Saturday, June 30, 2018

MLB Ejection 085 - Joe West (2; Ryan Rua)

HP Umpire Joe West ejected Rangers LF Ryan Rua (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the White Sox-Rangers game. With none out and none on, Rua took three consecutive pitches from White Sox pitcher Juan Minaya for called first, second, and third strikes. Replays indicate the first two called strikes were thrown well within the bounds of the strike zone and the terminal pitch of the at-bat was located over the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px .745, pz 2.581), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Rangers were leading, 5-4. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 13-4.

This is Joe West (22)'s second ejection of 2018.
Joe West now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 8).
Crew Chief Joe West now has -1 points in Crew Division (-2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 85th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 43rd player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Rua was 1-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Texas' 4th ejection of 2018, 1st in the AL West (TEX 4; LAA, HOU, SEA 3; OAK 0).
This is Ryan Rua's first career MLB ejection.
This is Joe West's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 15 (Andy Green; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers, 6/30/18 | Video as follows:

Friday, June 29, 2018

MLB Ejection 084 - Angel Hernandez (2; Andy Green)

HP Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Padres Manager Andy Green (no step balk call; QOCY) in the top of the 4th inning of the Pirates-Padres game. With one out and one on in the 2nd, Padres pitcher Eric Lauer attempted to pick off Pirates baserunner R1 Gregory Polanco, ruled a balk by HP Umpire Hernandez. Replays indicate Lauer gained distance and direction in stepping toward first base, as in Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a)(3), the call was incorrect.* Original Ruling was reviewed and reversed by the UEFL Appeals Board (0-7-2), the call is correct. At the time of the ejection, the Pirates were leading, 5-0. The Pirates ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

This is Angel Hernandez (5)'s second ejection of 2018.
Angel Hernandez now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (-4 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 0).
Crew Chief Bill Miller now has -7 points in Crew Division (-8 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -7).
*Rule 6.02(a)(3) states, "it is a balk when—The pitcher, while touching his plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base." MLBUM states:
In stepping to a base, the pitcher must life his entire non-pivot foot off the ground and bring it down in a location different from where it started and toward the base. The entire non-pivot foot must move in a direction and distance to the base. This will constitute a step. The pitcher is not allowed to lift his non-pivot foot up and bring it back down in the same spot where it started. In stepping, the heel of the pitcher's free foot may not end up in the same spot it started.
This is the 84th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 34th Manager ejection of 2018.
This is San Diego's 6th ejection of 2018, 1st in the NL West (SD 6; LAD 5; ARI, COL, SF 4).
This is Andy Green's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 15 (Joe West; QOC = Y [Foul/Ball]).
This is Angel Hernandez's 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 22 (Craig Counsell; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Diego Padres, 6/29/18 | Video as follows:

NCAA World Series Lesson - Keep a Batter in the Box

With Chicago's insinuation of unbecoming motives behind Greg Gibson's ejection of Cubs Bench Coach Brandon Hyde with batter Willson Contreras at the plate during a dead ball, we turn to pace-of-play considerations relative to an umpire's enforcement of Official Baseball Rule 5.04(b)(4), better known as The Batter's Box Rule.

The Play: After taking a called second ball, Cubs batter Contreras, dissatisfied with the length and delay of Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani's pre-pitch timing, briefly exited his hitting stance and stepped back, then stepped back into his stance again, before stepping back a second time as HP Umpire Gibson motioned "Time" to the pitcher, with his arm outstretched and palm visible. Contreras then exited the batter's box as Hyde engaged Gibson, leading to Hyde's ejection from the game.
Related PostMLB Ejection 076 - Greg Gibson (1; Brandon Hyde) (6/23/18).

Greg Gibson and Willson Contreras.
After the game, the Cubs alleged that Gibson engaged in improper acts by arguing with Contreras over whether the catcher had properly thanked the umpire (?), stating that Gibson was at fault for Hyde's ejection.

Meanwhile Gibson—well, MLB never releases ejection reports, so we won't hear the umpire's side of the story—audio replay suggests Gibson said something to Contreras along the lines of "are you ready?" before the verbal spat from the dugout.

For what it's worth, Rule 5.04(b)(4)(A) 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, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate."

This isn't the first batter's box incident.
The exceptions include a swing, appealed check swing, pitch that forces batter off balance, "Time" is requested and granted, defense attempts a play on a runner, fake bunt, wild pitch/passed ball, pitcher leaves the mound, catcher leaves the box. Injuries, conferences, and substitutions are also acceptable exemptions.

Click through for another example of an ejection for a batter's box-related issue when Marvin Hudson—after arguing with the Nationals dugout over a strike call Harper himself didn't appear to take much exception to until the dugout got involved—orders Bryce Harper back into the box.
Related PostRelated Post: MLB Ejections 051-052: Hudson (1-2; Harper, Williams) (5/20/15).

Keep the batter in the box.
Other than that, MLB calls upon the plate umpire to warn the batter for his first violation of The Batter's Box Rule, while subsequent violations are not handled on the field, but by the League Office (and only if the Commissioner wants to get involved). In Minor League ball, the second+ violation results in an automatic strike and dead ball.

This means that at the MLB level, there isn't a disciplinary follow-through for repeated batter's box violations other than a potential administrative penalty "off the field."

NCAA: The college rule is similar to the professional one: Rule 7-1-d (also called the Batter's-Box Rule) states that the batter must keep at least one foot in the box throughout the at-bat with exceptions similar to those in OBR. The NCAA penalty is an automatic strike, but unlike OBR, the ball remains live.

Video example (as follows): The umpire instructs the batter to remain in the box during the dead ball, even moving play along with an "alright, here we go" verbalization. Perhaps things would have been different if the batter objected as the Cubs' version of events implies Contreras as doing.

NFHS: The high school rule (7-3-1) is listed as a "batting infraction" and states that delaying the game by leaving the box if an exception does not apply—in HS, the batter must also be ready within 20 seconds of the pitcher receiving the ball—results in an automatic strike and, like NCAA, the ball remains live under the NFHS code.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

MLB Ejection 083 - Gerry Davis (2; Tim Anderson)

2B Umpire Gerry Davis ejected White Sox SS Tim Anderson (Replay Review decision that confirmed Davis' out call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 11th inning of the Twins-White Sox game. With one out and one on (R1), White Sox batter Charlie Tilson struck out swinging on a 1-2 fastball from Twins pitcher Taylor Rogers as catcher Bobby Wilson threw to shortstop Ehire Adrianza to retire White Sox baserunner R1 Anderson attempting to steal second, affirmed following a Crew Chief Review. Replays indicate Adrianza appeared to tag Anderson prior to Anderson's arrival at second base, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 1-1. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 2-1, in 13 innings.

This is Gerry Davis (12)'s second ejection of 2018.
Gerry Davis now has 12 points in the UEFL Standings (8 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 12).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).

This is the 83rd ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 42nd player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Anderson was 2-4 in the contest.
This is Chicago-AL's 3rd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL Central (CWS, DET, KC 3; MIN 2; CLE 1).
This is Tim Anderson's first ejection since June 23, 2017 (Jim Wolf; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).
This is Gerry Davis' 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 27 (Gene Glynn; QOC = U [Balk No-Call]).

Wrap: Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox, 6/28/18 | Video as follows:

Tmac's Teachable Moments - Little Roller Up Along First

An umpire punched a batter-runner out while the ball rolled on the ground as his partner stumbled and fell along the first base line during the ensuing play at home plate, giving a belated "safe" sign. Tmac's Teachable Moments visits Los Angeles, where this comical scene played out at a major league stadium, all thanks to, as Vin Scully once put it, a "little roller up along first."

