July 27, 2018

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 3 comments

On a night with a full moon, the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox played a ball game with some crazy stuff happening (and most of it involving the home plate umpire CB Bucknor).

1) Everyone except the graphics department on the Blue Jays broadcast lost track of how many balls/strikes there were on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s plate appearance. What should have been a 6-pitch walk turned into a 12-pitch double.

2) What should have been a strike'em-out/throw'em-out double play for the White Sox as Kendrys Morales clearly didn't check his swing (making it no one on and two outs) ended up being called a walk (making it two on and no outs). The White Sox manager and pitching coach got tossed by the umps for complaining about the call.

3) A wild pitch by the White Sox led to an invocation of a rule not often called in MLB.:

5.06(c)(7) from the Official Baseball Rules:

The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out, when a pitched ball lodges in the umpire's or catcher's mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, runners advance one base.

posted by grum@work at 02:24 AM on July 28

Ah, my favorite topic, umpiring. I must comment or lose all self respect.

First, on losing the count. Some plate umpires do not carry an indicator; they consider it a distraction. I don't know if C B Bucknor is one, but usually at higher levels where there is a scoreboard with a competent operator, it makes no difference. My personal feeling is that the scoreboard is frequently wrong. Some plate umpires I have worked with do not want the field umpire to carry an indicator. They think it can lead to confusion if the 2 disagree. I always carry an indicator. Mine is a special version - large numerals for the vision impaired. My habit is to update the indicator after each pitch. The problems happen when there is a play on a baserunner after a pitch. The plate umpire has to be the second set of eyes, and sometimes has to get up the line to 1st or 3rd to cover one end of a rundown. I may not remember to change the count, and I will thus lose the count. In the 2-man system we use, the 'lost count' signal is to make eye contact with the field umpire and touch the top of the head. He will then hold up the appropriate fingers, not the middle one. Another device is to announce the count and indicate with the fingers after each pitch. For all 4 umpires to lose the count is strange, but I think that only the plate umpire lost it, and the others would not correct him unless asked.

A checked swing is one of the more difficult calls to make for the plate umpire. He is not in a good position to see if the head of the bat has crossed the plate. That's why a plate umpire will almost always check with the base umpire when requested. This particular play shows where it breaks down. With the runner going, the catcher has no time to make the appeal, having to make a play immediately. Once he has made the play, it's too late to appeal. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I have never seen a ball lodge in equipment. It's hard to see from the video, but the ball did not appear to be stuck in Bucknor's equipment, but it did look like it momentarily tangled in his shirt. His shirt ought not to be that loose, but that's another story. We were taught not to kill the ball until we were sure it was truly out of play. We were then to kill the ball and place the baserunners as appropriate. Bucknor was a bit too quick to call the dead ball, but since he appeared to have interfered with the run of play he was correct in calling it. The wording of the rule is confusing. Runners return? Runners awarded one base? In this case I really don't know which way to rule.

posted by Howard_T at 01:33 PM on July 28

What I took from that:

large numerals for the vision impaired

We were right! The umpire does need glasses.

posted by yerfatma at 12:13 PM on July 31

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