Friday, December 3, 2021

2021 UEFL Award for Gera Honorable Umpire - Joe West

Joe West wins the UEFL's 2021 Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire Award [2020: Angel Hernandez & West].
Voting Results: Joe West (23.6%), Tom Hallion (8.3%), Gerry Davis (6.9%).

Joe West is the UEFL's 2021 Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire of the Year.

As baseball's Blue Cowboy hangs up his mask and WestVest for the final time on an MLB field, he first stops to collect the UEFL's Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire of the Year Award.

After setting the MLB record for most regular season games officiated in major league history back in May by first tying Bill Klem at 5,375 and then surpassing The Old Arbiter, West earned himself a postseason plate assignment in a winner take all game—the NL Wild Card Game—and promptly proceeded to give as a farewell gift to baseball a typical West postseason performance: a 98.8% game, or 164/166.

In voting for West's repeat Honorable Umpire nod (2020-21) this year, UEFL'ers cited both West's milestone season as well as West's numerous contributions to the game of baseball from his NL debut in 1976, some 45 years ago.

Retrosheet gives West a final career tally of 5,460 regular season games officiated, 4 Wild Card assignments (3 Games + 1 Series [2 games] = 5 total games), 8 Division Series (33 games), 10 League Championship Series (60 games), 6 World Series (34 games), and 3 All-Star Games. West's career ejection total reached 196.

West will be eligible for Hall of Fame candidacy six months following retirement, which, depending on how long the owners-players dispute and lockout lasts, may be a little while. Thus, while West may be realistically off the field, he (and several other umpires this year) is not actually "retired" just yet.

UEFL Awards History, Joe West
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2009, 2020
Ejection of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018

The next postseason award to be announced will be Promising Umpire of the Year.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

2021 UEFL Award for Crew Chief - Tom Hallion

Tom Hallion wins the UEFL's 2021 Crew Chief of the Year Award [2020 Winner: Jim Reynolds].
Voting Results: Hallion (30.8%), Joe West (18.9%), Dan Iassogna / Alfonso Marquez (7.1%).

Tom Hallion is the 2021 UEFL Crew Chief of the Year
.

In what may be his final MLB season (subject to the outcome of the owners/players' dispute and lockout amongst others), Tom Hallion returned to the Fall Classic with his second career World Series assignment, this time as Crew Chief.

Voters cited his leadership and handling of this non-runner's lane interference situation in the Houston-Chicago ALDS, a no-call supported by rule.

Hallion also featured in a September Teachable regarding a tag play involving the batter-runner sliding into first base.

UEFL Awards History, Tom Hallion
None

The next postseason award to be announced will be the Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire of the Year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

2021 UEFL Award for Fill-In Umpire - John Libka

John Libka wins UEFL's 2021 Fill-In Umpire of the Year Award [2020 Winner: Jeremie Rehak].
Voting Results: Libka (35.0%), Ben May (10.6%), Jeremy Riggs (9.4%).

John Libka is the 2021 UEFL Fill-In Umpire of the Year
.

Not many categories proved to be landslides, but John Libka ran away with the Fill-In Umpire of the Year vote. In addition to a consistently superior strike zone—Libka's plate scores in 2021 once again ranked at the top of the league—Libka also drew praise for situation handling throughout the season during ejections and other difficult situations.

Libka's textbook mechanics and positioning in Chicago earlier this season was featured as the April 2021 Call of the Month.

MLB seems to agree, having assigned Libka a career-high 134 major league games during the 2021 season for a total of 371 MLB contests since debuting during the 2017 season. The only call-ups to officiate more big league games in 2021 were Nick Mahrley and Ryan Additon, who took to the field 138 and 137 times, respectively.

UEFL Awards History, John Libka
None

The next postseason award to be announced will be Crew Chief of the Year.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

2021 UEFL Award for Most Improved - Mike Estabrook

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2021 Postseason Award recipient for Most Improved Umpire is Mike Estabrook (83) [2020 Winner: CB Bucknor]).
Voting Results (Top 3): Estabrook (16.0%), Rob Drake (14.1%), Jordan Baker (5.1%).

Mike Estabrook receives 2021's Most Improved Umpire Award.

In nominating Estabrook for the 2021 Most Improved Umpire Award, many voters referred to 2019, during which Estabrook ejected an MLB-high 13 players, coaches, and managers. By contrast, Estabrook's ejection total during the COVID-shortened 2020 season was one while Estabrook ejected two people in 2021.

Another common theme was an improved strike zone and overall improvement that helped Estabrook return to the postseason, his first Division Series assignment during a full season of baseball.

UEFL Awards History, Mike Estabrook
None

The next postseason award to be announced will be Fill-In Umpire of the Year.

Monday, November 29, 2021

2021 UEFL Award for Disappointing Season - Doug Eddings

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2021 Postseason Award recipient for Most Disappointing Season is Doug Eddings (88) [2020 Winner: Rob Drake]).
Voting Results (Top 3): Eddings (13.1%), Angel Hernandez (12.5%), Hunter Wendelstedt (6.9%).

The UEFL Awards as defined in Rule 4-4 begin with Most Disappointing Season, below, and continue with Most Improved, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Honorable, Promising, Ejection(s) of the Year and concluding with Umpire of the Year. 209 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process.

Doug Eddings receives 2021's Most Disappointing Season Award.

Eddings, it should be noted, received a postseason assignment in the form of Game 5 HP Umpire for the Dodgers-Giants NL Division Series, in which Eddings called a respectable 97.7%, the second-highest score of that NLDS (Pat Hoberg Gm 4 was highest [97.9%]).

Yet, as JD wrote in nominating Eddings for this award, "I'll be straightforward, this was an awful year in all optics for him...his body language out there at times made it seem like he wasn't enjoying himself or the profession." NoahYingling noted recency bias may have played a role, as Eddings' first half appeared stronger than the second half.

Eddings concluded 2021 with eight ejections and featured prominently in Crew Chief Bill Miller's late September ejection of Cardinals manager Mike Schildt following an infield fly rule/changed out/safe/"Time" play in which both Miller and 3B Umpire Gabe Morales signaled an infield fly on a batter's R1-R2, one-out fair pop fly in front of third base, but 2B Umpire Eddings nonetheless ruled R1 out on a (non-existent) force play when the defense tagged second base.

During that ejection, commenter John noted that due to the ejection's very-late-season occurrence, "I'm not sure that we can assume that Eddings won't get any playoff games. While this call is BAD it's already been mentioned that the playoff list for the WC and divisional series has already gone out to the selected umpires."

UEFL Awards History, Doug Eddings
Most Improved Umpire of the Year - 2019

The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released next.