HP Umpire Todd Tichenor observes a play.
The Play: With two out and one on (R2 Ian Happ) Wednesday evening, Cubs batter Jason Heyward hit a soft ground ball up the first base line, where it was fielded by Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood and thrown wildly to first base, 1B Umpire Alan Porter calling Heyward out on the timing aspect of the play before quickly realizing that first baseman Max Muncy had not caught the ball, reversing his ruling to "safe," just as Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe, backing up on the play, collected the baseball and threw to catcher Yasmani Grandal in an attempt to retire baserunner R2 Happ, narrowly missing Porter with the throw in the process. Grandal then caught the ball and lunged in an attempt to tag the sliding Happ as HP Umpire Todd Tichenor, up the line to rule on the fair/foul status of the batted ball, began his hasty retreat, stumbling and crashing to the ground as the tag play was effected at home plate, finally signaling Happ "safe" once he regained his footing.

Analysis: First off, let's pretend there's no replay and no way for a team to check if the call is right.

There is so much going on here, it's almost impossible to begin. Let's start with our pre-pitch analysis, and then let's set it on fire because, frankly, if we're thinking of this perfect storm play before the pitch is even thrown, then we're probably missing about 80 pitches a game. This is a pretty wild play to plan for ahead of time...but with a runner on second and two outs, on a dribbler like batter Heyward's, it's still a possibility to keep in the back of the mind.

This is where instinct takes over, and HP Umpire Todd Tichnor's instincts are excellent.

The grass can be slippery when wet.
HP Umpire Todd Tichenor: He realizes there is potential for a close play at first which doesn't allow 1B Umpire Al Porter to take fair/foul (we'll get to Porter in a second). Combine that with the possibility of the ball being fielded in front of the bag and we have whacker fair/foul potential AND possible runner's lane interference (can't forget about RLI!). Accordingly, UIC Tichenor comes up the 1st base line to get the view. That's the expected play (fair/foul + play on batter-runner at first), and Tichenor executes it as an MLB umpire should.

1B Umpire Alan Porter: Porter also has a few potential things to thing about: Might I have a tag here? Could it come from the pitcher or the first baseman? Might there just be a close play at the base? Do I have an opportunity to get the potential fair/foul call or does the tag or time-based play at first mean I can't afford to hug the line (we call it a "force" in our UEFL shorthand, but we all know it's not technically a "force play" by rulebook lingo)? When you have a play like this, you have to play percentages.

1B Umpire Alan Porter saw the area near 1B.
Sometimes you get yourself in a jackpot and sometimes you win the jackpot. Here, Porter actually uses his eyes properly and finds the glove with the ball in it or so he thinks. There is a great shot of his eyes going to the ball at :12 and then a spilt second later he realizes the ball is missing and rolling on the infield dirt—if you pause the video at the 12-second mark, you'll see Porter squared to the expected play at first base, making an out call while still squared to first base, and, finally, adjusting to the loose ball up the right-field line and signaling the BR safe.

Probably a little too quick on the trigger, but if you show too much deliberation in a whacker play like this you look weak, unsure, or even lazy. With two outs, another split second of delay won't hurt. It must be something about the Dodgers: both Alex Tosi and Greg Gibson similarly punched out runners on plays where the fielder didn't catch the ball.
Related PostMuch Patience and Good Judgment - Reversing a Call (2/26/17).
Related PostGreg Gibson Reminds All Umpires: Patience is a Virtue (7/15/12).

This play is missing an umpire.
The Second Play (Happ Comes Home): Next, comes panic from both of our 1st base and home plate umpires. Porter is lucky he wasn't drilled by the throw to the plate and TT is halfway up the 1st base line and on his stomach. The worm's eye view proved advantageous as TT actually got the call right and Dave Roberts didn't so much as challenge or argue, probably thanks to the clubhouse telling him that the runner was safe at home (then again, we know that the Dodgers failed to appeal a Phillies baserunner's clear miss of home plate earlier this year, which might have cost LA the game, so who can really be sure what the video room saw...).
Related PostVideo Loss - Failure to Appeal Costs LA Run, Game (5/31/18).

But let's pretend we don't have replay and we're working a four-person mechanic... what could have happened? There are umpires who have covered third base from first (see DJ Reyburn) and it wouldn't be the first time a third base umpire had covered the plate. In fact, I think if you really want to shine as 3B umpire (Bill Miller) you realize what could potentially happen and you at least try to help out to get a view—2B Umpire Angel Hernandez has the batter-runner going to second, and there's ample time to get back to third base proper if that BR tries to press the issue after R2 has scored or become involved in a rundown.

The perfect storm visited LA.
Three-Person Crew: In the age of replay, there is less of this if any at all.  But there are times we have to pick up our partners and this would have been a great time to do it. As it turns out, the call was correct and we move on, but how do we prevent a disaster like this in a crew of three? Well, in the 3-umpire system, our 3rd base umpire would be in the middle with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd.  From the middle it's easier to be in touch with what the HP umpire has going on. Also, let's say the umpire's in C or Deep C, that's a fairly good position to see the play at the plate and if you have instinct, then a good move to make is toward the 3rd base line in fair territory—even as close as 10-15 feet from the play.  It would be almost as if the middle umpire is taking a steal at 2nd, but in a fun house mirror. Now to those playing devil's advocate who point out that second base is uncovered, I bring you umpiring 101 (get the first/more immediate call right). I don't care about 2nd until my very next play is covered, and the very next play here is on the baserunner trying to score.

Beware: Also this next paragraph goes to any size crew at any level: Beware of overcommitment.  Even though we got the call right in Cubs-Dodgers and TT shows great instinct to realize there is a play coming to the plate, did we really need to be 60 feet up the 1st base line? Could we have taken this play from, say, thirty feet? Over-hustling is a potential liability at times. All interesting things to ponder. Even when falling or getting caught out of position, don't give up on the play.

As the Official Baseball Rules' General Instructions to Umpires states:
Keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play. It is more vital to know just where a fly ball fell, or a thrown ball finished up, than whether or not a runner missed a base. Do not call the plays too quickly, or turn away too fast when a fielder is throwing to complete a double play. Watch out for dropped balls after you have called a man out.
And, similarly, as Tichenor demonstrated, "Do not come running with your arm up or down, denoting 'out' or 'safe.' Wait until the play is completed before making any arm motion."

Conclusion: This is a perfect storm play. It's very hard and not one we see everyday. Baseball umpiring is very humbling. Don't get too down on yourself if a crazy play like this happens to you, but understand how you handle the aftermath is what makes you or breaks you as an umpire. There are smiles all around after this play is over—Tichenor laughs it off with Grandal and that's what it's all about. Have Fun and Happy Umpiring.

Video as follows:

Coast-to-Coast - Dale Scott's Pride Night First Pitches

Earlier this month, retired MLB umpire Dale Scott threw the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium as part of Los Angeles' LGBT Night festivities and Wednesday, Scott threw the first pitch during Pride Night at Baltimore's Camden Yards, capping off a month of activity that also saw Scott on the MLB float at the New York Pride Parade.

The below videos feature Scott's interview and first pitch ceremony at Dodger Stadium from the June 8 pre-game and a highlight package in Baltimore when he threw the first pitch prior to June 27's Orioles game.

Of note, Scott's first pitch at Dodger Stadium—Dale grew up as a Dodgers fan, but assures us all there was never any bias—featured Bill Miller as catcher...and Angel Hernandez as the late-arriving home plate umpire...marking the most unusual of first pitches to have an all-umpire battery.

Scott retired following a head injury and concussion sustained during the 2017 season and was named the UEFL Honorable Umpire of the Year in 2015 after he came out as gay in Outsports and Referee Magazine, the first active umpire on the MLB staff to do so.
Related PostDale Scott Retires in Wake of Concussion in Toronto (12/12/17).
Related Post2015 Honorable Umpires - John Hirschbeck & Dale Scott (11/8/15).

Dale's life advice? "Be true to yourself." | Video as follows:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

MLB Ejections 081-82 - Davis, Hoberg (1, 3; Glynn, Molitor)

3B Umpire Gerry Davis ejected Twins 3B Coach Gene Glynn (balk no-call; QOCU) and HP Umpire Pat Hoberg ejected Twins Manager Paul Molitor (reversed balk call; QOCN) in the top of the 6th inning of the Twins-White Sox game. With two out and none on, Davis ejected Glynn for continuing to argue a balk no-call in the top of the 5th inning, the call was irrecusable. Shortly thereafter, with Max Kepler at bat, White Sox pitcher James Shields attempted to disengage the rubber and fake to first, wheel, and fake to third. Replays indicate Shields executed a so-called jump turn pickoff move while in continuous and uninterrupted motion as he feigned to first base; this feint from the rubber is a balk pursuant to OBR 6.02(a)(2), Hoberg's original balk call was correct and the reversal was incorrect.* Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (6-2-1), the call was incorrect. At the time of both ejections, the White Sox were leading, 4-0. The White Sox ultimately won the contest, 6-1.

This is Pat Hoberg (31)'s third ejection of 2018.
This is Gerry Davis (12)'s first ejection of 2018.
Pat Hoberg now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (8 Previous + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 6).
Gerry Davis now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call = 8).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has 0 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 0).
This simply suggests a continuous movement.
*Rule 6.02(a)(2) states, "It is a balk when the pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw."
*Rule 5.07(a)(2) states, "From such Set Position he may deliver the ball to the batter, throw to a base or step backward off the pitcher’s plate with his pivot foot."

Key Question: Is Shields considered to be "touching his plate" when he makes his move in feigning toward first? In general, moves made "from the rubber" include jab steps, jump turns (jump pivot), and spin moves. For instance, if a pitcher attempting a pickoff from a jump turn throws wildly into the stands, the runner would be awarded one base, as if the play was, physically, from the rubber.
This too suggests F1's move was continuous.
*MLBUM, concerning jump turns and pivots, states, "If a pitcher, while touching the pitcher's plate, jumps into the air with both feet simultaneously and his non-pivot foot lands in a step towards first base before he throws to that base, he has made a legal move." This interpretation establishes the move's legality, but the more relevant interpretation insofar as establishing when disengagement has occurred vs when a pitcher is considered to have made a move from the rubber is as follows:
"It is legal for a right-handed pitcher to begin a pickoff move to first base by first moving his pivot foot in the direction of third base provided that he makes a legal step toward first base with the non-pivot foot before throwing there and provided that the move is continuous and without interruption. A pitcher who makes such a pickoff move is considered to be in contact with the rubber when he makes his throw to first base."

This is the 81st, 82nd ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 33rd Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Minnesota's 1/2nd ejection of 2018, T-3rd in the AL Central (DET, KC 3; CWS, MIN 2; CLE 1).
This is Gene Glynn's first ejection since August 7, 2001 (Angel Hernandez; QOC = U [Out/Safe]).
This is Paul Molitor's first ejection since September 3, 2017 (Marty Foster; QOC = N-C [Check Swing]).
This is Pat Hoberg's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 19 (Marwin Gonzalez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Gerry Davis' first ejection since September 16, 2017 (Miguel Diaz; QOC = U [Throwing At]).

Wrap: Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox, 6/27/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 080 - Lance Barksdale (1; Ron Gardenhire)

HP Umpire Lance Barksdale ejected Tigers Manager Ron Gardenhire (balls/strikes; QOCY) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the Athletics-Tigers game. With two out and the bases loaded, Tigers batter Niko Goodrum took called first and second strikes from A's pitcher Chris Bassitt before striking out. Replays indicate the strike one call was located over the outer edge of home plate and belt-high (px -.783, pz 2.978) while the strike two call was located over the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -.852, pz 2.256), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The A's ultimately won the contest, 3-0.

This is Lance Barksdale (23)'s first ejection of 2018.
Lance Barksdale now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 12 points in Crew Division (11 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 12).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 80th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 32nd Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Detroit's 3rd ejection of 2018, T-1st in the AL Central (DET, KC 3; CWS 2; CLE 1; MIN 0).
This is Ron Gardenhire's 3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 12 (Carlos Torres; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Lance Barksdale's first ejection since August 16, 2017 (John Gibbons; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers, 6/27/18 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 079 - Carlos Torres (2; Joey Votto)

HP Umpire Carlos Torres ejected Reds 1B Joey Votto (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 1st inning of the Reds-Braves game. With one out and one on (R1), Votto took a 0-2 fastball from Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and below the midpoint (px -.413, pz 3.606 [sz_top 3.467 / RAD 3.590 / MOE 3.673]) and that the called first strike to Votto was located over the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -.812, pz 2.349), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Reds ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Carlos Torres (37)'s first ejection of 2018.
Carlos Torres now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 10).
Crew Chief Kerwin Danley now has 6 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 6).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.

This is the 79th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 41st player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, Votto was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Cincinnati's 1st ejection of 2018, T-4th in the NL Central (CHC, MIL 4; PIT 2; CIN, STL 1).
This is Joey Votto's first ejection since September 9, 2015 (Bill Welke; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Carlos Torres' 2nd ejection of 2018, 1st since May 12 (Ron Gardenhire; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves, 6/27/18 | Video as follows:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Trailblazer Tuesday - Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy

Former MiLB umpire Rob Healey reached out and asked me to share the story of a charity he's involved in, the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy (@WWUA2014), whose motto is "Still in the Fight."

The WWUA brings baseball to military service, beginning with the inaugural Wounded Warrior Umpire Camp in 2014; WWUA shortly gained approval of the United States Marine Corps' Wounded Warrior Regiment as a full-fledged charitable organization event.

In the WWUA's history, President Gregory A. Wilson depicts how the organization dedicates itself to wounded veterans and recovering service members looking to connect (or reconnect) with baseball during their recovery in what 9News-Denver called "a new lease on life for some, giving wounded warriors another chance through baseball."

You can find more information about the Ormond Beach, Florida-based WWUA at or on Facebook at

Monday, June 25, 2018

MLB Ejections 077-78 - Stu Scheurwater (2-3; BAL x2)

HP Umpire Stu Scheurwater ejected Orioles P Darren O'Day and Manager Buck Showalter (no-stop balk call; QOCY) in the top of the 9th inning of the Mariners-Orioles game. With none out and one on (R1), Mariners batter Nelson Cruz swung at a 3-2 pitch from O'Day for a foul fly ball, ruled a balk by HP Umpire Scheurwater, thus advancing baserunner R1 Mitch Haniger to second base and returning Cruz to home plate, where he would eventually walk. Replays indicate O'Day did not appear to satisfy the Stop criterion for pitching from Set Position by stopping prior to final delivery, the call was incorrect.^* Play was reviewed and reversed (0-8-1) by the UEFL Appeals Board, the call is now correct. At the time of the ejection, the Mariners were leading, 5-3. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

These are Stu Scheurwater (85)'s second and third ejections of 2018.
Stu Scheurwater now has 12 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct] = 12).
Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom now has 9 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 2 Correct Call = 9).
^The mechanics of calling a balk are two-fold. There is the declare "Balk!" phase and the "Time! That's a balk" phase. The former is to be effected the instant the balk occurs, while the latter is withheld until the play has reached its conclusion. The ball is not dead until play has stopped, as in a caught fly ball.

*After action has stopped, the ball becomes dead and the umpire shall impose the penalty for a balk (runners advance one base, pitch is nullified), "unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk."
*Rule 6.02(a)(13) states, "It is a balk when—The pitcher delivers the pitch from Set Position without
coming to a stop."
Related Ejection: E-021 - Stu Scheurwater (1; Buck Showalter) [Balk call on O'Day] (4/30/17).

This is the 76th, 77th ejection report of the 2018 MLB regular season.
This is the 40th player ejection of 2018. Prior to ejection, O'Day's line was 0.0 IP, 0 ER, BB.
This is the 31st Manager ejection of 2018.
This is Baltimore's 2/3rd ejection of 2018, T-2nd in the AL East (NYY 5; BAL, TOR 3; BOS 2; TB 1).
This is Darren O'Day's first career MLB ejection.
This is Buck Showalter's first ejection since April 30, 2017 (Stu Scheurwater; QOC = Y [Balk]).
This is Stu Scheurwater's 2/3rd ejection of 2018, 1st since June 12 (Mickey Callaway; QOC = Y [HBP]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles, 6/25/18 | Video as follows:

Replay Rewind - Runner Pushed Off Base

A Blue Jay possibly pushing an Angel off a base for an out headlines this edition of Replay Rewind.

Hrbek/Gant Part III: Saturday's Blue Jays-Angels game took an interesting turn in the 7th inning when Anaheim batter Ian Kinsler hit a fly ball to Toronto left fielder Teoscar Hernandez, who caught the ball as Angels baserunner R1 Jose Fernandez tagged from first base, arriving at second ahead of infielder Devon Travis' tag, as the pair collided.

Did the runner or fielder cause the breach?
Replays indicate that as Travis kept his glove on Fernandez's inner-thigh, he may have pushed the runner upward as Fernandez's left leg momentarily broke contact with the base. Did Travis' action cause the runner to lose his balance and break contact with the base or did runner Fernandez place himself in jeopardy?

Perhaps a rules check might help. Rule 5.09(b)(4) places the runner out when—"He is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base," while the Definition of Terms states, "OVERSLIDE (or OVERSLIDING) is the act of an offensive player when his slide to a base, other than when advancing from home to first base, is with such momentum that he loses contact with the base."

As to the issue of a fielder acting on a runner in legal contact with a base, "A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to it until he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base" (Rule 5.06(a)(1)). To reiterate, only another offensive player can force a runner to vacate a base.

The runner clearly beat the tag, and the tag clearly was held on the runner as the runner came off the base, but did the runner's momentum cause him to lose contact with the base or was it the fielder's action in pressing on his upper leg with the glove? What's the call?

In 2015, we first discussed the issue of a fielder pushing a runner off a base relative to Replay Review: in short, whether illegal pushing has occurred is not reviewable. If the on-field umpire rules that the fielder pushed the runner off the base, the runner is safe and the play cannot be reviewed. If the on-field umpire judges that the fielder did not push the runner off the base—as 2B Umpire Laz Diaz ruled here—the play is reviewable and the runner will be safe or out depending on if he was tagged off the base or not.
Related PostReviewing the Unreviewable, the 2015 Hrbek/Gant Play (5/2/15).

Gil's Call: One way of looking at this play is to consider whether the runner or fielder is responsible for the runner's broken contact. In general, unless proven otherwise, the runner is responsible for his/her own actions and must ensure that the base is held. This means that the runner must slide into a base that does not cause the runner to overslide or otherwise lose contact with the base due to excess momentum.

Travis' glove presses upward on Fernandez.
The exception occurs only when a fielder interrupts a runner to such a degree that the fielder overwhelmingly causes the runner to lose contact with the base.

The MLB Umpire Manual tells it this way: "If in the judgment of an umpire, a runner is pushed or forced off a base by a fielder, intentionally or unintentionally, at which the runner would have otherwise been called safe, the umpire has the authority and discretion under the circumstances to return the runner to the base he was forced off following the conclusion of the play."

That said, if, in the umpire's judgment, the runner has proven body control—proven that the base can be held—and the runner's broken contact is thus a result of the fielder's action through no fault of the runner, only then should the runner be declared safe.

Conclusion: The totality of the play, which features a legal collision between fielder and runner, suggests that the runner, due to his significant speed into second base, would have likely momentarily broken contact with the base had the fielder not been present, due to the speed and force of impact during his feet-first pop-up slide.

We've seen this type of review before.
It was this same force that downed the fielder and primarily caused the runner to lose his balance. As such, the runner's lack of body control suggests he would not have been able to remain on the base absent the fielder's actions, which means Rule 5.06(a)(1)'s interpretation does not apply and the runner should be declared out pursuant to Rule 5.09(b)(4).

That said, this all goes back to one of the most fundamental arguments against Replay Review: Is this—the issue of oversliding a base by mere fractions of an inch—really the type of play we want to overturn? Is replay too technical?
Related PostReplay Rewind - Technically Correct or Spiritual Travesty? (6/9/18).

Video as follows: