Tuesday, April 21, 2020

CPBL Teachable - Positioning for a Peculiar Pickoff

Although MLB remains on hiatus, baseball in Taiwan marches on, and this pickoff play from a CPBL game gave Tmac an idea for a Teachable Moment. The 2B Umpire must decide how to receive a play with more than one potential tagging fielder. How does an umpire's positioning differ for a shortstop vs second baseman pickoff?

In this Teachable, we consider pre-play possibilities for both scenarios along with the implications for officiating this play in real-time, both as relates to starting position along the infield as well as the footwork required to wind up in the best keyhole or wedge angle to see the pick off play.

Our last Teachable featuring HP Umpire David Rackley cautioned against moving too much, or over-hustling to take oneself out of position. This time, it's all about taking an appropriate read step or two...but not aimlessly. The goal is to move with a purpose—know when to go, but also when to stop.
Related PostTeachable - Rack 'Em Up with Rackley's Plate Position (4/17/20).

Video as follows:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

CPBL Fight - Illegal Bat, Bean Ball Prompt Bench Clearing

MLB isn't playing baseball, but Taiwan's fan-less CPBL just had its first bench-clearing brawl of the season as Fubon Guardians pitcher Henry Sosa threw at Rakuten Monkeys batter Guo Yanwen in retaliation for an illegal bat 'appeal,' HP Umpire Lin Jinda opting to issue warnings in lieu of ejections.

This is a more complex case than simple "FIGHT!" but if you'd like to simply see a melee, the video can be found at the end of this article.

In the top of the 4th inning of Sunday's Fubon-Rakuten game, with the bases loaded and one out, Guardians batter Lin Che-Hsuan hit a first-pitch fastball from Monkeys pitcher Weng Wei-Jun on the ground to third baseman Lin Li, who threw to catcher Lin Hongyu for the second out of the inning. After the play, Rakuen alerted HP Umpire Lin Jinda as to potential illegal use of pine tar in the bat just used during the groundout.

The veteran umpire—who began his Chinese Professional Baseball League career in 2000 and officiated his 2,000th CPBL game in 2019—walked over to Fubon's dugout, took the bat, consulted with league officials via walkie talkie, and simply acknowledged the illegality of the bat, ordering it out of play without further penalty to Fubon—no additional outs, no ejections (*jump down to see why).

In the bottom of the 4th, Guardians pitcher Sosa threw three straight inside fastballs at Rakuten batter Guo Yanwen, before drilling him in the hip with what would have otherwise been ball four, resulting in warnings—but not ejections—from the umpires.

Sosa remained in the game to strike out ensuing batter Yu-Xian Zhu—and pitch two additional innings—without further incident. At the time of the benches-clearing event, the game was tied, 1-1. The Monkeys ultimately won the contest, 3-1.

Rules analysis and video as follows: