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Umpiring Newsbeat

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Everybody is confused after an Angel Hernandez call goes against the Cleveland Indians in Kansas City

Salvador Perez sent a drive to right center field Tuesday that landed on the warning track, but that’s when confusion set in between the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals.

Whit Merrifield, the Royals runner at third, scored easily on the play. Andrew Benintendi, the runner at second, was a different story.

Perez’s hit was quickly corralled by right fielder Josh Naylor whose throw back to the infield was in time to get Benintendi. Benintendi had started to advance to third, but was told by Kansas City third base coach Vance Wilson to go back and tag second.

Meanwhile, Perez was shouting to Benintendi from first base that he should run to third. Shortstop Amed Rosario applied the tag, and that’s when the confusion set in. Umpires, led by crew chief Angel Hernandez, gathered between first and second to discuss the play.

Benintendi was eventually awarded third base on the premise that one of the umpires, presumably Hernandez, had ruled either Harold Ramirez or Naylor initially caught Perez’s fly ball. Video appeared to indicate Hernandez casually making his way from behind first base toward the area where the catch/no catch occurred. The replay appeared to show Hernandez raising his arm as if to indicate an out on a catch, which could have prompted the confusion for Benintendi.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 04, 2021 at 10:29 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: angel hernandez, indians, royals, umpiring

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Phillies’ Joe Girardi blasts ‘terrible’ judgement call that was not reviewable in one-run loss vs. Mets

A bad week for Major League Baseball’s umpires and baseline calls culminated with another blown call during Saturday’s game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. As a result, Bryce Harper was ejected from the contest and the Phillies lost an opportunity to bat with a runner in scoring position in what turned out to be a one-run loss.

The error in judgement, committed by second-base umpire Jose Navas, occurred during the seventh inning. The Phillies had Andrew McCutchen at first base with one out in a tied game when Matt Joyce hit a grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was stationed on the second-base side of the bag as part of an overshift. After fielding the ball, Lindor pursued McCutchen before then firing to first base in time for the out.

Though Lindor didn’t actually apply a tag on McCutchen, Navas called an out after concluding that McCutchen had left the baseline. The play, because it was of the judgement variety, was not reviewable.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2021 at 06:25 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, umpiring

Thursday, April 29, 2021

MLB umpire Marty Foster stands by ‘terrible’ obstruction call in Brewers-Marlins game

The Milwaukee Brewers hosted the Miami Marlins on Wednesday (MIA-MIL GameTracker), and it didn’t take for controversy to descend upon the baseball festivities. Take a look at first base umpire Marty Foster making a call against the Brewers that may charitably be described as “baffling”:

So Isan Diaz grounded a Zack Godley sinker to the right side, and Godley was able to make the play and toss to Daniel Vogelbach for the apparent second out of the inning. However, Foster apparently ruled that Godley obstructed Diaz’s path to the bag even though it wasn’t a close play. Godley was charged with an error on the play because the rules say that’s how obstruction calls are to be scored.

Speaking of which, obstruction is the call when, in the umpire’s judgment, a fielder impeded a baserunner while said fielder was neither in possession of the bar nor in the act of fielding the ball. In Fosters’ judgement, Godley wasn’t in the act of fielding the ball (the toss had already been made to first base), which means that Diaz had the “right of way.” Presumably, Foster perceived that Godley affected Diaz’s path the bag. If you squint, you can maybe say Diaz slowed up just a bit as Godley moved in front of him to make the toss, but it seems a reach to suggest he would’ve been safe at first if not impeded by Godley.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 29, 2021 at 08:44 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: umpiring

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Strike Zone Is Imperfect, but Mostly Unchanged

Okay, we have our first finding: on pitches that are off the plate but close, umpires are calling strikes at roughly similar rates compared to last year. How about pitches that miss by more than that? They basically don’t get called strikes, but the rates are similar from year to year. Though I’m not willing to take a strong stance given the limitations of a two-dimensional strike zone with moving top and bottom, I think it’s fair to say there’s no evidence of a change here.

What about pitches in the zone being called balls? That’s a slightly trickier calculation, but I used the same rough idea. Take the pitch’s location, add in the width of the baseball, then find the nearest edge of the strike zone — the distance to that edge is how far into the strike zone the pitch was. Pitches that just clipped the zone — between 0 and 0.5 inches from the edge — have been called strikes 61.2% of the time this year. Last year, they were called strikes 62.5% of the time.

Get further into the zone, and umpires call strikes more frequently — pitches that were in the zone by between 0.5 and 1.5 inches have been called strikes 75.4% of the time this year, as compared to 76% last year. Past that, it’s less automatic than you’d think, though still fairly automatic, to the tune of an 86.8% called strike rate on pitches in the zone by between 1.5 and 2.5 inches. That compares to 88% in 2020.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 03:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: umpiring

Thursday, February 04, 2021

How long until a woman becomes an MLB umpire?

his weekend, Sarah Thomas will become the first female official to work a Super Bowl, five years after she became the first female official in the NFL. Seven women have refereed in the NBA this season, and just recently, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder worked together in the first regular season basketball game with multiple female officiants. Around MLB, women have ascended to new heights in baseball operations this offseason as well.

In 2021 it’s a little bittersweet or ironic or oversimplified to be celebrating firsts for women like that. The exceptions to systemic sexism within sports — and indeed, the perpetuation of a hierarchy with men’s sports unequivocally at the top — is a retro form of progress. But it’s progress nonetheless. And in officiating, which has roles with the potential to offer a relatively even playing field for anyone interested in the game, the total absence of women is stark.

“How come there’s not more women?” Pawol asks rhetorically. “Like, it’s this long, obscure process that’s hard to get information on.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2021 at 01:27 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: umpiring, women in baseball



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