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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “umpires”

Pure Dreck

David Ortiz pulled an “…And Justice for All” in the seventh inning. He fell behind 1-2 with two out but got a single up the middle. Despite the hit Ortiz protested against home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman’s two called strikes by flipping his bat in front of home plate and making a dismissive gesture towards Dreckman from first base. After Dreckman ejected Ortiz the designated hitter mimed throwing the official out of the game. And the Academy Award goes to… David Ortiz for best show of righteous indignation. Your browser does not support iframes. “You call two bad pitches on a guy that throws 100, what do you want me to do?” asked Ortiz. “It was pretty obvious that those two pitches were pretty bad. Not only that, I look at you, you look at me, and I tell you the guy doesn’t need help and you keep giving me signals. I finally give up on you and you throw me out of the game for that? I don’t know.” What I don’t know is why Rick Porcello $82.5 million dollar man turned into a pumpkin. The starter imploded in the fifth inning after his team had scored two runs...

Tichenor Battles

The Red Sox batters were having issues with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor’s calls. Dustin Pedroia didn’t think he struck out against Jon Edwards to end the seventh inning and let Tichenor know how he felt. In the eighth Mike Napoli voiced his displeasure at being struck out. Tichenor must have rabbit ears because he heard Napoli from the dugout and tossed the Red Sox first baseman out of the game. John Farrell lept to Napoli’s defense and was also ejected. It was an abrupt end to an inning that saw the Boston squad claw their way back into the game on Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homer. With the score 5-4 Craig Breslow took over and promptly surrendered a single to Prince Fielder. Delino DeShields pinch ran for Fielder but the increase in speed didn’t prevent Adrian Beltre from grounding into a 5-4-3 double play. But Breslow couldn’t secure the final out and left two men on base for Matt Barnes, both of whom scored on Robinson Chirinos’s double to Carlos Peguero in left. If only Eduardo Rodriguez could start every game. Game 49: May 29, 2015 Boston Red Sox22-27 4 L: Steven Wright (2-2) HR: Hanley Ramirez (12) Texas Rangers24-25...

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

The contested neighborhood play that wasn’t in the second inning inspired this parody of the classic song from “Sesame Street.” Who are the people in your neighborhood?In your neighborhood, in your neighborhoodSay! Who are the people in your neighborhood?The people that you meet each dayWell, I play on the field, but not around the diamond. I try to position myself so that I can catch balls that the batter hits high and far away.I know who you are! You’re an outfielder!(singing) That’s right! Oh, a left fielder plays the balls off the wallBut this one should be caught and not fallHe also can throw hard and get an outAnd when he’s at the dish he can clout How about this person? Can you give a few hints about you do?I get to play in the dirt most of the time. When you play in my position you have to be able to move quickly left or right and not let the ball get past you. There are exceptions if you are close to retirement, though.You definitely are a shortstop!(singing) Yep! A shortstop plays in the holeAnd stops the ball before it gets on a rollBut he has to make sure...

Forever Friends

Best friends Jim Kelly and Shelby Miller opposed each other on the mound last night. As buddies are wont to do they had a wager about who could get a hit off the other. Perhaps Kelly was playing some mind games when he allowed Miller to walk on four pitches with two out in the second inning. In the third inning Kelly sent a bounding ball past Miller into Jhonny Peralta’s glove. Peralta’s throw reached Mike Adams almost simultaneously as Kelly’s foot touched the sack. Gary Cederstrom called Kelly out but the replay showed that Kelly had indeed managed a hit off his best friend. The bet was a hundred doll hairs, not a hundred dollars, Kelly quipped. Your browser does not support iframes. Almost as rare as a pitcher getting a hit is an umpire calling a runner out for running inside the first base line. This happened to Oscar Taveras in the fourth inning and the incident had Mike Matheny out of the dugout to argue. I’ve seen far more flagrant violations that weren’t called so I don’t blame Matheny for disputing Cederstrom’s judgment. Allen Craig injured himself trying to beat out a ball to first in his...


The Red Sox beat the Rays in runs scored (3-2) and people ejected (4-0). So why is it that the Rays came out ahead in batters hit by pitch (3-0)? Rule 8.02(d) entitled “Intentionally Pitch at the Batter” states: If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to: 1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or 2. may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager. If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game. (League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 9.05) Rule 8.02(d) Comment: Team personnel may not come onto the playing surface to argue or dispute a warning issued under Rule 8.02(d). If a manager, coach or player leaves the dugout or his position to dispute a warning, he should be warned to stop. If he continues, he is subject to ejection. To pitch at a batter’s head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be—and...

Ship of Rules

Brad Ausmus, manager of the Tigers, 18-year veteran of the MLB, and Ivy Leaguer, learned something new in the seventh inning. According to 6.05(h), a batter is out when: After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball The italicized part was added in 2010 so perhaps Ausmus hadn’t noticed this clarification. Dustin Pedroia knew the rule and hung around the dish, hoping to get the better of Al Alburquerque. But Pedroia ended up popping out to his counterpart Ian Kinsler to lead off the seventh inning. Ruben Lipszyc, a visitor from Ruben’s Baseball,...

Running Interference

Shane Victorino dashed down the first base line as Rick Porcello pursued the ball. Just as the ball went foul Victorino seemed to have stepped over it. John Farrell was confused by Clint Fagen’s eighth inning call. “He was called out for runner interference. To me, in my view, he was already past the ball. And still Clint felt he interfered with the play and called him out.” Major League Rule 7.09(i) states, “It is interference by a batter or a runner when --” He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball, provided that if two or more fielders attempt to field a batted ball, and the runner comes in contact with one or more of them, the umpire shall determine which fielder is entitled to the benefit of this rule, and shall not declare the runner out for coming in contact with a fielder other than the one the umpire determines to be entitled to field such a ball; Rule 7.09(i) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and...

Goofus & Gallant

On the very first pitch of the game Nick Markakis laced the ball to left field. Third base umpire Will Little ruled the ball fair. Multiple replays showed that the ball was foul. John Farrell challenged the call Goofus umpiring crew in MLB headquarters upheld the call and Markakis tallied a double. In the eighth inning Brock Holt knocked the ball to Steve Lombardozzi. First base umpire Mark Carlson called Holt out. Replays showed that Holt got to the first base bag a split second before the ball reached Chris Davis’s glove. Gallant umpiring crew in MLB headquarters overruled Carlson’s call and Holt was safe at first. Goofuses on the Red Sox side were John Lackey (5⅓ innings pitched, 6 earned runs, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts) and the Red Sox lineup with runners in scoring position (5-for-15). Game 17: April 18, 2014 Baltimore Orioles8-7 8 W: Chris Tillman (2-1)H: Brian Matusz (2)S: Darren O’Day (1) 2B: Nick Markakis – 2 (3), Jonathan Schoop – 2 (6) Boston Red Sox7-10 4 L: John Lackey (2-2) 2B: Mike Carp (2), Daniel Nava (3), Mike Napoli (3)...


There were two rules cited. The first was 7.06: 7.06 When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal "Obstruction." If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batterrunner [sic] is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out. Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls “Time,” with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where...

Stop, Drop, and Roll

I thought I would see marriage equality for the entirety of the United States before I saw a group umpires convene to correct a blown call in the World Series. There was Joe West’s crew huddling to reverse Randy Marsh’s safe call in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS when Alex Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove. It was a Red Sox-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, which some would say is as important as a World Series game. Indeed, it was such a pivotal call reversal that it caused Yankee fans to throw trash onto the field and the riot police to assume positions along the perimeter of the field. Perhaps fearing such police action (Officer Steve Horgan, to arms!), John Hirschbeck’s crew congregated to discuss Dana DeMuth’s ruling on David Ortiz’s grounder to Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals second baseman gathered the ball easily enough but his toss to Pete Kozma clipped the shortstop’s glove. DeMuth called Dustin Pedroia out on the force as he assumed Kozma dropped the ball on the transfer. John Farrell asked the officials to discuss the play in case any of them had a different view of it. Your browser does not...

Workman’s Comp

Felix Doubront left the with just 3⅔ innings under his belt. The southpaw pitched well until the fourth where he got into trouble with the middle of the White Sox order; Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko singled and Avisail Garcia walked to load the bases. When Chicago scored four runs and the nine-hole hitter Tyler Flowers singled John Farrell finally pulled the starter. Brandon Workman took over and earned a win with just 1⅓ innings toeing the rubber. Farrell mixed the order of his relievers with Junichi Tazawa taking over for Franklin Morales with a runner on and one out in the seventh. Craig Breslow pitched in the eighth and surrendered a solo home run to Flowers. Dustin Pedroia’s togs provided visual reinforcement of his team’s name. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk, so perhaps the second baseman will go with his new look to support his superstitions. As part of September roster expansion the Red Sox added Quintin Berry, Rubby De La Rosa, Ryan Lavarnway, and Brandon Snyder. To make room on the roster Daniel Bard was designated for assignment. It is amazing to see the formerly heralded reliever fall so far from the ranks...

Jerry, Just Remember, It’s Not a Lie if You Believe It

Mike O’Malley has enough self-awareness to know how baseball fans regard the interviews interspersed with the game. “Here’s everyone’s favorite part where the actor interrupts the action,” he quipped. The comedy of errors perpetrated by Jerry Meals seemed like something out of one of O’Malley’s sitcoms, but the impact on the American League East standings is more like a crime drama whose plot is ripped from the headlines. If the story seems terribly familiar it’s because you’ve seen it before. “Umpire Meals: Call ‘might have’ been wrong” said the headline from this article on MLB’s own website dated July 27, 2011. Your browser does not support iframes. Perhaps Meals was feeling a bit peaked after 19 innings and wishfully imagined that Michael McKenry’s tag missed Julio Lugo. Perhaps Meals didn’t feel up for extra innings (I mean, jeez, it could go to 19 innings again) and deluded himself into thinking Daniel Nava was out at home in the eighth, thereby avoiding the tie and another multiple-inning slog like he had in Atlanta. Meals’s call was worse than Nava’s baserunning, and that’s saying something. Nava didn’t play Stephen Drew’s deep double to right halfway between second and third, something that a...

Umpire of the Vanities

Tim Timmons had a rough night behind home plate, rougher than the Baltimore pitchers had on the mound, and that is saying something as they collectively surrendered three home runs. Brooks Baseball’s Strikezone map for Timmons demonstrates a few of the egregious calls he made. David Ortiz was particularly upset in the seventh as the 3-0 count turned into a full count on questionable strike calls. Ortiz went down swinging and didn’t stop swinging once he got into the dugout. In the sixth inning John Farrell was annoyed when neither Timmons at home nor Laz Diaz at third made a call on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s ground ball. Manny Machado tossed over to second hoping for the force but the outcome of the play wasn’t clear until Mike Winters called Mike Carp out at second. The confusion carried into the next play. Stephen Drew put a charge into the ball and it seemed to bounce off the top of the right field wall. He and Saltalamacchia rounded the bases wondering what the status of the play was. Nick Markakis relayed the ball back into the infield for a potential play at the plate but it got away from Matt Wieters. Was it...

Brock and Roll

The Athletics need to work on their defense. Mike Napoli led off the second with a single to Josh Donaldson, but Donaldson’s throw allowed Napoli to take second. Jarrod Parker hit Daniel Nava with a fastball that ricocheted off the hitter and knocked C.B. Bucknor out of the game. Bill Miller (not Bill Mueller; pause for a pleasant moment of nostalgia) replaced Bucknor at home. Parker induced fly ball outs off the bats of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias and seemed poised to get out of the inning, but then Brock Holt entered the batters’ box. Holt carved the ball into the opposite field to drive in Napoli and Nava. Yoenis Cespedes gathered the ball, missed the cutoff man, and threw so high John Jaso had to jump to catch it. Jaso tried to get Holt out at second but missed his target, too. By the time the Oakland defense had the ball under control Holt stood at third. The Athletics tied the game with Jaso’s RBI single in the fifth and Jed Lowrie’s solo home run in the sixth. Dustin Pedroia broke the tie with a two-run line drive single to left in the eighth, just in time to...

The Umpire Strikes Back

The Red Sox lost but not in the way you would have expected. Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander didn’t baffle the Boston batters; he had a pedestrian line: 5 innings pitched, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Nothing worthy of a life-size bobblehead. Second base umpire Mike DiMuro made a controversial call in the bottom of the eighth. Avisail Garcia flied out to Daniel Nava, who seemingly made the catch but dropped it on the transfer from his glove hand. John Farrell contended that first base umpire Scott Barry had a better view of the play should have made the call and was ejected for sharing his thoughts. Instead of representing the first out Garcia stood at second as a result of Nava’s “error.” Bryan Holaday knocked a sac bunt to Andrew Miller but the reliever threw high to Dustin Pedroia at first. Miller walked Austin Jackson to load the bases with none out. Torii Hunter flied out to center to tie the game and Prince Fielder knocked a single up the middle to effectively put the game out of reach. The Red Sox rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth...

Troubled Double

Even though Manny Machado didn’t need help with adding to his league-leading doubles total Jeff Nelson gave him an assist in the first inning. Machado’s liner didn’t cross over third base and it landed a few inches foul. Nelson was the home plate umpire in Saturday’s game, in which he ruled that Dustin Pedroia foul tipped a ball when the bat and ball didn’t actually make contact. This miscall didn’t result in runs on the board. Shane Victorino’s glove was specially embroidered to celebrate Father’s Day. He spent part of the day watching Chris Davis’s third-inning home run sail over him and wondering if it was ever going to land. This father and son duo boasted matching moss. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Game 71: June 15, 2013 Boston Red Sox42-29 3 L: Jon Lester (6-5) 2B: Mike Carp (10)HR: Will Middlebrooks (9) Baltimore Orioles40-30 6 W: Miguel Gonzalez (5-2)H: Brian Matusz (10), Tommy Hunter (8)S: Jim Johnson (25) 2B: Manny Machado (32), Adam Jones – 2 (21), Nick Markakis – 2 (15), Chris Davis (22)HR: Davis (23)...

Ill-Gotten Gains

Is there anything as riveting as a David Ortiz triple? It is equal parts terror, amusement, and amazement. Fear clenches the heart for he might injure himself rounding the bases. Mirth plays at the corners of the mouth at the sight of a large man barreling on the basepaths. And lastly wonderment at Papi’s arrival at the hot corner. Dustin Pedroia led off the fourth inning with a single that shouldn’t have been. The second baseman admitted that he whiffed on Freddy Garcia’s 2-2 curveball but convinced home plate umpire Jeff Nelson that he tipped the ball. Pedroia sent the next pitch into centerfield. Mike Carp later homered to tie the game 2-2. Jonny Gomes singled after Carp’s homer. Stephen Drew lined to ball to right, testing Nick Markakis’s arm. Gomes beat the throw home to score the go-ahead run. In the sixth Gomes would add an insurance run with a solo shot to dead center. Gomes’s homer and Pedroia’s RBI in the fifth proved crucial to the Red Sox’s victory. Andrew Bailey toed the rubber for the save but not without surrendering a two-run homer to Matt Wieters. J.J. Hardy followed with a single and was replaced by pinch...

Grin and Bear It

This time around the Red Sox and Bruins didn’t synchronize wins. The Bruins battled through two overtimes until Patrice Bergeron tipped the puck in at the 15:19 mark. Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand were credited with assists on the game-winner. Second base umpire Sam Holbrook called Stephen Drew out when he should have been safe in the first play of the third inning. After that missed call Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr. made outs, but perhaps they would have changed their approach if Drew were on second and he would have scored. Dustin Pedroia tied the game 1-1 in the sixth. The circuit clout caromed off the bottom of the light stanchion. Don Orsillo hadn’t been able to use “la luna” because of the dubious nature of Pedroia’s most recent home run, which ricocheted off Josh Willingham’s glove. But this one was a no-doubter. Eckism of the the evening: “boiling,” meaning fat. Eck said this bird was boiling because of the sunflower seeds. Game 60: June 5, 2013 Texas Rangers36-22 3 W: Neal Cotts (1-0)H: Robbie Ross (8), Tanner Scheppers (10)S: Joe Nathan (18) 2B: Mitch Moreland – 2 (16), Nelson Cruz (9), Elvis Andrus (7)HR: Adrian Beltre (12)...

Blue Jays and Layne

Pro tip from Melky Cabrera: don’t dive after liners to the outfield late in the game with your team in the lead. If you miss, you may allow a single to turn into a double. And if you do dive, try not to mimic the technique of a fan going after a foul ball. In the bottom of the third Jerry Layne had a little fun with Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman thought he was imbued with the speed of Jacoby Ellsbury and attempted to stretch a single to left into a double. The ball was there to greet Pedroia as was Layne. Layne’s call was correct, which is more than can be said for his colleagues around the league lately. Angel Hernandez failed to correct the call on the instant replay review of a home run in a game between Cleveland and Oakland on May 8. The homer would have tied the game. On May 9 Fieldin Culbreth misapplied 3.05 (b), which states: (b) If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team...

Eleventh Ours

Is the first week of May too early to declare a game a defining moment? It started off disappointingly with Clay Buchholz struggling to find the find the zone and keep the ball away from bats. The Twins were one batter shy of batting around; a single, two doubles, and two walks only resulted in two runs. Buchholz fought back to strike out Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks with the bases loaded. The local nine scored a run an inning between the fourth and the eighth. The fourth frame featured Shane Victorino’s first home run of the season. Stephen Drew added to the tally with a fly ball to shallow center to plate Daniel Nava. Mike Napoli answered in the next frame with an RBI single of his own. While Boston’s batters chipped away at the Twins’ lead Buchholz waved his first innings woes away and held Minnesota to two more runs. In the fourth the pair Buchholz had struck out to close the first, Arcia and Hicks, knocked in consecutive doubles. The M&M boys weren’t silent last night; Joe Mauer powered a ground-rule double and Justin Morneau sacrificed him in. Boston infielders Drew and Dustin Pedroia countered with home...


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