Saturday, October 27, 2018

Discussion of the 2018 World Series

We begin the 2018 Dodgers-Red Sox World Series discussion with Game 1 and HP Umpire Tim Timmons.

Chief Ted Barrett's Fall Classic entire crew/roster, including home plate probables, is available at the following link.
Related2018 World Series Umpire Crew (10/22/18).

Home plate umpire performance is listed following the completion of each contest according to UEFL-f/x, which accounts for UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a (horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule") and 6-2-b-b (vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"). Callable pitches (which excludes all swinging strikes, fair and foul balls, HBPs, and pitchouts) are organized by type: "ball" or "called strike." These two figures are added together upon which a final plate performance score is achieved. For more information on UEFL-f/x and why we don't use misleading pitch plots/graphics in our analysis ("pfx" link included for illustrative purposes only), visit the following link.
Related PostUEFL f/x vs K-Zone and the Player-Umpire Disconnect (How #s work) (10/4/18).

- 10/23 LAD@BOS Gm 1: Tim Timmons: pfx. 107/110 Balls + 56/58 Strikes = 163/168 = 97.0%. +1 LA.
- 10/24 LAD@BOS Gm 2: Kerwin Danley: pfx. 77/78 Balls + 43/45 Strikes = 120/123 = 97.6%. +3 LA.

- 10/26 BOS@LAD Gm 3: Ted Barrett: pfx. 201/202 Balls + 76/84 Strikes = 277/286 = 96.9%. +7 LA.
- 10/27 BOS@LAD Gm 4: Chad Fairchild: pfx. 109/112 Balls + 58/60 Strikes = 167/172 = 97.1%. +1 LA.
- 10/28 BOS@LAD Gm 5: Jeff Nelson: pfx. 76/76 Balls + 40/42 Strikes = 116/118 = 98.3%. +2 BOS.
Series Complete (WS BOS Over LAD 4-1): 843/867 = 97.2%. Net Skew +10 LA.

Note: The highest plate score during the 2017 World Series was Dan Iassogna's 95.5% (WS Gm 6).
The highest plate score during the 2017 Postseason was Chad Fairchild's 97.4% (ALCS Gm 1).
The highest plate score during the 2018 Postseason, thus far, was Joe West's 99.4% (ALCS Gm 3).
The highest postseason plate score ever recorded was Joe West's 99.4% (2018 ALCS Gm 3).

Live Blog: Join the CCS Crew LIVE for World Series discussion and analysis (requires Java):

World Series Forfeit? Unable to Field Nine Players

With Dodgers and Red Sox managers running out of bench players and substitutes during Friday/Saturday's World Series Game 3 in Los Angeles, we ask what would happen if a team ran out of players and someone got hurt? Answer: Forfeit (umpire declaration). Longest postseason game in MLB history or not, professional baseball requires nine position players during every game with penalty of forfeit for any team that attempts to play shorthanded.

Really—a forfeit on baseball's biggest stage?

It certainly hasn't happened before during the World Series, but Official Baseball Rule 7.03(b) states that at the Major League level, a team forfeits when it cannot or will not field nine players on defense:
A game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine players on the field.
And don't even think about trying to bring someone back into the game after they were already replaced: "A player once removed from a game shall not re-enter that game. If a player who has been substituted for attempts to reenter, or re-enters, the game in any capacity, the umpire-in-chief shall direct the player’s manager to remove such player from the game immediately" (OBR 5.10(d)).

And 5.10(d) Comment: "If, in an umpire’s judgment, the player re-entered the game knowing that he had been removed, the umpire may eject the manager."

Weaver and Springstead have a conversation.
History: The last major league forfeit of this variety occurred on September 15, 1977, when Orioles Manager Earl Weaver refused to place his team on the field after umpire Marty Springstead, alongside Larry Barnett, Jim Evans, and Vic Voltaggio, rejected Weaver's request to remove a bullpen tarp. Though Weaver claimed player safety as motivation, the American League recorded the game as a forfeit in favor of Toronto (the Blue Jays were leading, 4-0 at the time).

Meanwhile, the last minor league forfeit under 7.03(b) (formerly 4.15(c)) took place in August 2014, when umpires Andy Stukel and Jordan Johnson ruled a forfeit in the Pioneer League when the Ogden Raptors refused to take the field following a rain delay, arguing that the field was unplayable. That protest wound up overturned after the Pioneer League affirmed Ogden's protest and ordered the game replayed from the seventh inning interruption.
Related PostMiLB Rookie Ball Forfeit Overturned on Upheld Protest (8/27/14).

One of the first forfeits of this variety occurred on August 31, 1872. According to retrosheet, Brooklyn refused to continue playing after disagreeing with umpire Tom Pratt's call. Philadelphia's Athletics thus won the contest.

Meanwhile, Boston's forfeit win over Cleveland on August 1, 1883 establishes that players not on the roster at the time of first pitch shall not be permitted to enter the game. Cleveland had attempted to replace injured pitcher Hugh Daily with Will Sawyer; Boston cried foul because Sawyer wasn't present at the start of the game, resulting in a forfeit.

Torre would come up with a solution.
That said, MLB brass—Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, Commissioner Rob Manfred, and the like—does have some flexibility within the rules. For instance, OBR does not explicitly state how many players may be named to the roster. Though we know "25-man roster" as standard baseball vernacular, could MLB corporate tweak this element of the "not an official rule" provision? Recall, of course, pursuant to the 1883 precedent, that the player must be present at the start of the game, barring a rules change.

After all, Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig did infamously declare a tie in the 11th inning of the 2002 All-Star Game after both teams ran out of available pitchers. That led to the whole "This time it counts" home-field advantage for the World Series campaign, and so forth, but most importantly...Selig's action took place during an All-Star Game that, at the time, didn't count for all that much.

We're talking about the World Series here.

Pursuant to MLB Umpire Manual procedure, a forfeit requires Crew Chief consent and the Crew Chief shall give ample warning to both sides (and to the crowd via the public address system, in the event of fans throwing debris, for instance) before declaring a forfeit; after the game, said Crew Chief contacts the MLB office to advise them of the forfeit.

SIDEBAR: Bob Davidson described a forfeit he had at Dodger Stadium in his Plate Meeting Podcast interview (Episode 1) when the Dodgers forfeited to the Cardinals in August 1995 on baseball giveaway night (fans threw balls on the field when things didn't go LA's way late in the game), and his late night conversation with NL President Leonard Coleman to advise him of the forfeited game.
Related PostPlate Meeting Podcast Episode 1 - Bob Davidson (7/17/18).

Bob Davidson had a forfeit in LA in 1995.
For 2018 World Series Game 3, Crew Chief and HP Umpire Ted Barrett—who presided over 561 total pitches, 286 of which were callable—would surely consult with a supervisor or someone higher up the food chain, even if it meant waiting for Manfred and Torre to make it down to the field, or to get someone up in New York via Replay Review...this is MLB's ultimate jewel event, after all.

SIDEBAR: Stats count in a forfeit as long as the game has progressed enough innings to be a regulation game. With this potential forfeit situation occurring in extras, those states would count. If the team credited with the win was leading at the time of the forfeit, the pitchers would be credited with a win or loss as usual. If the team credited with the win was losing at the time of the forfeit, there would be no winning or losing pitchers. Forfeits receive an official score of 9-0 victories in favor of the benefiting team.

In sum, although Rule 7.03(b) is pretty clear about forfeiting a game when a team is unable to place nine players on the field, the collective MLB brain trust would have little trouble working out a creative solution to prevent this ultimate travesty from marring a World Series—or at least present an intercedent measure to soften the blow. Either that or a rules change for the offseason. One thing is for certain though, a decision this significant, at this monumental stage, would surely be out of the umpires' hands.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

World Series Crew Embarks on Boston UMPS Care Visit

In the midst of a 2018 World Series assignment, Crew Chief Ted Barrett, and umpires Jeff Nelson, Jim Reynolds, and Tim Timmons made an UMPS CARE Charities BLUE for Kids visit to Boston Children's Hospital, joining Red Sox legends and MLB personnel on the charity outing just hours before Boston's 4-2 victory during Game 2.

World Series umpires visited Boston Children's.
While MLB donated video game-adorned Play Spaces, UMPS Care Charities stuck to its bread and butter, handing out 100 Build-A-Bear stuffed animal kits to critically-ill children on the heels of 1500 bears already distributed during UMPS CARE's 14 scheduled hospital visits during the 2018 regular season.

Barrett also let us in on a secret: "For most of us, this is our favorite event...we get more out of it I think than the kids do because we just have a blast with them... As umpires, usually, we're not bringing positive reactions, so it's great to get some smiles from people."

UMPS CARE ( recruits the home team's mascot whenever possible to help with the festivities, and Red Sox character Wally the Green Monster was on hand to help out, perhaps an apropos name on a day we remember the late, great Wally Bell, who once said of hospital visits, "To see the kids smile is the greatest thing in the world."
Related PostFive Years Later - Remembering Wally Bell (10/25/18).

Video as follows:

Five Years Later - Remembering Wally Bell

Five years ago, on October 14, 2013, we lost Wally Bell, who had just umpired that postseason's NLDS. The 21-year MLB umpire, who died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 48, was remembered by Joe West, President of the World Umpires Association: "Wally was a great umpire, a great partner and a great friend. The umpiring community is deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by many."

Similar sentiments were shared throughout baseball, from then-Commissioner Bud Selig to Joe Torre and beyond.

Here at CCS, we noted a few more stories and reactions to Wally's passing during the postseason; there were moments of silence held at Dodger Stadium with Gerry Davis' NLCS crew; at Comerica Park, Joe West's ALCS umpires stood behind home plate in a "missing man" formation, in honor of Bell.
Related PostMLB Umpire Wally Bell Dead at 48 (10/14/13).

This week, Foley's NY published a remembrance, writing, in part, "Wally was a MLB umpire who was quite a character and larger than life...I miss Wally and I would give anything to have him tell me the same stories over and over again." Visit Foley's for more.

We also visit ABC Action News for a segment remembering Bell in the following video section when Wally said, "To see the kids smile is the greatest thing in the world."

Video as follows:

Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 World Series Umpire Crew and Roster

MLB's 2018 World Series umpire roster features Ted Barrett as crew chief for the Dodgers-Red Sox fall classic along with six additional umpires selected from the AL and NL Division Series crews this postseason.

The Replay Official for the LCS and World Series serves in MLBAM's New York-based Replay Operations Center for Games One and Two of the series, before joining the on-field crew for Games Three through Seven. The home plate umpire for Game One of the series correspondingly serves as the Replay Official for Games Three through Seven.

The 2018 Fall Classic umpiring crew is comprised of umpires from the 2018 AL and NL Division Series. The following configuration refers to positions as assigned for Game 1 of the World Series and indicates prior assignments for the 2018 Division Series. Three of the seven World Series umpires came from ALDS-A (CLE@HOU), two were from NLDS-B (COL@MIL), while one umpire came from each of the remaining two Division Series.

2018 World Series Umpires (Los Angeles Dodgers @ Boston Red Sox)
HP: Tim Timmons '1st WS' (from ALDS-A [CLE@HOU]) [Game 1 Plate]
1B: Kerwin Danley (from NLDS-B [COL@MIL]) [Game 2 Plate]
2B: Ted Barrett* (from NLDS-B [COL@MIL]) [Game 3 Plate]
3B: Chad Fairchild '1st WS' (from ALDS-A [CLE@HOU]) [Game 4 Plate]
LF: Jeff Nelson* (from ALDS-A [CLE@HOU]) [Game 5 Plate]
RF: Jim Reynolds (from NLDS-A [ATL@LAD]) [Game 6 Plate]
Replay: Fieldin Culbreth* (from ALDS-B [NYY@BOS]) [Game 7 Plate]

Replay Assistant, World Series: Chris Conroy (from AL Division Series A [CLE@HOU])

Bold text denotes World Series Crew Chief, * denotes regular season Crew Chief, ^1st^ denotes first postseason assignment; `1st WS` denotes first World Series assignment. Per UEFL Rule 4-3-c, all umpires selected to appear in the World Series shall receive four bonus points for this appearance; crew chiefs shall receive one additional bonus point for this role (five points total). Officials assigned to replay review (without an on-field role) only do not receive points for this role.

This is the first Fall Classic for Timmons and Fairchild.  It's the second appearance for Reynolds and Danley.  It's the third time around for Culbreth.  Barrett and Nelson are here for the fourth time.  This marks the second time Reynolds, Nelson and Barrett worked together on the grandest stage. The trio officiated the 2014 World Series.