Saturday, April 1, 2023

Runner's Interference with Thrown Ball Must be Intentional

When Guardians batter Miles Straw flied out to Mariners right fielder Teoscar Hernandez with the bases loaded, the Seattle outfielder's throw hit retreating Cleveland runner R1 Mike Zunino in the back, caroming away from fielders leading to another run. Is this interference, as alleged after the play by Mariners manager Scott Servais?

As the umpires explained to Servais, this is not interference because Official Baseball Rule 6.01(a)(10) puts a runner out for interference only when "they fail to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interfere with a thrown ball." In other words, the throw from the outfield hitting Zunino was not interference because Zunino did not intend to interfere. As intent is a requirement for this brand of interference, this is the proper no-call and all runners are safe.

With replays showing batter Straw running through first base to the right of R1 Zunino, had outfielder Hernandez's throw hit Straw instead, then, yes, the umpires could have ruled leading runner R3 Oscar Gonzalez out for the interference of teammate Straw. OBR 6.01(a)(5), which states interference occurs when "any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of their teammate."

Video as follows:

CCS Presents UmpShow the Umpire Simulator Game!

Close Call Sports Studios in consultation with Pitch Clock Productions presents UEFL's Ump Show, the video game that puts you behind the plate as an umpire for a virtual big league baseball game, giving you the chance to call the action to 100% accuracy...or turn it into a real #UmpShow full of ejections and controversy.

Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, in association with Close Call Sports Media Group, has taken officiating mechanics and created a virtual world that rivals the best baseball simulations in the market, you know, the mainstream abominations that restrict the user to controlling players and teams.

Ump Show has none of it, dedicating its revolutionary Dana DeMicroSAMengine to the boys and girls in blue and black...but be forewarned: as in real life officiating, there are no slow-motion replays (unless you're playing in Replay Official Mode™), and one shot at full speed from the angle you have chosen is all you get. Our program doesn't even have a pause button, allowing for the mini-game, "Sprint to the Dugout Bathroom," a 60-second journey down the stairs.

Want to run the skip? It's your call to make.
And if your calls don't meet to the realistically irrational satisfaction of either manager produced by our cutting edge Mattingly Algorithm, you'll hear chirping and gain access to Ump Show's state of the art Game Management Feature™, where you can discipline or ignore potential misconduct by issuing warnings and ejections.

Careful! If your fuse is too short, you'll see a TILT (Trigger Initiation Limit Tool) and receive downgrades from BOB™, your virtual supervisor (derived from "RoBOBserver Manfried Hard Drive"), but if you're too lenient, both clubs will jump all over you and potentially start a forfeit-inducing fight, which will get you in hot water with your crew chief, CompuKlem™ 9000.

The WEST application.
Choose your character directly from a template of The Show's 20 roster umpires, or create your own unique avatar using the proprietary Wendel-stencil Entertainment Studio Tool (aka the WEST), choosing your path through school for a shot at the show. Ump Show currently offers Hunter Hall and Corporate College as two paths to the pros.

It's all your call in Ump Show, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the game.

Friday, March 31, 2023

PitchCom Breaks, Pitch Violation Called as Manfred Sits in the Booth

What happens when the pitcher-catcher PitchCom system breaks while the pitch clock timer expires? When it happened during the Phillies-Rangers game (with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in attendance), HP Umpire Jeff Nelson called a pitch clock violation on Texas pitcher Jacob deGrom before consulting with Replay Review and rescinding the violation, allowing the technical malfunction to excuse the momentary pace-of-play infraction.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman's violation did stick as HP Umpire Ron Kulpa called Stroman for failing to start his delivery prior to the clock hitting zero. That call did stick, as no complications like a PitchCom malfunction was to blame.

In Miami, HP Umpire Larry Vanover wound up granting "Time" to Marlins batter Bryan de la Cruz, who shouted to get the umpire's attention when Mets pitcher Max Scherzer failed to start his delivery prior to the pitch clock expiring at that game. Vanover, who did not call Scherzer for the time violation, instead charged de la Cruz with a time out request, the batter's sole allotment for the at-bat.

Video as follows:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Baserunner Pete Alonso Called for Pitch Clock Violation in Miami

MLB's new pitch clock took no time to make an appearance on Opening Day, with a violation in Boston striking out Red Sox batter Rafael Devers. In Miami, however, baserunner Pete Alonso was called for a clock violation by HP Umpire Larry Vanover, batter Jeff McNeil incurring an automatic strike penalty as a result of his teammate's infraction...which was...what exactly?

The Devers play at Fenway Park is fairly simple: batters must be in the batter's box and alert to the pitcher by the eight-second mark of the pitch clock. Devers wasn't, and HP Umpire Lance Barksdale assessed the automatic strike, resulting in the third strike of Devers' at-bat and a clock-induced strikeout.

But at the Mets-Marlins game, Vanover called the violation not because batter McNeil wasn't ready to go by the eight-second mark, but because New York baserunner R1 Alonso apparently took too long to return to first base after a foul ball by McNeil. Replays indicate Alonso walking back to first base after the foul, with Vanover eventually signaling "Time" and pointing to Alonso before assessing a pitch clock violation and auto-strike to McNeil.

The rules do allow umpires to call violations based on baserunners employing tactics to delay the game or hinder pace of play, such as by intentionally delaying their return to a base on a foul ball or other disruption in order to prevent the pitch timer from starting (the timer starts when all players return to their positions).

Video as follows:

2023 MLB Umpire Crew Roster & Call-Up Umpires

Major League Baseball has assigned the following umpires to its full-time staff for the 2023 season, divided into 19 crews and comprised of four umpires led by a Crew Chief. Jerry Layne is now the senior-most crew chief on staff, while seven new crew chiefs will lead permanent crews for the first time in 2023. MLB also hired 10 new full-time umpires for the 2023 season to fill vacancies left by 10 retirees. Below the Umpire Crews is the roster of the 2023 call-up officials, who are minor league (AAA-level) umpires authorized to fill in for vacationing or injured full-time MLB umpires during the regular season.

#Crew ChiefUmpire 2Umpire 3Umpire 4
A24 Layne, Jerry19 Carapazza, Vic78 Hamari, Adam48 Mahrley, Nick
B45 Nelson, Jeff54 Bucknor, CB96 Segal, Chris97 May, Ben
C26 Miller, Bill8 Drake, Rob62 Whitson, Chad40 Ortiz, Roberto
D27 Vanover, Larry68 Guccione, Chris86 Rackley, David32 Moscoso, Edwin
E50 Emmel, Paul4 Fairchild, Chad59 Lentz, Nic35 Rehak, Jeremy
F14 Wegner, Mark1 Dreckman, Bruce85 Scherwater, Stu44 Moore, Malachi
G72 Marquez, Alfonso88 Eddings, Doug16 Barrett, Lance18 DeJesus, Ramon
H58 Iassogna, Dan87 Barry, Scott47 Morales, Gabe38 Beck, Adam
I6 Carlson, Mark71 Baker, Jordan73 Gibson, Tripp55 Miller, Brennan
J63 Diaz, Laz49 Fletcher, Andy83 Estabrook, Mike12 Bacchus, Erich
K46 Kulpa, Ron89 Blaser, Cory37 Torres, Carlos52 Visconti, Jansen
L51 Hudson, Marvin21 Wendelstedt, Hunter74 Tumpane, John36 Blakney, Ryan
M23 Barksdale, Lance15 Hickox, Ed*93 Little, Will67 Additon, Ryan
N92 Hoye, James5 Hernandez, Angel17 Reyburn, DJ84 Libka, John
O80 Johnson, Adrian79 Gonzalez, Manny81 Wolcott, Quinn25 Valentine, Junior
P2 Bellino, Dan10 Cuzzi, Phil90 Ripperger, Mark43 Livensparger, Shane
Q13 Tichenor, Todd91 Knight, Brian11 Randazzo, Tony66 Tosi, Alex
R64 Porter, Alan28 Wolf, Jim76 Muchlinski Mike29 Barber, Sean
S98 Conroy, Chris7 O'Nora, Brian31 Hoberg, Pat33 Ceja, Nestor
Injured List:15 Hickox,

Triple-A Call-Up Umpires:
Arrieta, David (Sleeve #100)
Bacon, John (70)
Ballou, Brock (119)
Clemons, Paul (104)
MacKay, Alex (105)
Merzel, Dan (107)
Navas, Jose (110)
Ramos, Charlie (111)
Riggs, Jeremy (112)
Rosenberg, Randy (113)
Tomlinson, Nate (114)
Vondrak, Clint (116)
Williams, Lew (117)
Wills, Ryan (118)

Video as follows:

Reggie Drummer, Umpire of Infamous Game-Ending Strike Three Call in Mississippi Valley State vs New Orleans, Tells His Story

Umpire Reggie Drummer's game-ending strike three call in the top of the 9th inning of a recent Mississippi Valley State vs New Orleans college game took on internet infamy and drew widespread condemnation ever since the game on March 10.

Sensing there may have been more behind this viral moment than first met the eye, Close Call Sports launched an investigation, reaching out to both schools involved, and uncovering a trail of ejections—including that of a fan—that precipitated the last pitch of the game.

In this Plate Meeting Podcast, we speak with Reggie Drummer, home plate umpire whose game-ending strike call took on an internet life of its own, who tells his side of the story and what led up to this fateful moment. It's a story of umpire abuse, an apparently uncooperative coach, racial slurs, and a hostile environment that pushed things too far.
Related (Original) PostCalled Third Strike Ends NCAA Game - About Umpire Power (3/11/23).

Video as follows:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Giant Un vs Intentional Ball Attendant Interference

As Athletics left fielder Conner Capel slid in attempt to catch Giants batter Bryce Johnson's foul fly ball, San Francisco ball dude Harvey reached in front of Capel and touched the baseball, ruled no catch (foul ball) by the umpire as Oakland sought an interference call. We now review the Official Baseball Rules concerning interference by a person authorized to be on the playing field.

In the bottom of the 6th inning of the final Spring Training Battle of the Bay, Giants batter Johnson hit a fly ball into foul territory in left, Capel giving chase and going into a slide in an attempt to catch the ball at the tarp along the short wall. As Capel slid into position with his glove outstretched, however, the ball attendant ("ball dude" in SF) attempted a catch of his own, with ball dude Harvey's glove contacting the ball before Capel had a chance to play it. Capel ultimately came away with the baseball, but the damage had already been done by Harvey's premature touch, resulting in a foul ball [no catch] call by 3B Umpire Nate Tomlinson (umpires in Spring tend to switch bases every few innings; Alex Tosi was originally at third base but had moved to first base for this inning).

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(d) is called Unintentional Interference, and states, "In case of unintentional interference with play by any person herein authorized to be on the playing field (except members of the team at bat who are participating in the game, or a base coach, any of whom interfere with a fielder attempting to field a batted or thrown ball; or an umpire) the ball is alive and in play. If the interference is intentional, the ball shall be dead at the moment of the interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in their opinion will nullify the act of interference."

The comment to OBR 6.01(d) states, "The question of intentional or unintentional interference shall be decided on the basis of the person’s action. For example: a ball attendant, police officer, etc., who tries to avoid being touched by a thrown or batted ball but still is touched by the ball would be involved in unintentional interference. If, however, they pick up the ball, catch it, or touch the ball by intentionally pushing or kicking at the ball, this act would constitute intentional interference."

Because ball dude Harvey clearly tried to catch the ball (as opposed to avoid it), this is an example of intentional interference, the penalty for which is to call "Time" and nullify the act. In order to nullify the act, 3B Umpire Tomlinson would have had to determine whether or not fielder Capel would have caught the ball, had Harvey not interfered.

Crew Chief Bill Miller ultimately announced that Replay Review had confirmed the "safe" call, but OBR 6.01(d) interference is not reviewable (unlike fan interference, which is reviewable as a boundary call). Thus, Replay was used here simply to determine whether or not Capel caught the ball cleanly, which, thanks to Harvey's touch, he clearly did not.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Legality of Nestor Cortes' Delay from Windup Position

After HP Umpire Reed Basner called Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes for a quick pitch (automatic ball) during Nationals batter Jeimer Candelario's 3rd inning at-bat in Washington, Cortes reacted by drawing out his windup on the very next pitch. Is this legal or a rules violation?

Official Baseball Rules 5.07(a) and 6.02(a)(5) govern the quick pitch part of the play. OBR 5.07(a) Comment states, "[Pitchers] may not step quickly onto the rubber and pitch. This may be judged a quick pitch by the umpire" and 6.02(a)(5) comment defines a quick pitch as an illegal pitch "delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box" (penalty with runners: balk; penalty without runners: ball).

The quick pitch was the correct call because pitcher Cortes began his windup motion prior to batter Candelario becoming reasonably set in the batter's box (e.g., he was not alert to the pitcher).

Immediately thereafter, Cortes responded by throwing a *slow pitch* on the ensuing offering, effectively drawing out his windup. Although OBR 5.07(a)(1) pertaining to Windup Position states, "any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without interruption or alteration. He shall not raise either foot from the ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, he may take one step backward, and one step forward with his free foot," pitcher Cortes didn't actually stop mid-delivery (no interruption). As for the alteration angle, even if it were to be adjudged a violation of 5.07(a)(1), there is no penalty other than "don't do that"—no automatic ball like a quick pitch.

Video as follows:

Monday, March 27, 2023

Spring Ejection 3 - Randy Rosenberg (1; JT Realmuto)

HP Umpire Randy Rosenberg ejected Phillies catcher JT Realmuto (pitch clock violation/resumption of play) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the #Phillies-#BlueJays game. With one out and one on, Phillies pitcher Craig Kimbrel was called for a pitch clock violation after he failed to begin his pitching motion prior to the expiration of time, resulting in an award of an automatic ball to Blue Jays batter Danny Jansen's count. After the violation, Kimbrel requested and received a replacement baseball from HP Umpire Rosenberg, who threw the replacement ball to the pitcher directly. Catcher Realmuto, having initially reached back with his catcher's mitt to receive a replacement ball, retracted his arm and mitt after realizing that Kimbrel had already received a replacement ball from the umpire. HP Umpire Rosenberg, however, had begun giving a new baseball to Realmuto and was mid-throw when Realmuto pulled his mitt away, the errant gesture resulting in the ball falling to the ground. Realmuto was then ejected. Replays indicate the pitch clock displayed zero prior to Kimbrel's delivery, the violation call was correct. At the time of the ejection, the Phillies were leading, 4-0.

This is Randy Rosenberg (113)'s 1st ejection of Spring Training 2023.

This is the third ejection of MLB Spring Training 2023.
This is the third player ejection of Spring 2023. Prior to ejection, Realmuto was 1-2 (SO) in the contest.
This is Philadelphia's 1st ejection of Spring, T-1st in the Grapefruit League (PHI, WAS 1; All Others 0).
This is JT Realmuto's 1st career MLB ejection.