Saturday, August 31, 2019

MLB Ejection 182 - Nic Lentz (3; Lewis Brinson)

HP Umpire Nic Lentz ejected Marlins CF Lewis Brinson (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 8th inning of the #Marlins-#Nationals game. With two out and none on, Brinson took a 3-2 curveball from Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and at the midpoint (px -0.58, pz 3.67 [sz_top 3.60 / RAD 3.72]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 6-0. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 7-0.

This is Nic Lentz (59)'s third ejection of 2019.
Nic Lentz now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 10).
Crew Chief Mike Everitt now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*This pitch was located 1.60 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call. If overnight processing changes Brinson's sz_top value from 3.60 to 3.73, the call will be considered incorrect. Postgame processing, however, rarely changes a zone variable by such a significant amount.

This is the 182nd ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 91st player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Brinson was 0-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Miami's 5th ejection of 2019, T-4th in the NL East (PHI, WAS 7; ATL 6; MIA, NYM 5).
This is Lewis Brinson's first career MLB ejection.
This is Nic Lentz's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 27 (Carlos Gonzalez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals, 8/31/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 181 - Will Little (2; Rhys Hoskins)

HP Umpire Will Little ejected Phillies 1B Rhys Hoskins (strike two/three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the #Mets-#Phillies game. With two out and one on (R2), Hoskins took a 0-1 and 0-2 sinker from Mets pitcher Steven Matz for a called second and third strike. Replays indicate the pitch ruled strike two was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.18, pz 1.61 [sz_bot 1.68 / RAD 1.56]) and the pitch ruled strike three was located over the inner half of home plate and at the midpoint (px -0.57, pz 3.59 [sz_top 3.52 / RAD 3.64]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Mets were leading, 2-1. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

This is Will Little (93)'s second ejection of 2019.
Will Little now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Joe West now has -5 points in Crew Division (-6 Previous + 1 Correct Call = -5).
*The 0-1 pitch was located 1.63 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.
*The 0-2 pitch was located 1.63 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.
If overnight processing for the strike two call changes Hoskins' sz_bot value to 1.81 or greater, Little's call will be deemed incorrect.
If overnight processing for the strike three call changes Hoskins' sz_top value to 3.39 or less, Little's call will be deemed incorrect.

This is the 181st ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 90th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Hoskins was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Philadelphia's 7th ejection of 2019, T-1st in the NL East (PHI, WAS 7; ATL 6; NYM 5; MIA 4).
This is Rhys Hoskins' first career MLB ejection.
This is Will Little's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since July 7 (Miguel Cabrera; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 8/31/19 | Video as follows:

Friday, August 30, 2019

MLB Ejection 180 - Mike Estabrook (11; Vladimir Guerrero)

HP Umpire Mike Estabrook ejected Blue Jays 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (strike two call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the #Astros-#BlueJays game. With one out and one on (R1), Guerrero took a 1-1 slider from Astros pitcher Hector Rondon for a called second strike before striking out swinging on the ensuing pitch. Replays indicate the 1-1 pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.75, pz 1.87 [sz_bot 1.67]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 6-2. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 7-4.

This is Mike Estabrook (83)'s 11th ejection of 2019.
Mike Estabrook now has 34 points in the UEFL Standings (30 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 34).
Crew Chief Paul Emmel 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 1.968 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 180th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 89th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Guerrero was 0-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Toronto's 5th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the AL East (NYY 7; BAL, BOS, TOR 5; TB 2).
This is Vlad Guerrero Jr's first career MLB ejection.
This is Mike Estabrook's 11th ejection of 2019, 1st since August 3 (Chris Sale; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 8/30/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 179 - Brian Knight (3; Rick Renteria)

HP Umpire Brian Knight ejected White Sox Manager Rick Renteria (ball three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the #WhiteSox-#Braves game. With two out and two on (R1, R2), Braves batter Tyler Flowers took a 2-2 fastball from White Sox pitcher Aaron Bummer for a called third ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -0.82, pz 2.50) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Braves were leading, 6-5. The Braves ultimately won the contest, 10-7.

This is Brian Knight (91)'s third ejection of 2019.
Brian Knight now has 12 points in the UEFL Standings (8 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 12).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 0.86 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 179th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 81st Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Chicago's 9th ejection of 2019, 2nd in the AL Central (DET 11; CWS 9; KC 8; MIN 3; CLE 1).
This is Rick Renteria's 7th ejection of 2019, 1st since July 28 (Angel Hernandez; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brian Knight's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since May 8 (Ned Yost; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs. Atlanta Braves, 8/30/19 | Video as follows:

Teachable - Umpire Turns Back During Play at 2B

This edition of Tmac's Teachable Moments comes from a play in Italy involving a second base umpire whose position adjustment during a bunt play in the 9th inning of a one-run Parma-Bologna game produced a fantastic safe/pulled foot call...

...Followed by a premature turn away from the play such that the umpire's back was to the runner when he was tagged by a fielder while the runner briefly took off for third. Moon Over Parma, indeed!

Fortunately, this crew corrected the error at second base and ruled the runner out.

This video discusses how to take such a play in the two- three- and four-umpire systems, using the mechanics, limitations, and features of each.

We also discus the importance of keeping an eye on the play—usually the ball itself, but sometimes base touches, obstruction/interference interactions between fielders and runners.

Remember, a play is not complete in baseball until no more action is possible and although it is sometimes difficult to anticipate a runner at second base suddenly stepping off the base after being called safe, it is important to watch the entirety of the action until the ball is returned to the pitcher or otherwise leaves the area at the base where a potential play may occur.

This Teachable Moment is brought you by our sponsor, Umpire Placement Course.


Video as follows:

Chris Segal's KC Catch & Carry Scores Game Winner

Lack of rules knowledge led to a game-winning run in Kansas City when 3B Umpire Chris Segal awarded A's runners a base after Royals third baseman Chelsor Cuthbert caught batter Corban Joseph's fly ball, only to step with it into the third base dugout—what's known as a catch and carry and whose penalty is "Time" and a one-base award (batter is out).

Oakland won the game by a single run—the one that was awarded on the catch-and-carry, making it all the more painful and preventable when Cuthbert said after the game that he didn't know the rule.

The Play: With one out and runners on second and third base in the top of the 9th inning of Thursday's Athletics-Royals game, Athletics batter Joseph hit a fly ball in foul territory near Oakland's third-base dugout. Kansas City fielder Cheslor Cuthbert reached over the dugout to make the catch and then jumped into the dugout so as not to fall.

Segal calls Cuthbert's catch in Kansas City.
The Call: 3B Umpire Chris Segal called the batter out on Cuthbert's legal catch (both feet were on the playing field at the time of the catch, as the top step or lip of the dugout is considered part of the live ball territory) and then called "Time" as a result of Cuthbert stepping fully into the dugout. Segal then awarded A's baserunner R3 Seth Brown home plate (from his origin at third base) and runner R2 Jurickson Profar third base (from his origin at second base).

The Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(3) states, "Each runner, other than the batter, may without liability to be put out, advance one base when—A fielder, after catching a fly ball, steps or falls into any out-of-play area" while 5.06(b)(3)(C) Comment states, "If a fielder, after having made a legal catch, should step or fall into any out-of-play area, the ball is dead and each runner shall advance one base, without liability to be put out, from his last legally touched base at the time the fielder entered such out-of-play area."

Finally, to cover all our bases, OBR 5.09(a)(1) Comment indicates, "A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch, and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area."
Related PostCase Play 2019-1 - Modified Catch & Carry [Solved] (5/6/19).

Cuthbert looks on as Segal enforces the rule.
Player Admits Not Knowing Rule: After the game, Cuthbert told the media that he didn't know the rule: "The umpire said the runners were going to advance a base. I didn't know that rule. Every day you learn something in baseball." With Oakland winning by a 9-8 final score, that lack of rules knowledge very likely hurt Kansas City's chances to win the game.

BONUS: Watch HP Umpire Bill Welke explain to Ned Yost and the Royals dugout the reason for Segal's call. This is what we mean by backing up a crewmate on a rudimentary rules-related play or call.

Video as follows:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

MLB Ejection 178 - Jordan Baker (3; Josh Reddick)

HP Umpire Jordan Baker ejected Astros RF Josh Reddick (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #Rays-#Astros game. With one out and none on, Reddick took a 3-2 fastball from Rays pitcher Emilio Pagan for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and below at the hollow of the knee (px 0.24, pz 1.40 [sz_bot 1.67 / RAD 1.54 / MOE 1.46] [sz_bot 1.59 / RAD 1.47 / MOE 1.38]), the call was incorrect correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 9-8. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 9-8.

This is Jordan Baker (71)'s third ejection of 2019.
Jordan Baker now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 10).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*This call is was previously incorrect by 0.72 vertical inches. If overnight processing for Reddick's sz_bot for the strike three call changed the value to 1.61 or less, Baker's call would be deemed correct.
*Postgame processing lowered Reddick's sz_bot from 1.67 to 1.59, which is a 0.08-foot or 0.96-inch adjustment. Accordingly, the call, previously incorrect by 0.72 inches, is now correct by 0.24 vertical inches (0.72 - 0.96 = -0.24).

This is the 178th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 88th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Reddick was 1-4 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Houston's 5th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the AL West (OAK 6; HOU, SEA 5; TEX 4; LAA 3).
This is Josh Reddick's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since August 1 (Vic Carapazza; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jordan Baker's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since July 24 (Anthony Rizzo; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros, 8/29/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Rules Gearrin's Toe Tap Legal - Analysis

MLB informed New York that Yankees pitcher Cory Gearrin's toe tap pitching delivery is legal and does not constitute the second step portrayed by Official Baseball Rule 5.07(a). HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez called a balk in Seattle based on this rule, and he isn't the first umpire to have taken MLB's fairly-new OBR 5.07(a) Comment to heart.

To understand this Ask the UEFL question, we go all the way back to MLB's introduction of OBR 5.07(a) Comment, which states, "The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b)."

Also known as the Carter Capps rule, the Rule Committee incorporated the second step prohibition prior to the 2017 season. The rule outlaws both crop-hops/resets with the pivot foot and second steps with the free foot.
Related Post2017 Rules Mods, Including IBB Change, Announced (3/2/17).

Other than helping to end Capps' big league career—and prompting a series of illegal pitch calls against Capps in the minor leagues—the 5.07(a) Comment prohibitions set in motion a slow-moving set of problems relating to the question, "what constitutes a 'step'?"
Related PostCarter Capps - Back to Old Tricks or Just a Spring Thing? (3/14/18).

This festering issue came to a head in early 2019, when a multitude of big league pitchers began testing the limits of the traditional pitching motion known as the slide step. Ordinarily, a slide step is effected by sliding the free foot along the dirt of the pitchers mound during delivery before landing at a final resting point and throwing the pitch toward home plate.

At what point does a tap become a set/reset?
As early as Spring Training, however, pitchers who had already begun to experiment with delivery styles started lifting their free feet and legs during delivery such that the traditional slide transformed into more of a bounce, with the pitcher's free foot making contact with the ground more than once during delivery—the act of planting a foot became much more fluid.

On May 13, Fieldin Culbreth initiated a Crew Chief Review—Rules Check—after his crew observed Cory Gearrin, then a member of the Seattle Mariners, warming up and appearing to bounce quite animatedly with his free foot during delivery. After a six-minute Replay Review, the crew determined that Gearrin should be instructed to keep his free foot off the ground until reaching its final landing place.
Related PostSEA Replay - Cubby's Pitching Motion Rules Check (5/14/19).

Joe Maddon already tried protesting the rule.
This seemingly strict interpretation of a step caused more problems just days later when Cubs Manager Joe Maddon—already steamed because his pitcher, Carl Edwards, had been counseled on an illegal second step earlier in 2019—attempted to protest a game in Washington when Sam Holbrook refused to call Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle for an illegal pitch due to an alleged second step. The protest was doomed to fail because whether or not a slide/bounce/jab/toe-tap constitutes a second step has traditionally been a judgment call, for lack of MLB specifically addressing the matter.
Related PostMaddon Protests Game Over Pitcher's Toe-Tap (5/18/19).

The umpires and Yankees discuss pitching.
MLB didn't address the issue in May, which leads us to August and Manny Gonzalez's balk call on Gearrin for taking an illegal second step (Holbrook via a pool reported described it as a second setting of the free foot) as in OBR 5.07(a) Comment, which is a balk pursuant to Rule 6.02(a).

MLB Legalizes The Move: According to skipper Aaron Boone, MLB informed the Yankees organization that Gearrin's move is, in fact, legal. Thus, the toe tap now officially no longer constitutes a second step...a matter that could have been resolved in May—the first time Gearrin's delivery caused a delay in Seattle.

Instead, we're left with an umpire in Manny Gonzalez exercising on-field judgment to call a balk, which has now been precluded after-the-fact by a league interpretation that the toe tap is legal.

Try and observe the pitch holistically.
Gil's Call: In my estimation, the question of toe tap vs second step is somewhat of a misnomer. Yes, the two terms are very useful to describe and discern the difference between legal and illegal, but from what I've gleaned, here's the fundamental difference between a legal and illegal delivery, and it goes beyond the sole action of a leading free foot: Simply making contact with the ground more than one time with the free foot isn't enough for an illegal pitch call (and never has been). What is illegal—watch the Carl Edwards delivery—is a free foot that lifts, comes back to the ground, stops, and lifts again, and whose action effectively interrupts the entire delivery.

In other words, if a potential second step causes the pitcher to stop the movement of his delivery, such that his motion can be described as a "start-stop-start," he has violated the rule. If the pitcher has set his foot down, only to lift it and set it down again, it's illegal. Otherwise, a toe tap or sliding action that doesn't constitute an actual "set" of the foot should be deemed legal.

A word of caution: This is the MLB interpretation. Lower levels may still deem this an illegal step.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

MLB Ejections 176-177 - Jerry Meals (2-3; COL)

HP Umpire Jerry Meals ejected Rockies RF Charlie Blackmon and Manager Bud Black (strike three call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #RedSox-#Rockies game. With none out and none on, Blackmon took a 2-2 cutter from Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -1.05, pz 2.95 [sz_top 3.47]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejections, the Red Sox were leading, 7-4. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 7-4.

These are Jerry Meals (41)'s second and third ejections of 2019.
Jerry Meals now has -2 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2*[2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call] = -2).
Crew Chief Jerry Meals now has -2 points in Crew Division (-2 Previous + 2*[0 QOCN] = -2).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 1.63 horizontal inches from being deemed a correct call.

These are the 176th and 177th ejection reports of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 87th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Blackmon was 0-5 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is the 80th Manager ejection of 2019.
This is Colorado's 5/6th ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL West (COL 6; SD, SF 5; ARI 4; LAD 3).
This is Charlie Blackmon's 1st ejection since July 8, 2017 (Sam Holbrook; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Bud Black's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since July 19 (Doug Eddings; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Jerry Meals' 2/3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 20 (Aaron Boone; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies, 8/28/19 | Video as follows:

Joe West's Inning-Ending Base Touch Appeal Play

Umpiring fundamentals were on display Tuesday night in Chicago as 2B Umpire and Crew Chief Joe West taught a lesson plan of base touch appeal plays with an inning-ending double play during the Twins-White Sox game.

