Saturday, April 21, 2018

Diversity Crew - WBC Caliber Lineup in Detroit

An umpiring crew in Detroit took on a World Baseball Classic quality Friday night, bringing together umpires from several countries to officiate one MLB regular season game.

Torres, De Jesus, Ortiz & Danley.
H/T: @MRTeevs (MLB PR VP Mike Teevan).
Umpire Crew, Kansas City vs Detroit, 4/20/18:
HP: Carlos Torres (Venezuela).
1B: Ramon De Jesus (Dominican Republic).
2B: Kerwin Danley -cc (Los Angeles, California).
3B: Roberto Ortiz (Puerto Rico).

Friday evening's was Game 2 of a doubleheader between the Royals and Tigers; regular crew member Scott Barry worked the plate for Game 1 and Ortiz was called up to fill in as Umpire #5 for the day. De Jesus, meanwhile is officiating in place of Paul Nauert, whose last game was last week, and Danley is serving as acting crew chief in place of Dana DeMuth, who hasn't officiated whatsoever this season.

The only Puerto Rican-born umpire on either the staff or call-up list, Ortiz worked the 2018 Puerto Rico series between Cleveland and Minnesota earlier this week in San Juan. The last umpire from Puerto Rico to call major league games was Delfin Colon (46 games from 2008 to 2009).
Related PostSpecial Event Roster - 2018 Puerto Rico Umpires (4/17/18).

Friday, April 20, 2018

10th Annual Umps Care Charities Auction Underway

The 10th annual @UmpsCare Charities Online Auction is underway on, and back are the popular "Lunch with an Ump" experiences, umpire gift boxes, tickets and suites, and signed memorabilia.
UMPS CARE was founded by MLB Umpires.

334 items are up for bids in this year's UMPS CARE Charities auction, whose motto is, "Helping People is an Easy Call."

On To the Goods
Below are a few highlights of this year's auction, from a UEFL point-of-view. All items, including the 326 not listed here, are worthwhile exploring.

> Lunch for Two with ESPN TV Director and Tickets to a Nationals or Orioles Game. This unique experience gives the winning bidder a chance to ask a broadcast director about television coverage. Personally, we'd use this experience to try and figure out why ESPN continues to use a faulty K-Zone graphic.

> Golf and Lunch for 2 with NBA Referees at the Raven Golf Club (Phoenix, AZ). The National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) gets into the act with an opportunity to hang out with NBA officials Bill Kennedy and Mark Ayotte in the summer of 2018, which goes to show that the officiating family transcends sports.

Recently-retired umpire Dale Scott's gift box.
> MLB Umpire Dale Scott "Memory Lane" Gift Box. A sentimental item to see as part of this auction and generously donated by Scott, this gift basket is a history lesson through Dale Scott's storied professional career with baseballs from the 2004 World Series, 2011 All-Star Game, 2014 Opening Series in Sydney, and one of Dale's on-field trademarks—his classic #5 blue base uniform shirt. True to his love of the Oregon Ducks, you'll also take home a few Duck-branded item. Let's Go Ducks!

> Signed Mother's Day and Father's Day masks. In 2017, umpires wore pink masks for Mother's Day and blue masks for Father's Day, in conjunction with MLB's breast and prostate cancer awareness missions associated with those days. The masks being auctioned off have been signed by the entire crews from those games—Gabe Morales, Roberto Ortiz, Ron Kulpa, and Adrian Johnson for Mother's Day; Fieldin Culbreth, Manny Gonzalez, CB Bucknor, and Mark Carlson for Father's Day. The signatures aren't MLB authenticated, but the mask itself is.

This baseball was signed by the entire staff.
> 2018 Umpire Staff Signed Baseball (Not MLB Authenticated). Does this ball look a little "busy" to you? Well it's been signed by every 2018 MLB staff umpire. That's a lot of ink!

> Vin Scully Signed Baseball. This could be the last time to pick up a ball signed by Vin. Don't miss out!

> $150 Gift Card to Starting bid here is $75. What a steal!

About UMPS CARE: Founded in 2006, this nonprofit, whose executive board features retired umpire Gary Darling as President, alongside active umpires Marvin Hudson and Jim Reynolds as Vice President and Secretary, respectively, provides financial, in-kind, and emotional support for America's youth and families in need. The annual online auction is but one of many UMPS CARE events, which include ticket donations and on-field experiences, scholarships, golf tournaments, and hospital visits.

Click here to access UMPS CARE Charities' 10th Annual Online auction. The auction ends April 30.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Injury Scout - Jerry Layne Out on Foul Ball to Arm

Jerry Layne left Thursday's assignment at Angel Stadium of Anaheim after a fouled-off fastball struck him in the unpadded upper right arm.

In the bottom of the 1st inning of the Red Sox-Angels game, Angels batter Mike Trout fouled off a 93.4-mph 0-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez into Layne's arm, resulting in his removal from the game.

1B Umpire Greg Gibson replaced Layne behind home plate, with 2B Umpire Vic Carapazza sliding over to first base and 3B Umpire Jordan Baker remaining as the second field umpire. Gibson served as acting crew chief in Layne's absence.

Relevant Injury History: In August 2017, Layne left his plate game in Houston after a foul ball injury to the lower arm/wrist area. He returned to play the next day.
Related PostInjury Scout - Jerry Layne Hit in Wrist by Foul Ball (8/19/17).

Last Game: April 19 | Return to Play: TBD | Time Absent: TBD | Video as follows:

Abandonment Call in Seattle Helps M's Turn Triple Play

For all the times we have discussed Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(2) regarding abandonment, rarely does such a play occur. Thursday's game at Safeco Field turned the tide, as 1B Umpire Brian Gorman ruled Astros batter-runner Evan Gattis out after he started for the dugout, apparently unaware of how many outs there were, thus indicating by his actions that he was out.

