Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tmac's Teachable Moments - Crucially Calling Time

Tmac's Teachable Moments looks at a confusing "Time" call at a crucial time in the 2017 WBC.

Umpires Ted Barrett & Chikara Tsugawa.
The Play: With none out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tied pool play game between Chinese Taipei and Team Netherlands, Dutch batter Jurickson Profar stepped to the plate against pitcher Hung-Wen Chen and appeared to swing at and fly out on the first pitch of the at-bat as Netherlands baserunner R2 Randolph Oduber requested "Time," which went unacknowledged by 2B Umpire DJ Reyburn.

However, baserunner R3 Dwayne Kemp also requested time out from 3B Umpire Chikara Tsugawa of Japan, who replays indicate granted and called "Time" before Chen's pitch, although only Tsugawa and a handful of personnel from Team Netherlands seemed to notice, with Profar protesting, "he called 'time out.'" By contrast, third baseman Chih-Hsien Chiang maintained that the ball was live, setting the stage for a slightly confusing episode.

Ted Barrett orders Profar back to the box.
After a brief conference, HP Umpire Ted Barrett ordered Profar back to home plate and play resumed with a 0-0 count. Profar ultimately ended up working a game-winning walk to propel Netherlands to a 6-5 victory, which also clinched a share of the Pool A crown for the Dutch (alongside pool winner Israel), while eliminating Chinese Taipei from further advancement in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Analysis: My best guess is that the batter missed a sign, but that's neither here nor there. Let's take a look at the third base umpire at the :38 second mark; we see him weakly calling time. I can't tell how raised his voice was, but if it's as weak as the mechanic, then we have a horrific decision. If you call time in this spot, you have to be shot out of a cannon: in other words, screaming "Time" while running into the infield, especially after an out is recorded.

"Time" is called prior to the apparent out.
Instead, the third base umpire just drifted away until the manager in the first base dugout, who would have a great view of the third base umpire calling time, came out to talk to Ted Barrett. Barrett handles this so seamlessly—it's clear to see why he's one of if not the top Crew Chief in the world.

Here's something to remember if you're the base umpire in a critical situation such as this where your call makes all the difference between out and safe: You better have a good reason to call time, especially if the pitcher is in the set position. I would not grant time if a runner asks; it's not a precedent we need to be setting. In my judgement it's a bad decision to call time here.

Happy Umpiring! | Video available via "Read more"
Alternate Link: Balk call is reversed, preventing a Cardinals run in the second inning (MIA)


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