The Play: With one out and one on (R1), White Sox batter Leury Garcia hit a fly ball to Twins center fielder Jake Cave, who ran down and caught the batted ball for an air out as White Sox baserunner R1 Adam Engel prepared to scamper back to first base to tag up. While Engel did return to first base before a play could be made on him, the Twins noticed that Engel ran/slid past second base during the batted ball, and failed to retouch second base on his way back to first after the ball was caught.

Runner Engel fails to retouch second base.
The Call: Minnesota appealed through second baseman Jonathan Schoop that Engel failed to retouch second base and 2B Umpire Joe West was there to affirm the appeal, ruling Engel out for violation of Rule 5.06(b)(1), which states, "In advancing, a runner shall touch first, second, third and home base in order. If forced to return, he shall retouch all bases in reverse order, unless the ball is dead under any provision of Rule 5.06(c). In such cases, the runner may go directly to his original base."

The rule putting the runner out is 5.09(c), which states, "Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when—With the ball in play, while advancing or returning to a base, he fails to touch each base in order before he, or a missed base, is tagged."

Visit the following Related Post for a more in-depth discussion of when a runner is considered to have run "past" a base (and must therefore retouch it), but this discussion pertains to umpiring responsibility.
Related PostPast or Prior - Deciding When a Runner Has Passed a Base (7/1/17).

Mechanically Speaking: The rule and call are rather elementary for most officials, but what I want to discuss here are the mechanics: specifically what our second base umpire does and what he puts himself in position to see.

Even with a ball in CF, West watches R1.
Notice that in a crew of four with a runner on first, 2B Umpire Joe West is working on the infield grass (Deep B or Deep C are the typical "in" positions for a 2B Umpire, and that's where West starts from). With West positioned inside, he knows he won't be leaving the infield to rule on any batted balls hit to the outfield and, accordingly, he has no responsibility as to Garcia's fly ball. But he does have a responsibility for runner R1 Engel's touch of second base, and watches the runner intently as Engel slides past second base and fails to retouch the bag on his way back to first base.

West knows this is a violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(1) and a potential appeal play pursuant to 5.09(c), and West keeps silent while remaining ready to rule on the appeal as soon as Minnesota executes it, which comes in the form of an appeal during the play—remember, the ball doesn't have to be returned to the pitcher prior to an appeal, but at the professional level, appeals must be executed during a live ball.

Little answers Engel's rules question.
Pick Up Your Crewmate: Finally, 1B Umpire Will Little is approached by a perplexed Engel and without missing a beat, explains precisely what West called and what the relevant rule is. Even if it's not your play, a good crew member is ready to explain a routine rules-related call made by a partner, as long as, naturally, the call is rather rudimentary as it was here.

Video as follows:

Court Orders Angel Hernandez to Undergo Psych Exam

Angel Hernandez's lawsuit against MLB took another step forward as the New York Southern District Court ordered the veteran umpire to undergo a psychiatric examination, but it's not what you think.

As part of an emotional distress claim, the judge, in accordance with federal regulations regarding the adjudication of cases involving emotional distress claims, has ordered Hernandez submit to an examination period of up to 8 hours with MLB's examining psychiatrist, Dr. Stuart B. Kleinman, which was requested by MLB in its defense of the suit. The Court also ordered Hernandez make himself available for up to four additional hours of questioning so that he may provide "new evidence" to support his claims of racially-motivated discrimination. As we'll describe later, this is a rather rudimentary procedure for such civil litigation.

Hernandez is alleging discrimination at BOC.
In addition to quantifying his emotional distress claim at a price point of $9 million, Hernandez alleges that recently discovered information gleaned from the depositions of MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Peter Woodfork, and Commissioner Rob Manfred support the veteran umpire's claims of discrimination and includes, amongst others, that crew chief and post-season selection practices are "based largely on subjective criteria" outside of the objective umpire evaluation documents and statistics that purportedly indicate Hernandez's status as an official worthy of Crew Chief and World Series status. Hernandez's team wants to drill down into what this "subjective criteria" may encompass and believes this subjectivity encompasses aspects that are discriminatory and illegal in nature.

Wrote Hernandez's attorney, "The Practices have a disparate impact on minority Major League Umpires, including Plaintiff."

Note: The psychiatric evaluation, assessment, screening, or exam is a somewhat standard legal maneuver with claims for emotional distress. In order for a plaintiff to prove such a claim, a proof of psychological damage is generally needed, and it is accepted convention for the defendant to examine the plaintiff in this fashion through a psychiatrist or psychologist trained for this legal purpose.


The fed book allows psych exams in this case.
Gil's Call: Despite Physical and Mental Examinations' well-established existence in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (another way of saying this is a tool that is in the law's 'rulebook'), the legal particulars of this routine yet unique discovery tool will be lost amongst mainstream baseball that likely will get caught up in the "Angel Hernandez Forced to Sit for Psychological Evaluation" headline.

