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:


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