Saturday, March 11, 2017

2017 Pacific Coast League Umpire Roster

The following umpires appear on the 2017 Pacific Coast League roster. PCL is one of two Triple-A leagues, the other being the International League, whose umpires have not yet been named.

The 2017 PCL features six Triple-A rookies, and two transfers from the International League.

Pacific Coast League Umpire Roster - Start of the 2017 Season
PCL Umpire and Sleeve Number2016 League and Years in Triple-A
Arrieta, David 23^Southern (Double-A) | Rookie
Blakney, Ryan 5* (MLB #36)PCL - 5th Year in Triple-A
Bostwick, John 25*PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Cascioppo, Mike*PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Ceja, Nestor 40^Texas (Double-A) | Rookie
Clemons, Paul 9Texas/IL - 2nd Year [1st Full] Triple-A
Cunha, William 4PCL - 3rd Year in Triple-A
Czajak, Matt 21PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
De Jesus, Ramon 18* (MLB #18)PCL/IL - 4th Year in Triple-A
Eaton, Derek 20^Texas | Rookie
Eggert, Travis 49*PCL - 4th Year in Triple-A
Fagan, Clint 82* (MLB #82)PCL - 8th Year in Triple-A
Felix, Blake 29PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Fields, Bryan 27PCL - 3rd Year in Triple-A
Hamm, Clayton 43^Texas | Rookie
January, JJ 6PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Libka, John 30*PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Mahrley, Nick 3*PCL - 4th Year in Triple-A
May, Ben 97* (MLB #97)International - 6th Year in Triple-A
Meyers, Lee 22Texas | Rookie
Park, Clay 7PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Patterson, Garrett 8*PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Ryan, Sean 10PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
Scheurwater, Stu 85* (MLB #85)PCL - 6th Year in Triple-A
Teague, Ron "Ronnie" 55*PCL - 3rd Year in Triple-A
Terry, Brett 19PCL - 3rd Year in Triple-A
Valentine, Junior 14*PCL - 2nd Year in Triple-A
White, Nathan 64PCL - 3rd Year in Triple-A
Woodring, Tom 75* (MLB #75)PCL - 5th Year in Triple-A
Ziegler, Alex 2Southern | Rookie
*Indicates umpire is also officiating MLB Spring Training | ^ Indicates promotion to AAA.
Bold text indicates umpire is on the Major League call-up list.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Injury Scout - Dreckman Returns to Spring Ball

After missing the entire 2016 regular season, umpire Bruce Dreckman returned to Spring Training in Arizona, officiating Friday's Cubs-Mariners game in his first Major League game since entering the Disabled List ahead of 2016.

In all, Dreckman's missed games over the season and during the pre-season spring period are estimated in the 130-150 range. Dreckman worked a reduced schedule in 2015, officiating just 86 games, compared to 136 contests plus six League Championship Series games in 2013. He also missed the entire 2012 season after a full slate (and postseason assignment) in 2011.

Last Game: October 4, 2015 | Return to Play: March 10, 2017 | Total Time Absent: 522 days

Tmac's Teachable Moments - Observing Obstruction

A WBC obstruction no-call means it's time for another Tmac's Teachable Moment... I swear it feels like we just did one of these yesterday!

Potential obstruction occurred in the WBC.
Whenever you are on a baseball field it is important to know your responsibilities. I tell young umpires, 98% of the time we're watching the ball... It's the 2% that we need to come off the ball and watch something else that is some of the hardest umpiring to learn. If we're caught missing our responsibilities it can put the whole crew in jeopardy to miss a crucial play.

The Play: With two out and none on, Team Israel batter Scott Burcham hit a ground ball into shallow center field for a single. As Burcham rounded first base, Netherlands second baseman Jonathan Schoop retrieved the ball and threw to first base in an attempt to retire the runner. Schoop's throw bounced past first baseman Yurendell Decaster, and Burcham became entangled with Decaster as he attempted to advance to second base, ultimately resulting in an out at second on a close play.

Analysis: On this play, we have an overthrow of 1st base. What is our first base umpire's responsibility? He has a tangle right in front of him between the batter-runner and the first baseman,  but he doesn't see it because he's following the ball. In the accompanying graphic, you can see the umpire looking toward the ball (red shade), instead of at the players/base (orange shade).

1B Umpire Chikara Tsugawa follows the ball.
For this play, the home plate umpire has the overthrow and the potential fan interference, as there was nobody on to begin the play, and, thus, no potential play at the plate. The plate man is running up to first and can swing off into foul territory; the boundary is his responsibility.

As our first base umpire did not make a signal either by pointing to the play to say, "that's obstruction" or giving a safe mechanic and verbally saying, "that's nothing," it makes it clear to anyone watching that our first base umpire did not see the play. Our first base umpire gets together with HP Umpire Brian Knight, who looks confused as to why he'd be coming to him.

While I'm not a fan of getting the crew together for plays like this, it probably would have been best to see if 2B Umpire Ted Barrett or 3B Umpire Frantisek Pribyl had additional information. Whenever we have an overthrow and two guys are going where they're supposed to, potential obstruction gets muddied.

