Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm back...


Sorry, loyal readers. I had good intentions when I started this blog, but then life got in the way. Had a tough summer, not going into it here, but had very little time for updates. I will try to start posting more regularly.  If I don't have time for long, thoughtful, insightful, posts, I will at least add small nuggets of info as I come across them.

Today's nugget is something I came across while reading my good friend's (who is a  fellow umpire) blog, Red Sox Nation Alberta.  It was a throw away line in the middle of the post that referred to what is commonly miscalled a ground rule double.

So... When is a ground-rule double, not a ground-rule double?

Friday, June 17, 2011

What happened here?

There was a weird play/situation in a Mets/Pirates game the other night.  Runners on 1st and 3rd, Jose Reyes hits a trouble sinking flyball into left field.  LF Jose Tabata, makes a great catch (or he may have trapped it - tough to tell - but ump calls it a catch).  R1 doesn't realize it's caught and he's rounding 2nd base.  He gets doubled off 1st routinely.  Now here's where it gets interesting:  Ruben Tejada, the runner on 3rd base, may or may not have tagged up.  The video evidence is inconclusive.  But the Pirates appeal and.... NO CALL IS MADE.  U3 doesn't give the "safe - he tagged up" sign, nor the "out - he left early" call.   The question is why?  There is a lot of speculation on this baseball-reference blog, pertaining to this play, and a lot of armchair umpires think you can't appeal without giving the pitcher the ball and having him step off the rubber.  Well, I know that's wrong.  That only applies when there has been a dead ball.  So why did the umpire make no call???   Is it possible someone made a mistake?

Here's the video of it: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=15850955.
Your thoughts?  Anyone? Bueller?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Coaches still don't know the rules

yeah, I know.  And in other shocking news, the sun is still hot!



I’ve been umpiring for about a month now, and I finally have some spare time to post another update.  I’m going to use some of my recent experiences to highlight some rules situations that I witnessed first hand.

Junior Little League game:  I’m doing the bases to help guide a new umpire who is doing the plate for the first time.  Had a couple of tricky plays:
R1,R3, nobody out.  R1 is stealing on a pitch.  A pop up behind the shortstop.  He catches it, and R1 realizes it’s caught and starts going back to first base.  The shortstop fires a bullet towards first… and throws it over the first baseman and out of play.  I call “TIME!”  (note: this all happened before R1 returns to 1st base).  PU awards R3 home, and R1 second base.  I try to catch PU’s attention and point to 3rd, and he gives me a quizzical look, I nod my head, and he says “runner – 3rd base”.  Well that brings out the defensive coach to question the rookie ump.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

MLB Power Rankings - May edition

(Editor's Note: This is the May installment of the power ranking series, provided by Ruben from the Red Sox Nation in Alberta blog, who is letting me cross-post here.   Feel free to add your comments. -- Reg)

Now that the season is 1 month old, time to update the power rankings and give my readers a chance to comment on some laughably bad predictions that I had made earlier.  Not unexpectedly there is a new team atop the rankings.  And it has as much to do with Philadelphia's league best 18-8 start as it has for previously #1 ranked Boston's underwhelming April.  With that unsurprising spoiler out of the way, here are the full rankings.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One week in..

Well, the MLB season is barely a week old and already I'm tired of hearing the same old things.  Whether it's fans complaining that the "umps cost us the game", or announcers being completely clueless on rules, and confusing their audience with their bad attempts at explaining them, I can't stay quiet much longer.  So here's a couple of titbits that I've touched on previously that I'm going to repeat until maybe someday someone reads this and thinks before they talk!

Point #1:  If you are an MLB broadcaster and you don't understand the rules, here are some suggestions:
1 - Read the rulebook!  Or at least have it handy, so when a confusing situation comes up, you can read the appropriate rule and explain it correctly.
2 - If that's too hard for you, then admit you don't know WTF you are talking about.  A simple - "the ump made that call, but I'm unclear why - but I'm sure he knows the rules and applied it correctly", is much better than confusing the audience by explaining a rule incorrectly, and having all the listeners perplexed as to how a professional Umpire could screw it up that badly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not out on strike 3

As most of you who have played or coached above Little League know, a batter is not always automatically out on strike 3.  Rare as it may be at higher levels, batters can run to 1st base safely after striking out in certain situations.

I wrote an article on The Full Windup that is geared towards those players or coaches just moving up to a division where this rule first applies.  When I initially wrote it I was thinking this article would be most useful to these young players.  At older levels everyone knows the rule and what to do, right? Right?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MLB Power Rankings - March edition





This is the last preseason installment of the power rankings series, provided by Ruben from the Red Sox Nation in Alberta blog, who is letting me cross-post here.   Feel free to add your comments.

This is my last preseason power rankings.  I will update these near the beginning of each month throughout the season.  I will also update my preseason predictions before the season starts.


Numbers in brackets are movement from last month, and their high/low rank for the season.  Look at previous rankings(here for the initial January ones, and here for February) for explanations of how the team got to where they were - any explanation here just reflects recent changes.



#1 - Boston ( --, 1/1) They haven't done anything to drop from the top of the rankings.

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#2 - Philadelphia (--, 2/2)  Some injuries may make them less formidable, but along with Boston they are still the only other team likely to win 95 games.
#3 - Minnesota (--, 3/5) Beating up on weak division opponents will help their win total.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

UMPS CARE charity online auction

Hey baseball fans!!  Do you want to feel good by helping to provide experiences for children with cancer or scholarships for deserving young adults, while being able to reap the rewards by getting unique baseball memorabilia, or the experience of a lifetime?  Well, then head on over to the UMPS CARE 3rd Annual Online Auction and start bidding!


This is an awesome program.   Read more in an interview with MLB umpire Mike Di Muro at Through The Fence Baseball.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Broadcasters need spring training too!

Just watching the Mets/Braves game.  1 out 9th inning, runners on 1st and 2nd.   Line drive over the 3rd baseman who jumps for it but misses it, and ends up in R2's way.  Umpire points at fielder,  the runner keeps

going towards home, missing 3rd base, and apparently scores.   Announcers notice he missed 3rd base, but speculate it doesn't matter, because apparently obstruction was called.    Then they notice there are 2 outs,  and the run isn't on the scoreboard.  And try to figure out what happened.   After much debating they speculate that an appeal was made on 3rd base and the runner was in fact called out.  Maybe it wasn't obstruction because the fielder was trying to make a play on the ball, they muse?
Oy, vey!  Where to start.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why corking a bat isn't cheating


I've written a guest article for Through the Fence Baseball, and it has now been posted.  Please take a look and leave your comments.   Yes, I'm actually saying that I don't think corking a bat is cheating.  You'll have to read the article to find out why.






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Friday, February 11, 2011

MLB Power Rankings - February edition

I will be providing monthly updates of the power rankings.   Expect them on or near the 1st of each month going forward.   Spring Training hasn't even started yet, so there isn't much movement from my original rankings, but there have been a few moves made, so it was time for an update, along with some commentary where a team moved significantly.  (numbers in bracket are last month's ranking)
#1.  Yankees (9) - Brian Cashman must have seen that I ranked them embarrassingly low, so he went out and starting signing all stars,a nd it helped get his team back atop the rankings.  First the pitching - he inked 2 top

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Preseason Predictions

{Editor's note:  Following post is from Ruben}
-------------------------------------------------
I'm excited to become a regular contributor to this blog.   While Reg will continue to focus on umpiring and rules, my emphasis will be on MLB happenings.  Among other things, I plan on at least doing monthly MLB power ranking along with commentary on any teams that have moved significantly.   I did the initial one a couple of weeks ago, and will do a February one shortly.

Today I am going to share a few preseason predictions.
AMERICAN LEAGUE

East - Boston
Central - Minnesota
West - Oakland (!)
Wildcard - Texas (beating out New York, Tampa and Detroit)
ALCS:  Oakland over Boston


Awards
MVP - Adrian Gonzalez - Honorable mentions to Justin Morneau and Miguel Cabrera

Saturday, January 29, 2011

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

Well, maybe not.  But it will allow me to have this blog updated on a regular basis even when I don't get a chance to get on the computer.  Ruben Lipszyc, who guest posted earlier on this blog with his 2011 power rankings, has agreed to become a regular contributor to this site.  He will be musing mainly about MLB related activities, and has already committed to providing some early preseason award predictions, and will be updating his power rankings at the beginning of each month.

He has promised to have a post ready for Feburary 1st.  Looking forward to his insight into MLB events, and hope you are too.  Welcome aboard, Ruben!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Obstruction or Interference?

Created an article on obstruction and interference on The Full Windup.   Great resource, by the way, for baseball players of any age looking for tips on improving their hitting and pitching mechanics, strength and conditioning program and their mental game.  Please take some time to check it out.

Anyhow, as I re-read what was posted a few miscellaneous thoughts came to mind:
 I start the article by discussing the basic difference between obstruction and interference and observe that a lot of times when coaches yell out "INTERFERENCE", they should really be yelling out "OBSTRUCTION".  Well, I don't know how to put this, but what I posted there is just flat out wrong!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 MLB Power Rankings

As a member of the Baseball Blogger’s Alliance,  I’ve been asked to participate in a MLB Power Rankings feature that will be put up on MLBBlogBuzz.com.  I’d love to give my 2 cents, but I’m not sure if the Expos are still in the league, and I think I recall something about the Brooklyn Dodgers moving west, so rather than embarrass myself (I do enough of that crouching in a mask behind the catcher), I’ve asked a friend of mine who is a much bigger fan (and apparently knows what ERA+ and Phytagorean record mean) to post his thoughts on my blog.  Below are the thoughts of my friend, Ruben, a fellow Canadian from Calgary, posted below verbatim:
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Hi! I’m a friend of Reg (yes, Umpires are not hated by everyone – they do have friends too) and he has given me the privilege of guest posting on his blog, my MLB power rankings. Before I start, let me say that any hate mail for me ranking your favorite team lower than you think they deserve should be directed to me – I’m sure Reg already gets his share of venom directed at him.  Also, let me say that I hate committing predictions to writing, because I know how poor they always look in retrospect.  One year ago, nobody predicted the Giants defeating the Rangers in the World Series.  Luck and unforeseen circumstances have a very large and underestimated part of a team’s final record, and the best forecaster in the world can’t predict those factors.   The only thing I’m certain of, is that I’ll have made some awful predictions.  I’ve done this in the past, and without fail one of my top teams always ends up being a woeful disappointment that end up below .500, and one of the bottom teams will end up at least fighting for a playoff spot.    Well, enough ado about nothing, on to the rankings…