Friday, January 29, 2021

Teachable - Working the Play at 2B With Jeff Nelson

Our Tmac's Teachable Moments series continues with a look at how to stay with and adjust to work a thorny play at second base with 2020 ALCS 2B Umpire and Crew Chief Jeff Nelson.

With one out and a runner on first, a ground ball to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve turns into an improvisation exercise as Altuve initially misplays the batted ball, but quickly recovers to attempt to force out Rays baserunner Randy Arozarena at second base under the watchful eye of 2B Umpire Nelson.

The clue for an umpire in this situation—and mainly for smaller crews in which an umpire may initially consider splitting potential responsibilities between possible plays at either first or second base—is Altuve's direction after booting the baseball. 

Once the field umpire observes Altuve chase the ball toward the middle of the infield, one may surmise that the imminent play will most likely occur at second base, rather than first base and the idea of hedging one's bet by staying in the middle ground between first and second base should vanish: much like GameStop stock, it's all in toward second base.

Umpire Nelson adjusts his positioning accordingly and enters the keyhole angle to take this play at second base and keep an eye on the runner's legs while observing (in this case, visually due to the soft toss) the fielder's receipt of the throw. Ordinarily we may listen for the sound of the glove, but the closer the throwing fielder to the base, the less likely it is that the sound will be detectable, which means umpires must line themselves up to see both the foot on the base and ball in the glove, preferably along the same visual path to avoid having to dart eyes back and forth.

Video as follows:

Monday, January 25, 2021

Call for Questions - Podcast with Umpire Tim Tschida

As we prepare for a return to normalcy, announces Tim Tschida as our next guest on The Plate Meeting podcast. After his American League debut in 1985, the Minnesota-born umpire officiated AL and MLB games through his 2012 retirement, cataloging 3,358 regular season games and 86 ejections, with nine Division Series, three League Championship Series, and three World Series thrown in between.

Tschida, who ejected Lou Piniella and Cal Ripken early in his career before transforming into the most popular umpire-ejects-manager GIF on the internet with his 2012 ejection of Don Mattingly, retired to bartending in St. Paul, as chronicled in a local 2018 interview.

Tschida ejects Donnie Baseball.
Comment with your questions for Tschida, from baseball to bartending and beyond.

The Plate Meeting, a Left Field Umpire Podcast, Close Call Sports/UEFL's official audio show, features interviews and discussions of officiating topics with umpires.

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