However, on this play it is CLEAR that the first baseman went above and beyond by reaching his left hand around and holding/restraining the batter-runner (recall, obstruction "is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner." Also, "After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the 'act of fielding' the ball" [Rule 6.01(h)]). It then so happened that the batter-runner was out at second on a close play. In retrospect, the batter-runner probably should have been awarded second, as the obstruction may have slowed him up by at least that fraction of a second by which he was retired.

It's early in the season for many—and this play didn't matter much anyway, as Israel won WBC Pool A with Netherlands taking second place—but for a lot of our northern readers, the season hasn't begun.

Get into the rule book... Read your manuals to solidify responsibilities so plays like this don't happen to you. There is always room to get better! Have fun! Video via "Read More"

Thursday, March 9, 2017

WBC Ejection - DJ Reyburn (Sheng Hsiung Huang)

WBC Ejection: DJ Reyburn ejected Chinese Taipei P Sheng Hsiung Huang for throwing at Korea batter Dae-Ho Lee in the top of the 6th inning of the Korea-Taipei game. With one out and none on, Lee took a 2-2 pitch from Huang for a hit-by-pitch, Lee's second HBP of the game and the fifth overall HBP of the game. Warnings had previously been issued, the call was irrecusable.* At the time of the ejection, Korea was leading, 8-5. Korea ultimately won the contest, 11-8. Both teams had previously been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic.

*With warnings previously issued, it logically would follow that Manager Kuo Tai-yuan was also ejected, but the box score makes reference to Pitching Coach Chin-Chih Huang instead of pitcher Sheng Hsiung Huang.

This is DJ Reyburn (70)'s first ejection of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
This is the 1st ejection of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Related Video: Reyburn issues warnings after Huang hits a batter in the 5th inning (WBC)
Related Video: Korean batter Lee is hit in the face by a pitch in the 2nd inning of the game (WBC)

Wrap/Log: Korea vs. Chinese Taipei (WBC Pool A), 3/9/17 | Video via "Read More"

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"

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

WBC Replay Review - Blaser's Fan Interference

Replay Review upheld 3B Umpire Cory Blaser's fan interference call during Japan's WBC victory over Cuba on Tuesday as umpires Todd Tichenor, Fabrizio Fabrizi, Su-Won Choi and Blaser utilized local limited replay for the first time since the 2013 season, after which baseball expanded the technology to its central MLBAM location and eliminated video review at the ballpark. World Baseball Classic pool play still uses pre-2014's iteration of limited replay review.

The fan interference/non-HR call also was yet another example of a popular misconception regarding interference base awards, and the incorrect concept that interference naturally harms offensive teams by depriving batters and runners the opportunity to run the bases.

Crew Chief Tichenor upholds Blaser's call.
The Play: With two out and a runner on second in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Cuba-Japan game, Japan batter Tetsuto Yamada hit a fly ball to deep left-center field and near the top of the wall, whereupon a fan caught the ball. 3B Umpire Blaser ruled that the fan had reached onto the playing field and interfered with a ball in play, awarding Yamada second base and baserunner Nobuhiro Matsuda home plate as the result of spectator interference.

The Rules: Spectator interference is defined as occurring "when a spectator reaches out of the stands and over the playing field, or goes on the playing field, and (1) touches a live ball or (2) touches a player and hinders an attempt to make a play on a live ball."

The World Baseball Classic is governed by the Official Baseball Rules ordinarily used by Major League Baseball; Rule 6.01(e) concerning spectator interference states, "When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference."

Rules Analysis: Contrary to popular opinion, the result of the play was not a ground rule double nor does interference necessarily result in an automatic two-base award.

Accordingly, the broadcast's remark that the interference "cost Japan at least a base" was inaccurate, as the umpires ruled that had not interference occurred, batter Yamada would have achieved second base while runner Matsuda would have scored. Had the umpires believed that Yamada would have reached third base safely if not for the interference, they would have placed him at third base.

Video Analysis: The reason that live video during home run/boundary fan interference calls tends to show batters/runners arriving at third (or another) base with relative ease, only to be sent back to a previous base by an umpire as if the interference "cost them a base" is that this live video tends to show the batter/runner only after—and, in some cases, significantly after—the interference has already occurred and the ball has become dead. Essentially, the video gives a false sense of how many bases the offense would have achieved if nor for the interference because the offense is basically running unopposed or uncontested by virtue of the ball being taken out of play.

History of WBC Replay Use: Replay debuted at the World Baseball Classic in 2013, when Brian Gorman upheld his home run call during a Team Mexico-USA game in Arizona. Tichenor, who served as Crew Chief during Tuesday's pool play game in Tokyo, was also the plate umpire in 2013 for Mexico-USA.
Video via "Read More" / Below

Monday, March 6, 2017

2017 World Baseball Classic Umpire Roster

The 2017 World Baseball Classic umpire roster features an international selection of umpires split into six-person crews assigned to each pool (Marlins Park, for instance, may use additional personnel due to its proximity to Grapefruit League Spring Training). The following list of umpires assigned to officiate the 2017 WBC will be updated as the tournament progresses. Pictured to the right is Czech Republic umpire Frantisek Pribyl, one of a record-five European umpires invited to participate in the 2017 WBC. The others are Winfried Berkvens (Netherlands), Michael Ulloa (Spain), Jens Waider (Germany), and Fabrizio Fabrizi (Italy).

First Round's Pool A (Gocheok-dong, Seoul, South Korea)
Ted Barrett (USA) [History: 2009 WBC, 2013 WBC (Championship Round - San Francisco)]
Brian Knight (USA) [History: 2006 WBC (1st Round - Tokyo), 2013 WBC (1st Round - Phoenix)]
Frantisek Pribyl (Czech Republic)
DJ Reyburn (USA) [History: 2013 WBC Qualifier (Taiwan)]
Brett Robson (Australia) [History: 2017 WBC Qualifier (AUS), 2014 MLB Opening Series]
Chikara Tsugawa (Japan) [History: 2014 MLB-Japan All-Star Series]

First Round's Pool B (Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan)
Cory Blaser (USA)
Su Won Choi (Korea) [History: 2013 WBC Qualifier (Taiwan)]
Fabrizio Fabrizi (Italy)
Todd Tichenor (USA) [History: 2013 WBC (1st Round - Phoenix)]
Larry Vanover (USA) [History: 2009 WBC]
Jens Waider (Germany) [History: 2013 WBC Qualifier (Jupiter, Florida)]

First Round's Pool C (Miami, Florida, United States of America)
Edgar Estivision (Panama) [History: 2013 WBC (1st Round - Miami & Championship - SF)]
Tripp Gibson III (USA)
Edwin Hernandez (Puerto Rico) [History: 2006 WBC]
Dan Iassogna (USA) [History: 2009 WBC]
Jesus Miller (Mexico) [History: 2013 WBC (1st Round - San Juan, PR)]
Mark Wegner (USA) [History: 2009 WBC, 2013 WBC (2nd Round - Miami)]

First Round's Pool D (Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico)
Dan Bellino (USA) [History: 2013 WBC (1st Round - San Juan, PR])
Santos Castillo (Dominican Republic)
Doug Eddings (USA)
Winfried Berkvens (Netherlands)
Michael Ulloa (Spain) [History: 2013 WBC Qualifier (Germany), 2013 WBC (1st Round - Phoenix)]
Quinn Wolcott (USA) [History: 2013 WBC Qualifier (Jupiter, Florida)]

Second Round's Pool E (Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan)
Cory Blaser (From First Round Pool B)
Trevor Grieve (Canada) [History: 2013 WBC (1st Round - Taiwan & Championship - San Francisco)]
Felix Tejada (Dominican Republic) [History: 2013 WBC (1st Round - Fukuoka, Japan)]
Todd Tichenor (From First Round Pool B)
Larry Vanover (From First Round Pool B)
Jens Waider (From First Round Pool B)

Second Round's Pool F (San Diego, California, United States of America)
Edgar Estivision (From First Round Pool C)
Tom Hallion (USA) [History: 2006 WBC]
Byung-Ju Kim (Korea)
Will Little (USA) [History: 2013 WBC Qualifier (Germany)]
Bill Miller (USA) [History: 2009 WBC, 2013 WBC (Championship Round - San Francisco)]
Masanobu Sasaki (Japan) [History: 2014 MLB-Japan All-Star Series]
Hunter Wendelstedt (USA) [History: 2009 WBC]

Championship Round (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Lance Barksdale (USA) [History: 2009 WBC, 2013 WBC (First Round - Taichung, Taiwan)]
Eric Cooper (USA) [History: 2009 WBC, 2013 WBC (First Round - San Juan, Puerto Rico)]
Edgar Estivision (From First Round Pool C & Second Round Pool F)
Rob Drake (USA) [History: 2006 WBC]
Trevor Grieve (From Second Round Pool E)
Byung-Ju Kim (From Second Round Pool F)

Umpire list above will be updated as the WBC tournament progresses.

Injury - David Rackley Leaves Twins-Nats Game

HP Umpire David Rackley left Sunday's Grapefruit League action after taking a foul ball off the facemask.

With none out and none on in the top of the 8th inning of the Twins-Nationals game, Twins batter Daniel Palka fouled a fastball from Nationals pitcher Sammy Solis into Rackley's traditional-style facemask; Rackley was removed from the game for precautionary reasons.

Rackley was replaced behind home plate by 1B Umpire Chris Conroy, while base umpires Mike Estabrook (2B => 1B) and Shane Livensparger (3B) officiated the corners for the remainder of the contest.

Rackley most recently was injured by a foul ball on May 23, 2016.

Date of Injury: March 5, 2017 | Return to Play: March 9, 2017 | Total Time Absent: 3 Days.