Gorman and Tripp Gibson signal Gattis out.
The Play: With none out and two on (R1, R2), Gattis hit a check-swing ground ball to Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who stepped on third base ahead of baserunner R2 Jose Altuve's arrival, and threw to second baseman Robinson Cano, who stepped on second base ahead of baserunner R1 Carlos Correa's arrival. Although Seattle seemed quite content with the double play, batter-runner Gattis, after touching first base, made a wide turn and began jogging toward Houston's dugout on the third-base side of the field. Seattle first baseman Daniel Vogelbach called for the ball, chased after, and tagged Gattis.

The Call: After progressing a reasonable distance toward the dugout with no indication that he intended to return to first base, 1B Umpire Gorman invoked Rule 5.09(b)(2) and declared Gattis out for abandoning his effort to run the bases; Vogelbach's tag occured after Gorman's declaration of abandonment (thus, the inning ended the moment Gorman ruled that Gattis had abandoned his effort, not when the tag was made). This would be important in determining whether a runner would have scored prior to the third out, as in a time play.

SIDEBAR: Abandonment in this situation triumphs over out-of-the-base-path rule 5.09(b)(1) because the three-foot base path rule ("He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball") requires Gattis' actions to be an attempt to avoid being tagged. Gattis' movement stems from abandoning his effort to touch the next base, as opposed to an attempt to avoid being tagged. By the time Gattis first becomes aware of a tag attempt and begins moving to avoid being tagged, he has already been declared out for abandonment.

Gorman's out call precedes Vogelbach's tag.
OBR 5.09(b)(2): Any runner is out when: after touching first base, he leaves the base path, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base.

The rule's comment elucidates the principle: "Any runner after reaching first base who leaves the base path heading for his dugout or his position believing that there is no further play, may be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases. Even though an out is called, the ball remains in play in regard to any other runner."

And if all that weren't enough, the Rules Committee saw fit to include a case play to illustrate the concept of abandonment: "Runner believing he is called out on a tag at first or third base starts for the dugout and progresses a reasonable distance still indicating by his actions that he is out, shall be declared out for abandoning the bases."

We have discussed the issue of a game-ending situation relative to abandonment many times over.
Related PostWalk On - Bases Loaded HBP Abandonment Forces Extras (4/6/18).

Abandonment can occur during a home run.
KEEP IN MIND: This rule also applies to potential walk-off situations. If, during a potential game-winning home run, a baserunner cuts across the field instead of completing the base touch responsibilities (e.g., if R1 touches second, but then runs back to first to celebrate and makes no effort to run the bases), that baserunner would be out for abandonment. Unless there are two out (in which case the inning is over and no following runners may score), the batter-runner would still be permitted to score. This type of abandonment is important to know, because the timing of abandonment relative to a potential "passing a preceding runner" situation would dictate the batter-runner's ability to advance. A trailing runner, obviously, cannot be declared out for passing a preceding runner if such preceding runner has already been declared out for abandonment prior to the potential passing.
Related PostCase Play 2016-11 - Time to Pass a Runner [Solved] (9/16/16).

TELL THEM APART: Running more than three feet out of the base path to avoid a tag 5.09(b)(1) can be differentiated from abandonment 5.09(b)(2) by the runner's actions: if there is intent to avoid a tag attempt, the out is 5.09(b)(1). If the reason for the runner's movement is principally "I'm not running the bases anymore," the out is 5.09(b)(2). Keep in mind that until a runner actually passes a base to which the runner is headed, abandonment has not occurred and a trailing runner may declared be out for passing. This also applies to any batter-runner who has already touched first base (or run past first base without physically touching it sans appeal). If the BR hasn't yet touched first, he can be retired by simply stepping on the base with the ball. Unlike abandonment rule 5.09(b)(2), out-of-the-base-path rule 5.09(b)(1) does apply to a runner at all times, whether or not the runner has already touched first base.
Related PostO's Lodge Protest Over Runners Passing Rule Application (4/7/18).

Video as follows:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Leaving Early - Ump Heads Out to Catch a Flight

Sunday's American Athletic Conference game started with three umpires and ended with two not due to injury or illness, but because an umpire had to catch a flight out of town.

Bob Emslie left a game early to catch a train.
Moments earlier, 3B Umpire Matthew Hensel had ejected Tulane Green Wave coach Travis Jewett for arguing an out call at third base, only to find himself also leaving the ballgame due to a Sunday night time crunch.

Sunday's fun actually began Saturday, when inclement weather forced host Tulane to postpone the second game of its series against Houston, opting for a doubleheader on Sunday.

Additional weather concerns prompted the delay of Game 1 Sunday morning, which pushed back the second game into a conflict with Hensel's scheduled flight out of New Orleans.

According to the American Athletic Conference, which in 2018 assigns three-person crews for league games, an umpire may leave early in order to catch a flight out of the city on the last day of a series, referred to as absenteeism. In such case, the game will finish with two umpires. An AAC spokesperson said the conference will begin assigning four-person crews in 2019.

Tulane, which generally hires four umpires for all non-conference games, reportedly offered to provide Hensel with an additional night of lodging and meal per diem, but the deal did not work out.

NCAA Rule 3-6-h states, "No umpire may be replaced in a game unless the individual becomes ill or injured" (the equivalent OBR citation is 8.02(d), but unlike NCAA Baseball, the professional book hasn't yet adapted "the individual" and still uses the gendered pronoun, "he").

There is no rules restriction in place for an umpire leaving early, and Hensel's departure is hardly the first time a delayed game has interfered with an umpire's postgame travel plans. Rather, Hensel's exit simply follows a nearly 150-year baseball history of umpires leaving games early to catch a train or plane.

This three-person crew grew to four.
For instance, the first date of an umpire change recorded in Retrosheet's database indicates that home plate umpire Mays left the August 11, 1871 matchup between Forest Cities and Kekiongas for the reason, "Catch train." Mays was replaced by Mort Dawson.

