Monday, September 26, 2022

Ask - Washington Loses Run on Miami's Chaser Appeal

Already 43 games behind first place in the NL East, the Washington Nationals lost an apparent run in Miami after Marlins catcher Nick Fortes successfully appealed to HP Umpire Bill Miller that Nats baserunner CJ Abrams failed to touch home plate, a call affirmed via Replay Review.

With none out and two on (R1 Vargas, R3 Abrams) in the 2nd inning of Sunday's affair in Miami, Nationals batter Victor Robles hit a ground ball to Marlins pitcher Edward Cabrera, who threw home to catcher Fortes as runner R3 Abrams slid toward home plate. HP Umpire Miller made no signal, only ruling R3 Abrams out after catcher Fortes pursued Abrams to the visitor's first-base dugout at Marlins Park to apply a tag.

The Appeal Rule: Pursuant to Official Baseball Rule 5.09(c)(2), a runner is out on appeal when "they fail to touch each base in order before they, or a missed base, are tagged."

Furthermore, the MLB Umpire Manual advises what to do when both the runner misses their base touch and the fielder misses their tag of the runner, as Miller ruled occurred in Miami: "the umpire shall make no signal on the play...the runner must then be tagged if they attempt to return to the plate; if they continue on their way to the bench, the defense may make an appeal."

If the runner returns to the plate before being tagged, the umpire may then signal the runner safe.

If the runner makes no attempt to return to the plate, as occurred in Miami, the catcher has two options to appeal. For this play, F2 Fortes could have either tagged home plate or tagged the runner Abrams; so-called "accidental" appeals wherein the fielder inadvertently steps on the base with the ball don't count, meaning that Fortes would have to make it clear to HP Umpire Miller that stepping on the base was an intentional act alleging that runner Abrams failed to legally touch it—pursuing the runner to the warning track in front of their dugout in order to apply a tag, while time-consuming, is also a valid appeal option, meaning that Miller properly ruled on Fortes' appeal, declaring runner Abrams out for failing to touch a base. 

Video as follows:

Sunday, September 25, 2022

MLB Ejections 170-71 - Adrian Johnson (4-5; SEA-KC)

HP Umpire Adrian Johnson ejected Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray and Royals pitcher Luke Weaver (national anthem standoff/refusal to leave field/delay of game) prior to the top of the 1st inning of the #Mariners-#Royals game. Following the pre-game performance of the national anthem, off-day pitchers and bench personnel Ray (Seattle) and Weaver (Kansas City) remained on the playing field in the locations occupied during the national anthem. They remained in these on-field positions as Royals starting pitcher Max Castillo completed his warmup pitches and the game was ready to begin, and were ejected for delaying the start of the game after failing to follow the umpires' direction to leave the field, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejections, the game hadn't begun (score was tied 0-0). The Royals ultimately won the contest, 13-12.

These are Adrian Johnson (80)'s 4th and 5th ejections of 2022.

These are the 170th and 171st ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
These are the 57th and 58th player ejections of 2022. Prior to ejection, neither player appeared in the game.
This is Seattle's 12th ejection of 2022, 1st in the AL West (SEA 12; LA 10; HOU 7; OAK 6; TEX 2).
This is Kansas City's 4th ejection of 2022, T-3rd in the AL Central (CWS 6; CLE 5; DET, KC MIN 4).
This is Luke Weaver's first career MLB ejection.
This is Adrian Johnson's 4/5th ejection of 2022, 1st since June 26 (Scott Servais; QOC = U [Fighting]).

Wrap: Seattle Mariners vs Kansas City Royals, 9/25/22 | Video as follows:

Friday, September 23, 2022

MLB Ejection 169 - Ryan Wills (2; Patrick Wisdom)

HP Umpire Ryan Wills ejected Cubs RF Patrick Wisdom (strike one call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Cubs-#Pirates game. With one out and none on, Wisdom took a 0-0 curveball from Pirates pitcher Manny BaƱuelos for a called first strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and above the hollow of the knee (px 0.56, pz 1.52 [sz_bot 1.58 / RAD 1.46]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Cubs were leading, 5-4. The Cubs ultimately won the contest, 6-5.

This is Ryan Wills (118)'s 2nd ejection of 2022.
*This pitch was located 1.80 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 169th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 56th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Wisdom was 1-3 (2 SO) in the contest.
This is Chicago's 10th ejection of 2022, 1st in the NL Central (CHC 10; PIT, STL 6; CIN, MIL 4).
This is Patrick Wisdom's first career MLB ejection.
This is Ryan Wills' 2nd ejection of 2022, 1st since June 18 (Charlie Montoyo; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).

Wrap: Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates, 9/23/22 | Video as follows:

MLB Ejections 167-8 - Brian Knight (Cole, Boone)

HP Umpire Brian Knight ejected Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and manager Aaron Boone (ball two call; QOCY) in the top of the 6th inning of the #RedSox-#Yankees game. With two out and two on, Red Sox batter Alex Verdugo took a 1-2 fastball from Yankees pitcher Cole for a called second ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px -0.69, pz 1.38 [sz_bot 1.54 / RAD 1.42]) 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, 4-4. The Yankees ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

These are Brian Knight (91)'s 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2022.
*This pitch was located 1.44 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

These are the 167th and 168th ejection reports of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is the 55th player ejection of 2022. Prior to ejection, Cole's line was 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 HR.
This is the 91st manager ejection of 2022.
This is New York's 13/14th ejection of 2022, 1st in the AL East (NYY 14; TOR 10; BOS 6; BAL 4; TB 3).
This is Gerrit Cole's first career MLB ejection.
This is Aaron Boone's 9th ejection of 2022, 1st since Sept 16 (Edwin Moscoso; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brian Knight's 2/3rd ejection of 2022, 1st sine April 23 (Mark Kotsay; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Wrap: Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees, 9/23/22 | Video as follows:

Thursday, September 22, 2022

MLB Ejection 166 - Andy Fletcher (1; Kevin Long)

HP Umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long (strike three call; QOCN) in the bottom of the 5th inning of the #Braves-#Phillies game. With none out and none on, Phillies batter Dalton Guthrie took a 3-2 slider from Braves pitcher Max Fried for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the outer half of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px 0.59, pz 1.08 [sz_bot 1.51 / RAD 1.39 / MOE 1.33]), the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Phillies were leading, 1-0. The Phillies ultimately won the contest, 1-0.

This is Andy Fletcher (49)'s 1st ejection of 2022.
*This pitch was located 3.00 vertical inches from being ruled a correct call.

This is the 166th ejection report of the 2022 MLB regular season.
This is Philadelphia's 3rd ejection of 2022, 3rd in the NL East (MIA 9; WAS 4; PHI 3; ATL, NYM 2).
This is Kevin Long's 1st ejection since August 12, 2021 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y-c [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Andy Fletcher's 1st ejection since July 21, 2021 (Dave Roberts; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Wrap: Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies, 9/22/22 | Video as follows:

Teachable - Tosi's Toasty Pickoff Play

Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco's snap pickoff throw to first base might have caught baserunner Nathaniel Lowe off the bag, but 1B Umpire Alex Tosi was there to observe New York first baseman Dominic Smith's quick tag and instinctively call the runner out, a call confirmed via Replay Review following a Texas challenge.

As Tmac reviews in this Teachable Moment, Tosi trusts his eyes (and possibly ears) to come up with an immediate out call, spying the fielder's glove making contact with the runner's right knee prior to the runner's left foot returning to touch first base.

The moral of the story is through experience, umpires can learn to trust their instincts to assist in quick-reflexes plays such as this one.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Cleveland Loses Run, Can't Challenge After Earlier "Stands" Call

After losing an earlier challenge against Chicago, Guardians manager Terry Francona was unable to review HP Umpire Shane Livensparger's 7th inning out call on runner Amed Rosario's slide into home, which kept the game tied at three instead of Cleveland taking a 4-3 lead.

Cleveland lost its manager's challenge after a "call stands" ruling on White Sox runner Elvis Andrus' stolen base in the bottom of the 6th inning, meaning that under MLB's Replay Review regulations, the Guardians would be without a challenge for the rest of the game, including the 7th inning out call on Rosario.

Had this same sequence occurred in 2014, 2015, or 2016, however, Francona would have been permitted not to challenge the play, but to request a Crew Chief review from Chief Todd Tichenor.

In 2017, MLB changed the Crew Chief review's first inning of eligibility from the 7th inning to the 8th inning (except for home run boundary calls, which are permitted at any time pursuant to the 2008 limited HR replay rules that predated the manager's challenge system), meaning that Cleveland came up one inning short of being able to request a Crew Chief review.

For what it's worth, the rules prohibit Crew Chiefs from initiating reviews for non-HR boundary plays prior to the 8th inning. The rationale for MLB's 2017 change from 7th-to-8th inning starts was to deter teams from filing frivolous manager's challenges earlier in the game on plays unlikely to be overturned by Replay Review. Remember, the original purpose of replay was to correct the "obvious miss" and MLB sought fit to increase the in-game punishment for an unsuccessful challenge.

Video as follows:

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Teachable Quickie - Oversliding a Base with Bill Miller

2B Umpire Bill Miller calls Brewers batter-runner Keston Hiura out for oversliding second base in this CCS Quickie Teachable. When it is apparent that Hiura, having batted a ball to left field, will attempt to stretch his single into a double, Miller takes his position to see Pirates infielder Kevin Newman's tag attempt on Hiura.

In addition to simply determining whether batter-runner Hiura is safe or out on the tag, Miller must also deduce whether, if Hiura was indeed tagged while off second base, whether this overslide was caused by fielder Newman illegally forcing the runner off of a base attained legally.

Video as follows:

Monday, September 19, 2022

Field of Dreams HR or Corn Catch? Rules Analysis

The Field of Dreams college baseball game between Luther College and Briar Cliff featured a 1st inning home run into the corn field by Cam Reimer, although outfielder Cullen Stamp dove/tripped/fell into the corn trying to catch the fly ball. Rules regarding ballpark design help us in our quest to answer the question of what umpires would have called had Stamp successfully caught the baseball.

Official Baseball Rule 2.01 is called Layout of the Field and specifies that "the distance from home base to the nearest fence, stand, or other obstruction on fair territory shall be 250 feet or more." Although the distance provision of this rule didn't always exist (it was put into the book primarily to account for some bizarre dimensions the Dodgers encountered when playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum their first few years in California), the general gist is expanded upon in Rule 5.06(b)(4) regarding base awards and baseballs leaving the playing field in flight.

Although no solid fence-line exists at the Field of Dreams ballpark in Iowa, the manicured corn-line serves as an adequate boundary to mark in and out of play territory. Accordingly, had the fielder caught the ball while in the air, having last touched in-play territory, this would be a catch, and if the fielder then fell into the corn, it would be a catch-and-carry situation (dead ball, out stands, runners advance one base, if there are runners). However, if the fielder were to catch the ball only after stepping into the corn field, this would not be a valid catch. We also discuss the issue of a stadium lighting pole in live ball territory, akin (in a sense) to the flagpole formerly of Tal's Hill in Houston (MLB).

Video as follows:

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Cardinals Win When Reds' Throw Hits Runner - Legal?

When Reds shifted-in outfielder Nick Senzel's throw hit Cardinals runner R3 Andrew Kniznzer in the back, allowing St Louis to score the game winning run to walk off Cincinnati in the 11th inning, with HP Umpire Chad Fairchild signaling baserunner Knizner safe at home, Cincinnati briefly contested the ruling...was this a legal play or should Knizner have been called out for interference, or for some other violation of the rules?

Play: With none out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning of a 0-0 game, Cardinals batter Paul Goldschmidt hit a sharp ground ball to the third base position, being played by drawn-in outfielder Senzel, who threw home to try and retire Knizner to keep the game scoreless. The baseball hit Knizner in the back and bounced away, allowing St Louis to score the one and only run of the ballgame.

Analysis of Possible Outs
: It is important to note that Knizner began his jaunt to home plate in foul territory before veering to his left and running in fair territory, which is where he was struck by the thrown ball. The reason this is important to note is so one can refer to the base path rules:

The only way a runner may be called for being out of the base path is if they run more than three feet to avoid a tag attempt. No tag? No base path violation. With a thrown ball, there was no tag attempt and thus no base path violation. Reference: Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1).

Instead, the most realistic possibility for an out call here would be to deem that baserunner Knizner intentionally interfered with a throw, the penalty for which is to declare a dead ball, runners return (and, of course, the violating runner is out). However, replays suggest no such infraction occurred as Knizner was already running in fair territory prior to the throw being released and never looked back toward the throw or baseball, suggesting that Knizner did not intentionally attempt to react to the throw by making an unnatural movement to interfere. The runner’s decision to move to fair territory is immaterial to this end simply because the rule concerns interference with a THROW, and because no throw had occurred prior to the runners step across the foul line, the runner logically could not have run in an intentional way to interfere with a throw that did not exist yet. Reference: OBR 5.09(b)(3).

Video as follows: