Saturday, March 26, 2016

Introducing the 2016 UEFL Appeals Board

Voting for the 2016 UEFL Appeals Board is now closed and the roster is final. The following is an introduction to the nine-member UEFL Appeals Board for 2016. Throughout the season, the Appeals Board will contribute to challenges, appeals, check swing rulings, and other matters referred to the Board pursuant to procedures specified within the UEFL Rules. Appeals Board decisions and pending cases will be posted throughout the year to the UEFL Portal's 2016 Appeals Board page. The following members were selected to represent the Appeals Board for the 2016 UEFL season:

Friday, March 25, 2016

UEFL University - Video Rulebook - The Field

UEFL's Video Rulebook entry for the baseball field contains a few standard elements: four bases, one of which is an irregular pentagonal plate, which comprise the four points of a square and a pitcher's plate which essentially bisects the line between home plate and second base. There are right and left foul lines running through and between home plate and first and third bases, respectively, batter's and catcher's boxes astride of the home plate area, and a sleek combination of dirt and grass, or astroturf, throughout the playing field.

The art of constructing and maintaining a baseball field for game use is referred to as groundskeeping and a large part of this is conducting measurements in determining that each on-field element is appropriately spaced. The first image to the right, as you can see, only contains infield elements. This is because the outfield has no standard dimensions, other than the minimum requirements, which in the modern era is generally a distance of at least 325 feet from home plate to the outfield wall in fair territory, often increasing to a depth of 400 feet from home plate to the center field fence.

The second image to the right depicts the activity at home plate, the batter's boxes and catcher's box along with dimensions used at the professional level.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

UEFL University - Video Rulebook - Awards and Penalties

The following UEFL video rulebook entry pertains to awards and penalties that result from the ball becoming dead or the defense's illegal action.

Base awards may be granted to the offense or other penalties imposed for the following situations:
When the pitcher commits any of a series of illegal actions known as a balk (click for a comprehensive list), baserunners are awarded one base.
Pitched Out of Play
If the pitcher's pitch to the batter bounces out of play or if a pickoff thrown while the pitcher is in contact with the pitching plate (rubber), baserunners are awarded one base.
Thrown Out of Play
A ball generally batted which lodges in a fielder's jersey is dead and umpires award the baserunners one base. If intentional, the award is at two (thrown) or three (batted) bases.
Out of Play (Lodged in Jersey or Equipment)
A fielder's throw that leaves the playing field (either by bouncing or on the fly) is a dead ball and two base award. The award is given from the time of pitch if the throw is the first action off a fair batted ball, or from the time of the throw if otherwise.
Batted Ball Bounces Out of Play
A fair batted ball that leaves the playing field in flight is a home run. A fair batted ball that leaves the playing field on a bounce or carom is a two-base award unless subject to ground rules particular to the stadium in which the event occurred.
Glove Thrown At Ball
If a fielder throws his glove at or willfully touches a detached part of the uniform/equipment to a live ball, the awards are as follows:
one base, if a pitched ball;
two bases, if a thrown ball;
three bases, if a batted ball.
Catcher's Interference
If during the natural course of a swing, the batter's bat makes contact with the catcher's glove, the catcher is guilty of interference, the ball remains live until play concludes and the offense has the option of awards:
one base for batter & all runners or decline the penalty.
Obstruction Type A
Obstruction Type A (Type 1) occurs when the defense illegally impedes the progress of the batter or runner while a play is being made on him.
Penalty: Ball is immediately dead and the runner is awarded one additional base from his location at the time of the obstruction.
Obstruction Type B
Obstruction Type B (Type 2) occurs when the defense impedes the progress of the batter or runner while no play is being made on that runner.
Penalty: Ball remains alive until the conclusion of play at which time the umpire determines an appropriate award to nullify the act of obstruction.
Catcher Illegally Blocking Home Plate
The catcher may not block the runner's path to home plate without possession of the ball unless he must position himself in front of home plate for the explicit purpose of legitimately fielding a throw on or toward the plate.
Penalty: Unlike Obstruction A, the ball remains alive as the run scores.
Umpire Interference
Umpire interference occurs when:
> A fair batted ball makes contact with the umpire before passing an infielder or touching the pitcher. Award: Dead ball, one base (single).
> The catcher/plate umpire make contact on a throw. Runner sent back to original base (if out, out stands).
Spectator Interference
Spectator interference occurs when a fan reaches out of the stands and over the playing field (or goes onto the field) and touches a live ball or interferes with a fielder attempting to field the ball.
Penalty: Dead ball, umpire determines award to nullify the violative act of fan interference.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

UEFL University - Video Rulebook - Out

The following UEFL Video Rulebook entry pertains to "out" calls. An out is one of three events necessary for the defensive team to retire the offense during an inning.

The defense's objective is to obtain three outs during an offensive team's time at bat (during the half inning in which the defense's opponent is at bat). Outs may be obtained in the following ways; click each image to be taken to a video example illustrating the designated term:
Force Out (Time)
If the defensive player possesses the ball and touches a base to which a runner is forced to advance prior to said runner achieving that base (first base for the batter), the runner is out.
Tagged while off base
A runner tagged by the defense while not touching a base is out. Tag means that the defense possesses the ball and touches the runner with the ball or glove, if the ball is held by the glove.
Air Out (Catch)
A batted ball in the air which is caught by the fielder before touching the ground, wall, an umpire, or offensive player (it may touch another fielder), is a catch and an out.
Running Lane Interference
When the batted ball is hit on the infield and being fielded to (thrown towards) first base, the batter-runner must stay within a three-foot lane which is drawn along the last 45 feet between home and first base. If the batter outside of the running lane interferes with the player at first base taking the throw, the batter is out.
Out of the Base Path
A runner's base path is a straight line drawn from his instantaneous position to the base he is trying for. The line is drawn at the moment the defense attempts to make a play (tag) the runner. If the runner deviates by more than three feet from his base path in an attempt to avoid a tag, the runner is out for leaving his base path.
Fly Ball Interference
A fielder has the 'right of way' to any batted ball while the runner has the 'right of way' after the fielder has attempted (successfully or otherwise) to field the batted ball. When the batter hits a fly ball in the air and illegal contact occurs between runner and the fielder trying to catch the fly, the interfering runner is out (air out).
Batter Interference
Similar to the fielder's right of way on a fly ball, the batter can interfere with the catcher in one of two ways:
1) On a batted ball, he impedes the catcher from playing the ball;
2) On a stolen base attempt or similar event, his actions in leaving the batter's box impede the catcher's ability to make a play on the runner.
Abandonment in theory is similar to the out of the base path call, yet distinct from this call, in that the fielder's actions are irrelevant. If the umpire deems the runner is making no effort to run the bases (advance or retreat), for instance, by running away from the infield, the runner may be called out for abandoning his offensive duties.
Infield Fly Rule
When the infield fly is invoked, the batter is out, runners are not forced to advance, and the ball remains live. The following criteria must be satisfied for a call of 'infield fly':
1) Less than two outs;
2) Would-be force out at 3rd base;
3) Hit is a fair fly ball an infielder can catch with ordinary effort.
Batted Ball Interference
A batter or runner is out for interference with a batted ball when he makes contact with the batted ball in fair territory before an infielder (not including the pitcher) has had a chance to field the ball. If any defensive player touches the ball first, accidental contact is incidental/legal.
The fielder's 'right of way' extends to any type of batted ball. The umpire judges which individual fielder is entitled to field a particular batted ball and this one person is given the 'right of way' to attempt to field the batted ball. Interference also occurs when a coach/player put out assists a runner.
Interference Double Play
When a runner intentionally interferes with a fielder in an attempt to break up a double play, the umpire may rule both that runner and the batter-runner out for the illegal actions of his teammate. As with other interference, the ball is dead at the time of INT.
Appeal Plays
When the defense believes the offense has violated a rule, a live ball appeal is filed by tagging the base where the violation occurred. Appeals include:
> Failure to touch or retouch a base;
> Failure to tag up on an air out;
Additional dead ball appeals (e.g., batting out of order) are filed verbally.
Passing a Runner
A trailing runner is declared out immediately upon passing the runner who precedes him. For passing to occur, the trail runner's entire body must fully pass the entirety of the lead runner's body (or fully past the base still touched by the lead). A runner not yet out who touches or pushes another runner is legal and not alone passing.
Home Plate Collision
A runner attempting to score must make an effort to touch home plate (as opposed to bowl over a catcher). If a runner appropriately slides, he is not in violation of this rule. If the runner goes out of his way to contact the catcher, he is out for the collision.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

MLB in Cuba Roster Features US Umps Diaz, Hernandez

Umpires Laz Diaz and Angel Hernandez represented MLB in Cuba as American baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays journeyed to the island nation for an exhibition game against the Cuban National Team. For the historic event, baseball selected the two Florida-based umpires because of their connection to Cuba. Hernandez is the only umpire to have been born in Cuba (Havana) while the Miami-born Diaz is the son of Cuban immigrants and in 2010 was inducted into the Cuban Hall of Fame.

This was Hernandez's second visit to Cuba in over 50 years; he first returned in December 2015 for missionary work and to participate in a Cuban umpire clinic, going back to his old La Playa Gunabo neighborhood in Old Havana to spread his father's ashes: "I cried like a baby," he said.

Diaz also had been back to Cuba before the MLB in Cuba event, and had family waiting for him: "I didn’t think this trip would have such an impact on me, but the hair on my arm stands just talking about it. It’s very special, because I have eight family members who left at 4 a.m. from La Pachita, in the north-central part of the island, to come see me umpire the game."

MLB previously played in Cuba in 1999 when the Baltimore Orioles faced off against the national team.

Umpiring Assignments, Rays vs Team Cuba, Estadio Latinoamericano, Havana, CUB
HP: Elber Ibarra (Cuba)
1B: Angel Hernandez (MLB)
2B: Juan Jose Cuevas (Cuba)
3B: Laz Diaz (MLB)
LF: Jorge Luis Perez (Cuba)
RF: Luis Felipe Casana (Cuba)

UEFL University - Video Rulebook - Safe

The following UEFL Video rulebook entry pertains to "safe" calls.

A runner's objective is to advance through all bases and to home plate. In order to do so, the runner must avoid being put out; the following videos illustrate how a runner successfully avoids being put out or, alternately, how a runner is safe; click any image to view the corresponding visual example:
Touching a Base
A runner is ordinarily safe when tagged while touching a base.
Exceptions (R is out when):
- Forced to vacate by virtue of following batter becoming a runner;
- Struck by a batted ball in fair territory while touching a base;
- Preceding runner returns to simultaneously touch a base where there is no force out situation.
Beats Throw to Base
A batter-runner advancing to first base or a runner advancing to any base which he is forced to try for is safe when his arrival to that base precedes the defense's attempt at retiring him. Generally speaking, a runner who beats a throw to a base for which he is forced to try is safe. See this page for an explanation of misnomer, "Tie Goes to the Runner." The runner may 'run through' first and home bases.
Bobbled Ball
A batter-runner advancing to first base or a runner advancing to any base which he is forced to try for is safe if the defense's attempted tag of the base is unsuccessful. If the defense attempts to tag a base or runner but fails to secure and maintain adequate control of the baseball in the glove or hand (bobble) prior to the runner's arrival, the tag attempt is unsuccessful and the runner, generally, is safe.
Evading a Tag (1)
A runner is permitted to avoid being tagged while trying for a base by sliding, jumping, or engaging in a similar action which will enable him to avoid the glove or hand of the defensive player trying to put him out. If he overruns the base to which he is trying for, he may timely return to touch his base. The runner need not maintain contact with home plate nor first base.
Evading a Tag (2)
A runner may attempt to advance or retreat toward his next or previous base along his base path, which is a straight line between the runner's current position at the time of the tag attempt and the base which he is trying to achieve. If he runs more than three feet away from this base path in an effort to avoid being tagged, he may be ruled out for running outside of his base path.
The act of Obstruction occurs when a defensive player not in possession of the ball nor in the act of fielding the ball impedes the progress of a runner. Only one fielder shall be ruled to be "in the act of fielding" at a time. When obstruction is called, the obstructed runner is either immediately awarded a base (Type A) or protected to a base (Type B). Click here for a look at Obstruction A vs B.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

2016 UEFL Appeals Board Election, Candidate Statements

The 2016 UEFL Appeals Board election is underway. Pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-4-a, the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League has established an Appeals Board that shall routinely rule on issues of Quality of Correctness. Comprised of a roster of nine voting members, including both Commissioners and seven at-large volunteers, a pre-season nomination and election process has been established to complete this year's Board.

Listed in order of submission, the following four UEFL'ers have been nominated for and are seeking election to the 2016 UEFL Appeals Board (there are two vacancies). They are:

"I am a huge baseball fan. I have experience umpiring baseball for multiple years, and my goal when I get old enough is to become a Major League Baseball Umpire. I think I would make a good member of the appeals board so thank you for your consideration for the appeals board."

Mark (M.D.M.)
"I have officiated in multiple sports, including baseball, at the intramural, Little League, and high school levels. I also have acted as a mediator through my employer, and have a reputation for being rule-oriented, objective, and thorough in my research and decision-making process. Though I have never participated in the UEFL as a drafting member, I am a regular follower of the site (checking in multiple times per day during the MLB season), and have also participated in discussions on select videos. "

Mark (MarkCanada)
"Longtime fan of the UEFL, during the season I check in virtually every day, so this self-nomination is my attempt to give back to the league. I have over 20 years of baseball umpiring experience in Canada including 4 provincial championships, participation in 2 international tournaments, the last as Crew Chief, and an invitation to umpire a game abroad while I was traveling. You may have gotten to know me over the last few years through my comments. I call 'em as I see 'em, with no ulterior motive. I have never been a player in the UEFL, and won't be this year either. I bring a level of unbiased objectivity where the only goal is to get the call right. I listen to well-reasoned arguments and consider them. That's what I do best, and that's what I will do if elected. Thanks for considering me."

Dennis (BetterRuleBook)
"In writing my rule book primer RuleGraphics: Professional Baseball, I had to do extensive research into the rules of baseball. I consumed all available literature on the rules and their interpretation. It is said, that if you cannot explain something to a 4 year old, then you don’t understand it yourself. This was the driving mission of the book. I had to learn the rules in order to condense them into bite size nuggets. In addition to the book, I have over 10 years of umpiring experience. I have worked state tournaments at the Little League, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken and high school levels. I have also served as rules consultant and trainer for the local recreation league. In this capacity I have consulted on protests in their league. I feel my extensive base rule knowledge along with the ability to quickly research questions makes me an ideal candidate for the Appeals Board."

Voting will remain open through March 25, 2016 (Friday).

UEFL University - Video Rulebook - Batted Ball

The following entry in the UEFL Video Rulebook pertains to a batted ball.

During a batter's time at bat, his objective is to reach base or advance a runner while the defense's objective is to retire the offense. Either objective is achieved by causing the batter's time at bat to end: While the at bat may end via the strikeout (see STRIKE) or walk (see BALL), this section concerns the case of the bat making contact with the baseball: A fair ball, for instance, terminates the batter's time at bat. This is called a batted ball, all of which resolve in one of two probable classifications, foul or fair; click each image to view a video example of the corresponding item:
Fair (Comes to Rest on Infield)
A batted ball not touched by a person which comes to rest within (between) or on the foul lines in front of first or third base is a fair ball.
Fair (Falls Beyond Base)
A batted ball which first touches the ground, wall, or a person between or on the foul lines and beyond first and third base is a fair ball.
Fair (Bounds Past Base)
A batted ball which first touches the ground prior to first or third base, and subsequently bounds over the base or within the foul lines, is a fair ball.
Fair (Leaves Playing Field In Air [Home Run])
A batted ball which leaves the playing field in flight is fair if the ball is over fair territory at the moment it left the field. The foul poles themselves are within fair territory. (Home run.)
Fair (First Touch of Person)
A batted ball whose first touch of a person is within (between) foul lines and in front of first and third base is a fair ball. It does not matter if the ball previously touched the ground.
Foul (First Touch of Person)
A batted ball in flight which first touches a person outside of the foul lines is a foul ball. The 'in flight' requirement is suspended if the ball hasn't yet passed first or third base.
Foul (Lands Past Base)
A batted ball in flight which first touches the ground outside of the foul lines beyond first or third base is a foul ball. A batted ball untouched by a person that has not passed first or third base, and that comes to rest in foul territory, is a foul ball.
Foul (Bounds Past)
A batted ball which first touches the ground prior to first or third base, and subsequently bounds past that base outside of the base/foul line, is a foul ball. For Foul (Bounds Past), the ball must not be touched by a player prior to bounding past first or third base.
Foul (Hits Batter in Box)
A batted ball, whether in flight or bouncing off the ground, which first touches the batter before any other player, and touches the batter while he is within a legal position within the batter's box, and the batter does not intend to interfere, is a foul ball.