June 18, 2018

Home Plate Umpire Stu Scheurwater Does His Job, Follows Rule Book

Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs, June 13, 2018:
I'd like to take this moment to applaud [umpire Stu] Scheurwater's performance. One call in particular has placed him on my good side. Scheurwater didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to do. He simply followed the rule book, which is much of an umpire's job. ...

In Tuesday's top of the sixth, the Mets were losing. ... [T]he score was just 1-0, and there was a runner on first. [Brandon] Nimmo was working with a 2-and-1 count, and then Jesse Biddle threw an inside breaking ball. The ball hit Nimmo on the elbow, and he started running to first. He didn't get very far.

Scheurwater called Nimmo back. Instead of awarding the hit-by-pitch, Scheurwater said the count was 3-and-1. That happened because, according to his judgment, Nimmo didn't try to avoid the pitch. In fact, he stuck his elbow out in the way. Nimmo, in other words, appeared to attempt to get hit on purpose, and that's not allowed. ...

Allow me to share with you the letter of the law:
The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when:
[...]
He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;
That's official rule 5.05(b)(2). ... This isn't some obscure rule buried deep in the text where no one is ever looking; this is one of those things that almost everyone knows. ... Every professional player is familiar with the rule. The issue, though, as you know, is that the rule is seldom ever enforced. ...

Scheurwater isn't a hero, but he's an umpire who deserves his time in the spotlight. He's an umpire who saw a hitter try to get hit, and he called the hitter on it immediately. That's how it's supposed to be done ...

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