Friday, May 15, 2020

KBO Demotes 6th Umpire After Manager Ejection

The Korea Baseball Organization reportedly demoted umpire Hoon-Kyu Oh to the minor Futures League following an incorrect foul tip or third strike call during the week. The demotion marks KBO's sixth less than two weeks into the 2020 season.

According to KBO insider Daniel Kim, the umpire—who initially ruled a batter out on a swinging third strike—affirmed his out call following a subsequent conversation with Lotte Giants catcher Bo-geun that was captured by Korean broadcast MBC's microphones and, according to Kim, "went viral. He had to go," suggesting the umpire's verbal remarks to a player may have contributed to KBO's decision as much as his on-field judgment call.

To be clear, video indicates the umpire stuck with his initial "out" call and did not change his call as a result of his conversation with the catcher. Replays indicate the baseball appeared to contact the bat prior to touching the ground and ultimately entering the catcher's mitt.

Unlike Major League Baseball's MLBUA umpires' union or Minor League's AMLU association, KBO umpires are not part of a union and do not enjoy collective bargaining power nor protection.

KBO reporter Dan Kurtz indicated, "As far as I know, the umps are considered individual contractors."

In the United States, although umpires and referees for youth, high school, and most college leagues and conferences are considered independent contractors, MLB and MiLB umpires are employees of the leagues in which they work.

Nonetheless, this might be a good time to refer to our October 2019 review of umpiring and social media: word choice applies to what an official says both off and on the field.
Related PostRob Drake's Twitter War, Umpires and Social Media (10/24/19).

Video as follows:

Thursday, May 14, 2020

CPBL Ejection - Wu Jiawei (CTBC Brothers)

HP Umpire Wu Jiawei ejected CTBC Brothers Manager Chiu Chang-Jung and pitcher Esmil Rogers (runner's lane interference no-call; QOCY) in the top of the 3rd inning of the Rakuten Monkeys-Brothers game. With two out and two on (R1, R2), Rakuten batter Liao Jianfu bunted up the first base line. Rogers fielded the ball and threw to first base, his throw striking the batter-runner in the back of the head and bouncing away, allowing baserunners R1 and R2 to advance: R1 Guo Yanwen to third base and R2 Zhu Yuxian to score.

Replays indicate batter-runner Liao Jianfu appeared to run within the runner's lane on his way to first base (important reminder: the three-foot lines are considered part of the lane for the purposes of rule 5.09(a)(11)) before being struck and knocked down by Rogers' throw, forced to leave the game due to injury as the crew affirmed the call following consultation, the no-call was correct.* Rogers was ejected during a subsequent pitching change, prompting a brief bench-clearing incident (singular) in which 3B Umpire Luo Junhong sprinted from his position to intercept Brothers players. At the time of the ejections, the Monkeys were leading, 5-1. The Monkeys ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

The BR's heel on the foul line means he's OK.
*Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11) states a batter is out when, "In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball."
OBR 5.09(a)(11) Comment states, "The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base."

Wrap: Rakuten Monkeys vs CTBC Brothers, 5/9/20 | Video as follows:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Tmac's Teachable - Collision Play at Home

Tmac's latest Teachable follows a tag-up turned home plate collision play as an outfielder's throw takes his catcher into the runner sliding in from third base. In this travel ball game, the HP Umpire no-calls the sequence before declaring the baserunner out on an eventual tag, much to the chagrin of the offensive team.

While the obvious matter of the runner having touched home plate prior to being tagged and declared out may appear chiefly at issue, Tmac breaks down several other aspects of this play relative to officiating technique as well as proper rules enforcement and administration.

The discussion includes references to the NFHS (high school), NCAA (college), and OBR (professional/MLB/MiLB) rulesets, with explanations as to the plays legality and different rulings at each level.

The issue of potential obstruction (NFHS 2-22, NCAA 2-55) and home plate collision rule violations vs the concept of an unavoidable collision (NCAA 8-7-c, OBR 6.01(i)) are discussed.

Video as follows: