Monday, May 10, 2021

NCAA Softball Interference Prompts Rules Check

When Loyola (Chicago)'s catcher hit Drake's retired batter-runner in the back with a throw following a caught bunt during a college softball game, NCAA umpires ruled a double play, but not after consulting both the rulebook and making a phone call to a rules authority.

With one out and one on (R1) in the first inning, a popped up bunt at home plate quickly turned into an air out thanks to a diving grab by the catcher, who threw toward first base in attempt to retire R1 for failing to tag up. However, F2's throw hit the retired batter-runner in the back, allowing R1 to advance to second base and kicking off a delay to sort out what would ultimately be ruled a double play.

We preface this by acknowledging that baseball's rules are different than softball's.

Specifically, softball's interference rule is defined as "an act that denies a defensive player a reasonable opportunity to make a play (field/throw) anywhere on the playing field. The act may be intentional or unintentional and the ball must have been playable." NCAA softball also has a specific rule for retired members of the offense (12.17.3), which states, "An offensive player, who no longer has status (a retired member of the offense or a player who has scored), may not interfere with a defensive player making a play on an active runner."

Whether one deems that, technically speaking, the retired batter-runner interfered with the catcher or with the fielder taking the throw at first base (similar to runner's lane interference's general principle that the interference with a thrown ball is with the fielder receiving the throw) is ultimately immaterial.

The only question here is whether the retired batter-runner's actions (or lack thereof) by standing on the foul line with her back turned to the catcher and (very most likely) unintentionally being struck by the catcher's throw constitutes interference: did this deprive the defense a reasonable opportunity to make a play?

For what it's worth, in MLB, Official Baseball Rule 6.01(a)(5) Comment specifically excludes this interaction from being deemed interference: "If the batter or a runner continues to advance or returns or attempts to return to their last legally touched base after they have been put out, they shall not by that alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders." For more information, see the related post in which retired Yankees runner Matt Holliday slides into first base and effectively gets in the way of Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland. Umpire Gary Cederstrom's crew no-called the interference.

Finally, although NCAA Softball does not mirror OBR's General Instructions to Umpires, the umpires by referencing the physical rulebook and ultimately calling a supervisor or other instructional person (similar to MLB umpires accessing Replay Review/New York for a Rules Check) exemplified OBR's instruction: "It is better to consult the rules and hold up the game ten minutes to decide a knotty problem than to inadvertently misapply the rules."

Also, from a game management standpoint, the controversial decision-making (one out, R1 vs two-outs) is sent to someone off the field and the on-field crew becomes observers, so when the coach is unhappy with the outcome, it is no longer because of an on-field ruling, but because of an off-field interpretation.

Note: This General Instruction was changed in 2020 to reflect MLB's new stance that protests shall no longer be allowed. The 2019 version stated, "It is better to consult the rules and hold up the game ten minutes to decide a knotty problem than to have a game thrown out on protest and replayed."

Video as follows:

Sunday, May 9, 2021

MLB Ejections 035-36 - Manny Gonzalez (2-3; ARI x2)

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Diamondbacks 3B Eduardo Escobar and manager Torey Lovullo (strike two call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Dbacks-#Mets game. With none out and none on, Escobar took a 1-1 cutter from Mets pitcher Jacob Barnes for a called second strike before striking out swinging on the next pitch. Replays indicate the 1-1 pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -0.04, pz 1.31 [sz_bot 1.50 / RAD 1.38 / MOE 1.29]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections the Mets were leading, 3-1. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

These are Manny Gonzalez (79)'s 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2021.
Manny Gonzalez now has 12 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 2 QOCY] = 12).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has 4 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 2 Correct Call = 4).
*This pitch was located 0.24 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

These are the 35th and 36th ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 13th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Escobar was 0-2 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 20th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Arizona's 1/2nd ejection of 2021, T-2nd in the NL West (SD 3; AZ, COL 2; LAD, SF 1).
This is Eduardo Escobar's 1st ejection since July 15, 2018 (Ryan Additon; QOC = U [Fighting-USC]).
This is Torey Lovullo's 1st ejection since Sept 20, 2020 (Adam Hamari; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Manny Gonzalez's 2/3rd ejection of 2021, 1st since April 11 (Matt Shoemaker; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets, 5/9/21 | Video as follows:

Saturday, May 8, 2021

MLB Ejection 034 - Brian Gorman (1; Joe Maddon)

2B Umpire Brian Gorman ejected Angels Manager Joe Maddon (Replay Review decision that upheld a fair ball call by 3B Umpire Adrian Johnson; QOCY) in the top of the 7th of the #Dodgers-#Angels game. With none out and none on, Dodgers batter DJ Peters hit a 1-0 slider from Angels pitcher Mike Mayers on fly ball along the left field line, where Angels left fielder Jon Jay unsuccessfully attempted to catch the ball, deflecting it to shortstop David Fletcher, ruled fair by Adrian Johnson and upheld as a result of a challenge by Angels Manager Joe Maddon. Replays indicate the ball made contact with Jay's wrist as it was above the left field foul line, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Dodgers were leading, 13-4. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 14-11.

This is Brian Gorman (9)'s first ejection of 2021.
Brian Gorman now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 4 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 4).

This is the 34th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 19th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Anaheim's 2nd ejection of 2021, T-1st in the AL West (LAA, TEX 2; OAK, SEA 1; HOU 0).
This is Joe Maddon's 2nd ejection of 2021, 1st since April 10 (Jerry Layne; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).
This is Brian Gorman's 1st ejection since June 10, 2019 (Clint Hurdle; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).

MLB Ejection 033 - Nic Lentz (1; Jayce Tingler)

HP Umpire Nic Lentz ejected Padres manager Jayce Tingler (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the #Padres-#Giants game. With one out and one on (R1), Padres batter Manny Machado took a 2-2 fastball from Giants pitcher Kevin Gausman for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and above the knee (px 0.48, pz 1.72 [sz_bot 1.59 / RAD 1.47]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Giants were leading, 4-1. The Giants ultimately won the contest, 7-1.

This is Nic Lentz (59)'s first ejection of 2021.
Nic Lentz now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 7 points in Crew Division (6 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 7).
*This pitch was located 4.03 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 33rd ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 18th manager ejection of 2021.
This is San Diego's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL West (SD 3; COL 2; LAD, SF 1; ARI 0).
This is Jayce Tingler's 2nd ejection of 2021, 1st since April 21 (Tom Hallion; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Nic Lentz's 1st ejection since August 29, 2020 (David Ross; QOC = U [Warnings]).

Wrap: San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants, 5/8/21 | Video as follows:

Rules Review of PIT's Retired Batter Interference Plea

Pirates Manager Derek Shelton had an impassioned but brief argument with HP Umpire Brennan Miller over an interference no-call in Chicago when Cubs batter Jason Heyward, having struck out, stepped into Pittsburgh catcher Michael Perez as Perez attempted to retrieve the uncaught third strike and retire Cubs baserunner R1 Willson Contreras.

Officially a wild pitch by Wil Crow, Contreras' advancement eventually turned into a run as Contreras scored to tie the game on a sacrifice fly to and error by Pirates center fielder Wilmer Difo. The Cubs ultimately won the contest, 3-2.

As for the rule itself, we have several potential options. To recap, Heyward faced an 0-2 count with Contreras on first base and none out.

Possible Rule: Official Baseball Rule 6.03(a)(3) states "a batter is out for illegal action when—They interfere with the catcher's fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base." Alas, Heyward is no longer a batter because Heyward swung and missed at strike three. Thus, OBR 6.03(a)(3) does not apply.

Next up is 6.01(a)(1), "It is interference by a batter or a runner when—After a third strike that is not caught by the catcher, the batter-runner clearly hinders the catcher in their attempt to field the ball. Such batter-runner is out, the ball is dead, and all other runners return to the bases occupied at the time of the pitch." Remember, however, two things: First, no player may be called out twice for two different reasons, and, second, first base was occupied with less than two outs. This means Heyward was automatically out on strike three, whether or not the pitch was caught. Accordingly, Heyward is no longer a batter and certainly not a batter-runner: Heyward is a retired batter, already out on strike three. 6.01(a)(1) isn't it, either.

That means 6.01(a)(5) must be it: "Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of their teammate." Bingo: If a retired batter (Heyward) interferes with a catcher (Perez) trying to retire a runner (Contreras), the runner shall be declared out for the interference of the retired teammate.

Finally, remember that the batter's box is not a safe haven for this brand of interference, especially with replays indicating Heyward appeared to have started haphazardly walking back to the Cubs dugout when he unintentionally walked into Perez, who was trying to make a "following play...on a runner." If Heyward's actions hindered Perez, that would qualify as 6.01(a)(5) interference, regardless of intent, rendering Contreras out as well for a double play. It does not matter if Perez had the ball or not at the time of the hindrance: if the retired batter or runner hinders or impedes a fielder making a play on another runner, "such runner shall be declared out for the interference of their teammate."

PS: The least shocking development? Pittsburgh broadcasters thought the play was interference while Chicago's TV coverage was more than content with a no-call, thinking interference only applies when the catcher already has the ball.

Video as follows:

Royals' Runners Passing Replay Stands on Tag Attempt

Royals Manager Mike Matheny unsuccessfully challenged 3B Umpire David Rackley's runners passing no-call Friday night in Kansas City as catcher Salvador Perez ran White Sox runner R3 Zack Collins back to and past third base, into left field, as trail runner R2 Billy Hamilton stood on third base, in rare case where being "too good" at one's job might have cost Kansas City an extra out.

The Play: With one out and two on (R2, R3) in the 7th inning of a 3-0 game, Chicago batter Nick Madrigal hit a ground ball to Kansas City shortstop Nick Madrigal, who threw to catcher Perez as White Sox R3 Collins ran toward home plate and R2 Hamilton advanced to third base. Perez ran Collins back to third base where Hamilton was standing and as Perez attempted to tag Collins, Collins ran past the base and up the left field line.

The Call
: 3B Umpire David Rackley signaled Hamilton safe at third base after a collision with Perez and then signaled Collins out for abandoning his effort to run the bases.

The Challenge: Matheny challenged Rackley's runner's passing no-call, asserting that Hamilton (the trailing runner) should have been declared out when Collins (the lead/preceding runner) ran past third base and into left field.

The Rule: A very similar play occurred during Spring Training 2021 when 3B Umpire Sam Holbrook called Tampa Bay's Nathan Lukes (trailing runner) out for passing Vidal Brujan (lead runner). Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(9) states that a runner is out when they pass a preceding runner: "A runner may be deemed to have passed a preceding (i.e., lead) runner based on their actions or the actions of a preceding runner." For abandonment, a runner is out pursuant to OBR 5.09(b)(2) when the runner leaves the base path, "obviously abandoning their effort to touch the next base." Finally, though this did not occur here, if two runners are in contact with a base at the same time, OBR 5.06(a)(2) states, "the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless [it is a force play and the trailing runner is forced to advance; in this situation, the preceding/lead runner is out when tagged]."

As we previously discussed, the abandonment rule means that it is simply not possible for a lead runner in this situation to be out for abandonment until said runner returns to and runs past the base, thus causing a passing situation to occur. In other words, the runner must demonstrate their abandonment through actions, such as running up the left field line well past third base and the only way to do that is to cause the trail runner to be guilty of passing the lead runner prior to the abandonment.

The Replay Review & Result: Thus, the CWS-KC play had all the makings of a double play for passing and abandonment, if not for one crucial piece: catcher Salvy Perez's tag attempt. If Perez was able to tag Collins prior to Collins returning to third base, Collins would be out at the moment of the tag and thus Hamilton would be unable to pass him. Because the Replay Official could not definitively determine whether a tag actually occurred, Rackley's call (abandonment, no passing) stood and Hamilton remained at third base.

This is one situation where Perez's hustle might have actually hurt his team; if Perez didn't attempt to tag Collins, all else equal, Hamilton would have been out for passing followed shortly by Collins being declared out for abandonment: an inning-ending double play.

Video as follows:

Friday, May 7, 2021

2021 No-Hitter 4, Lance Barksdale (1; Wade Miley)

HP Umpire Lance Barksdale called Reds pitcher Wade Miley's no-hitter against the Indians in Cleveland Friday evening, joined by 1B Umpire and Crew Chief Ted Barrett, 2B Umpire Ryan Wills, and 3B Umpire Stu Scheurwater. This is the second time Cleveland has been no-hit this season (2021 No-Hitter 2, Doug Eddings (1; Carlos Rodón)).


In accordance with UEFL tradition, the following are umpire Barksdale's three plate scores, including a 99.3% (133/134) performance under ML Private/Zone Evaluation Equivalent conditions, 96.3% (129/134) UEFL f/x score, and 91.0% (122/134) value for ML Public / the broadcast-facing zero error system.

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 85 called balls outside strike zone / 2 called balls within strike zone = 85/87 = 97.7% accuracy.
Strikes: 44 called strikes within strike zone / 3 called strike outside strike zone = 44/47 = 93.6% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score for Barksdale = 129/134 = 96.3% accuracy (+1 CIN/skew favored Reds).

Analysis of Texas Softball Umpires' Foul Ball Confusion

Today's Ask the UEFL concerns a softball video many of you sent in from Texas in which umpires appeared to allow the offense to run the bases and score runs during a foul ball wide of third base, an ensuing overthrow intended for the pitcher, and a ball thrown onto the field from the stands.

The Play: With runners on first and third base, the batter hits a ground ball to the outside of third base—a foul ball. The left fielder retrieves the ball and throws to an infielder, whose throw back to the pitcher goes wild as a second ball is thrown onto the field, seemingly from the stands. The offensive team runs the bases on the overthrow, with both runners and the batter coming around to touch home plate.

Aftermath: The umpires confer and, although the video ends before the final resolution is given, the offensive team's reaction suggests the umpires rendered a ruling in which run(s) were permitted to score.

Analysis: First and foremost, softball or baseball, the ball is dead on a foul ball and during a dead ball, no bases may be run, as in Official Baseball Rule 5.06(c) [similar NCAA softball rule is 6.9.5]: "While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runs may be scored, except that runners may advance one or more bases as the result of acts which occurred while the ball was alive (such as, but not limited to a balk, an overthrow, interference, or a home run or other fair ball hit out of the playing field)."

As this game was a high school affair between Jefferson High School and Ysleta High, the relevant NFHS rule is 5-2-2-b ("a runner may not advance").

Gil's Call
: I am known in the officiating world as what's called an over-communicator: I am of the mindset that mechanics are made to be used and I might give signals that other officials might deem superfluous or unnecessary. Some officials take to the mindset of only give signals as absolutely necessary, and that's a valid stance as well; I've simply found that it doesn't work for a kinesthetic learner as myself.

The way the communication philosophy relates to this play is thus: Unless a foul ball is exorbitantly obvious (such as a batted ball out of play), I "go through the motions" of putting my arms up in the standard "Time" mechanic, to signal a dead ball. I likely won't verbalize "Foul" or anything to that effect on a play where the ball is plainly foul, like this one, but I nonetheless put arms up if for nothing else than for my own edification.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

MLB Ejections 030-32 - Angel Hernandez (2-4; KC x3)

HP Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred, manager Mike Matheny, and pitcher Brady Singer (balk call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the #Indians-#Royals game. With one out and two on (R1, R2), Royals pitcher Singer was called for a balk while attempting to pick off Indians baserunner R2 Eddie Rosario, advancing Rosario to third base and R1 Franmil Reyes to second base. Replays indicate Singer appeared to make a motion associated with delivery prior to attempting the pickoff throw, the call was correct.* At the time of Eldred and Matheny's ejections, the Royals were leading, 4-2. At the time of Singer's ejection, the Royals were leading, 4-3. The Indians ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

These are Angel Hernandez (5)'s 2/3/4th ejections of 2021.
Angel Hernandez now has 16 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 3*[2 MLB + 2 QOCY] = 16).
Crew Chief Angel Hernandez now has 5 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 3 Correct Call = 5).
*Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a): "It is a balk when—The pitcher, while touching his plate, makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery."

These are the 30th, 31st, and 32nd ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 17th manager ejection of 2021.
This is the 12th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Singer's line was 5.2 IP, 3 ER.
This is Kansas City's 1/2/3rd ejection of 2021, 1st in the AL Central (KC 3; MIN 1; CLE, CWS, DET 0).
This is Cal Eldred's first career MLB ejection.
This is Mike Matheny's 1st ejection since Sept 22, 2020 (Manny Gonzalez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brady Singer's first career MLB ejection.
This is Angel Hernandez's 2-4th ejection of 2021, 1st since April 30 (Dave Roberts; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals, 5/5/21 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 029 - Tony Randazzo (1; Alex Wood)

HP Umpire Tony Randazzo ejected Giants bench player Alex Wood (check swing strike three call by 1B Umpire John Libka) in the top of the 9th inning of the #Giants-#Rockies game. With none out and two on (R1, R2), Giants batter Curt Casali attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 slider from Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard, ruled a swinging strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Libka. This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board (check swing), the call was PENDING. At the time of the ejection, the Rockies were leading, 6-4. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Tony Randazzo (11)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Tony Randazzo now has X points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + X Call = X).
Crew Chief Jim Reynolds now has X points in Crew Division (2 Previous + X Call = X).

This is the 29th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 11th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Wood did not appear in the contest.
This is San Francisco's 1st ejection of 2021, T-3rd in the NL West (COL, SD 2; LAD, SF 1; ARI 0).
This is Alex Wood's 1st ejection since Oct 11, 2016 (Tom Hallion; QOC = Y [Check Sw/Bench Plr]).
This is Tony Randazzo's 1st ejection since April 28, 2019 (Rick Renteria; QOC = Y [Interference]).

Wrap: San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies, 5/5/21 | Video as follows:

A Rules Interpreter for a Mound Visit in St Louis

When St. Louis starting pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim put two on with no outs in the top of the 4th inning against New York, Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner knew he had to visit the mound. The only problem was a language barrier, so Kim's English-Korean interpreter dutifully rushed off the bench and to the mound as umpires waited for the mound visit to break up.

After a subsequent walk to load the bases, Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux wanted to visit the mound as well, but stopped short of the foul line between home plate and first base, visited by Crew Chief Mark Carlson who sought to deny St. Louis' attempt at a second mound visit and informed Maddux that if he continued into fair territory, it would constitute a second coach's visit and, thus, require St. Louis—without a pitcher warming up in the bullpen—to remove Kim from the game.

After further discussion with Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, Carlson convened his crew of HP Umpire Brennan Miller, 1B Umpire Randy Rosenberg, and 2B Umpire Jordan Baker, and relented, allowing both Maddux and St. Louis' interpreter to visit with Kim.

In turn, Mets manager Luis Rojas emerged from the visiting dugout and disputed the terms of St. Louis' apparent second visit in an inning, spurring Carlson and Baker to consult New York via Replay Review for a rules check.

After a delay, Carlson informed Rojas of a decision that appeared to not sit well with the Mets skipper, and play continued with Kim remaining in the game. Kim, who had walked two batters and surrendered a single to lead off the top of the 4th inning, then proceeded to retire the side while surrendering just one run.

2021 No-Hitter 3, Tim Timmons (1, John Means)

HP Umpire Tim Timmons called Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means' no-hitter against the Mariners in Seattle Wednesday afternoon, joined by 1B Umpire Carlos Torres, Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez at second base, and 3B Umpire Lance Barrett.

Timmons saw a total of 249 pitches in his first career no-hitter, of which 110 were callable.

In accordance with UEFL tradition, the following are umpire Timmons' three plate scores, including a 96.4% (106/110) performance under ML Private/Zone Evaluation Equivalent conditions, 92.7% (102/110) UEFL f/x score, and 87.3% (96/110) value for ML Public / the broadcast-facing zero error system.

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 70 called balls outside strike zone / 4 called balls within strike zone = 70/74 = 94.6% accuracy.
Strikes: 32 called strikes within strike zone / 4 called strike outside strike zone = 32/36 = 88.9% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score for Timmons = 102/110 = 92.7% accuracy (+2 BAL/skew favored Orioles).

What's an MLB Umpire to do About a Lineup Card Snafu

Tuesday night in Philadelphia and Seattle, two teams—Phillies and Mariners—were caught by two other teams—Brewers and Orioles—attempting to use players either not listed on the umpires' official lineup card (PHI vs MIL) or not listed on a copy of an opposing team's card (SEA vs BAL). What is the roster/substitution rule and what is the proper procedure for dealing with a player not properly listed?

Philadelphia: As the 6th inning of Tuesday's game against Milwaukee concluded, Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi went to the bullpen to bring in relief pitcher Enyel De Los Santos. As De Los Santos arrived to throw practice pitches, Brewers manager Craig Counsell called to the umpires about a potential lineup error. HP Umpire Dan Merzel met with Crew Chief and 1B Umpire Marvin Hudson, 2B Umpire Quinn Wolcott, and 3B Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and the umpires determined that De Los Santos was not listed on the Phillies' lineup card—not as a starter and not as a substitute/bench player. The umpires ordered De Los Santos out of the game and Philadelphia brought in pitcher David Hale (who was properly listed on the lineup card as a substitute).

Seattle
: Tuesday's Orioles-Mariners game began with a walk to O's leadoff batter Cedric Mullins. As soon as Mullins' at-bat concluded, Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde exited his dugout to speak with HP Umpire Lance Barrett, alleging that Seattle improperly started Sam Haggerty in left field instead of Taylor Trammell as listed on the lineup card Hyde purportedly possessed. Upon consultation with 1B Umpire Tim Timmons, 2B Umpire Carlos Torre, and 3B Umpire + Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez, the umpires deemed that the official lineup card—the version the umpires were given—properly listed Haggerty as a starter and, thus, no further action was taken.

Relevant Rules: Official Baseball Rule 4.03 (Exchange of Lineup Cards) is not just exorbitantly boring, it has been superseded by COVID protocols and technology: when lineups are locked in, they are exchanged electronically via MLB mobile app prior to the game and, thanks to this, all four umpires now carry lineup cards on the field. In 2021, there is no physical pre-game exchange of lineup cards.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Bright Lights of KC Cause Catch/Drop Confusion

Kansas City batter Salvador Perez earned an unusual RBI single Tuesday during the #Indians-#Royals game when Crew Chief Angel Hernandez's umpire crew awarded runners bases on a batted ball that bounced at the wall. Was this the proper decision and what does the rulebook say?

With one out and two on (R2, R3), Royals batter Perez hit a fly ball to deep right field, where it fell between Indians right fielder Josh Naylor and center fielder Harold Ramirez. While baserunner R3 Whit Merrifield scored (tagging up just in case the fly ball was caught), trailing baserunner Andrew Benintendi was caught up and ultimately tagged between second and third base.

Upon crew consultation between 1B Umpire and Acting Crew Chief Angel Hernandez, 2B Umpire David Rackley, 3B Umpire Dan Bellino, and HP Umpire Edwin Moscoso, Benintendi was placed at third base, with Perez remaining at first base with a single and Merrifield scoring.

The relevant Official Baseball Rule is 8.02(c), which states, in part, "If the umpires consult after a play and change a call that had been made, then they have the authority to take all steps that they may deem necessary, in their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they are reversing, including placing runners where they think those runners would have been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call, disregarding interference or obstruction that may have occurred on the play; failures of runners to tag up based upon the initial call on the field; runners passing other runners or missing bases; etc., all in the discretion of the umpires."

Accordingly, the result of the play in awarding Benintendi—who appeared to have been tagged out—third base suggests via context clues that an initial call was changed. The MLB Umpire Manual's Style and Form of Calls section states, "Major League umpires shall make a signal on all calls with the exception of 'ball.' Signals are to be visible, crisp, and clear. Voice calls should be clearly audible."

More obvious cases of uncaught balls rarely result in visual "safe" mechanics, but out calls ordinarily are accompanied by a fist mechanic. Did 1B Umpire Hernandez signal an out during the play and, upon consultation, invoke OBR 8.02(c) to place the runners where they would have been had no such call been made? Given the aftermath of the play, it seems plausible. Nonetheless, a chain of critical events contributed to a bizarre sequence at Kauffman Stadium.

As Indians Manager Terry Francona stated after the game regarding his conversation with Hernandez, "I just kind of told Angel, 'Why's it always happening when you're here?'"

Noteworthy is MLB's stadium operations guide that is meant to limit the amount of white ink/text/graphics that may be placed on the outfield wall; standards for video graphic/LED displays on the walls exist as well, yet here's an example where a ball dropping in front of the lighted board may have contributed to a consequential call.

Video as follows:

Light Failure - An Ump's Play On vs Suspension Call

When lights went out at Busch Stadium during Monday's #Mets-#Cardinals game, HP Umpire Mark Carlson immediately called time before pitcher Alex Reyes' delivery. What is MLB's light failure rule and at what point does a power outage turn into a suspended game? Seeing as a manager filed a protest regarding a light failure situation in the past, it's important to know the rules to determine when to play vs when to call both teams in; even if protests are no longer permitted in MLB, it is important to get the call right the first time.

The protested game occurred on June 22, 2015, when Joe Maddon's Chicago Cubs hosted Don Mattingly's Los Angeles Dodgers. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound in the 6th inning of a one-run game (Cubs leading 2-1), several banks of lights unexpected shut off.

After Maddon left his dugout to question the lighting situation, HP Umpire Jordan Baker met with his Crew Chief Jerry Meals and the umpires ultimately opted to keep playing. Maddon, perhaps in a ploy to ice Kershaw, then argued with Meals before again pleading with Baker to stop playing, even as full power appeared to be restored to Wrigley Field.

Mattingly yelled at Maddon, Maddon yelled at someone on the Dodgers, Kershaw yelled over Andy Fletcher at Maddon, and, ultimately, Maddon filed a protest that the umpires had failed to stop the game due to light failure. Although the Cubs ultimately defeated Los Angeles 4-2 (thus the protest was dropped), we follow the rules to determine that even had LA won the game, the protest would have failed.

Official Baseball Rule 5.12(b)(2) states that "The ball becomes dead when an umpire calls “Time.” The umpire-in-chief shall call “Time"—When light failure makes it difficult or impossible for the umpires to follow the play...Except in the cases stated in paragraphs (2) and (3)(A) of this rule, no umpire shall call “Time” while a play is in progress."

As light failure is 5.12(b)(2), umpires can call "Time" while play is in progress if the light failure criterion applies.

Finally, OBR 7.02(a)(3) states that a game becomes a suspended game (meaning it is preserved at the moment of suspension and must be completed at a future date) if the following occurs: "Light failure, malfunction of, or unintentional operator error in employing, a mechanical or field device or equipment under the control of the home club."

MLB cited this rule 7.02(a)(3) (then known as 4.12(a)) as its basis for upholding a protest for the first time in 28 years when the San Francisco Giants protested in 2014 that the Cubs' ground crew erred in deploying the tarp during a rain delay.

However, for light failure, notice 5.12(b)(2)"s statement, "When light failure makes it difficult or impossible for the umpires to follow the play": not the players, not the managers or coaches, not even the fans...the umpires. Thus, the rule regarding light failure concerns the rare umpire judgment call not based on reading anyone else's mind or intent nor factoring in player safety or anyone else's concerns, but reading one's own ability to see a baseball and follow play; the purest judgment call there is.

Video as follows:

Monday, May 3, 2021

MLB Ejection 028 - Hunter Wendelstedt (1; Matt Joyce)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Phillies LF Matt Joyce (strike three call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the #Brewers-#Phillies game. With two out and two on (R1, R2), Joyce took a 3-2 fastball from Brewers pitcher Angel Perdomo for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh high (px -0.92, pz 3.08), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Phillies were leading, 4-1. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 4-3.


This is Hunter Wendelstedt (21)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Hunter Wendelstedt now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 QOCN = 0).
Crew Chief Marvin Hudson now has 1 point in Crew Division (1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 1).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 0.07 horizontal inches from being deemed correct.

This is the 28th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 10th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Joyce was 0-4 (SO) in the contest.
This is Philadelphia's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL East (PHI 3; NYM 2; MIA 1; ATL, WAS 0).
This is Matt Joyce's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2019 (Bill Welke; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's 1st ejection since August 24, 2019 (Willson Contreras; QOC = U [USC]).

Wrap: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 5/3/21 | Video as follows:

Critique - Cone Off the Ump Name Calling from the Booth

In this Commentary Critique, tmac reviews Yankees broadcaster David Cone's criticism of 2B Umpire Junior Valentine's start-stop balk in New York, a correct call in accordance with the Official Baseball Rules. Cone called Valentine a name, with a backdrop of a nationwide phenomenon of umpire abuse that has caused officiating shortages across multiple sports, mainly at the youth level.

After Valentine called Yankees pitcher Darren O'Day for a start-stop balk, Cone warned "I want to go off on a rant," before stating, "Barney Fife on second base is going to call it."

In complaining about the call, Cone described the pitcher's actions: "He started his motion a little bit and then stepped off the rubber," still perplexed at the balk call.

As a quick Rules Review, Cone's description is precisely why the balk was called. The two start-stop pitching rules in Set Position relate to going from the stretch to the set and for actions from set to delivery. This is an example of the former, as elucidated in OBR 5.07(a)(2): "Preparatory to coming to a set position, the pitcher shall have one hand on his side [the stretch]; from this position he shall go to his set position as defined in Rule 5.07(a)(2) without interruption and in one continuous motion." The accompanying latter balk rule is OBR 6.02(a)(1): "It is a balk when—the pitcher, while touching his plate, makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery."

Replays indicate that, while in the stretch, O'Day started to moving his hands together, but stopped and then disengaged the rubber by stepping off with his pivot foot. This is an illegal disengagement because he had already started his transition from stretch to set, as in OBR 5.07(a)(2).

As for Cone's name-calling, despite admitting the call was correct and later offering an apology, for the casual fan that sees a simple 10-second video clip, the damage is done.

And with a nationwide referee and umpire shortage generating national headlines and citing abusive fan/coach/player conduct and poor sportsmanship as a top reason for officials opting not to participate in youth sports, the example of umpire abuse at baseball's highest level does no favors.

Video as follows:

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Rhys Hoskins' HR Overturned to Double in Philadelphia

With New York leading 8-5 in the bottom of the 9th inning of Sunday's #Mets-#Phillies game, Philadelphia's 1B Rhys Hoskins appeared to tie the score with a 3-run home run, only for umpires to overturn the call to a double upon Replay Review. Was this the rules-correct decision?

The Play: With two out and two on (R1, R3), Philadelphia was down to its last two strikes when Hoskins appeared to tie the game on an Edwin Diaz fastball with a three-run home run to deep right-center field, ruled a home run by 1B Umpire Jose Navas. After a Crew Chief Review, Replay HQ overturned Navas' ruling and HP Umpire Andy Fletcher signaled that New York had awarded Hoskins a double.

Ground Rule
: According to MLB's Ground Rules for Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia, a ball that strikes the top of the outfield fence or scoreboard and rebounds onto the playing field shall be ruled in play. The railing/chain link fence at the top of the wall in Philadelphia is considered part of the outfield fence.

Replay Decision: Clear and convincing visual evidence indicates the batted ball struck the top of the railing and caromed back onto the playing field, resulting in an overturned call. Placing baserunners was the most difficult decision for New York, but with two outs, the Replay Official, finding that runner R1 Matt Joyce was running on contact, properly awarded Joyce three bases (scoring a run), ruling that had the umpires called Hoskins' hit in play, Joyce would have scored. The Replay Official also placed Hoskins at second base—a literal ground rule double.

Aftermath: Ensuing batter Bryce Harper struck out swinging, stranding tying run Hoskins on base to end the game with a Mets victory, final score 8-7.

Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 026-27 - Brian O'Nora (1-2; TEX x2)

HP Umpire Brian O'Nora ejected Rangers RF Joey Gallo and manager Chris Woodward (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the #RedSox-#Rangers game. With one out and none on, Gallo took a 1-2 curveball from Red Sox pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.72, pz 1.73 [sz_bot 1.68 / RAD 1.56]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections, the Red Sox were leading, 2-1. The Rangers ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

These are Brian O'Nora (7)'s 1st and 2nd ejections of 2021.
Brian O'Nora now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] = 8).
Crew Chief Ron Kulpa now has 7 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 2*[2 Correct Call] = 7).
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 2.33 horizontal and 3.07 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

These are the 26th and 27th ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the ninth player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Gallo was 1-3 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is the 16th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Texas' 1/2nd ejection of 2021, 1st in the AL West (TEX 2; LAA, OAK, SEA 1; HOU 0).
This is Joey Gallo's first career MLB ejection.
This is Chris Woodward's 1st ejection since Sept 23, 2020 (Nick Mahrley; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brian O'Nora's 1st ejection since May 19, 2019 (Craig Counsell; QOC = N [Fair/Foul]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers, 5/2/21 | Video as follows:

Saturday, May 1, 2021

MLB Ejection 025 - Andy Fletcher (1; Bryce Harper)

1B Umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Phillies bench player Bryce Harper (out of base path call by 2B Umpire Jose Navas; QOCN) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the #Mets-#Phillies game. With one out and one on (R1), Phillies batter Matt Joyce hit a ground ball to Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil, who threw to shortstop Francisco Lindor, to first baseman Pete Alonso, Phillies baserunner R1 Andrew McCutchen ruled out for running more than three feet away from his base path to avoid a tag and Phillies batter-runner Joyce ruled out upon Replay Review as the result of a challenge by Mets manager Luis Rojas. Replays indicate McCutchen did not deviate from his base path to avoid a tag in contravention of Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 4-4. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is Andy Fletcher (49)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Andy Fletcher now has 0 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB - 2 Incorrect [Crewmate] = 0).
Crew Chief Andy Fletcher now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 0).
*OBR 5.09(b)(1) states that "any runner is out when—He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."

This is the 25th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the eighth player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Harper did not appear in the contest.
This is Philadelphia's 2nd ejection of 2021, T-1st in the NL East (NYM, PHI 2; MIA 1; ATL, WAS 0).
This is Bryce Harper's 1st ejection since Sept 5, 2020 (Roberto Ortiz; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).
This is Andy Fletcher's 1st ejection since May 17, 2019 (Bruce Bochy; QOC = N-c [Check Swing]).

Wrap: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 5/1/21 | Video as follows:

April 2021 Call of the Month - John Libka's Out at 2B

Tmac
 presents our Call of the Month for April 2021 and it features 2B Umpire John Libka officiating a stolen base attempt by Chicago's Kris Bryant at second base.

On April 22, 2021, Mets catcher James McCann attempted to throw out Cubs baserunner R1 Bryant attempting to steal second, ruled out by 2B Umpire Libka and affirmed after Replay Review as the result of a Cubs challenge.

Libka observes the play and communicates through his out mechanic that Bryant's foot popped off of the base with fielder Jeff McNeil keeping the tag on Bryant while the runner was not in contact with second base, a call that in the expanded replay era has become more commonly accepted and expected.

Video as follows:

Friday, April 30, 2021

MLB Ejection 024 - Angel Hernandez (1; Dave Roberts)

1B Umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts (check swing strike one call) in the top of the 8th inning of the #Dodgers-#Brewers game. With two out and none on, Dodgers batter Chris Taylor attempted to check his swing on a 1-0 changeup from Brewers pitcher JP Feyereisen, ruled a swinging strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Hernandez. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (7-2), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Brewers were leading, 2-1. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 3-1.

This is Angel Hernandez (5)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Angel Hernandez now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).

This is the 24th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 15th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Los Angeles' 1st ejection of 2021, 3rd in the NL West (COL, SD 2; LAD 1; ARI, SF 0).
This is Dave Roberts' 1st ejection since August 19, 2020 (Mark Ripperger; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Angel Hernandez's 1st ejection since Sept 22, 2020 (Rick Renteria; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 4/30/21 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 023 - James Hoye (1; Phillip Evans)

HP Umpire James Hoye ejected Pirates pinch hitter Phillip Evans (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #Cardinals-#Pirates game. With none out and one on (R1), Evans took a 0-2 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and thigh-high (px -0.75, pz 2.22) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Cardinals were leading, 7-3. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 7-3.

This is James Hoye (92)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
James Hoye now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief James Hoye now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).

This is the 23rd ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the seventh player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Evans was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Pittsburgh's 1st ejection of 2021, T-3rd in the NL Central (CIN 3; CHC 2; MIL, PIT, STL 1).
This is Phillip Evans' first career MLB ejection.
This is James Hoye's 1st ejection since August 16, 2020 (Don Mattingly; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: St Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 4/30/21 | Video as follows:

Thursday, April 29, 2021

MLB Ejection 022 - Brennan Miller (1; Mike Schildt)

HP Umpire Brennan Miller ejected Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt (strike one after HBP warnings no-call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #Phillies-#Cardinals game. With two out and none on, Cardinals batter Nolan Arenado took a first-pitch fastball from Phillies pitcher Hector Neris for a hit-by-pitch, the first hit batsman of the game, resulting in a crew consultation with no warnings/ejection issued. Ensuing batter Tyler O'Neill then took a first-pitch splitter from Nerris for a called first strike upon which Shildt was ejected. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.27, pz 1.52 [sz_bot 1.51 / RAD 1.39]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 3-3. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 4-3, in 10 innings. 

This is Brennan Miller (55)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Brennan Miller now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 AAA + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief James Hoye now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*This pitch was located 2.60 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 22nd ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 14th manager ejection of 2021.
This is St. Louis' 1st ejection of 2021, T-3rd in the NL Central (CIN 3; CHC 2; MIL, STL 1; PIT 0).
This is Mike Shildt's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2020 (Ron Kulpa; QOC = U [Fighting]).
This is Brennan Miller's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2020 (Brandon Hyde; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 4/29/21 | Video as follows:

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

MLB Ejection 021 - Chris Segal (1; Joe Girardi)

HP Umpire Chris Segal ejected Phillies manager Joe Girardi (warnings/non-ejection) in the top of the 6th inning of the #Phillies-#Cardinals game. With none out and none on, Phillies batter Bryce Harper took a first-pitch sinker from Cardinals pitcher Genesis Cabrera for a hit-by-pitch before subsequent Phillies batter Didi Gregorius took a first-pitch fastball from Cabrera for a hit-by-pitch, the only two hit batsmen of the game, resulting in warnings. Replays indicate that both HBP events resulted in injury delays, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 3-3. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 5-3. 

This is Chris Segal (96)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Chris Segal now has 3 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable Call = 3).
Crew Chief James Hoye now has 1 point in Crew Division (0 Previous + 1 Irrecusable Call = 1).

This is the 21st ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 13th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Philadelphia's 1st ejection of 2021, T-2nd in the NL East (NYM 2; MIA, PHI 1; ATL, WAS 0).
This is Joe Girardi's 1st ejection since Sept 21, 2020 (Junior Valentine; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Injury Scout - Jerry Layne Exits in NY After Hit to Head

HP Umpire Jerry Layne left Wednesday's #RedSox-#Mets game in New York after a foul ball off the mask, a day after Kerwin Danley took a similar shot to the head in California.

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Mets batter Francisco Lindor fouled a 94-mph 1-0 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Nick Pavetta into the center of Layne's traditional-style facemask.

Layne was replaced at home plate by acting crew chief 1B Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt while 2B Umpire Dan Merzel moved to first base and 3B Umpire Quinn Wolcott remained on the left field line.

Relevant Injury History: Like Danley, Layne has a significant history of head trauma.
> On April 1, 2019, Layne left his Opening Day assignment in Pittsburgh after foul balls to the head.
> On September 25, 2016, Layne exited a Mariners-Twins game after a foul ball to the mask.
> On August 31, 2016, Layne left a Blue Jays-Orioles game after a direct 94-mph shot to the mask.
> On June 27, 2016, Layne left an Indian-Braves game after a foul ball to the jaw region.
> On April 15, 2015, Layne left a Tigers-Pirates game after a deflection from the catcher to the mask.

Last Game: April 28 | Return to Play: TBD | Time Absent: TBD | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 020 - Marty Foster (1; Pat Murphy)

Two innings after Brewers manager Craig Counsel argued an obstruction call at first base, 1B Umpire Marty Foster ejected Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy (check swing) in the top of the 4th inning of the #Brewers-#Marlins game. With two out and none on, Marlins batter Sandy Alcantara squared to bunt a first-pitch sinker from Brewers pitcher Eric Yardley for a called first ball by HP Umpire Mike Muchlinski, affirmed as no swing on appeal by 1B Umpire Foster. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (8-0), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 2-2. The Marlins ultimately won the contest, 6-2.

As for the 2nd inning obstruction call when Marlins batter-runner Isan Diaz reached on an error by Brewers pitcher Zack Godley, by the letter of the rule, this was obstruction. The definition of obstruction is "the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner." After fielding the ball, as soon as Godley threw/lobbed the ball to first base, the pitcher was no longer in possession of the ball nor in the act of fielding the ball.

Because runner Diaz had to slow down or modify a stride to first base as a result of Godley standing ahead of him, this is an act of impeding the progress of the runner and, thus, obstruction. There is no "common sense says Diaz would have been out at first base anyway" provision for this brand of obstruction; because a play was being made on Diaz at the time of obstruction (and Diaz was also a batter-runner prior to reaching first base), Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(1) [Obstruction Type 1 or Type A] requires the umpire to award the obstructed runner "at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction" (in this case, Diaz was awarded one base [first base]).

Had this been a case of a runner obstructed while no play was being made on said runner (including a batter-runner who had already reached first base), it would have qualified for OBR 6.01(h)(2) [OBS Type 2 or Type B]'s enforcement, which allows umpires to "nullify the act" using judgment and common sense: if this was a Type 2/B call, all else equal, Foster could have "nullified the act" and, having adjudged that Diaz would likely be out had the obstruction not occurred, called Diaz out; however, OBS Type 1/A does not allow for this manner of judgment call. Finally, the runner is permitted to establish their own base path: whether the runner is running to the left of the foul line/on the infield grass does not apply to this play as this is not a case of potential runner's lane interference.

This is Marty Foster (60)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Marty Foster now has -3 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call = -3).
Crew Chief Sam Holbrook now has 3 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 0 Incorrect = 3).

This is the 20th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is Milwaukee's 1st ejection of 2021, 3rd in the NL Central (CIN 3; CHC 2; MIL 1; PIT, STL 0).
This is Pat Murphy's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2015 (Alfonso Marquez; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Marty Foster's 1st ejection since May 7, 2019 (Rick Renteria; QOC = N [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 4/28/21 | Video as follows:

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Injury Scout - Kerwin Danley Knocked Out of Giants Game

HP Umpire Kerwin Danley left Tuesday's #Rockies-#Giants game after a foul ball to the mask, the latest in a long string of head injuries for the veteran crew chief.

In the top of the 6th inning in San Francisco, Rockies batter Sam Hilliard fouled a 0-1 sinker from Giants pitcher Jose Alvarez into Danley's hockey-style mask, sending Danley to the ground.

Danley was replaced at home plate by 2B Umpire Ryan Additon while 1B Umpire CB Bucknor assumed acting crew chief duties and shared field responsibilities with 3B Umpire Adam Hamari.

Relevant Injury History: Danley has a significant injury history of head trauma, including concussion.
> On July 9, 2017, Danley left a Royals-Dodgers game after a foul ball head injury.
> On April 7, 2016, Danley remained in a game after a 98-mph fastball to the head.
> On May 12, 2015, Danley exited a game in Arizona as the result of a 94-mph pitch fouled into his HSM.
> On June 3, 2013, Danley exited in Cincinnati after a bouncing ball deflected and struck his mask.
> On April 21, 2009, Danley was carted off the field after a broken bat struck the side of his head.
> On April 26, 2008, Danley was knocked unconscious in LA by a 96-mph pitch directly to the mask.

Last Game: April 27 | Return to Play: May 7 | Time Absent: 9 Days | Video as follows:

Seconds from Disaster - Protest Upheld as Umpires Reverse Strike 3 Call

Saturday's Mercyhurst University Lakers vs Seton Hill Griffins NCAA baseball game was wiped off the books following a protest after umpires reversed a strike three and batter's interference call to a ball four call, in contravention of NCAA rules, and extending SMU's second inning, leading to the tying and go-ahead runs being scored in a most severe instance of a teachable moment.

To borrow from National Geographic's Seconds from Disaster, disasters don't just happen. They're triggered by a chain of critical events. Unravel the fatal decisions on those final seconds from disaster.

For our Seconds from Disaster analysis of Saturday's game—which, thanks to the upheld protest by the PSAC, was literally removed from the two school's websites—we begin with the play itself.

With one out and one on (R1) in the bottom of the 2nd inning of the MU-SMU game, with MU leading by one run, SMU batter Tyler Peterson took a 3-2 pitch from MU starter Brett Whiteman, called strike three by the home plate umpire as the runner from first base attempted to steal second. The batter appeared to step in front of the catcher as he threw in an attempt to retire the runner and the plate umpire called the batter out for interference, which results in a double play in accordance with NCAA Rule 6-3-b ("The batter interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base...Penalty: If the batter strikes out, the runner is also out").

The following contributed to these Seconds from Disaster. Whether or not the umpires had a reasonable opportunity to control these events—through conscious decision-making as opposed to spur of the moment reaction—is indicated as well.

Event 1) According to the aggrieved coach, the plate umpire purportedly blinked and missed the ball/strike call. Not a controllable decision.

Event 2) After the play, perhaps swayed by the 3B Coach's objection to the calls made, the umpires convened and took the unusual step of reversing not just the interference call, but the strike three call as well: the outcome of the crew consultation was to reverse strike three to ball four and place runners at first and second base with one out, instead of ending the inning. Controllable decision.

Reversing ball/strike calls is prohibited by NCAA Appendix E-1-f: "Judgment calls, which have traditionally not been subject to reversal, include steal and other tag plays (except if the ball is dropped without the umpire’s knowledge, as discussed above); force plays (when the ball is not dropped and foot is not pulled); balls and strikes (other than check swings). This practice shall continue. Also, some calls cannot be reversed without creating larger problems."

Event 3) In explaining their ruling to MU's head coach, the field umpire engaged with the dugout as opposed to sticking to the head coach for assistance in managing the team's conduct. Controllable decision.

Event 4) Inning drags on thanks to wild pitch, sacrifice fly (scores tying run), and double (scores go-ahead run). Not a controllable decision.

Event 5) MU fielder engages in verbal misconduct with the field umpire, resulting in ejection. Controllable decision.

Event 6) Field umpire ejects then looks back at player, then turns to MU dugout. Controllable decision.

Event 7) Field umpire approaches MU dugout, has further interaction with team personnel. Controllable decision.

Event 8) After inning ends, field umpire picks up plate umpire to approach MU dugout. Controllable decision.

Event 9) Umpires interact with SMU coach instead of proceeding to MU dugout. Controllable decision.

Event 10) SMU pitcher wants to warm up... Not a controllable decision.

Event 11) ...umpires move toward MU dugout and again engage with MU personnel. Controllable decision.

Event 10) SMU wins the game (thus protest is entertained). Not a controllable decision.

As one can see, a handful of events—some controllable and handled properly decisions (green), some handled improperly (red), and some uncontrollable events (neutral, yellow)—contributed to the PSAC's decision to uphold MU's protest and rule that the results of the game will not count. If the teams are able to resume play, the resumed game will begin in the top of the third inning with a 2-1 score (MU leading), as if the umpire's original strike three/batter's interference call had prevailed and NCAA Appendix E-1-f had been properly applied.

Video as follows:

Monday, April 26, 2021

MLB Ejection 019 - Sean Barber (1; Bob Melvin)

HP Umpire Sean Barber ejected A's Manager Bob Melvin (Replay Review decision that upheld an out call; QOCN) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Athletics-#Rays game. With two out and one on (R1), A's batter Tony Kemp hit a fly ball to shallow left field, retrieved on a bounce by Rays shortstop Willy Adames, who threw to catcher Mike Zunino as A's baserunner R1 Elvis Andrus slid into home plate, ruled out by HP Umpire Barber. Upon Replay Review as the result of a Manager's Challenge by Melvin, Barber's call was upheld (call stands). Replays indicate Andrus' hand appeared to touch home plate prior to Zunino's tag, the call was incorrect. Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (7-0), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Athletics were leading 2-1. The Athletics ultimately won the contest, 2-1.

This is Sean Barber (29)'s first ejection of 2021.
Sean Barber now has -1 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 AAA - 4 Incorrect Call = -1).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 0 points in Crew Division (0 Previous + 0 Incorrect = 0).

This is the 19th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 12th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Oakland's 1st ejection of 2021, T-1st in the AL West (LAA, OAK, SEA 1; HOU, TEX 0).
This is Bob Melvin's 1st ejection since June 12, 2019 (Sean Barber; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Sean Barber's 1st ejection since July 27, 2019 (Chris Woodward; QOC = U [Throwing At]).

Wrap: Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 4/26/21 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 018 - Greg Gibson (2; Aaron Boone)

1B Umpire Greg Gibson ejected Yankees Manager Aaron Boone (untimely Replay Review challenge of run no-score time play; QOC) in the top of the 8th inning of the #Yankees-#Orioles game. With two out and the bases loaded, Yankees batter Gio Urshela hit a line drive to Orioles left fielder Austin Hays, who threw to third baseman Maikel Franco as Yankees baserunner R1 Aaron Judge slid into third base, ruled out by 3B Umpire Rob Drake, and runner R2 DJ LeMahieu arrived at home plate, ruled not to have scored prior to the third out by HP Umpire Will Little. Gibson subsequently denied Boone's attempt to challenge Little's time play decision, ruling that Boone had consumed more than 20 seconds from the end of the play until announcing his intent to challenge/request a review of the play to the umpires in contravention of Replay Review regulations. Replays indicate less than 20 seconds transpired from Little's effectuation of the no score mechanic until Boone's request to review the play, the call was incorrect. Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (6-0), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Orioles were leading, 4-2. The Orioles ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

This is Greg Gibson (53)'s second ejection of the 2021 MLB regular season.
Greg Gibson now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (3 Prev + 2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call* = 1).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson now has 1 point in Crew Division (1 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 1).
*Because of Crew Chief status, Gibson is assigned the role of calling umpire for the Replay denial.
Boone's post-game comments: "[Gibson] said we didn't have any time left."

This is the 18th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 11th manager ejection of 2021.
This is New York's 1st ejection of 2021, T-1st in the AL East (BAL, BOS, NYY 1; TB, TOR 0).
This is Aaron Boone's 1st ejection since Sept 25, 2020 (John Tumpane; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Greg Gibson's 2nd ejection of 2020, 1st since April 11 (Mike Borzello; QOC = U [Warnings]).

Wrap: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles, 4/26/21 | Video as follows: