Sunday, August 25, 2019

As Muncy Admits Fakery, Umps Should Be Patient

In the aftermath of HP Umpire Gabe Morales' fateful "Time" call that preceded Yankees runner Gleyber Torres' potential tying score at Dodger Stadium Saturday, Dodgers infielder Max Muncy admitted he faked the extent of his injury, putting the umpire in a vice and reminding all officials to exercise patience when making calls.

To recap, Morales called "Time" as a response to Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen's request after a collision between Yankees runner Brett Gardner and Muncy on a force play attempt at second base. Prior to calling "Time," from Morales' angle at home plate, it appeared Yankees runner Torres was walking slowly toward third base with his back to home plate.
Related PostMorales' Mercy - Dodgers' Key Time Call Against NY (8/24/19).

For this reason, it would have appeared to Morales that the play was over and no further action was possible, making his "Time" call proper, in his judgment, and in accordance with Rule 5.12(b)(8), which states, in part, that, "no umpire shall call 'Time' while a play is in progress."

Unfortunately for Morales and New York, the play may not have been as complete as first thought, as Torres broke for home plate a split second after Morales' decision to call "Time." Remember, a play is generally not complete until “no further action is possible.” Accordingly a good exercise for an umpire considering whether to call for time or not is to ask whether further action is possible.

First and foremost, umpires should be patient.
What Lesson Can We Learn? In a word, it's "Patience." An umpire should take his or her time to process the entire situation to deem that the play has truly concluded and no further action is possible. Timing is a huge buzz word in umpiring, and there is a certain timing to calling "Time" at the conclusion of a play.

As callous as it may sound, umpires shouldn't "be nice" and stop the game for a hurt infielder. There's a colloquialism that holds umpires should refrain from calling "Time" after every consequential play, and certainly should never think of calling "Time" just because a player falls to the ground. First, it's not permitted in the rules until a play is complete, and second, leniency when not supported by rule leads to con artistry, such as Muncy's soccer-esque flopping and flailing. And if there's one thing an umpire doesn't like more than missing a call, it's being duped by a malfeasant player.

Will the Yankees seek to police the game themselves via a bean ball aimed at the embellishment-minded Muncy? Only time will tell.

A protest must be lodged immediately.
Finally, we have our 10% Boone moment of the day, as Aaron Boone when asked about the play after the game stated that his team might seek to protest the game as a remedy for Morales' quick trigger. Unfortunately, such a protest would be doomed to failure, as Rule 7.04 Comment, regarding protests, clearly states that a protest doesn't apply to judgment calls and, more to the point, must be filed immediately upon the conclusion of the play-to-be-protested. Accordingly, we probably won’t see a bona fide protest, just a complaint about a premature “Time” call.

Morales' judgment call here was that the play was over when he called "Time." If, instead, Morales called "Time" with knowledge that the play was not yet over, that would be a rules interpretation issue subject to protest...albeit, Boone's protest statute of limitations had long run out by the time New York ultimately lost to LA.

Gil's Call: In conclusion, managers can't afford to be patient when it comes to filing a protest, but an umpire better be patient when it comes to calling timeout. This ensures the requesting team doesn't receive an unfair advantage by a premature call not in accordance with the rules (e.g., calling "Time" while the runners are running the bases and/or the defense is not in position to hold runners at their present locations). "Don't be nice, call the rulebook."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: What Umpires Can Learn from Gabe Morales' Quick Call (CCS)


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