Thursday, June 11, 2020

Injury Scout - Greg Gibson Out for 2020 Season

Although MLB hasn't played a game since Spring Training on March 12, famed home plate umpire Greg Gibson has nonetheless suffered an injury and will be sidelined for the entire 2020 season, if there is one, after tearing his quadriceps tendon.

According to The Daily Independent, Gibson tore his tendon in late May while loading an off-road vehicle onto a trailer at his farm in Boyd County, Kentucky. Had MLB not been subject to a COVID-19 shutdown, there's a strong chance Gibson would have been on a baseball field instead of at home when the injury occurred.

The 85% tear resulted in surgery on June 1, with recovery and rehabilitation slated to take an additional six months—or the entire baseball season. Fortunately, Gibson, who graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2019 with a degree in Risk Management and Insurance, can still work his office job at the insurance agency.
Related PostGreg Gibson Fulfills Goal, Graduates from College (5/12/19).

Gibson halts a postgame cooler dumping.
Said Gibson, "If you're gonna get hurt, this is the year to get hurt." He anticipates returning to baseball in 2021, estimates his umpiring career has a life of approximately six or seven years remaining, and hasn't ruled out working Replay Review HQ in New York later in 2020, if the major league players and owners agree on terms of a season.

Gibson missed time in 2019 not solely to graduate and receive his diploma, but due to injury as well (he later rehabbed in Triple-A in July and put a quick stop to a post-game in Omaha in which some players looked poised to dump a celebratory gatorade cooler on Gibson to commemorate his imminent return to the major leagues).
Related PostInjury Scout Update - Greg Gibson's Triple-A Plate (7/20/19).

Gibson was scheduled to be the Number 2 umpire on Jerry Layne's crew in 2020, alongside Will Little and first-year full-timer Jansen Visconti.
Related Post2020 MLB Umpire Crews (Delayed Season) (5/6/20).

Monday, June 8, 2020

MLB Argues No Evidence of Diversity Problem in Suit

MLB filed a motion in Angel Hernandez's lawsuit alleging racially-motivated discrimination, writing that the Latino umpire's claim of a diversity problem within umpiring suffers from a "total absence of any evidence," and that Hernandez's quality of work, not discrimination or disparate treatment, explains why he hasn't been promoted to crew chief or worked a World Series since 2005.

Disclaimer: This article and accompanying video is an opinion and not presented as be-all-end-all fact.

Part 1: Did MLB Use a "You Filed Too Late" Defense?
MLB filed a motion amidst USA civil unrest.
MLB argued that Hernandez's discrimination claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 11, 2017 precludes investigation of discrimination "that accrued before July 15, 2016" pursuant to a 300-day statute of limitations under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a three-year statute of limitations under New York State law and four years for federal section 42 USC §1981 (equal rights under the law).

Thus, MLB argued that any allegedly discriminatory act that occurred against Hernandez from 2011 into 2013 is inadmissible, even if it did occur: that would mean that claims for the 2011 and 2013 crew chief decisions and the 2011-12 World Series assignments were untimely under all codes, the claim regarding MLB's 2013 World Series and 2014 crew chief decisions were untimely under all statutes except for §1981, and Hernandez's claim relative to MLB's 2014 and 2015 World Series decisions are untimely under Title VII.

Part 2: MLB Also Called Out Several Incidents From Hernandez's Career.
Did AH receive disparate treatment for errors?
With all attention paid to statutes of limitation and timeliness or lack thereof, claiming some of Hernandez's claims dating to 2015 and earlier are inadmissible or otherwise ineligible, MLB nonetheless included in its filings several items outside of the relevant period ending in 2017, the backdoor appearing to be Hernandez's complaint that MLB's discrimination continued into 2017, when the lawsuit was filed.

For instance, MLB included both Hernandez's 2012 no-hitter autograph discipline (remember, Randy Marsh testified during deposition that he was disciplined for a similar infraction) and 2013 Cleveland double vs HR replay call (Hernandez claimed MLB's statement regarding the incident was disparate relative to a statement issued in response to a game-ending blown call by Jerry Meals in Atlanta, and also claimed the Cleveland video technology was deficient...MLB replaced the technology after the 2013 season).

Yet while Hernandez filed suit in 2017 relative to events that had occurred prior to and inclusive of that date, MLB also referred to the 2018 American League Division Series as evidence Hernandez held onto past events and an inability to "get over it" (three replay overturns at first base...despite Hernandez working the next game behind home plate and putting up the best plate score of the entire series...three overturns in a game was a feat also accomplished by crew chief Larry Vanover in August 2017 [we reviewed Vanover's game and actually marked four calls that should have been overturned, with Replay Review incorrectly ruling "call stands" on one of them; we also noted the disparity in notoriety Hernandez received after his three-overturn postseason game vs Vanover's three-OT regular season game]), and August 2019 substitution delay in Tampa Bay (compare, e.g., to crew chief Fieldin Culbreth's 2013 pitching change rules misapplication at Angels-Astros). Culbreth and Vanover, for the record, are 2020 crew chiefs. Hernandez is not.
Related PostReplay Oddity - Vanover Overturned 3 Times Thurs (8/11/17).

Does this unique suit belie systemic racism?
The issue of 2016 Replay Review performance also arose: Hernandez was overturned 12 times that year...but so were Bill Miller (crew chief), Jim Reynolds (promoted to crew chief in 2020), and Dale Scott (crew chief). And, according to the 2016 record books, overturned 13 times that year was John Hirschbeck (crew chief), 14 overturns for Paul Emmel (promoted to crew chief in 2017), 15 overturns for Jerry Meals (crew chief), 16 overturns for Gerry Davis (crew chief), 17 overturns for Tim Timmons (not a crew chief), and 22 overturns for Dan Iassogna (promoted to crew chief in 2020).

Is there a larger issue at play than MLB's argument, which appears to be a long-form expression of simply attacking Hernandez's job performance while white umpires with similar faults do receive the coveted promotion Hernandez claims he has been denied because of race or national origin?

MLB also argued that certain data presented by Hernandez was not statistically significant enough to indicate a diversity problem. For example, at the time Hernandez filed his suit in 2017, Richie Garcia was MLB's last full-time minority crew chief in 1999: perhaps the 18-year gap is not statistically significant...but perhaps it is.

In the present social environment of race reality, will MLB's apparent tactic in giving the appearance of attempting to get the case dismissed through summary judgment by criticizing Hernandez and writing there is a "total absence of any evidence of a demonstrable [diversity] 'problem" while pointing the finger at minor league baseball for its hiring practices relative to the Triple-A hiring pool simply kick a racially-charged can down the road?

Central to this argument is 2016 umpire composition and diversity (remember, the suit was filed in 2017, so the last full statistical year at the time of filing was 2016).

For MLB players, the league was 64% White, 27% Latino, 7% Black, and 2% Asian.
For MLB umpires, those numbers were 89% White, 5% Latino, 6% Black, and 0% Asian.
And for full-time MLB Crew Chiefs, that number was 100% White.

Video as follows: