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Protest: Uncaught Third Strike; umpire killed play


Guest Malu

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Guest Malu

What is the best solution for this protest? Is the protest valid? If protest succeeds, does game continue from that point? 

ISSUE/CALL:

Plate Umpire, after discussion with crew and coaches, decided to reverse an uncaught third strike situation that was killed by base Umpire calling time (0-3 count; possibly 3rd out). Plate Umpire did not clearly or definitively call Ball/Strike/Ball-on-the-ground/Safe/Out.  Reversal resulted in a re-do (basically, no pitch) because umpire says neither battery nor batter actioned a play before base umpire killed the play by calling time before next pitch. Plate Umpire continued at-bat as a re-do back to 0-2 count with 2 outs. 

PROTEST (Visitor):

After decision, visiting team immediately protested that batter should've been out (3rd out) on the uncaught third strike because he made no attempt to try for first base before base umpire called time. He believes batter-runner lost his  entitled "window" to first, and therefore should be out on strikes. (Note: Batter stayed by batter's box the entire time; defense never initiated a proper live or dead ball appeal).  

REBUTTAL (Home): 

Home team asserts that plate umpire did not make a call and continued as if it was called a "ball" thus making them think it was a "ball" (1-2 count), until base umpire called "time" to rectify the situation, and only then did the plate umpire decide the batter unintentionally swung on 0-2 pitch, and changing her call to strike 3 dropped. Home team agreed with plate umpire's decision to "re-do" (no-pitch) as the most fair course of action. 

Note:Two runs scored right after that decision, costing visiting team the game. 

Situation: Bottom of the third, home team is ahead 3 to 1 with 2 outs. Runner on second and third. 0-2 pitch is low-inside (off the plate) and the righty batter dodges backwards, turning to his left along with the bat down by his legs. The bat passes home plate. Ball is dropped. Neither catcher/pitcher nor batter actions a play. 

Plate Umpire does not a make call and players assume it's a "ball" (later claiming to have pointed to the batter but didn't make a more clear call). 

Catcher reluctantly throws back to pitcher as usual (battery and batter confused). Still no count given yet. As pitcher prepares for the next pitch, Base Umpire near first yells and signals time to discuss with Plate umpire. Plate umpire returns to plate and makes a clear call of "batter went, strike 3 dropped." Because the base umpire killed the play, the plate umpire is uncertain about how to best proceed and consults scorekeepers and other officials in the booth about best courses of action. 

Ultimately, because the plate umpire failed to make a clear call, the base umpire killed the play, and no one from either team actioned a play, the final ruling by the plate umpire was a re-do/no pitch. 

Play resumed bottom of the third, 2 outs,  R3, R2, and B5 with an 0-2 count. Blown call ended up bringing in two runs. 

Final: 6-5 to the home team. 

What should we do, please? 

Thank you. 

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Protest, even if it's just to get the right answer and educate the coaches and umpires. Not sure what the outcome would be - need more info -  even though the ump was wrong in his application of

"unintentionally swung" while getting out of the way of a pitch, with bat at his legs?  HTBT but that sounds like a ball to me...

Why is the non-protesting team having any input? A protest has three things: the facts as the umpire adjudged them, the rules as applied, and the protesting team's argument as to why the rules we

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3 hours ago, Guest Malu said:

What should we do, please? 

Thank you. 

What level was this?

Probably just move on and understand that sometimes people make mistakes and the outcome of the game is just not that important. I mean, the home team won anyway.

What actions would you think is right to mitigate a mistake like this?

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10 hours ago, JonnyCat said:

I mean, the home team won anyway

The visitors are protesting...the wrong call led to the home team scoring two additional runs.  If the protest is upheld there's likely cause to resume the game from that point.

 

Whether or not this is really protestable or correctable is the crux I guess.

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11 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

Whether or not this is really protestable or correctable is the crux I guess.

a "do over" is NOT the right answer in the original situation.  Either put BR at first or call him out, depending on what would have (likely) happened.

Assuming BR would be put at first -- then it might depend on what happened in the game.  If BR later reached first, and then someone else drove in two runs, I' probably rule "no" on the protest.

If BR would have been out, then I'd uphold the protest.

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15 hours ago, Guest Malu said:

What should we do, please? 

Protest, even if it's just to get the right answer and educate the coaches and umpires.

Not sure what the outcome would be - need more info -  even though the ump was wrong in his application of the rules, that doesn't mean it changed the outcome of the game (regardless of the two runs), which is the second requirement to upholding a protest.

So - first, the ump shouldn't have called "do over" - he should try to determine what would have happened if the play didn't get killed.  Eg. if the ball went to the backstop, batter gets first...runners advance probably...if catcher caught pitch on bounce, batter is out.

If it's determined the batter gets first, then the outcome of the game likely doesn't change.

If it's determined the batter was out, then the outcome of the game does change - likely resume game from that point.

 

And even after all that - in the game, what did that batter do with his new life...did he walk?  Did he hit and drive in two runs?  Did he hit a dribbler to F4 who proceeded to boot the ball and allow the batter to reach on error.   Depending on what that batter did and how that inning continued, there are some scenarios where, even if the protest determines the ump was wrong to "do over" (he was) and that the batter would have been easily tagged out, even then it may be determined the outcome of the game stands.

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6 minutes ago, ousafe said:

"unintentionally swung" while getting out of the way of a pitch, with bat at his legs?  HTBT but that sounds like a ball to me...

Good point - a swing, by definition, requires intent - that sounds potentially like another incorrect application of the rules...meaning it should have been a ball, meaning the protest is moot.

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2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

The visitors are protesting...the wrong call led to the home team scoring two additional runs.  If the protest is upheld there's likely cause to resume the game from that point.

 

Whether or not this is really protestable or correctable is the crux I guess.

Okay, now I understand. I misunderstood what was happening. It was 3-1, then the home team scored 2 more runs as a result of this situation, and ultimately won the game 6-5.

With that being said, the protest needed to happen right after the play, otherwise you lose your right to protest. How the protest is handled is dependent on the organization. Umpires probably made a mistake, it happens. What to do next is up to the protest committee. They could do nothing and leave the game as is, they could have you replay from that point.

OP has not chimed in yet about the level or if this was a tournament game. If it's regular season youth ball, probably just accept the outcome of the game.

I agree with you, protests are good when it becomes a learning experience for umpires and coaches.

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Protest

 

 

Damn glad I was not any part of that one.

One of the biggest reason why I loudly verbalize "BALL"  or "Strike" 

 

I know I am not perfect and have missed a dropped 3rd, But when I did the catcher tossed it to 1st and ended it ( fortunate for me)

 

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Guest Malu
13 hours ago, JonnyCat said:

What level was this?

Probably just move on and understand that sometimes people make mistakes and the outcome of the game is just not that important. I mean, the home team won anyway.

What actions would you think is right to mitigate a mistake like this?

High School Varsity. 

Mitigation steps would be more umpire, coach and player training regarding rules. 

Offended team (visitor) could have clearly initiated a dead ball appeal, etc. 

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Guest Malu
13 hours ago, JonnyCat said:

What level was this?

Probably just move on and understand that sometimes people make mistakes and the outcome of the game is just not that important. I mean, the home team won anyway.

What actions would you think is right to mitigate a mistake like this?

Yes. Thank you. Protestable, correctable, and how to best rectify the situation in light of formal protest. 

I'm part of a brand new protesting committee as we strive to raise our standards for the student-athletes and the integrity of the game. 

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9 minutes ago, Guest Malu said:

Yes. Thank you. Protestable, correctable, and how to best rectify the situation in light of formal protest. 

I'm part of a brand new protesting committee as we strive to raise our standards for the student-athletes and the integrity of the game. 

I assume that members of the protest committee have access to the rules and case books.  See case 10.2.3I (2017 reference) where a batter takes a pitch for ball 4, he trots to first, and then the call is changed to a swing.  The umpire can rectify the situation.

The protest committee needs to figure out what would have happened had the umpire followed this and rule on the protest accordingly.

No matter what you rule, one of the teams will be upset.  Good luck.

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Guest Malu
3 hours ago, noumpere said:

a "do over" is NOT the right answer in the original situation.  Either put BR at first or call him out, depending on what would have (likely) happened.

Assuming BR would be put at first -- then it might depend on what happened in the game.  If BR later reached first, and then someone else drove in two runs, I' probably rule "no" on the protest.

If BR would have been out, then I'd uphold the protest.

Agreed it should not be a do over. 

BR walked. However, before he did, the very next two pitches were passed balls to the back stop that brought in two runs.  No one drove in any runs. 

 

 

 

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Why is the non-protesting team having any input?

A protest has three things: the facts as the umpire adjudged them, the rules as applied, and the protesting team's argument as to why the rules were misapplied. 

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20 hours ago, Guest Malu said:

Home team asserts that plate umpire did not make a call and continued as if it was called a "ball" thus making them think it was a "ball" (1-2 count), until base umpire called "time" to rectify the situation

This is not really relevant...think of any check swing situation with two strikes...the batter ALWAYS has the option to run, just in case (the reality is, if the catcher receives the ball on the hop, the batter stays put and just hopes it's a ball...if the ball goes to the fence, the batter runs and hopes it's a strike)...and in many situations, except for advanced/experienced umps, there is no affirmation of a strike until an appeal is requested...the ump can ask on his own...in more advanced scenarios the base ump can offer on his own (and I know many debate whether that should be done)...in all those scenarios the batter can run, just in case that ball turns into a strike.   

This is no different than a 3-1 pitch where R1 is stealing...initial call is ball and runner lets up knowing the walk gives him second...immediately followed by an appeal and base ump calls strike...batters and runners are required to know the possibility exists that that ball may turn into a strike, and they need to act accordingly.

So, I don't think the home team's argument holds any water. 

 

The only caveat here is I would want clarification on the umpire's ruling that the batter "unintentionally" swung...and that clarification would have to come from the umpire...does that mean the batter did not check their swing in time...or is the ump saying it was literally unintentional...which by definition can't be a swing.   Having said that...the home team should have protested that at the time...to get a "ball one" call, not a redo....so it's also probably moot for the protest, but is a teachable moment to everyone involved.   It sounds to me like there was no offer at the pitch.

 

This is where bureaucracy meets process and could get ugly.

In the end...the correct outcome should have been a "ball", batter continues at bat...next two pitches go to fence, runners score, home team wins 6-5...with the exception of the batter needing an additional pitch to walk the incorrect "do over" call had no impact on the outcome of the game.

 

The problem is, the home team did not protest the incorrect assessment that the batter "unintentionally" swung at the ball while hopping away on the inside pitch.   But they didn't protest because they got a more equitable outcome with the "do over"/"no pitch" call.  And it's really the incorrect strike call (NOT a judgment call, unless the umpire genuinely judged the batter offered at the pitch) that caused all this chaos, not the incorrect "do over" call.

The question is, is the scope of the process ONLY the element that was specifically protested by the protesting team...or can the committee take all elements of the play into consideration in their findings?

If you can only address what was protested, then batter is out, and you likely continue game from that point.

If you can address all the facts of the play, then the "do over" ruling had not impact on the outcome as the pitch should have been ruled a ball.

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(1) Why is base umpire sua sponte initiating his own appeal on a questionable check swing?? And is the base umpire of the erroneous belief that if the bat passes from behind the plate to the front of the plate, it's a strike (even though the batter never offered at the pitch)??  Or, did the batter actually clearly swing, and the plate umpire just closed her eyes on an inside pitch and missed it, in which case the base umpire could  properly call time to confer if it was a clear swing--which it obviously wasn't.

(2) If the plate umpire changes the call from ball to strike (it's the PU's call not the BU's), then it's a strike, batter out. Batter lost the opportunity to advance to 1st on a dropped 3rd, that's unfortunate, but that's also baseball. That's also why with 2 strikes, check swing, and dropped pitch, we PU's should always immediately come out with "Did he go?" Because if we wait until the catcher requests, and our partner says, "Yes, he did!", then we're in the same situation as the OP.

 

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[pops popcorn and waits for @Senor Azul]

If anything this is a case study in not granting do-overs. The concept of a do-over sounds fair and equitable...for a sandlot game. There are no rule books that I am aware of that allow for do-overs. Sometimes, we just have to umpire. We strive to always be our best, do our best and make the correct call. If the coach wants to formally protest a rules interpretation or rule application (NEVER an umpire's judgement!), some not all leagues have a protest process and board review as has been discussed here. Even if you KNOW the league you are working DOESN'T allow protests and you have informed the coach of this, let the coach state his protest and put the burden of formally shutting down the protest on the league administration or leadership.

Protests are sometimes a part of baseball. Like everything else, we as umpires can't take it personally. You grab the home book and draw a heavy line to indicate where the protest was stated in the course of the game and then you pull out your own book and make notes right then and there about the count, the number of outs, the inning and then any and all relevant information. And then...get the game going again. Act like you have had a protest before, exude confidence in handling the situation and get the game going again.

~Dawg

 

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1 hour ago, Recontra said:

(1) Why is base umpire sua sponte initiating his own appeal on a questionable check swing?? And is the base umpire of the erroneous belief that if the bat passes from behind the plate to the front of the plate, it's a strike (even though the batter never offered at the pitch)??  Or, did the batter actually clearly swing, and the plate umpire just closed her eyes on an inside pitch and missed it, in which case the base umpire could  properly call time to confer if it was a clear swing--which it obviously wasn't.

(2) If the plate umpire changes the call from ball to strike (it's the PU's call not the BU's), then it's a strike, batter out. Batter lost the opportunity to advance to 1st on a dropped 3rd, that's unfortunate, but that's also baseball. That's also why with 2 strikes, check swing, and dropped pitch, we PU's should always immediately come out with "Did he go?" Because if we wait until the catcher requests, and our partner says, "Yes, he did!", then we're in the same situation as the OP.

 

(1) because it's the approved mechanic (in some places / mechanics sets) to give it unsolicited IF it's a D3K AND the situation is such that the batter can advance AND BU would have a strike.

(2) Not true under FED.  The umpire can fix his error / correction.  See previous cite.

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For the record (it's been mentioned a few times and noumpere explained it pretty well), the voluntary strike mechanic is approved and expected in MiLB. It is rare outside did that though, and should only be used if pre gamed. 

 

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3 hours ago, Biscuit said:

For the record (it's been mentioned a few times and noumpere explained it pretty well), the voluntary strike mechanic is approved and expected in MiLB. It is rare outside did that though, and should only be used if pre gamed. 

 

Philosophy observation. MLB changed an interp a few years ago about a batter interfering with a catcher on an uncaught third strike. The take away, for me, would be that an out would be normally achieved and that might be why they changed their interp. 

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1 hour ago, Jimurray said:

Philosophy observation. MLB changed an interp a few years ago about a batter interfering with a catcher on an uncaught third strike. The take away, for me, would be that an out would be normally achieved and that might be why they changed their interp. 

Could you explain? I'm not sure why you're connecting these.

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13 hours ago, Biscuit said:

For the record (it's been mentioned a few times and noumpere explained it pretty well), the voluntary strike mechanic is approved and expected in MiLB. It is rare outside did that though, and should only be used if pre gamed. 

 

However, the purpose of said mechanic is to provide immediate information to offense and defense that it was indeed a strike...to try to avoid an unfair situation/advantage to either team...once a few seconds has passed and the catcher has thrown the ball back to the pitcher I'm thinking that ship has sailed...is it still appropriate to volunteer the third strike call at that point...let alone kill the play before doing so?

Now, I think this scenario is different because IMO the BU saw a swing that isn't supported by the rules...but that aside, I'm thinking if the BU isn't volunteering the strike immediately he should then wait to be asked.

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Prior explanations of the voluntary strike mechanic are correct, but I would emphasize that calling time is NEVER part of the mechanic and, in large part, caused this whole mess.

Disclaimer, I’m not familiar with FED rules and this is one messed up scenario, so correct me if I’m off base here.

To narrowly address the defensive team’s appeal, they’re wrong—on a dropped third strike the batter’s “window” doesn’t “expire” until he (1) enters the dugout or (2) he doesn’t try to reach 1st before all infielders leave the field when the inning is over. See 8-4-1-i.

To address it more broadly, no matter how I look at this, it comes back to the rectify a situation due to umpire error rule. Was returning the batter to bat with an 0-3 count an appropriate outcome here? I say no. It directly conflicts with too many other rules. IMO, they could have either (1) placed the batter on 1st or (2) declared him out—whichever was more likely. To go with #2, the presumptive out would have needed to be very obvious. Now, what ends up happening regarding the subsequent passed balls and runs being scored... who the heck knows...

Whether it’s denying the protest on the narrow grounds of 8-4-1-i or opening the can of worms that the broad analysis would require, the protest probably ends up denied either way.

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17 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

There are no rule books that I am aware of that allow for do-overs.

 

Come on now.... if a pitched ball hits a bird in flight, you get to have a do-over of the pitch!  :)

Thank you Randy Johnson!

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