Saturday, December 21, 2019

MLB, Umps Union Reach Tentative Agreement

MLB and the MLB Umpires Association (MLBUA) reached a tentative labor agreement through 2024, subject to ratification, that purportedly includes a provision in which umps will help develop an automated ball/strike system (electronic K-zone).

The five-year CBA would ensure continued labor peace amongst the major league umpiring ranks since a 1999 dispute led to the resignation of 22 umpires, several of whom were eventually rehired by affiliated baseball.

MLB's announcement bore no details of the deal, other than its five-year term, which mirrors past practice with the World Umpires Association's five-year agreements (as part of a 2018 rebrand, WUA changed its name to MLBUA last season).

Relations between MLB and its umpires have been shaky in recent years, ultimately resulting in a white wristband protest in 2017, MLBUA calling for the commissioner's office to act after personal attacks on umpires in 2018, complaint bemoaning MLB's "inaction" after Manny Machado's purportedly violent post-ejection misconduct in June 2019.
Related PostWUA-MLB Relations Deteriorate with New Umpire Protest (8/19/17).
Related PostMLBUA Calls for BOC Action After Latest Umpire Abuse (9/23/18).
Related PostMLBUA Objects to MLB "Inaction" on Machado (6/18/19).

Given this extended tension, the 2019 edition of negotiations appears healthier than 2014's go-around, as at one point a lockout was rumored on the horizon as talks broke down in December between WUA and MLB.
Related PostMLB-WUA Contract Talks Stall, Lockout Possible (Source) (12/9/14).

Perhaps MLB made the umps a deal they couldn't refuse what with pensions, electronic strike zone technology, and other issues in the mix.

Listen to Gil's thoughts on news of this proposed agreement via the following video:

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Tmac - Perceptions in Panama or Perilous Precipitation

A pair of perilous plays in Panama produced parallel perceptions of procedural process as umpires correctly officiated an out/safe call at second base followed by the decision to enter a rain delay.

Neither of the calls were particularly controversial from an objective point of view—the runner was safe at second because the fielder failed to firmly and securely possess the baseball in his glove prior to the runner's arrival (upheld via replay), while the rain and field conditions all but necessitated a stoppage of play—but perceptions abounded with the umpires' handling of these two situations.

Sure the calls were correct, but could the crew have looked better making them?

In this Teachable Moment, tmac talks about situation handling and game management: the out/safe call at second was fine and the safe mechanic was fine, but how should an umpire react to a dissenting player afterward?

For example, the Official Baseball Rules' General Instructions to Umpires concludes with, "Finally, be courteous, impartial and firm, and so compel respect from all."

Calling for the tarp was proper, as well, yet could this situation have turned out differently and what of the visiting manager's post-tarp argument?

This situation handling Teachable brought to you by Umpire Placement Course (

Video as follows:

Monday, December 16, 2019

ABL Ejection - Ryan Harder's Game Ending K

HP Umpire Ryan Harder ejected Geelong-Korea 2B Joo-Hyung Kim (strike three call) in the top of the 9th inning of the Australian Baseball League's GK-Heat game. With two outs and the bases loaded, Joo-Hyung Kim took a 2-2 pitch from Heat pitcher Josh Rawlinson for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located near the inner edge of home plate and belt-high, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Heat had won the game, 9-7.

To whit, there have been other ejections in the ABL this month...and this is one of them that actually has better than average video coverage, relative to the others.

Wrap: Geelong-Korea vs Perth Heat (ABL), 12/13/19 | Video as follows: