Friday, November 18, 2016

2016 UEFL Rules Summit Ballot and Voting

Voting is now open for the 2016 UEFL Rules Summit, following our discussion phase.

The following ballot includes a list of proposals for the 2017 UEFL Rules, including descriptions of each measure and the opportunity to cast a vote. Upon Commissioner approval, all proposals receiving a majority of votes, or a plurality where prescribed by Rule 8-3, will become rules for the 2017 UEFL season.

The Rules Summit ballot will close Tuesday, November 22, at 11:59 pm PT. A run-off ballot and/or election, if necessary will follow.

The 2016 Rules Summit includes 21 Rules proposals, one personnel issue, and six Appeals Board retention polls. Carefully consider the below options before submitting your ballot. You may vote in as many or as few polls as you wish; we will review voting records to determine ballot authenticity and adjust the record accordingly to account for suspicious or fraudulent activity or conduct. Click "read more" to access the ballot.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Former AL Umpire Mark Johnson Passes Away

20-year American League umpire Mark Stephen Johnson passed away on October 26, 2016 in Hawaii, reportedly as the result of a heart attack. He was 65 years old and would have turned 66 on Friday.

Card for AL Umpire Mark Johnson
Born on November 18, 1950 in Louisville, Kentucky, Johnson hired into the Gulf Coast League in 1971, whereupon he traveled through the Florida State, Southern, and Pacific Coast Leagues before promoting to the AL full-time in 1984, having served as a fill-in since his first big league game in August 1979.

Johnson, who ejected 43 players and coaches in his 1,994 regular and postseason games, officiated the 1996 American League Division Series, 1991 League Championship Series, 1993 World Series, and 1990/'99 MLB All-Star Game, before the umpires' collective bargaining strategy cost him his job midway through the 1999 season.

Following his retirement, Johnson moved to Oahu.

In December 2004, Johnson was awarded $325,000 from baseball as part of a settlement that saw three umpires rehired (Bob Davidson, Tom Hallion, Ed Hickox), and six more receive severance pay and health benefits (Jim Evans, Dale Ford, Eric Gregg, Ken Kaiser, Johnson, Larry McCoy).

Johnson, whose obituary was published this weekend in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, died in Oahu, Hawaii and leaves behind wife Lilia and son Kyle.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Arizona Fall League Experiments with Mud-less Baseball

Baseball used the 2016 Arizona Fall League to try out a new kind of baseball that doesn't require a pre-game mud-rub, which might come as a welcome sign for the progressively inclined, while signaling a departure from tradition for that which is considered "old school" with the nearly 75-year use of New Jersey's Lena Blackburn Baseball Rubbing Mud.

According to's Jim Callis, reporting from the AFL's Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, baseball selected several games at Salt River in which the League swapped out the traditional mud-treated balls with the new, "tackier," factory-treated model in a limited test of new technology.

In speaking with several AFL players, Callis drew the following observations:
> Comparable in performance, including StatCast spin rate and similar measurements, to current ball;
> Untreated ball is slippery, but pitchers say that applying rosin to the ball is enough to neutralize this.
> Seams are less prominent than on the ball currently used in Major and Minor League Baseball.

Benefit for Pitchers:
> Ball appeared to give more life to sinkers, cutters, and breaking ball action.

Benefit for Hitters:
> Ball appeared brighter due to lack of mud, increasing visibility at home plate;