Umpire Judgement

I’m not sure how it’s taken me 8 weeks into the 2013 season to realize my passion is writing about the official rules and in-game questions and violations regarding them. Better late than never, right?

So, recapping and analyzing some of the big ones over the past two weeks including Bo Porter’s illegal pitching change.


#1 Felix Doubront (Rays) delivers a pitch far far far outside of the strikezone.


WDAE (Tampa Radio) commentator: “That pitch doesn’t count, does it? I mean, they put 2 and 0 on the board, but I didn’t think that would count. Then again, what does constitute a pitch? Does it have to come in the zipcode of home plate?”

Umpire got it right. (Anyone else annoyed that our famed commentators are unfamiliar with the rules?)

A BALL is a pitch which does not enter the strike zone in flight and is not struck at by the batter.

A PITCH is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher.

Obviously the difference between the above and this: is that Doubront delivered the ball (pitch) and Lincecum did not (balk).

#2 Porter’s Pitcher Parade

url-1Bo Porter could have found a loop hole by going to the mound twice and forcing new pitcher #1, Wright, out. Per Rule 8.05, “a second trip to the same pitcher in the same inning will cause this pitcher’s automatic removal from the game”. Once Porter walked outside of the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber, his first mound visit was concluded. IF Porter had walked back to the mound after his conversation with HP Ump Adrian Johnson that would have been his second visit to Wright in the inning and thus forcing Wright out of the game and legally allowing Ambriz to enter.

After Scioscia first confronts crew chief Fieldin Culbreth and the four umpires meet to discuss the rule, we can see Bo Porter running off the field. Assuming he was on the pitcher’s mound to “welcome” Ambriz, he must have also been there as Wright departed. Technically he visited Wright twice in the same inning.

(Also note that Scioscia immediately says “I wanna protest this game” as he first walks onto the field. Good rulebook knowledge, Scios!) Note that I understand Porter’s move was illegal and that I’m simply explaining that there is a loophole.


(DISCLAIMER: If you are not uber into baseball (so you’re either my mom or one of my friends who I forced to read this) skip this last one. It’s far more confusing than #1 and #2.)

#3 Worley’s Rosin Pitch


We all know there are rules regarding what the pitcher can and cannot do to the ball.  Most of us know there is such a thing as too much rosin, but few of us know the penalty for it.

3.02     No player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper or other foreign substance.

PENALTY: The umpire shall demand the ball and remove the offender from the game. In addition, the offender shall be suspended automatically for 10 games. For rules in regard to a pitcher defacing the ball, see Rules 8.02(a)(2) through (6).

Obviously Worley was not ejected and per the above rule, should have been. The umpire, Gary Darling, warned Worley and called a ball. Worley’s call is actually the penalty for a DIFFERENT infraction! According to the Penalty to Rule 8.02A (issuing a warning and calling a automatic ball) is only in relation to the pitcher touching his mouth or lips. As far as the rosin penalty, technically Worely should’ve been ejected and suspended for 10 games. I was confused as to how such a drastic rule was overlooked by four umpires. It took reading the Comments in relation to the rule to understand how Darling made his call.

If a pitcher violates either Rule 8.02(a)(2) or Rule 8.02(a)(3) and, in the judgment of the umpire, the pitcher did not intend, by his act, to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball, then the umpire may, in his discretion, warn the pitcher in lieu of applying the penalty set forth for violations of Rules 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6).

That further confused me, as Rosin falls under “foreign substance” noted in subsection #4, and not any of the details in #2 or #3. This again brings me back to the penalty to 3.01.  Should Vance Worely have been ejected and suspended? What do you think? I’m thoroughly stumped on this one.


Posted on May 23, 2013, in 2017, Angels, Astros, MLB, Rays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Interesting loophole Melissa concerning Astros manager Bo Porters’ trips to the mound. Now for Worley…that was a lot of Rosin, and one hell of a misdirection move by a pitcher. I mean if he was a magician, well the hitter, and the crowd would have missed the pitch completely!

    Anyway this was a tough one. Having not seen what transpired on the mound prior to the delivery of the pitch, maybe Darling felt Worley had casually reached for the Rosin then quickly dropped it before turning to the rubber. But given the massive puff of Rosin upon delivery I find that hard to believe.

    That then leads me to this regards rule 8.02 (a) (3), did Worley intend to alter the characteristics of the ball with the Rosin? I seems that Gary Darling felt it was not intentional, which is entirely subjective. But you make a very valid point about Rosin being a foreign substance.

    Boy Melissa, I think I am going to join your mom and your friends on this one. Great article!

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