Saturday, December 23, 2017

Source - Stu Scheurwater Hired to Full-Time MLB Staff

34-year-old Stu Scheurwater of Regina, Saskatchewan is, unofficially, Major League Baseball's newest umpire, MLB reportedly hiring him to the full-time staff to fill retired ump Dale Scott's vacancy, according to multiple sources.

A Baseball Canada umpiring alum, Scheurwater begins his MLBU career with 253 games of Major League experience, including 153 games in 2017, after debuting on April 25, 2014 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles; the news is reported as a SOURCE post and has not yet been confirmed.* For instance, the Press Reader reported that Scheurwater is not yet officially a full-time MLB umpire, though he "could be named to the full-time staff as early as this February."
Related PostMajor League Umpiring Debut: Stu Scheurwater (85) (4/25/14).
Stu Scheurwater is MLB's newest staff umpire.*

His foray into professional American baseball began with graduation from the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School in 2006, after which Scheurwater was forced to sit out the 2006 season due to a paperwork processing delay at Homeland Security.

After officially beginning in the minors on the 2007 Arizona League staff, Scheurwater worked his way through the Northwest, South Atlantic, Carolina, Texas, and Pacific Coast Leagues, working the 2012 Arizona Fall League along the way; in all, Scheurwater officially served six seasons in Triple-A, although he spent nearly the entire 2017 season at the Major League level due in part to Dale Scott's career-ending head injury in Toronto.
Related PostA Look at the Dale Scott Crew Without Their Crew Chief (5/24/17).

Scheurwater effected his first ejection on April 30, 2017, when he threw out Orioles Manager Buck Showalter for arguing a correctly officiated balk call; he finished the 2017 season with five ejections and earned the 2017 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire of the Year, marking the fourth consecutive Fill-In Umpire of the Year to have been hired to the full-time staff (Gibson '14, Tumpane '15, and Hamari '16).
Related PostMLB Ejection 021 - Stu Scheurwater (1; Buck Showalter) (4/30/17).
Related Post2017 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - Stu Scheurwater (11/7/17).

Scheurwater is the most recent Canada-born umpire to make it to the big leagues; Jim McKean, who officiated in the American League from 1973-1999, and throughout both leagues in 2000 and 2001, was born in Montreal, Quebec. Ian Lamplugh, who last worked in 2002, grew up in British Columbia, but was born in Trowbridge, England.

*Reported as a Source post pursuant to UEFL News Reporting Best Practices, and not yet officially confirmed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

GHSA Amends Bylaws to Exclude Judgment Calls

In the offseason following the Georgia High School Association's decision to overturn an on-field umpire's judgment call, the GHSA amended its Bylaws to address similar future complaints, such as this month's appeal from Peach County HS concerning a football official's incomplete pass ruling in the fourth quarter of a State championship game.

Officially speaking, the GHSA took no action when Peach County head coach Chad Campbell presented his argument in front of the GHSA Board of Trustees on Monday, despite the same Board of Trustees' ruling in the Lee County case.
Related PostPrecedent Set, Georgia Faces 2nd Judgment Call Protest (12/11/17).

The GHSA has reversed its appeal stance.
Photo: Nancy Stahl, NYTimes
Instead, newly installed GHSA Executive Director Robert Hines demurred, "[We aren't] here to talk about the call...judgment calls made by contest officials are not reviewable or reversible." Meanwhile, GHSA attorney Alan Connell—the same lawyer who ruled in May that Lee County baseball could appeal a judgment call—confirmed that Monday's meeting was informational and would not overturn the in-game ruling.

Gil's Call: In making no call and having no comment on the play, the GHSA finally made the right decision and Campbell is arguing straight from the scapegoating playbook.

In regards to the issue of not reviewing judgment calls, consider this argument from the other side (not to mention the argument that the receiver may have illegally participated by stepping out of bounds prior to the pass): "So are the peach county (sic) folks just disregarding the fact that the refs missed a fumble call in the same series of downs that gave them the opportunity to even have this play?"

A side judge signals the pass play incomplete.
Prevailing logic would dictate that if the fourth down judgment call were to be deemed reviewable, this earlier alleged non-fumble would also be looked at...and who knows how many plays prior to that would have to be considered.

In regards to the scapegoat issue, Campbell, in an interview with ESPN's Bill Shanks, stated, "We've had some bad crews this postseason and, um, you know, it so happened the worst crew were (sic) the ones we saw on the most extravagant stage of them all and viewed and watched by millions of people across the United States and the world."

Campbell then proceeded to admonish the entire crew, identified the white hat—by name—and aired some grievances about the referee, saying that he had officiated a previous state championship where another team "got he got to be on another championship crew is beyond my belief."

The National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS)'s Coaches Code of Ethics states, "The coach shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct...Public criticism of officials or players is unethical."

Oh well.
Related PostGil's Call: The Blame Game (Umpire Scapegoating) (8/8/14).

Coach Campbell, who was seeking to reverse the incomplete pass ruling, presented several opinionated arguments, stating that the side judge who made the call was out of position and "had the worst view of them all," that the crew failed to discuss the call after it was made, and concluded with the accusation, "Not one time—not for one second—did they try to get this call right."

Following his appeal, Campbell presented the Board with the non sequitur argument that he was not protesting a judgment call, but a rules interpretation. That statement wasn't a fluke; Campbell doubled down and reiterated that he was not protesting a judgment call in his interview with Shanks.

However, the report failed to specify which rule Campbell believed had been misinterpreted and Campbell again failed to state which rule had been interpreted incorrectly in his interview with Shanks, though he did have two requests.

1) Resume the game from the point of appeal with the touchdown awarded to Peach County; or,
2) Name Peach County as co-champions alongside the real victors, Calhoun High School.

The Board declined to do either, in stark contrast to how they handled the Lee County appeal in May.
Related PostDangerous Precedent - GHSA Overturns Judgment Call (5/22/17).

New Bylaws reversed White's May precedent.
To understand why, we see that in October, the GHSA quietly voted in an amendment to the association's Bylaws, adding Bylaw 2.92(g), which states, "Judgement (sic) calls by contest officials are not reviewable or reversible."

Grammarians might even observe the amendment was rushed by considering the spelling of, "judgement."

Nonetheless, new GHSA Bylaw 2.92(g) ensures that what happened back in May when the same GHSA Board overturned an umpire's judgment call will not happen again: GHSA President Glenn White's Lee County baseball precedent has been superseded by Bylaw amendment... though Monday's Board meeting ended with White announcing that the Board will meet again in January.

Peach County recently announced its plan to complain and/or boycott the Georgia Farm Bureau in protest. The Georgia Farm Bureau is one of several GHSA corporate sponsors. The plan is to make GHSA, and its sponsors, pay.

In his interview with Shanks, Campbell summarized the event, calling it, "a complete joke" and announcing his resignation from GHSA Executive Committees for football and baseball in protest. Shanks and Campbell then accused the GHSA's attorney of "dumb[ing] them [The Board] up."

Campbell concluded, "It's not over. I'm not going to rest." Although the battle may get that much more difficult, with Campbell having resigned from having a say on the GHSA committees.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cold Case - Police Closing in on Joe West Assailants

In June, MLB umpire Joe West was struck with a baseball thrown from the stands at Miller Park. New documents in Milwaukee suggest two things: the assault was a deliberate act and police know who the suspects are.

A recently released search warrant paints the picture: According to a witness sitting along the foul-territory grandstand along the right field line in Miller Park, two fans nearby were not happy with West, allegedly shouting profanity and saying, "ump, you're going to cost us the game."

The Marlins-Brewers game was tied at zero in the bottom of the 4th inning at the time of the incident.
Related PostAssault - Joe West Hit in Head by Ball Thrown From Stands (6/30/17).

Joe West was hit by a thrown ball in June.
The witness later observed a then-unknown projectile fly over his shoulder and down onto the playing field, where it struck West. In addition to his statement, the witness provided local police with a photograph he had taken on his phone during the game, in which the two unhappy fans were in the background: police identified the men as brothers in their 20s, arresting the siblings in August.

According to case files, one of the brothers denied involvement, while the other brother claimed a friend could prove it was not him.

On cue, the second brother's friend provided an alibi or excuse before eventually recanting and telling the police that he believed the suspect had, in fact, committed the assaultive offense.

Meanwhile, the suspects' mother visited her sons in jail, asking one in a recorded conversation, "Did you admit to doing this?" Upon the suspect's response of, "No. I maintained I did not," she cut him off and stated, "All I wanted to hear. Stop talking."

Police hope new evidence will prompt charges.
Unfortunately for most newsreaders, including Brad Ziegler, who tweeted, "I hope they file assault charges for whoever just hit Joe West with the baseball," police were unable to charge the brothers with the crime over the summer due to lack of definitive evidence to indicate which suspect threw the baseball that hit West, and, thus, the men are out of jail...for now.

The Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office are hoping that new evidence will come out of a newly-filed search warrant to cover deleted Facebook messages and purchase history, which may indicate whether the baseball held in evidence was bought by one of the brothers.

News: Police closing in on person(s) who struck MLB umpire with baseball at Miller Park (Fox6)