Wednesday, September 11, 2019

MLB Ejection 195 - John Libka (3; Scott Servais)

HP Umpire John Libka ejected Mariners Manager Scott Servais (backswing interference no-call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #Reds-#Mariners game. With two out and the bases loaded, Reds batter Derek Dietrich attempted to check his swing on a 0-2 slider from Mariners pitcher Anthony Bass, ruled a ball and called a swinging third strike on appeal by 3B Umpire Paul Nauert. The ball got away from Mariners catcher Omar Narvaez and all Reds runners advanced on the dropped third strike.

Replays indicate that after missing at the pitch, the ball bounced off Narvaez and caromed off batter Dietrich's bat on the backswing, whereupon the ball escaped into the area between home plate and the first base dugout; this is unintentional follow-through contact (aka "backswing interference"), the proper remedy for which is a dead ball strike (this would have ended the game), the call was incorrect. Original Ruling was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (7-0), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Mariners were leading, 5-3. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

Gil's Call/Analysis: Rule 6.03(a)(3) Comment has this as backswing interference: dead ball strike. If corrected, this results in strike three for Dietrich, who is out to end the game. Remember, backswing interference (follow-through contact at the NFHS level) applies to the bat hitting both the catcher and the baseball behind the batter after he swings and misses at a pitch.
Related PostCase Play 2016-1, The Dropped Third Strike [Solved] (3/31/16).

The umpires were put in a terrible position because MLB does not allow issues such as backswing interference to be reviewed. Because the umpires could not refer to Replay Review, when the T-Mobile Park entertainment production crew ran the instant replay on the outfield video board, this more than anything else caused Servais' ejection as Seattle's skipper reignited his argument and forced Libka to eject him for referencing having seen a video replay that purportedly (definitely, in this case) contradicted an umpire's on-field ruling.

It's one thing to look at the replay and say that Libka missed this because he was looking toward third base at U3 Nauert for the check swing, an issue that can be rectified if the plate umpire stays engaged with the uncaught third strike a tick longer (remember the phrase voluntary strike on a potential uncaught third strike situation, which means the base umpire who judges "swing" should be ready to give an out signal immediately upon the pitch bouncing in the dirt—the word "voluntary" means the base umpire should make a call regardless of whether the plate umpire has formally appealed to him [it's treated as an implied appeal play, as in...the appeal would happen eventually anyway, and time is of the essence on a potential uncaught third strike]. The reason voluntary strike exists is precisely because the plate umpire *still has* responsibilities at home plate on an uncaught third strike play).

And of course, get together with your entire crew if there is any doubt (we do see Libka walking toward the infield before Seattle's broadcast begins showing a series of replays).

Yet in my mind, what caused Servais to get himself thrown out of this game was seeing the video on the stadium big screen, and the umpires entirely unable to do anything about the missed call due to Replay Review rules that prohibit such remediation.

This is John Libka (84)'s third ejection of 2019.
John Libka now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (7 Prev + 2 AAA - 4 Incorrect Call = 5).
Crew Chief Paul Nauert now has -1 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = -1).
*Official Baseball Rule 6.03(a)(3) Comment states, "If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire's judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the backswing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play."

This is the 195th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 88th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Seattle's 6th ejection of 2019, T-1st in the AL West (OAK, SEA 6; HOU 5; LAA, TEX 4).
This is Scott Servais' 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 15 (Carlos Torres; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is John Libka's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since August 21 (Jesus Aguilar; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cincinnati Reds vs. Seattle Mariners, 9/11/19 | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Libka loses Mariners Manager Scott Servais; Derek Dietrich gets gift (CCS)


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