Monday, August 29, 2022

Ask UEFL - Livensparger Withholds Time Out Request by Ohtani

Several minutes before HP Umpire Shane Livensparger ejected Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider, the pair met near home plate to discuss a late "Time" out request by Angels batter Shohei Ohtani, a request Livensparger ignored before adjudicating the pitch as thrown by Toronto's Yimi Garcia.

Unfortunately for Toronto, Garcia's 3-2 pitch to Ohtani resulted in a ball four call, further allowing Angels baserunner R1 David Fletcher to advance to second base without liability to be put out.

The relevant rule for this play is baseball's famed batter's box rule, Official Baseball Rule 5.04(b)(2) Comment: "Umpires will not call 'Time' at the request of the batter or any member of their team once the pitcher has started their windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims 'dust in their eyes,' 'steamed glasses,' 'didn’t get the sign' or for any other cause."

The penalty for an untimely/late "Time" request by the batter is the same as the penalty for a batter leaving the batter's box after the pitcher comes set or starts their windup: "If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call 'Ball' or 'Strike,' as the case may be."

Garcia's pitch was high, and thus batter Ohtani walked on ball four with runner R1 Fletcher safely forced to second base without liability to be put out. The interesting part of the rulebook is that the defense—effectively, but not in so many words—has the option to stop play and reset: "If after the pitcher starts their windup or comes to a 'set position' with a runner on, they do not go through with his pitch because the batter has inadvertently caused the pitcher to interrupt their delivery, it shall not be called a balk. Both the pitcher and batter have violated a rule and the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from 'scratch.'"

But if the pitcher does complete their pitch, the delivery counts and the umpire shall call 'ball' or 'strike' without reference to the batter's violation of the batter's box (or "Time" request) rule. In no event should an umpire grant a batter's "Time" request if the pitcher has already begun their pitching motion before the batter's request is made.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Umpire Livensparger refuses batter's late "Time" request after pitcher comes Set (CCS)


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