Again, Hernandez's psychological state solely as relates to his claim for emotional distress is at issue. This is not an opportunity for fans to belittle and mock the mental health arena, though I fear that's precisely what this news story could turn into in the absence of responsible reporting that explains the legal process of such an exam.

That's why we are presenting this news story in a responsible manner: to portray the Court's order as it is in a legal sense: a discovery tool the defense may use to further investigate the plaintiff's claim of an altered psychological state, which in this case is the infliction of emotional distress. Just as a medical doctor in a personal injury case may examine a plaintiff as a patient for broken bones, a mental health professional may be summoned to evaluate a plaintiff who claims psychological injuries, such as emotional distress.

A psychiatry expert such as Kleinman can command top dollar for legal services and, presumably, that's what we have here. Kleinman holds a Medical Doctor designation and is associated with the Practising Law Institute (PLI). He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and specializes in the field of Psychiatry and Law, and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School; his 2019 PLI coursework includes Employment Discrimination Law & Litigation.

MLB will likely rely on Kleinman as an expert to support its assertion that Hernandez did not suffer emotional distress. One other quick note...Hernandez is protected under federal law from retaliation for his discrimination claims, first filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This means MLB cannot use items from the discrimination filing against Hernandez and most certainly cannot take action against him in an employer-employee capacity based on claims made during Hernandez's EEOC complaint-turned-litigation.

United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein considered submissions from Hernandez and MLB before issuing his order.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

MLB Ejection 175 - Pat Hoberg (1; Justin Verlander)

HP Umpire Pat Hoberg ejected Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (ball three call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the #Rays-#Astros game. With one out and none on, Rays batter Tommy Pham took a 2-2 fastball from Verlander for a called third ball before hitting a double on the ensuing pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 1.07, pz 1.66 [sz_bot 1.61]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 9-0. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 15-1.

This is Pat Hoberg (31)'s second ejection of 2019.
Pat Hoberg now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson 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 1.87 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 175th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 86th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Verlander's line was 5.1 IP, 0 ER.
This is Houston's 4th ejection of 2019, T-3rd in the AL West (OAK 6; SEA 5; HOU, TEX 4; LAA 3).
This is Justin Verlander's 1st ejection since August 9, 2018 (Nic Lentz; QOC = Y [Balk]).
This is Pat Hoberg's 1st ejection since June 27, 2018 (Paul Molitor; QOC = N [Balk]).

Wrap: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros, 8/27/19 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 174 - Ryan Blakney (2; Amir Garrett)

HP Umpire Ryan Blakney ejected Reds pitcher Amir Garrett (check swing ball four call by 1B Umpire Vic Carapazza) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the #Reds-#Marlins game. With two out and one (R1) on, Marlins batter Lewis Brinson attempted to check his swing on a 3-1 slider, ruled ball four and affirmed as no swing on appeal by 1B Umpire Carapazza. Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Reds were leading, 8-5. The Reds ultimately won the contest 8-5.

This is Ryan Blakney (36)'s second ejection of 2019.
Ryan Blakney now has 2 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 2).
Crew Chief Dan Iassogna now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 QOCY = 1).

This is the 174th ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 85th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Garrett's line was 0.2 IP, 2 BB, SO.
This is Cincinnati's 22nd ejection of 2019, 1st in the NL Central (CIN 22; PIT 10; CHC, MIL 7; STL 3).
This is Amir Garrett's 3rd ejection of 2019, 1st since July 30 (Larry Vanover; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Ryan Blakney's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since August 23 (Lorenzo Cain; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins, 8/27/19 | Video as follows:

Boone: MLB Told Us "Time" Call Was Wrong

As we previously wrote and as purportedly confirmed by MLB today, HP Umpire Gabe Morales' 9th inning "Time" call at Dodger Stadium during Saturday, 8/24/19's Yankees-Dodgers game was premature.

Speaking to reporters before his club's game Tuesday evening, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said that MLB informed him the umpire's "Time" call on August 24 was in error and that runner Gleyber Torres should have been permitted to score the game's tying run. Instead, the Torres had to go back to third base and the Yankees lost to the Dodgers by one run.

To summarize our analysis, Morales likely called "Time" when requested by Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen because he believed the play was over—from his position at home plate, it would have appeared that Torres was walking back to third base without an intent to advance.
Related PostAs Muncy Admits Fakery, Umps Should Be Patient (8/25/19).
Related PostMorales' Mercy - Dodgers' Key Time Call Against NY (8/24/19).

The rest of our summary is perhaps better quoted: "Unfortunately for Morales and New York, the play may not have been as complete as first thought, as Torres broke for home plate a split second after Morales' decision to call 'Time.'"

Boone said MLB commented on the "play."
Gil's Call: Rule 5.12(b)(8) ("no umpire shall call 'Time' while a play is in progress") was the lesson of the day, and it occurs to me that I can perhaps further clarify what exactly a play is—a pretty good clue exists under Obstruction (B) rule 6.01(h)(2), which states, "If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible."

Rule 8.01(d) regarding ejections also uses this language: "If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play."

Accordingly, a good exercise for an umpire considering whether to call for time or not is to ask whether further action is possible. If the answer is "yes," wait a few beats or seconds to allow the answer to turn into a "no." If the answer is "no" (or when it becomes "no"), proceed to call "Time."

There's a chance this was an umpire's version of an "inadvertent whistle"... just at a really inopportune time. Many umpires have been there: it isn't a pleasant feeling, and there isn't much one can do to correct it in a "once rung, a bell cannot be unrung" sense of things.

There's also a chance the umpire was duped by a soccer-style flopper in Max Muncy out at second base, as previously discussed, and that's a shame that will only serve to make umpires more distrustful of players who may suffer legitimate injuries in the future. And that's harmful to them, as well. But in a world where gamesmanship and winning is more important than ethics and honesty, an umpire must by necessity be skeptical and not call "Time" until the umpire is ready to kill the action-less "play."

SIDEBAR: In the infancy of baseball video games—I'll discuss Triple Play, since that's the game I referenced during June's Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone podcast episode—with a runner on base, the game would not move on until—quite literally—no further action was possible...as in, the ball had to be delivered back to the pitcher. Subsequent video games discovered this was a waste of...time...and eliminated this strict adherence to Rule 5.12(b)(8).
Related PostPodcast - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone (6/5/19).

So in the end, maybe we should all play a few innings of Triple Play 99  and see how patient these umpires are at calling "Time."

Video as follows:

Justin Turner Bumps Umpire Rob Drake at Game's End

A non-ejection incident occurred following the final out of San Diego's victory over Los Angeles as Dodgers 3B Justin Turner bumped HP Umpire Rob Drake while arguing a strike three call to end the game; Turner was not ejected, but a report for the incident is indicated here pursuant to UEFL Rule 8-2 governing Odds & Ends, unofficial ejections, and similar unsportsmanlike incidents.

Gil's Call: Turner's contact with Drake appeared to occur as he leaned in as one would to hear what another person is saying in a loud environment. It doesn't look to follow the pattern of a player who deliberately charges into an umpire, but contact nonetheless does occur during a balls/strikes dispute situation, which by its definition makes it unsporting, whether intentional or not. Turner's pursuit of Drake following the shoulder/chest contact serves as an aggravating circumstance.

Turner pursues Drake after the initial contact.
Turner took a 1-2 fastball from Padres pitcher Kirby Yates for a called third strike to seal San Diego's win over LA. Replays indicate the final pitch of the game was located over the outer half of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.57, pz 1.79 [sz_bot 1.73]).

Apparently unaware he had struck out to end the game, Turner pursued Drake and appeared to make contact with the umpire as he argued the call, with Crew Chief Tim Timmons briefly stepping in front of Turner and Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts, which slowed but did not stop Turner's advance as Drake exited the field. The Padres won the contest, 4-3.

Video as follows:

Monday, August 26, 2019

MLB Ejection 173 - Manny Gonzalez (2; Keon Broxton)

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Mariners RF Keon Broxton (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 2nd inning of the #Yankees-#Mariners game. With two out and none on, Broxton took a 3-2 fastball from Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 0.81, pz 3.11[sz_top 3.52]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Yankees were leading, 4-3. The *PENDING* ultimately won the contest, *-*.

After the strike three call, Broxton threw his batting gloves in Gonzalez's direction; this equipment appeared to make contact with umpire Gonzalez's face. Precedent: In June, Asdrubal Cabrera received a four-game suspension for throwing his batting gloves at the feet of Bill Miller in Texas.
Related PostMLB Suspends Cabrera - Too Harsh or Just Right? (6/21/19).

This is Manny Gonzalez (79)'s second ejection of 2019.
Manny Gonzalez now has 11points in the UEFL Standings (7 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 11).
Crew Chief Sam Holbrook now has 18 points in Crew Division (17 Previous + 1 QOCY = 18).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 1.25 horizontal inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 173rd ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is the 84th player ejection of 2019. Prior to ejection, Broxton was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Seattle's 5th ejection of 2019, 2nd in the AL West (OAK 6; SEA 5; TEX 4; HOU, LAA 3).
This is Keon Broxton's first career MLB ejection.
This is Manny Gonzalez's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since June 15 (Ron Gardenhire; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners, 8/26/19 | Video as follows:

Injury Scout - Guccione Exits in Kansas City

Chris Guccione left Monday's Athletics-Royals game and entered concussion protocol in Kansas City following a deflected pitched ball off his mask.

With one out and none on, Royals batter Ryan O'Hearn took a 1-2 83-mph splitter that bounced in the dirt and caromed directly into Guccione's traditional-style facemask; Guccione remained in the game for two additional at-bats before being removed during a mound visit.

1B Umpire and Crew Chief Mike Everitt took over as home plate umpire for the remainder of the contest, with 2B Umpire Lance Barrett moving to first base and 3B Umpire Bill Welke remaining at the hot corner.

Relevant Injury History: Guccione has a significant history of head trauma.

On August 8, 2019, Guccione left a game in Cleveland after a foul ball off the mask.
Related PostInjury Scout - Guccione Leaves DH (8/8/19).

On August 1, 2018, Guccione exited in Pittsburgh after a foul ball to the face.
Related PostInjury Scout - Guccione Leaves Game on Foul to Mask (8/1/18).

On May 26, 2016, Guccione exited a game in Pittsburgh following a foul to the head.
Related PostInjury - Chris Guccione Exits After Foul to Mask (5/26/16).

Last Game: August 26 | Return to Play: Sept 6 | Time Absent: 10 Days | Video as follows:

Batter Dietrich Hit by Pitch in Strike Zone Ruling

After Max Muncy admitted to embellishing his injury ("soccer style") in Los Angeles, we cautioned umpires about blind trust. Reds batter Derek Dietrich took a hit-by-pitch on a pitched ball thrown within the strike zone in Miami during Cincinnati's Monday night clash against the Marlins.

This Ask the UEFL play comes from a reader who asks what the HBP options are when a batter is touched by a pitched ball within the strike zone or a batter who fails to avoid being touched by a pitch. In either case, the lesson is not to assume the batter is always a credible witness.

What happens when the HBP is in the zone?
The Play: With two out and one on (R2) in the top of the 2nd inning of Monday's Reds-Marlins game, Reds batter Derek Dietrich took a 2-2 fastball from Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez for a hit-by-pitch, and was awarded first base by HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

The Hitch: Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and below the midpoint (px 0.49, pz 3.02 [sz_top 3.4]), which would indicate the pitch was located within the strike zone (pursuant to the Kulpa Rule, this is a strike by approximately five horizontal inches and, per the Miller Rule, by about three vertical inches).

How about a batter w/ no attempt to avoid?
The Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.12(b)(2) specifies the standard hit-by-pitch criteria under which a batter is entitled to first base without liability to be put out: "He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball."

SIDEBAR: The rule has nothing to do with a batter who "leans in" and touches a pitched ball. Leaning into a pitch to draw a HBP call falls under an extreme case of scenario (B): making no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball.

Outcomes: If the pitch was located in the strike zone, it is a dead ball strike [+1 strike].
If the batter makes no attempt to avoid a pitch out of the zone, it is a dead ball, ball [+1 ball].

Did Dietrich try to avoid the pitched ball?
For the Dietrich play, which begins with a 2-2 count, if the umpire judges that the pitch is located in the strike zone, whether or not Dietrich attempted to avoid being touched by it, the proper call is "Time" and adding a strike to the count (in this case, it would be strike three and the batter would be out).

If the umpire deems the pitch is outside of the strike zone and Dietrich made no attempt to avoid being touched (potentially including a determination that he intentionally leaned into the pitched ball), the proper call is "Time" and adding a ball to the count (in this case, ball three).

If the umpire deems the pitch was outside of the strike zone and Dietrich did make an attempt, however slight, to avoid being touched, the proper call is "Time" and awarding the batter first base.

Video as follows:

The Players Weekend Uniform Hiccup

MLB's Players Weekend was beset by a series of uniform and equipment issues that should serve as a lesson for all umpires to pay attention to one of the more neglected parts of the rulebook. When rules committees announce annual rule changes and the uniform/equipment section starts listing approved Pantone colors—Rule 3.00 in professional baseball—umpiring turns tedious. When is anyone ever going to need to know these rules and why does it matter?

Answer: Like them or hate 'em, the all-black and all-white uniforms created for the 2019 edition of MLB Players Weekend caused a notable issue with pitchers for the team wearing all white uniforms a la a cricket squad, and for customized-yet-unapproved player bats.

The reason teams don't ordinarily wear white hats is because of Official Baseball Rule 3.03(g), which states, "No part of the uniform shall include a pattern that imitates or suggests the shape of a baseball."

It's a problem for a pitcher, specifically, to wear a white hat when his release point of a white baseball often falls near his head, where the cap is worn. For this reason, MLB ordered pitchers of teams wearing white uniforms during Players Weekend to wear black hats...

...Which in turn violates Rule 3.03(a) ("All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs") and OBR 3.03(c) ("No player whose uniform does not conform to that of his team-mates shall be permitted to participate in a game").

Trevor Dannegger Named Cal Lg Umpire of Yr

The Class-A California League named Trevor Dannegger its Doug Harvey Award recipient for Umpire of the Year. The Cal League is one of two MiLB entities (the other being the rookie-class Appalachian League) to recognize its top umpire.

The award named for late Hall of Fame umpire Doug "God" Harvey, a Hall of Fame umpire who officiated in the California League before his National League career, has now been bestowed upon promising Cal League umpires for 10 seasons.

