Tag:Umpires
Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:41 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 7:02 pm
 

Cubs-Astros ending shows need for more replay

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It was a meaningless game at Wrigley Field on Friday, but it highlighted once again the need for expanded replay.

Here's the scene, bases loaded, one out in the 12th inning. Chicago's Marlon Byrd hits a chopper down the third-base line, a charging Chris Johnson looks to field the ball, but it bounces off his glove just after taking a short hop apparently in foul territory. Third-base umpire David Rackley is on the line and has the best view of the play, calling it a fair ball.

Watch the play here. 

If Johnson touches the ball in fair territory, Starlin Castro scores and the game is over. If it's in foul territory, Astros reliever David Carpenter has a 1-1 count on Byrd. Rackley called the ball fair, although on the replay there's at least reason to question it. 

There wasn't a great camera angle on the play, but it seems like it bounced foul -- and was going foul -- just before it hit Johnson's glove. Expanded replay could add more cameras to the field, especially on the foul lines, there's certainly money for it in MLB and can even add to the telecasts. Or you could even use the technology that tennis uses in the majors that can help decide close line calls.

In the end, the most important thing is getting the call right -- and once again it appears MLB umpires didn't. Let it be noted, though, it was an incredibly tough call and I see what Rackley saw (chalk coming up on its previous bounce). I'm not blaming him. It's as tough of a call as there is out there, but he should have the chance to make the correct call with every tool at his disposal.

Part of the blame should go to Johnson, who wasn't going to get Castro at home, nor Byrd at first. If he lets the ball go, it likely rolls foul. But like with Rackley, it was a bang-bang play and a very quick decision was needed, it's just that an umpire's call can be reversed and made right, a player's error is part of the game. In the end, there is a chance to make everything right, and we're at the point that technology allows that and we should use it.

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Posted on: September 15, 2011 7:25 pm
 

MLB looking into Kershaw-Parra feud

Gerardo ParraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball will likely decide whether to discipline Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw by Friday, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reports.

Kershaw was ejected in Wednesday night's game for hitting Arizona's Gerardo Parra, the day after Parra took offense to nearly being hit by Los Angeles reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Parra retaliated the old fashioned way, taking Kuo deep, before taking an extra couple of seconds to admire his homer and then spring around the bases. Kershaw, in the dugout, took offense at Parra's actions and yelled his displeasure.

Parra doubled in his first at-bat on Wednesday against Kershaw, but then Kershaw hit him in the sixth inning and was immediately ejected.

Neither team had been warned by the umpires before the game, nor during the game, but Joe Torre, the former Dodgers manager and current head of MLB's baseball operations, called Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly to tell him the head office in New York would be watching the game closely. Torre oversees the man who will decide on any further punishment for Kershaw, Joe Garagiola Jr.

Kershaw had a strike on Parra when he hit him, and both Kershaw and Mattingly argued with home plate umpire Bill Welke that Kershaw was just pitching inside and Parra didn't get out of the way. The pitch hit Parra in the elbow.

"The first at-bat I threw him all away and he hit a double, so the next at-bat I came in," Kershaw said (via the Los Angeles Times). "It's just unfortunate. I understand [Welke] has a job to do, but at the same time he has to pay attention to what's going on in the game better."

The Dodgers were leading 2-0 when Kershaw was booted. They went on to win, 3-2, with Kershaw picking up his 19th win of the season.

While I don't think Kershaw was upset the ball went in and hit Parra, I'm not so sure he was looking to hit him. Arizona's Miguel Montero doesn't agree with me, telling the Times afterward: "We knew he was going to [hit him]. I guess there was a warning going on already, especially with Parra. I think that's part of the game and the umpires did the right move."

It would be highly suspect if Kershaw hadn't been tossed after hitting Parra -- regardless of intent. That said, that should be the end of it. It seems like any other punishment would be excessive. Kershaw didn't like what Parra did, Parra took care of it with his bat and everyone's had their say. It seems it should be over -- even though Montero didn't seem to see it that way.

"We'll see him next time," Montero said.

And sure enough, MLB will be watching then.

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:21 pm
 

MLB denies Phillies' protest

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The good news for the Phillies is they don't have another game to make up -- the bad news is the MLB denied the appeal by the team of Sunday's loss to the Marlins.

A short release by Major League Baseball had the news and little else in response to the use of instant replay to rule fan interference on an apparent Hunter Pence double. 

