Sean Barber's first ejection since May 16, 2014 (Mike Matheny; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners, 4/26/15
Video: After a mid-AB jaunt to the pitcher's mound, Lloyd is given the boot enroute to the bench (SEA)

MLB Ejection 030: Quinn Wolcott (1; Bob Melvin)

HP Umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected Oakland Athletics Manager Bob Melvin for arguing a ball three call in the top of the 4th inning of the Astros-Athletics game. With none out and none on, Astros batter Jason Castro took a 2-2 fastball from A's pitcher Drew Pomeranz for a called third ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and waist high (px -1.069, pz 1.997), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 3-2. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

This is Quinn Wolcott (81)'s first ejection of 2015.
Quinn Wolcott now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom now has 0 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 Correct = 0).

This is the 30th ejection of the 2015 MLB Regular Season.
This is the 12th Manager ejection of 2015.
This is the Athletics' 1st ejection of 2015, T-1st in the AL West (HOU, LAA, OAK 1; SEA, TEX 0).
This is Quinn Wolcott's first ejection since August 4, 2014 (Joe Maddon; QOC = N [Check Swing]).
This is Bob Melvin's first ejection since August 31, 2014 (Gerry Davis; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, 4/26/15
Video: After a balled 2-2 pitch, Melvin gets kicked out for chirping too loudly from dugout (OAK)