Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Watching 1B Umpire Wills on a Wild Throw to 1st Base

When Replay Review upheld HP Umpire Phil Cuzzi's ruling that a Reds wild throw at first base remained on the playing field, it gave us a chance to take a closer look at 1B Umpire Ryan Wills officiating the backend of this play with Cubs batter-runner Christopher Morel sliding back into first base after making an initial attempt toward second.

Wills adjusts his position by moving toward first base and preparing for a potential tag play on the runner's dive back into the base, properly declaring the runner safe on the untimely tag.

This Teachable Moment illustrates the importance of remaining with one's responsibilities (Wills has the batter-runner) while allowing your crewmate to take other elements of the play that may need to be officiated (Cuzzi takes the boundary call near the dugout).

Video as follows:

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Arizona Runs into Double Play on Force Play Confusion - Teachable

Diamondbacks baserunners ran themselves into a crucial 9th inning double play as confusion on the bases moved Pittsburgh that much closer to a tense win in Arizona. 2B Umpire Adam Hamari is our focus for this Tmac's Teachable Moment.

With none out and the bases loaded in the top of the 9th, D-Backs batter Carson Kelly hit a ground ball to Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, who threw to second baseman Rodolfo Castro, who stepped on second base before throwing back to third base, where Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman stepped on third base before running Arizona runner R2 Emmanuel Rivera back to second base and then tagging Rivera.

Despite initial confusion with an errant "safe" call, umpires correctly officiated the play by declaring both Arizona runners R1 Sergio Alcantara out on the force play at second base and declaring R2 Rivera out on a tag off of second base for a double play. Pirates F6 Newman's touch of third base proved immaterial, as Castro had already forced R1 Alcantara out at second base, removing the force from third.

But, by virtue of Alcantara remaining on the field at second base, preceding runner R2 Rivera hesitated to retouch second base, allowing Pittsburgh fielder Newman enough time to tag Rivera off the base for the second out of the inning, with Alcantara serving as the first out.

Video as follows:

Monday, November 21, 2022

Asdrubal Cabrera Punches Batter During HR Trot - Call?

HP Umpire Kenny Garcia ejected Caribes 1B Asdrubal Cabrera for unsportmsanlike conduct in punching Tiburones batter-runner Carlos Castro during a home run, so what happens? The umpires properly ruled the play Obstruction (Type 2), and awarded Castro base touches and advancements to second, third, and home plate, deeming that had Cabrera not physically obstructed Castro, the batter-runner would have scored a run.

Although this differs from the Carlos Gomez vs Brian McCann play in Atlanta in which McCann obstructed Gomez during an out-of-the-field home run, both plays share the same ultimate game play ruling of obstruction: "If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in their judgment will nullify the act of obstruction" (Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(2)).

The Gomez play is slightly more complex as replays indicate Gomez verbally taunted the opposing Braves throughout his home run trot, but the ruling of Obstruction 2 on McCann still prevailed despite both players being ejected for unsporting conduct.

The reason is found within OBR 8.01(d), which states, "Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language, and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field. If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play."

Because the ejection doesn't take effect until the end of the play, the obstruction thus becomes the enforced infraction; however, upon the award's completion, the batter is ejected (in the MLB/Gomez play, not the Venezuelan play).

Video as follows:

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Teachable - Manny's Keyhole Look and Call Patience

For this Teachable Moment, 2B Umpire Manny Gonzalez finds the keyhole angle with which to take a slide play at second base as Baltimore's Rougned Odor tried to avoid Toronto middle infielder Bo Bichette's tag, ruling the runner safe after taking the time to see the entirety of the play, a call eventually confirmed via Replay Review as a result of Blue Jays manager John Schneider's unsuccessful challenge.

With a position to see the tag play from above, Gonzalez observes Bichette's glove miss Odor's right arm. A split second later, this same position enables Gonzalez to see Odor's fingertips on second base when Bichette lunges for a second tag try.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Wendelstedt Umpire School Announces Updated MLB Plan

After MLB decided to replace its traditional umpire training school-to-Minor League Baseball model with a greater emphasis on its Umpire Camps system, the Wendelstedt Umpire School announced it will continue sending graduates to MiLB, pursuant to an arrangement with MLB that allows the independent school in Ormond Beach to continue its operations.

The Wendelstedt Umpire School announced today that its updated arrangement with MLB will keep the 85-year-old school in operation and preserve its tradition. According to the school:

> Today's arrangement offers top graduates of the Wendelstedt Umpire School—the only open-access and independently operated school in the U.S. for training umpires to work at all levels of professional and amateur baseball—an opportunity to participate in MLB's new umpire development program, and enter the ranks of professional umpiring.

Under MLB's new Umpire Camps program, top performers at the camps will join top graduates of the Wendelstedt Umpire School for advanced training at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, where top performers will then be offered Minor League umpiring jobs.

School owner-operator Hunter Wendelstedt notes that unlike in years past, "There is no advanced course" (it's advanced "training"). "We will be sending our top graduates to Vero to show their skills and possibly place in the Minor Leagues. We will also send graduates to MLB placement leagues—Appalachian League, etc. If those students do not get placed into the minors, they will go to Vero (guaranteed) on MLB the following year."

For more information about the Wendelstedt Umpire School or to enroll, visit umpireschool.com.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Will Bankrupt FTX Patches Disappear from Ump Uniforms?

MLB's first-ever umpire patch partner FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, filed for bankruptcy just 18 months after signing a sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball and replacing uniform sleeve real estate previously occupied by memorial patches honoring fallen umpires. Does FTX's bankrupcy failure mean that the patches will disappear and umpires will get their beloved left sleeves (and right chests) back?

According to Columbia University's Joe Favorito, it's a distinct possibility: "If there's no company, the branding goes away"...but with precedent to sell ad space already established, what ill-fated financial alchemy tech company will take doomed-to-fail FTX's place?

Video as follows:

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Teachable Tripp - Moving to a Tricky Double Whacker

Tmac's Teachable Moment
 this Thursday features 1B Umpire Tripp Gibson moving to adjust his position as Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins stretches to catch a throw wide of first base as Nationals batter-runner Joey Meneses arrives at the bag.

The key to officiating this play is to read the fielder, in this case Hoskins. As the play develops, Hoskins appears poised to lunge into foul territory to try and field the throw, which tells U1 Gibson to similarly move toward foul territory in order to officiate the pulled foot vs tagged base aspect of the play.

By virtue of attaining a keyhole angle to see the foot and base interaction, Gibson is able to rule the runner safe by virtue of a pulled foot.

Video as follows:

2022 CCS Year-End Umpire Awards Nominations Open

Close Call Sports announces its annual Umpire Ejection Fantasy League Postseason Awards and opens nominations and elections at this time. You may vote for 7 different award categories. Reply to this post if you wish to campaign for or explain why you chose a certain umpire for a specific award.

Link to Postseason Awards Ballot (also appears below):
a. Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 1 umpire) +5
b. Promising Umpire of the Year (min. 1 / max. 2) +3
c. Bernice Gera Honorable Umpire (min. 0 / max. 1) +2
d. Fill-In Umpire of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) +2
e. Most Improved Umpire (min. 0 / max. 1) +1
f. Crew Chief of the Year (min. 0 / max. 1) +1
g. Best Ejection of the Year (min. 0 / max. 2) +1
h. Most Disappointing Season (min. 0 / max. 1) -1

An eligible umpire may be selected for as many or as few awards as that umpire is eligible for; Ballots will be accepted until 11:59pm on Wednesday, November 16, with awards distribution beginning shortly thereafter.

Ballot as follows:

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Teachable Taking a Pulled Foot at 1st Base

This Teachable Moment features 1B Umpire Lance Barksdale officiating a pulled foot out/safe play at first base as Oakland shortstop Nick Allen successfully throws out Angels batter Luis Rengifo at first base. Challenged by Los Angeles, this call would ultimately stand on Replay Review.

Key to this play is how Barksdale sets himself and remains stationary as the play arrives at first base, watching the first baseman's feet, knowing that with the ball already caught well before the runner's arrival, the play will come down to whether or not the first baseman pulled his foot off the base in order to field the throw, and, if so, whether the pulled foot would be able to return to touch first base prior to the runner's arrival.

Video as follows:

Friday, November 4, 2022

Trailer - Umpire Tmac Mic'd Up During Pro Game

Coming up this offseason, Close Call Sports, in partnership with Batboy Productions, will follow Tmac on the field, as he wears a microphone while umpiring professional baseball. Join us as we Play Ball from an Umpire's Perspective.

This "Game in the Life of an Umpire" feature includes several key elements during a baseball game, including pre-game preparation, the on-field plate meeting at home, plays in the field, and discussions and conversations with players, coaches, and other umpires.

Video as follows:

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Playing the Times' 'You Be the Ump' Strike Zone Game

After the New York Times released an online "You Be the Ump" strike zone game, we decided to test our RoboUmp skills at this simulation of what virtual home plate umpires see...in a matter of speaking.

Lindsay discusses certain aspects of the simulation's accuracy (or lack thereof) regarding the umpire's point of view and absence of a catcher, as well as technical topics such as the width of a baseball or officiating mechanics such as working the slot.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

2022 No-Hitter 4, Tripp Gibson (1; HOU Combined)

HP Umpire Tripp Gibson called the Houston #Astros' combined no-hitter vs the #Phillies in Philadelphia in Game 4 of the 2022 #WorldSeries, joined by 1B Umpire Lance Barksdale, 2B Umpire Alan Porter, 3B Umpire James Hoye, LF Umpire Pat Hoberg, and RF Umpire and Crew Chief Dan Iassogna.

Gibson officiated Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly's combined no-hitter with a net accuracy of 96.0%.

This is Tripp Gibson's first career MLB no-hitter and the first postseason no-hitter since October 6, 2010, when HP Umpire John Hirschbeck called Roy Halladay's no-hitter.

This is the first Major League no-hitter since June 25, 2022 (Alex Tosi; Houston Combined).

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 83 called balls outside strike zone / 5 called balls within strike zone = 83/88 = 94.3% accuracy.
Strikes: 36 called strikes within strike zone / 0 called strike outside strike zone = 36/36 = 100% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score: 119/124 = 96.0% accuracy (+3 PHI [Favored Philadelphia by 3 pitches]).

Video as follows:

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Pat Hoberg Calls Perfect Game in World Series Gm 2

Home Plate Umpire Pat Hoberg called a perfect game during Houston's victory over Philadelphia in Game 2 of the 2022 #WorldSeries between the Phillies and Astros. He saw 129 callable pitches—which includes balls and called strikes but excludes all swings—and officiated all of them correctly.

The reason Fox Sports' FoxTrax on-screen TV graphic zone may have differed from Hoberg's pitch calling is a tale as old as PitchCast, StatCast, Pitch f/x, and QuesTec, combined. Television visualizations still have trouble with vertical strike zones (computers have problems drawing these zones too), while PitchCast sacrifices accuracy for expediency, leading to errors in broadcast TV depictions.

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 89 called balls outside strike zone / 0 called balls within strike zone = 89/89 = 100% accuracy.
Strikes: 40 called strikes within strike zone / 0 called strikes outside strike zone = 40/40 = 100% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score: 129/129 = 100% accuracy (+0 Nu [Neutral Skew, favored neither team]).

Video as follows:

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Diaz Called Back to Bat After Umpire Rules He Leaned In

Aledmys Diaz grounded out to complete Houston's extra-inning loss to Philadelphia in Game 1 of the 2022 #Phillies-#Astros #WorldSeries, but not after he tried to get on base another way. Two pitches before the game-ending groundout, HP Umpire James Hoye denied Diaz free passage to first base on a hit-by-pitch from Phillies pitcher David Robertson, ruling that Diaz failed to make an attempt to avoid being touched by the ball, which by rule excludes the customary first base award on a standard HBP. 

Official Baseball Rule 5.05(b)(2) states, "The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out when—

They are touched by a pitched ball which they are not attempting to hit unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if they make no attempt to avoid being touched."

Accordingly, as leaning into a pitch most certainly doesn't meet the criteria for attempting to avoid it, Diaz was called back to bat.

Interestingly college posits a unique penalty for this violation that is different than OBR (and NHFS), per NCAA Rule 8-2-d-1a: "If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or if the batter moves to intentionally get hit or freezes to allow a pitch that is not within the batter's box to hit them, the ball is dead, it shall be called a strike and the batter is not awarded first base."