Between 1903 and 1906, four umpires left early to catch trains, including Jack Sheridan, Bob Emslie, Tim Hurst, and Billy Evans. On August 26, 1913, Tommy Connolly left the Senators-White Sox game in the 8th inning in order to catch a train east toward his next assignment at Fenway Park.

The most recent umpire to leave a game early in order to catch a train, Al Barlick, made it to the 11th inning of September 28, 1952's Braves-Dodgers game before he left for home following that final game of the season; he was replaced behind home plate by Tom Gorman.

On the other side of the equation, umpires' late arrivals have delayed the start of games—see April 10, 2013 in Washington—since 1891; the most recent umpire to enter a game after it had already started is Joe West, who joined the April 20, 2017 Tigers-Rays game in the first inning as an emergency replacement for Larry Vanover.
Related PostTrain Delay: Umpires Stuck in Traffic, Game Stalled 16 Min (4/10/13).
Related PostInjury Scout - Larry Vanover Out, Joe West In for DET-TB (4/20/17).

Traffic around Dodger Stadium.
A late arrival and delayed start time perhaps contributed to Hunter Wendelstedt's 2011 ejection of Rockies Manager Jim Tracy for arguing a balk call at Dodger Stadium. Wendelstedt's crew, including chief Jerry Layne, Bob Davidson, and Brian Knight, had gotten stuck in notoriously gridlocked Friday night Los Angeles freeway traffic.

According to a Dodgers spokesperson, "they were delayed by a fatal accident on the freeway that didn’t involve the umpires."
Related PostEjections: Hunter Wendelstedt (7) (8/26/11)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MLB Ejection 022 - Vic Carapazza (1; Albert Pujols)

HP Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Angels DH Albert Pujols (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Red Sox-Angels game. With two out and one on (R1), Pujols took a 1-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher David Price for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -.628, pz 2.435) and that all pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Red Sox were leading, 9-1. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 10-1.

This is Vic Carapazza (19)'s first ejection of 2018.
Vic Carapazza now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 2).
Crew Chief Jerry Layne now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*The pitch was located 3.432 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 22nd ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 14th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Pujols was 1-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Anaheim's 1st ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL West (HOU, LAA 1; OAK, SEA, TEX 0).
This is Albert Pujols' first ejection since August 8, 2017 (Ramon De Jesus; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Vic Carapazza's first ejection since Sept 13, 2017 (Robinson Cano; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 4/17/18 | Video as follows:

Special Event Roster - 2018 Puerto Rico Umpires

MLB appointed the following umpires to officiate the 2018 Puerto Rico series between Cleveland and Minnesota at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan.

Umpire Roberto Ortiz is a PR native.
Game 1 Assignments
HP: Cory Blaser.
1B: Eric Cooper.
2B: Gary Cederstrom -cc.
3B: Roberto Ortiz.

Ortiz, who made his big league debut in 2016, is originally from Puerto Rico and is the second Puerto Rican to officiate Major League Baseball games, the first being former MiLB call-up Delfin Colón. Ortiz, who is on the 2018 Pacific Coast League roster, was born in Caguas, which is less than a 30-minute drive from the ballpark and makes history as the only PR native to officiate a regular season MLB game in Puerto Rico.
Related PostMajor League Debut of Umpire Roberto Ortiz (40) (5/14/16).

MLB has previously assigned foreign-born umpires to significant games featuring their lands of origin. For instance, Canadian umpire Stu Scheurwater recently officiated the Blue Jays' preseason exhibition games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, while Angel Hernandez and Laz Diaz—both of whom have Cuban heritage (Hernandez was born in Havana and Diaz's parents emigrated to the United States from Cuba)—officiated MLB's Cuba exhibition series in 2016.
Related PostMLB in Cuba Roster Features US Umps Diaz, Hernandez (3/22/16).

Major League Debut of Umpire Jansen Visconti (52)

Umpire Jansen Visconti makes his MLB debut during Tuesday's Royals-Blue Jays doubleheader in Toronto, joining Jerry Meals' crew as the first base umpire alongside HP Umpire Ed Hickox, 2B Umpire Ron Kulpa, and 3B Umpire Gabe Morales for Game 1, and as the third base umpire for Game 2.

Umpire Jansen Visconti.
Visconti is on the International League roster for the 2018 season, which is his fourth season in Triple-A. Upon graduation from the Wendelstedt School for Umpires, Visconti officiated in the Gulf Coast (2010), New York-Penn ('10), Florida Instructional ('10), South Atlantic ('11), Carolina ('12), Arizona Instructional ('12-'13), and Eastern ('13-'14) leagues. He officiated the 2017 Arizona Fall League and 2017 AFL Rising Stars Game, in addition to officiating the 2017 IL postseason. Visconti also served as 1B Umpire during the 2014 MiLB All-Star Futures Game at Target Field.
Related Post: 2017 AFL Roster (10/5/17).

Visconti received the sleeve number assignment of 52 during Spring Training 2018, the second umpire to receive a sleeve number during the preseason. #52 was last worn by current MLB umpire Bill Welke, who switched to brother Tim Welke's #3 upon Tim's retirement in 2016.
Related Post: MLB Assigns New Fill-Ins Rehak, Visconti Sleeve Numbers (3/22/18).

Visconti makes his MLB debut at the age of 30. He resides in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and is the second rookie fill-in umpire to make his debut during the 2018 regular season (Jeremie Rehak, 4/9/18).
Related PostMajor League Debut of Umpire Jeremie Rehak (35) (4/9/18).