Monday, November 15, 2021

2021 UEFL Year-End Awards Nominations Open

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces its annual Postseason Awards and opens nominations at this time

Link to Postseason Awards Ballot (also appears below):
a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire) +5
b. Promising Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 2) +3
c. Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire (min. 0 / max. 1) +2
d. Fill-In 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) +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 23, with awards distribution beginning shortly thereafter.

Ballot as follows:

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

2021 World Series Discussion

Join us for discussion of the 2021 World Series: As we have done in the past, we will post UEFL f/x plate scores for every home plate umpire this postseason.

Performance plate scores are listed following the completion of each contest according to UEFL f/x (StatCast data and application of UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a [horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule"] and 6-2-b-b [vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"]) for called strikes and balls. Foul balls, swinging strikes, balls put in play, automatic balls, pitchouts, and hit-by-pitches are excluded from the analysis. Click here to learn how UEFL f/x 3.0 plate scores work.


- 10/26 ATL@HOU Gm 1: Chris Conroy. 112/113 Balls + 44/46 Strikes = 156/159 = 98.1%. +3 HOU.

- 10/27 ATL@HOU Gm 2: Ron Kulpa. 79/79 Balls + 39/41 Strikes = 118/120 = 98.3%. +0 Neutral.

- 10/29 HOU@ATL Gm 3: Tom Hallion. 106/108 Balls + 35/38 Strikes = 141/146 = 96.6%. +1 HOU.

- 10/30 HOU@ATL Gm 4: Dan Bellino. 107/110 Balls + 41/43 Strikes = 148/153 = 96.7%. +1 HOU.

- 10/31 HOU@ATL Gm 5: Ted Barrett. 111/112 Balls + 51/59 Strikes = 162/171 = 94.7%. +3 ATL.

- 11/2 ATL@HOU Gm 6: Mike Muchlinski. 93/94 Balls + 46/50 Strikes = 139/144 = 96.5%. +1 HOU.


Note: The highest plate score during the 2020 World Series was Marvin Hudson's 98.7% (WS 5).
The highest overall plate score during the 2020 Postseason was Jordan Baker's 99.4% (ALWC 1).

Monday, October 25, 2021

2021 MLB World Series Umpire Roster

Major League Baseball assigned seven umpires to the 2021 World Series, with crew chief Tom Hallion leading the way with backup chief Ted Barrett and first-timers Dan Bellino, Chris Conroy, and Mike Muchlinski. The 7th umpire position for the World Series is a reserve or standby slot and will remain with the crew instead of traveling to/from New York's Replay Review HQ during the Fall Classic. Instead, the umpire rotation shall be as follows: Game 1: HP; Game 2: RF; Game 3: LF; Game 4: 3B; Game 5: 2B; Game 6: 1B; Game 7: Reserve/Off; the Reserve/Off-field standby umpire position precedes the home plate assignment.

Crew Chiefs are indicated in bold text and by the -cc suffix with regular season crew chiefs denoted by an asterisk (*) while those working their first career World Series will be noted with a ^ mark.

MLB World Series (Atlanta Braves @ Houston Astros)
HP: Chris Conroy^
1B: Tom Hallion* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
2B: Dan Bellino^ [Game 4 Plate]
3B: Ted Barrett* [Game 5 Plate]
LF: Mike Muchlinski^ [Game 6 Plate]
RF: Alfonso Marquez* [Game 7 Plate]
Reserve/Off: Ron Kulpa [Game 2 Plate]

Replay Review: Pat Hoberg, Tim Timmons.

MLB Ejection 190* - Alfonso Marquez (2*; Brian Snitker)

This is a late-add ejection report. 4/11/21: 3B Umpire Alfonso Marquez ejected Braves manager Brian Snitker (Replay Review decision that upheld HP Umpire Lance Barrett's safe call) during the #Phillies-#Braves game. With one out and one on (R3), Phillies batter Didi Gregorius hit a 1-2 fastball from Braves pitcher Will Smith on a fly ball to left fielder Marcell Ozuna as Phillies baserunner R3 Alec Bohm tagged up and attempted to score, ruled safe at home plate by HP Umpire Barrett on a tag attempt by Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud, and affirmed via Replay Review as the result of a Crew Chief Review by 3B Umpire Marquez. Replays fail to conclusively indicate whether Bohm's foot touched home plate but do conclusively indicate that if Bohm's foot touched home plate, the runner arrived prior to the catcher's tag, the call (call stands) was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Phillies were leading, 7-6. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

This is Alfonso Marquez (72)'s 2nd* ejection of 2021.
*The statistics for this ejection reflect the time at which it was reported.
Both Marquez and Snitker will appear in the 2021 World Series.

This is the 190th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 86th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Atlanta's 2nd ejection of 2021, 5th in the NL East (MIA 10; PHI 9; WAS 8; NYM 7; ATL 2).
This is Brian Snitker's 1st ejection since Sept 14, 2019 (Bill Welke; QOC = N [Check Swing]).
This is Alfonso Marquez's 1st ejection since August 19, 2020 (Danny Santana; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Saturday, October 23, 2021

RoboUmp's Odd Strike Zone Gets AFL Game Called Early

Teams ran out of pitchers leading to a game getting called early as the 2021 Arizona Fall League's electronic umpire experiment proved problematic during Saturday's Solar Sox vs Rafters game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. RoboUmp's demi-sized strike zone helped produce 22 walks as Mesa and Salt River bled through 12 pitchers before the teams and umpires agreed to call off the game in the 8th inning with Salt River leading, 15-7. The Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) is only in use for games played at Salt River Fields.

According to Keith Law at The Athletic, several rule changes were in use during the game, including a variable pitch clock, ban on shifts, and of course an automated strike zone that rendered HP Umpire Alex McKay little more than a computer mouthpiece. (If you're wondering what happens to the MiLB call-ups during the offseason, you can find some working the Arizona Fall League; McKay's crew included 1B Umpire Malachi Moore, 2B Umpire Ryan Wills, and 3B Umpire Kyle McCrady).

Returns from the game indicate an issue that has plagued electronic zones since their very inception: an unforgiving, and in this case small, strike zone that continues to fall short of the standard to which human umpires call balls and strikes. The Atlantic League version, for instance, occasionally fell prey to the opposite problem: strike zones that were too large.

For this reason, our postseason plate performance scores continue to be given in a three-metric format: UEFL f/x with a roughly one-inch margin of error nestled between the larger buffer of Zone Evaluation Equivalent and the zero-error model the viewing audience sees known as ML Public (although our version of ML Public features postgame processing data point correction whereas what fans see on TV is raw and uncorrected).

