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: