Thursday, October 29, 2020

2020 UEFL Year-End Awards Nominations Open

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's Postseason Awards nomination season coincides with the 2020 Presidential Election and you have a chance to have your voice heard by voting for Umpire of the Year categories from Best, Promising, Honorable, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Most Improved, Ejection, and Disappointing Season. Fill out the following form to cast your ballot and comment here to discuss rationale. You may cast your Awards votes through Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. Don't forget to vote.

Link to Postseason Awards Ballot (also appears below):
a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire) [+5 pts]
b. Promising Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 2) [+3]
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2) [+2]
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) [+2]
d.1 Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) [+2]
e. Most Improved Umpire (min. 0 / max. 1) [+1]
f. Crew Chief of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) [+1]
g. Best Ejection of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2) [Link: 2020 MLB Ejections List] [+1]
h. Most Disappointing Season (min. 0 / max. 1) [-1]

An eligible umpire may be selected for as many or as few awards as that umpire is eligible for; Ballots will be accepted until 11:59pm on Tuesday, November 3, with awards distribution beginning shortly thereafter.

All 12 Triple-A Umpires who were on the 2019 call-up list are eligible to be written in for any UEFL Award, in addition to the Fill-In Umpire of the Year award (see 2020 Call-Up Umpires, sorted by MLB experience). The 19 minor league umpires authorized to call MLB games in 2020 and who made their MLB debuts during the 2020 season, signified by their triple-digit sleeve jersey numbers, are eligible for a 2020-exclusive award, the Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year Award. Umpires named by MLB as interim chiefs for the 2020 season (see MLB Names 7 Interim Crew Chiefs for 2020 and 2020 MLB Umpire Crews [Modified for Coronavirus Season]) are eligible for this year's Crew Chief of the Year Award.

a. Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the best MLB Umpire the past year, bar none. This Umpire has been more dedicated, professional, and positive than all others. This award will be given to one umpire.
b. Promising Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been dedicated, professional, and has worked hard. Perhaps a rising star, the Promising Umpire of the Year is an umpire to keep an eye on, for an expectation of great things down the line. Formerly known as Noteworthy Umpire of the Year, this award will be given to one or two umpires.
c. Honorable Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the most honorable Umpire during the past year. Perhaps through Community Service, or through struggling with and overcoming his own difficulties, this Umpire has been the most personally admirable of all. This award may or may not be given to either one or two umpires.
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has been the best AAA Call-Up Umpire the past year, bar none. This Umpire has been the most dedicated, professional, and positive AAA/Non-MLB Full Time Umpire of all non-MLB Full Time Umpires. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire who also worked at least one MLB game during the 2019 regular season.
d.1 Triple-Digit Rookie Umpire of the Year: An award just for 2020, this umpire had an MLB debut during the COVID-modified 2020 season, signified by a uniform with a triple-digit sleeve number, and made the most of this shortened season and impromptu try-out at the major league level. This award may or may not be given to one umpire who had an MLB debut in 2020.
e. Most Improved Umpire of the Year: This Umpire has improved his overall performance from the previous season more noticeably than any other Umpire. Generally, this umpire has developed into a solid arbiter within the past year. This award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.
f. Crew Chief of the Year: This Umpire has been the best MLB Umpire Crew Chief, the past year, bar none. This Umpire has led his crew(s) better than all others. This award will be given to one umpire.
g. Best Ejection of the Year: In the form of "Ejection 123: Umpire (1)," this award recognizes the best ejection(s) of the year. Nominated and selected due to form, mechanics, entertainment value, reason for ejection, or overall quality, the Best Ejection of the Year is awarded to one or two umpires for one or two specific ejections. The award may be given to one umpire for two separate ejections, in which case, he receives one point for each ejection.
h. Most Disappointing Season: This Umpire has demonstrated a regression in ability, and might have had a regrettable incident(s) occur in-season. The Most Disappointing Season award may or may not be given to a maximum of one umpire.

