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Umpires Newsbeat

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Report: 11 umpires have opted out of the 2020 season

Jon Heyman reports that 11 MLB umpires have opted out of the 2020 season or have otherwise declined to participate. He says “some are said to have family members who are ill.” The umpires’ identities are not yet known.

Umpires, like players, have the right to opt-out with full pay if they are in a high risk group due to preexisting health conditions. Umpires can, obviously, be older as well, so age factors into it for some as well. Also like players, umpires who are themselves not high risk can opt-out if they have concern for the health of family members, though they will forego paychecks.

Recently, one umpire who is high risk — Joe West — made headlines for not only choosing not to opt-out but for also giving voice to COVID-19 denialism, questioning official statistics about infections and deaths.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 14, 2020 at 04:02 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, umpires

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Forget robots. These very real humans want to umpire the future of baseball

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Over three days of umpire camp — not to be confused with umpire school, more on that later — there is little attention paid to the strike zone. I’m loath to lead with a detail like that, which lends itself to too many punchlines. At ump camp, which is focused on education and not even evaluation, they don’t teach students how to distinguish between balls and strikes and isn’t that just rich? No wonder they’re so bad, you’re thinking, or getting ready to tweet alongside a screengrab of this paragraph. No wonder they’re all getting replaced by robots.

And in a way it’s schadenfreude as a form of self-defense. The increasing mechanization of all sorts of industries will put people in a huge swath of professions out of work. Robots are coming for all of our jobs; but they’re coming for umpires’ jobs imminently and on a public stage.

After a closely watched debut in the Atlantic League last year, the automated strike zone was reportedly ready for testing in the minor leagues this season — back when there was a season scheduled. The coronavirus has thrown a wrench in plans far bigger than experimental sports technology. It’s not clear when or even if minor league baseball will take place in 2020. And, contrary to some reports about how a virus-shortened season could provide a major league testing ground for the electronic strike zone, Major League Baseball has not discussed implementing robot umps in the bigs if games return later this summer.

The system has kinks to be cleaned up and a strike zone to stabilize. But all that said: Robot umpires remain an inevitability. An electronic system for calling balls and strikes at the highest level of baseball is a matter of when and not if.

We’ve been considering seemingly everyone else in baseball over the last few weeks- now is as good a time as any to turn to the umpires…..

 

QLE Posted: April 16, 2020 at 02:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: robots in baseball, umpires

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Umpire John McSherry dies after collapsing on the field

Opening Day in Cincinnati is special. Everything basically shuts down. A big parade is held and a party atmosphere pervades the city. The Reds have not gotten the honor of hosting the absolute first game of each year’s baseball schedule for some time, but the first Reds game each year — always at home, always a day game — is a special experience.

Opening Day 1996, however, was a tragic one, as home plate umpire John McSherry, working his 26th season as a major league umpire, collapsed and died during the first inning of the Reds game against the Montreal Expos.

McSherry was in good spirits before the game, jokingly telling Reds catcher, Eddie Taubensee, “Eddie, you can call the first two innings.”  A few moments later, however, there were some signs — recognized only in hindsight — that something was off. Expos coach Jim Tracy said that when he brought out his team’s lineup card, McSherry slurred some of his words. Reds starter Pete Schourek was surprised when his first pitch of the game — a fastball delivered to leadoff hitter Mark Grudzielanek that was right down the middle — was hesitantly called a ball, as if perhaps McSherry didn’t really see the pitch.

Things proceeded normally for a few moments. Grudzielanek flied out to right. Expos second baseman Mike Lansing struck out swinging. Then Rondell White came to bat. With the count 1-1, McSherry stepped away from the plate, raised his right hand, and waved it toward second base. Taubensee later recalled that McSherry said “hold on, timeout for a second.” Taubensee thought that maybe McSherry had pulled a muscle in his leg or hurt his back. He walked back toward the gate in the stands that led to tunnel leading to the umpire’s room. That’s when he collapsed.

 

QLE Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, john mcsherry, opening day, umpires

Thursday, February 27, 2020

MLB announces historic crew-chief assignments

Article first paragaph:

Veteran umpires Gary Cederstrom, Dana DeMuth, Mike Everitt and Jeff Kellogg are all stepping away from the full-time Major League staff, creating four crew-chief vacancies that will be filled by Kerwin Danley, Dan Iassogna, Alfonso Marquez and Jim Reynolds. Danley will be the first African-American crew chief, while Marquez becomes the first Mexican-born crew chief.

Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 27, 2020 at 10:20 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires, umpiring

Monday, February 17, 2020

Why Giants brought in umpires for second round of bullpen sessions

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—When Andrew Suarez kicked at the dirt on the bullpen mound Saturday and looked in at his catcher, most of what he saw was similar to every other bullpen session of his life. There was one key difference, though: An umpire in full uniform crouched behind the catcher.

Suarez fired a fastball, and the umpire emphatically pointed a finger to his left, signaling a strike.

“It was different, but I liked it,” Suarez said. “You get a good feel for the plate.”

The Giants have made a lot of subtle changes to drills under manager Gabe Kapler and a 13-person coaching staff. Pitchers fielded pop-ups Sunday, an extreme rarity in a sport where the default move for a pitcher is to get out of the way and let an infielder take over. The outfield drills more closely resemble the NFL combine, with cones meticulously set up and coaches focusing on change-of-direction. But the biggest difference through a week of camp has been the addition of three real professional umpires to bullpen sessions.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen management, giants, umpires

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

MLB Umpires to Explain Replay Review Decisions Via Microphone for 2020 Season

Umpires in MLB will begin communicating the decisions for video reviews to fans by microphone during the 2020 season, according to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.

Gomez added umpires “may also explain rules, if necessary.”

MLB’s Replay Operations Center is tasked with conducting the reviews and relaying the decisions to umpires on the field. Allowing an umpire to explain the outcome—much like an NFL referee—should provide a level of transparency for fans.

Having said that, the change is unlikely to eliminate the controversy that can grow from contentious calls on the field.

It takes hard work to come up with such a bad idea…..

 

QLE Posted: January 28, 2020 at 12:27 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, microphones, replay, reviews, umpires

 

 

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