Friday, March 13, 2020

NCAA Cancels College World Series, Baseball Seasons

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) cancelled its entire Winter & Spring championship tournaments, including the College World Series. Though college baseball season itself did not technically encounter national cancellation, many individual conferences and schools have taken to cancelling seasons at the local level.

Similar stories can be found at the high school level, though the National Federation (NFHS) hasn't yet officially cancelled its calendar and has largely relied upon state associations to make individual calls. For instance, 13 states have presently canceled NFHS basketball tournaments, 16 postponed or suspended them, 10 imposed fan limits, and one (Montana) plans to continue without limitation.

Several cancellations were made in the midst of tournament play, and some of those decisions were made after having first tried to play games with fan limits. Some states also elected to cancel after first trying to suspend or postpone.

The NCAA, which opted to cancel all tournaments, issued the following statement:
NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men's and women's 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.
College sports' governing body subsequently agreed that eligibility relief, or prolonged eligibility, for graduating seniors and other student-athletes will be considered at a later date.

Little League baseball also announced a postponement of Opening Day festivities.

As for umpires and referees, many officials from the youth and adult recreational to high school, college, and pro-am levels are suddenly out of work, which means the vast majority of sports officials impacted by cancellations and postponements will not be paid as most game officials tend to be independent contractors as opposed to employees otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance or other benefits.

As the Seattle Times wrote, "Gig workers fall through the public health safety net as corona virus spreads in Washington."

Video as follows:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

MLB Suspends Operations - Defining a Delay

Major League Baseball suspended operations, cancelled the remainder of Spring Training, and postponed Opening Day, delaying the start of 2020's regular season by at least two weeks. Not just for MLB's sake, but for NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA, and other sports leagues, it's important to define our terminology.

Suspension, postponement, cancellation, and delay are nouns which will be bandied about in the coming hours, days, and weeks, but what does each mean? In order to avoid confusion as the sports world modifies its schedule, here's a glimpse at this entertainment industry terminology.

NOTE: MLB, for whatever reason, appears to have interchanged the terms "cancelled" and "suspend" regarding Spring Training in its press release. These are NOT identical terms and carry vastly different revenue/ticket implications, as the following definitions illustrate.

Definition of Terms, Sports
A SUSPENSION refers to a momentary hiatus or pause from an event or activity already in progress. For instance, the NBA suspended its in-progress season, while the NHL put a "pause" on hockey. When something is suspended, similar to a suspended game, it is expected to be made up at a future date, if possible. Tickets held for the original event will be honored for the resumption, and, thus, refunds will not be processed.

A POSTPONEMENT moves a scheduled game to a new date in the future. If Opening Day is postponed, for instance, it will still occur, just at a later time. Tickets for the original event will be good for the rescheduled/makeup date.

A CANCELLATION terminates whatever is in progress and whatever is scheduled with no intent to create a substitute event. For instance, if a college conference cancels a tournament or season, then said tournament or season will simply not occur and will not be made up. Cancellation begets an eventual refund (or ticket exchange).

A DELAY pertains to something happening that day at that event. If a game enters a rain/weather delay, for instance, play will be temporarily suspended, but will ideally resume within minutes or hours. Sit tight and wait it out.

A delay also refers to staying a component of a larger system (e.g., a few innings of a full game or a few games of a larger season), but the whole element (e.g., the game itself) is said to be postponed.

Thus, we might well be looking at a suspension of baseball operations, postponement of Opening Day, and cancellation of Spring Training, and delay the start of the season.

Video as follows:

Monday, March 9, 2020

2020 UEFL Draft and Registration Info

Welcome to the 2020 Umpire Ejection Fantasy League season. The registration and draft form is now open and is due prior to Opening Day. Pursuant to UEFL Rule 1 (Selection of Umpires), you may select umpires at once or in phases until the deadline. Stay tuned for the 2020 Draft Prospectus with stats and scouring information on MLB umpires eligible for selection.

Relevant Links for the 2020 UEFL Season
2020 UEFL Registration & Draft Form | UEFL Digest
UEFL Rules Book | Umpire Roster & Profiles
Twitter 🐦: @UmpireEjections
Facebook 👍: /UmpireEjections.

Registration and Draft Process
The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League is a free-to-play league. All you have to do to participate is fill out the registration and draft form.

How to Fill Out the Form
Step 1) First, indicate your desired username and e-mail address (or other unique identifier). In the event you choose to draft your umpires in phases, this unique identifier will verify your selection. If you comment on Close Call Sports via our DISQUS commenting platform, your username must be the same as the username you use for DISQUS.

If you aren't yet registered with DISQUS, you should sign up so that you can comment. Pursuant to UEFL Rules 4-7 and 6-1, only DISQUS-registered users logged into their accounts may challenge UEFL rulings.

Step 2) Draft 1 Crew Chief, 2 Primary Umpires, and 2 Secondary Umpires. You may draft these umpires all at once or in phases. To draft in phases, simply submit a new draft/registration form every time you wish to select a new member of your five-umpire crew. See the accompanying graphics and UEFL Rules 3 and 4 for specific information on how points are allocated throughout the season.

Registration, Draft, and Roster Deadlines:
Wednesday, March 25, 2020: Final day to submit registration and umpire selections.
Thursday, March 26, 2020: Roster locked and MLB regular season begins.

*In the event of a delay or postponement to the season, the aforementioned deadline dates shall reflect the day prior to and the revised Opening Day (first regular season game played), respectively*

Any user who has not selected umpires by Opening Day will be subject to random assignment (to take the "Quick Pick" option voluntarily, submit your registration form leaving your umpire selections blank or [N/A]).

UEFL Appeals Board - UEFL 6-4-a:
The 2020 UEFL Appeals Board, as finalized during the 2019 Rules Summit, includes:
Executive Board (x4): Gil (Chair), tmac (Vice Chair), Jeremy (Deputy), RichMSN (Charter).
At Large (x5): Arik G, cyclone14, MarkCanada, jvick2017, MLBUmpireObserver.

Reply here with questions and submit draft picks/register via the following form:
(Click here if you cannot view the embedded form.)