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. Play was reviewed and adjudicated by the UEFL Appeals Board, the call was correct. 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: