Friday, December 6, 2019

ABL Ejection - Joshua Weschler Ejects Two Tuatara

Australian Baseball League HP Umpire Joshua Wechsler ejected Auckland SS Josh Morgan and Manager Steve Mintz (strike three call) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Cavalry-Tuatara game. With one out and two on (R2, R3), Morgan took three consecutive pitches from Cavalry pitcher Steven Kent for called first, second, and third strikes. At the time of the ejections, the game was tied, 5-5. The Cavalry ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

Notice anything about the difference in commentary quality between the local vs American broadcasters?

Umpires were Josh Wechsler (as Joshua Weschler) (HP), Warren Van Rooyen (1B), and Travis Watson (3B).

Wrap: Canberra Cavalry vs. Auckland Tuatara, 12/5/19 | Video as follows:

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Teachable Tripp Gibson's Scramble at First Base

In today's Teachable, Tmac takes to Tripp's transit on a play at first base as 1B Umpire Gibson adjusts his position on a diving tag attempt in New York, a safe call affirmed via Replay Review.

During a Nationals-Mets game, Nats batter Juan Soto hits a slowly bouncing ground ball up the first base line, fielded by Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. With Soto hustling down the line, Alonso gloves the ball and immediately lunges toward Soto in an attempt to tag him out.

In this Teachable, we watch umpire Gibson's positioning as he jogs into position to observe the attempted play on the runner. Tripp slots into the keyhole angle to see the missed tag while still maintaining a look as to Soto's touch of first base. Having ruled the runner safe, Gibson patiently waits for the action to somewhat subside before indicating "safe" due to the missed tag.

Gibson's read of a potential tag and subsequent positioning to observe said tag attempt while still peeking at his secondary play of the base touch allows him to prepare to rule on any potential appeal play that may occur in the aftermath of the initial tag attempt. HP Umpire and Crew Chief Mark Carlson, meanwhile, observes whether the batted ball was fair or foul; this is a play wherein the home plate umpire, who ordinarily has fair/foul responsibility for batted balls in front of first/third base, clearly has the fair/foul call pursuant to the standard mechanic.

This Tmac's Teachable Moment was sponsored by Umpire Placement Course (

Video as follows:

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

By Rule - Legal Analysis of Angel's Amended Complaint

Update: MLB umpire Angel Hernandez's team filed an amended complaint in his racially-motivated discrimination lawsuit against Major League Baseball based on new evidence that the umpiring/crew chief promotion selection process is subjective and, thus, as Hernandez argues, open to discriminatory practice that has a disparate impact on minorities.

Gil's Call:  This is based on the premise—also in use by sports officials—that objectivity & following the rules as written are more ethical and reliable activities than discretion, subjectivity, and "winging it." That's why many an explanation from an umpire or referee to a coach or player begins with "by rule." When something is objective, it carries more weight—realistically and legally too—than when subjectivity is involved and goalposts may be moved without warning.

With Hernandez's prima facie case made (protected class, adverse employment decision, non-protected favored despite stats to contrary), MLB has the burden to respond to why Hernandez hasn't been promoted/assigned.

As Hernandez's team stated when it first filed this suit in 2017, objective reports and performance metrics indicated that Hernandez was an above-average umpire comparable or better than other, "less qualified" white umpires who received promotion/assignments to crew chief and World Series.
Related PostAngel Hernandez Sues MLB for Racial Discrimination (7/3/17).

By admitting in the following depositions that its process is subjective—and that Hernandez performed well during the relevant period—MLB's difficulty now lies in defending its decisions not to promote Hernandez to crew chief or assign him to the World Series despite favorable evaluations while awarding positions to non-protected class (white) umpires who may not have been more than or equally qualified for the job or, as Hernandez originally alleged, were "less qualified."

Monday, December 2, 2019

2019 UEFL Rules Summit Results & Runoff

The first round of voting for the 2019 UEFL Rules Summit is now complete, with all but one proposal final. The sole question for runoff consideration is whether to eliminate the Margin-of-Error for preliminary, but not post-game processed pitch location data.

Run-Off Ballot:
Prop 6-2-a: Qualified Elimination of Margin of Error
Proposes elimination of all references to Margin of Error for pitch location data if numbers have been adjusted pursuant to postgame processing. Margin of Error rules would remain in place for all numbers not adjusted via postgame processing. PRESENT RULE: Margin of error exists in multiple locations (Kulpa Rule, Miller Rule) to acknowledge various errata that exist with pitch-tracking system, including those errors indicated by the manufacturer and acknowledged by Major League Baseball including but not limited to calibration, vertical zone, 2D vs 3D zone, tracking, modeling, and capture errors. Postgame processing addresses vertical zone error by adjusting sz_bot and sz_top where appropriate. For more information about postgame processing, refer to: Postgame Processing Changes Gibson's Strike EJ QOC (9/21/19).

Prop 6-2-a: Should the proposed qualified elimination of Margin of Error be adopted?

Yes, eliminate post-game processing MOE
No, maintain present rule (MOE used to create borderline ranges)

Items that passed and Appeals Board retentions are indicated in green highlight below while items that did not pass are indicated in red highlight. Proposals that gained a majority of votes will become rules for the 2020 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League Season.

Rule 1 - Selection of Umpires
Prop 1-4: Live Secondary Draft - 83.6% YES.
> Eliminates obsolete language from UEFL Rules.

Rule 3 - Crew Division
Prop 3-6: Bonus Points for Postseason Chiefs - 58.6% YES.
> Incorporates postseason crew chief bonus points for Crew Division (+1/2/3/4).

Rule 4 - League Scoring
Prop 4-2 A: Ejection by Non-Calling Umpire - 49.3% YES.
> Would have eliminated QOC for all ejections on behalf of a crew-mate.

Prop 4-2 B: Replay-Oriented Ejection QOC Points - 42.9% YES.
> Would have applied ejection points based on Replay's Confirmed/Stands as opposed to QOC Y/N.

Prop 4-7: Replay-Oriented Replay QOC Points - 39.1% YES.
> Would have established a +2 (Confirmed) and +1 (Stands) system for Replay Review points.

Prop 4-3: Postseason Incorrect Crewmate Ejections - 47.7% YES.
> Would have changed postseason QOCN/crewmate ejection points to -3 instead of -2.

Prop 4-4: Defining Start and End of Season - 22.7% YES.
> Would have added a rule declaring when an individual umpire's season begins and ends.

Prop 4-4 AR: Fill-Ins Eligibility for Ejection of Year Award - 82.6% YES.
> Adds language to rule allowing any umpire with an ejection to receive this award.

Rule 6 - Challenges and Appeals

Prop 6-2-a: Elimination of Margin of Error - 21.4% YES.
> Would have eliminated all references to MOE. See Run-Off, Above.

Prop 6-2-b: Ball/Strike QOC Delay - 41.8% YES.
> Would have delayed ball/strike QOC until adjustment or 24 hours after game.

Appeals Board Retention
Arik G - 64.5% YES (Retained)
cyclone14 - 59.7% YES (Retained)
jvick2017 - 54.8% YES (Retained)
MarkCanada - 71.4% YES (Retained)
MLBUmpireObserver - 79.7% YES (Retained)