Tuesday, December 24, 2019

ABL Bandits P Blackley Clears Benches in Brisbane

Benches cleared in the Australian Baseball League after Brisbane Bandits pitcher Travis Blackley hit Auckland Tuatara leadoff batter Jared Walker with a pitch. As for ejections, HP Umpire Mal Mackay and crew-mates Paul Latta and Tom West did not eject anyone during the incident, but word has it that the ABL suspended Blackley for as many as four games after he allegedly uttered a racial slur at a Japanese player.

Leading off the sixth inning for Auckland in a 5-2 ballgame, Walker took a 0-2 pitch in on the hands for a hit-by-pitch. Following the HBP, words and gestures were exchanged between batter Walker and pitcher Blackley, leading to a bench-clearing situation.

We first discussed INF separation in 2017.
The following video analysis breaks down the incident, and shows a flareup in the "biggest mound conference in the country" after what appears to be an interaction between Blackley and opposing player Yujo Kitagata, who played in 13 games for the Arizona League's Dodgers in July and August 2019 before his ABL debut with Auckland in November. He previously played in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League.

We refer to an old concept of ours—the Division of Infield Halves—and possible priorities for umpires who, in a crew of any size, are outnumbered by team personnel on the field, as well as a potential explanation for why no one was ejected.
Related PostDodger vs Giants Bench-Clearer and Division of Halves (5/17/17).

Conclusion: Priorities to Bear in Mind
First: Calling umpires are first onscene and should be prepared to respond to high stakes situations, such as HBP events or hard slides.
Second: Separate the teams via the division of halves principle as soon as practicable.
Third: Remain aware of high-risk players: namely, incident instigators (i.e., pitcher & batter).

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: ABL Tuatara and Bandits Clear Benches After Blackley's HBP (ABL / CCS)


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