Trevor Dannegger accepts the Doug Harvey Award.
Doug Harvey Award Recipients, 2010-19
Year Umpire Name
2019 Trevor Dannegger
2018 Darius Ghani
2017 Mike Rains
2016 Patrick Sharshel
2015 Reid Gibbs
2014 Sean Allen
2013 Ronnie Teague
2012 Chris Gonzalez
2011 Ryan Goodman
2010 Blake Davis

Cal League President Charlie Blaney's statement:
Congratulations to Trevor Dannegger for being the tenth recipient of the Doug Harvey Award. Trevor is a tremendous worker and is very approachable which managers and players love. We've been very honored to have him in our League this year. The Cal League sincerely thanks the family of Doug Harvey for lending his name once again to this prestigious award.
The California League inducted Doug Harvey into its local Hall of Fame in 2017, following Harvey's induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Harvey was born in South Gate, California and was the last big league umpire not to have attended umpire school.
Related PostDoug Harvey Set for CAL League Hall of Fame Induction (6/16/17).

Sunday, August 25, 2019

MLB Ejection 172 - John Bacon (1; Doug Brocail)

1B Umpire John Bacon ejected Orioles Pitching Coach Doug Brocail (check swing ball one call) in the top of the 5th inning of the #Rays-#Orioles game. With two out and one on (R1), Rays batter Avisail Garcia attempted to check his swing on a 0-1 slider from Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Lance Barksdale and affirmed as no swing on appeal by 1B Umpire Bacon. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (0-8), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Orioles were leading, 6-3. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 8-3.

This is John Bacon (70)'s first ejection of 2019.
John Bacon now has -4 points in the UEFL Standings (-2 Prev + 2 AAA - 4 Incorrect Call = -4).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 14 points in Crew Division (14 Previous + 0 QOCN = 14).

This is the 172nd ejection report of the 2019 MLB regular season.
This is Baltimore's 5th ejection of 2019, T-2nd in the AL East (NYY 7; BAL, BOS 5; TOR 4; TB 2).
This is Doug Brocail's 2nd ejection of 2019, 1st since April 14 (Stu Scheurwater; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is John Bacon's first career MLB ejection.

Wrap: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles, 8/25/19 | Video as follows:

As Muncy Admits Fakery, Umps Should Be Patient

In the aftermath of HP Umpire Gabe Morales' fateful "Time" call that preceded Yankees runner Gleyber Torres' potential tying score at Dodger Stadium Saturday, Dodgers infielder Max Muncy admitted he faked the extent of his injury, putting the umpire in a vice and reminding all officials to exercise patience when making calls.

To recap, Morales called "Time" as a response to Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen's request after a collision between Yankees runner Brett Gardner and Muncy on a force play attempt at second base. Prior to calling "Time," from Morales' angle at home plate, it appeared Yankees runner Torres was walking slowly toward third base with his back to home plate.
Related PostMorales' Mercy - Dodgers' Key Time Call Against NY (8/24/19).

For this reason, it would have appeared to Morales that the play was over and no further action was possible, making his "Time" call proper, in his judgment, and in accordance with Rule 5.12(b)(8), which states, in part, that, "no umpire shall call 'Time' while a play is in progress."

Unfortunately for Morales and New York, the play may not have been as complete as first thought, as Torres broke for home plate a split second after Morales' decision to call "Time." Remember, a play is generally not complete until “no further action is possible.” Accordingly a good exercise for an umpire considering whether to call for time or not is to ask whether further action is possible.

First and foremost, umpires should be patient.
What Lesson Can We Learn? In a word, it's "Patience." An umpire should take his or her time to process the entire situation to deem that the play has truly concluded and no further action is possible. Timing is a huge buzz word in umpiring, and there is a certain timing to calling "Time" at the conclusion of a play.

As callous as it may sound, umpires shouldn't "be nice" and stop the game for a hurt infielder. There's a colloquialism that holds umpires should refrain from calling "Time" after every consequential play, and certainly should never think of calling "Time" just because a player falls to the ground. First, it's not permitted in the rules until a play is complete, and second, leniency when not supported by rule leads to con artistry, such as Muncy's soccer-esque flopping and flailing. And if there's one thing an umpire doesn't like more than missing a call, it's being duped by a malfeasant player.

Will the Yankees seek to police the game themselves via a bean ball aimed at the embellishment-minded Muncy? Only time will tell.

A protest must be lodged immediately.
Finally, we have our 10% Boone moment of the day, as Aaron Boone when asked about the play after the game stated that his team might seek to protest the game as a remedy for Morales' quick trigger. Unfortunately, such a protest would be doomed to failure, as Rule 7.04 Comment, regarding protests, clearly states that a protest doesn't apply to judgment calls and, more to the point, must be filed immediately upon the conclusion of the play-to-be-protested. Accordingly, we probably won’t see a bona fide protest, just a complaint about a premature “Time” call.

Morales' judgment call here was that the play was over when he called "Time." If, instead, Morales called "Time" with knowledge that the play was not yet over, that would be a rules interpretation issue subject to protest...albeit, Boone's protest statute of limitations had long run out by the time New York ultimately lost to LA.

Gil's Call: In conclusion, managers can't afford to be patient when it comes to filing a protest, but an umpire better be patient when it comes to calling timeout. This ensures the requesting team doesn't receive an unfair advantage by a premature call not in accordance with the rules (e.g., calling "Time" while the runners are running the bases and/or the defense is not in position to hold runners at their present locations). "Don't be nice, call the rulebook."

Video as follows: