Monday, May 14, 2018

Dodger Stadium Deja Vu - Double Switch Drama in LA

For the second time in as many years, double switch drama infected Dodger Stadium as Reds Manager Jim Riggleman, plate umpire Alan Porter, and a pair of Cincinnati outfielders suffered through late-inning the music too loud in LA?

Friday's substitutions had some problems.
The question is part tongue-in-cheek, yet equally legitimate. Last season, HP Umpire Lance Barrett misheard Twins Manager Paul Molitor in Los Angeles as he relayed a substitution request during a television timeout and commercial break, resulting in 18 minutes of confusion, chaos, and communication problems that saw the wrong player enter the game, only to be removed for the player listed on Barrett's lineup card as the proper substitute—well, kind of.
Related PostDouble Switch Drama in LA and the Lineup Card Rule (7/26/17).

The issue of music volume at Dodger Stadium has been noted by legendary Dodgers voice Vin Scully (thinks it's too loud) and Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow (thinks it ruins the experience); the New York Times described it as, "it is so loud inside Dodger Stadium these days that Tommy Lasorda cannot listen to himself talk and Magic Johnson can hardly hear his own hyperbole."

Dodger Stadium's loudness has made waves.
Perhaps that is part of the problem of the double switch dilemma in Dodgertown: Last year, Barrett thought Molitor said a name he did not say and, this year, the Reds couldn't hear themselves think. The Dodgers' decibel devil has struck again.

Friday night at Chavez Ravine, the miscommunication involved Cincinnati's botched double switch attempt that caused a 7th inning delay after Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts submitted to umpire Porter a thoughtfully-timed inquiry.

As they say, "successfully appeal the Mets batting out of order one day, mess up a double switch the next."
Related PostReds' Batting Out of Order Appeal vs Mets 1st since 2016 (5/9/18).

The Play: With two out and none on in the bottom of the 7th inning of Friday's Reds-Dodgers game, Dodgers batter Max Muncy hit a solo home run off Reds pitcher Austin Brice, prompting Riggleman to remove Brice from the game.

Diagram of the unintentional "Triple Switch."
Riggleman approached Alan Porter prior to visiting the pitcher's mound, signifying a double switch {5.10(b) Comment, "The umpire-in-chief must be informed of the multiple substitutions and interchanged batting order before the manager calls for a new pitcher (regardless of whether the manager or coach announces the double-switch before crossing the foul line)"}. As part of Riggleman's intended double switch, incoming pitcher Amir Garrett replaced Brice and would bat first, in left fielder Jesse Winker's #1 spot. In turn, Winker would be replaced by Adam Duvall, batting 8th (the pitcher's spot, due up second in the top of the 8th inning).

Instead, what actually happened is that Winker remained in the game, moving from left to right field, and right fielder Scott Schebler, batting 6th, who made the final out of the top of the 7th inning, exited the game, while pitcher Garrett and substitute left fielder Duvall entered the game.

If you didn't catch it yet, Schebler shouldn't have departed.

The Rule: As we discussed last year when the Barrett/Molitor situation occurred, Rule 5.10(d) states that if play proceeds after an improper substitution is made, then, "If such direction to remove the substituted-for player occurs after play has commenced with the substituted-for player in the game, then the substitute player shall be deemed to have been removed from the game (in addition to the removal of the substituted-for player) and shall not enter the game."

Bob Geren waited until a pitch was thrown.
Analysis: In basic terms, this means that by waiting until batter Yasiel Puig saw a pitch before he approached the umpires, LA skipper Roberts—care of bench coach Bob Geren—forced the Reds to remove Winker (the substituted-for player) in addition to Schebler, thus creating a vacancy in right field (which Cincinnati filled with Alex Blandino, a player who had never appeared in an MLB outfield before).

And this is indeed what happened as acting crew chief Angel Hernandez, after convening the umpires, enforced 5.10(d) and ordered Winker to leave the field, joining Schebler in the dugout.

Had Roberts brought up the snafu to the umpires before Puig took a pitch, the mistake could have been fixed without costing Cincinnati the opportunity to keep Schebler in the game ("If such direction to remove the substituted for player occurs before play commences with the player improperly in the game, then the substitute player may enter the game"). Yes, in this case Winker is the "substituted for player" and Schebler is considered the "substitute player" for only one reason: Schebler was the one (not Duvall) sitting in the dugout with Winker remaining on the field, when the opposite placement (Schebler in the field and Winker in the dugout) should have occurred.

It's as if Geren could have been a manager...oddly enough, it was Geren's managerial "communication style" that received criticism in 2011, just one month before Oakland terminated his contract.

Back to this one, Cincinnati got the last laugh of the night, defeating Los Angeles, 6-2, going onto sweep the four-game series against the Dodgers.

Coincidentally, the 2017 Barrett/Molitor play also took place with Yasiel Puig at bat. What a mess.

Gil's Call: So, again, this light-hearted, half-joking question of sound system audio makes another appearance, only this time with a little more urgency: is the music at Dodger Stadium too darn loud?

Former Dodgers scribe Jon Weisman opined, concerning the music in LA, "I don't understand [for] whom they're making it loud for."

Maybe now we do: lulling visiting teams into a false sense of security until WHAM! Geren's deployment of the ol' unintentional "triple switch" trick. Either that or a curiously timed use of the "play" button while a pitcher is mid-windup. Works every time.
Related Video: Arizona speakers play loud Motley Crue sound to kickstart JJ Putz's delivery (ARI).

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: UEFL University explains the erroneous double switch in Los Angeles (UEFL)
Raw Video: Substitutions cause confusion in LA as Roberts calls out his Reds counterpart (CIN)


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