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Interference in Boston? Laz Diaz's Astros-Red Sox No-Call

After HP Umpire Laz Diaz called strike three on Astros pitcher Cristian Javier's 3-2 fastball to Red Sox batter JD Martinez while catcher Martin Maldonado nearly tried to throw stealing runner Alex Verdugo out at second base, interference questions began popping up, as did both managers with Houston's Dusty Baker campaigning for an interference call on Martinez and Boston's Alex Cora more upset about the strike three call on a pitch off the outside corner.

As we always do, we begin with the rulebook for this play from the bottom of the 3rd inning of Game 4 of the 2021 American League Championship Series. Although Official Baseball Rule 6.03(a)(3) [batter out for illegal action] calls for an out when 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," the relevant rule here is actually OBR 6.01(a)(5) because the batter was out due to the strike three call: "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."

The high school equivalent is NFHS 7-3-5 ("interfere with the catcher's fielding or throwing by leaning over home plate, stepping out of the batter's box, or making any other movement...which hinders actions at home plate or the catcher's attempt to play on a runner") while college is NCAA 6-3-b (similar to OBR), the penalty for which states, "If the batter strikes out, the runner is also out."

While a throw to second is not required to call interference, it sure helps. The throw leaves no doubt as to the catcher's intention and quite clearly demonstrates a hindering act has occurred. By not throwing, Maldonado made Diaz's job more difficult. By not throwing, now the umpire must decide WHY the throw didn't happen. Was it because the catcher thought the pitch was ball four (the computer sure did)? Was it because the runner Verdugo would have slid in safely at second base? Or was it because retired batter Martinez interfered?

In only one of those scenarios would the proper call be interference. In the end, the judgment call rests with that question: what was Maldonado's intent here and why was no throw made? If the answer is because of retired batter Martinez's hindrance, the call is interference. If the answer is because of another reason other than Martinez's movement, the likely call is to make none at all.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Discussion of 2021 ALCS & NLCS

Join us for discussion of the 2021 American and National League Championship Series: As we have done in the past, we will post UEFL f/x plate scores for every home plate umpire this postseason.

Performance plate scores are listed following the completion of each contest according to UEFL f/x (StatCast data and application of UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a [horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule"] and 6-2-b-b [vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"]) for called strikes and balls. Foul balls, swinging strikes, balls put in play, automatic balls, pitchouts, and hit-by-pitches are excluded from the analysis. Click here to learn how UEFL f/x 3.0 plate scores work.

 
- 10/15 BOS@HOU Gm 1: David Rackley. 118/119 Balls + 45/52 Strikes = 163/171 = 95.3%. +2 HOU.

- 10/16 BOS@HOU Gm 2: Rob Drake. 128/129 Balls + 43/44 Strikes = 171/173 = 98.8%. +2 HOU.
- 10/16 LAD@ATL Gm 1: Tripp Gibson. 71/72 Balls + 37/37 Strikes = 108/109 = 99.1%. +1 LAD.

- 10/17 LAD@ATL Gm 2: Jordan Baker. 101/104 Balls + 32/36 Strikes = 133/140 = 95.0%. +5 LAD.

- 10/18 HOU@BOS Gm 3: Bill Miller. 102/102 Balls + 42/48 Strikes = 144/150 = 96.0%. +0 Neutral.

- 10/19 ATL@LAD Gm 3: Jerry Meals. 133/135 Balls + 57/62 Strikes = 190/197 = 96.4%. +5 LAD.
- 10/19 HOU@BOS Gm 4: Laz Diaz. 120/124 Balls + 33/46 Strikes = 153/170 = 90.0%. +1 HOU.

- 10/20 HOU@BOS Gm 5: Dan Iassogna. 102/104 Balls + 33/37 Strikes = 135/141 = 95.7%. +4 HOU.
- 10/20 ATL@LAD Gm 4: James Hoye. 91/92 Balls + 43/44 Strikes = 134/136 = 98.5%. +0 Neutral.

- 10/21 ATL@LAD Gm 5: Mark Carlson. 91/92 Balls + 51/54 Strikes = 142/146 = 97.3%. +0 Neutral.

- 10/22 BOS@HOU Gm 6: Jim Wolf. 84/86 Balls + 43/45 Strikes = 127/131 = 96.9%. +4 HOU.

- 10/23 LAD@ATL Gm 6: Lance Barksdale. 100/102 Balls + 46/48 Strikes = 146/150 = 97.3%. +2 LAD.

Note: The highest plate score during the 2020 ALCS/NLCS was John Tumpane's 99.3% (ALCS 2).
The highest overall plate score during the 2020 Postseason was Jordan Baker's 99.4% (ALWC 1).

Monday, October 18, 2021

Teachable - Baker's Barker on Braves' Safe Play at Home

In this postseason, teachable, Tmac spotlights the first part of Atlanta's NLCS Game 2 comeback win over Los Angeles as HP Umpire Jordan Baker rules Braves baserunner Eddie Rosario safe at home plate, having slid ahead of Dodgers catcher Will Smith's tag attempt, a called confirmed by Replay Review.

With one out and one on (R2) in the 8th inning, Braves batter Ozzie Albies hit a Julio Urias curveball on a line drive to right fielder Steven Souza, who fielded the batted ball on a bounce and threw home as runner R2 Rosario rounded third and charged toward the plate. 

We see HP Umpire Baker begin the play at the point of plate before moving toward his left for an intermediate starting position, and then finally sidestepping toward the first baseline in order to maintain the wedge or keyhole angle of daylight between the catcher and runner.

Video as follows:

Friday, October 15, 2021

2021 AL & NL Championship Series Umpire Roster

Major League Baseball assigned 14 umpires to the 2021 American and National League Championship Series round of MLB's postseason, with crew chief Bill Miller working the ALCS and Jerry Meals presiding over the NLCS. The 7th umpire assigned to each crew will serve in a reserve or standby capacity and not travel to/from Replay Review during the postseason. Instead, the umpire rotation shall be as follows: Game 1: HP; Game 2: RF; Game 3: LF; Game 4: 3B; Game 5: 2B; Game 6: 1B; Game 7: Reserve/Off.

Crew Chiefs are indicated in bold text and by the -cc suffix with regular season crew chiefs denoted by an asterisk (*) while those working their first League Championship Series will be noted with a ^ mark.

AL Lg Championship Series (Boston Red Sox @ Houston Astros) Umpires:
HP: David Rackley^
1B: Bill Miller* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
2B: Laz Diaz [Game 4 Plate]
3B: Dan Iassogna* [Game 5 Plate]
LF: Jim Wolf [Game 6 Plate]
RF: Alan Porter [Game 7 Plate]
Reserve/Off: Rob Drake [Game 2 Plate]

NL Lg Championship Series (Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves) Umpires:
HP: Tripp Gibson^
1B: Jerry Meals* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
2B: James Hoye [Game 4 Plate]
3B: Mark Carlson* [Game 5 Plate]
LF: Lance Barksdale [Game 6 Plate]
RF: Todd Tichenor [Game 7 Plate]
Reserve/Off: Jordan Baker^ [Game 2 Plate]

Replay Review: Cory Blaser, Marvin Hudson, Nic Lentz.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Discussion of 2021 AL and NL Division Series

Join us for discussion of the 2021 American and National League Division Series: As we have done in the past, we will post UEFL f/x plate scores for every home plate umpire this postseason.

Performance plate scores are listed following the completion of each contest according to UEFL f/x (StatCast data and application of UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a [horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule"] and 6-2-b-b [vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"]) for called strikes and balls. Foul balls, swinging strikes, balls put in play, automatic balls, pitchouts, and hit-by-pitches are excluded from the analysis. Click here to learn how UEFL f/x 3.0 plate scores work.

 
- 10/7 CWS@HOU Gm 1: Adam Hamari. 112/114 Balls + 42/51 Strikes = 154/165 = 93.3%. +1 HOU.
- 10/7 BOS@TB Gm 1: Dan Bellino. 90/95 Balls + 44/45 Strikes = 134/140 = 95.7%. +2 TB.

- 10/8 CWS@HOU Gm 2: Chris Conroy. 100/101 Balls + 43/44 Strikes = 143/145 = 98.6%. +0 Neutral.
- 10/8 ATL@MIL Gm 1: Mike Estabrook. 87/90 Balls + 32/35 Strikes = 119/125 = 95.2%. +2 MIL.
- 10/8 BOS@TB Gm 2: DJ Reyburn. 108/108 Balls + 46/49 Strikes = 154/157 = 98.1%. +3 BOS.
- 10/8 LAD@SF Gm 1: Carlos Torres. 69/70 Balls + 37/41 Strikes = 106/111 = 95.5%. +5 SF.

- 10/9 ATL@MIL Gm 2: Mike Muchlinski. 92/93 Balls + 49/53 Strikes = 141/146 = 96.6%. +1 MIL.
- 10/9 LAD@SF Gm 2: Angel Hernandez. 87/88 Balls + 41/46 Strikes = 128/134 = 95.5%. +0 Neutral.

- 10/10 TB@BOS Gm 3: Sam Holbrook. 116/120 Balls + 49/54 Strikes = 165/174 = 94.8%. +1 BOS.
- 10/10 HOU@CWS Gm 3: Tom Hallion. 134/139 Balls + 42/51 Strikes = 176/190 = 92.6%. +4 CWS.

- 10/11 MIL@ATL Gm 3: Alfonso Marquez. 90/91 Balls + 37/40 Strikes = 127/131 = 96.9%. +4 MIL.
- 10/11 TB@BOS Gm 4: Ron Kulpa. 73/75 Balls + 31/35 Strikes = 104/110 = 94.5%. +2 BOS.
- 10/11 SF@LAD Gm 3: Ted Barrett. 84/85 Balls + 39/46 Strikes = 123/131 = 93.9%. +4 LAD.

- 10/12 CWS@HOU Gm 4: Vic Carapazza. 117/120 Balls + 57/59 Strikes = 174/179 = 97.2%. +1 CWS.
- 10/12 MIL@ATL Gm 4: Tony Randazzo. 94/98 Balls + 46/50 Strikes = 140/148 = 94.6%. +2 ATL.
- 10/12 SF@LAD Gm 4: Pat Hoberg. 101/103 Balls + 41/42 Strikes = 142/145 = 97.9%. +1 LAD.

- 10/14 LAD@SF Gm 5: Doug Eddings. 86/87 Balls + 43/45 Strikes = 129/132 = 97.7%. +1 LAD.

Note: The highest plate score during the 2020 Division Series was Todd Tichenor's 98.0% (ALDS 4).
The highest overall plate score during the 2020 Postseason was Hoberg/Hudson/Miller's 98.7% (WC/WS).

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Brewers-Braves NLDS & Replay's Infield Fly Limitation

In Game 4 of the #Brewers-#Braves National League Division Series, umpires conducted a rules check on Adam Duvall's foul fly ball to Milwaukee third baseman Luis Urias behind home plate, deflected by catcher Omar Narvaez. The only problem? The play was unreviewable thanks to MLB's long-standing replay rules.

Ever since baseball first released its Replay Review Regulations in 2014, the question of what is and isn't reviewable has been a point of contention. While certain plays—pitchers intentionally throwing at batters or certain interference/obstruction calls—wisely are excluded from replay eligibility, there are others that are a little more curious. One of those? Fly balls in the infield.

Accordingly, as soon as Duvall's foul fly resulted in a diving catch by the glove of Urias, we knew that HP Umpire Tony Randazzo's out call would be unreviewable. And although the play occurred in the general vicinity of the screen behind home plate, we also knew it was nowhere near close enough to trigger a stadium boundary review.

Based on Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez's mechanics (which was to give no signal after removing the headsets to NY), it is quite apparent this play was not formally reviewed: the rules check simply established that Braves manager Brian Snitker's attempt to challenge the catch/no catch call was not a reviewable element of the play, even if the pop fly itself was high enough in the air that it was not one of those catch/no catch bullets hit down the first or third base line that Bud Selig made reference to in 2012. As the game evolves so too must replay.

Which returns us to our 2017 instant replay argument: let's make more things reviewable.

Video as follows:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sorry, Stros - RLI Doesn't Apply on Plays FROM First Base

When Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel's thrown ball toward home plate hit White Sox batter-runner Yasmani Grandal on the infield grass, Houston sought a runner's lane interference call, but HP Umpire Tom Hallion said the 45-foot line didn't matter for this play. Why is that?

With none out and runners at the corners in the 4th inning of Sunday's Houston-Chicago ALDS Game 3, White Sox batter Grandal hit a 0-1 changeup from Astros pitcher Zack Greinke on the ground to first baseman Gurriel, who threw home to make a play on White Sox baserunner R3 Luis Robert. Gurriel's throw hit Grandal and deflected past catcher Martin Maldonado, allowing Robert to score and runner R1 Jose Abreu to advance to third base.

After the play, Houston campaigned for a call, but after conference, the umpires opted not to rule Grandal out for interference. There are two kinds of interference that came up in Hallion's subsequent discussion with Houston manager Dusty Baker.

The first is runner's lane interference, or Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11), which states, in part, "In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base," the runner isn't within the lane, etc. I stopped after the first phrase because we already have our answer as to why RLI doesn't apply: the ball was not "being field TO first base": it was being thrown FROM first base. That's how simple it is to explain why RLI, and thus the runner's lane itself, doesn't matter here. You'll recall every time we've discussed RLI, it's been on a play TO first base, and now you know why.

As for interference with a thrown ball, OBR 6.01(a)(10) states that a runner can be declared out for two reasons: "fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball." Just like RLI, the rule gives us our answer. This is not a batted ball, but a thrown ball, which means the interference must be intentional. Simply running on the grass or otherwise is not on its own sufficient to establish this level of intent—Hallion gave an elbow/chicken wing gesture while talking with Baker to demonstrate what would signify intent—and for that reason, umpires declined to call interference.

Finally, as we have stated many times over the years, the baseline is irrelevant here and the base path three-foot rule also does not apply because the base path rule only applies when a fielder is attempting to tag the runner.

Video as follows:

Rays Lose Run, Game After Batted Ball Deflection Rule

Tampa Bay lost a run, then the game, in the 13th inning against Boston during Game 3 of the Rays-Red Sox ALDS when batter Kevin Kiermaier's fly ball to left-center field deflected off BoSox outfielder Hunter Renfroe and over the wall. Did umpires get the call right, by rule? Especially given that Rays baserunner R1 Yandy Diaz appeared poised to score as the ball left the playing field on the deflection...

To recap, with two out and one on (R1) in the top of the 13th, Rays batter Kiermaier hit a 3-2 slider from Red Sox pitcher Nick Pavetta to deep right-center field, where the batted ball hit the outfield wall and then the dirt warning track before bouncing into outfielder Renfroe, after which the ball deflected over the wall and out of play. Initially ruled a two-base award by RF Umpire DJ Reyburn, Crew Chief Sam Holbrook signaled affirmation of the call following a Replay Review.

The relevant rule is Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(4)(H) and its corresponding MLB Umpire Manual Interpretation, which describes this precise scenario: "If a fair ball not in flight is deflected by a fielder and then goes out of play, the award is two bases from the time of the pitch."

There you have it: it's a two-base award from time of pitch ("TOP")—no umpire discretion as to runner placement. As soon as the umpires determine the fair ball not in flight was deflected by a fielder out of play, the award must be two bases from TOP—R1 Diaz to third and BR Kiermaier to second. Tough break for Tampa Bay (especially when Boston's Christian Vazquez hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the frame).

A somewhat (but not exactly) similar play occurred at Fenway Park at the same short outfield wall in front of the left field bullpen back in 2019 as Boston defeated Cleveland. During that game, Boston batter JD Martinez hit a fly ball that first struck the wall before rebounding onto Indians outfielder Oscar Mercado, then deflecting out of play into the fair-territory bullpen.

And, for good measure, in July 2019, Rays left fielder Tommy Pham deflected Blue Jays batter Freddy Galvis' not-in-flight fly ball into the stands, resulting in a two bases-from-TOP award. The rule, which oddly enough affected both Boston and Tampa Bay in 2019, continues to prescribe a two-base award without further runner placement consideration.
Related PostFair Deflection Out of Play - 2 Bases from TOP (7/27/19).

Video as follows:

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Ask the UEFL - Laz Diaz's Postseason Base Touch Replay

When Cardinals batter Yadier Molina hit a fly ball to left field during the 2021 NL Wild Card Game, baserunner R1 Dylan Carlson rounded second base, only to retreat back to first base as Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor caught the ball. Los Angeles then appealed Carlson's base touch/retouch with 2B Umpire Laz Diaz's safe call upheld following Replay Review.

Although the crowd boo'd as Crew Chief Joe West signaled the decision—as did many of you who sent us a note asking us to cover this play—this call was correct due to the very definition of call stands, which is a Replay Review outcome that occurs when video evidence fails to clearly and convincingly prove whether (in this case) a runner was safe or out—whether the runner touched or failed to touch second base on the last time by going back to first base.

For what it's worth, the official definition of Call Stands is: "No clear and convincing evidence to confirm or overturn the call."

Video as follows:

2021 AL & NL Division Series Umpire Roster

Major League Baseball assigned 24 umpires to the 2021 American and National League Division Series round of MLB's postseason, with crew chiefs Sam Holbrook and Tom Hallion in the ALDS. Ted Barrett and Alfonso Marquez head up the NLDS crews.

Crew Chiefs are indicated in bold text and by the -cc suffix with regular season crew chiefs denoted by an asterisk (*) while those working their first Division Series will be noted with a ^1st DS^ mark.

Notable regarding the ejections, tally, the Tampa Bay Rays (ALDS A) are the only team in baseball not to have experienced an ejection in 2021. This is the first time a team has gone ejection-less since Dusty Baker managed the Cincinnati Reds in 2013.

AL Division Series A (Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays) Umpires:
HP: Dan Bellino
1B: DJ Reyburn [Game 2 Plate]
2B: Sam Holbrook* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
3B: Ron Kulpa [Game 4 Plate]
LF: Greg Gibson [Game 5 Plate]
RF: Brian Knight

AL Division Series B (Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros) Umpires:
HP: Adam Hamari ^1st DS^
1B: Chris Conroy [Game 2 Plate]
2B: Tom Hallion* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
3B: Vic Carapazza [Game 4 Plate]
LF: Chad Fairchild [Game 5 Plate]
RF: Lance Barrett

NL Division Series A (Los Angeles Dodgers @ San Francisco Giants) Umpires:
HP: Carlos Torres ^1st DS^
1B: Angel Hernandez [Game 2 Plate]
2B: Ted Barrett* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
3B: Pat Hoberg [Game 4 Plate]
LF: Doug Eddings [Game 5 Plate]
RF: Gabe Morales ^1st DS^

NL Division Series B (Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers) Umpires:
HP: Mike Estabrook
1B: Mike Muchlinski [Game 2 Plate]
2B: Alfonso Marquez* -cc [Game 3 Plate]
3B: Tony Randazzo [Game 4 Plate]
LF: Will Little [Game 5 Plate]
RF: Quinn Wolcott

Replay Review: Fieldin Culbreth*, CB Bucknor, Chris Guccione, Adrian Johnson.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Discussion of 2021 AL and NL Wild Card Games

Join us for discussion of the 2021 American and National League Wild Card Games: Any and everything that happens during these winner-take-all affairs is fair game, and, of course, we will post UEFL f/x plate scores for every home plate umpire this postseason.

Performance plate scores are listed following the completion of each contest according to UEFL f/x (StatCast data and application of UEFL Rules 6-2-b-a [horizontal bound, "Kulpa Rule"] and 6-2-b-b [vertical strike zone, "Miller Rule"]) for called strikes and balls. Foul balls, swinging strikes, balls put in play, automatic balls, pitchouts, and hit-by-pitches are excluded from the analysis. Click here to learn how UEFL f/x 3.0 plate scores work.


- 10/5 NYY@BOS Gm 1: Mark Carlson. 90/91 Balls + 37/42 Strikes = 127/133 = 95.5%. +2 NYY.

- 10/6 STL@LAD Gm 1: Joe West. 117/117 Balls + 47/49 Strikes = 164/166 = 98.8%. +0 Neutral.

Note: The highest plate score during the 2020 Wild Card Series was Pat Hoberg's 98.7% (NLWC 1).
The highest overall plate score during the 2020 Postseason was Hoberg/Hudson/Miller's 98.7% (WC/WS).

Monday, October 4, 2021

2021 AL & NL Wild Card Game Umpire Roster

Major League Baseball assigned 12 umpires to the 2021 American and National League Wild Card Game round of the MLB postseason featuring Yankees-Red Sox (AL) and Cardinals-Dodgers (NL) matchups. Joe West works what possibly is his final career plate game at the major league level in Los Angeles while Jerry Meals will serve as crew chief in Boston.

Crew Chiefs are indicated in bold text and by the -cc suffix with regular season crew chiefs denoted by an asterisk (*) while those working their first postseason will be noted with a ^1st^ mark.

AL Wild Card (New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox) Umpires:
HP: Mark Carlson*
1B: James Hoye
2B: Jerry Meals* -cc
3B: Jordan Baker
LF: Ryan Blakney ^1st^
RF: Jansen Visconti ^1st^

NL Wild Card (St Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers) Umpires:
HP: Joe West* -cc
1B: Alan Porter
2B: Laz Diaz
3B: Jim Wolf
LF: Chris Segal ^1st^
RF: Ramon De Jesus ^1st^

Replay Review: Stu Scheurwater, Larry Vanover.

Sept 2021 Call of the Month - Ben May is Safe at Second

Tmac
's September 2021 Call of the Month actually took place on October 1 as 2B Umpire Ben May called White Sox batter-runner Tim Anderson safe at second base while sliding away from Tigers infielder Willi Castro's lunging tag attempt.

With runners on second and third base and none out, White Sox batter Anderson hit a ground ball into left-center field and as Detroit threw toward home plate, Anderson ran toward second base. Upon the cut-off throw being redirected to Castro at second base, Anderson's swim-slide produced a series of close tag attempts and misses as Anderson tried to maintain contact with the bag.

Video as follows:

Sunday, October 3, 2021

MLB Ejection 189 - Manny Gonzalez (7; Derek Shelton)

1B Umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Pirates manager Derek Shelton (Replay Review call that overturned 2B Umpire Randy Rosenberg's base touch call; QOCY) in the top of the 5th inning of the #Reds-#Pirates game. With one out and one on, Reds batter Max Schrock hit a 0-2 curveball from Pirate pitcher Cody Ponce on a line drive to Pirates right fielder Yoshi Tsutsugo as Reds baserunner R1 Jonathan India rounded second and advanced to third base while Schrock rounded first and advanced to second base. After the play, Pittsburgh appealed that runner R1 India failed to touch second base properly his last time by, affirmed as an out (failure to touch a base) by 2B Umpire Rosenberg. Following Replay Review as the result of a manager's challenge by Reds manager Bryan Price alleging India properly touched second base when passing it, Rosenberg's call was overturned to safe. Replays indicate the runner touched the base and was legal upon leaving the base to advance to third base, the overturned call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 1-1. The Reds ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

This is Manny Gonzalez (79)'s 7th ejection of 2021.
Manny Gonzalez now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 10).
Crew Chief Manny Gonzalez now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*Passing a base is found in Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(1) and the MLB Umpire Manual: "A runner is considered to have passed a base if they have both feet on the ground beyond the back edge of the base or beyond the edge of the base in the direction in which they are advancing."

This is the 189th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 85th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Pittsburgh's 4th ejection of 2021, T-4th in the NL Central (MIL 16; CIN 12; CHC 8; PIT, STL 4).
This is Derek Shelton's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st since June 1 (Dan Bellino; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Manny Gonzalez' 7th ejection of 2021, 1st since Sept 25 (Don Mattingly; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Angel Hernandez Flips Into Dugout on Final Day of Season

Assigned to home plate duties on the final day of the MLB regular season, umpire Angel Hernandez flipped into the Tampa Bay dugout while making a call on Yankees SS Gio Urshela's catch attempt of Rays batter Austin Meadow's 6th inning foul ball.

While looking for Call of the Month material for September (plus the three regular season games in October), tmac thought to highlight this humorous dedication to finding a position and angle to get the call right.

This isn't the first time Hernandez has gotten in the middle of the action off the playing field. Back in 2012, we spotlighted Hernandez's hustle to officiate a boundary play as Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher attempted to catch a foul fly ball in the right field stands (unfortunately video has since been pulled).
Related PostYankee Stadium Boundary Catch Part II: Hernandez Hustle (10/11/12).

Video as follows:

Gerry Davis Retires After Umpiring 5,000th Game

Gerry Davis, MLB's second senior-most umpire, retired after officiating his 5,000th career major league game during Sunday afternoon's Cubs-Cardinals regular season finale. Born in St Louis, Davis began his professional career in the National League on June 9, 1982, and 40 years later retires from baseball with the most all-time postseason games ever officiated.

Davis' postseason resume of 26 years includes three Wild Card Games, 13 Division Series, 11 League Championship Series, and six World Series. Davis has served as a major league umpire long enough to eject Brad Ausmus both as a player in 1994 and as a manager in 2015.

After opting out of MLB's COVID 2020 season, Davis delayed his 2021 debut, needing just 43 games to achieve the 5,000 milestone. After joining all-time games worked leader Joe West's crew to work one last time with the Blue Cowboy several days prior, Davis sat out Friday and Saturday's games, needing just one game to reach 5,000—Sunday's.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Injury Scout - Chris Guccione Leaves Game in Toronto

HP Umpire Chris Guccione exited Saturday's #Orioles-#BlueJays game in Toronto following the top of the 3rd inning. According to the Blue Jays broadcast, Guccione left the field due to an accelerated heart rate.

Guccione approached Blue Jays staff following the final out of Baltimore's 3rd inning and was taken to the home team's clubhouse for further evaluation and treatment. After a delay, 2B Umpire Chris Conroy replaced Guccione behind home plate with 1B Umpire and Crew Chief Mark Wegner staying at first base and 3B Umpire Alan Porter remaining at third base as the crew completed the game with three umpires.

Relevant Injury History: There is no relevant injury history.

Last Game: Oct 2 | Return to Play: 2022 | Time Absent: Rest of Season | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 188 - Phil Cuzzi (4; Jordy Mercer)

HP Umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected Nationals 2B Jordy Mercer (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the #RedSox-#Nationals game. With two out and the bases loaded, Mercer took a 2-2 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Ryan Brasier for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and thigh-high (px 0.20, pz 1.71 [sz_bot 1.60 / RAD 1.48]) and that all other pitches were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Red Sox were leading, 1-0. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

This is Phil Cuzzi (10)'s 4th ejection of 2021.
Phil Cuzzi now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 10).
Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth now has 5 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 1 QOCY = 5).
*This pitch was located 3.79 vertical inches from being deemed an incorrect call.

This is the 188th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 76th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Mercer was 0-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Washington's 8th ejection of 2021, 3rd in the NL East (MIA 10; PHI 9; WAS 8; NYM 7; ATL 1).
This is Jordy Mercer's first career MLB ejection.
This is Phil Cuzzi's 4th ejection of 2021, 1st since Sept 18 (Jayce Tingler; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals, 10/2/21 | Video as follows:

Friday, October 1, 2021

Brian Gorman Announces Retirement Prior to Final Game

30-year NL and MLB umpire Brian Gorman officiated his final regular season game in Los Angeles Thursday night vs San Diego. The veteran of more than 3,400 career games will retire at the end of 2021.

Gorman was born in New York and worked his first major league game in the National League on April 24, 1991. After opting out of MLB's modified 2020 season, Gorman returned in 2021 to complete his career. With one Wild Card Game, 10 Division Series, seven League Championship Series, and three World Series, Gorman's postseason experience could still land him a spot on a big league field during the 2021 postseason.

As stated on the Dodgers' broadcast, Gorman traveled to St Louis to watch Gerry Davis work his 5,000th career (regular + post-season) game during Sunday's Cubs-Cardinals 2021 regular season finale. Davis, the league's second senior-most umpire, and Joe West, who has officiated the most games in major league history, were placed on the same crew for the penultimate series of the regular season as they prepare for their own retirements from baseball. After Thursday's Brewers-Cardinals game, West traveled to San Francisco to close out the regular season with Padres-Giants.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Teachable - Hallion Hustle on Sliding Tag Play in Chicago

When Chicago walked off a day after umpire Tom Hallion ejected Cubs interim manager Andy Green in David Ross' absence, it was Hallion at first base who ruled batter-runner Frank Schwindel safe, having eluded Pirates first baseman Colin Moran's tag attempt. The call was upheld following Replay Review.

Tmac turns Hallion's hustle into a teachable moment as the crew chief demonstrates the principles of how getting into position to find the keyhole angle helps make for more accurate calls. In this situation, Hallion runs in toward first base, in fair territory roughly parallel to the right field foul line, and sells the safe call with repeated mechanics for this game-ending play.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Foul Ball vs HBP vs Swinging (Dead Ball) Strike - Herrera

When Phillies batter Odubel Herrera pulled his bat back from a bunt attempt as Mets pitcher Brad Hand's offering ran in, HP Umpire CB Bucknor faced one of baseball's most difficult calls: deciphering whether the result was a foul ball, hit-by-pitch, or dead ball strike due to the batter's attempt to strike the ball.

Tmac breaks down the play as it occurred, with Herrera dropping the bat as the pitch arrived, and the ball first contacting Herrera's person before then making contact with the discarded bat on its way to the ground, producing a distinct sound of a ball hitting a bat, but as Replay Review would show, the primary point of contact (the first point of contact) was the ball hitting Herrera's hand as Herrera attempted to avoid the pitch (as opposed to failing to check a swing or attempting to bunt it), meaning that Herrera was awarded first base with a hit-by-pitch.

Video as follows:

Monday, September 27, 2021

MLB Ejections 186-187 - Lance Barrett (5-6; CWS x2)

HP Umpire Lance Barrett ejected White Sox bench coach Miguel Cairo and bench player Tim Anderson (USC-NEC following Jose Abreu's HBP by Alex Lange and preceding a benches-clearing incident) in the top of the 9th inning of the #WhiteSox-#Tigers game. With one out and none on, Tigers batter Abreu took a 0-2 fastball from Tigers pitcher Lange for a hit-by-pitch. Replays indicate the pitch was located off inside and struck Abreu on the left elbow. Upon arriving at first base, Abreu attempted to steal second on a pitch in the dirt and while being thrown out by Tigers catcher Eric Haase, slid into shortstop Niko Goodrum, resulting in a benches-clearing incident during which 2B Umpire Tim Timmons appeared to restrain Abreu from fighting, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the White Sox were leading, 8-7. The White Sox ultimately won the contest, 8-7.

These are is Lance Barrett (16)'s 5th and 6th ejections of 2021.
Lance Barrett now has 22 points in the UEFL Standings (18 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 0 Irrecusable] = 22).
Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez now has 13 points in Crew Division (11 Previous + 2 QOCU = 13).

These are the 186th and 187th reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 75th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Anderson did not participate in the contest.
This is Chicago's 9/10th ejection of 2021, 1st in the AL Central (CWS 10; KC, MIN 5; CLE, DET 2).
This is Miguel Cairo's 1st ejection since July 16, 2012 (Dan Bellino; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).
This is Tim Anderson's 2nd ejection of 2021, 1st since July 23 (John Libka; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Lance Barrett's 5th ejection of 2021, 1st since August 8 (Scott Servais; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers, 9/27/21 | Video as follows:

Sunday, September 26, 2021

MLB Ejection 185 - Bill Miller (4; Mike Shildt)

HP Umpire Bill Miller ejected Cardinals manager Mike Shildt (infield fly rule/changed out/safe/"Time" call by 2B Umpire Doug Eddings; QOCN) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #Cardinals-#Cubs game. With one out and two on (R1, R2), Cubs batter Frank Schwindel hit a 1-0 slider from Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos in the air along the third-base line, dropped in fair territory and ruled an infield fly as Cubs baserunners R2 Austin Romine advanced to third base and R1 Rafael Ortega advanced to second base. Replays indicate the batted ball fit the criteria of an infield fly (less than two out, R1 & R2, fair fly ball that could have been caught by an infielder employing ordinary effort) and that the Cardinals fielders tagged the bases, as in a force play, instead of tagging the runners, but also tagged Cubs runner Ortega after Ortega stepped off second base; although 2B Umpire Eddings called "Time" prior to the tag out (and no runner may be tagged out in this fashion while the ball is dead), the play was not subject to being declared dead in accordance with OBR 5.12 (Calling "Time"), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Cardinals were leading, 4-2. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

This is Bill Miller (26)'s 4th ejection of 2021.
Bill Miller now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (8 Prev + 2 MLB - 2 Incorrect-Crewmate = 8).
Crew Chief Bill Miller now has 7 points in Crew Division (7 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 7).

This is the 185th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 84th manager ejection of 2021.
This is St Louis' 4th ejection of 2021, 4th in the NL Central (MIL 16; CIN 12; CHC 8; STL 4; PIT 3).
This is Mike Shildt's 5th ejection of 2021, 1st since July 25 (Ron Kulpa; QOC = N [Replay Review]).
This is Bill Miller's 4th ejection of 2021, 1st since July 20 (Joe Maddon; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: St Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs, 9/26/21 | Video as follows:

Saturday, September 25, 2021

MLB Ejections 183-184 - Manny Gonzalez (5, 6; MIA x2)

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Marlins 3B Eddy Alvarez and manager Don Mattingly (strike three call; QOCN) in the top of the 8th inning of the #Marlins-#Rays game. With two out and one on (R1), Marlins batter Alvarez took a 1-2 fastball from Rays pitcher JP Feyereisen for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and above the upper midpoint (px 0.09, pz 3.69 [sz_top 3.05 / RAD 3.17 / MOE 3.26]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 5-3. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 7-3.


These are Manny Gonzalez (79)'s 5th and 6th ejections of 2021.
Manny Gonzalez now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (10 Prev + 2*[2 MLB - 4 QOCN] = 6).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has 3 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 0 Incorrect Call = 3).
*This pitch was located 5.16 vertical inches from being deemed a correct call.

These are the 183rd and 184th ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 74th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Alvarez was 0-4 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is the 83rd manager ejection of 2021.
This is Miami's 9/10th ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL East (MIA 10; PHI 9; NYM, WAS 7; ATL 1).
This is Eddy Alvarez's first career MLB ejection.
This is Don Mattingly's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st since July 2 (Dan Iassogna; QOC = U [Throwing At]).
This is Manny Gonzalez's 5/6th ejection of 2021, 1st since July 31 (Jayce Tingler; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 9/25/21 | Video as follows:

Friday, September 24, 2021

MLB Ejection 182 - John Libka (6; Bryan De La Cruz)

HP Umpire John Libka ejected Marlins CF Bryan De La Cruz (check swing strike three call by 1B Umpire Manny Gonzalez) in the top of the 1st inning of the #Marlins-#Rays game. With two out and none on, De La Cruz attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 knuckle curve from Rays pitcher David Robertson, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Libka and a swinging third strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Gonzalez. Call was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board (7-0), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 8-0.

This is John Libka (84)'s 6th ejection of 2021.
John Libka now has 23 points in the UEFL Standings (20 Previous + 2 AAA + 1 Call-Crewmate = 23).
Crew Chief Jeff Nelson now has 4 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 1 Call = 4).

This is the 182nd ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 73rd player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, De La Cruz was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Miami's 8th ejection of 2021, 2nd in the NL East (PHI 9; MIA 8; NYM, WAS 7; ATL 1).
This is Bryan De La Cruz's first career MLB ejection.
This is John Libka's 6th ejection of 2021, 1st since July 23 (Tim Anderson; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 9/24/21 | Video as follows:

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Passing Runners - When a Home Run Becomes a Single

In this passing runners Teachable Moment, tmac reviews 1B Umpire Sam Holbrook's out call on batter-runner Adam Duvall after an apparent home run when Braves baserunner R1 Austin Riley, by jogging back toward first base, enabled Duvall to inadvertently pass a preceding runner, comparing this play to Robin Ventura's grand slam single from Game 5 of the 1999 Braves-Mets National League Championship Series when Ventura was declared out for passing preceding New York runner Todd Pratt.

The relevant rule itself is Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(9), which states that a runner is out when "they pass a preceding runner before such runner is out." The rule's comment goes on to clarify that "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."

The rule applies during any live ball period as well as any dead ball period in which ordinary base-running rules and responsibilities are in effect (e.g., during a home run or "ground rule" double base award, as opposed to during a foul ball, when the rule does not apply because no bases are being run and no runners are advancing once the ball is declared foul).

Because Duvall passed Riley after touching first base but before reaching second, Duvall is credited with a single. Had there been two outs when Duvall hit the not-quite-a-HR, the passing call for the inning's third out would result in a time play for any potential runs scoring.

For more information, refer to our previous series on passing runners.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

MLB Ejections 180-181 - Greg Gibson (6-7; OAK x2)

HP Umpire Greg Gibson ejected A's bench coach Ryan Christenson and manager Bob Melvin (foul ball no-call; QOCN) in the top of the 6th inning of the #Mariners-#Athletics game. With one out and one on (R1), Mariners batter Dylan Moore attempted to check his swing on a 0-2 sinker from A's pitcher Geolis Guerra as Mariners baserunner R1 Jared Kelenic attempted to steal second base, ruled ball two. Replays indicate that Moore's bat made contact with the pitched ball and that A's catcher Sean Murphy did not catch the ball (it was not a foul tip), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejections, the Mariners were leading, 3-1. The Mariners ultimately won the contest, 4-1.

These are Greg Gibson (53)'s sixth and seventh ejections of 2021.
Greg Gibson now has 8 points in the UEFL Standings (12 Prev + 2*[2 MLB - 4 Incorrect Call] = 8).
Crew Chief Greg Gibson now has 4 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 0 Incorrect Calls = 4).

These are the 180th and 181st ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 82nd manager ejection of 2021.
This is Oakland's 7/8th ejection of 2021, 1st in the AL West (OAK 8; SEA 5; HOU, TEX 4; LAA 3).
This is Ryan Christenson's first career MLB ejection.
This is Bob Melvin's 6th ejection of 2021, 1st since Sept 18 (James Hoye; QOC = Y-c [Replay Review]).
This is Greg Gibson's 6/7th ejection of 2021, 1st since Sept 11 (Vance Wilson; QOC = U [USC-NEC]).

MLB Ejections 178-179 - Joe West (3-4; TOR x2)

3B Umpire Joe West ejected Blue Jays pitcher Ryan Borucki and pitching coach Pete Walker (throwing at Rays batter Kevin Kiermaier) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the #BlueJays-#Rays game. With none out and none on, Rays batter Kiermaier took a first-pitch sinker from Borucki for a hit-by-pitch, resulting in a crew consultation and ejection for intentionally pitching at the batter. Replays indicate the pitch was located inside and struck Kiermaier in the mid-back, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the Rays were leading, 7-1. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 7-1.

These are Joe West (22)'s 3rd and 4th ejections of 2021.
Joe West now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Previous + 2*[2 MLB + 0 QOCU] = 5).
Crew Chief Joe West now has 3 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Calls = 3).

These are the 178th and 179th ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 72nd player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Borucki's line was 1.0 IP, H, HBP.
This is Toronto's 6/7th ejection of 2021, 2nd in the AL East (NYY 11; TOR 7; BOS 5; BAL 2; TB 0).
This is Ryan Borucki's first career MLB ejection.
This is Pete Walker's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st since August 24 (Mark Carlson; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Joe West's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st since May 26 (Mike Shildt; QOC = U [Foreign Substance]).