Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Boone: MLB Told Us "Time" Call Was Wrong

As we previously wrote and as purportedly confirmed by MLB today, HP Umpire Gabe Morales' 9th inning "Time" call at Dodger Stadium during Saturday, 8/24/19's Yankees-Dodgers game was premature.

Speaking to reporters before his club's game Tuesday evening, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said that MLB informed him the umpire's "Time" call on August 24 was in error and that runner Gleyber Torres should have been permitted to score the game's tying run. Instead, the Torres had to go back to third base and the Yankees lost to the Dodgers by one run.

To summarize our analysis, Morales likely called "Time" when requested by Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen because he believed the play was over—from his position at home plate, it would have appeared that Torres was walking back to third base without an intent to advance.
Related PostAs Muncy Admits Fakery, Umps Should Be Patient (8/25/19).
Related PostMorales' Mercy - Dodgers' Key Time Call Against NY (8/24/19).

The rest of our summary is perhaps better quoted: "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.'"

Boone said MLB commented on the "play."
Gil's Call: Rule 5.12(b)(8) ("no umpire shall call 'Time' while a play is in progress") was the lesson of the day, and it occurs to me that I can perhaps further clarify what exactly a play is—a pretty good clue exists under Obstruction (B) rule 6.01(h)(2), which states, "If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible."

Rule 8.01(d) regarding ejections also uses this language: "If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play."

Accordingly, a good exercise for an umpire considering whether to call for time or not is to ask whether further action is possible. If the answer is "yes," wait a few beats or seconds to allow the answer to turn into a "no." If the answer is "no" (or when it becomes "no"), proceed to call "Time."

There's a chance this was an umpire's version of an "inadvertent whistle"... just at a really inopportune time. Many umpires have been there: it isn't a pleasant feeling, and there isn't much one can do to correct it in a "once rung, a bell cannot be unrung" sense of things.

There's also a chance the umpire was duped by a soccer-style flopper in Max Muncy out at second base, as previously discussed, and that's a shame that will only serve to make umpires more distrustful of players who may suffer legitimate injuries in the future. And that's harmful to them, as well. But in a world where gamesmanship and winning is more important than ethics and honesty, an umpire must by necessity be skeptical and not call "Time" until the umpire is ready to kill the action-less "play."

SIDEBAR: In the infancy of baseball video games—I'll discuss Triple Play, since that's the game I referenced during June's Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone podcast episode—with a runner on base, the game would not move on until—quite literally—no further action was possible...as in, the ball had to be delivered back to the pitcher. Subsequent video games discovered this was a waste of...time...and eliminated this strict adherence to Rule 5.12(b)(8).
Related PostPodcast - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone (6/5/19).

So in the end, maybe we should all play a few innings of Triple Play 99  and see how patient these umpires are at calling "Time."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: What We Can Learn from NYY-LAD Quick Time Call (CCS)


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