Ballot as follows:

Monday, October 26, 2020

Discussion of 2020 World Series

With MLB's 2020 postseason drawing to a conclusion with a #Rays-#Dodgers #WorldSeries in Texas, prepares for the final home plate umpire plate score reports of the season, beginning with Laz Diaz for Game 1.

Umpire lineups are listed for all potential games of the series and, in accordance with UEFL f/x 3.0 framework, plate scores and skews are generated following completion of each game pursuant to UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a (Kulpa Rule) and 6-2-b-b (Miller Rule). Preliminary scores are scores calculated at the conclusion of play based on raw and placeholder values while Final scores are populated the morning after each game, factoring in post-game processing and data correction by the league.

- 10/20 TB@LAD Gm 1: Laz Diaz. 120/123 Balls + 46/48 Strikes = 166/171 = 97.1%. Skew: +1 TB.
Final for Diaz: 119/123 + 46/48 = 165/171 = 96.5%. Effect: -1 / -0.6% / -1 Skew. +0 Neutral.

- 10/21 TB@LAD Gm 2: Todd Tichenor. 92/99 Balls + 42/44 Strikes = 134/143 = 93.7%. Skew: +1 LA.
Final for Tichenor: 94/99 + 42/44 = 136/143 = 95.1%. Effect: +2 / +1.4% / +0 Skew. +1 TB.

- 10/23 LAD@TB Gm 3: Bill Miller. 93/94 Balls + 55/56 Strikes = 148/150 = 98.7%. Skew: +0 Neutral.
Final for Miller: 94/94 + 54/56 = 148/150 = 98.7%. Effect: +0 / +0.0% / +2 Skew. +2 LA.

- 10/24 LAD@TB Gm 4: Chris Guccione. 117/119 Balls + 44/45 K = 161/164 = 98.2%. Skew: +1 LA.
Final for Guccione: 117/119 + 44/45 = 161/164 = 98.2%. Effect: +0 / +0.0% / +0 Skew. +1 LA.

- 10/25 LAD@TB Gm 5: Marvin Hudson. 104/105 Balls + 48/49 K = 152/154 = 98.7%. Skew: +2 LA.
Final for Hudson: 104/105 + 47/49 = 151/154 = 98.1%Effect: -1 / -0.6% / -1 Skew+1 LA.

- 10/27 TB@LAD Gm 6: Jerry Meals. 85/90 Balls + 33/37 Strikes = 118/127 = 92.9%. Skew: +1 LA.
Final for Meals: 85/90 + 33/37 = 118/127 = 92.9%Effect: +0 / +0.0% / +0 Skew+1 LA.

Series Complete: Final Cumulative Score: 613/630 + 266/279 = 879/909 = 96.7%. Skew: +4 LA.

Note: The highest plate score during the 2019 World Series was Alan Porter's 98.2% (WS Game 1).
The highest overall plate score during the 2019 postseason was James Hoye's 99.3% (NLDS Gm 4).
The highest plate score thus far during the 2020 postseason is Jordan Baker's 99.4% (ALWC Gm 1).

Marvin's Margot Mischief - Umpire Hudson's Steal at Home

Although Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw caught Rays runner Manuel Margot stealing home in Game 5 of the #WorldSeries in the span of seconds, for HP Umpire Marvin Hudson, years of training and education contributed to a quick-draw out/safe call.

To recap, Tampa Bay's Margot led off the bottom of the 4th with a walk and stole second base in short order, advancing to third on a missed catch error by LA second baseman Chris Taylor, all with zero out.

Two outs later, Margot still stranded at third base, the young center fielder attempted to steal home, trying to catch Kershaw and battery-mate Austin Barnes. And that's when Hudson had to cram years of experience into about five seconds.

Pitcher: The first consideration for Hudson was Kershaw. As Kershaw became aware of Margot's sprint home, he lifted his pivot foot and stepped off the back of the pitcher's plate and, in doing so, became a fielder with no obligation to deliver a pitch (for having disengaged from the rubber). Once Hudson saw Kershaw remove his back foot from the rubber, he knew not to call a balk or officiate a pitch, but instead a potential throw to catcher Barnes.

: Similarly, Kershaw's disengagement cued in batter Kevin Kiermaier to exit the batter's box. Official Baseball Rules 6.01(a)(3) and 6.03(a)(3) prohibit a batter from "making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base," and in this situation wherein the pitcher has legally disengaged from the pitcher's plate, the batter shall vacate the batter's box lest (s)he be put in jeopardy of hindering the catcher's play at home.

With less than two out, as in Rule 5.09(b)(8), the runner is out, while with two out, the batter is out for interference. In other words, had Kiermaier remained in the box and swung at Kershaw's throw to Barnes after Kershaw legally disengaged the pitcher's plate, he would be guilty of interference and, with two out, Kiermaier would be declared out (no run would count).

: Although baseball's plate blocking rule always has a bearing on plays at home plate, on steals of home, the catcher generally will receive the throw prior to the runner's arrival, which would allow him to legally block access upon receipt of the baseball. Nonetheless, Barnes doesn't appear to block Margot's path to score.

Umpire: Finally, Hudson knows time is limited so he takes one simple read step to the right of his starting position at point-of-plate, and from this angle roughly along the left field foul line extended, is able to officiate this play thanks to obtaining the keyhole angle or wedge needed to see the potential tag.

Replay Review: Following the play, Margot signaled that he wanted a video review of the play, but the Manager's Challenge must come from, well, the manager. Because Kevin Cash opted not to challenge Hudson's call, despite each team's allotment of two Manager's Challenges during the postseason, this play was not reviewed. A Crew Chief Review for such a play cannot occur until the 8th inning, and only if the team has exhausted its supply of Manager's Challenges.

Video as follows:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Willy Adames' Subtle Push Part II - Fool Me Twice

After Max Muncy's Game 4 adventure with Rays SS Willy Adames at second base, Tampa Bay's shortstop tried for an encore performance with Dodgers runner Austin Barnes during #WorldSeries Game 5, resulting in another umpire's out call. Was this call the proper one or did Adames get greedy?

To review, 2B Umpire Mark Carlson during Game 4 declared Los Angeles batter-runner Max Muncy out at second base after an overslide into Adames, during which both players tumbled to the ground on the third-base side of the bag.

In our analysis, we discussed Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4), the Definition of Terms' entry for oversliding, and MLB Umpire Manual standard for a fielder pushing or forcing a runner off a base. Conclusion: Carlson's call was correct; the runner was properly declared out on the tag after oversliding second base.

In Game 5, Adames repeated his putout antics by tagging Barnes as he slid headfirst into second base and attempted to remain on the base with his left foot. This, too, resulted in an out call from 2B Umpire Laz Diaz.

Compare and Contrast, Gil's Call
: Unlike the Muncy play, it would appear that Barnes was forced or pushed off of second base by Adames.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, compared to Game 4's play in which Muncy appeared to be the player responsible for the bulk of the forceful contact with his opponent (Muncy crashed into Adames), in Game 5, Adames appears to be the player responsible for the collision by virtue of diving into (or onto) Barnes, who is sliding headfirst and has only his legs at the base.

Second, Adames appears to actively direct his right hand—his non-glove hand without the ball—directly into Barnes' left leg and, in doing so, pushes Barnes off the base. Although the rule does not require the act to be intentional in order for the umpire to judge that a runner has been improperly pushed off of a base, it appears that Adames' act—not the runner's momentum—primarily caused Barnes to break contact with the base, meaning the proper remedy would be to declare the runner safe.

That said, this is a judgment call, and if the umpire's judgment, Barnes would have been unable to hold the base even without the fielder's perceptively illegal intervention, the proper call would be to declare the runner out—even if the fielder intentionally caused the runner to come off of the base.

Your mileage may vary | Video as follows: