Saturday, May 5, 2018

MLB Ejection 032 - Dan Iassogna (1; Archie Bradley)

3B Umpire Dan Iassogna ejected Diamondbacks P Archie Bradley (check swing strike three call) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Astros-Diamondbacks game. With one out and one on (R2), Diamondbacks batter David Peralta attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 changeup from Astros pitcher Chris Devenski, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Mike DiMuro and a swing on appeal by 3B Umpire Iassogna. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0-1), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 3-3. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

This is Dan Iassogna (58)'s first ejection of 2018.
Dan Iassogna now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 3).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 11 points in Crew Division (10 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 11).

This is the 32nd ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 16th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Bradley's line was 1.1 IP, 0 R.
This is Arizona's 3rd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the NL West (ARI, COL, SD 3; SF 1; LAD 0).
This is Archie Bradley's first career MLB ejection.
This is Dan Iassogna's first ejection since September 22, 2017 (AJ Hinch; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 5/5/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 031 - CB Bucknor (1; John Gibbons)

HP Umpire CB Bucknor ejected Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons (strike two call; QOCN) in the top of the 8th inning of the Blue Jays-Rays game. With two out and one on (R2), Blue Jays batter Yangervis Solarte took a 0-1 cutter from Rays pitcher Alex Colome for a called second strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px -1.101, pz 1.654 [sz_bot 1.513]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 4-3. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

This is CB Bucknor (54)'s first ejection of 2018.
CB Bucknor now has -4 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = -4).
Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 0).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 2.244 horizontal inches from being deemed a correct call.

This is the 31st ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 11th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Toronto's 2nd ejection of 2018, 2nd in the AL East (NYY 4; TOR 2; BOS 1; BAL, TB 0).
This is John Gibbons' 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 2 (Dan Bellino; QOC = Y-C [Check Swing]).
This is CB Bucknor's first ejection since April 16, 2017 (Scott Servais; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).

Wrap: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 5/5/18 | Video as follows:

Special Event Roster - 2018 Mexico Series Umpires

MLB appointed the following umpires to officiate the 2018 Mexico Series between Los Angeles and San Diego at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey. Zacatecas-born Alfonso Márquez, MLB's only Mexican umpire, is slated to work home plate for ESPN's Sunday broadcast.

Alfonso Márquez was born in Zacatecas, Mexico.
Umpire Assignments (Game 1, Rotation is Upward)
HP: John Tumpane.
1B: Mark Wegner -cc.
2B: Alfonso Marquez.
3B: Ramon De Jesus.
Replay Official: Jim Reynolds.

Marquez is from Zacatecas, Mexico, the first and only Mexican-born umpire on the MLB staff. Marquez worked his first National League game in 1999, and has since officiated 12 postseasons, including three World Series (2016, 2011, 2015). He was named the UEFL's Umpire of the Year in 2015 and Honorable Umpire of the Year in 2011.

Marquez was inducted into the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 and operates the Fonzie's Kids charity, raising money and collecting items for children. The black-and-white #72 patch Marquez wears on his chest protector is in honor of former NHL linesman #72 Stéphane Provost, who died in a 2005 motorcycle accident. Marquez graduated from Fullerton Union High School, which is located in proximity to Interstate-5, the freeway that connects the two NL West teams' stadiums.

Other Notes: With a capacity of 27,000, Monterrey's stadium is the largest baseball venue in Mexico. Marquez's name is listed in Spanish-language productions as "Márquez" (emphasis on MAR), whereas English language literature, such as the MLB Umpire Media Guide, drops the accent and instructs broadcasters to pronounce his surname as the anglicized, "Mar-KEZ." Tumpane's plate assignment Friday night concluded with a combined no-hitter for the visiting Dodgers.
Related Post2018 No-Hitter 2, John Tumpane (2; Buehler & Co) (5/4/18).

The Mexico Series is MLB's second regular season foray into Latin America in 2018. Baseball visited Puerto Rico in April, during which Caguas, PR-born Roberto Ortiz served as a field umpire. Like the Puerto Rico games, Replay Review hookups to New York were unavailable at the Monterrey stadium, so five umpires were assigned to the Mexico Series, with one designated as a Replay Official for each of the games.
Related PostSpecial Event Roster - 2018 Puerto Rico Umpires (4/17/18).

Friday, May 4, 2018

2018 No-Hitter 2, John Tumpane (2; Buehler & Co)

HP Umpire John Tumpane called Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore's combined no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, the second of 2018 and first MLB no-no in history thrown in Mexico. Tumpane was joined for Friday's Mexico Series game at el Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey by 1B Umpire Mark Wegner (crew chief), 2B Umpire Alfonso Marquez, and 3B Umpire Ramon De Jesus.

This is Tumpane's second career MLB no-hitter, and the first combined no-hitter since September 1, 2014, when Jordan Baker called Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon's combined effort.
Related Post2015 No-Hitter 5, John Tumpane (1; Mike Fiers) (8/21/15).

Tumpane saw a total of 310 pitches, including 146 from LA, but because the game was played in a stadium without pitch tracking technology, no game score could be computed (the strike zone map is a null set).

MLB Ejection 030 - Tim Timmons (2; Yonder Alonso)

HP Umpire Tim Timmons ejected Indians 1B Yonder Alonso (strike two call; QOCN) in the top of the 8th inning of the Indians-Yankees game. With two out and one on (R1), Alonso took a 1-0 cutter from Yankees pitcher David Robertson for a called first strike and 1-1 cutter from Robertson for a called second strike before flying out on the ensuing pitch. Replays indicate the 1-0 pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -.726, pz 1.522 [sz_bot 1.565 / MOE 1.482]) and the 1-1 pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -1.022, pz 1.500), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 5-5. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

This is Tim Timmons (95)'s second ejection of 2018.
Tim Timmons now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 4).
Crew Chief Tim Timmons now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 0).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*The 1-1 pitch to Alonso was 1.296 horizontal inches from a correct call. The 1-0 pitch was properly officiated.

This is the 30th ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 15th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Alonso was 1-4 (SO) in the contest.
This is Cleveland's 1st ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL Central (CLE, CWS, DET 1; KC, MIN 0).
This is Yonder Alonso's first ejection since July 15, 2016 (Mark Wegner; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Tim Timmons' 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since April 8 (Torey Lovullo; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees, 5/4/18 | Video as follows:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

UEFL's MLB Umpire Sabermetrics - April 2018

UEFL's MLB Umpire Sabermetrics report for April 2018 features 28 ejections and 253 Replay Reviews through 419 regular season games played.

Though ejections are projected to decrease year-over-year, based on current rates, replays are projected to enjoy a modest increase.*
*The month of April is usually light on ejections. April 2018, for instance, featured seven more ejections than did April 2017.

The attached Most & Least Accurate Umpires, Replay Review contains the top and bottom of the Replay Review table ordinarily found in the "Read More" detailed section of the monthly report.

Related: Visit our Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics page for daily-updated umpire stats. This page includes Replay Review Rankings sorted by umpire, by team, and by call type. Daily ejections information is available at our Ejection List.

Summary, Ejections.
>> 28 Total Regular Season Ejections through April 30, 2018 (on pace for 162 ejections this season).
>> Umpires were 46.7% accurate on calls associated with ejection.
>> The New York Yankees led MLB in ejections. The Rockies/Padres/Nats led the National League.
>> Manager Brian Snitker led MLB in ejections.
>> Umpire Brian Gorman led all umpires in ejections.
>> Chief Brian Gorman's crew led all umpire crews in ejections.
>> Most ejections occurred in the 3rd inning; Ejections from 7th and on comprised 29% of all tosses.
>> Most ejections occurred on Wednesday. Weekend series (Fri-Sun) featured 43% of all heave-ho's.
>> The most common reason for ejection was Balls/Strikes, followed by Fighting.
>> All else equal, a team tied at the time of ejection ended up winning the game 69.2% of the time.

Summary, Replay Reviews.
>> 253 Total Replay Reviews, of which calls were affirmed 51.8% of the time (48.2% overturned).
>> The Atlanta Braves used replay more than any other team, but were fairly unsuccessful.
>> The Kansas City Royals were the League's most successful team in review (6-for-6).
>> The BAL Orioles experienced fewer reviews than any other team, and were 26th best in MLB.
>> The Brewers were the worst MLB team in terms of Replay success (0-of-4).
>> Umpire Brian O'Nora had a league-leading 23 calls reviewed, and was above average in outcome.
>> Fieldin Culbreth's crew led all of baseball in replay activity, and performed at league average.
>> Umpires Ted Barrett & Kerwin Danley led in accuracy with all calls affirmed by replay (5/5).
>> Umpires Barksdale & Kellogg experienced the highest rate of calls overturned by replay (0/4).
>> The 8th inning had more reviews than any other inning. 43% of all reviews occurred from 7th-on.
>> Most reviews occurred on Friday; Weekend series (Fri-Sun) featured 49% of all replays.
>> The most common reason for review was Out/Safe (Force - 1st) followed by Out/Safe (Tag - In).

Most & Least Accurate Umpires, Replay Review (sorted by Review Affirmation Percentage [RAP]).
1. Ted Barrett, Kerwin Danley - 100% RAP (5/5).
3. Chad Fairchild, Adrian Johnson - 100% RAP (3/3).
5. Scott Barry, Gary Cederstrom, Bruce Dreckman, Ben May, Mike Muchlinski - 100% RAP (2/2).
10. BarberDiazEstabrookHudsonRackley, ReynoldsVisconti - 100% (1/1).
17. Fieldin Culbreth, Jerry Layne - 80.0% RAP (4/5).
19. Gerry Davis, Stu Scheurwater, Hunter Wendelstedt - 75.0% (3/4).
60. Sam Holbrook - 28.6% RAP (2/7).
61. Carapazza, G Gibson, Meals, Miller, Rehak, Wolcott - 25.0% RAP (1/4).
67. Angel Hernandez - 20.0% RAP (1/5).
82. Eddings, Hamari, Knight, Libka, Little, Vanover, Wolf - 0.0% RAP (0/1).
89. Mark Carlson, Phil Cuzzi, Tripp Gibson, Nic Lentz - 0.0% RAP (0/2).
93. Mike DiMuro - 0.0% RAP (0/3).
94. Lance Barksdale, Jeff Kellogg - 0.0% RAP (0/4).

For detailed sabermetric analysis of MLB umpire ejections and instant replay review outcomes, including a Replay Review umpire leaderboard, follow the "read more" link below.

Todd Frazier - "These Umpires Have Got to Get Better"

Mets player Todd Frazier called for umpire accountability after New York's 7-0 shutout loss to Atlanta Wednesday night, claiming ball/strike calls were a habitual problem for "everybody around the league," stating, "These umpires have got to get better."

Todd Frazier is not a fan of umpires right now.
To answer the question of whether Frazier has a point or whether he is exaggerating, let's turn to some numbers.

First is league accuracy. Though precise numbers are tight-lipped, 95% seems to be a sufficient low-end benchmark. For instance, Angel Hernandez in his 2017 lawsuit against Major League Baseball claimed an accuracy of 96.88% for the 2016 season.

These are post-processing figures that take into account various properties of the strike zone that make it difficult for computers to consistently call in real-time, or even game-to-game.

For example, factors such as the radius of a baseball, operator error relative to batter height (sz_bot and sz_top estimates), Pitch f/x (or StatCast) manufacturer margin of error, calibration error, or issues with lighting, etc. don't show up on the immediate zones put out by a number of outlets from ESPN to Bloomberg to Brooks Baseball. When MLB developed Zone Evalution technology to score its umpires post-game, for instance, the purpose was to correct for pitches that were too borderline to call or whose raw numbers would otherwise show as excusable "misses" due to the fact that one couldn't conclusively say whether they were missed calls in the first place. Then there's that whole "3D strike zone" thing...
Related PostDude, What Happened Last Night? About Pitch f/x Error (8/30/16).
Related PostAnalyzing Strike Zone Analysis - Not So Easy or Simple (10/27/16).

Accordingly, take Angel Hernandez's post-processing score of 96.88% in 2016 and compare it to Bloomberg Businessweek's raw unadjusted score of 86.75% for the same season—that's a statistically significant difference of more than 10%!

Example: Raw K-zone data is misleading.
To Frazier's point that "these umpires have got to get better," even though their scores have remained in the mid-to-upper 90s per the adjusted numbers, there has been consistent improvement year-over-year even within that narrow range. In 2018 (thus far), the Bloomberg raw scores average a correct call percentage of 87.71%. In 2017, it was 87.66%. In 2016, 87.06%. In 2015, 86.58%. Based on the 10%+ difference for Hernandez's score, it wouldn't be too farfetched to conclude that umpires now call games at an average accuracy of somewhere between 96 and 98%.

The problem, then, as another Frasier would say, is psychological. Frazier is engaging in the time-honored tradition of umpire scapegoating. Even so...does he have a point? It's no secret that the most common reason for ejection—even prior to the replay era—is arguing balls and strikes. Even so, let's run some recent numbers to see if Frazier is suffering from a case of recency bias.
Related PostGil's Call: The Blame Game (Umpire Scapegoating) (8/8/14).
Related PostLet's Talk - Mental Health in an Abusive Environment (10/10/17).

Frazier finished 0-for-4 Wednesday, including one strike out, in front of HP Umpire Lance Barrett. Replays indicate that during his four at-bats, Frazier saw six callable pitches, four of which were accurately officiated. The two missed calls both concerned called strikes off the edges of home plate (one inside, one outside), and both were the first called pitches of their respective at-bats. Accuracy: 67%.

In Tuesday's loss to the Braves, Frazier fared better, with a 2-for-4 performance. Of the nine callable pitches Frazier saw during that game, HP Umpire Mike Everitt officiated all nine correctly. Accuracy: 100%.

Frazier stated he met with umpires in San Diego on Sunday—that would be Joe West's crew. HP Umpire Mark Ripperger called all 13 callable pitches to Frazier accurately during New York's resounding 14-2 victory that day. Accuracy: 100%.

Strike zones are not as simple as static boxes.
The day before, when San Diego trounced New York 12-2, HP Umpire Marty Foster went eight-for-eight during Frazier's three fruitless plate appearances (100%), while HP Umpire Doug Eddings was 11-for-12 on Friday, when Frazier struck out three times; the one miss was a called second strike off the plate (92%).

To round out the six game set, HP Umpire Jansen Visconti called Frazier's 1-for-5 performance on Thursday at a 16-for-17 clip, with the one miss a ball call that saved Frazier from striking out in the 12th (94%).

As such, we're looking at a 93.8% (61/65) accuracy rate over Frazier's last five games—given the sample size, there is no statistically significant difference over the aforementioned league average (p-value of .011 at the 95% confidence level); categorizing the helpful ball as an "acceptable miss" would increase accuracy to 95.3%, greater than the accuracy lower benchmark, and further render the difference statistically insignificant.

If anything, this just goes to show that just one missed call to one batter has the effect of dropping the umpire's accuracy score relative to that batter to below the lower benchmark level for that game, which would give the batter the impression that the umpire has performed poorly for everyone (or, alternately, that the umpire is "picking on me"). Barrett's miss of two pitches further exacerbated the trend.

Blaming the umpire is steadily in season.
In Frazier's case, his comments suggest displeasure with Barrett's pitch calling on Wednesday: he was hitless, and although Barrett's strike three calls were accurate, two missed strikes on the first pitch of two at-bats "set the tone," which Frazier was unable to overcome; thus, he simply blamed the umpire.

Only he happened to turn it into a systemic problem that, per the numbers, it really isn't. The bigger issue lies within the dissonance between perception and reality: the Bloomberg numbers are the perception, while adjusted scores such as Zone Evaluation are reality. When the difference between these numbers is so significant, it's no wonder that problems arise.

SIDEBAR: For what it's worth, Frazier has been ejected once in his Major League career, by Sam Holbrook, in 2017, for arguing a correctly officiated Replay Review that found Frazier's wide throw to first base pulled Jose Abreu's foot off the bag, resulting in an error. Given the nature of this ejection, Frazier has a history of, at least once previously, giving into the umpire blame game.
Related PostMLB Ejection 077-78 - Sam Holbrook (3-4; Frazier, Renteria) (6/24/17).

Video as follows:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Keep Running - Ball Remains Alive During Swing Appeal

An important lesson for umpires and teams alike concerns appeals on the half swing, especially with a 3-2 count. HP Umpire Dan Bellino's ejection of Toronto Manager John Gibbons in Minnesota provides a prime example of what can happen when a runner stops running during a check swing appeal.

The Play: With one out and one on (R1), Blue Jays baserunner Aledmys Diaz attempted to steal second base as batter Teoscar Hernandez attempts to check his swing on a 3-2 pitch, initially ruled a ball and no swing by Bellino, who immediately appealed to 1B Umpire Phil Cuzzi as Twins catcher Jason Castro threw to second baseman Brian Dozier.

Assuming the pitch was ball four, Diaz stopped running between first and second, was tagged by Dozier, and declared out by 2B Umpire Adam Hamari as a result of 1B Umpire Cuzzi's decision that Hernandez had swung and, thus, struck out.
Related PostMLB Ejection 029 - Dan Bellino (1; John Gibbons) (5/2/18).

The Rule: The half swing appeal is derived from OBR 8.02(c), whose comment warns:
Baserunners must be alert to the possibility that the base umpire on appeal from the plate umpire may reverse the call of a ball to the call of a strike, in which event the runner is in jeopardy of being out by the catcher’s throw. Also, a catcher must be alert in a base stealing situation if a ball call is reversed to a strike by the base umpire upon appeal from the plate umpire...The ball is in play on appeal on a half swing.
Catcher Castro adhered to the cautionary comment, whereas Diaz failed to remain vigilant.

Analysis: Plate umpire Bellino's mechanics are a perfect exercise in timing for this type of play. In contrast to Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez's complaint ("Hey, make a call man!"), Bellino immediately makes his determination that the pitch is a ball and not swung at, and gestures to 1B Umpire Cuzzi to signal his appeal on the half swing. Bellino signals with his right arm, which some associations may take umbrage with—this is a variance in umpiring related to the hand used for a called strike mechanic, so check with your local leadership for guidance on which arm to use for swing appeals—but his call is clear and apparent to all who see it.

Off-camera, Cuzzi rules on the appeal, and more importantly, holds his clenched fist for a beat longer. The is important because 2B Umpire Hamari's primary responsibility on this play is to observe the tag on the baserunner attempting to steal. Once the runner stops short on the base path and the tag is completed, Hamari looks over at Cuzzi to see the "swing" call, and then returns his attention to the runner to declare the third out of the inning.

Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 029 - Dan Bellino (1; John Gibbons)

HP Umpire Dan Bellino ejected Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons (check swing call by 1B Umpire Phil Cuzzi) in the top of the 3rd inning of the Blue Jays-Twins game. With one out and one on (R1), Blue Jays batter Teoscar Hernandez attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 fastball from Twins pitcher Fernando Romero, ruled a swinging strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Cuzzi, and resulting in a double play as Minnesota subsequently threw out Twins baserunner R1 Aledmys Diaz, attempting to steal second. Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0-1).* At the time of the ejection, the Twins were leading, 1-0. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 4-0.

This is Dan Bellino (2)'s first ejection of 2018.
Dan Bellino now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 1 Correct Call-Crewmate = 3).
Crew Chief Phil Cuzzi now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
*Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c) Comment states, "Baserunners must be alert to the possibility that the base umpire on appeal from the plate umpire may reverse the call of a ball to the call of a strike, in which event the runner is in jeopardy of being out by the catcher’s throw. Also, a catcher must be alert in a base stealing situation if a ball call is reversed to a strike by the base umpire upon appeal from the plate umpire...The ball is in play on appeal on a half swing."

This is the 29th ejection of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 10th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Toronto's 1st ejection of 2018, T-2nd in the AL East (NYY 4; BOS, TOR 1; BAL, TB 0).
This is John Gibbons' first ejection since August 16, 2017 (Lance Barksdale; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Dan Bellino's first ejection since July 18, 2017 (Mel Stottlemyre Jr; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins, 5/2/18 | Video as follows:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Triple Play Caps off Confusion in End to MiLB Game

Monday's Texas League matchup between the Double-A Arkansas Travelers and Springfield Cardinals ended in confusing-yet-dramatic fashion with a bases-loaded triple play in the top of the 9th inning, affirmed after a series of umpire conferences and correction to an appeal attempted while the ball was dead.

Umpire Kyle McCrady mechanizes an out.
The Play: With none out and three on in a game Springfield led 8-4, Travelers batter Chuck Taylor hit a line drive to second baseman Luke Dykstra, ruled a catch by 3B Umpire Kyle McCrady. F4 Dykstra threw to shortstop Edmundo Sosa, who tagged second base before Travelers baserunner R2 Jonathan Mendoza could tag up, resulting in a second out call from U3 McCrady.

Sosa then threw to first baseman John Nogowski, who tagged first base, resulting in an out call by 1B Umpire Brian Walsh, after which Nogowski threw to third base in attempt to conduct an appeal on Travelers baserunner R3 Joe DeCarlo; however, before the ball arrived at third base, HP Umpire Kyle Wallace called "Time," effectively killing the play.

Conference: Rule 8.03(c) mandates that umpires meet if conflicting calls are made during the same play: "If different decisions should be made on one play by different umpires, the umpire-in-chief shall call all the umpires into consultation, with no manager or player present."

Umpires conferred to correct any errant calls.
The umpires conferred and affirmed McCrady's initial "catch" call over Walsh's ruling that the ball had been trapped, thus preserving the double play and scoring R3's run, as no appeal on R3 occurred while the ball was live, making the score temporarily read, 8-5. When Wallace subsequently put the ball in play for the next batter, Springfield pitcher Hector Mendoza stepped off the mound and threw to third, completing the appeal play and resulting in the final out of the inning for R3's failure to tag up.

SIDEBAR: OBR and NCAA require appeals be made while the ball is live. NFHS allows dead ball appeals.

Scoring Who Was Out: There were three outs on this play, spanning two separate live ball periods, and an unsuccessful appeal at first base. In sum, the following offensive personnel held these dispositions:
Batter Chuck Taylor: Out #1 (air out/line drive caught by F4 Dykstra);
Baserunner R1 Braden Bishop: Safe (successfully returned to first base prior to appeal);
Baserunner R2 Jonathan Mendoza: Out #2 (appealed out for failing to timely tag up at second);
Baserunner R3 Joe DeCarlo: Out #3 (appealed out for failing to timely tag up at third).

Outcomes immediately after ump conference.
Analysis/What Happened: While U3 McCrady ruled batter Taylor out on the catch, and R2 Mendoza out on the live ball appeal at second base, U1 Walsh judged that F4 Dykstra's catch was a trap, meaning his mechanized out call at first base was a declaration that B1 Taylor was out, not that Bishop was out on appeal. In general, a play that takes the second baseman to his right is the second base umpire (or third base umpire in B/C position)'s call while a play that takes the second baseman to his left is the first baseman's call. The bell, as is said, cannot be unrung.

Plate umpire Wallace, sensing the conflicting calls, then called "Time" while the ball was on its way to third base, which killed play and obligated the defense to wait until the next live ball before appealing that R3 DeCarlo had left early, thus giving the temporary appearance that DeCarlo had scored Arkansas' fifth run. The umpires conferred, ruled on Springfield's subsequent appeal at third base, and ultimately exited the field, having made the correct ruling.

Recall the Official Baseball Rule's General Instruction to Umpires: "But remember! The first requisite is to get decisions correctly. If in doubt don’t hesitate to consult your associate. Umpire dignity is important but never as important as 'being right.'"

Wrap: Arkansas Travelers vs. Springfield Cardinals (Double-A), 4/30/18 | Video as follows:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Replay Rewind - Curious Review & Concentration, Too

In this edition of Replay Rewind, we revisit a few curious challenge outcomes, including an air out that appears to bounce into a fielder's glove in Toronto, a complex play full of activity, and a video review that never was.

Umpire discretion & Crew Chief reviews.
R-189 (Base Touch; Confirmed): Tuesday in St. Louis, a 10th-inning go-ahead home run from the bat of Mets batter Jay Bruce resulted in a review as Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny asked Brian Gorman to conduct a Crew Chief Review regarding a base touching appeal during Bruce's home run trot. Gorman obliged and Replay HQ confirmed Gorman's call that Bruce touched first base; Matheny had lost his challenge earlier in the game on another upheld call.

As Mets broadcasters bemoaned Matheny's move as "ridiculous" and "absolute nonsense," Ron Darling implored of Gorman, "have some conviction in your call."

Replay Review Regulation II.C.1 states that a manager who is out of challenges may "request but cannot insist that the Crew Chief invoke his right to initiate Replay Review," while instructing the crew chief that the decision to review lies at "his sole discretion."

With all the recent talk of pace of play on such an obvious call, maybe a crew chief or two should take up Darling's suggestion and deny such a request for such a clear decision.

Replay-235 produced an upheld out call.
R-235 (Catch/No Catch; Stands): Sunday in Toronto, 3B Umpire Mike Winters' catch call on a foul fly ball in the bottom of the 6th inning withstood a Blue Jays challenge that Rangers left fielder Ryan Rua did not catch the ball.

Both the Toronto and Texas broadcasts agreed—well before Winters and Tim Timmons put on the headsets—that the ball bounced off the playing surface and into Rue's glove...yet Replay HQ failed to overturn the call.

Those listening to Fox Sports Southwest were then treated to an exercise of mental gymnastics as commentators Dave Raymond and Tom Grieve argued that although the ball plainly was not caught on the fly, perhaps the Replay Official would find that evidence was not conclusive to overturn the call to that of a trap. New York must have been listening.

Scheurwater stays with the play for the out.
R-214 (Pulled Foot; Confirmed): Thursday in Chicago, 1B Umpire Stu Scheurwater's out call at first base in the top of the 6th inning was confirmed following a Brewers challenge.

When categorizing replays on the bases, we generally label a replay as either a tag (of the runner) or force (tag of the base, including plays at first base [even though they are not technically force outs, the act of tagging the base is akin to that of a force out elsewhere]), and several permutations therein, such as a tag - pickoff, versus a tag - stolen base, or tag - into base, tag - swipe, etc., or whether the force-type play involves a pulled foot situation.

This play at first base could have involved nearly all of them: first baseman Anthony Rizzo fields Tommy La Stella's throw by stepping into foul ground while attempting to keep his right foot in contact with first base as batter-runner Chase Anderson lunges for the front of the bag.

For U1 Scheruwater, considerations had to involve: A) Did Rizzo catch the ball before Anderson touched first base? B) Did Rizzo's foot maintain contact with first base before Anderson arrived? C) Did Rizzo's glove, after possessing the ball, tag Anderson before he arrived at first base? That's a lot of moving parts.

After all that, the seemingly nonchalant out call not only stood, but was confirmed.

[Non-Replay] (Appeal Play [Left Early] & Time Play): Speaking of plays with a lot of moving parts, on Friday, we discussed two apparent missed calls on the same play—one benefiting the visiting Yankees and one benefiting the home Angels—that never went to review because of managerial failure (New York's Aaron Boone failed to timely challenge) and strategy (Mike Scioscia opted not to challenge).
An appeal in Anaheim didn't go to review.

The notable feature here is that without the missed call on the live ball appeal at second base (appeal play - leaving early), the potential for a missed call at home plate (time play) never happens. Though mechanically speaking, 2B Umpire Angel Hernandez stood exactly where he needed to stand, drifting into the infield between first and second base, a convergence of events led to him missing this call.

The second base umpire here is responsible for both the runner at second base's tagging up and the batter-runner's touch at first base. Because the batter-runner's touch at first base occurred nearly simultaneously with the outfielder's catch of the fly ball and R2's leaving second base to tag, U2 had a choice to make: Look left and observe R2's tag-up relative to the air out, or look right and spy BR touching first base. U2 chose BR, which is why the appeal on R2 was missed.

In the future, consider: What is more important here—R2's tag up or BR (out on the fly ball)'s base touch?
Related PostMaster Mike - Boone Boots a Replay as Scioscia Plays Coy (4/27/18).

Videos as follows:

Sunday, April 29, 2018

UEFL Invokes Midseason Replacement Provision for Emmel

It is now one month since the regular season began, and since Paul Emmel last appeared (in Spring Training).

At this time, the UEFL is invoking League Rules 1-2-b and 1-5-b for any team owners who have drafted Emmel and wishes to replace him on their crews. The membership voted during last year's Rules Summit to allow owners to replace an umpire who has been absent for 30 days or longer during the regular season.

Midseason replacement approved for Emmel.
Because Emmel is a crew chief, two separate injury clauses have been invoked: one for Crew Chiefs and one for Crew Chiefs/Primary/Secondary umpires.

Emmel's regular crew features Bruce Dreckman, Chad Fairchild, and Mike Eestabrook.

Alfonso Marquez, the usual number-two umpire for Sam Holbrook's crew, has served as acting crew chief in Emmel's absence and on Emmel's crew for the first month of the regular season.

UEFL Acceptable Replacement Procedure
If your Crew Chief is Paul Emmel and you wish to make a replacement, pursuant to UEFL Rule 1-2-b, you may select Alfonso Marquez as your crew chief; OR,

If you own Paul Emmel in any capacity (Crew Chief, Primary, or Secondary), and you wish to make a replacement, pursuant to UEFL Rule 1-5-a, you may select any umpire who has fewer points than Scott for that classification.

Emmel has zero points in Primary and Secondary classifications, and zero points in Crew Division.

List of Legal Replacements (as of April 29, 2017; Subject to Change After This Date)
Crew Division - Eligible Replacement Crew Chiefs (ranked by UEFL points, in parentheses):
Marquez, Alfonso (3) [Rule 1-2-b replacement]
Everitt, Mike (-1) [Rule 1-5-a replacement]
Holbrook, Sam (-1) [1-5-a]
Kellogg, Jeff (-1) [1-5-a]
Davis, Gerry (-2) [1-5-a]
Hallion, Tom (-3) [1-5-a]
Wegner, Mark (-4) [1-5-a]

Primaries & Secondaries - Refer to UEFL Standings (umpires must have less than 0 UEFL points)

To effect a midseason replacement, post a comment to this announcement indicating your username, classification to be changed (Crew Chief, Primary, or Secondary), and proposed replacement name.