Saturday, June 15, 2019

MLB Ejections 092-94 - Welke, Everitt (SD)

HP Umpire Bill Welke ejected Padres SS Manny Machado (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 5th, 3B Umpire Mike Everitt ejected Padres bench player/pitcher Matt Strahm (ineligible post-AB ball call; QOCU) and Welke ejected Manager Andy Green (arguing Strahm's ejection; QOCU) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Padres-Rockies game. In the 5th, with one out and one on (R1), Machado took a 1-2 fastball from Rockies pitcher German Marquez for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and knee-high (px 0.88, pz 2.09), the call was correct.* At the time of Machado's ejection, the Rockies were leading, 7-4.

In the 6th, with none out and none on, Rockies batter Tony Wolters lined out to Padres center fielder Wil Myers following an earlier 0-1 fastball, ruled ball one. Replays indicate the 0-1 pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 0.84, pz 2.83), the call was irrecusable.^ At the time of Strahm and Green's ejections, the Rockies were leading, 11-7. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 14-8.

These are Bill Welke (3)'s second and third ejections of 2019.
This is Mike Everitt (57)'s second ejection of 2019.
Bill Welke now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 4 MLB + 2 QOCY + 0 QOCU = 4).
Mike Everitt now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (3 Prev + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable = 5).
Crew Chief Mike Everitt now has 2 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 QOCY + 2 QOCU = 2).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*Strike 3 to Machado was located 0.408 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.
^UEFL Rule 6-5-c prohibits QOCY/N adjudication for a post-AB ejection pertaining to a pitch during the at-bat that did not realistically result in a different outcome of the at-bat.

These are the 92nd, 93rd, and 94th ejection reports of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 38th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Machado was 2-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 39th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Strahm did not appear in the game.
This is the 49th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is San Diego's 3/4/5th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL West (SD 5; SF 4; COL 3; ARI, LAD 1).
This is Manny Machado's 1st ejection since June 7, 2016 (Fieldin Culbreth; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Matt Strahm's first career MLB ejection.
This is Andy Green's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 2 (Bill Welke; QOC = N [BR INT]).
This is Bill Welke's 2/3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 2 (Andy Green; QOC = N [BR INT]).
This is Mike Everitt's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since May 26 (Scott Servais; QOC = Y-c [Replay]).

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies, 6/15/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 090-91 - Phil Cuzzi (2-3; CWS)

HP Umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected White Sox catcher Welington Castillo and Manager Rick Renteria (ball three call; QOCY) in the top of the 8th inning of the Yankees-White Sox game. With none out and one on (R1), Yankees batter Clint Frazier took a 2-1 fastball from White Sox pitcher Thyago Vieira for a called third ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -0.83, pz 2.58) and all other pitches during the inning were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Yankees were leading, 7-0. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 8-4.

These are Phil Cuzzi (10)'s second and third ejections of 2019.
Phil Cuzzi now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Phil Cuzzi now has -1 points in Crew Division (-2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 0.984 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

These are the 90th and 91st ejection reports of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 37th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Castillo was 0-3 (3 SO) in the contest.
This is the 48th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Chicago's 5/6th ejection of 2019, T-1st in the AL Central (CWS, DET, KC 6; CLE, MIN 1).
This is Welington Castillo's 1st ejection since Sept 9, 2016 (Dale Scott; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Rick Renteria's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since May 7 (Marty Foster; QOC = N [Check Swing]).
This is Phil Cuzzi's 2/3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 10 (Kevan Smith; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox, 6/15/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 089 - Carlos Torres (1; Scott Servais)

HP Umpire Carlos Torres ejected Mariners Manager Scott Servais (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 4th inning of the Mariners-Athletics game. With one out and one on (R1), Mariners batter Kyle Seager took a 3-2 slider from A's pitcher Frankie Montas for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.07, pz 1.38 [sz_bot 1.54 / RAD 1.417 / MOE 1.334]) and that all other pitches during the inning were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Athletics were leading, 4-1. The Athletics ultimately won the contest, 11-2.

This is Carlos Torres (37)'s second ejection of 2019.
Carlos Torres now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Dana DeMuth now has 0 points in Crew Division (-1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 0).
*This pitch was located 0.552 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 89th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 47th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Seattle's 2nd ejection of 2019, T-3rd in the AL West (OAK 6; LAA 3; HOU, SEA 2; TEX 1).
This is Scott Servais' 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since May 26 (Mike Everitt; QOC = Y-c [Replay]).
This is Carlos Torres' 1st ejection since June 27, 2018 (Joey Votto; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics, 6/15/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 088 - Manny Gonzalez (1; Ron Gardenhire)

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Tigers Manager Ron Gardenhire (ball one call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the Indians-Tigers game. With one out and one on (R1), Indians batter Oscar Mercado took a first-pitch cutter from Tigers pitcher Nick Ramirez for a called first ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px -0.95, pz 1.51 [sz_bot 1.65]) and that all other pitches during the inning were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Indians were leading, 2-0. The Indians ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

This is Manny Gonzalez (79)'s first ejection of 2019.
Manny Gonzalez now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Sam Holbrook now has 7 points in Crew Division (6 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 7).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 2.424 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 88th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 46th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Detroit's 6th ejection of 2019, 1st in the AL Central (KC, DET 6; CWS 4; CLE, MIN 1).
This is Ron Gardenhire's 5th ejection of 2019, 1st since June 7 (James Hoye; QOC = Y [Balk]).
This is Manny Gonzalez's first ejection since May 30, 2016 (Terry Francona; QOC = N [RLI]).

Wrap: Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers, 6/15/19 | Video as follows:

Rules Reminder - Safe Passage When Base Dislodged

Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar successfully stole second base in San Francisco when his forceful slide dislodged the bag, ruled safe by 2B Umpire Chad Fairchild as Brewers SS Orlando Arcia tagged Pillar while not in contact with the bag, confirmed via Replay Review following a challenge by Brewers Manager Craig Counsell.

This Rules Review reminds umpires that runners are to be ruled safe if a base is knocked off its moorings during the course of play, assuming that the runner initially arrived safely.

Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4) states that "A runner is out when—He is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base," but note the following approved ruling: "If the impact of a runner breaks a base loose from its position, no play can be made on that runner at that base if he had reached the base safely."

Had there been a following runner, the matter would fall into umpire judgment as to whether the following runner "touches or occupies the point marked by the dislodged bag."

Thus, with Pillar appearing to slide well past the dislodged base's proper location, the approved ruling protects him—the action runner—from being put out due to his impact that caused the base to come loose; even though Pillar slid past the base, because it became dislodged during his slide, he cannot be put out at that base as a result of that action.

However, if Pillar continued to advance toward third (he, of course could be put out in that situation via a tag), any following runner would be required to slide to the point marked by the dislodged bag.

NOTE: The base is defined in the book as a 15-inch square (or, for home base, a 17-inch square slab with two corners removed so that one edge is 17 inches long, two adjacent sides 8.5 inches, and the remaining two sides 12 inches and set at angle to make a point), four of which set in a 90-foot square comprise the infield, but a bag is defined as the physical whitened rubber cuboid that marks where the base is.

Put another way, "First, second and third bases shall be marked by white canvas or rubber-covered bags, securely attached to the ground as indicated in Diagram 2" (OBR 2.03).

Thus, the following runner would slide to the "point marked by the dislodged bag."

Q: What is the point marked by the dislodged bag also known as? A: The base.

Video as follows:

Friday, June 14, 2019

MLB Ejection 087 - H Wendelstedt (2; Jorge Soler)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Royals RF Jorge Soler (strike one call; QOCN) in the top of the 5th inning of the Royals-Twins game. With none out and none on, Soler took a first-pitch fastball from Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px 0.06, pz 1.40 [sz_bot 1.72 / RAD 1.597 / MOE 1.514]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 2-0.

This is Hunter Wendelstedt (21)'s second ejection of 2019.
Hunter Wendelstedt now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (7 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = 5).
Crew Chief Angel Hernandez now has 3 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 3).
*Soler's historical sz_bot has varied from 1.70 to 1.85. The reason this ejection is QOCN and is not pending post-game adjustment is that, for QOC to be Correct, the processed sz_bot value would need to be 1.61 or less. Soler has never had such a low sz_bot in his MLB career. Soler's placeholder sz_bot value is 1.72.
*This pitch was located 1.368 vertical inches from being deemed a correct call.

This is the 87th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 36th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Soler was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Kansas City's 6th ejection of 2019, 1st in the AL Central (KC 6, DET 5; CWS 4; CLE, MIN 1).
This is Jorge Soler's first career MLB ejection.
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since May 11 (Ron Gardenhire; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins, 6/14/19 | Video as follows:

Injury Scout - Jim Wolf's Early Exit in Detroit

3B Umpire Jim Wolf departed Friday's Indians-Tigers game in Detroit during the first inning for an undisclosed reason.

Wolf exited the field between the top and bottom of the 1st, shaking hands with Tigers 3B Coach Dave Clark as a quick hi-bye while walking off the field. FOX Sports Detroit broadcasters Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson noted that Wolf appeared to walk with a limp on his way off the field.

2B Umpire Sam Holbrook shifted to the third base position in Wolf's absence, with 1B Umpire Manny Gonzalez and HP Umpire Dan Iassogna remaining in their original spots to round out the three-umpire crew.

Relevant Injury History: None, although Wolf left a game on May 31, 2019 after a hit to the head.
Related PostInjury Scout - Jim Wolf Leaves in Arizona (5/31/19).

Last Game: June 14 | Return to Play: TBD | Time Absent: TBD | Video as follows:

Video Call - Why Fans Hate Angel Hernandez

We're going to add more content to the CloseCallSports YouTube channel and we begin with Gil's Call, a video essay on the topic of why the MLB fandom seems to hate umpire Angel Hernandez and it has everything to do with the injection of social issues—discrimination, race, etc.—into the baseball world where fans go to get away from, not learn about, the real world, and themselves.

This discussion traces back the recent history of how Angel Hernandez has become the most controversial umpire in MLB. The actual data indicate he is a decent umpire, yet his lawsuit against baseball has all but assured a nosedive to his reputation.

The video explores why the vitriol against Hernandez is so significant and why it has everything to do with the introduction of social issues in his suit alleging race-based discrimination, social issues that most people seek to escape from when engaging in the realm of sports. And, of course, the natural tendency to push against an umpire when umpires aren't supposed to fight back.

Make sure you subscribe to CloseCallSports on YouTube for more CCS video content.

Video as follows:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

MLB Ejection 086 - Tripp Gibson (1; Brian Snitker)

HP Umpire Tripp Gibson ejected Braves Manager Brian Snitker (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the Pirates-Braves game. With two out and two on (R1, R3), Braves batter Ronald Acuna took a 0-2 fastball from Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and at the midpoint (px 0.22, pz 3.75 [sz_top 3.54 / RAD 3.67 / MOE 3.75]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Pirates were leading, 2-1. The Braves ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Tripp Gibson (73)'s first ejection of 2019.
Tripp Gibson now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 8 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 8).
*This ruling is pending post-game adjustment of the vertical strike zone. Acuna's historical sz_top has varied from 3.47 to 3.59. If the processed sz_top value is 3.54 or greater, QOC will be correct. Acuna's placeholder value is sz_bot 3.51.
Update, 6/14: MLB adjusted Acuna's sz_top for this pitch to 3.54, which makes this call correct.

This is the 86th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 45th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Atlanta's 5th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL East (ATL 5; WAS 4; NYM 3; MIA, PHI 1).
This is Brian Snitker's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 11 (Dan Bellino; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Tripp Gibson's first ejection since Sept 15, 2018 (Clint Hurdle; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves, 6/13/19 | Video as follows:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

MLB Ejection 085 - Lance Barrett (1; Turner Ward)

HP Umpire Lance Barrett ejected Reds Hitting Coach Turner Ward (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 2nd inning of the Reds-Indians game. With one out and none on, Reds batter Jose Iglesias took a 0-2 fastball from Indians pitcher Zach Plesac for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px 0.60, pz 1.28 [sz_bot 1.24]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Reds were leading, 2-0. The Reds ultimately won the contest, 7-2.

This is Lance Barrett (94)'s first ejection of 2019.
Lance Barrett now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 3).
Crew Chief Mike Everitt now has -1 points in Crew Division (-2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -1).
*This pitch was located 1.99 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.
*This call provides yet another example of MLB's deficient computer strike zone because the pitch numbers reported during the game suggested the call was incorrect, whereas the numbers generated following post-game processing to correct for vertical strike zone error changed so significantly that this call's QOC changed from QOCN using the real-time preliminary (raw) data to QOCY using the morning-after (corrected) data. MLBAM changed the numbers by 4.56 inches during data correction.
> During the game, MLB reported the strike zone data as: sz_bot 1.51.
> Following the game, the strike zone bottom was changed to: sz_bot 1.24.

This is the 85th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 44th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Cincinnati's 9th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL Central (CIN 9; MIL, PIT 5; CHC, STL 2).
This is Turner Ward's first ejection since July 22, 2015 (Vic Carapazza; QOC = U [Warnings]).
This is Lance Barrett's first ejection since Sept 9, 2018 (Mike Shildt; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians, 6/12/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 084 - Sean Barber (1; Bob Melvin)

HP Umpire Sean Barber ejected Athletics Manager Bob Melvin (ball two call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the A's-Rays game. With one out and two on (R1, R2), Rays batter Austin Meadows took a 1-0 slider from Athletics pitcher Brett Anderson for a called second ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px -1.03, pz 1.52 [sz_bot 1.58]) and that all other pitches during the inning were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The A's ultimately won the contest, 6-2.

This is Sean Barber (29)'s first ejection of 2019.
Sean Barber now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (-4 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 0).
Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*This pitch was located 3.384 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 84th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 44th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Oakland's 6th ejection of 2019, 1st in the AL West (OAK 6; LAA 3; HOU 2; SEA, TEX 1).
This is Bob Melvin's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 2 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Sean Barber's first ejection since July 25, 2018 (John Gibbons; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 6/12/19 | Video as follows:

Texas-Boston Prompts Factless Angel Bashing

When Angel Hernandez ejected Rangers Manager Chris Woodward for arguing a situation Woodward himself admitted not to have known on the heels of Vic Carapazza's ejections of Red Sox CF Andrew Benintendi and Alex Cora, the MLB umpire hate-train rolled through the station without regard to facts, an occurrence with greater regularity in a sport at an ever-present social crossroads.

Angel Season is Open
When Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien stated "the most controversial umpire in baseball today is Angel Hernandez," he was correct in the sense that Hernandez has become a lightning-rod for frustration. A majority of fans who have a problem with some part of the game will invoke and impugn the name of Angel Hernandez if for no other reason than it has become the popular thing to do. After all, it's not technically cyberbullying if the victim deserves it...right?
Related PostMLB Ejections 081-83 - Carapazza, Hernandez (TEX-BOS) (6/11/19).

Since fandom sorely lacks objectivity, here's a factual account of what happened Tuesday night:
> Benintendi took a correctly called first strike over the edge of home plate.
> After grounding out, Benintendi turned and yelled in Hernandez's direction, "You f*ing suck."
> Carapazza ejected Benintendi. Cora argued and Carapazza ejected him, too.
> Later in the game, Texas' Asdrubal Cabrera was called out at second base.
> Woodward attempted to file a Manager's Challenge after the 30-second time limit had expired.
> Hernandez denied Woodward's request to file the untimely challenge.
> Woodward argued and Hernandez ejected Woodward.

There's little question here as to the calls' accuracies—the strike call on Benintendi was correct and the decision to deny Woodward's challenge was correct, as was 2B Umpire Jordan Baker's ultimate out call at second base (why? See Related Post, above). MLB adopted a 30-second time limit for challenges prior to the 2017 season, placed clocks in all stadiums, and instructed umpires to deny untimely Replay Review requests.

Tuesday's ejections were effected pursuant to the MLB Umpire Manual's Standards for Removal from the Game, specifically profanity/vulgar personal insults directed at an umpire and refusing to stop arguing after a reasonable amount of time.
Related PostEjections - What and Wherefore? Standards for Removal (3/29/17).

43 seconds is objectively greater than 30.
Part of this is standard managerial ignorance. After the game, Woodward stated, "I didn't know that I had to know there was 30 seconds. That's why I was so frustrated, because of what happened in Oakland [when the Rangers were also denied a Manager's Challenge due to exceeding the 30-second time limit]. This is the second time now."

Joe West's crew had denied Woodward a challenge request against the Athletics on April 24, 2019, after Woodward similarly exceeded the 30-second time limit, and Woodward, having encountered his second rejection, blamed Hernandez for failing to warn him that his time was up, opting to single out Hernandez with the statement, "every other umpire does that [gives a warning regarding the expiration of time], why wouldn't he do that?" (Hernandez stated Woodward's back was turned when he attempted to ask for a final answer and by the time Woodward turned around, time had already expired.)

Since we do fact-check here, first-year Manager Woodward's Rangers have seen 23 reviews in 2019 while there are over 90 umpires working Major League games. Accordingly, Woodward has not seen approximately 75% of the MLB and MiLB call-up staff in Replay Review situations.

"You don't want the truth."
A Few Good Umpires
In sports, fans as a whole tend to hold a tenuous relationship with officials. On the one hand, teams and fans hope that an official will serve the purposes of the team—in name, hoping that officials are impartial, but more often than not team affiliates and stakeholders simultaneously relish the idea of receiving that 50-50 call, perhaps even the beneficiary of a missed call or two.

And when things don't go the team's way, as is often the case in sports, the official enjoys a dose of notoriety; as we observed with Hernandez Tuesday night, that notoriety is independent of whether the associated calls are correct or not. Scapegoating officials has been en vogue for a long time.
Related PostGil's Call: The Blame Game (Umpire Scapegoating) (8/8/14).

As Jack Nicholson cryptically stated in A Few Good Men, "You need me on that wall," and in sport, we need officials to manage the game and represent the governing body or sport.

Where's Waldo? Fenway Park Clock Edition.
Talking About Social Issues is Offensive
Yet more is shrouded in a larger structural problem, similar to the structural problem that doesn't place a 30-second clock in an easily visible and league-wide standard location (Fenway's is a relatively minuscule clock in center field, when compared to the size of the scoreboard it sits beneath), or the slight issue with the statement, as beat writer Levi Weaver put it, in paraphrasing Hernandez, "Stadium ops is responsible for the 30-second clock," when stadium ops is the home team's staff and not a league-independent person (e.g., a hockey off-ice official). That statement, or that procedure, can be improved.

Unlike Replay Review, however, the structural problem referred to here that plagues the Angel Hernandez situation isn't procedural or logistical in nature.

It's back to Hernandez's lawsuit again.
It's institutional and systemic.

And it has everything to do with Angel Hernandez's lawsuit against the league—a league whose published video of the Hernandez-Woodward ejection conveniently enough edited out the full length of Woodward's delay in considering whether to challenge the play such that Texas Rangers beat writers cited the MLB-edited video as evidence that supposedly indicated that Woodward had not exceeded the time limit.

Sidebar: Given MLBAM's video editing...talent...over the past few seasons, I'd surmise this was not an intentional act, just a byproduct of how MLBAM edits its videos. Nonetheless, when consumers are allergic to fact-checking, these irresponsible conclusions are a plausible byproduct of doctored material.

Yes, the league likely relishes any and every occasion upon which Angel Hernandez's name surfaces because the beast of popular opinion makes sure that the anti-Hernandez echo chamber persists, regardless of facts and circumstances. And if the winds get severe enough, perhaps they can predispose the civil-requested jury.

Just as Dylan Yep in our last podcast stated he doesn't care that his numbers are wrong because he wants robot umpires "at any cost," the baseball community-at-large doesn't care about facts when it comes to Angel Hernandez. They just want him gone, "at any cost," possibly with greater passion than with which some people want the factually-deficient, yet hypothetically-utopian electronic strike zone. Facts? Who has time for facts?
Related PostPodcast - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone (6/5/19).

Hernandez's calls are all viewed thru a lens.
And why?

Simple. The institutional problem referenced above is one and the same as what Hernandez alleges in his lawsuit: institutional racism.

Quite frankly, the very topic is so uncomfortable and thus controversial that the reactions are rather polar: For most, the very phrase "institutional racism" ends the conversation before it begins. Some might deny the issue so fundamentally, while superficially acknowledging its possibility, that they dismiss it because "Hernandez is a bad umpire." For others, it's a reluctant tolerance while simultaneously rolling eyes at "here we go again..." And for a few, it's the gateway to a more fruitful discussion that relatively few want to have about baseball, the supposed escape from these unpleasant topics.
Related PostAngel Hernandez Petitions Court for Permission to Speak Publicly About MLB's Alleged Discrimination (3/21/19).
Related PostBallad of Angel Hernandez - An Umpire's Controversy (10/9/18).

But for that majority of the fans and teams of this sport, Hernandez has quickly become associated with an unpleasant discussion very few want to have, and people tend to shun that which is unpleasant.

A sign hangs at Fenway in 2017.
Sociologist Robin DiAngelo wrote that issues such as those raised by Hernandez tend to evoke and conflate "a challenge to our racial world views as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people."

Gil's Call: Accordingly, to subconsciously interpret Hernandez's suit as a challenge to one's own identity is downright offensive to those who see themselves as "good, moral people." From there, it's a quick association to answer the question, "Who got me all worked up about this?" with "Angel Hernandez."

Hernandez thus stands out, and, as an umpire, that generally isn't a good thing.

In the public eye, the worst call Hernandez made was calling out baseball as a whole. Whether one is a fan of the Yankees or Red Sox, Giants or Dodgers, Cubs or Cardinals, baseball fans can unite in their blanket denial—from simple balls and strikes to more complex matters such as the subject of lawsuits against the league. It's not just Hernandez, and it never was.

A protest sign against the Cleveland Indians.
For instance, here is a video collection of Cleveland Indians fans slinging a series of racially-motivated taunts against a group of Native Americans protesting the franchise's use of the Chief Wahoo logo.

This intrinsic feeling of offense tends to get in the way of facts—more than usual due to its emotional connection—and as I stated at the end of Episode 15 of The Plate Meeting, in regard to the future, "I see more outcry."

The situation won't get better any time soon, and people will continue to use hyperbole, defamation, impugnment and degradation of character, and, naturally, make statements that aren't based in reality and aren't supported by facts.

So when events in baseball, and beyond, happen in the future, "be careful about what you see out there. Question everything, don't take anything on face value, even our stuff." Look through the facts and draw your own, educated and knowledge-based, conclusions.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

MLB Ejections 081-83 - Carapazza, Hernandez (TEX-BOS)

1B Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Red Sox CF Andrew Benintendi and Manager Alex Cora (strike one call by crewmate; QOCY) in the bottom of the 5th and HP Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Rangers Manager Chris Woodward (out call by 2B Umpire Jordan Baker; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the Rangers-Red Sox game. In the 5th, with one out and none on, Benintendi took a 0-0 fastball from Rangers pitcher Ariel Jurado for a called first strike before grounding out on the next pitch. Replays indicate the 0-0 pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and waist-high (px -0.84, pz 2.55), the call was correct.* At the time of Benintendi and Cora's ejections, the Rangers were leading, 6-3.

In the 6th, with one out and none on, Rangers batter Asdrubal Cabrera hit a 0-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Bobby Poyner on a line drive to left fielder Sam Travis, who threw to second baseman Marco Hernandez as Cabrera slid into second base. Replays indicate Hernandez tagged Cabrera while Cabrera was off his base and Woodward took 43 seconds before deciding whether or not to challenge the play (30 seconds as per the countdown clock + 13 additional seconds prior to his conversation with Hernandez, which lasted another 22 seconds prior to ejection, see attached video in comments), in excess of the 30-second time limit under which a manager may consider whether to challenge, the call was correct. At the time of Woodward's ejection, the Rangers were leading, 9-3. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 9-5.

These are Vic Carapazza (19)'s second and third ejections of 2019.
This is Angel Hernandez (5)'s first ejection of the 2019 MLB regular season.
Vic Carapazza now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 1 Correct-Crewmate] = 8).
Angel Hernandez now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 MLB + 1 Correct-Crewmate = 1).
Crew Chief Angel Hernandez now has 3 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 3 Correct Call = 3).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
*The 0-0 pitch was located 0.888 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

These are the 81st, 82nd, and 83rd ejection reports of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 35th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Benintendi was 0-2 in the contest.
These are the 42nd and 43rd Manager ejections of 2019.
This is Boston's 1/2nd ejection of 2019, T-3rd in the AL East (BAL, TOR 3; BOS, NYY 2; TB 0).
This is Texas' 1st ejection of 2019, T-4th in the AL West (OAK 5; LAA 3; HOU 2; SEA, TEX 1).
This is Andrew Benintendi's first career MLB ejection.
This is Alex Cora's first ejection since October 13, 2018 (James Hoye; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Chris Woodward's first career MLB ejection.
This is Vic Carapazza's 2/3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 1 (Matt Carpenter; QOC = Y-c [Check Swing]).
This is Angel Hernandez's first ejection since March 15, 2019 (AJ Hinch; QOC = U [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox, 6/11/19 | Video as follows:

Case Play 2019-3 - Infield Fly Interference [Solved]

This week's Ask the UEFL Case Play concerns an infield fly rule play complicated by an intervening case of interference between the batter-runner and first baseman attempting to catch a batted ball. Though this video example comes from softball—and features an off-field umpire, UIC, or supervisor walking onto the field to join in on the on-field crew's conference—we'll analyze this peculiar play in accordance with baseball rules.

The Play: With one out and the bases loaded, the score a 6-6 tie, in the bottom of the final inning of regulation during a Spanish Fork-Bear River state tournament semifinal game, a Bear River batter hits a fly ball in the infield along the foul line between home plate and first base. Due to the batted ball's trajectory, the umpires easily declare an infield fly (if fair). As the batter-runner approaches first base, an interaction occurs with the Spanish Fork first baseman, resulting in the fielder dropping the fair ball as Bear River baserunner R3 attempts to score from third base. The ensuing throw home is late and the offensive team celebrates the apparent winning run.

BR and F3 interact up line near first base.
The Call: Having deemed the interaction between batter-runner and fielder attempting to catch a batted ball illegal, the first base umpire declares "interference" and calls "Time" to kill the play. After consultation, the umpires declare an inning-ending double play and nullify the run.

Question: When is a batter out during an infield fly play? Is it when the umpire first declares the infield fly, and if so, what happens if the already-out batter goes on to interfere with a fielder attempting to make a play on the ball, and does this cause the ball to become dead? Assuming Official Baseball Rules, was the inning-ending double play call correct?
Umpires get both coaches together.

Answer: In short, under OBR, the batter is out and the runner is returned to third base. The ball becomes dead upon the moment it is ruled a fair ball, meaning the play at home plate never happened.

Under NFHS Softball Rule 8-6-16, the runner closest to home is out if, in the umpire's judgment, interference by a retired runner prevents a double play. All other runners must return to bases last touched at the time of interference.

For OBR's ruleset, we have a slightly similar—yet different—rule in 6.01(a)(5), which states a runner on whom the fielder is playing shall be declared out if a recently-retired batter or runner interferes.

The answer to this Case Play lies in OBR's definition of Infield Fly Rule, which states in part, "If interference is called during an infield fly, the ball remains alive until it is determined whether the ball is fair or foul." As soon as fair/foul is determined, the ball becomes dead. There is no interference with a play on R3, as the ball was already dead before a potential play on R3 occurred.

VIDEO Answer: IFR & INT Case Play.
The interference is with the fielder's attempt to catch a fly ball, not with the fielder's subsequent attempt to make a play on another runner as the interference occurred prior to this attempt, meaning, the ball was already dead before the play on the other runner (R3) occurred.

As for, "If fair, both the runner who interfered with the fielder and the batter are out," the runner who interfered is the batter, which means the rule's transitive translation is, "if fair, both [the batter] and the batter are out."

As we discussed in April this season, no runner can be declared out twice during the same play (unless otherwise allowed by rule, e.g., intentional or deliberate interference to break up a double play); the batter is thus out (once) and all runners returned to their bases. Continue the inning with two outs and the bases loaded.
Related PostR2 Out Twice in False Triple Play - Crazy College Caper (4/11/19).

Finally, OBR 5.09(a)(2)(5) states the batter is out when an Infield Fly is declared. It's important to note the difference between declaring an Infield Fly and enforcing one, as well as the timeline concerning when a ball becomes dead during such play and how this relates to an Infield Fly. The batter is out on "Infield Fly, if Fair" assuming that the ball is fair. A foul ball, obviously, would cancel the infield fly rule, but the batter would still be out for interference with a fielder attempting to catch a batted ball.

Given the timeline of events with a batter interfering on an infield fly to the first baseman, it would be pretty difficult for the batter to interfere with a subsequent play on a teammate—largely because the ball becomes dead so quickly, and also because the ball is still in flight at the time of interference when the fielder is pursuing the batted ball, not looking at retiring another runner. Either way, the proper result under OBR is to declare the batter out and return all runners.

For what it's worth, visiting team Spanish Fork ultimately defeated Bear River, 8-6.

Official Baseball Rules Library:
OBR Definition [Infield Fly Rule]: "If interference is called during an infield fly, the ball remains alive until it is determined whether the ball is fair or foul. If fair, both the runner who interfered with the fielder and the batter are out. If foul, even if caught, the runner is out and the batter returns to bat."
Related PostMLB Modifies Interference Rules, Including Infield Fly Case (2/19/13).
OBR 5.09(a)(2)(5): "A batter is out when—An Infield Fly is declared." The umpire is to declare the infield fly when "it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly."
OBR 6.01(a)(5): "Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate."

Video as follows:

Monday, June 10, 2019

MLB Ejections 078-80 - Brian Gorman (1-3; PIT-ATL)

HP Umpire Brian Gorman ejected Braves 3B Josh Donaldson and Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove (fighting/unsportsmanlike conduct-NEC), and Pittsburgh Manager Clint Hurdle (arguing Musgrove's ejection; QOCU) in the bottom of the 1st inning of the Pirates-Braves game. With two out and one on (R3), Donaldson took a first-pitch fastball from Musgrove for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located offer the inner edge and chest-high, contacting Donaldson in the upper portion of his uniform jersey and resulting in a bench-clearing incident; warnings had not previously been issued (first HBP of the game), the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the Pirates were leading, 1-0. The Braves ultimately won the contest, 13-7.

These are Brian Gorman (9)'s first, second, and third ejections of 2019.
Brian Gorman now has 7 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 3*[2 MLB + 0 QOCU] = 7).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 10 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 3 Irrecusable Call = 10).

These are the 78th, 79th, and 80th ejection reports of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 33rd player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Musgrove's line was 0.2 IP, H, SO.
This is the 34th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Donaldson was 0-0 (HBP) in the contest.
This is the 41st Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Pittsburgh's 4/5th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the NL Central (CIN 8; MIL, PIT 5; CHC, STL 2).
This is Atlanta's 4th ejection of 2019, T-1st in the NL East (ATL, WAS 4; NYM 3; MIA, PHI 1).
This is Joe Musgrove's first career MLB ejection.
This is Josh Donaldson's first ejection since Sept 5, 2017 (Marvin Hudson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brian Gorman's first ejection since April 11, 2018 (SD-COL x5; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves, 6/10/19 | Video as follows:

Sunday, June 9, 2019

MLB Ejection 077 - Jeremie Rehak (4; Brad Ausmus)

HP Umpire Jeremie Rehak ejected Angels Manager Brad Ausmus (balls/strikes; QOCY) in the middle of the 4th inning of the Mariners-Angels game. Following the conclusion of the top of the inning, Rehak ejected Ausmus for arguing balls and strikes during an inning break discussion. Replays indicate of the six callable pitches thrown by Angels pitcher Jose Suarez in the top of the 4th inning (6/6, 100% accuracy), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Mariners were leading, 2-1. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 9-3.

This is Jeremie Rehak (35)'s fourth ejection of 2019.
Jeremie Rehak now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 2).
Crew Chief Jerry Meals now has -8 points in Crew Division (-9 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -8).

*UEFL Rule 6-5-c prohibits QOC adjudication of balls and strikes from a previous inning; however, to illustrate a point made during Episode 15 of The Plate Meeting, let's discuss the Mike Trout at-bat in the third inning referred to by Angels TV. The issues with vertical pitches, ruled strikes one and two, concern pz values of 3.58 and 3.64 for a placeholder sz_top value of 3.47. Accounting for the radius of the baseball, the pz value of 3.58 becomes a bona fide strike by 0.156 inches, while the 3.64 value becomes a MOE strike by 0.432. The accompanying video diagrams these strike calls during Trout's at-bat, wherein a misleading onscreen strike zone graphic deceives consumers into believing the umpire has made an incorrect call.
Related PostPodcast - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone (6/5/19).

Especially discerning viewers will note that I drew the line from the bottom-most point of the "top of uniform pants" to the bottom-most point of the "top of the shoulders," which means the zone used for this analysis is the lowest possible zone...yet even with this lowest-possible zone, the vertical strike zone calls are correct.

This is the 77th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 40th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Anaheim's 3rd ejection of 2019, 2nd in the AL West (OAK 5; LAA 3; HOU 2; SEA 1; TEX 0).
This is Brad Ausmus' first ejection since Sept 13, 2017 (Quinn Wolcott; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jeremie Rehak's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since May 19 (Mike Shildt; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels, 6/9/19 | Video as follows: