Saturday, August 17, 2019

MLB Ejections 161-163 - May, Cuzzi (NYY)

HP Umpire Ben May ejected Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and 1B Umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected Yankees CF Brett Gardner (strike three call; QOCN) and pitcher CC Sabathia (ejection while on injured list; QOCU) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the #Indians-#Yankees game. With one out and none on, Yankees batter Cameron Maybin took a 3-2 fastball from Indians pitcher Nick Wittgren for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 0.93, pz 1.94 [sz_bot 1.79]), the call was incorrect.* Sabathia's call was irrecusable.^ At the time of the ejection, the Yankees were leading, 6-4. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Ben May (97)'s first ejection of 2019.
These are Phil Cuzzi (10)'s fourth and fifth ejections of 2019.
Ben May now has -2 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 AAA - 4 Incorrect Call = -2).
Phil Cuzzi now has 14 points in the UEFL Standings (12 Prev + 2*[2 MLB] - 2 QOCN-c + 0 QOCU = 14).
Crew Chief Tom Hallion now has 15 points in Crew Division (14 Previous + 0 QOCN + 1 QOCU= 15).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 0.19 horizontal inches from being deemed a correct call.
^UEFL Rule 6-b-5-a states that ejections of players on the injured list shall be QOCU.

These are the 161st, 162nd, and 163rd ejection reports of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 77th Manager ejection of 2019.
These are the 76th and 77th player ejections of 2019.
This is New York's 5/6/7th ejection of 2019, 1st in the AL East (NYY 7; BOS 5; BAL, TOR 4; TB 1).
This is Aaron Boone's 4th ejection of 2019, 1st since July 18 (Brennan Miller; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brett Gardner's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since August 9 (Chris Segal; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is CC Sabathia's 1st ejection since Sept 27, 2018 (Vic Carapazza; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is Ben May's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2018 (Paul Molitor; QOC = Y-c [Check Swing]).
This is Phil Cuzzi's 4/5th ejection of 2019, 1st since June 15 (Rick Renteria; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees, 8/17/19 | Video as follows:

Friday, August 16, 2019

2019 Replay Stats & Leaders at Review 1,000

With Friday evening's first Replay Review—an upheld caught steal call at second by 2B Umpire Laz Diaz in Tampa Bay—comprising MLB's 1,000th use of Replay during the 2019 regular season, we present our statistics and sabermetrics of baseball's video technology thus far.

Totals to Date: 1,000 Replay Reviews.
> .536 Review Affirmation Percentage (RAP).
  > 536 Upheld & 464 Overturned.

Remaining "Perfect" Umpires (No Overturns):
Brian Gorman (2/2 = 1.000 RAP).
Scott Barry (1/1 = 1.000 RAP) [Injured].
Related PostInjuries - Everitt, Hallion & Barry Hurt on Tuesday (6/4/19).

Top 20 Umpires in RAP (Upheld-for-Total Chances):
1. Gorman, 2. Barry = 1.000 RAP.
3. Greg Gibson & DJ Reyburn (both 6-for-7) = .857 RAP.
5. Bill Miller & Mike Muchlinski (8-for-10) = .800 RAP.
7. Manny Gonzalez & Tom Woodring (4-for-5) = .800 RAP.
9. Ted Barrett & Marvin Hudson (7-for-9) = .778 RAP.
11. Laz Diaz (10-for-13) = .769 RAP.
12. Kerwin Danley (9-for-12) = .750 RAP.
13. Tim Timmons (5-for-7) = .714 RAP.
14. Adrian Johnson (12-for-17) = .706 RAP.
15. Todd Tichenor, Larry Vanover & Quinn Wolcott (9-for-13) = .692 RAP.
18. Adam Hamari (14-for-21) = .667 RAP.
Brian Gorman has been perfect (in 2 tries).
19. Chris Segal (12-for-18) = .667 RAP.
20. Roberto Ortiz (8-for-12) = .667 RAP.

Most Overturned Calls, Raw Number:
1. Ron Kulpa = 12 Overturns / 20 Total (.400 RAP).
1. Dan Iassogna = 12 Overturns / 19 (.368 RAP).
3. Bill Welke = 11 Overturns / 18 (.389 RAP).
4. Andy Fletcher = 10 OTs / 19 (.474 RAP).
5. Vic Carapazza = 10 OTs / 14 (.286 RAP).

Most Successful Teams (Success Percentage):
1. Royals = 17 Overturns-for-23 Total = .639 TSP.
2. Yankees = 11-for-17 = .647 Team Success Pct.
3. Rangers = 27-for-42 = .643 TSP.

Reviews by Type (Uphold + Overturn = RAP):*
Out/Safe (Force-lite - 1st): 77 + 176 = .304 RAP.
Out/Safe (Tag - Into Base): 93 + 65 = .589 RAP.
Out/Safe (Tag - Stolen Base): 74 + 57 = .565 RAP.
Out/Safe (Pulled Foot): 39 + 35 = .527 RAP.
HBP/No HBP: 39 + 30 = .565 RAP.

*Above list includes Top 5 uses of Replay Review. For full list and other statistics, see our Umpire Replay Review Statistics and Sabermetrics page.

Podcast - Disco Demo Davey Phillips (Part 2)

We continue our interview with longtime AL umpire Dave Phillips, picking up with the infamous Disco Demolition Night in Chicago as Davey delights us with more tales of his 31-year, 3,933-game career in the major leagues.

In Part 2 of the show, we start with the forfeited game known as Disco Demolition Night and continue with the resumption-of-play for George Brett's pine tar game in New York, with Joe Niekro's emory board ejection and a massive brawl between Oakland and and Milwaukee thrown in as well.

Click the below play (▶) button to listen to "Episode 18 - Disco Demo Davey Phillips (Part 2)" or visit the show online at The Plate Meeting is also available on iTunes (Apple Podcasts), Google, Castbox, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and several other podcast apps.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Runner Struck by Batted Ball Behind Infielder Not Out

Home plate umpire Greg Gibson reversed a dead ball out call in Kansas City after Cardinals batter Randy Arozarena's ground ball hit St. Louis runner Yadier Molina between second and third, explaining to Royals Manager Ned Yost that because the batted ball struck a runner after the ball had already passed all infielders, Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(7), which ordinarily holds that a runner is out when struck by a batted ball, did not apply. Why?

Thanks to Umpire-Empire for this Ask the UEFL submission.

The Rule: OBR 5.09(b)(7) states that a "runner is out when—He is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has gone through, or by, an infielder and no other infielder has a chance to make a play on the ball. The ball is dead and no runner may score, nor runners advance, except runners forced to advance."

All infielders are playing inside the runner.
When the infield plays in and the ball bounds past all infielders before striking the runner, as was the case in Kansas City, Rule 5.09(b)(7) does not apply to the situation. Had an infielder been positioned even-with or behind the runner when the runner was touched by the batted ball, the "Time" & out call would be the proper ruling (as long as the umpire deemed that the infielder(s) had a play on the ball).

GG explains to Yost his basis for reversal.
The Recovery: Gibson relied on Rule 8.03(c) to correct that which he knew was wrong the moment he called it: "If the umpires consult after a play and change a call that had been made, then they have the authority to take all steps that they may deem necessary, in their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they are reversing."

Gibby explained to Yost the error of his initial "Time" call and corrected the mistake by calling R2 Molina safe and placing each Cardinals baserunner at their next base, keeping the bases loaded and scoring one run for the visiting team while ruling that Molina—not exactly known for his speed—would most likely have remained at third base had the original call been the ultimate one.

Video as follows:

Officiating Positives - The Kids Who Inspire Umpires

Umpires and referees know that officiating can be a thankless and mentally fatiguing job. When hurtful grownups try to tear officials down, think of the child who loves nothing more than to see a dedicated referee or umpire at work. To help in that regard, we've put together a video featuring children of all ages who are fans of the officiating team. Consider it an anecdotal response to the tired phrase, "nobody buys a ticket to watch the umpire."

In this modern maelstrom of malicious mockery, recall that, "Personal insults of an official generally have nothing to do with the official personally...The act often concerns some underlying issue within the person committing the abuse and may represent a personal struggle that person has with authority, lack of control, or accepting a result in conflict with one's own desires."
Related PostLet's Talk - Mental Health in an Abusive Environment (10/10/17).

For instance, when an angry Danny Duffy accused umpire John Tumpane of personal animus—Tumpane, the umpire best known for saving a life—Duffy spoke from a place of personal hurt: Kansas City had lost six in a row and Duffy hadn't been playing well. When Todd Frazier said, "these umpires have got to get better," it followed a series of poor offensive output and ignored statistics showing that umpires had performed quite well as Frazier himself had struggled in the batter's box.
Related PostEjected Duffy Makes it Personal in KC vs Tumpane Claim (6/18/18).
Related PostTodd Frazier - "These Umpires Have Got to Get Better" (5/3/18).

As Jim Joyce once wrote, Nobody's Perfect, and sports officials will miss calls here and there. Even the Official Baseball Rules accepts this fate and includes this phrase in its General Instructions to Umpires: "You no doubt are going to make mistakes." It happens and it's okay to acknowledge this...but it's not okay to harass and berate. When unhappy grownups fail to stop when no means no, remember the kids, including those who come to the stadium specifically to watch the umpires—those young and young-at-heart referee fans who want nothing more than to see the most responsible adults on the field succeed at the task of calling a kid's game.
Related PostPodcast - Episode 12 - The Jim Joyce Jubilee (4/2/19).

Video as follows:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What We Learned from Segal, Gardner, and Torre

After MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre publicly backed HP Umpire Chris Segal's ejection of Yankees slugger Brett Gardner in Toronto, we decided to read between the lines, tracing the Commissioner's Office-Umpires Association relationship back to Manny Machado's ejection and one-game suspension in June 2019, and noticing that ever since the fallout from that incident, Torre has made an effort to publicly bolster his sport's officials.

To recap, Bill Welke ejected Machado on June 15, 2019, leading to MLBUA's June 18 tweet criticizing the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball for inaction when MLB suspended Machado, a player with a purported history of misconduct, for just one game. MLBUA invoked the term "workplace violence," and MLB responded that it was inappropriate for the umpires' union to comment on a suspension levied against a player.
Related PostA Kick Too Far? Manny Machado's History of Misconduct (10/17/18).
Related PostMLB Ejections 092-94 - Welke, Everitt (SD) (6/15/19).
Related PostMLBUA Objects to MLB "Inaction" on Machado (6/18/19).
Related PostMLB Rejects MLBUA's Workplace Violence Tweet (6/19/19).

Less than a week later, after HP Umpire Doug Eddings ejected Asdrubal Cabrera in Texas on June 20, MLB suspended Cabrera four games when Cabrera's post-ejection batting glove toss from the dugout wound up at Crew Chief (and MLBUA President) Bill Miller's feet.
Related PostMLB Ejection 096 - Doug Eddings (1; Asdrubal Cabrera) (6/20/19).
Related PostMLB Suspends Cabrera - Too Harsh or Just Right? (6/21/19).

And ever since, with MLB-MLBUA contract negotiations in the middle, Torre seems to have been going out of his way to be kind to umpires in public, going so far now as to back Segal's ejection of Gardner because Gardner was unsporting enough to have earned an ejection, even though Segal mistakenly ejected him for something teammate Cameron Maybin said.
Related PostTorre Doesn't Want Robot Umpires in MLB (7/26/19).
Related PostJoe Torre Backs Ump Segal in Gardner Ejection (8/13/19).

In Gil's opinion, MLB feels badly about MM.
So what have we learned? Gil's Call: MLB feels badly about the underwhelming quality of its Machado suspension and has been making it up to the umpires ever since, going so far as to support an umpire who clearly made an error.

Second, we've learned that umpires should be 100% sure when communicating a reason for ejection. Had Segal told Aaron Boone he ejected Gardner for his bashing the bat against the dugout ceiling or had Segal ejected Maybin for the unsporting verbal comments, we likely wouldn't be here today. Maybe in the future, the bat-roof-slam necessitates immediate attention and possible dismissal to prevent an untenable situation from festering further and giving teammates (e.g., Maybin) the green light to say something worse.

In the end, umpires can learn a lesson from Segal's apparent misattribution of Maybin's comments to Gardner: Sometimes less is more. If the proof isn't in the pudding, the phrase "unsportsmanlike conduct" works wonders. Video as follows:

Injury Scout - Fairchild Hurt in Miami

Chad Fairchild exited Tuesday's Dodgers-Marlins game in Miami following a foul ball off the mask.

With two out and the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning, Dodgers batter Russell Martin fouled a 95-mph 2-1 fastball from Marlins pitcher Bryan Holaday into the lower-center portion of Fairchild's facemask, knocking his mask off.

2B Umpire Nic Lentz moved behind the plate for the remainder of the contest, with 1B Umpire Mike Estabrook and 3B Umpire/Acting Crew Chief Bruce Dreckman remaining on the lines.

Relevant Injury History: Fairchild has previous encountered head trauma.

On June 18, 2015, Fairchild remained in that evening's Rangers-Dodgers game after a 97-mph fastball resulted in a foul ball off his mask-covered jaw. He did not appear in the series finale a day later.
Related PostFairchild Sits Out Thurs After Foul to Face on Wed (6/19/15).

Last Game: August 13 | Return to Play: August 22 | Time Absent: 8 Days | Video as follows:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

MLB Ejection 160 - Eric Cooper (2; Tim Laker)

HP Umpire Eric Cooper ejected Mariners Hitting Coach Tim Laker (strike two call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Mariners-#Tigers game. With one out and one on (R1), Mariners batter Tom Murphy took a 0-1 fastball from Tigers pitcher Matt Hall for a called second strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the midpoint (px 0.10, pz 3.45 [sz_top 3.34 / RAD 3.46]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Mariners were leading, 9-6. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 11-6.

This is Eric Cooper (56)'s second ejection of 2019.
Eric Cooper now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (-1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 3).
Crew Chief Joe West now has -9 points in Crew Division (-10 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -9).
*This pitch was located 1.12 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.
QOC value subject to correction pursuant to postgame processing.

This is the 160th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is Seattle's 4th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the AL West (OAK 6; SEA, TEX 4; HOU, LAA 3).
This is Tim Laker's 1st ejection since August 20, 2003 (Scott Nelson; QOC = U [Out/Safe]).
This is Eric Cooper's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since May 25 (Terry Francona; QOC = N [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs. Detroit Tigers, 8/13/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 159 - Greg Gibson (1; Ned Yost)

1B Umpire Greg Gibson ejected Royals Manager Ned Yost (runner's lane interference no-call by HP Umpire Pat Hoberg; QOCY) in the top of the 5th inning of the #STLCards-#Royals game. With two out and none on, Cardinals batter Kolten Wong hit a 1-2 curveball from Royals pitcher Glenn Sparkman on the ground in front of home plate to catcher Meibrys Viloria, who threw to first baseman Ryan O'Hearn as Wong arrived at first base, ruled safe by 1B Umpire Gibson as O'Hearn did not catch the baseball, and also that Wong at some point during his journey to first base did not run within the three-foot runner's lane. Runner's lane interference (RLI) rule 5.09(a)(11) applies to the fielder taking the throw (F3 O'Hearn) and not the fielder making the throw (F2 Viloria); accordingly, because Wong did not interfere with O'Hearn's ability to receive Viloria's throw, there was no running lane interference; because, all else equal (e.g., assuming Wong was invisible), Viloria's throw was poor and would likely not have been caught by O'Hearn, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Cardinals were leading, 2-0. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 2-0.

This is Greg Gibson (53)'s first ejection of 2019.
Greg Gibson now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (3 Prev + 2 MLB + 1 Correct-Crewmate = 6).
Crew Chief Gerry Davis now has -5 points in Crew Division (-6 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -5).
*Rule 5.09(a)(11) states, "A batter is out for interference when—In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead."
Related PostRunner's Lane Interference - 2018 World Series Edition (10/28/18).

This is the 159th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 76th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Kansas City's 8th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the AL Central (DET 9; CWS, KC 8; MIN 3; CLE 1).
This is Ned Yost's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 8 (Bruce Dreckman; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Greg Gibson's 1st ejection since August 8, 2018 (Kevin Long; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals, 8/13/19 | Video as follows:

Joe Torre Backs Ump Segal in Gardner Ejection

Speaking to New York media ahead of a pregame ceremony at Yankee Stadium, MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre backed Chris Segal's ejection of Brett Gardner in Toronto, even if the umpire misattributed Cameron Maybin's voice, saying that Gardner's actions at Rogers Centre merited an ejection.

Said Torre, "Watching enough video and stuff, Gardner earned being thrown out...Maybe not that particular time, but he certainly had the right to be thrown out, even though the umpire, I think there was so much carping from the dugout that he pulled the trigger on what he assumed was Gardner."

Gil's Call: In my column over the weekend pertaining to this sequence, I wrote that Gardner repeated that which he had gotten away with weeks earlier in the Bronx: he pounded his bat against the dugout ceiling while his manager Aaron Boone and others on the NYY bench chirped unsporting content at the plate umpire.
Related PostWhy Umpire Chris Segal Ejected Brett Gardner (8/11/19).
Related PostMLB Ejection 157 - Chris Segal (1; Brett Gardner) (8/9/19).

Joe Torre agrees: Gardner earned it.
My read on the situation was Gardner's three-week old reputation, combined with an excessive amount of bench jockeying from his teammates and coaches resulted in a situation in which Gardner was ejected "because of circumstance." I wrote, "Gardner was indeed guilty of some degree of unsportsmanlike conduct...he just didn't plant the straw that broke the camel's back. His offense was somewhere underneath that pile."

Either Torre reads our site or, what's much more likely, he reviewed Segal's report, spoke with him, and understood what happened, in context.'s Brendan Kuty summarized Torre's comments thusly: "Considering the things Gardner had said and done before Maybin yelled at Segal, it wasn’t completely unreasonable for Segal to believe it was Gardner’s voice instead of Maybin’s. Gardner had also banged his bat repeatedly against the dugout in protest of Segal."

Or, as I wrote on Sunday, "[Gardner] hits his bat on the dugout ceiling in protest."

Yet just because Gardner earned his ejection doesn't mean that Segal didn't make a mistake in stating the ejection was due to a verbal comment (made by Maybin); had Segal said that Gardner was ejected for banging his bat on the dugout, we wouldn't be here today: "I know there’s been talk about umpires when they make a mistake or they miss a call they don’t have any repercussions—that’s not true," said Torre. And speaking generally, he continued: "They watch their game every single day. They get rated, whether it’s on the bases or balls and strikes [editor's note: remember, it's the Z-E numbers, not the faulty public-facing info]. And next month, when we meet for postseason, that plays a role, that plays a part, deciding who goes to the postseason."
Related PostCall for Umpire Accountability & the 97% Plate Score (4/19/19).

Come October, the baseball world won't see Chris Segal's name on the postseason roster—there's a zero percent chance of that, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Gardner ejection, even if a handful of frustrated fans inevitably try to make that connection in a month's time. Segal is a call-up umpire, and such fill-in umps are not eligible for the MLB postseason.

Video as follows:

Tmac's Teachable - Ted & Tumpane's Teamwork

Tuesday's Tmac's Teachable talks to Ted & Tumpane's teamwork as Crew Chief Barrett at third base & HP Umpire John officiated a game-ending play in Houston.

With two out and Yuri Gurriel on first base in the 11th inning of a 3-3 Orioles-Astros game, batter Robinson Chirinos hit a 3-2 fastball from Baltimore pitcher Branden Kline for a line drive down the left field line, ruled fair by 3B Umpire Barrett. With Gurriel running on the full-count, two-out pitch, Barrett quickly released the ball into The Left Field Corner and watched Gurriel's touch of third base as HP Umpire Tumpane moved into position for a play at the plate.

Another fine example of crew mechanics.
As Orioles catcher Chance Sisco prepared to receive the cutoff throw, baserunner Gurriel began his slide, crashing head-first into Sisco as the ball arrived at home plate.

Sidebar: This is also an example of a legal home plate collision situation; had Gurriel not slid and instead crashed into the catcher on this same trajectory (via foul territory), this would be a legal play as the catcher without the ball (but legally fielding the throw) moved into the runner's base and contrast with Marisnick play in which the catcher was positioned entirely in fair territory at the time of the collision).
Related PostHP Collision Rule - Marisnick Illegally Hits Lucroy (7/8/19).

F2 legally blocks R1 while fielding the throw.
Tumpane, who began the play third-baseline extended and on the catcher's left hip, effected a position adjustment by moving to his right, ruling the runner safe at home upon observing that Sisco had dropped the baseball, which was affirmed via Replay Review.

The lesson here is twofold: First, as the third base umpire, don't over-hustle by immediately chasing a ball into the outfield. There is a time and place for going out on a batted ball, and a bounding ball already ruled fair may not be one of those times, given the situation of a runner already on base.

Be patient and locate the ball before your call.
That said, in four-person umpiring, the crew could have easily adjusted to U3 running into the outfield via rotation (plate umpire Tumpane would take the touch at third & 1B Umpire Ramon De Jesus would rotate to take the play at the plate). But in a crew of three or two, coverage becomes more difficult when an umpire goes out. Bear that in mind and do as Barrett does by keeping your head on a swivel to prepare for either eventuality.

Finally, as the plate umpire preparing to take a play at home, start at your point of plate and move with the catcher's hip as the projected tag play dictates. At the moment of truth, adjust your position to locate the baseball and runner while slowing down your call.

Video as follows:

Monday, August 12, 2019

Playing in Public - Cuzzi Keeps Cool

Perhaps reminded of Joe West's three-game suspension for comments about Adrian Beltre in 2017, MLB umpire Phil Cuzzi gave officials of all stripes an example of how to behave off the field when a Chicago reporter asked him about trash-talking players.

While visiting the courtroom of baseball fan and federal Judge Thomas Michael Durkin of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ahead of the Astros-White Sox series—to reiterate, Cuzzi was just visiting!—Cuzzi answered a few general questions (e.g., how long he's been in the big leagues [21 years]) before the Judge Durkin ordered the court reporter off the record and asked, "which player talks the most trash to umpires?"

If the backstory sounds familiar, it's because MLB suspended Joe West for answering "Adrian Beltre" to USA Today Sports correspondent Bob Nightengale's similar question (who is the biggest whiner?) in 2017 on the occasion of West's 5,000th major league game.
Related PostSource - Joe West Suspended 3 Games for Beltre Comment (8/8/17).

Perhaps the Cowboy taught umpires a lesson.
Though West and Beltre contended the banter was a joke, MLB didn't buy the argument and suspended West for an "appearance of lack of impartiality" by an umpire.

Cuzzi's Calm: So when Judge Durkin asked Cuzzi to dish on MLB's #1 trash-talking player, the quick-thinking judge spied a reporter in the courtroom ("you're not a reporter, are you?" Yes!) and suggested that he and Cuzzi take their off-the-record conversation to a more private location—the judge's chambers.

One-on-one conversations in a private setting are always more secure than saying anything in public. When interacting with the media—and many associations and organizations have social media policies for officials about this which may outright bar public comment—it's important to assume that anything said will reach the eyes and ears of every player, coach, and fan.

Barber's Batter Interference - Mancini Impedes Chirinos

When HP Umpire Sean Barber declared Orioles runner Jonathan Villar out for teammate Trey Mancini's interference in Baltimore, he enforced Official Baseball Rule 6.01(a)(5) that deals with a batter who impedes a catcher's throw at home plate by illegally stepping out of the box.

As the following video analysis illustrates, this hindrance may appear subtle at first, but on review, it is quite apparent that in stepping out of the box, Mancini impeded Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos' throw to second base in an attempt to retire baserunner Villar.

Ordinarily, a batter committing interference in such a manner is out for the illegal act while the runner is returned to his base of origin. The relevant rule is 6.03(a)(3), which states, "A batter is out for illegal action when—He interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher’s play at home base," and whose penalty states, "If the batter interferes with the catcher, the plate umpire shall call 'interference.' The batter is out and the ball dead. No player may advance on such interference (offensive interference) and all runners must return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference."

However, because Mancini struck out on the pitch during which the interfering act occurred (swing-and-a-miss on a 3-2 slider from Houston pitcher Justin Verlander that was legally caught by the catcher), an additional rule was invoked in OBR 6.01(a)(5), which states, "It is interference by a batter or a runner when—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."

Sidebar: Once again, there need not be contact for interference (or obstruction). That is a harmful rules myth. The only standard is whether or not the fielder was impeded by the retired batter. 

Tmac's Take: This also means the catcher does not have to complete a throw. If the batter's illegal actions impeded the catcher's ability to throw the ball, that too is interference, even if the ball never leaves home plate. Naturally, an umpire must judge whether or not the catcher would have actually thrown the ball had the batter not interfered (e.g., we're probably not looking at interference if the pitcher throws a wild pitch).  Also, notice that Barber with a right-handed batter takes a step left; If there was a left-handed batter you should take a step right to see this play.  The angle will open up.  For a switch-hitter do the hokey pokey!!  That's what it's all about!

Video as follows:

Sunday, August 11, 2019

John Tumpane's Late-Inning Rotation

To get in the mood for an upcoming Tump & Ted Teachable, we're highlighting a crucial rotation by HP Umpire John Tumpane in the bottom of the 9th inning of Sunday's Braves-Marlins game on a critical out call at first base as Atlanta's Ronald Acuna retired batter-runner Isan Diaz on a wide turn at the bag.

The analysis here is rather simple. With none out and none on, 1B Umpire Lance Barksdale ran down the right field line after watching 2B Umpire John Bacon move into the infield on a fly ball down the right field line that fell untouched in front of outfielder Acuna.

With Barksdale jogging into the outfield to signal the play fair and 2B Umpire Bacon hustling into the infield with Crew Chief Ted Barrett remaining at third, that left first base uncovered, which meant that, with Diaz the only baserunner to account for, HP Umpire Tumpane had play-calling responsibility for the batter-runner back into first base in the event that the defense attempted to make a play at the bag...which is precisely what happened.

Nonverbal communication is vital for U1 & 2.
This is a perfect example of a crew executing standard responsibilities on a play that develops into something where textbook rotation—something as relatively ordinary and common as U1 following a fly ball into his primary outfield coverage area as the right fielder moves to his left, U2 moving into the infield, U3 staying put, and the plate umpire taking U1's vacant first base—is absolutely vital to officiate this play correctly. Not to mention Tumpane having to gently guide Marlins first base coach Trey Hillman out of the way as MLBU #74 took a knee to make his call. Video as follows:

Why Umpire Chris Segal Ejected Brett Gardner

After HP Umpire Chris Segal ejected Yankees CF Brett Gardner in Toronto, he claimed the ejection pertained to a profane personal insult. While video suggests the "you're f*ing terrible" comment did come from New York's dugout, Cameron Maybin—not Gardy—appeared to be the offender. So why did Gardner get run? Reputation has a way of latching onto people in baseball (just ask Angel Hernandez) and for Brett Gardner, such a reputation—primarily earned within the span of three weeks—most likely did him in, seducing the scourge of mistaken identity.

By now, the ejection report is familiar—Segal ejects Gardner in the 4th after a couple of contested ball/strike calls from the Yankees dugout—but to understand the full nature of this ejection, we travel back to July 18, 2019, and later on, we'll travel back to 2009 to see how another MLB umpire handled a similar situation.
Related PostMLB Ejection 157 - Chris Segal (1; Brett Gardner) (8/9/19).
Related PostMLB Ejection 123 - Brennan Miller (1; Aaron Boone) (7/18/19).

Gardner's Groundwork: In July, Brennan Miller ejected Aaron Boone at Yankee Stadium for arguing a strike one call to DJ LeMahieu, which had followed a contested strike call to Gardner during a preceding at-bat. This was the infamous "f*ing savages' ejection linked above and this ejection had everything to do with what happened in Toronto.

While Boone took the ejection in July, the modus operandi—the circumstance of ejection—is what's most important, as several elements appeared both in Boone's July ejection and Gardner's August dismissal.