Visconti's most recent MiLB game was Friday, April 13's IL matchup between Indianapolis and Buffalo, after which a northeastern storm caused the postponement of the remainder of the series.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Replay Rewind - Arizona's Lost HR & CIN's Bunt for Two

Welcome to Replay Rewind, a look back at some notable video reviews in baseball. In this inaugural edition, Arizona loses a home run due to a base-running blunder and Cincinnati earns a two-base bunt.

Marrero briefly runs past the entirety of Avila.
R-111 (Passing Runners; Overturned): Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, Diamondbacks batter Deven Marrero blasted Dodgers starter Rich Hill's 75th pitch of the ballgame over the left-center field wall for a three-run home run, scoring runners from first and second base. With baserunner R1 Alex Avila retreating toward first base for a potential tag-up play with one out as batter-runner Marrero rounded the bag, Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts elected to challenge the umpires' ruling that Marrero did not pass Avila.

Replay HQ cited the accompanying image, captured from the center field camera, as its Definitive Angle in opting to overturn the umpires' ruling that the BR Marrero did not pass R1 Avila. Thus, Marrero was declared out and his run nullified, for a two-RBI single. No matter, Arizona still won the game in blowout fashion.

Gibson sees the ball, but not the baserunners.
What's odd about this play is Arizona broadcaster Steve Berthiume's observation that 2B Umpire Brian Gorman (and not the first base umpire) signaled the BR/R1 interaction as legal, that 1B Umpire Tripp Gibson appeared to be the only umpire to significantly move during this play (3B Umpire Dan Iassogna appeared to have never left the infield dirt), and that no umpire saw the interaction around first base (replays indicate Gibson, for instance, was looking in the opposite direction as Marrero rounded first base).

In the end, R-111 reads "Passing, 73 Gibson, R-QOCN."

See the following Case Play for more about the rule regarding a trailing runner passing a predecessor.
Related PostCase Play 2016-11 - Time to Pass a Runner [Solved] (9/16/16).

A poor throw leads to a boundary replay.
R-127 (In Play/Out of Play; Overturned): Sunday in Cincinnati, Reds batter Tucker Barnhart bunted to Cardinals third baseman Greg Garcia, who threw to first baseman Jose Martinez as Barnhart arrived at first base. Garcia's throw was into the batter-runner, bounced off Barnhart, and caromed toward the end of the first-base dugout. Replays indicate BR Barnhart prematurely exited the 45-foot runner's lane, and was on the grass when he was struck by the throw, appearing to block first baseman Martinez from his attempted catch; however, HP Umpire Alan Porter declined to rule interference because Garcia's throw was of poor quality. As the Wendelstedt manual would put it, Garcia's throw could not reasonably retire Barnhart, and for that reason, runner's lane interference was not called.

With RLI out of the picture, offensive manager Bryan Price challenged HP Umpire Porter's ruling that the ball was in play. This is a difficult get for the plate umpire if for no other reason than Porter was on the foul line ruling on Barnart's legality at the time of the potential stadium boundary issue. The Replay Official thus overturned Porter based on the finding that the ball hit an object inside the camera well before bounding back onto the playing field; RLI, obviously, is not reviewable.

Mike Scioscia tried protesting a game based on an RLI no-call in 2016; naturally, MLB denied it.
Related PostAngels Protest Cuzzi RLI No-Call in Kansas City [Denied] (7/27/16).

See the following analyses regarding batter-runner positioning and potential RLI interference.
Related PostRunning Lane Interference and Advancing to 1st Base (9/6/15).
Related PostRunner's Lane Interference Plagues Chicago's Heyward (5/24/17).

Videos as follows:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

MLB Ejection 021 - Hunter Wendelstedt (5; C Counsell)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Brewers Manager Craig Counsell (strike three call; QOCN) in the top of the 5th inning of the Brewers-Mets game. With one out and one on (R2), Brewers batter Jett Bandy took a 3-2 sinker from Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard for a called third strike, the only called strike of the at bat. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px 0.077, pz 1.460 [sz_bot 1.627 / MOE 1.544], the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Mets were leading, 1-0. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

This is Hunter Wendelstedt (42 [21])'s fifth ejection of 2018.
Hunter Wendelstedt now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (9 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 7).
Crew Chief Larry Vanover now has 8 points in Crew Division (8 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 8).
*The 3-2 pitch was located 1.008 vertical inches from being deemed a correct call.

This is the 21st ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the seventh Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Milwaukee's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st in the NL Central (MIL 2; CHC, CIN, PIT, STL 0).
This is Craig Counsell's first ejection since July 18, 2017 (Mike Muchlinski; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's 5th ejection of 2018, 1st since April 11 (Tommy Kahnle; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets, 4/15/18 | Video as follows:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Tarp Lodge - A Ball Still Moving Cannot Be Stuck

A Boston blooper turned into a Baltimore blunder Friday at Fenway Park when Orioles batter Adam Jones' pop-fly in shallow right field fell onto the field's tarp, setting up a challenge to determine whether the ball was stuck, lodged, or free, as Red Sox RF Mookie Betts threw out a jogging Jones, who had eased up, assuming the ball was out of play.

Replay Review: O's Manager Buck Showalter challenged 1B Umpire Stu Scheurwater's ruling that the baseball was live and in play along the right field wall.

Analysis: When Jones' batted ball bounced from fair territory to the LL Bean tarp along the right field fence-line, many of those on the playing field—including Jones—likely lost sight of the ball as it dropped behind the apex of the tarp. Official Baseball Rule 5.05(a)(7) states that the batter becomes a runner when, among others:
Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases.
Rule 5.06(b)(4)(F) is the equivalent for runners ("...Two bases, if a fair ball bounces or is deflected into the stands outside the first or third base foul lines; or if it goes through or under a field fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence; or if it sticks in such fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines").

Is this ball stuck behind the tarp?
When it comes to tarps, the Universal Ground Rules simply states, "A catch may be made on the field tarp." Fortunately the MLB Umpire Manual helps further establish that Rule 5.06(b)(4)(F) applies to tarps: "A ball that goes behind a field tarp or wall padding without leaving the playing field should also be considered to be lodged and the same two base award applies. The determination of whether a ball is lodged is subject to Replay Review."

We usually see this with batted balls that roll to the outfield wall, when the question becomes whether or not the ball has become stuck in the small space formed by warning track, base of the wall, and bottom of the wall's padding, which generally protrudes several inches onto the playing field. Colloquially, as long as the ball indeed sticks underneath the padding, it is considered out of play. If the ball remains in motion or appears loose, it is considered in play simply because the ball has not yet proven itself to be "stuck" or otherwise out of play. For instance, a ball that rolls underneath wall padding, only to carom back onto the naked warning track is in play.
Related PostCause You're Stuck in the Wall - Batted Ball Out of Play (9/20/16).

Cederstrom & Scheurwater await a decision.
Back to Fenway, the potential lodge location is created by the curved tarp and vertical padded wall: as long as the ball is moving and accessible to the fielder, it is live and in play; when it comes to rest, it may be deemed "stuck" and out of play.

Here is some support from MLBUM, regarding its interpretation of batted balls that land on top of outfield walls—not directly applicable, but the interp gives an idea of how motion influences a ball's status: "A fair fly ball striking the top of the outfield wall and remaining on the top of the wall shall be deemed a ground-rule double...A fair fly ball that strikes the top of the outfield wall and is picked up by a spectator while still in motion shall be ruled a home run. A fair fly ball that lands on top of the outfield wall and is picked up by a spectator after coming to a stop shall be deemed a ground-rule double."
Related Post: Replay Review, Ground Rules, and Levi's Landing (9/1/17).

Hidden from view, this ball is not dead yet.
Conclusion: As long as the ball is still in motion and accessible to a fielder, it is alive and in play, if for no other reason than it is not yet dead; once the ball stops moving, it is subject to remedial action, such as Rule 5.06(b)(4)(F), and a two-base award from time-of-pitch would be appropriate.

As umpire Mike DiMuro once said, "Ultimately, the proper ruling must be made by the base umpire who is responsible for the flight of the ball – and it is only possible to do so by running out to the fence to visually discern and confirm that the ball is indeed lodged or stuck. If the fielder dislodges the ball by grabbing it and removing it, then it can no longer be considered lodged or stuck."

Because of Betts' speed in retrieving the baseball, however, it is difficult even with instant replay to determine whether the ball came to rest—whether it was truly stuck behind the tarp. The Replay Official, faced with this inconclusive evidence, ruled that the call should stand: Jones is credited with a single and Betts with a 9-6 putout.

That said, if Betts' arrival to the ball is a split second later, perhaps the evidence would then be clear and convincing that the ball, indeed, was "stuck." | Video as follows:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Back to Work - Dale Scott to Throw First Pitch at LGBT Night

Out of retirement: Former MLB umpire Dale Scott will be back on the field this June at Dodger Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Los Angeles' LGBT Night. Here's hoping the team selects a retired big league pitcher as honorary home plate umpire for Scott's pitch, which kicks off LA's June 8 game against the Atlanta Braves.

Scott retired following the 2017 season, capping off an esteemed 32-year career in the American and Major Leagues, which featured 3,897 regular season games, 90 ejections, three All-Star appearances, and 22 postseason series assignments, including the 1998, 2001, and 2004 World Series. His career came to a premature end following a concussion sustained in Toronto in April 2017, his fourth game-ending head injury since 2012, and seventh overall exit during that span.
Related PostDale Scott Retires in Wake of Concussion in Toronto (12/12/17).

Scott was a crew chief for 16 MLB seasons.
Scott, who served as the first active publicly gay umpire in Major League Baseball, was named UEFL Honorable Umpire of the Year in 2015, following his marriage to longtime partner Michael Rausch and feature article in SB*Nation's Outsports, whose motto is, "Courage is Contagious." Scott had first sent a photograph of himself & Michael to Referee Magazine to run alongside an article covering MLB's 2014 Opening Series in Australia, for which Scott served as one of four MLB umpire representatives, working as a crew chief during the Diamondbacks-Team Australia exhibition game and backup to Tim Welke during the two Dodgers-D'Backs games to kick off the 2014 regular season.
Related PostDale Scott Comes Out as Gay After Feature Article (12/2/14).
Related Post2015 Honorable Umpires - John Hirschbeck & Dale Scott (11/8/15).

Former umpire Dave Pallone had previously alleged, in his book Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, that baseball unceremoniously forced him out of the sport following a 1988 New York Post story that outed the former NL umpire after 10 years and 1361 games in the big leagues. Pallone now serves as a motivational speaker concerning matters of diversity and empowerment, and is a member of The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Scott—who was also inducted into the Hall of Fame and whose own story was separated from Pallone's by decades—praised baseball for its support in the modern era.

In a bit of trivia, Scott's June journey to the mound this June corresponds to where crew mate Jim Joyce called balls and strikes from when then-plate umpire Scott departed the March 5, 2015 Cubs-Giants Spring Training game due to a hand injury.
Related Post: Dale Scott Exits with Injury, Joyce Umps Behind Mound (3/5/15).

LGBT Night at Dodger Stadium is in its sixth year, and offers a special event ticket package for fans.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

2018 Instant Replay - Status Report at Review No. 100

Here's a look at how umpires and teams have fared through 100 Replay Reviews into the 2018 regular season (104 through April 11's games). Gabe Morales is the league's most successful umpire, Jeff Kellogg the most overturned, Detroit the most successful team, and a three-way tie for least successful. The most common reasons for review are 1) Force plays at first base, 2) Tag attempts on stolen bases, and 3) Tags into a base off a base hit.

Follow along throughout the season on our Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics page.

Replay Pie Summary - 51% Upheld.
Replay Review Decisions: 104 (games ending 4/11/18).
Total Upheld: 53 (51.0%) [Compare to 50.2% in 2017.]
Total Overturned: 51 (49.0%). [49.8% in 2017.]

Leaderboard - Top 10 Umpires (Through 4/11/18).
1. Gabe Morales - 1.000 (3 for 3).
2. Danley, Fairchild, Ben May - 1.000 (2 for 2).
5. [15 Tied] - 1.000 (1 for 1).
20. [7 Tied] - .667 (2 for 3 or 4 for 6).
... [43 Umpires with No Replays] ...
43. [11 Tied] - .000 (0 for 1).
54. Cuzzi, Hernandez, Marquez - .000 (0 for 2).
57. Barksdale, DiMuro - .000 (0 for 3).
59. Kellogg - .000 (0 for 4).

Replay Reviews by Type (click image for full view).
Leaderboard - Teams (Through 4/11/18).
1DET (5/5) 1.000
1KC (3/3) 1.000
1SF(3/3) 1.000
1BAL (1/1) 1.000
1COL (1/1) 1.000
1LAD(1/1) 1.000
7LAA (4/5) 0.800
8CWS(3/4) 0.750
9ARI(2/3) 0.667
10PIT(3/5) 0.600
10TB(3/5) 0.600
12HOU(1/2) 0.500
12NYM(1/2) 0.500
12PHI(2/4) 0.500
12STL(2/4) 0.500
12ATL(3/6) 0.500
12MIN(3/6) 0.500
12NYY(3/6) 0.500
19MIA(2/5) 0.400
20CLE(1/3) 0.333
20TEX(2/6) 0.333
22CHC(1/4) 0.250
22WAS(1/4) 0.250
24SEA (0/1) 0.000
24MIL(0/2) 0.000
24SD(0/2) 0.000
24OAK(0/2) 0.000
24CIN(0/3) 0.000
24BOS(0/3) 0.000
24TOR(0/3) 0.000

Leaderboard - Reasons for Review
1. Out/Safe (Force - 1st) - 22 reviews (.318 RAP).
2. Out/Safe (Tag - Stolen Base) - 17 reviews (.588 RAP).
3. Out/Safe (Tag - Into Base) - 12 reviews (.583 RAP).
4. Out/Safe (Pulled Foot) - 9 reviews (.556 RAP).
5. Out/Safe (Tag - Pickoff) - 9 reviews (.222 RAP).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

MLB Ejections 017-20 - H Wendelstedt (1-4; NYY-BOS)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly (throwing at), Yankees DH Tyler Austin (fighting/charging mound), 3B Coach Phil Nevin, and P Tommy Kahnle (fighting/bench clearing brawl; QOCU) in the top of the 7th inning of the Yankees-Red Sox game. With one out and none on, Austin took a 2-1 fastball from Kelly for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the 97.7-mph pitch was located inside, the second inside fastball of the at bat, and struck Austin on the left arm, prompting Austin to charge the mound and the benches to clear following a prior bench clearing incident in the 3rd inning as the result of an Austin slide into second base (and unsuccessful slide rule interference challenge by Boston Manager Alex Cora), the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the Yankees were leading, 10-6. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 10-7.

These are Hunter Wendelstedt (21)'s first, second, third, and fourth ejections of 2018.
Hunter Wendelstedt now has 9 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 4*[2 MLB + 0 QOCU] = 9).
Crew Chief Larry Vanover now has 7 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 4 Irrecusable Call = 7).

These are the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th ejections of the 2018 MLB regular season and 6-9th of the day.
These are the 11th, 12th, and 13th player ejections of 2018, and sixth through eighth of the day.
Prior to ejection, Austin was 1-2 (RBI, SO) in the contest and Kelly's line was 0.1 IP, HBP.
This is Boston's 1st ejection of 2018, 2nd in the AL East (NYY 3; BOS 1; BAL, TB, TOR 0).
This is New York's 1/2/3rd ejection of 2018, 1st in the AL East (NYY 3; BOS 1; BAL, TB, TOR 0).
This is Joe Kelly's first career MLB ejection.
This is Tyler Austin's first career MLB ejection.
This is Phil Nevin's first ejection since September 11, 2005 (Gary Darling; QOC = U [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Tommy Kahnle's first ejection since August 24, 2017 (Carlos Torres; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's first ejection since June 28, 2017 (Jake Petricka; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, 4/11/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 012-16 - Brian Gorman (2-6; SD-COL)

HP Umpire Brian Gorman ejected Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo (throwing at), Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado (charging the mound/fighting), Padres C AJ Ellis, Rockies P German Marquez, and LF Gerardo Parra (fighting/bench clearing brawl; all QOCU) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the Padres-Rockies game. With none out and none on, Arenado took a first-pitch fastball from Perdomo for a called first ball. Replays indicate the 96-mph pitch was located chest-high and thrown behind Arenado, resulting in Arenado's charging the mound and bench-clearing incident during which the remaining three players were ejected for fighting, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

These are Brian Gorman (9)'s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th ejections of 2018.
Brian Gorman now has 14 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 5*[2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call] = 14).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 6 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 5*[1 Irrecusable Call] = 6).

These are the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th ejections of the 2018 MLB regular season.
These are the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th ejections of 2018. Prior to ejection, Arenado was 0-1 in the contest.
Prior to ejection, Perdomo's line was 2.0 IP, 0 R. Marquez's line was 3.0 IP, 0 R.
Prior to ejection, Ellis was 0-1 (SO) in the contest. Prior to ejection, Parra was 1-2 in the contest.
This is San Diego's 2/3rd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the NL West (COL, SD 3; ARI 2; LAD, SF 0).
This is Colorado's 1/2/3rd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the NL West (COL, SD 3; ARI 2; LAD, SF 0).
This is Luis Perdomo's first career MLB ejection.
This is Nolan Arenado's first ejection since August 12, 2017 (Pat Hoberg; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is AJ Ellis' first ejection since May 29, 2015 (Mike Winters; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is German Marquez's first career MLB ejection.
This is Gerardo Parra's first ejection since July 29, 2010 (Adrian Johnson; QOC = Y [USC-NEC]).
This is Brian Gorman's 2-6th ejection of 2018, 1st since April 9 (Andy Green; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies, 4/11/18 | Videos as follows:

Staying Warm During a Cold Delay - Watch Laz Whip

At the beginning and end of the day, baseball is about having fun, and for the 5,772 fans who braved frigid temperatures in Cleveland Tuesday evening, a three-minute Replay Review wasn't quite what the doctor ordered.

Enter home plate umpire Laz Diaz, MLB's resident officiating comic. With both teams and other umpires dressed in their cold weather best, including 2B Umpire Manny Gonzalez wearing Laz's #63-adorned heavy base jacket, Diaz turned lemons into frozen lemonade, singing and bobbing along to the Progressive Field DJ's Replay Review music selections.

In the end, replay overturned Gonzalez's out call on Niko Goodrum's daring tag up on a fly ball to center.

Watch Laz Whip and Nae Nae: Video as follows:

Monday, April 9, 2018

MLB Ejection 011 - Brian Gorman (1; Andy Green)

2B Umpire Brian Gorman ejected Padres Manager Andy Green (Replay Review decision that upheld 3B Umpire Dan Iassogna's HR [no fan interference] call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Padres-Rockies game. With one out and one on (R1), Rockies batter Carlos Gonzalez hit a 1-1 changeup from Padres pitcher Jordan Lyles on a fly ball to left center field, whereupon Padres LF Cory Spangenberg attempted to catch the baseball, ruled a home run by 3B Umpire Iassogna and affirmed via Crew Chief Review initiated by 2B Umpire Gorman. Replays indicate the descending fly ball appeared to enter Spangenberg's glove, but subsequently bounced over the wall as Spangenberg's glove made contact first with a spectator whose hands were atop, but not definitively beyond the horizontally flat portion of the outfield wall, and then the wall itself, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Padres were leading, 7-6. The Padres ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

This is Brian Gorman (9)'s first ejection of 2018.
Brian Gorman now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
*The definition of spectator interference was revised for the 2018 season as the result of a 2016 incident.
Related PostMLB Changes Rules for Retired Runner, Fan Interference (3/25/18).
"Spectator interference occurs when a spectator (or an object thrown by the spectator) hinders a player’s attempt to make a play on a live ball, by going onto the playing field, or reaching out of the stands and over the playing field."
*Because the fan's hands were positioned on the out-of-play side of the plane separating the playing field from the spectator area at the time of contact with Spangenberg, the "reaching out of the stands and over the playing field" criterion is not satisfied, and this cannot be spectator interference, even though contact was made between fan and glove. The fielder reaches across the plane at his own peril. In other words, the fan owns the flat part of the wall, while the fielder owns the vertical space on the playing field side of the plane at which the warning track meets the base of the fence. The fan may legally go to, but not through, the plane.
Related PostBoundary Call - Spectator Interference vs Out of Play (5/17/17).

This is the 11th ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 6th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is San Diego's 1st ejection of 2018, 2nd in the NL West (ARI 2; SD 1; COL, LAD, SF 0).
This is Andy Green's first ejection since August 6, 2017 (Tripp Gibson; QOC = N [Interference]).
This is Brian Gorman's first ejection since May 29, 2017 (Bryce Harper; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies, 4/9/18 | Video as follows:

Major League Debut of Umpire Jeremie Rehak (35)

Umpire Jeremie Rehak makes his MLB debut during Monday's Mariners-Royals game in Kansas City, joining Gerry Davis' crew as the second base umpire alongside HP Umpire Mark Carlson, 1B Umpire Brian Knight, and 3B Umpire and Crew Chief Davis.

Umpire Jeremie Rehak.
Rehak takes the place of Pat Hoberg.

Rehak is on the International League roster for the 2018 season, which is his third season in Triple-A. Upon graduation from the Wendelstedt School for Umpires, Rehak umpired in the Gulf Coast (2011), Appalachian ('12), Florida Instructional ('12), Midwest ('13), California ('13), Eastern ('14-'15), and Arizona Instructional ('14) leagues. He officiated the 2017 Arizona Fall League and served as second base umpire for the 2017 AFL's Championship Game, in addition to officiating the 2017 IL postseason.
Related Post: 2017 AFL Roster (10/5/17).

He officiated MLB Spring Training in 2017 and 2018, receiving the sleeve number assignment of 35 in April 2018. #35 was last worn by the late Wally Bell, who passed away during the 2013 postseason at the age of 48.
Related PostMLB Assigns New Fill-Ins Rehak, Visconti Sleeve Numbers (3/22/18).

Rehak makes his MLB debut at the age of 30. He resides in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, is the first rookie fill-in umpire to make his debut during the 2018 regular season.

His most recent MiLB game was Sunday, April 8's IL matchup between Toledo and Louisville.

A Historical Analysis of Foster's Rendon Ejection

History sure has a habit of repeating itself, even with ejections and controversy. Just one year before Marty Foster ejected Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon for a post-strikeout bat flip, umpire David Rackley tossed Joc Pederson for throwing equipment after the Dodgers center fielder struck out in a similar Opening Week game.
Related PostMLB Ejection 002 - David Rackley (1; Joc Pederson) (4/6/17).
Related PostMLB Ejections 008-9 - Marty Foster (1-2; Rendon, Martinez) (4/7/18).

How bad is throwing a bat, anyway?
Though Rackley's April 6, 2017 ejection of Pederson involved more forceful chucking of equipment, including a helmet spike, whereas Foster's appeared to concern a bat toss, there's more to consider when it comes to ejections for throwing equipment relative to MLB's intermediate step, the equipment violation.

For example, HP Umpire Angel Hernandez on April 8, 2017 opted to issue batter Edwin Encarnacion an equipment violation in response to Encarnacion throwing his bat—inadvertently in Hernandez's direction—after striking out as the result of a check swing call by 1B Umpire Lance Barksdale. Though it appeared Encarnacion threw his equipment in response to the call, he was permitted to remain in the game.
Related PostNon-Ejection - Edwin Throws Bat Near Angel Hernandez (4/9/17).

Joc Pederson spikes his equipment.
At the time, the glaring difference between the Pederson ejection and Encarnacion fine was that Pederson threw two pieces of equipment (helmet and bat), with force, as opposed to Encarnacion's one (the bat). Though throwing equipment in disgust is grounds for ejection, less severe infractions may be met with warning or imposition of the equipment violation (monetary fine). This acknowledges the immediacy or "heat of the moment" reaction, while nonetheless subjecting an unsporting act to a less severe yet still tangible penalty. By throwing two equipment items, Pederson advanced past the "heat of the moment" phase into repeat or prolonged unsportsmanlike conduct territory.
Related Post: Ejections - What and Wherefore? Standards for Removal (3/29/17).

Ted Barrett ejects Jose Reyes after helmet toss.
The sentiment is reinforced with Ted Barrett's 2013 ejection of Jose Reyes for arguing a strike three call. Following his strikeout, Reyes yelled and tossed his bat aside, earning a warning and equipment violation. As Reyes continued toward the middle infield, he slung his helmet back toward home plate, resulting in his removal from the game. Again, the first reaction and bat flip resulted in a warning, while his continued complaining and second equipment toss prompted his ejection.
Related Post: MLB Ejection 142: Ted Barrett (1; Jose Reyes) (8/21/13).

Joe West Speaks: In response to a pool reporter's question, crew chief Joe West described Foster's ejection:
The pitch prior to the strikeout, he walked completely out of the hitter's circle, which the hitters aren't allowed to do. Marty said, 'We gotta play. You gotta get back in there.' Then when he called strike three, he threw the bat. You have some options there, and Marty felt that what he did was showing him up worse than what an equipment violation would've been, and that's why he ejected him. You have to do something or he loses all respect from the players. I understand that he could've (not done anything), but he chose that this was the penalty for what he did. So it was more involved than just strikeout, throwing equipment.
Continued complaining is ejectable.
Prolonged: Replays indicate Rendon did indeed leave the batter's box after Foster's strike two call. Accordingly, if the complaint began on strike two, Foster may have ruled Rendon's bat flip as a continuation of the strike zone dispute, ejecting him for his prolonged argument.

Additionally, as West referred to in his comment, Rendon's actions after strike two violated Rule 5.04(b)(4)(A) ["The Batter's Box Rule"], which states, "The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter's box throughout the batter's time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies." A called strike is not one of the exceptions listed in OBR 5.04(b) and replays do show Rendon leaving the box.

That said, the penalty for violation of the Batter's Box Rule is a warning for the first offense, and referral to the league office for any subsequent violation (MLB) or automatic strike (MiLB). On a related note, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred previously stated that if players are unable to adhere to pace-of-play initiatives, such as the Batter's Box Rule, on their own, the league would consider unilaterally installing pitch clocks in 2019.
Related Post2018 Pace of Play Changes Limit Mound Visits, No Clock (2/19/18).
Related PostMinor Teague Ball: The One Pitch Strikeout and Ejection (8/4/13).

Marvin Hudson in 2015 ejected Bryce Harper for arguing balls and strikes in his failure to adhere to the Batter's Box Rule. According to postgame comments, Harper had the left his position in the batter's box when no exception applied, and, while out of the box, argued balls and strikes. It is illegal to leave one's position to argue balls and strikes, and, thus, Harper was ejected.
Related Post: MLB Ejections 051-052: Hudson (1-2; Harper, Williams) (5/20/15).

MiLB's Ron Teague called auto Ks.
As relates to throwing equipment, MLBUM describes the difference between a warning for equipment violation and ejection for throwing equipment in disgust as follows: "If the umpire deems the action severe, the umpire may eject the offender. If league regulations permit, the umpire may instead warn the offender by issuing an equipment violation. If issued, the offender is to be notified immediately."

Thus, the umpire has some leeway in both interpretation of the equipment-throw act and in determining its severity.

Gil's Call: Foster ejected Rendon for throwing his equipment in disgust, which is one of baseball's Standards for Removal from the Game—no warning or equipment violation is required for a "severe" action. Complicating matters, Rendon's underlying offense was his continued strike zone complaint that persisted through at least two pitches, and this is most likely why Foster judged the bat flip to be "severe": the continued complaining served as an aggravating circumstance that contributed to the severity determination. In a vacuum and without the prior complaint, the bat flip would have been deemed minor, if anything at all; however, because of the strike two reaction, Foster's radar was up and he found the flip anything but minor.

Unfortunately for Foster, the optics of the play fall victim to the optics of most continued complaining or prolonged arguing ejections: very few people will appreciate the length or persistence of the complaint. Based on Rendon's actions after strike two, it is clear Rendon is attempting to argue balls and strikes—and even leaves his position (the batter's box) in order to get his point across. He delays the game for possibly 10 to 15 seconds before getting ready to face the two-strike pitch.

After strike three, though Rendon doesn't say a word, Foster interprets the bat flip as a continued complaint in addition to equipment being thrown in disgust, making it, in Foster's mind anyway, a severe offense meritorious of ejection. On its own, this likely was an equipment violation waiting to happen.

In all, this sequence appears to qualify as the umpiring equivalent of "he baited him into an ejection."