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."

Sunday, April 8, 2018

MLB Ejection 010 - Tim Timmons (1; Torey Lovullo)

HP Umpire Tim Timmons ejected Diamondbacks Manager Torey Lovullo (strike one-two-three calls, preceded USC-NEC/fighting STL catcher Yadier Molina; QOCY) in the top of the 2nd inning of the Diamondbacks-Cardinals game. With none out and none on, Diamondbacks batter AJ Pollock took a 0-0 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Luke Weaver for a called first strike, 3-1 fastball for a called second strike, and 3-2 fastball for a called third strike. Replays indicate the 0-0 pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and thigh high (px 0.859, pz 2.051), the 3-1 pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and waist high (px 0.530, pz 2.389), and the 3-2 pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.272, pz 1.448 [sz_bot 1.504 / MOE 1.421]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the contest, 4-1.

This is Tim Timmons (95)'s first ejection of 2018.
Tim Timmons now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Mike Winters now has 0 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 0).
*Reason for ejection is Balls/Strikes, as Lovullo was already ejected before engaging Yadier Molina.
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*The 3-2 pitch was located 0.324 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 10th ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 5th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Arizona's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st in the NL West (ARI 2; COL, LAD, SD, SF 0).
This is Torey Lovullo's first ejection since August 20, 2017 (John Tumpane; QOC = U [Warnings]).
This is Tim Timmons' first ejection since July 10, 2016 (Yunel Escobar; QOC = N-C [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 4/8/18 | Video as follows: