Saturday, August 7, 2021

Red Sox vs Blue Jays - Missed Base & Missed Appeal

Saturday's #RedSox-#BlueJays game in Toronto featured an interesting Replay Review challenge care of Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo after Red Sox batter-runner Alex Verdugo appeared to miss first base as Jays 1B Lourdes Gurriel also missed the base, at least initially. Appeal play says what?

Play: With one out and two on (R1, R2), Boston batter Verdugo hit a ground ball to Toronto third baseman Santiago Espinal, who threw to second baseman Marcus Semien to retire baserunner R1 Jonathan Arauz. Semien's throw to first base in an attempt to complete the double play was low and as first baseman Gurriel reached to catch the baseball, he broke contact with first base. Meanwhile, as Verdugo ran past first base, he too failed to touch the base. Gurriel, pivoting around to check on the remaining baserunner R2 Bobby Dalbec, then inadvertently touched first base with his foot while holding the baseball in glove.

Call: 1B Umpire Doug Eddings ruled Verdugo safe at first base, a call confirmed via Replay Review. But if Verdugo didn't touch first base, why was the call confirmed?

Rules Review & The Question of Timing
: Though it may surprise some fans, Official Baseball Rule 5.05(b)(3) Comment governs this play and has been on the books for decades: "If the batter-runner misses first base, or a runner misses their next base, they shall be considered as having reached the base."

There you have it—Montoyo's challenge was about the safe/out call at first base, but, by rule—OBR 5.05(b)(3) to be precise—the runner is deemed to have reached the base, and this action occurred prior to the defense tagging first base.

This is a situation in which the runner's touch is, surprisingly, not relevant whereas the fielder's touch (to signify a tag of the base) is of tantamount importance.

Missed Base Appeal (No Appeal Filed)
: Instead, we now have a situation of a runner missing a base, which, pursuant to OBR 5.09(c)(2) is an appeal play: "Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when—With the ball in play, while advancing or returning to a base, they fail to touch each base in order before they, or a missed base, are tagged."

Gurriel's foot inadvertently touching/tagging first base is not a valid appeal. In order for Gurriel's appeal to be valid, Gurriel would have had to signal the umpire that he was specifically appealing Verdugo's failure to touch first base. Because Toronto failed to file a valid appeal before Verdugo returned to touch first base after having overrun it, Verdugo is deemed to have corrected his missed base infraction pursuant to the MLB Umpire Manual's "last time by" interpretation in which a runner corrects an infraction committed seconds earlier at the same base by running the bases properly (e.g., touching  the base) on his "last time by" the base (or in this case, more of a "last time standing on" scenario).

TLDR: Verdugo beat the play at first base and was ruled safe via Replay Review pursuant to OBR 5.05(b)(3). Toronto failed to appeal Verdugo's failure to touch first base, as in OBR 5.09(c)(2), and Verdugo corrected the missed base infraction by returning to first base prior to a defensive appeal (which was never filed).

Video as follows:

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Atlantic League Introduces 61' 6" Mound Experiment

The Atlantic League, one of MLB's partner leagues, introduced a new experiment this August, moving the pitching rubber back a foot from the traditional 60' 6" mark to 61' 6".

We visit the York Revolution vs Lancaster Barnstormers game to see the ALPB's historic first pitch from an extra foot behind the former mound position.

As the broadcasters surmised, "This in conjunction with the ABS [Automated Ball/Strike System], it'll be interesting to see how the second half [of the season] plays out."

Unfortunately, Lancaster did not use ABS due to apparent technical difficulties with that system.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Injury Scout - Kerwin Danley Leaves Cubs-Rockies in 1st

HP Umpire Kerwin Danley left Wednesday's #Cubs-#Rockies game in Colorado due to an apparent back injury in the 1st inning.

With two out in the top of the 1st inning, during Cubs batter Ian Happ's at-bat vs Jon Gray, Danley appeared to signal his intent to leave the game at the conclusion of the half-inning, before appearing to suffer a mobility issue on the final pitch of the at-bat, Happ's swinging strikeout.

Danley was replaced behind home plate by 2B Umpire Roberto Ortiz while 1B Umpire CB Bucknor assumed Acting Crew Chief duties at first base and 3B Umpire Adam Hamari remained at third base.

Relevant Injury History: There is no relevant history, but this is Danley's second injury-exit of 2021.
On April 27, 2021, Danley left a Rockies-Giants game after a foul ball head injury.

Last Game: August 4 | Return to Play: August 24 | Time Absent: 19 Days | Video as follows:

Catcher Casali's Detached Equipment Violation (SF-ARI)

When San Francisco's Curt Casali stopped a slowly rolling baseball by using his catcher's mask, HP Umpire Chris Guccione called "Time" and awarded Arizona runners an extra base on the Giants' violation of detached equipment rule 5.06(b)(3)(E), leading to a brief argument and bringing manager Gabe Kapler out of the dugout for an explanation.

Play: With two out and two on in the Diamondbacks' half of the second inning vs SF, Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto's first pitch to D-Backs batter Asdrubal Cabrera bounced in the dirt around home plate, where it was blocked by Giants catcher Casali. Upon blocking the ball, it continued slowly rolling away so Casali, from a crouched position, removed his catcher's mask and used it to stop and cover the baseball.

: Umpire Guccione awarded Arizona runners one base each, ruling a violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(3)(E), which states, "Each runner, other than the batter, may without liability to be put out, advance one base when...A fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched."

Replays indicate Casali's action appeared to feature a deliberate use of detached equipment (the mask) to touch a pitched ball, meaning OBR 5.06(b)(3)(E) was applicable and each runner advanced a base as a result. Upon discussion with Giants Manager Gabe Kapler, after which followed consultation with the remainder of Chief Guccione's crew, the original ruling of detached equipment/pitched ball (one base award) prevailed.
Christian Vasquez's illegal touch in Boston.

Sidebar/Rules Myth: Despite social media or broadcast interference, this is NOT a "catcher's balk" nor does it have anything to do with the balk rule.

Related Rule: It should also be noted that pursuant to OBR 5.06(B)(4)(B), "each runner including the batter-runner may without liability to be out put, advance: Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril." For thrown balls, OBR 5.06(B)(4)(D) applies: "Two bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a thrown ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play."

In Sum: If a fielder deliberately touches a ball with detached equipment, the penalty is one base (if it was a pitched ball), two bases (if it was a thrown ball), or three bases (if it was a batted ball).

Video as follows:

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

MLB Ejection 122 - Stu Scheurwater (1; Luis Rojas)

HP Umpire Stu Scheurwater ejected Mets manager Luis Rojas (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Mets-#Marlins game. With two out and none on, Mets batter Brandon Nimmo took a 1-2 fastball from Marlins pitcher David Hess for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.48, pz 1.65 [sz_bot 1.60 / RAD 1.48]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Marlins were leading, 4-3. The Marlins ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

This is Stu Scheurwater (85)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Stu Scheurwater now has 1 point in the UEFL Standings (-3 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 1).
Crew Chief Ted Barrett now has 6 points in Crew Division (5 Previous + 1 QOCY = 6).

This is the 122nd ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 60th manager ejection of 2021.
This is New York's 6th ejection of 2021, T-1st in the NL East (MIA, NYM, PHI 6; WAS 2; ATL 0).
This is Luis Rojas' 4th ejection of 2021, 1st since July 18 (Jeremy Riggs; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).
This is Stu Scheurwater's 1st ejection since July 29, 2020 (Dante Bichette; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins, 8/3/21 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 121 - Adam Hamari (1; David Ross)

HP Umpire Adam Hamari ejected Cubs manager David Ross (strike one call; QOCY) in the top of the 2nd inning of the #Cubs-#Rockies game. With none out and one on (R1), Cubs batter Ian Happ took a first-pitch fastball from Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.16, pz 1.57 [sz_bot 1.53 / RAD 1.41]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 13-6.

This is Adam Hamari (78)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Adam Hamari now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Kerwin Danley now has 9 points in Crew Division (8 Previous + 1 QOCY = 9).
*This pitch was located 2.92 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 121st ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 59th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Chicago's 6th ejection of 2021, 3rd in the NL Central (MIL 9; CIN 8; CHC 6; STL 5; PIT 3).
This is David Ross' 4th ejection of 2021, 1st since July 5 (Nic Lentz; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Adam Hamari's 1st ejection since September 20, 2020 (Torey Lovullo; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs, 8/3/21 | Video as follows:

Monday, August 2, 2021

July 2021 Call of the Month - Nelson's HR/Foul/INT

A potential home run vs foul ball vs spectator interference play in St Louis is tmac's call of the month for July 2021 with 1B Umpire and Crew Chief Jeff Nelson officiating the action in the right field corner, a ruling affirmed by Replay Review.

Cardinals batter Paul Goldschmidt nearly hit a home run July 20 against Chicago, but 1B Umpire Nelson ruled the ball foul, determining that the batted ball had touched a fan in foul territory before deflecting into the foul pole atop the right field wall.

Replay Review confirmed the fan interference decision and the play serves as a reminder of the importance of getting set prior to a critical action, even if the area of contact is hundreds of feet away. We also revisit the case of Alfonso Marquez during a somewhat similar play in Anaheim from the 2017 season, in which the umpire taught the same lesson.
Related PostTmac's Teachable Moments - Standing Still (5/12/17).

Video as follows: