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Question of the Month!
From November, 1999
The off-season features "classic" questions

One out, nobody on. The batter swings and misses a third strike which hits the ground but is picked by the catcher. The batter-runner starts for first, but the plate umpire yells "TIME!" and calls him out, stating that the ball was caught. The plate umpire then states that the ball hit the ground but was caught "cleanly" by the catcher. In the ensuing discussions, the offensive manager claims his B-R should have been able to attempt to reach first, because a clean catch must be made "in-flight". Since he was incorrectly prevented from doing so by the umpire, he therefore should be awarded first. The defensive manager claims the batter had been struck out and for that reason should be declared out.
What is the correct ruling?
Consider the fact that this is no longer a judgment call, it is a rules interpretation. Since the plate umpire admitted that the ball hit the ground, this ruling is subject to a protest. NOTE: This occured during a 1999 tournament game.

Extra Credit

Which inning of what game was it during the 1986 World Series and what was the score in the top of that inning when Bill Buckner committed his infamous error?

Baseball Calendar

04-05-2015 Opening Night: Cardnials-Cubs 8 pm
04-06-2015 Opening Day
06-08-2015 First Year Player Draft
06-18-2015 MLB Draft
07-02-2015 International  Free Agent Signing Period Begins
07-14-2015 All-Star Game - Cincinnati, OH
07-17-2015 Deadline for Amatuer Draft Picks to Sign
07-31-2015 Last Day to Trade Players Without Waivers
09-01-2015 Active Rosters Expand to 40 Players
10-08-2015 Division Series Begins
10-28-2015 World Series Begins
12-07-2015 Winter Meetings - Nashville, TN

Are You Correct?

February Answer

Q: Runners on 1st & 2nd. The 1st baseman is playing behind the runner. From the stretch, the pitcher throws to 1st with the throw travelling directly over the bag. The 1st baseman remains in his position behind the runner. The ball bounces off the fence directly to the right fielder. The runner from 2nd goes to 3rd while the runner from 1st returns to the base.
What is your call?

A: There is no call. Since the pitcher threw directly to the bag, there is no balk and the play stands.

Extra Credit

Q: Who is the last player to win the ML Triple Crown (leading both the AL & NL in HR's, RBI's & BA) & in what year?

A: Mickey Mantle in 1956.

Previous Questions of the Month!!


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Milestones in Baseball History

1865: Overhand pitching legalized
1876: National League organized
1901: American League organized
1903: World Series began
1919: Chicago "Black Sox" scandal
1920: Live Ball era; Spitball banned
1927: Babe Ruth hits 60 home runs in a season
1932: Leagues adopt common baseballs
1935: Night baseball began
1939: First game televised (Cincinnati Reds vs. Brooklyn Dodgers)
1941: Joe DiMaggio hits safely in 56 consecutive games
1947: Jackie Robinson plays for the Brooklyn Dodgers (NL)
1947: Larry Doby plays for the Cleveland Indians (AL)
1951: First game televised in color (Boston Braves vs. Brooklyn Dodgers)
1961: Roger Maris breaks Ruth's home run record
1966: Emmett Ashford becomes the first black umpire in MLB when he reached the AL after 14 seasons in the minors
1971: Cowhide substituted for horsehide on baseball
1973: First AL Designated Hitter, Ron Blomberg, bats
1973: Art Williams becomes the first black umpire to reach the NL staff
1976: Dan Driessen becomes the first Designated Hitter from an NL team
1995: Cal Ripken breaks Gehrig's consecutive game record
1997: Interleague play begins
1998: Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire break Maris' home run record
2000: Leagues use common umpires
2001: MLB signs contract with Questec to use its pitch tracking system to review umpire performance: eventually used in 11 ballparks
2008: Limited replay approved
2009: MLB's Zone Evaluation system replaces Questec in all ballparks
2010: First game televised in 3D (NY Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners)
2013: Season-long interleague play begins
2014: Expanded replay approved

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Baseball Facts

Brian Knight captured home plate squats bragging rights in 2013 with 10,950. Knight averaged 304.2 pitches per game in his 36 plate assignments last season.

Of the 199 MLB ejections in 2011, Jerry Layne and crewmates Bob Davidson, Hunter Wendelstedt and Brian Knight accounted for 26, or 13 percent: 8 for Davidson, 8 for Wendelstedt, 6 for Knight and 4 for Layne. With 17 umpire crews, the average crew administered just 11-12 ejections, meaning Layne's crew ejected twice as much as the average crew. By comparison, Joe West's crew barely scratched the 20 ejection mark. SteveO

Did you know that prior to 1947, a 4-man (or less in the early days) crew was used for the World Series? In 1947, MLB went to a 6-man crew. However, from 1947-1963, the two outfield umpires stayed in their position for the entire series and did not rotate. Only the four infield umpires rotated for the series. In 1964, MLB went to the current system of rotating all six umpires.

MLB has 30 teams, 17 umpire crews and 2,430 games Umpire scheduling protocol is that an umpire crew does not see the same team sooner than every 18 days and no more than 4 times in a season.

In 1878, the first paid umpires were in the National League, where the home teams were instructed to pay the umpires $5/game

Albert Pujols had won the 2003 NL batting title over Todd Helton by the closest margin in league history, the third tightest in ML history. The final stat was .35871 to .35849 or a .00022 difference. The tightest race ever was in 1945 when the Yankees' Snuffy Stirnweiss beat Tony Cuccinello of the White Sox by .00009. In 1949, Detroit's George Kell edge Boston's Ted Williams by .00016. Check out ML's All-Time Leaders.

Umpire signals were first used in the late 1800's to help a deaf mute player from that time understand what was going on in the game. His name was Dummy Hoy, and he was a ML outfielder from 1888 to 1902. See Umpire Communications for umpire signal information.

The shortest game in ML history was played on September 28, 1919 when the NY Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 in a game that took 51 minutes.

The longest 9-inning game in ML history took place on August 18, 2006 between New York (14 runs) & Boston (11 runs) and lasted 4:45. Jim Wolf was the plate umpire and called 437 pitches. It was the second game of a Day-Night DH. The first game lasted 3:55, with NY winning 12-4. Tony Randazzo was behind the plate for game one.

The second longest 9-inning game in ML history took place on October 5, 2001 between Los Angeles & San Francisco and lasted 4:27. Jerry Layne was the plate umpire and called 361 pitches.

The longest game in ML history featured Milwaukee at Chicago in 1984, required 25 innings and took 8:06.

Jim Evans Training Video
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What an Umpire Should Never Do
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Batter's Box Fiasco
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Soon after being traded, asked about the condition of his shoulder he replied "My shoulder's okay, but I've still got a scar where the Mets stuck a knife in my back." Tug McGraw

The single thing that separates good (officials) from the average one is timing. If you allow everything to develop in front of you, then take that picture, you can go get it developed and bring it back with a decision. I think that's what all officials should do. Your eyes are a camera and you're taking a picture. If you start moving the camera, you take the picture a little too fast, which is where timing comes in." Steve Palermo - Former AL Umpire

"I wish I had an answer to that, because I'm tired of answering that question." Yogi Berra- Additional YogismsBad Boy

"If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I'd trip her. Oh, I'd pick her up and brush her off and say, 'Sorry, Mom,' but nobody beats me." Leo Durocher - More Quotes from Leo

"This ain't a football game, we do this every day." Earl Weaver - View more of Earl's Pearls

"Lefthanders have more enthusiasm for life. They sleep on the wrong side of the bed and their head gets more stagnant on that side." Casey Stengel - More of Casey

"I'm getting smarter, I finally punched something that couldn't sue me." Billy Martin- More from Billy

"If I'd known I was going to live so long I'd have taken better care of myself." Mickey Mantle- Additional Quotes from the Mick


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