Saturday, October 1, 2022

Phillies Lose Out After Backswing Interference Loophole, Get it Back After Wrong Count on Batter

A loophole in baseball's backswing interference rule nearly cost the Phillies an out in Washington, until HP Umpire Marvin Hudson lost track of the count, giving pitcher Zach Elfin an extra chance to strike out Nationals batter Victor Robles as Philadelphia defeated the Nats, 5-1, on Friday.

With two out and Nationals baserunner R2 Luis Garcia on second base, batter Victor Robles swung at and missed a 2-1 cutter from Phillies pitcher Elfin for a swinging strike as catcher JT Realmuto threw to second base in an attempt to pickoff runner R2 Garcia. Realmuto's initial throw did not retire the runner, but a rundown ensued during which it appeared as if Garcia ran out of the base path to avoid fielder Alec Bohm's tag.

Behind the play, HP Umpire Hudson, however, had called "Time" due to batter Robles' bat making contact with catcher Realmuto's hip on the backswing, an instance of follow-through contact. Pursuant to Official Baseball Rule 6.03(a) Comment, Garcia was returned to second base, safely: "If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard they carry the bat all the way around and, in the umpire’s judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of them on the backswing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play."

Sidebar: In NFHS/high school, follow-through interference results in an out; pro and NCAA/college do not consider this bona fide interference.

Because the catcher's initial throw did not retire the runner, pursuant to modern interpretation, "Time" is called and play halted; professional baseball does not allow a delayed dead ball situation here to extend past the "initial throw."

With Washington given a second chance, Robles took Elfin's subsequent 2-2 pitch for a called ball, and the next pitch after that for another called ball—but no one on the field seemed to notice that four balls had been thrown to Robles. As such, the count became 3-2 instead of an at-bat-ending 4-2, and with that extra pitch, Elfin struck out Robles...for a cumulative 4-3 count.

Ball/Strike count as well as number of outs and similar scorekeeping variables are reviewable via Crew Chief Review, but with uniformed personnel apparently unaware of the incorrect count, play continued with the improper count becoming the official count, allowing the strikeout to stand.

Video as follows:

Friday, September 30, 2022

Teachable - A Base Touch Rotation with John Tumpane

For this Teachable, we watch an umpiring rotation during Tigers batter Riley Greene's triple as Detroit hosted Minnesota. After 2B Umpire Marvin Hudson goes out on a fly ball to the gap, 3B Umpire John Tumpane runs to fill in the vacated second base position, watching for batter-runner Greene's touch of second base.

Behind the play, HP Umpire Ryan Blakney has also rotated up the foul line to prepare for a play into third base and 1B Umpire Charlie Ramos is prepared to rotate to home plate if need be.

With no runners, the 2B Umpire is obliged to go out on any ball the umpire senses may become a "trouble" ball—which is those that may be subject to interference, catch/no catch issues, or stadium boundary questions such as a ball getting stuck in a wall or bounding out of play.
Sidebar: The following Mets-Marlins play from September 11, 2022 is an example of what might transpire if a 2B Umpire opts not to pursue a ball into the outfield that does indeed become a trouble ball, creating an umpiring coverage vacuum in the outfield that ultimately sees the home plate umpire make a lodged ball call.

Thus, it is important that all umpires on the field be prepared to rotate to new positions for new responsibilities as play develops, as Hudson's crew does in Detroit—Tumpane becoming the umpire in the middle as the Twins unsuccessfully appealed a missed base, ruled safe by Tumpane, and upheld via Replay Review.

Video as follows:

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Jean Segura Thrown Out After Mistakenly Thinking Ball 3 Was Ball 4 - Reviewing The Umpire's Official Count

Phillies baserunner Jean Segura was thrown out between first and second base in Chicago after mistakenly thinking a 3-0 pitch had been called ball four when, in fact, it was a 2-0 pitch for ball three. HP Umpire Ted Barrett's and the Wrigley Field scoreboard's displayed counts conflicted and when an umpire's count conflicts with a broadcast or scoreboard, the umpire's version of events usually wins.

In baseball, stadium scoreboards are generally operated by the home team's entertainment or production department, as the modern Daktronics All Sport consoles (controllers) usually integrate with the overall show control system used to manage the video and LED boards around the facility.

And as fate would have it, this team-employed scoreboard operator rarely sits or communicates whatsoever with the actual MLB-trained stats stringer/datacaster, or the official scorer, who usually sits in the press box detached from the entertainment control room.

This approach differs from leagues such as the NHL, which employ off-ice officials to operate or sit with the scoreboard operator and are representatives (and paid by) the league itself, as opposed to the local team.

Nonetheless, the mistaken count—a ball was improperly added to begin Nick Maton's at-bat despite Cubs pitcher Javier Assad not throwing a single pitch (there was a pickoff attempt though)—made its way to both the scoreboard and Cubs television scorebug, but curiously not to the Phillies broadcast graphics (which presumably was independently controlled by a visiting TV operator)...although Philadelphia's broadcaster did refer to the scoreboard and give the incorrect count with such frequency that the independent away TV operator succumbed and incorrectly added a ball to the count, thus making it seem to most viewers that Maton had walked when in fact the count had simply reached 3-1.

With both broadcasts and the in-stadium scoreboard incorrectly adding a ball to the count, Segura was easily retired, with Barrett and 1B Umpire Charlie Ramos cognizant of the correct count.

When in doubt, refer to the on-field umpire, who carries a ball/strike/out indicator for just such a purpose.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

MLB Ejections 175-6 - Alan Porter (4-5; Rojas, Lovullo)

HP Umpire Alan Porter ejected Diamondbacks 3B Josh Rojas and manager Torey Lovullo (strike three call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the #Dbacks-#Astros game. With two out and none on, Rojas took a 2-2 fastball from Astros pitcher Justin Verlander for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.64, pz 1.81 [sz_bot 1.71 / RAD 1.59]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 2-2. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the contest, 5-2, in 10 innings.

These are Alan Porter (64)'s 4th and 5th ejections of 2022.
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 3.29 horizontal and 2.68 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

These are the 175th and 176th ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 60th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Rojas was 0-3 (3 SO) in the contest.
This is the 94th manager ejection of 2022.
This is Arizona's 8/9th ejection of 2022, 1st in the NL West (ARI 9; SD 6; SF 5; COL 3; LAD 1).
This Josh Rojas' first career MLB ejection.
This is Torey Lovullo's 5th ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 10 (H Wendelstedt; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Alan Porter's 4/5th ejection of 2022, 1st since Aug 16 (Myles Straw; QOC = Y [Foul/Strike]).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Houston Astros, 9/28/22 | Video as follows:

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

MLB Ejections 173-74 - Ryan Blakney (2-3; Mattingly, Bleier)

HP Umpire Ryan Blakney ejected Marlins manager Don Mattingly and pitcher Richard Bleier (three no-stop balk calls by 1B Umpire John Tumpane; QOCY) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the #Marlins-#Mets game. With two out and none on, Mets batter Jeff McNeil hit a 0-2 slider from Marlins relief pitcher Bleier on the ground for a single to become the first baserunner during Bleier's appearance. With two out and one on (R1), 1B Umpire Tumpane called Mets pitcher Bleier for three balks during Pete Alonso's at-bat, the penalty for which advanced the runner McNeil to second, third, and home bases respectively. Replays indicate Bleier failed to come to a stop while delivering from Set Position with runner McNeil on base, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections, the Marlins were leading, 6-4. The Marlins ultimately won the contest, 6-4.

These are Ryan Blakney (36)'s 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2022.
*Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a)(13) states, "If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when—the pitcher delivers the pitch from Set Position without coming to a stop."

These are the 173rd and 174th ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 93rd manager ejection of 2022.
This is the 59th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Bleier's line was 1.0 IP, H, 3 Balks, ER.
This is Miami's 10/11th ejection of 2022, 1st in the NL East (MIA 11; WAS 4; PHI 3; ATL, NYM 2).
This is Don Mattingly's 3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since July 9 (Mark Ripperger; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Richard Bleier's 1st ejection since July 20, 2021 (Cory Blaser; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Ryan Blakney's 2/3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since Aug 31 (Brandon Crawford; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Miami Marlins vs New York Mets, 9/27/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 172 - Brennan Miller (1; Miguel Cairo)

3B Umpire Brennan Miller ejected White Sox interim manager Miguel Cairo (ball one call by HP Umpire Jansen Visconti/check swing; QOCN) in the bottom of the 6th inning of the #WhiteSox-#Twins game. With none out and one on, Twins batter Matt Wallner attempted to check his swing on a 0-0 cutter from White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Jansen Visconti and affirmed as no swing on appeal by 3B Umpire Miller. Cairo was ejected during a mound visit/pitching change two pitches later, following a Wallner home run. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer edge of home plate and below the midpoint (px -0.56, pz 3.57 [sz_top 3.68 / RAD 3.80 / MOE 3.72]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Twins were leading, 4-0. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 4-0.

This is Brennan Miller (55)'s 1st ejection of 2022.
*This pitch was located 1.80 vertical inches from being ruled correct.
^Because pitch/location called a ball is QOCN, the check swing ball call is immaterial.

This is the 172nd ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 92nd manager ejection of 2022.
This is Chicago's 7th ejection of 2022, 1st in the AL Central (CWS 7; CLE 5; DET, KC, MIN 4).
This is Miguel Cairo's 3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 2 (Ron Kulpa; QOC = U [Warnings/Fight]).
This is Brennan Miller's 1st ejection since April 29, 2021 (Mike Schildt; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs Minnesota Twins, 9/27/22 | Video as follows:

Teachable - Cuzzi Uses the Force Tag at 2nd

In this Teachable, we spotlight 2B Umpire Phil Cuzzi, who attains a keyhole angle to officiate a mid-baseline tag play when Yankees fielder Anthony Rizzo lunges to tag Rays baserunner Randy Arozarena between first and second base.

This is both a force and tag play, and as the ground ball from batter Isaac Paredes is hit toward Rizzo, Cuzzi adjusts his position to prepare for a multitude of possibilities, including a potential throw to second base, throw to first base, or—as occurred here—a tag attempt on baserunner R1 Arozarena. Upon observing Arozarena's stop, Cuzzi stops as well to preserve the optimal angle he has cultivated.

Cuzzi's out call was challenged by Rays manager Kevin Cash and affirmed by Replay Review.

Video as follows:

Monday, September 26, 2022

Ask - Washington Loses Run on Miami's Chaser Appeal

Already 43 games behind first place in the NL East, the Washington Nationals lost an apparent run in Miami after Marlins catcher Nick Fortes successfully appealed to HP Umpire Bill Miller that Nats baserunner CJ Abrams failed to touch home plate, a call affirmed via Replay Review.

With none out and two on (R1 Vargas, R3 Abrams) in the 2nd inning of Sunday's affair in Miami, Nationals batter Victor Robles hit a ground ball to Marlins pitcher Edward Cabrera, who threw home to catcher Fortes as runner R3 Abrams slid toward home plate. HP Umpire Miller made no signal, only ruling R3 Abrams out after catcher Fortes pursued Abrams to the visitor's first-base dugout at Marlins Park to apply a tag.

The Appeal Rule: Pursuant to Official Baseball Rule 5.09(c)(2), a runner is out on appeal when "they fail to touch each base in order before they, or a missed base, are tagged."

Furthermore, the MLB Umpire Manual advises what to do when both the runner misses their base touch and the fielder misses their tag of the runner, as Miller ruled occurred in Miami: "the umpire shall make no signal on the play...the runner must then be tagged if they attempt to return to the plate; if they continue on their way to the bench, the defense may make an appeal."

If the runner returns to the plate before being tagged, the umpire may then signal the runner safe.

If the runner makes no attempt to return to the plate, as occurred in Miami, the catcher has two options to appeal. For this play, F2 Fortes could have either tagged home plate or tagged the runner Abrams; so-called "accidental" appeals wherein the fielder inadvertently steps on the base with the ball don't count, meaning that Fortes would have to make it clear to HP Umpire Miller that stepping on the base was an intentional act alleging that runner Abrams failed to legally touch it—pursuing the runner to the warning track in front of their dugout in order to apply a tag, while time-consuming, is also a valid appeal option, meaning that Miller properly ruled on Fortes' appeal, declaring runner Abrams out for failing to touch a base. 

Video as follows:

Sunday, September 25, 2022

MLB Ejections 170-71 - Adrian Johnson (4-5; SEA-KC)

HP Umpire Adrian Johnson ejected Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray and Royals pitcher Luke Weaver (national anthem standoff/refusal to leave field/delay of game) prior to the top of the 1st inning of the #Mariners-#Royals game. Following the pre-game performance of the national anthem, off-day pitchers and bench personnel Ray (Seattle) and Weaver (Kansas City) remained on the playing field in the locations occupied during the national anthem. They remained in these on-field positions as Royals starting pitcher Max Castillo completed his warmup pitches and the game was ready to begin, and were ejected for delaying the start of the game after failing to follow the umpires' direction to leave the field, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the game hadn't begun (score was tied 0-0). The Royals ultimately won the contest, 13-12.

These are Adrian Johnson (80)'s 4th and 5th ejections of 2022.

These are the 170th and 171st ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
These are the 57th and 58th player ejections of 2022. Prior to ejection, neither player appeared in the game.
This is Seattle's 12th ejection of 2022, 1st in the AL West (SEA 12; LA 10; HOU 7; OAK 6; TEX 2).
This is Kansas City's 4th ejection of 2022, T-3rd in the AL Central (CWS 6; CLE 5; DET, KC MIN 4).
This is Luke Weaver's first career MLB ejection.
This is Adrian Johnson's 4/5th ejection of 2022, 1st since June 26 (Scott Servais; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs Kansas City Royals, 9/25/22 | Video as follows:

Friday, September 23, 2022

MLB Ejection 169 - Ryan Wills (2; Patrick Wisdom)

HP Umpire Ryan Wills ejected Cubs RF Patrick Wisdom (strike one call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Cubs-#Pirates game. With one out and none on, Wisdom took a 0-0 curveball from Pirates pitcher Manny BaƱuelos for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.56, pz 1.52 [sz_bot 1.58 / RAD 1.46]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Cubs were leading, 5-4. The Cubs ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Ryan Wills (118)'s 2nd ejection of 2022.
*This pitch was located 1.80 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 169th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 56th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Wisdom was 1-3 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Chicago's 10th ejection of 2022, 1st in the NL Central (CHC 10; PIT, STL 6; CIN, MIL 4).
This is Patrick Wisdom's first career MLB ejection.
This is Ryan Wills' 2nd ejection of 2022, 1st since June 18 (Charlie Montoyo; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates, 9/23/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 167-8 - Brian Knight (Cole, Boone)

HP Umpire Brian Knight ejected Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and manager Aaron Boone (ball two call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the #RedSox-#Yankees game. With two out and two on, Red Sox batter Alex Verdugo took a 1-2 fastball from Yankees pitcher Cole for a called second ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px -0.69, pz 1.38 [sz_bot 1.54 / RAD 1.42]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 4-4. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

These are Brian Knight (91)'s 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2022.
*This pitch was located 1.44 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

These are the 167th and 168th ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 55th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Cole's line was 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 HR.
This is the 91st manager ejection of 2022.
This is New York's 13/14th ejection of 2022, 1st in the AL East (NYY 14; TOR 10; BOS 6; BAL 4; TB 3).
This is Gerrit Cole's first career MLB ejection.
This is Aaron Boone's 9th ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 16 (Edwin Moscoso; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brian Knight's 2/3rd ejection of 2022, 1st sine April 23 (Mark Kotsay; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees, 9/23/22 | Video as follows:

Thursday, September 22, 2022

MLB Ejection 166 - Andy Fletcher (1; Kevin Long)

HP Umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long (strike three call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 5th inning of the #Braves-#Phillies game. With none out and none on, Phillies batter Dalton Guthrie took a 3-2 slider from Braves pitcher Max Fried for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px 0.59, pz 1.08 [sz_bot 1.51 / RAD 1.39 / MOE 1.33]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Phillies were leading, 1-0. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 1-0.

This is Andy Fletcher (49)'s 1st ejection of 2022.
*This pitch was located 3.00 vertical inches from being ruled a correct call.

This is the 166th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is Philadelphia's 3rd ejection of 2022, 3rd in the NL East (MIA 9; WAS 4; PHI 3; ATL, NYM 2).
This is Kevin Long's 1st ejection since August 12, 2021 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y-c [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Andy Fletcher's 1st ejection since July 21, 2021 (Dave Roberts; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies, 9/22/22 | Video as follows:

Teachable - Tosi's Toasty Pickoff Play

Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco's snap pickoff throw to first base might have caught baserunner Nathaniel Lowe off the bag, but 1B Umpire Alex Tosi was there to observe New York first baseman Dominic Smith's quick tag and instinctively call the runner out, a call confirmed via Replay Review following a Texas challenge.

As Tmac reviews in this Teachable Moment, Tosi trusts his eyes (and possibly ears) to come up with an immediate out call, spying the fielder's glove making contact with the runner's right knee prior to the runner's left foot returning to touch first base.

The moral of the story is through experience, umpires can learn to trust their instincts to assist in quick-reflexes plays such as this one.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Cleveland Loses Run, Can't Challenge After Earlier "Stands" Call

After losing an earlier challenge against Chicago, Guardians manager Terry Francona was unable to review HP Umpire Shane Livensparger's 7th inning out call on runner Amed Rosario's slide into home, which kept the game tied at three instead of Cleveland taking a 4-3 lead.

Cleveland lost its manager's challenge after a "call stands" ruling on White Sox runner Elvis Andrus' stolen base in the bottom of the 6th inning, meaning that under MLB's Replay Review regulations, the Guardians would be without a challenge for the rest of the game, including the 7th inning out call on Rosario.

Had this same sequence occurred in 2014, 2015, or 2016, however, Francona would have been permitted not to challenge the play, but to request a Crew Chief review from Chief Todd Tichenor.

In 2017, MLB changed the Crew Chief review's first inning of eligibility from the 7th inning to the 8th inning (except for home run boundary calls, which are permitted at any time pursuant to the 2008 limited HR replay rules that predated the manager's challenge system), meaning that Cleveland came up one inning short of being able to request a Crew Chief review.

For what it's worth, the rules prohibit Crew Chiefs from initiating reviews for non-HR boundary plays prior to the 8th inning. The rationale for MLB's 2017 change from 7th-to-8th inning starts was to deter teams from filing frivolous manager's challenges earlier in the game on plays unlikely to be overturned by Replay Review. Remember, the original purpose of replay was to correct the "obvious miss" and MLB sought fit to increase the in-game punishment for an unsuccessful challenge.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Teachable Quickie - Oversliding a Base with Bill Miller

2B Umpire Bill Miller calls Brewers batter-runner Keston Hiura out for oversliding second base in this CCS Quickie Teachable. When it is apparent that Hiura, having batted a ball to left field, will attempt to stretch his single into a double, Miller takes his position to see Pirates infielder Kevin Newman's tag attempt on Hiura.

In addition to simply determining whether batter-runner Hiura is safe or out on the tag, Miller must also deduce whether, if Hiura was indeed tagged while off second base, whether this overslide was caused by fielder Newman illegally forcing the runner off of a base attained legally.

Video as follows:

Monday, September 19, 2022

Field of Dreams HR or Corn Catch? Rules Analysis

The Field of Dreams college baseball game between Luther College and Briar Cliff featured a 1st inning home run into the corn field by Cam Reimer, although outfielder Cullen Stamp dove/tripped/fell into the corn trying to catch the fly ball. Rules regarding ballpark design help us in our quest to answer the question of what umpires would have called had Stamp successfully caught the baseball.

Official Baseball Rule 2.01 is called Layout of the Field and specifies that "the distance from home base to the nearest fence, stand, or other obstruction on fair territory shall be 250 feet or more." Although the distance provision of this rule didn't always exist (it was put into the book primarily to account for some bizarre dimensions the Dodgers encountered when playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum their first few years in California), the general gist is expanded upon in Rule 5.06(b)(4) regarding base awards and baseballs leaving the playing field in flight.

Although no solid fence-line exists at the Field of Dreams ballpark in Iowa, the manicured corn-line serves as an adequate boundary to mark in and out of play territory. Accordingly, had the fielder caught the ball while in the air, having last touched in-play territory, this would be a catch, and if the fielder then fell into the corn, it would be a catch-and-carry situation (dead ball, out stands, runners advance one base, if there are runners). However, if the fielder were to catch the ball only after stepping into the corn field, this would not be a valid catch. We also discuss the issue of a stadium lighting pole in live ball territory, akin (in a sense) to the flagpole formerly of Tal's Hill in Houston (MLB).

Video as follows:

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Cardinals Win When Reds' Throw Hits Runner - Legal?

When Reds shifted-in outfielder Nick Senzel's throw hit Cardinals runner R3 Andrew Kniznzer in the back, allowing St Louis to score the game winning run to walk off Cincinnati in the 11th inning, with HP Umpire Chad Fairchild signaling baserunner Knizner safe at home, Cincinnati briefly contested the ruling...was this a legal play or should Knizner have been called out for interference, or for some other violation of the rules?

Play: With none out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning of a 0-0 game, Cardinals batter Paul Goldschmidt hit a sharp ground ball to the third base position, being played by drawn-in outfielder Senzel, who threw home to try and retire Knizner to keep the game scoreless. The baseball hit Knizner in the back and bounced away, allowing St Louis to score the one and only run of the ballgame.

Analysis of Possible Outs
: It is important to note that Knizner began his jaunt to home plate in foul territory before veering to his left and running in fair territory, which is where he was struck by the thrown ball. The reason this is important to note is so one can refer to the base path rules:

The only way a runner may be called for being out of the base path is if they run more than three feet to avoid a tag attempt. No tag? No base path violation. With a thrown ball, there was no tag attempt and thus no base path violation. Reference: Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1).

Instead, the most realistic possibility for an out call here would be to deem that baserunner Knizner intentionally interfered with a throw, the penalty for which is to declare a dead ball, runners return (and, of course, the violating runner is out). However, replays suggest no such infraction occurred as Knizner was already running in fair territory prior to the throw being released and never looked back toward the throw or baseball, suggesting that Knizner did not intentionally attempt to react to the throw by making an unnatural movement to interfere. The runner’s decision to move to fair territory is immaterial to this end simply because the rule concerns interference with a THROW, and because no throw had occurred prior to the runners step across the foul line, the runner logically could not have run in an intentional way to interfere with a throw that did not exist yet. Reference: OBR 5.09(b)(3).

Video as follows:

Friday, September 16, 2022

MLB Ejection 164 - Adam Beck (4; Myles Straw)

HP Umpire Adam Beck ejected Guardians CF Myles Straw (strike two and three calls; QOCY) in the bottom of the 8th inning of the #Twins-#Guardians game. With two out and two on (R1, R3), Guardians batter Straw took a 0-1 and 1-2 curveball from Twins pitcher Jhoan Duran for called second and third strikes. Replays indicate the pitch ruled strike two was located over the outer edge of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.63, pz 1.50 [sz_bot 1.60 / RAD 1.48]) and the pitch ruled strike three was located over the inner half of home plate and below the midpoint (px -0.43, pz 3.16 [sz_top 3.43 / RAD 3.55]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Guardians were leading, 4-3. The Guardians ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

This is Adam Beck (102)'s 4th ejection of 2022.
*The strike two pitch was located 1.24 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 164th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 54th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Straw was 1-4 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Cleveland's 5th ejection of 2022, 2nd in the AL Central (CWS 6; CLE 5; DET, MIN 4; KC 3).
This is Myles Straw's 2nd ejection of 2022, 1st since Aug 16 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y-c [Foul Ball vs Tip]).
This is Adam Beck's 4th ejection of 2022, 1st since June 18 (Jazz Chisholm; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

MLB Ejection 165 - Edwin Moscoso (3; Aaron Boone)

HP Umpire Edwin Moscoso ejected Yankees manager Aaron Boone (strike three call; QOCN) following the top of the 9th inning of the #Yankees-#Brewers game. With one out and one on (R3), Yankees batter Miguel Andujar took a 1-2 slider from Brewers pitcher Taylor Rogers for a called third strike; Boone was ejected during the subsequent half-inning break. Replays indicate the pitch was located off the outer edge of home plate and thigh-high (px 0.94, pz 2.42), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 6-6. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 7-6.

This is Edwin Moscoso (109)'s 3rd ejection of 2022.
*UEFL Rule 6-2-b-1 (Kulpa Rule): |0| < STRIKE < |.748| < BORDERLINE < |.914| < BALL.
This pitch was located 0.31 horizontal inches from being deemed correct.

This is the 165th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 90th manager ejection of 2022.
This is New York's 12th ejection of 2022, 1st in the AL East (NYY 12; TOR 10; BOS 6; BAL 4; TB 3).
This is Aaron Boone's 8th ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 4 (Vic Carapazza; QOC = N [Non-Replay CI]).
This is Edwin Moscoso's 3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 11 (Chad Pinder; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Home Plate Blocking Rule Exemption in Dodgers-DBacks

When Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes tagged Diamondbacks baserunner R3 Jake McCarthy out at home on a delayed steal in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tied game, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo sought to challenge HP Umpire Vic Carapazza's out call, alleging Barnes illegally blocked the runner's path to home plate. After review, however, Crew Chief Adrian Johnson announced a confirmed no violation call (tag out stands), with Replay determining no plate blocking violation occurred. Why?

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(i)(2) pertains to home plate collisions and restricts the catcher from illegally blocking the runner's pathway on a play at the plate unless the catcher has possession of the ball or is imminently fielding it. Given MLB's spate of overturning out calls on throws from the outfield to plate blocking violations, and thus awarding runners home plate in the process, Lovullo's plate blocking challenge made sense.

But in reality, it was doomed from the start. Embedded within OBR 6.01(i)(2) is a provision about throws from the drawn-in infield: "it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 6.01(i)(2) if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw (e.g., in reaction to the direction, trajectory or the hop of the incoming throw, or in reaction to a throw that originates from a pitcher or drawn-in infielder)."

The reason pitchers (such as Dodgers relief pitcher Evan Phillips, who threw the ball home here) and drawn-in infielders specifically are exempt, as it were, from the ordinary plate blocking restrictions is timing. As the MLB Replays twitter account explained, "the speed at which the play developed exempted the catcher from any potential violation."

In conclusion, this means that throws that originate from the infield grass (e.g., not cut-off or relays from the outfield or another infielder, and also not infielders in normal or double-play depth deep in the dirt) absolve the catcher of the pre-reception positioning responsibility since there simply isn't enough time to do both a pre-position AND field the throw AND tag the runner.

Naturally, this rule still requires the position not be taken until it is certain the drawn-in infielder or pitcher will actually throw the baseball to home plate. For this play in which the baserunner put on a delayed (attempted) steal of home plate, the throw originated from Los Angeles pitcher Phillips, thus qualifying for an exemption to the ordinary plate blocking restrictions.

Video as follows:

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Rangers' Heim Catches Foul Tip off Mask - Review

When HP Umpire Mike Muchlinski ruled an out on Marlins batter JJ Bleday's 7th inning foul that deflected off Rangers catcher Jonah Heim before a diving catch, we were asked to review the foul tip rule.

In sum, this play meets the criteria for a foul tip pursuant to current MLB rules, but had this play occurred prior to 2020, provided the ball was ruled to have contacted the catcher's mask before any other part of his equipment or paraphernalia, it would not have been a foul tip.

This is because the Official Baseball Rules, circa 2019, stated that, "A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand."

In 2020, this language was changed to read, "A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught, and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play."

Accordingly, this is a foul tip and, with two strikes on the batter, a swinging strikeout, under professional rules. This also applies to NCAA rules, but not (yet) to NFHS.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Teachable - Runner Runs Past Base to Avoid Canceled Tag

This Rules Review and Teachable twofer sees 2B Umpire John Libka officiate a bizarre play in which Phillies baserunner R1 Odubel Herrera runs past second base to avoid Marlins fielder Jazz Chisholm's tag, which is pulled back.

With one out and one on (R1) in Philadelphia, a ground ball arrives in the glove of Miami second baseman Chisholm in advance of Phillies runner R1 Herrera. Herrera then veers to his left in order to avoid Chisholm's tag, but Chisholm, as the players get closer to each-other, cancels his tag attempt as R1 Herrera runs by, untouched, while also failing to touch second base.

Our Rules Review of out of base path OBR 5.09(b)(2): "Any runner is out when—they run more than three feet away from their base path to avoid being tagged unless their 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" then morphs into a Teachable Moment as 2B Umpire Libka now has to officiate a diving play taking place behind second base as Herrera reaches his arm for the bag and Chisholm reaches his glove for Herrera's arm.

Video as follows:

Margot Called for Backswing Interference Twice in Same AB

After Tampa Bay batter Manuel Margot was called for backswing interference twice during the same at-bat by HP Umpire Ramon De Jesus during the Rays-Jays game in Toronto, we were asked to review the relevant rule, which is called follow-through contact at the high school level.

Although the rule is grouped under the parent of Batter Illegal Action provisions (a batter is out for illegal action when—), the backswing act does not result in an automatic out: "If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard they carry the bat all the way around and, in the umpire’s judgment, unintentionally hit the catcher or the ball in back of them on the backswing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play" (Rule 6.03(a)(4) Comment).

Accordingly, De Jesus upon deeming that Margot's bat made contact with Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen as part of Margot's natural follow-through (such that the contact was not an intentional act to interfere), properly administered the penalty by calling "Time" and returning Rays baserunner Randy Arozarena to first base. It does not matter whether or not the catcher actually throws the ball (e.g., Jansen was unable to throw during the first infraction): this is called when contact occurs.

If the throw retires the runner, the infraction is ignored. | Video as follows:

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Teachable - How to Officiate a Runners Passing Play

When 1B Umpire Dan Bellino called Reds batter-runner Nick Senzel out, he invoked Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(9), which states that "any runner is out when they pass a preceding runner before such runner is out."

This infrequent play generally occurs on fly balls to the outfield when less than two are out as the existing baserunners try to anticipate whether the fly will be caught—in which case they may be forced to advance—or whether the ball will land safely—in which case they may appreciate a head start while running the bases.

In other situations, a runner beginning play on first base (R1) might be attempting to steal as part of a hit-and-run play, and suddenly find themselves forced to retreat as the batted ball to the outfield may or may not be caught by an outfielder.

For this play, Cincinnati batter Senzel's fly ball was not caught by Baltimore, but baserunner R1 Kyle Farmer, who had advanced to second base, retreats back toward first base, mistakenly believing the ball had been caught, as Senzel stands between first and second base.

The runners pass each-other—by rule, no matter which runner is primarily responsible for the passing, the trailing runner is always out when passing occurs and thus said to be the "passing" violator regardless of which offensive player erred—and Bellino properly enforced OBR 5.09(b)(9) by keeping the ball in play and signaling the back runner, BR Senzel, out for passing the preceding runner, R1 Farmer.

Note that the defense does not need to tag the violative runner (Senzel) for an out to be called. The out is immediate and automatic upon the passing occurring, and Bellino properly called the out before the Orioles tagged Senzel. This would be important for time play purposes if there had been two out and another runner attempting to score.

Video as follows:

Monday, September 12, 2022

MLB Ejections 162-3 - Ron Kulpa (Francona, Nevin)

HP Umpire Ron Kulpa ejected Guardians manager Terry Francona (denied challenge request; QOCN) and Angels manager Phil Nevin (denied pitcher warmup pitches; QOCU) in the bottom of the 7th inning of the #Angels-#Guardians game. With two out and two on, Guardians batter Andres Gimenez attempted to check his swing on a 0-1 slider from Angels pitcher Ryan Tepera, ruled a ball by Kulpa and affirmed as no swing on appeal by 3B Umpire Clint Vondrak. Guardians manager Francona attempted to challenge the play on the basis that the pitch hit batter Gimenez's foot (HBP challenge), but his request was denied. Replays indicate Francona requested the review within the 20-second time limit to decide whether or not to challenge after the call is made, the call was incorrect. Following Francona's ejection and argument with Kulpa, Angels pitcher Tepera attempted to throw warm-up pitches on the mound, but was denied by Kulpa. Nevin was then ejected for arguing Kulpa's order not to throw warm-up pitches. During Nevin's argument with Kulpa, Tepera threw the warm-up pitches anyway. At the time of the ejections, the Guardians were leading, 5-4. The Guardians ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

These are Ron Kulpa (46)'s 4th and 5th ejections of 2022.

These are the 162nd and 163rd ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
These are the 88th and 89th manager ejections of 2022.
This is Cleveland's 4th ejection of 2022, T-2nd in the AL Central (CWS 6; CLE, DET, MIN 4; KC 3).
This is Los Angeles' 10th ejection of 2022, 2nd in the AL West (SEA 11; LA 10; HOU 7; OAK 6; TEX 2).
This is Terry Francona's 3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since Aug 16 (Lance Barksdale; QOC = Y [Reversed Call]).
This is Phil Nevin's 4th ejection of 2022, 1st since July 23 (Alan Porter; QOC = N-c [Check Swing]).
This is Ron Kulpa's 4/5th ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 2 (Miguel Cairo; QOC = U [Warnings/Fight]).

Wrap: Los Angeles Angels of I-Hate-Tonight vs Cleveland Guardians, 9/12/22 | Video as follows:

Sunday, September 11, 2022

MLB Ejection 161 - Edwin Moscoso (2; Chad Pinder)

3B Umpire Edwin Moscoso ejected Athletics RF Chad Pinder (Replay Review decision that affirmed Moscoso's foul ball call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 1st inning of the #WhiteSox-#Athletics game. With two out and one on, A's batter Pinder hit a 1-2 changeup from White Sox pitcher Johnny Cueto on a fly ball down the left field line, ruled a foul ball by 3B Umpire Moscoso and upheld as foul by Replay Review as the result of a manager's challenge by A's manager Mark Kotsay. Replays indicate the ball did not appear to make contact with the foul line upon its first touch of the ground, the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 1-1. The A's ultimately won the contest, 10-3.

This is Edwin Moscoso (109)'s 2nd ejection of 2022.

This is the 161st ejection of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 53rd ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Pinder was 0-1 (SO) in the contest.
This is Oakland's 6th ejection of 2022, 4th in the AL West (SEA 11; LAA 9; HOU 7; OAK 6; TEX 2).
This is Chad Pinder's 1st career MLB ejection.
This is Edwin Moscoso's 2nd ejection of 2022, 1st since Aug 5 (Derek Shelton; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs Oakland Athletics, 9/11/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 160 - Clint Vondrak (1; Derek Shelton)

HP Umpire Clint Vondrak ejected Pirates manager Derek Shelton (check swing strike three call) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the #Cardinals-#Pirates game. With one out and one on (R1), Pirates batter Bryan Reynolds attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 fastball from Cardinals pitcher Jose Quintana as Pirates baserunner R1 Oneil Cruz stole second base. This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board, the call was *PENDING*. At the time of the ejection, the Pirates were leading, 1-0. The Cardinals ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

This is Clint Vondrak (116)'s 1st ejection of 2022.

This is the 160th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 87th manager ejection of 2022.
This is Pittsburgh's 6th ejection of 2022, T-2nd in the NL Central (CHC 9; PIT, STL 6; CIN, MIL 4).
This is Derek Shelton's 4th ejection of 2022, 1st since Aug 5 (Edwin Moscoso; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Clint Vondrak's 1st ejection since August 25, 2020 (Joe Maddon; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: St Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates, 9/11/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejection 159 - Chad Fairchild (1; Max Scherzer)

2B Umpire Chad Fairchild ejected Mets bench player Max Scherzer (Replay Review decision that upheld HP Umpire Angel Hernandez's lodged ball call; QOCY) in the top of the 1st inning of the #Mets-#Marlins game. With none out and none on, Mets batter Brandon Nimmo hit a 2-2 sinker from Marlins pitcher Jesus Luzardo on a line drive to left field, initially ruled a stuck ball by HP Umpire Hernandez, and upheld via Replay Review after a manager's challenge by Mets manager Buck Showalter. Replays fail to conclusive indicate whether the batted ball lodged between the base of the outfield wall's padding and the warning track dirt, the "call stands" ruling was correct. At the time of the ejection, the game was tied, 0-0. The Mets ultimately won the contest, 9-3.

This is Chad Fairchild (4)'s 1st ejection of 2022.
^ Analysis of Hernandez's call, including umpire mechanics discussion and rules regarding stuck balls.
Rule 5.06(b)(4)(F): "Two bases...if [the ball] sticks in such fence."

This is the 159th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 52nd player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Scherzer did not participate (Injured List).
This is New York's 2nd ejection of 2022, T-3rd in the NL East (MIA 9; WAS 4; ATL, NYM, PHI 2).
This is Max Scherzer's 2nd ejection of 2022, 1st since May 3 (Jeremy Riggs; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Chad Fairchild's 1st ejection since July 25, 2021 (Genesis Cabrera; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: New York Mets vs Miami Marlins, 9/11/22 | Video as follows:

Angel Hernandez's Stuck Ball Ruling in Mets-Marlins

When HP Umpire Angel Hernandez called "Time" to declare a Mets batter Brandon Nimmo's line drive to left-center field stuck/lodged beneath the Marlins outfield wall's padding, and thus out of play, we were asked two main questions. First, is this even a home plate umpire's call? And, second, what is the rule? Was the call correct or not?

With none out and none on, Mets batter Nimmo led off the game with an extra base hit to the gap. The Marlins outfielders had trouble retrieving the batted ball, and Nimmo hustled to third base for an apparent triple. But HP Umpire Hernandez had called "Time" because the reason Miami had a tough time fielding the ball was, according to the call, because the ball had become stuck beneath the padding on the warning track in the outfield.

Whose Call is It Anyway?
The second base umpire is positioned on the outfield grass to start plays with no runners on, and 2B Umpire and Crew Chief Chad Fairchild opted not to go out on the line drive into the gap, but to come in and take the baserunner into second base instead. The go-out vs stay-in criteria is whether or not the hit is a "trouble ball," that is a baseball that might be subject to interference, become a ground rule double, or another complicated boundary issue for which an umpire in the outfield would be beneficial.

Because U2 Fairchild came in and began tracking the baserunner and thus stopped looking at the ball in the outfield, 3B Umpire Shane Livensparger pitched in and watched the ball in the outfield, as his responsibilities for the baserunner hadn't yet begun. As for home plate, the plate umpire generally won't rule on outfield stadium boundary issues in crews that are not employing one- or two-person mechanics.

The rule itself is Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(4)(F) and states, "Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out [the ball is dead], advance—Two bases, if a fair ball bounces or is deflected into the stands outside the first or third base foul lines; or if it goes through or under a field fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence; or if it sticks in such fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines."

MLB has ruled plays like this "lodged balls" before, but as is usually the case with lodged ball plays, video is ultimately inconclusive and Replay Review accordingly ruled this "Call Stands" and thus New York manager Buck Showalter lost his early challenge. (plate umpires in 4 person crews...don't make this call unless it's absolutely necessary...especially if your league uses replay.)

Video as follows:

Saturday, September 10, 2022

MLB Ejection 158 - Jeff Nelson (3; David Bell)

HP Umpire Jeff Nelson ejected Reds manager David Bell (check swing strike three call by 1B Umpire Manny Gonzalez) in the top of the 8th inning of the #Reds-#Brewers game. With one out and none on, Reds batter Jose Barrero attempted to check his swing on a 0-2 curveball from Brewers pitcher Matt Bush, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Nelson and called a swinging strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Gonzalez. This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board, the call was *PENDING*. At the time of the ejection, the Brewers were leading, 3-1. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 5-1.

This is Jeff Nelson (45)'s 3rd ejection of 2022.

This is the 158th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 86th manager ejection of 2022.
This is Cincinnati's 4th ejection of 2022, T-4th in the NL Central (CHC 9; STL 6; PIT 5; CIN, MIL 4).
This is David Bell's 4th ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 6 (Carlos Torres; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jeff Nelson's 3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 6 (John Schneider; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Cincinnati Reds vs Milwaukee Brewers, 9/10/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 156-157 - H Wendelstedt (2-3; ARI x2)

HP Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Diamondbacks DH Ketel Marte and manager Torey Lovullo (strike one call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Dbacks-Rockies game. With none out and none on, Diamondbacks batter Marte took a 0-0 sinker from Rockies pitcher Justin Lawrence for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px -0.54, pz 1.53 [sz_bot 1.72 / RAD 1.60 / MOE 1.52]), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejections, the Rockies were leading, 4-1. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 4-1.

These are Hunter Wendelestedt (21)'s 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2022.
*This pitch was located 0.12 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

These are the 156th and 157th ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 51st player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Marte was 1-2 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 85th manager ejection of 2022.
This is Arizona's 6/7th ejection of 2022, 1st in the NL West (ARI 7; SD 6; SF 5; COL 3; LAD 1).
This is Ketel Marte's 1st ejection since July 19, 2019 (Sam Holbrook; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Torey Lovullo's 4th ejection of 2022, 1st since August 16 (Cory Blaser; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is H Wendelstedt's 2/3rd ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 9 (Brendan Rodgers; QOC = ? [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Colorado Rockies, 9/10/22 | Video as follows:

Ask - Hair Check and the Pitcher Foreign Substance Rule

HP Umpire Ted Barrett took the unusual step of checking Guardians pitcher James Karinchak's hair for foreign substances, after Twins manager Rocco Baldelli filed a request to inspect the Cleveland reliever. Official Baseball Rule 6.02(c)(7) prohibits a pitcher from having "on their person, or in their possession, any foreign substance." The penalty for violation is immediate ejection and automatic suspension.

Pursuant to a directive from the MLB Commissioner's Office in June 2021, umpires already pursue enhanced illegal substance checks for every pitcher when they are removed from the game or at the conclusion of the inning after coming into the game (starting pitchers are checked multiple times at the end of their half-innings of work).

This makes Bald-elli's hirsute request somewhat rare for the post-2021 edict era, but nonetheless a legal one. There is no penalty for requesting an inspection and the umpire declaring the opposing pitcher to be legal.

Contrast this to the National Hockey League's stick measurement rule, which states that if the referee finds the complainant's allegation is with merit, the opposing player shall be assessed a penalty, but if the complaint is unsuccessful and the referee deems no violation has occurred, the complaining club receives a bench minor penalty for delay of game.

Video as follows:

Friday, September 9, 2022

MLB Ejection 155 - H Wendelstedt (1; Brendan Rodgers)

3B Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Rockies 2B Brendan Rodgers (check swing strike three call) in the bottom of the 5th inning of the #Diamondbacks-#Rockies game. With none out and none on, Rockies batter Rodgers attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 fastball from Diamondbacks pitcher Kevin Ginkel, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Adam Hamari and called a swinging strike on appeal by 1B Umpire Wendelstedt. This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board, the call was *PENDING*. At the time of the ejection, the Diamondbacks were leading, 10-8. The Rockies ultimately won the contest, 13-10.

This is Hunter Wendelstedt (21)'s 1st ejection of 2022.

This is the 155th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 50th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Rodgers was 0-3 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Colorado's 3rd ejection of 2022, 4th in the NL West (SD 6; ARI, SF 5; COL 3; LAD 1).
This is Brendan Rodgers' first career MLB ejection.
This is Hunter Wendelstedt's 1st ejection since August 19, 2021 (AJ Hinch; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Wrap: Arizona Diamondbacks vs Colorado Rockies, 9/9/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Announces Rules Changes for 2023 - A Review

Major League Baseball announced the following rules changes for its 2023 season, including a ban on infield shifts, bigger bases, pitch clocks, and pickoff/disengagement limits. MiLB has been used as a testing ground for several of these new rules, and Baseball now believes it is time to bring them to the MLB level.

(Effective) Ban on Infield Shifts: This rule requires that all four infielders—defined as the first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman, for the purpose of this rule—begin play with both feet within the infield and on their proper side of the infield. This effectively eliminates a shortstop's ability to begin play on the second base side of the field, or on the outfield grass, etc.

Bigger Bases: MLB's 15 inches square bases will increase in size to 18 inches square (home plate retains the same dimensions), which should assist in both offense (stolen bases) and safety, giving batter-runners and first basemen more room to peacefully co-exist without stepping on each-other's feet...Manny.

Pitch Clocks: The pitch clocks are finally a Major League reality starting in 2023. Even though stadiums have had clocks ever since Replay Review time limits and Inning-Break timers were introduced, the pitch clock will introduce a 30-second timer between batters, 20-second timer with runners on base, and 15-second timer with the bases empty.

The batter must be in the box and alert to the pitcher by the eight-second mark on the clock (penalty: automatic strike) while the pitcher must begin a motion to deliver the pitch (or pickoff attempt) by the zero-second expiration of time (penalty: automatic ball). There is also a limit of two "free" disengagements (pickoff attempts/step-offs) during each plate appearance, with a penalty for the third disengagement a one-base award for any baserunners (exception: if the pickoff throw retires the runner, then the out shall prevail and there is no penalty).

What do you think of these new rules for MLB? | Video as follows:

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Marlins-Phillies Crash Play on a Legal Base Block

After Marlins pitcher Richard Bleier fielded a soft ground ball and dove on first base ahead of Phillies batter-runner Brandon Marsh's arrival, ruled an out by 1B Umpire Angel Hernandez with no obstruction (or interference) violation for blocking the runner's access to first base, Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson challenged the call, which was confirmed via Replay Review as an out.

In an extension of our prior analyses on the home plate collision rule, we again find that a fielder has the right to block the runner's path to a base if the fielder already has possession of the ball when they begin their blocking action, and are attempting to retire that runner.

In this case, pitcher Bleier fielded and maintained possession of the baseball while falling on top of first base, meaning that his low block on runner Marsh was legal: Bleier, with possession of the ball, attempted to retire the runner by legally tagging first base. Despite the significant contact between the opposing players, this is a legal play that also adheres to the "Angel is Everywhere" rule.

Video as follows:

Reds-Cubs Batter Interference - Benefit of Doubt to Defense

After HP Umpire Lew Williams ruled Cubs baserunner R1 Alfonso Rivas out for teammate and retired batter Nelson Velazquez's interference at home plate by stepping out of the batter's box and hindering Reds catcher Austin Romine's throw to second base, we were asked to review the batter interference rule.

An important distinction to note is that the Official Baseball Rules contain two potentially relevant provisions—one which applies to a batter who has not been retired or become a runner, and another which applies to a batter or runner who has been retired and nonetheless impedes a fielder attempting to play on a teammate.

OBR 6.03(a)(3) pertains to a still-active batter (e.g., batter has not struck out): "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."

OBR 6.01(a)(5) pertains to a batter or runner who has been put out (including a batter that just struck out): "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."

Thus, with Velazquez swinging and missing at a 3-2 pitch, we have a recently retired batter.

Because Velazquez seemed to step in front of Cincinnati catcher Romine after swinging and missing for a strikeout, the benefit of the doubt goes to the defense. Thus, it is logical to conclude that Velazquez, by stumbling to his right and in front of catcher Romine's left side, hindered or impeded Romine by causing the catcher to adjust by veering or throwing to his right more than he otherwise would have had Velazquez not stepped onto home plate. Because the throw was wild and to the right of its intended destination as well, we can conclude that interference—which does NOT require contact—likely occurred.

Video as follows:

Ejection Criteria - Baseball's Standards for Removal

In continuation of our educational series, we review baseball's criteria for ejection, also known as the Standards for Removal from the Game. The following list comprises a majority of reasons an umpire may eject a player, coach, or manager from a ballgame ranging from physical abuse, battery, and assault, to personal, profane, and prolonged complaining.

Several of these Standards may be found via the UEFL Baseball Video Rulebook.

Standard 1) Profanity or Vulgar Insults Directed at/of Umpire: This criterion comprises statements of obscenity and unsporting personal insults of an umpire.

Standard 2) Physical Contact with an Umpire: This includes so-called bumping an umpire and other instances of improperly touching an umpire.

Standard 3) Refusal to Stop Arguing / Delaying the Game: Also known as prolonged or continued complaining, this standard includes an on-field argument that the player/coach/manager continues even after being instructed/warned by an umpire to stop, as well as continued complaining from the field or from the dugout. Continued Complaining ejections also apply to arguing a call from a prior game or prior inning.

Standard 4
) Leaving Position to Argue Balls and Strikes (Including Half Swings): Leaving one's position to argue ball/strike calls, which include check swings *and balks* is ground for ejection from the game.

Standard 5) Arguing a Replay Review or Any Changed Call: Arguing a Replay Official's decision to confirm/stand/overturn a call or arguing an on-field umpiring crew's decision to change a call is ground for ejection. This provision also includes citing video evidence to contradict an on-field ruling.

Standard 6
) Use of Histrionic Gestures or Gesturing Toward an Umpire: Using exaggerated body movements or gestures to dispute an umpire's action is ground for ejection. Throwing objects from the dugout or bullpen is also included under this provision.

Standard 7) Actions Intended to Ridicule: This includes actions such as a player drawing a line with their bat to indicate where they thought a pitch was located, or a manager mimicking an umpire's calls/signals or covering home plate with dirt.

Standard 8
) Throwing Equipment in Disgust: This includes throwing equipment as well as a uniform item in reaction to a call or during the course of an argument. A batter throwing a helmet or manager throwing a hat is covered by this provision.
- - S8: Intermediate Warning) Umpires may issue an equipment violation as an intermediary step in lieu of ejection for throwing equipment in disgust for less severe infractions of this provision. For instance, a batter who throws a bat after striking out may be warned (and fined) via an equipment violation instead of ejected outright, if the umpire judges the infraction of minor severity. However, severe violations as well as any violation of this provision after being warned (via equipment violation) shall result in ejection.

Standard 9
) Failure to Comply with an Umpire's Order: If a game participant refuses to comply with an umpire's order to do or refrain from doing something that affects the administration of the Official Baseball Rules (including pace of play initiatives), the offender may be ejected for such failure to comply. This includes ejections for refusing to enter the batter's box (MLB only — some lower levels have intermediary penalties, such as automatic strikes).

Standard 10
) Arguing or Disputing a Warning or Ejection (or Lack Thereof): A player, coach, or manager shall be ejected for disputing an umpire or umpiring crew's decision to warn or eject a participant, or decision to refrain from issuing such warning or ejection. An umpire's decision relative to a participant's game status (warning/ejection) is final and may not be argued.

Standard 11) Intentionally Throwing at Batter: A pitcher or pitcher and their manager may be ejected for intentionally throwing at an opposing batter. In lieu of ejection, the umpire may issue warnings to both teams that the next such infraction will result in the ejection of the offending pitcher and their manager.

Standard 12
) Unsporting NEC and Fighting: Participating or being charged with fighting shall result in automatic ejection of the offender(s) (lower levels, e.g., NCAA & NFHS, may have more strict rules regarding unsporting situations, than professional baseball). Unsporting actions not elsewhere specified—which includes the provisions referred to in Official Baseball Rule 6.04(a) [Unsportsmanlike Conduct] [incitement, language, calling "Time" to try and induce a balk or movement to distract the batter]—are included here, as well as foreign substance ejections (e.g., pine tar on pitcher or corked bat).

Video as follows: