Saturday, June 1, 2019

MLB Ejection 071 - Alan Porter (1; Marcus Semien)

1B Umpire Alan Porter ejected Athletics SS Marcus Semien (Replay Review decision that upheld Porter's foul ball call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Astros-A's game. With two out and two on (R1, R2), A's batter Semien hit a 2-2 fastball from Astros pitcher Justin Verlander on the ground toward first base, ruled foul by 1B Umpire Porter and affirmed via Replay Review as the result of a challenge by A's Manager Bob Melvin. Replays indicate the ball appeared to first contact foul territory beyond first base—see our research on parallax angle and the requirement that the center of the spherical baseball must make contact with fair territory in order to be fair—the call was correct.* Original Ruling was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (5-1-3), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 3-1. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 5-1.

This is Alan Porter (64)'s first ejection of 2019.
Alan Porter now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Jim Reynolds now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*Related Video: Fair or Foul - Umpire's Parallax Angle for a Ball Over the Line (CCS).
Related PostAsk UEFL - Judging a Fly Ball as Fair or Foul (Video) (7/13/18).
*MLB Umpire Manual: "When in contact with the ground, a ball must be in contact with fair territory and not merely over fair territory in order to be adjudged to be fair."

This is the 71st ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 31st player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Semien was 0-3 in the contest.
This is Oakland's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st in the AL West (OAK 3; HOU, LAA 2; SEA 1; TEX 0).
This is Marcus Semien's first career MLB ejection.
This is Alan Porter's first ejection since Sept 2, 2018 (Addison Reed; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, 6/1/19 | Videos as follows:

Friday, May 31, 2019

Injury Scout - Jim Wolf Leaves in Arizona

HP Umpire Jim Wolf left Friday's Mets-Diamondbacks game in Arizona after a deflected foul ball knocked off his mask.

With none out and two on in the top of the 2nd inning, Mets batter Todd Frazier fouled an 84.6-mph 0-1 slider from Diamondbacks pitcher Jon Duplantier off of catcher Alex Avila's mask, deflecting into the lower jaw portion of Wolf's traditional-style facemask.

1B Umpire Manny Gonzalez took over for Wolf behind home plate, with 2B Umpire Dan Iassogna sliding over to first base and 3B Umpire and Crew Chief Sam Holbrook rounding out the three-umpire crew.

Relevant Injury History: Wolf last left a game due to a head injury in September 2015, when he left the 9/11/15 Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, also in Arizona, after a foul ball deflected onto his facemask.
Related PostJim Wolf Leaves LAD-ARI After Foul Ball to Face (9/11/15).

Prior to that, Wolf left a June 2014 Indians-Rangers game in Texas after a similar head injury.
Related PostInjury: Jim Wolf Takes Foul Ball to Mask, Marquez Debuts (6/10/14).

Last Game: May 31 | Return to Play: June 1 | Time Absent: Rest of Day | Video as follows:

TSSAA Sends Message After Coach's Ump Kick

After Haywood High School head coach Jeff 'Dusty' Rhodes appeared to kick at an umpire amidst his tantrum and tirade after being ejected during Tennessee's Class AA state tournament, the TSSAA fined and punished Rhodes' school, explaining that because Haywood failed to respond appropriately to its first-year baseball coach's misconduct, the TSSAA had no choice but to punish the school itself, since its bylaws prohibit disciplining individual school employees.

But wait...if you thought this was just a story about a coach losing it on an umpire, you underestimate the gravity of this tale.

According to WBBJ News, Rhodes was fired by the Decatur County Board of Education in December 2012 after the board suspended Rhodes on "suspicion of misconduct at Decaturville Elementary School," where he then-taught. Rhodes was head coach of the Decatur County Riverside High School baseball team at the time, and lost his job as a result of the alleged misconduct at the primary school.

Rhodes has a unique history in Tennessee.
In an...interesting...twist of fate, Rhodes is presently listed on the Decatur County Board of Education's website as a school board member (as Jeff Rhodes, and in Board documentation as Jeffrey Rhodes). Decaturville Elementary, where Rhodes had been suspected of misconduct in 2012, is one of the schools overseen by the Decatur County Board of Education, as is Riverside HS where Rhodes once coached.

Rhodes' current employer—Haywood High School—is governed by a different board, the Haywood County School Board.

Rhodes and Haywood assistant coach Alex Whitwell were ejected over an illegal pitch dispute—Haywood pitcher Ja'Darius Hines was called twice for an illegal hybrid pitching stance—during a post-season Spring Fling tournament game against Sequatchie County. Replays indicate that after Rhodes was ejected from the game, he responded by kicking at the umpire who threw him out, continuing to kick at the ground and dirt as the umpire walked away.
Related PostOdd Position - Limits of a Legal Pitching Delivery (3/6/18).

The hybrid stance is illegal in high school.
As the umpire continued walking away, Rhodes pursued and continued yelling at the official, even as Haywood High School players and coaches attempted to pull and restrain Rhodes.

NFHS Rule 3-3-1f prohibits the commission of any unsportsmanlike act, including the use of profanity (3-3-1f.2...Rhodes reportedly employed the use of profanity during his argument), while 3-3-1q states it is illegal for team personnel to: "have physical contact, spit, kick dirt or engage in any other physical action directed toward an umpire."

The High School penalty, other than ejection, is forfeiture ("Failure to comply shall result in the game being forfeited"), though best of luck to any umpire attempting to forfeit a postseason game.

Rhodes turns his ire toward another umpire.
The video's duration—one minute, 55 seconds—does not capture the entirety of the delay caused by Rhodes' misconduct, which pursuant to TSSAA bylaws, merits supplemental discipline.

After the game, Rhodes accused the umpire of baiting him into the ejection: "He was looking for something to get me to respond on."

By convention, the ejected party's school gets first crack at discipline, which the TSSAA can accept or augment.

Haywood school principal Latonya Jackson initially sought to mitigate punishment for her head coach's behavior: "This is our first incident of this manner with Coach Rhodes and this behavior is not typical for him. We feel that the suspension and fine [we are requesting - a $250 fine and two-game suspension] from the TSSAA is adequate and will not add any extra games to this suspension but will work closely with Coach Rhodes to offer support in order to prevent this behavior from happening again."

Haywood welcomed Rhodes in Summer 2018.
"First Incident" Occurred with a First-Year Coach
Perhaps Haywood High School never encountered such an incident "of this manner" with coach Rhodes before because 2019 was Rhodes' first season as head coach for the Haywood High School Tomcats.

Rhodes served as an assistant baseball and football coach for Hardin County High School until Summer 2018.

But the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) wasn't swayed by Jackson's words, deciding that the behavior demonstrated by Rhodes and Whitwell merited a more severe punishment, that the school itself bore responsibility, and that the school's failure to appropriately respond to Rhodes' misconduct merited additional discipline.

Haywood HS had a one-sided bench clearer.
According to aptly-named TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress: "The administration was given ample opportunity to address this unfortunate incident but chose to only enforce what the bylaws require. Principals and coaches must realize that they have more responsibilities than the general public to understand the purpose of high school athletics and the principles behind the TSSAA rules, and they must maintain that level of understanding and purpose when dealing with the general public and students."

Rhodes refuses to stop arguing balk call.
As such, TSSAA imposed the following sanctions:
> $250 fines for Rhodes and Whitwell for their ejections;
> Two-game suspensions for Rhodes and Whitwell;
> $2,000 fine levied against Haywood HS Baseball;
> $2,000 fine levied against Haywood Athletics;
> Two-year postseason ban for Haywood Baseball;
> Two-year probation for Haywood Athletics.

Childress, explained, rules-wise, why the organization's punishment against the school was so severe, compared to a pair of $250 fines and two-game suspensions for the ejected coaches: "It's a very difficult call for us because we are an organization that cannot discipline school employees. The way our constitution is written, we're limited in what we can do. Our hands are tied because we can only penalize the athletic program since it's those programs that are members of the TSSAA. That's why we ask the schools to tell us what they're going to do.

Rhodes advances as students restrain him.
"It's up to the administrators to take action that is appropriate for whatever the violation is, and in this incident, the action that the school administration had submitted was not appropriate for the behavior of their coaches. We have to penalize appropriately so we can send a message to others that this will not be tolerated."

Because Haywood High School Baseball was eliminated from the 2019 postseason, coaches Jeff "Dusty" Rhodes—not to be confused with the late MLB player James "Dusty" Rhodes (who was ejected just twice during his 1952-59 playing career)—and Alex Whitwell will serve their suspensions during the first two games of the 2020 varsity season.

Meanwhile Eagleville, TN head coach Travis Holland also had a bad day: After being ejected arguing a reversed call, Rutherford County Schools suspended him without pay after video surfaced purportedly showing Holland rubbing the back of a female student.

Video (of the Rhodes ejection) as follows:

20-Year Replay Rewind - Pulli's 1999 HR Review

20 years ago today, on May 31, 1999, baseball used Replay Review on a home run call for the first time in MLB history, courtesy NL Umpire Frank Pulli, who consulted a dugout camera to view video of a Cliff Floyd fly ball, overturning 2B Umpire Greg Gibson's HR call to a double,* having ruled that Floyd's towering drive struck below a painted yellow line (or where one would have been located) at Florida's Pro Player Stadium.

Frank Pulli makes history. PHOTO: Reuters.
The Play: With two out and one on (R2), Floyd hit a fly ball to deep left-center field, originally ruled a double by Greg Gibson, the second base umpire, motioning to both dugouts that the ball had hit the left field scoreboard that separated the portion of the wall that was in play from that which was out of play.

Replay Review's First Customer: After crew consultation with HP Umpire Greg Bonin, 1B Umpire Ed Rapuano, U2 Gibson & U3 Pulli, the crew changed Gibson's original ruling and deemed the play a home run, bringing out Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa for an argument, upon which Crew Chief Pulli found a broadcast camera adjacent to Florida's dugout and viewed a replay of the fly ball on the camera's monitor, determining that the ball had indeed struck below the boundary line, just as Gibson had initially judged.

*Pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-2-b-7, "Quality of Correctness for an ejection that occurs after umpire consultation or instant replay review, wherein the initial call was changed during or after consultation/review, shall be adjudged by the correctness of the call after consultation/review." As such, the post-umpire consultation/pre-replay ruling of HR was overturned via Replay Review.

After Review: Pulli overturned the HR call to a double, awarding baserunner R2 Alex Gonzalez home plate, and bringing out Marlins Interim Manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose argument that replays were not permitted resulted in a decision to protest the game.

Frank Pulli checks the footage. PHOTO: AP.
Said Pulli at the time, "I sure don't want to make a habit of it, but at that moment, I thought it was the proper thing to do." Added Floyd after his home run was overturned to a double, "He did end up making the right call with the help of the cameraman. I was hoping maybe I'd get a cheap one."

NL Denies Protest: Despite St. Louis winning the game 5-2 (instead of scoring on a HR, Floyd was stranded on third base), National League President Len Coleman denied Florida's protest, while admonishing Pulli and directing umpires not to consult video instant replay in the future, a directive that would hold until 2008, when MLB adopted limited instant replay exclusively for reviews on HR/not HR calls.

SIDEBAR: Coleman resigned in 1999 over the issue of—you guessed it—MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's attempt to switch control of the major league umpires from the AL and NL offices to the centralized MLB office and Executive Vice President Sandy Alderson, who himself had no officiating experience. See the following post for a video history regarding this dispute.
Related PostVideo - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone (5/30/19).

Pulli passed away on August 28, 2013, at the age of 78 due to complications from Parkinson's disease, yet Ish's 30+ years in professional baseball, aside from his four World Series, six National League Championship Series, four Division Series, and two All-Star Games, may be best remembered for his unintentional introduction of Replay Review into the major leagues in May of 1999.
Related PostIn Memoriam: Remembering NL Umpire Frank Pulli (8/30/13).

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Video - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone

Today we preview Episode 15 of The Plate Meeting podcast, Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone, with a comprehensive overview and history of MLB umpire evaluation through computer balls/strikes analysis, and a peculiar major league dichotomy between an internal, private system claiming 97% accuracy for umpires relative to balls/strikes, while a public-facing application from a different branch of the league claims umpires are only 91% accurate in pitch calling.

This introductory video segment from Episode 15 discusses a decades-old fork in the road taken by a league that appeared to prioritize umpire ranking and rating over training, and introduced QuesTec into the baseball lexicon, a program whose adoption resulted in friction between the umpires and league, compounding a fractured relationship that had already come to a head in 1999.

We trace the electronic strike zone journey from QuesTec through SMT SportVision's Pitch f/x and MLBAM's StatCast, with its PitchCast component that, according to Umpire Auditor's Dylan Yep, was meant for television broadcast, not for accurate strike zone analysis, and whose public-facing data—which we will prove aren't foolproof—contribute to a culture of umpire-blaming that modern sports culture encourages, and proliferates through league vehicles Gameday and Baseball Savant as well as non-league visualization services, such as Brooks Baseball, all while the umpire-friendly Zone Evaluation metric is kept under lock and key, out of the public eye.

The following preview is just the first part of Plate Meeting Podcast Episode 15. Subsequent segments of this episode will feature interviews with Dylan Yep of Umpire Auditor and Economics Master Lecturer Mark T. Williams of Boston University.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

MLB Ejection 070 - Jeff Nelson (5; David Bell)

3B Umpire Jeff Nelson ejected Reds Manager David Bell (warnings & ejection no-call following HBP; QOCU) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Pirates-Reds game. With none out and none on, Reds batter Eugenio Suarez took a first-pitch fastball from Pirates pitcher Clay Holmes for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch struck Suarez on the left wrist; warnings had not previously been issued and Suarez was the first hit batsman of the game, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Pirates were leading, 7-0. The Pirates ultimately won the contest, 7-2.

This is Jeff Nelson (45)'s fifth ejection of 2019.
Jeff Nelson now has 15 points in the UEFL Standings (13 Prev + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call = 15).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has 7 points in Crew Division (6 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 7).

This is the 70th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 35th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Cincinnati's 8th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL Central (CIN 8; MIL 5; PIT 3; CHC, STL 2).
This is David Bell's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since May 2 (Marty Foster; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jeff Nelson's 5th ejection of 2019, 1st since May 3 (Don Mattingly; QOC = U [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds, 5/29/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 069 - Mark Carlson (2; Glenn Sparkman)

HP Umpire Mark Carlson ejected Royals pitcher Glenn Sparkman (throwing at White Sox batter Tim Anderson; QOCU) in the bottom of the 2nd inning of the Royals-White Sox game. With none out and one on (R1), Anderson took a first-pitch fastball inside and waist-high for a called first ball and a 1-0 changeup for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the 1-0 pitch struck Anderson in the helmet; warnings had not previously been issued, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the White Sox were leading, 2-1. The White Sox ultimately won the contest, 8-7.

This is Mark Carlson (6)'s second ejection of 2019.
Mark Carlson now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call = 4).
Crew Chief Bill Miller now has 7 points in Crew Division (6 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 7).

This is the 69th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 30th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Sparkman's line was 1.0 IP, 4 ER, HR, HBP.
This is Kansas City's 4th ejection of 2019, T-1st in the AL Central (CWS, DET, KC 4; CLE, MIN 1).
This is Glenn Sparkman's first career MLB ejection.
This is Mark Carlson's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 22 (Bryce Harper; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox, 5/29/19 | Video as follows:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

MLB Ejection 068 - James Hoye (1; Joakim Soria)

HP Umpire James Hoye ejected Athletics pitcher Joakim Soria (ball two call; QOCY) in the top of the 9th inning of the Angels-A's game. With two out and two on (R1, R2), Angels batter Shohei Ohtani took a 1-2 curveball from Soria for a called second ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer half of home plate and thigh-high (px -0.766, pz 2.100) and preceded a double such that the ball call realistically resulted in a different outcome of the at-bat pursuant to UEFL Rule 6-5-c, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Angels were leading, 6-4. The Angels ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

This is James Hoye (92)'s first ejection of 2019.
James Hoye now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Brian O'Nora now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 0.216 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 68th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 29th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Soria's line was 1.0 IP, 2 ER, BB.
This is Oakland's 2nd ejection of 2019, T-1st in the AL West (LAA, HOU, OAK 2; SEA 1; TEX 0).
This is Joakim Soria's first career MLB ejection.
This is James Hoye's first ejection since October 13, 2018 (Alex Cora; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics, 5/28/19 | Video as follows:

Sunday, May 26, 2019

MLB Ejection 067 - Mike Everitt (1; Scott Servais)

1B Umpire Mike Everitt ejected Mariners Manager Scott Servais (Replay Review decision that upheld 2B Umpire Bill Welke's bona fide slide/interference no call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Mariners-Athletics game. With none out and one on (R1), A's batter Jurickson Profar hit a 1-1 cutter from Mariners pitcher Mike Leake on the ground to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who threw to shortstop JP Crawford covering second as A's baserunner R1 Mark Canha slid into second base, ruled an out and no interference by 2B Umpire Welke and affirmed via Replay Review as the result of a Manager's Challenge by Mariners Manager Servais. Replays indicate Canha engaged in a bona fide slide pursuant to the rule's four criteria as listed below, the call was correct.* Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (6-0-3), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Athletics were leading, 3-1. The A's ultimately won the contest, 7-1.

This is Mike Everitt (57)'s first ejection of 2019.
Mike Everitt now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 1 Correct-Crewmate = 3).
Crew Chief Mike Everitt now has 1 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*Rule 6.01(j), Sliding to Bases on Double Play Attempts, lists four criteria for determining if a runner has engaged in a bona fide slide. If it is not a bona fide slide, AND the runner initiates contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference:
(1) Begins his slide before reaching the base;
(2) Is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;
(3) Is able and attempts to remain on the base after completing the slide;
(4) Slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for purpose of contacting a fielder.^
Futhermore, "Notwithstanding the above, a slide shall not be a 'bona fide slide' if a runner engages in a "roll block," or intentionally initiates (or attempts to initiate) contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder's knee or throwing his arm or his upper body."
^Remember, the runner establishes his own base path. There is no runner's lane rule for 6.01(j). If the runner is consistent in his path, regardless of its directionality relative to the base, he shall be deemed not to have changed his pathway, as long as he slides within reach of the base.

This is the 67th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 34th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Seattle's 1st ejection of 2019, T-3rd in the AL West (LAA, HOU 2; OAK, SEA 1; TEX 0).
This is Scott Servais' first ejection since August 20, 2018 (Mike Muchlinski; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Mike Everitt's first ejection since Sept 6, 2017 (Matt Chapman; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics, 5/26/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 066 - Mike Estabrook (6; Moustakas)

3B Umpire Mike Estabrook ejected Brewers 3B Mike Moustakas (check swing strike three call) in the top of the 7th inning of the Phillies-Brewers game. In the bottom of the 6th, with two out and none on, Moustakas attempted to check his swing on a 2-2 slider from Phillies pitcher JD Hammer, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Ryan Blakney and called a swinging third strike on appeal by 3B Umpire Estabrook. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0-1), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Brewers were leading, 7-1. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 9-1.

This is Mike Estabrook (83)'s sixth ejection of 2019.
Mike Estabrook now has 18 points in the UEFL Standings (14 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 18).
Crew Chief Paul Emmel now has 5 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 5).

This is the 66th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 28th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Moustakas was 0-4 (SO) in the contest.
This is Milwaukee's 5th ejection of 2019, 2nd in the NL Central (CIN 7; MIL 5; PIT 3; CHC, STL 2).
This is Mike Moustakas' first ejection since June 17, 2018 (John Tumpane; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).
This is Mike Estabrook's 6th ejection of 2019, 1st since May 25 (Craig Counsell; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 5/26/19 | Video as follows: