Friday, April 7, 2023

Reversing an Incorrect Call - Sean Barber's Foul Ball

Chief Alan Porter's crew changed an errant foul ball call by 1B Umpire Sean Barber during the Mets-Brewers game in Milwaukee, un-ringing the ball to reverse a dead ball to a fair ball off the bat of New York's Omar Narvaez. HP Umpire Mike Muchlinski, who from his position at home plate had a fairly decent angle to see the line drive hit past first base and down the right field line, called the crew together following the play, leading to the reversal.

Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c) allows umpires to change earlier calls: "...No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it. If the umpires consult after a play and change a call that had been made, then they have the authority to take all steps that they may deem necessary, in their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they are reversing, including placing runners where they think those runners would have been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call, disregarding interference or obstruction that may have occurred on the play; failures of runners to tag up based upon the initial call on the field; runners passing other runners or missing bases; etc., all in the discretion of the umpires. No player, manager or coach shall be permitted to argue the exercise of the umpires’ discretion in resolving the play and any person so arguing shall be subject to ejection."

NCAA/college's correcting an earlier call rule goes further to specify that certain calls lend themselves quite well to post-play reversal (such as erroneous foul ball vs home run calls, etc.) while others should not be reversed (such as ball/strike decisions).

As for OBR, although the rule states no umpire shall seek to reverse another umpire's decision unless asked to do so, there exist some calls—such as Barber's foul ball call—that aren't your garden variety 50-50 judgment or other close calls that portion of the rule is designed to protect. Instead, this was a definitively obvious error, and the crew's convening resulted in a crewsaver of a changed call. From a Replay Review standpoint, this is an important fix because if the play was closer, "call stands" would revert to whatever the umpires called after their conference.

Finally, the umpires considered the batted ball's path caroming off the outfield wall and in proximity to Brewers right fielder Brian Anderson, combined with Narvaez's below average running speed, suggesting the likely outcome of this play had the initial call been "fair" was a single for Narvaez, so they placed him at first base.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Umpires reverse incorrect foul ball call and remedy with a single (CCS)


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