Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dodger vs Giants Bench-Clearer and Division of Halves

The Dodgers-Giants rivalry took a bench-clearing turn Wednesday afternoon after an up-and-in fastball from SF pitcher Johnny Cueto flew past LA batter Yasmani Grandal's head and to the backstop.

Yet the benches didn't clear at the point—it was idle talk that rose to fighting strolling words following a pop fly to conclude Grandal's at bat, a lackadaisical snooze of a bench-clearer that allowed the umpire crew to employ the separation strategy informally known as division of halves: exactly as its name implies, this time-aided strategy is effected by separating the teams and corralling them onto their half of the field (that which includes their dugout), so as to prevent any future hotspots from flaring up. Wednesday's game was helped by the fact that the Giants' home stadium, AT&T Park, features bullpens along the first and third base foul lines, beyond the dugouts.

We previously discussed Handling a Bench Clearing Incident - Battle of Texas regarding a more physical inter-squad altercation in Houston in early May, and the various game management strategies imposed by various umpiring crews.

Umpires take their positions to calm the teams.
Wednesday's game in San Francisco turned into a half-hearted incident between the teams, and 2B Umpire & Crew Chief's Mike Winters' group opted for a similarly casual—yet strategic—approach. As Grandal and Cueto appeared the two primary verbal combatants, 1B Umpire Marty Foster intervened to physically escort Grandal back to his dugout while 3B Umpire Mark Wegner walked Cueto away from the fracas. Meanwhile, HP Umpire Mike Muchlinski returned to the infield to keep San Francisco on its side of the diamond while 2B Umpire Winters ran back in from his outfield position to assist.

Two umpires extract a Giant from LA's half.
Notice in the attached diagram that U3 Wegner is in perfect position to confine San Francisco to the third-base side of the infield while U1 Foster is preparing to contain Los Angeles on the first-base side. Meanwhile, umpires Muchlinski and Winters are moving towards the midfield line (green line) between home plate and second base—Muchlinski is specifically preparing to herd the stray Giants on the Dodgers' side of the field back onto their own side so as to end the temporary encroachment.

Later on in the lazy incident, we observed two umpires escort Giants #10 (Eduardo Nunez) out of harm's way by placing themselves between Nunez and the gaggle of Dodgers, before turning him around and bringing him back to San Francisco's half of the field, so as to keep the teams separated.

Naturally, the best gift of Wednesday's bench-clearing incident—for peace's sake—was the event's lack of enthusiasm, which gave the crew time to separate the parties.

Video via "Read More"


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