Video as follows:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Roster - 2022 World Series Umpires

Major League Baseball assigned seven umpires to officiate the 2022 Fall Classic between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies. Led by Crew Chief Dan Iassogna, MLB's #WorldSeries umpire crew features three first-timers (Tripp Gibson, Jordan Baker, Pat Hoberg), and three umpires calling their second World Series (James Hoye, Lance Barksdale, Alan Porter). It is Iassogna's third Fall Classic.

Umpires will rotate such that one person will be in reserve/off-field for the game prior to their plate job. Rotations thus will follow a RF-LF-3B-2B-1B-Reserve-HP scheme; Game 1's configuration is listed below. Replay Officials will remain in New York for the entirety of the Series. James Hoye (denoted by *) will serve as acting crew chief when Iassogna is off the field.

2022 World Series (Houston Astros vs Philadelphia Phillies) Umpires:
HP: James Hoye* [Game 1 Plate]                         [4 WC, 4 DS, 3 LCS, 2nd World Series]
1B: Dan Iassogna -cc [Game 3 Plate]                [3 WC, 7 DS, 6 LCS, 3rd World Series]
2B: Tripp Gibson ^1st WS^ [Game 4 Plate]        [3 WC, 3 DS, 1 LCS, 1st World Series]
3B: Jordan Baker ^1st WS^ [Game 5 Plate]        [3 WC, 2 DS, 1 LCS, 1st World Series]
LF: Lance Barksdale [Game 6 Plate]                  [3 WC, 6 DS, 3 LCS, 2nd World Series]
RF: Alan Porter [Game 7 Plate]                          [3 WC, 6 DS, 3 LCS, 2nd World Series]
Reserve: Pat Hoberg ^1st WS^ [Game 2 Plate]   [2 WC, 3 DS, 1 LCS, 1st World Series]

World Series Replay Officials: Chad Fairchild and Carlos Torres.

Video as follows:

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Did Profar Commit a Slide Rule Violation by Not Sliding?

Did San Diego's Jurickson Profar violate baseball's bona fide slide rule by jogging upright into second base instead of sliding—Phillies infielder Bryson Stott threw wide to first base thus preventing a double play during Philadelphia's NLCS against the Padres, but 2B Umpire Quinn Wolcott no-called the potential violation and Phillies manager Rob Thomson opted not to challenge the no-call, despite slide rule violations being eligible for Replay Review.

In the 8th inning of NLCS Game 2, Padres baserunner R1 Profar strolled in front of Stott on a ground ball double play attempt as the Phillies shortstop threw widely to first base. We review whether Profar violated the bona fide slide rule by remaining bipedal throughout the sequence.

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(j) pertains to slide rule violations and outlines four basic criteria for a runner to satisfy to meet the bona fide slide standards:
1) Begin their slide (by making contact with the ground) before reaching the base;
2) Be able and attempt to reach the base with their hand or foot;
3) Be able and attempt to remain on the base with their hand or foot;
4) Slide within reach of the base without changing direction to initiate contact with a fielder.

However, Profar didn't slide so he obviously didn't meet the bona fide slide criteria. The question is whether this is an automatic rules violation for failing to slide and whether it is not interference.

The answer is...for professional baseball, OBR does not require a slide into bases on force plays. The bona fide slide criteria exist for cases in which the runner chooses to slide, but there is no mandatory slide rule. Accordingly, Profar appears to run straight into second base from his base path on the grass (which he is allowed to choose, as all runners are); thus, unless the base path is illegal (which it is not), there is no out on this play, and because the base path rule allows for a runner to choose their own path, this play is legal under OBR.

In NFHS (high school) and NCAA (college), however, the force play slide rule (FPSR) would deem Profar's actions illegal; NCAA requires runners to slide on all force plays (Profar is out for not sliding between the bases on a force play) and in NFHS, although a slide is not required, the FPSR would put Profar out for failing to slide or run between the two bases—Profar's base path may be rules-legal, but when it comes to approaching a base on a force play, the FPSR in NFHS, Profar fails to remain in a straight/direct line between the bases as the middle infielder tags the base and then attempts to throw onto the following base. So under NCAA and NFHS, this is interference due to a FPSR violation.

Video as follows:

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Analysis as Replay Overturns Eddings' Transfer Call at 2B

 provides instant analysis of a Replay Review decision during Game 3 of the Padres-Phillies NLCS in which Replay Review overturned 2B Umpire Doug Eddings' out (transfer) call at second base.

Positioning proves key on a play in which Eddings elects to work from the outside and tmac argues for a return to more traditional, inside positioning for 2B Umpires when there is a runner on base, in order to see plays such as catch/no catch transfers in the middle infield.

Video as follows:

Friday, October 21, 2022

MLB Ejection P1 - Ted Barrett (1; Jurickson Profar)

HP Umpire Ted Barrett ejected Padres LF Jurickson Profar (check swing strike three call by 3B Umpire Todd Tichenor) in the top of the 9th inning of the #Padres-#Phillies game. With none out and one on, Profar attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 fastball from Phillies pitcher Seranthony Dominguez, ruled a ball by HP Umpire Barrett and called a swinging strike on appeal to 3B Umpire Tichenor. Play was reviewed and affirmed by the UEFL Appeals Board (7-0), the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Phillies were leading, 4-2. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 4-2.

This is Ted Barrett (65)'s 1st ejection of 2022.

This is the 1st ejection report of the 2022 MLB postseason (177th overall).
This is the 61st player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Profar was 1-4 (SO) in the contest.
This is San Diego's 7th ejection of 2022, 2nd in the NL West (ARI 9; SD 7; SF 5; COL 3; LAD 1).
This is Jurickson Profar's 1st ejection since June 5, 2021 (Hunter Wendelstedt; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Why Umpire Barrett Denied Machado's Time Out Request

After striking out to end the 3rd inning in Game 2 of the Phillies-Padres NLCS, San Diego batter Manny Machado turned to argue with Lance Barrett about the HP Umpire's failure to grant Machado's "Time" request. Here's why the time out was denied.

Official Baseball Rule 5.04(b)(2) governs this situation and states, "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 his eyes,” “steamed glasses,” “didn’t get the sign” or for any other cause."

Although replays do not conclusively indicate whether or not Machado timely requested "Time" or did so only after Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola began his windup delivery because the TV broadcast was busy concentrating on the health of broadcaster John Smoltz's Starbucks drink and thus cut to the pitch sequence too late, we see that Machado previously struck out during a playoff game in Los Angeles when, as a member of the Dodgers, a late time-out request was similarly denied by that game's plate umpire, Hunter Wendelstedt.

To deny a request, an umpire simply ignores it and calls the pitch as per usual | Video as follows:

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Obstruction Type 'Eh?' Porter Keeps Runner at Prior Base

When Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole attempted to pick off Guardians runner Andres Gimenez in Game 4 of the New York-Cleveland ALDS, 1B Umpire Alan Porter called the runner safe, first baseman Anthony Rizzo appearing to obstruct the runner's return.

But with baseball's obstruction rule essentially requiring that all obstructed runners so obstructed while a play is being made on them to be awarded at least one base beyond their prior base, why did Porter simply return Gimenez to the first base bag, instead of awarding the runner second base?

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(1) governs Obstruction Type 1/A, and states, "If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before they touch first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base they had last legally touched before the obstruction."

Accordingly, by rule, Gimenez—illegally blocked by Rizzo's leg while Rizzo didn't have possession of the ball and was not entitled to impede the runner's path—should have been granted safe passage to second base for Obstruction 1...but that's not what Porter did.

After the play, Porter signaled that an infraction had indeed occurred at first base—even telling the guilty fielder, "You can't do that"—but didn't enforce the penalty to its rulebook specification while the RF Umpire appeared to run toward New York's first base dugout, possibly to warn manager Aaron Boone against challenging the safe/out (tag) call, and that if Boone tried to challenge, the umpires might be obligated at that point to enforce the full effect of the obstruction penalty.

Sometimes, when you run your own league, your mechanics and expected calls can be tweaked, and this may be such a situation. The expected call here for both teams and most fans is to place the runner back on first base, not to award them second base...because the runner never tried to advance to second base.

Although the rules-correct call here is indeed to award the runner second base and no rulebook would disagree with that course of action, high-level leagues sometimes, well, play by their own set of rules.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Rosters - 2022 AL & NL Lg Championship Series Umpires

Major League Baseball assigned 14 umpires to officiate the American and National League Championship Series round of the 2022 postseason. The NLCS between the Phillies and Padres will be led by Crew Chief Ted Barrett while the ALCS between the Guardians-Yankees winner and the Astros will be led by Chief Alfonso Marquez.

During the LCS and World Series rounds of the playoffs, umpires work in seven-person crews, with six on-field umpires and the seventh serving as an off-field standby or reserve official. Replay Review in New York is staffed by umpires who are entirely off-field. Plate rotations are listed below, such that the umpires will rotate as follows: RF-LF-3B-2B-1B-Reserve-HP. Umpires denoted by * will serve as acting crew chief when the LCS Chiefs are off the field in the Reserve position.

AL Championship Series (Cleveland Guardians or New York Yankees vs Houston Astros) Umpires:
HP: Mike Muchlisnki [Game 1 Plate]                     [2 WC, 3 DS, 2nd LCS, 1 WS]
1B: Alfonso Marquez -cc [Game 3 Plate]              [3 WC, 11 DS, 6th LCS, 4 WS]
2B: Adrian Johnson ^1st LCS^ [Game 4 Plate]       [2 WC, 4 DS, 1st LCS]
3B: Vic Carapazza [Game 5 Plate]                          [2 WC, 5 DS, 2nd LCS]
LF: Chris Guccione [Game 6 Plate]                        [6 WC, 7 DS, 5th LCS, 2 WS]
RF: Chris Conroy* [Game 7 Plate]                           [3 WC, 2 DS, 3rd LCS, 1 WS]
Reserve: DJ Reyburn ^1st LCS^ [Game 2 Plate]    [2 WC, 3 DS, 1st LCS]

NL Championship Series (Philadelphia Phillies vs San Diego Padres) Umpires:
HP: Brian Knight ^1st LCS^ [Game 1 Plate]           [3 WC, 4 DS, 1st LCS]
1B: Ted Barrett -cc [Game 3 Plate]                       [6 WC, 12 DS, 10th LCS, 5 WS]
2B: Adam Hamari ^1st LCS^ [Game 4 Plate]         [3 WC, 1 DS, 1st LCS]
3B: Quinn Wolcott ^1st LCS^ [Game 5 Plate]        [3 WC, 3 DS, 1st LCS]
LF: Doug Eddings [Game 6 Plate]                          [3 WC, 6 DS, 2nd LCS, 1 WS]
RF: Todd Tichenor* [Game 7 Plate]                         [3 WC, 5 DS, 3rd LCS, 1 WS]
Reserve: Lance Barrett ^1st LCS^ [Game 2 Plate]   [3 WC, 2 DS, 1st LCS]

Video as follows:

Monday, October 17, 2022

Pondering Playoff Porter's Perfectly Positioned Plays

 noticed that 1B Umpire Alan Porter went 2-for-2 on Replay Review during Game 4 of the Yankees-Guardians ALDS in Cleveland, and we now review the two plays at first base, with a Teachable eye on Porter's positioning in making both of these calls.

For the first play, Cleveland batter Jose Ramirez hit a fly ball to shallow left field, which fell to the ground for a base hit. New York quickly recovered, however, and threw behind Ramirez at first base, leaving Porter to officiate a tag play on the batter-runner's shoulder, an out call confirmed via Replay Review.

For the second play, Porter ruled that Gabriel Arias' foot couldn't keep contact with first base while lunging to receive a thrown ball as Yankees batter-runner Aaron Judge arrived at first base, a call that stood on Replay Review to put Cleveland out of their two allotted challenges (one for regular season, two for postseason).

Video as follows:

Saturday, October 15, 2022

France & Maldonado Tangle on Double Play in Seattle

Mariners first baseman Ty France turned a blazingly quick double play, catching Astros batter Jose Altuve's infield fly ball before quickly tagging baserunner Martin Maldonado in the 5th inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series in Seattle. 1B Umpire Cory Blaser officiated the play several feet away while HP Umpire and Crew Chief Marvin Hudson explained the sequence to Houston manager Dusty Baker shortly thereafter.

The broadcasters mentioned that Baker may have sought to solicit an interference call, while also claiming that perhaps France had pushed Maldonado off the base ala the Kent Hrbek-Ron Gant force off play in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, but replays confirm that fielder France tagged Maldonado off the base, and that Maldonado never made it back to first base to tag up until after the tag was applied.

There is some confusion about the entanglement issue, so perhaps the Official Baseball Rules' definitions for interference and obstruction will help explain.
Interference is an act ordinarily committed by the offense against the defense. It is defined as an infraction by the team at bat which "interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders, or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play." There is a special case for catcher's interference, which must be committed against a batter during a pitched ball (in NFHS/high school, this is ordinarily called catcher's obstruction).
Obstruction is an act ordinarily committed by the defense against the offense and is defined as, "the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner."

However, replays clearly indicate fielder France was either in the act of fielding the ball (the fielder ordinarily has the right of way to field a batted ball) or in possession of the ball at all times during the fielder-runner interaction, so it can be said that no defensive infraction occurred during this fast double play sequence. If anything, one could argue that baserunner Maldonado interfered with France, had France dropped the ball as a result of Maldonado standing off the base and in the way of the catch of a batted ball.

Video as follows:

Teachable - A Boundary for Barrett - Catch Considerations

For this Teachable Moment, tmac highlights HP Umpire Ted Barrett officiating a catch play near the dugout boundary on a foul fly ball to Cleveland catcher Austin Hedges during a game vs Minnesota. There are a few considerations for a pop fly hit back to the screen, and tmac reviews them here.

Upon Twins batter Max Kepler making contact with the baseball, Barrett's first move is to watch catcher Hedges—Barrett needs to clear the catcher, or move out of the catcher's way as Hedges is glancing skyward for the ball; thus, Barrett keeps an eye on the catcher before looking for the ball since the catcher's eyes will communicate where the ball might be.

After clearing the catcher, Hedges runs toward the first-base dugout and Barrett pursues, ready to open the gate by matching Hedges' movements with corresponding position adjustments in order to attain a keyhole angle to see a potential catch or boundary issue. Speaking of this boundary issue, HP Umpire Barrett must find a position near the fence-line to rule on various aspects of this play such as: did the fielder catch the ball before or after stepping or falling into dead ball territory (also see Rule 5.06(b)(3)(C) for "Catch & Carry"), did the ball scrape the protective netting behind home plate, etc.

This play was reviewed and upheld as a legal catch | Video as follows:

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Foul Ball off the Protective Netting - Wall Physics

Atlanta had to wait just a bit longer for Bryce Harper to make the third and final out of NLDS Game 2 vs Philadelphia after HP Umpire Nic Lentz ruled an earlier foul fly ball by the Phillies batter dead and out of play, with the baseball contacting the protective netting behind home plate before Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud could catch it.

The primary clue of a ball having struck a wall or scraped a fence is whether the ball suddenly changes direction when coming back toward the playing surface. Physically speaking, as well, projectile dymanics as well as spin rate and wind speed + direction all play a role in officiating this play.

In this case, video doesn't appear to show where exactly the ball was relative to the boundary—Lentz's position along the fence-line is the optimal angle for officiating this play and better than any TV camera.

For that reason, Replay Review ultimately ruled "call stands" due to a lack of clear and convincing video evidence to prove either potentiality. A few pitches later, Kenley Jansen struck out batter Harper to end the game.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Josh Donaldson Thrown Out Assuming HR That Wasn't

You asked us to take a look at Yankees batter-runner Josh Donaldson getting thrown out at first base in Game 1 of the Cleveland-New York ALDS on a play in which Donaldson incorrectly thought he hit a home run that umpires instead ruled alive and in play due to the ball hitting the top of the outfield wall, so naturally we went overboard and pulled up prior instances of Josh Donaldson thinking he hit a home run to right field at Yankee Stadium that turned out to be in play.

As was the case Tuesday night in New York, Donaldson was thrown out in one of those other examples as well, this time by Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki when Donaldson was playing for the Oakland Athletics.

During the American League Division Series Game 1 play, Donaldson hit a fly ball to the right field corner that caromed off the top of the outfield wall and bounced back into play, ruled fair and in play by RF Mark Ripperger, who mechanized his "in play" ruling by using a safe signal to indicate the ball had not left the ballpark.

Donaldson, however, trotted past first base with his head down and may not have seen this signal, ultimately finding himself thrown out at first base on a live ball that he thought was dead by virtue of leaving the playing field, which it had not done, a call confirmed via Replay Review.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Eye of Iassogna - Keeping an Eye Everlasting on the Ball

Just minutes into Game 1 of the #Guardians-#Yankees American League Division Series in New York, ALDS Crew Chief and 2B Umpire Dan Iassogna called Cleveland baserunner Amed Rosario safe on an attempted steal of second base after Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson dropped the ball.

With a 1-2 pitch to batter Jose Ramirez, and the Yankees employing a shift with three infielders on the right side of second base—which will be illegal beginning in 2023—2B Umpire Iassogna prepared for a potential stolen base attempt. As Ramirez swung at and missed pitcher Gerrit Cole's 98-mph fastball, Rosario ran toward second base, sliding in as the shifted-over Donaldson ran by to stab at the ball and tag.

As the play developed and fielder Donaldson's momentum took him toward right field, U2 Iassogna stuck with the action area of the play, following the path of the baseball, which had come loose after Donaldson's glove made contact with Rosario's helmet.

After confirming the dropped ball, Iassogna nonchalantly signaled the runner safe. This might sound like a simple call—the ball is rolling on the infield dirt after all—but mechanically, it's easy to lose one's timing and officiate such a play too early by giving a premature out signal. Instead, Iassogna remained patient, and was thus able to practice baseball's General Instructions to Umpires (Official Baseball Rule 8.00):

"Keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play. It is more vital to know just where a fly ball fell, or a thrown ball finished up then whether or not a runner missed a base. Do not call the plays too quickly, or turn away too fast when a fielder is throwing to complete a double play. Watch out for dropped balls after you have called a player out."

Video as follows:

Sept/Oct Call of the Month - Will Little is Off Base

In our final Call of the Month for the 2022 regular season combining September through Game 162 in early October, 3B Umpire Will Little gets into the action during an Angels-A's game in Oakland to officiate a play in which Athletics runner Nick Allen came off the bag after initially sliding in safely, a call confirmed via Replay Review.

The A's attempt to sacrifice bunt R2 Allen to third base and reading that the play could be to third, Little moves closer to third base along the left field foul line. As Angels third baseman Luis Rengifo receives the throw at third and Allen approaches the base, Little is on top of the play, finding the keyhole angle necessary to see that, although Allen initially touched third base before the tag, the runner's foot nonetheless came off of the base, all while Rengifo held the tag. Observing this daylight between foot and base, Little properly signaled that the runner was out by virtue of an overslide while being tagged.

Video as follows:

Monday, October 10, 2022

Buck Showalter Requests Ear Inspection of Joe Musgrove

Several innings before San Diego won Game 3 of the NL Wild Card Series to eliminate New York from the 2022 postseason, Mets manager Buck Showalter requested umpires inspect Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove for illegal substances, a move we previously wrote comes with next-to-no downside for a requesting manager whose request proves unsuccessful.

During the 6th inning of a game in which San Diego led New York by a score of 4-0, Showalter approached 1B Umpire and Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez and requested the umpires check opposing pitcher Musgrove for foreign substances that may be in contravention of Official Baseball Rule 6.02(c)(7), the pitching prohibitions rule that states, "The pitcher shall not have on their person, or in their possession, any foreign substance."

As we wrote in September when Twins manager Rocco Baldelli requested Ted Barrett inspect Guardians pitcher James Karinchak, a search that proved most unfruitful, there is no deterrent to a manager requesting a frivolous inspection (unlike the NHL, which adopted a penalty for unsuccessful stick measurement requests after prior abuse of the rule).

Accordingly, 1B Umpire Marquez searched Musgrove for illegality—including behind the Padres pitcher's ears—and apparently found no illegal substances, for Musgrove remained in the game, pitching San Diego to a series-clinching 6-0 victory.

We also analyze 1B Umpire Marquez's mechanics in officiating a play at first base in which the batted ball hit the first base bag before bouncing high in the air to the first baseman. We follow Marquez's journey toward the keyhole angle as pitcher Musgrove runs to cover first base to retire the batter-runner.

Video as follows:

Rosters - 2022 AL and NL Division Series Umpires

Major League Baseball assigned 24 umpires to the 2022 American and National League Division Series round of the MLB postseason featuring Mariners-Astros (AL) and Guardians-Yankees & Phillies-Braves and Padres-Dodgers (NL) matchups. Crew Chiefs for this round of the postseason include Marvin Hudson, Dan Iassogna, Mark Carlson, and Bill Miller.

Crew Chiefs are indicated in bold text and by the -cc suffix with regular season crew chiefs denoted by an asterisk (*) while those working their first Division Series will be noted with a ^1st^ mark. Jeremie Rehak and Nic Lentz are the only umpires working their first on-field postseasons. The following listings feature Game 1 configurations such that the plate umpire from Game 1 will work right field in Game 2, and all other umpires will move clockwise (e.g., 3B becomes 2B). 

AL Division Series (Seattle Mariners vs Houston Astros) Umpires:
HP: Pat Hoberg [Game 1 Plate]                     [2 WC, 3rd Division Series, 1 LCS]
1B: Jansen Visconti ^1st^ [Game 2 Plate]     [1 WC, 1st Division Series]
2B: Marvin Hudson -cc [Game 3 Plate]      [1 WC, 8th Division Series, 2 LCS, 2 WS]
3B: Cory Blaser [Game 4 Plate]                   [3 WC, 4th Division Series, 2 LCS]
LF: James Hoye [Game 5 Plate]                  [4 WC, 4th Division Series, 3 LCS, 1 WS]
RF: Carlos Torres                                         [2 WC, 2nd Division Series]

AL Division Series (Cleveland Guardians vs New York Yankees) Umpires:
HP: Jordan Baker [Game 1 Plate]                  [3 WC, 2nd Division Series, 1 LCS]
1B: Jeremie Rehak ^1st^ [Game 2 Plate]      [1st Division Series]
2B: Dan Iassogna -cc [Game 3 Plate]          [3 WC, 7th Division Series, 6 LCS, 2 WS]
3B: Will Little [Game 4 Plate]                     [3 WC, 4th Division Series, 1 LCS]
LF: Alan Porter [Game 5 Plate]                  [4 WC, 6th Division Series, 3 LCS, 1 WS]
RF: Mark Ripperger ^1st^                           [1 WC, 1st Division Series]

NL Division Series (Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves) Umpires:
HP: David Rackley [Game 1 Plate]               [4 WC, 2nd Division Series, 1 LCS]
1B: Nic Lentz ^1st^ [Game 2 Plate]              [1st Division Series]
2B: Bill Miller -cc [Game 3 Plate]               [6 WC, 10th Division Series, 8 LCS, 4 WS]
3B: Stu Scheurwater [Game 4 Plate]           [1 WC, 2nd Division Series]
LF: Chad Fairchild [Game 5 Plate]             [1 WC, 7th Division Series, 2 LCS, 1 WS]
RF: Ryan Blakney ^1st^                              [1 WC, 1st Division Series]

NL Division Series (San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers) Umpires:
HP: Tripp Gibson [Game 1 Plate]                  [3 WC, 3rd Division Series, 1 LCS]
1B: Chris Segal ^1st^ [Game 2 Plate]           [1 WC, 1st Division Series]
2B: Mark Carlson -cc [Game 3 Plate]        [2 WC, 6th Division Series, 6 LCS, 2 WS]
3B: John Tumpane [Game 4 Plate]              [2 WC, 3rd Division Series, 1 LCS]
LF: Lance Barksdale [Game 5 Plate]          [3 WC, 6th Division Series, 3 LCS, 1 WS]
RF: Scott Barry                                           [3rd Division Series, 1 LCS]

Division Series Replay Review: Ramon De Jesus, Mike Estabrook, Gabe Morales, Bill Welke*.
Video as follows:

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Cardinals Sniff Out Phillies' 1st-3rd Trick - St Louis Time Play

In signaling no run scored prior to the third out in St Louis, HP Umpire Vic Carapazza capped off a time play in which the Cardinals stymied Philadelphia's attempted 1st-3rd trickery during Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series, tagging Phillies trailing runner R1 Alec Bohm for the third out before preceding runner R3 JT Realmuto touched home plate.

With two out and runners at the corners (R1, R3) in the top of the 6th inning of the Phillies-Cardinals game, Phillies batter Brandon Marsh quickly fell into a two-strike hole. With a count of 0-2, Philadelphia opted to put trailing baserunner R1 Bohm in motion to try and coax a throw (and attention) from Cardinals pitcher Jordan Montgomery, buying time so lead runner R3 Realmuto could sprint home and score a run.

The play...didn't quite work as expected as Realmuto hesitated significantly between third and home, getting a very late start toward the plate. This led to a situation in which R1 Bohm became engaged in a rundown, and necessitating HP Umpire Carapazza to determine whether R3 Realtmuto would be able to touch home plate, scoring a run, before R1 Bohm would be tagged out for the third out.

Official Baseball Rule 5.08(a) pertains to such time play scenarios: "One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first, second, third and home base before three are put out to end the inning." Note that if the batter becomes the third out before touching first base or any runner is forced out for the third out, no runs can be scored regardless of the timing issue.

Thus, the Bohm pickoff play is a somewhat rarer time play situation than the standard case of a batted ball preceding a time play during subsequent base-running action. Nonetheless, Carapazza determined that the third out occurred at first base prior to the run scoring and indicated, through a waive off or wash-out signal, that the run shall not count.

Video as follows:

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Cleveland Lost Track of the Count & Lost a Replay Review

During the 12th inning of its AL Wild Card Game 2 win against Tampa Bay, Cleveland lost a manager's challenge of 1B Umpire Quinn Wolcott's safe call on a pickoff play at first base then several outs later lost track of the count during Guardians batter Andres Gimenez's at-bat that ended in a strikeout.

Replay Review opted to rule "call stands" on Wolcott's safe call on Cleveland pitcher Enyel De Los Santos' attempted pickoff of Rays baserunner R1 Harold Ramirez, and we briefly discuss the keyhole angle issue which is quite difficult to acquire through movement during such a quickly-developing play.

As for the count—our third lost count in as many weeks—HP Umpire Adam Hamari and the scoreboard in Cleveland both appeared to have the correct count, but Gimenez appeared to mistakenly believe strike three was actually strike two and/or that it was only the second out of the inning. Perhaps it's time to give batters ball/strike indicators as well.

Video as follows:

Friday, October 7, 2022

Rays Lose Replay Review Challenge of Guardians HR Base Touch

Rays manager Kevin Cash filed an unsuccessful challenge during Game 1 of Tampa Bay's AL Wild Card Series against Cleveland, alleging that Guardians baserunner Amed Rosario failed to touch second base during teammate Jose Ramirez's home run in the 6th inning. Replay Review upheld 2B Umpire Quinn Wolcott's safe (legal touch) call.

Believe or not, there are a handful of relevant rules for this play.

Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(1) obligates runners to touch bases: "In advancing, a runner shall touch first, second, third and home base in order."

OBR 5.09(c)(2) authorizes defensive appeals for a runner's failure to touch their bases: "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, is tagged."

And OBR 5.06(b)(4) clarifies that even though OBR 5.09(c)(2) refers to "with the ball in play," bases awarded still must be touched: "The fact a runner is awarded a base or bases without liability to be put out does not relieve them of the responsibility to touch the base they are awarded and all intervening bases."

We also review the MLB Umpire Manual interpretation for past/prior as well as last time by: "If the runner retouches first and then second in advancing to the awarded base, the runner’s failure to touch second base in returning to first is “corrected” under the theory that touching the base the “last time by” corrects any previous error."

Video as follows:

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Greg Gibson, the Home Plate Umpire, Retires from Baseball

Major League umpire and crew chief Greg Gibson has retired 25 years after his NL debut; baseball's infamous home plate umpire officiated his last MLB game in May 2022. Said Gibson, "It's my time to get out of the way."

The umpiring veteran made those comments to his home town Daily Independent, further explaining his decision to retire: "I was getting to the point where it wasn’t fun."

Before Gibson's National League debut in 1997, the Ohio-born and Kentucky-residing umpire journeyed through the minor league system's Appalachian, Florida Instructional, South Atlantic, Florida State, Eastern, and International Leagues.

He officiated three Wild Card Games (2012, 13, 18), 10 Division Series (2001, 03, 04, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11, 15, 21), five League Championship Series (2005, 12, 13, 14, 18), and one World Series (2011) to go along with more than 2700 regular season games, and picked up 92 career ejections along the way.

An injury sidelined Gibson for the COVID-shortened 2020 season and according to the Daily Independent, long COVID issues contributed to Gibson's abbreviated 2022 schedule that ended in May.

Gibson promoted to crew chief prior to the 2022 season, and retires from baseball into an insurance business he became involved with several years ago; in 2019, Gibson graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree from the school's the Risk Management and Insurance program.
Related PostGreg Gibson Fulfills Goal, Graduates from College (5/12/19).

Video as follows:

Rosters - 2022 AL and NL Wild Card Series

Major League Baseball assigned 24 umpires to the 2022 American and National League Wild Card Series round of the MLB postseason featuring Guardians-Rays & Blue Jays-Mariners (AL) and Cardinals-Phillies & Mets-Padres (NL) matchups. Crew Chiefs for this round of the postseason include Ted Barrett, Jerry Meals, Jeff Nelson, and Alfonso Márquez.

Crew Chiefs are indicated in bold text and by the -cc suffix with regular season crew chiefs denoted by an asterisk (*) while those working their first postseason will be noted with a ^1st^ mark. The following listings feature Game 1 configurations such that the plate umpire from Game 1 will work right field in Game 2, and all other umpires will move clockwise (e.g., 3B becomes 2B). 

AL Wild Card (Cleveland Guardians @ Tampa Bay Rays) Umpires:
HP: Doug Eddings [Game 1 Plate]                 [3rd Wild Card, 6 DS, 1 LCS, 1 WS]
1B: Adam Hamari [Game 2 Plate]                 [3rd Wild Card, 1 DS]
2B: Quinn Wolcott [Game 3 Plate]                [3rd Wild Card, 3 DS]
3B: Ted Barrett* -cc                                     [6th Wild Card, 12 DS, 9 LCS, 5 WS]
LF: Hunter Wendelstedt                                [2nd Wild Card, 5 DS, 4 LCS, 1 WS]
RF: Chad Whitson ^1st^                               [1st Wild Card]

AL Wild Card (Toronto Blue Jays vs Seattle Mariners) Umpires:
HP: Lance Barrett [Game 1 Plate]                 [3rd Wild Card, 2 DS]
1B: Todd Tichenor [Game 2 Plate]               [3rd Wild Card, 5 DS, 2 LCS, 1 WS]
2B: Brian Knight [Game 3 Plate]                 [3rd Wild Card, 4 DS]
3B: Jerry Meals* -cc                                   [3rd Wild Card, 9 DS, 3 LCS, 2 WS]
LF: Andy Fletcher                                        [3rd Wild Card, 2 DS]
RF: Roberto Ortiz ^1st^                               [1st Wild Card]

NL Wild Card (St Louis Cardinals vs Philadelphia Phillies) Umpires:
HP: DJ Reyburn [Game 1 Plate]                 [2nd Wild Card, 3 DS]
1B: Vic Carapazza [Game 2 Plate]             [2nd Wild Card, 5 DS, 1 LCS]
2B: Mike Muchlinski [Game 3 Plate]        [2nd Wild Card, 3 DS, 1 LCS, 1 WS]
3B: Jeff Nelson* -cc                                  [6th Wild Card, 8 DS, 9 LCS, 4 WS]
LF: Laz Diaz*                                            [3rd Wild Card, 7 DS, 4 LCS, 3 WS]
RF: John Libka ^1st^                                [1st Wild Card]

NL Wild Card (New York Mets vs San Diego Padres) Umpires:
HP: Adrian Johnson [Game 1 Plate]       [2nd Wild Card, 4 DS]
1B: Chris Guccione [Game 2 Plate]       [6th Wild Card, 7 DS, 4 LCS, 2 WS]
2B: Chris Conroy [Game 3 Plate]          [3rd Wild Card, 2 DS, 2 LCS, 1 WS]
3B: Alfonso Márquez* -cc                    [3rd Wild Card, 11 DS, 5 LCS, 4 WS]
LF: Bruce Dreckman                              [1st Wild Card, 5 DS, 2 LCS]
RF: Ben May ^1st^                               [1st Wild Card]

Wild Card Series Replay Review: Dan Bellino, Rob Drake, Manny Gonzalez, Mark Wegner*.
Video as follows:

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

After Pandemic Halts History, Lisa Turbitt Takes WBC Field

Baseball Canada umpire Lisa Turbitt was originally slated to make history as the first woman to officiate a World Baseball Classic Qualifier game in March 2020, but before the tournament could get going, it was postponed. Two years later, Turbitt joins an international roster of officials to work the WBC qualifier round in Fall 2022.

Turbitt's history-making game occurred September 30, 2022 at Estadio Nacional Rod Carew in Panama City in front of a crowd of 466 people. Turbitt and umpires Frantisek Pribyl, Dane Poncsak, and Michael Ulloa worked a rainy game—complete with a weather delay—in which Argentina defeated Pakistan, 7-4.

The Latin America leg of the WBC qualifying round follows the European qualifier that took place at Armin-Wolf Baseball Arena in Regensburg, Germany in September, with Great Britain and Czech Republic qualifying for the 2023 WBC.

The main World Baseball Classic tournament is scheduled to begin March 11, 2023, in the United States.

Stadium Ejection - Rangers Fan Removed After Jumping Fence During Aaron Judge's 62nd HR

You asked for a fan ejection, so here it is: Global Life Field security ejected a fan for jumping over an outfield spectator wall when Aaron Judge hit HR #62 in the top of the 1st inning of the #Yankees-#Rangers game. With none out and none on, Judge hit a home run to left field, breaking Roger Maris' American League single-season HR record. Replays indicate that while the home run was in flight, a fan jumped over the spectator fence but not onto the playing field, the ejection for violation of the ballpark's "not trespassing onto the field" rule was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the fan hadn't caught the ball. The fan ultimately did not catch the ball.

Global Life Field, like many stadiums throughout the league, publish a Guest Code of Conduct as well as a Prohibited Items and Behavior list (including the catch-all "disorderly conduct" which effectively serves the same purpose as the rulebook's elastic clause or phrase "unsportsmanlike conduct"), noting that violators may be ejected without refund (and may even be subject to arrest).

Video as follows:

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Replay Rules Boston's Martinez Short of 1B vs New York

You asked us to take a look at a Replay Review decision that overturned 1B Umpire Paul Clemons' safe call on a play at first base when Red Sox batter-runner JD Martinez lunged for but missed touching first base as Yankees first baseman Marwin Gonzalez stretched to receive a throw.

Although there exists an MLB Umpire Manual interpretation holding that a runner shall be declared "safe" even if they miss a base based on timing alone, the fact of the matter is that in this case, the batter-runner (by virtue of being short of first base) hadn't yet reached first base when the fielder first possessed the ball. Had batter-runner Martinez instead overstepped first base and failed to touch the backside of the base after already having reached it, then the proper call from Replay would be to declare the runner safe, unless New York were to have filed a proper appeal before manager Aaron Boone challenged the play.

From MLBUM: "If the batter-runner misses first base, or a runner misses their next base, they shall be considered as having reached the next base, as referred to in the Note to Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(3)(D) and as stated in the Approved Ruling of Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a): 'A runner who misses the first base to which they are advancing and who is called out on appeal shall be considered as having advanced one base for the purpose of this rule.'"

If the Yankees failed to appeal prior to requesting a Replay Review, it would be too late to appeal after the review's conclusion and the runner Martinez would be ruled safe if the Replay Official determined his foot missed first base, but that the runner did, indeed, reach or arrive at first base prior to the fielder possessing the baseball.

Video as follows:

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: