Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 League Championship Series Umpires

MLB's 2016 AL and NL League Championship Series umpires are now available and posted here by umpire crew assignment. Where applicable, postseason umpires are listed by position as appearing in Game 1 of the series to which they are assigned. Umpire crew rotation for the best-of-seven League Championship Series is clockwise in the infield and counterclockwise in the outfield. The Replay Official joins the on-field crew for Game 3 and remains with the on-field crew for the remainder of the series. Game 1's home plate umpire becomes the Replay Official for Games 3, and beyond.

ALCS Crew (American LCS / Toronto Blue Jays @ Cleveland Indians)
HP: Laz Diaz (Replay Official for Games 3+)
1B: Jim Wolf
2B: Brian Gorman* -cc
3B: Jim Reynolds
LF: Mike Everitt
RF: Jeff Nelson*
ALCS Replay Official: Mark Wegner (Games 1-2)

NLCS (National LCS / Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs)
HP: Paul Nauert^ (Replay Official for Games 3+)
1B: Eric Cooper
2B: Gary Cederstrom* -cc
3B: Angel Hernandez
LF: Alfonso Marquez
RF: Ted Barrett*
NLCS Replay Official: Bill Welke (Games 1-2)

American & National League Championship Series Replay Assistant (MLBAM): Tripp Gibson^

-cc denotes Game/Series Crew Chief, * denotes regular season Crew Chief, BOLD TEXT denotes first postseason assignment, ^ denotes first assignment for that specific round of the playoffs. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the Wild Card games shall receive one bonus point for this appearance. Umpires assigned to the Division Series shall receive two bonus points for this appearance. Umpires assigned to the League Championship Series receive three bonus points for this appearance and umpires assigned to the World Series receive four bonus points for this appearance. Umpires assigned as Crew Chief to any round shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (e.g., two points total for the Wild Card Game, three points total for Division Series, etc.). Officials assigned to replay review only do not receive points for this role.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Discussion of 2016 AL and NL Division Series

Discussion for the postseason's AL and NL Division Series is now open. Notes include home plate umpire performance according to pitch f/x and UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a (horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule") and 6-2-b-b (vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"). Plays include significant plays and instant replay reviews, if such plays occur. Call +/- also included/highlighted.
- 10/06, TOR@TEX Gm 1: Chad Fairchild: pfx (78/81 Balls + 48/50 Strikes = 126/131 = 96.2%) +3 TOR.
- 10/06, BOS@CLE Gm 1: Brian Knight: pfx (105/106 Balls + 52/56 Strikes = 157/162 = 96.9%) +1 CLE.

- 10/07, TOR@TEX Gm 2: Lance Barksdale: pfx (101/105 Balls + 39/42 Strikes =140/147= 95.2%) +3 TOR.
- 10/07, BOS@CLE Gm 2: Phil Cuzzi: pfx (88/91 Balls + 45/49 Strikes = 133/140 = 95.0%) +5 CLE.
- 10/07, LAD@WAS Gm 1: Dan Bellino: pfx (111/115 Balls + 47/50 Strikes = 158/165 = 95.8%) +5 LAD.
- 10/07, SF@CHC Gm 1: Todd Tichenor: pfx (75/79 Balls + 31/34 Strikes = 106/113 = 93.8%) +1 CHC.

- 10/08, SF@CHC Gm 2: Alan Porter: pfx (77/78 Balls + 50/54 Strikes = 127/132 = 96.2%) +3 SF.

- 10/09, LAD@WAS Gm 2: Chris Guccione: pfx (120/124 Balls + 42/55 Strikes = 162/179 = 90.5%) +7 LAD.
- 10/09, TEX@TOR Gm 3: Sam Holbrook: pfx (100/107 Balls + 47/50 Strikes = 147/157 = 93.6%) +4 TOR .
Series Complete (ALDS TOR Over TEX 3-0), 94.9%, 413/435, Net Skew: +10 TOR.

- 10/10, WAS@LAD Gm 3: Ron Kulpa: pfx (132/135 Balls + 52/57 Strikes = 184/192 = 95.8%) +2 LA.
- 10/10, CLE@BOS Gm 3: Tony Randazzo: pfx (113/117 Balls + 57/61 Strikes = 170/178 = 95.5%) +2 BOS.
- 10/10, CHC@SF Gm 3: Larry Vanover: pfx (148/154 Balls + 58/64 Strikes = 206/218 = 94.5%) +6 SF.
Series Complete (ALDS CLE Over BOS 3-0), 95.8%, 460/480, Net Skew: +4 CLE.

- 10/11, WAS@LAD Gm 4: Tom Hallion: pfx (91/95 Balls + 29/35 Strikes = 120/130 = 92.3%) +2 LA.
- 10/11, CHC@SF Gm 4: Marvin Hudson: pfx (108/111 Balls + 39/41 Strikes = 147/152 = 96.7%) +1 CHC.
Series Complete (NLDS CHC Over SF 3-1), 95.3%, 586/615, Net Skew: +7 SF.

- 10/13, LAD@WAS Gm 5: Jeff Kellogg: pfx (118/126 Balls + 38/45 Strikes = 156/171 = 91.2%) +1 WAS.
Series Complete (NLDS LAD Over WAS 3-2), 93.2%, 780/837, Net Skew: +15 LAD.

NOTE: The highest plate score during the 2015 Division Series was Alfonso Marquez' 98.1% (ALDS Game 3). The highest plate score overall during the 2015 Postseason was Paul Emmel's 98.5% (NLCS Game 4).

Instant Replay Reviews (R-QOC Colors: Green [Confirmed], Yellow [Stands], Red [Overturned]):
ALDS A1) 1B Umpire Lance Barksdale's inning-ending out call stands at first base
ALDS A1) 2B Umpire Sam Holbrook's safe call stands on close sliding play at second base
ALDS B1) HP Umpire Brian Knight's safe call is overturned on crafty tag put out at the plate
ALDS B1) 2B Umpire Tony Randazzo's safe call is overturned when Chisenhall slides off the bag
ALDS B1) 2B Umpire Tony Randazzo's safe call stands as David Ortiz slides underneath the tag
ALDS A2) HP Umpire Lance Barksdale's out call stands at home on Donaldson's tag of Desmond
ALDS B2) 2B Umpire Paul Emmel's safe call is overturned on Indians' tag of Ramirez' foot
NLDS A2) 2B Umpire Marvin Hudson's safe call is overturned as Baez breaks contact with base
ALDS A3) 2B Umpire Joe West's slide rule interference no-call is confirmed on game-ending slide
ALDS A3) HP Umpire Sam Holbrook rules Donaldson touched home (same play); call confirmed
NLDS B3) HP Umpire Ron Kulpa's foul tip ruling stands as evidence fails to indicate hit-by-pitch
NLDS A3) 1B Umpire Marvin Hudson's out call in the 6th stands on challenge of pulled foot
NLDS A3) 1B Umpire Marvin Hudson's out on the backend of an extra-inning DP stands on review
NLDS A3) 2B Umpire John Hirschbeck's trap call is overturned to a catch in extra innings
NLDS A4) 1B Umpire Umpire John Hirschbeck's out call at first is overturned on diving play
NLDS A4) RF Umpire Larry Vanover's no-HR/in play call in confirmed on Crawford's double
NOTE: There were 14 Replay Reviews during the 2015 Division Series (9/14 Affirmed = .643 RAP).
2016 AL and NL Division Series Totals: 3 Confirmed, 7 Stands, 6 Overturned. 10/16 = .625 RAP.

Other Notable Plays (QOC: Green [Correct]Yellow [Irrecusable/Inconclusive]Red [Incorrect]):
ALDS A1) HP Umpire Fairchild rules batter interference, disregarded as runner caught stealing
ALDS B3) 2B Umpire Bill Miller gives no indication on potential runner interference on batted ball
NLDS B4) HP Umpire Tom Hallion calls Yasiel Puig for an inning-ending check swing strike

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Arizona Fall League Umpire Roster for 2016 AFL Season

The Arizona Fall League will be officiated by the following umpires from Minor League Baseball, as selected by the Umpire Development Program (formerly PBUC), and chosen from Triple-A's 2016 International (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL) umpiring staffs:

> Ryan Additon, IL, Davie, Florida.
> Travis Eggert, PCL, Gilbert, Arizona.*
> Ramon De Jesus, PCL and MLB Fill-In, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
> John Libka, PCL, Port Huron, Michigan.
> Shane Livensparger, IL, Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
> Nick Mahrley, PCL, Phoenix, Arizona.*
> Gabe Morales, PCL and MLB Fill-In, Livermore, California.
> Roberto Ortiz, IL and MLB Fill-In, Orlando, Florida.*
> Garrett Patterson, PCL, Scottsdale, Arizona.
> Alberto Ruiz, PCL, Las Vegas, Nevada.*
> Ronnie (Ron) Teague, PCL, Cypress, Texas.
> Tom Woodring, PCL and MLB Fill-In, Las Vegas, Nevada.

* Denotes this umpire also worked the 2016 MiLB Postseason.
The 2016 AFL's 12 Umpires are comprised of: Nine PCL, Three IL, and Four MLB Fill-In.

Hometown information from REFEREE Magazine.

John Hirschbeck Retires After 34 Year MLB Career

Veteran umpire John Hirschbeck will retire, capping off his 34-year MLB career with a postseason run in 2016, his 14th such journey into October and first Division Series since officiating the 2013 Division and World Series. Hirschbeck's retirement will officially take effect after he works the 2016 Fall Classic.

John Hirschbeck is retiring.
Hirschbeck made his debut in 1983 with the American League seven years after graduating second in his class (Gerry Davis was first) from the Al Somers Umpire School, now operated by Hunter Wendelstedt. Hirschbeck's first year as a professional umpire in Class A's Florida State League featured 28 ejections.

Hirschbeck hails from Bridgeport, Connecticut and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Central Connecticut State University (1976). When the umpires of the unified Major Leagues sought to form a new union in 2000, following 1999's failed bargaining strategy, Hirschbeck was elected the World Umpires Association's first President, an office he held until 2008, when Joe West took over as union chief.

Hirschbeck received the UEFL's Crew Chief of the Year Award in 2013, and was an Honorable Umpire of the Year in 2014 and 2015. It was in 2014 that Hirschbeck lost his second son to ALD, having lost his first in 1993. Hirschbeck himself survived two occurrences of testicular cancer (2008, 12) and missed most of the 2014 season while on bereavement leave.

Upon his return to baseball ahead of 2015, Hirschbeck announced he planned to dedicate the 2015 and 2016 seasons to his late son Michael. Hirschbeck confirmed his 2016 retirement to, a local news source for Hirschbeck's residence in Poland, Ohio.

Hirschbeck's career concludes with 97 Major League ejections, including that of Miguel Sano for arguing a strike three call on April 10, 2016, down from seven ejections in 2015, which includes his postseason ejection of Troy Tulowitzki for arguing a strike three call.

He is the third umpire to announce his retirement in 2016, following Bob Davidson and Tim Welke, who began the 2016 baseball season on the Disabled List.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Postseason Ejection P-1 - Tom Hallion (2; Alex Wood)

HP Umpire Tom Hallion ejected Dodgers bench person Alex Wood for arguing a check swing (strike three; USC-NEC) call in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Nationals-Dodgers game. With two out and none on, Dodgers batter Yasiel Puig attempted to check his swing on a 2-2 slider from Nationals pitcher Blake Treinen. Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (5-3-1), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 5-5. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Tom Hallion (20)'s second ejection of the 2016 MLB regular and postseason.
Tom Hallion now has 14 points in the UEFL Standings (10 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct-PS= 14).
Crew Chief Jeff Kellogg now has 13 points in Crew Division (12 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-5-b: "Irrecusability shall be limited to the reasons listed in 6-2-b-5. Ejections resulting from a Repeat Visit argument (formerly, “DiMuro Rule”) or of an individual not on the active roster shall receive a QOC associated with the Quality of the call leading to ejection, as in Rule 4-2-b."

This is the 191st ejection report of 2016 and first of the 2016 postseason.
This is the 91st player ejection of 2016. Prior to ejection, Wood was not on the active roster.
This is Los Angeles' 6th ejection of 2016, T-2nd in the NL West (COL 7; ARI, LAD 6; SF 4; SD 3).
This is Alex Wood's first ejection since June 7, 2015 (Mark Carlson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Tom Hallion's first ejection since June 25, 2016 (Tyler Holt; QOC = N-C [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (NLDS), 10/11/16 | Video available via "read more."

Upheld Pulled Foot Replays Stir Pot in CHC-SF NLDS Gm 3

Replay Review plays in Game 3 of the Cubs-Giants NLDS concerning similar out vs pulled foot calls at first base—one helping Chicago and the other San Francisco—produced added scrutiny of Major League Baseball's Replay Review system.

CF is clear but lacking. RF is helpful but...?
The first such play occurred with none out and none on in the bottom of the 6th inning when Giants batter Conor Gillaspie hit a ground ball to Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, who threw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who stretched in an attempt to catch the ball and tag first base before Gillaspie's arrival. Initially ruled an out by 1B Umpire Marvin Hudson, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy elected to challenge the play, alleging that Rizzo's foot had come off the base prior to his catch of Baez's throw.

Replays indicate Rizzo's left foot, initially in firm contact with first base, slid down the infield edge of the base before he fielded Baez's throw. Here's where replay camera angles come into play. In New York, Replay Officials Chris Conroy, Kerwin Danley, Gerry Davis, and/or Adrian Johnson (per replay regulations, MLB does not release the specific umpire assigned to a specific game, just the crew assigned to the room) had the following angles (at the very least) to work with. The highlighting (Red = Overturn; Yellow = Stands; Green = Confirm) represents UEFL's analysis of how each camera angle (listed in order of appearance on the video clip) helps (or fails to help) with determining the proper ruling:

Mid Home (Press Box)This angle suggests the foot was pulled first, but is not entirely convincing.
Low HomeThis angle, from the backstop behind home plate, is similarly inconclusive.
Mid 1B INFThis angle, from the mid stands on the first base infield side, simply is stacked/unclear.
- Center Field (CF) [Pictured, Above]: As depicted above, this angle was not conclusive either way.
- Low First [Pictured]: This angle, from the outfield-side dugout camera well, suggests Rizzo's foot broke contact with first base, but fails to indicate whether the ball had been caught by this time.
- Mid 3B INF: This angle from the opposite infield has the catch, but is inconclusive regarding the foot.
- High RF Foul [Pictured]: The RF look suggests the foot was off the base when the ball was caught.

Perhaps this High RF Foul look is conclusive.
The best angle for this play was the High RF Foul camera because it, unlike the others, provides daylight or a keyhole look between base and foot while still offering similar contrast between ball and glove. Unfortunately, Rizzo's catch occurred between frames during the 6th inning play such that it might have not been clear enough for New York. Thus, it appears the call was missed as Rizzo did pull his foot prior to catching the throw, but without any one individual angle to, on its own, conclusively demonstrate both parts of the play (the catch and the pulled foot), this call was ruled "inconclusive" for the Replay Official ruled the evidence obtained was not sufficient for him to "definitively conclude that the call on the field was incorrect."

The Replay Review regulations do not provide for "combining" or synching replay angles, split screens, or digital zoom, but do not prohibit it. In other words, the point is officially unaddressed.

The second such play occurred in extra innings as the Giants turned a key double play to end Chicago's 13th. The analysis of this play is strikingly similar to the 6th inning play, with one notable exception:

- High RF Foul: This angle better demonstrates a pulled foot prior to a catch of the throw.

Once again, viewing multiple angles simultaneously might have helped lead the Replay Official to "definitively conclude that the call on the field was incorrect" (especially for the 6th inning play). Or maybe it would have led this person to conclude the call was correct. As is, the official word for both reviews was, "call stands."