The Phillies main gripe was that it was not a situation covered under the rules of instant replay. With MLB upholding Joe West's crew's decision to use replay to determine what happened at the wall at Sun Life Stadium could be another step toward the expansion of replay. As someone who has called for more replay, it's tough to complain or have an issue with umpires getting a call correctly, and that's what happened on Sunday. The bottom line is the umpires got the most information they could and made the right call.

Philadelphia doesn't have an off day the rest of the season and has two doubleheaders scheduled, Sept. 15 against the Marlins and Sept. 20 against the Nationals. Any resolution of a game from Sunday's game would likely have had to be played after the end of the scheduled regular season and two days before the start of the National League playoffs begin. With a 90-48 record, the Phillies have homefield advantage wrapped up and would have no benefit from that one victory, so in the end, it's best for the Phillies they don't have to use another pitcher to finish the protested game.

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Posted on: September 4, 2011 3:53 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 8:54 pm
 

Phillies protest loss to Marlins

Bryan Petersen
Charlie ManuelBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Phillies finished Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Marlins in 14 innings under protest, following an instant replay review that may have cost the Phillies two runs in the sixth inning.

The protest came after umpire Joe West (who else?) used instant replay to review fans Hunter Pence double in the top of the sixth inning. After reviewing the play, Pence was called out on fan interference. Pence's ball was hit to right field, where Florida's Bryan Petersen lept to try to catch the ball, but instead a fan in a green shirt and another in a Phillies jersey and hat, leaned over the railing to try to catch the ball. The ball bounced off the fan in green's hand, just above Petersen's glove, then bounced off the outstretched hat and into the corner in right, giving Pence a double and allowing Ryan Howard to get to third.

As soon as West reviewed the play and announced Pence was out, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel argued and was ejected. In all, the delay lasted 13 minutes, with not only Manuel arguing, but also bench coach Pete Mackanin arguing it as well. Their argument was that fan interference isn't one of the approved uses of replay.

"If they wanted to see if it was for a defense play, I didn't think you could do that," Manuel told reporters (News Journal). "My understanding is that's not the rule." 

The fan clearly interfered with the ball, so ultimately it was the correct call. ESPN's Steve Berthiaume spoke with former Major League umpire Jim McKean, who told him that once the umpires decided to review whether it was a home run, the umpires could then use their judgement to rule on fan interference (Twitter).

According to the rule, the umpire can use his "sole discretion" in determining the use of replay, though Joe West told reporters the umpires were reviewing the home run (a charge Manuel denied), but that home plate umpire Chad Fairchild believed there was fan interference on the play. The second part of the matter was that the umpires ruled Pence out -- the Phillies outfielder didn't quite agree that Petersen was definitely making the catch.

"I'm going to say it's one of the best plays of the week if he makes it," Pence said (News Journal). 

Said Petersen: "I honestly don't know what happened. I thought I was going to catch the ball." (Sun-Sentinel)

The next Phillies batter after Pence, Raul Ibanez, doubled, which would have scored both Pence and Howard. Instead, after an intentional walk to load the bases, Wilson Valdez grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Marlins then took the lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning with a run off of Roy Halladay.

Since the Phillies lost the game, Joe Torre will review the appeal. If Torre agrees the umpire erred, the game would be replayed from that at-bat -- but without Manuel, who was ejected. Here's a list of protested games that were later resumed, including, of course, the Pine Tar Game. No protest game has been replayed from the point of pretest since 1986 in a game between the Cardinals and Pirates.

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Posted on: August 21, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2011 4:52 pm
 

MLB needs to tweak replay approach



By Matt Snyder


Just minutes ago, Johnny Damon of the Rays hit what was initially ruled a grand slam. Replays showed the ball hit the very top of the wall -- directly on the yellow line -- and bounced far up into the air, only to come down in the field of play. The umpires reviewed the play and properly ruled it was not a home run. Considering the bases were loaded, the umpires were then tasked with basically guessing where everyone should be. They ruled Damon with a double and the three runners all scored. It gave the Rays a 7-5 lead. (Click here to watch the video on MLB.com).

Now, I don't have a problem with this particular call, because Desmond Jennings -- who was on first -- was clearly going to score on the play. I just don't like the approach. We're asking umpires to try to guess what would have happened if they initially ruled the ball in play, but no one can really say what would have happened. Using this particular play as an example, what if Damon tried to stretch his double into a triple and was thrown at third base?

So I got to thinking, why doesn't the MLB just have the umpires approach near home runs like the NFL officials approach possible fumbles that are very close? More specifically, shouldn't the umpires always rule close calls in play? Think about it, you can easily correct upward and rule a home run, which scores every baserunner, but you cannot be 100 percent sure in the accuracy of correcting downward. It's a veritable guessing game, so let's take the guesswork out of the equation by making a simple change to the approach.

Since professional sports leagues usually wait until something bad happens instead of having foresight, nothing will be done until there's a huge argument in a playoff game -- or something involving a money player like the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies -- but it's certainly something that could easily be fixed without changing any rules. Joe Torre's office can simply spread the word to umpires to always err on the side of ruling a ball in play. Replay is there as a backup plan, so it should be used to minimize human error.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Torre: Umpires were wrong in KC

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Torre said Thursday that the umpires of Wednesday's Royals-Yankees games erred in giving Billy Butler a home run, Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets.

Torre, baseball's head honcho for on-field matters, said umpire Dana DeMuth "feels very badly about it," but probably not as badly as Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Girardi didn't file a protest, so the matter is now closed, Torre told Davidoff.

If Girardi had protested, Torre said, "I can't tell you what the result would have been, but we certainly would have had to look at it." 

Torre told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that there was a "misunderstanding" by the umpires of the ground rules at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.

"The replay gave him every look that he needed to make the right call," Torre said. "He thought he did make the right call. This isn't an umpire not doing his job. That was his understanding of the rule when he's umpired there and nothing had happened to change his mind until last night."

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:34 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 1:07 am
 

Umpires botch home run call even in review

By Matt Snyder

The Royals just beat the Yankees 5-4, as Jorge Posada watched three strikes with the bases loaded to end the game. But the big story was from much earlier in the game, as the umpires called a ball off Billy Butler's bat a home run that pretty obviously shouldn't have been one. They even went to use the Major League Baseball's instant replay system, emerged from the dugout to reinforce that it was a home run.

Watch the video on MLB.com by clicking here.

Even if you don't want to watch the video and admit what your eyes saw -- which is the ball hitting the top of a padded area of the wall and then hitting the very top of the padded fencing before bouncing back onto the field of play -- there are tell-tale signs it was botched. Butler himself was standing at the top step of the dugout ready to run out to second base before the ruling, for one. Also, the Royals announcers had conceded it would be ruled and double and simply said "wow," when the umpires emerged to rule it a home run.

Meanwhile the umpires refused to comment after the game (Marc Carig via Twitter) and Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn't protest the game, though he wished he would have (Carig on Twitter).

Butler's home run was a solo shot, but the Royals won by one, so the call was a huge deal. The Yankees hold just a half-game lead in the AL East, too, so the one game could end up being a pretty huge deal in terms of postseason implications. I stop short from saying this call cost the Yankees the game, because there are so many variables in any single game that changing one thing changes everything that follows. We have no way of knowing what would have happened had the call been correctly made. That's the problem. We'll never know.

The most disturbing part about this is that replay was used. If you're going to implement a replay system with the intent of getting calls such as these correct, the calls should actually end up, you know, correct -- especially when they are obvious.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:57 am
 

Poll: Joyce best umpire, West the worst

Joe WestBy C. Trent Rosecrans

As soon as Jim Joyce made his infamous call costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game last year, we heard many in the game leap to Joyce's defense, calling him one of the best umpires in the game. A Sports Illustrated poll of players upholds that, but also finds another controversial name in its top five umpires in the game, as Joe West came in fifth with five percent of the vote.

Of course, a similar poll by Sports Illustrated had West the overwhelming choice as the worst umpire in baseball with a whopping 41 percent of players responding naming West.

As for the best, Joyce was the leader by a wide margin with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Tim McClelland (18 percent), Jim Wolf (7 percent), Laz Diaz (6 percent) and then West.

The poll was conducted in spring training and had 237 players respond to the survey.

While West got votes as best and worst, the other four umpires in the top five combined for just 1 percent of "worst" votes.

McClelland, 60, got 28 percent of the vote from players in their 30s, still second to Joyce, but not by much. McClelland was less popular from the younger players, getting just 12 percent of the vote from players younger than 25. Position players also preferred McClelland to pitchers (23 percent to 13 percent).

Joyce blew the call for Galarraga's perfect game last year, but he earned high praise for the way he handled the situation, admitting his mistake and taking full blame for the miscue.

Joyce's contrition was the exact opposite of West's reputation as a bully and showboat. "Cowboy Joe" is known more for his quick temper than his country albums, although both are pretty bad.

It's still interesting that he was on both lists, but I would imagine some of it is from players who don't think West is as bad as his reputation. However, that five percent was outvoted by the 41 percent who did find him to be that bad.

The poll is only of players, but we know the Ron Washington's vote goes to Angel Hernandez.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com