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Kevin chimes in on the Delmon Young controversy with some thoughts on the incident itself, and propses an appropriate penalty.

For a while on Wednesday evening, the story spread like the old children's game of telephone. I was initially told that Delmon Young threw a bat and hit the home plate umpire in the mid-section. Another version had Young throwing his bat down, only to have it bounce back up and hit the ump in the leg. While the initial AP story cleared things up a bit, it still wasn't exactly clear just what happened. Something bad had occurred, but I was still unsure of exactly how bad it was.

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Fresh off his stint as a Questec operator, BP Intern Jason Karegeannes takes you behind the scenes to see how the system works, and what changes can be made to improve it and help umpires do their jobs.

Since its first inroads into major league ballparks a few years ago, Questec has exploded onto the baseball scene, exploded at the hands of Curt Schilling, and has since evaporated a bit from our consciousness. Still, Questec continues to grow its reach, with systems now functional in 23 of the 30 MLB parks. The company's promising technology and increasing reach into the game show Questec's potential. Technical glitches in the system and cash flow problems could stand in the way.

From April to July of this year, Questec played a big part of my life (I'm moving to Texas next week to start grad school). Rotating Miller Park home games with a working partner, I'd arrive about an hour before game time to complete pre-game procedures. Pre-game procedures include saving the previous game and clearing the system of the last game's data, all of which takes 10-15 minutes. Unless of course something goes wrong, which is the main reason for early arrival. As an operator, you need to be prepared to deal with bumped tracking devices, expired software licenses, lack of an audio feed, video feed or both, and a raft of other little problems.

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May 7, 2003 12:00 am

Behind the Mask Q&A

0

Jason Grady

Baseball Prospectus: Where in the rulebook does it say? a) Tie goes to the runner. Jim Evans: It doesn't. It states that a runner is out IF the defensive team tags him or his base BEFORE he reaches it. The implication is if the tag doesn't occur first (not at the same time or after), the runner would be safe. BP: b) A check swing is a strike if the batter breaks his wrists. JE: The wrists are never mentioned in the rulebook. A swinging strike is based solely on the umpire's judgment of whether or not the batter committed to the pitch. Check swings are very difficult calls. Base umpires are often able to make more accurate decisions on check swings because their attention can be focused solely on the bat since they are not obligated to call the pitch. BP: c) The hands are part of the bat. JE: This is another misconception. The hands are NOT part of the bat. If a pitched ball hits the hands and the batter did not attempt to swing, it is a hit batsman. If a pitched ball hits the hands as he swings, it is a strike and the ball is dead. Reference: Rule 2.00 Strike (e.)

Baseball Prospectus: Where in the rulebook does it say? a) Tie goes to the runner.

Jim Evans: It doesn't. It states that a runner is out IF the defensive team tags him or his base BEFORE he reaches it. The implication is if the tag doesn't occur first (not at the same time or after), the runner would be safe.

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May 3, 2003 12:00 am

Behind the Mask Q&A

0

Jason Grady

Jim Evans broke into Major League Baseball in 1972 as the youngest umpire ever at age 23. His career spanned 28 seasons, including 18 as a crew chief. He umpired four World Series, eight League Championship Series, three All-Star games, and was the plate umpire for Nolan Ryan's first no-hitter. Currently, Jim is the owner and chief instructor of the leading professional umpire-training academy, the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, founded in 1989. He recently chatted with BP about his career in the bigs, the intricacies of the rule book, and a few dustups with ornery managers.

Baseball Prospectus: How did you get started as an umpire? What drew you to that career?

Jim Evans: As a youngster, I played in Little League, Pony League, and all sorts of amateur baseball programs growing up. I was a catcher and got to know the umpires pretty well. I was very curious and was always asking lots of questions. When I was 14, I played in a summer league. One night the chief umpire asked me if I would like to try umpiring. There was a Little League tournament coming up and he needed more umpires than he had. Since I was a catcher, he figured I had a pretty good idea of the strike zone. That first Saturday I ever umpired, I worked five games and loved every minute of it. The managers thought I had a good strike zone and the players liked the way I hustled. Looking back on those games, I probably hustled out of position as much as I hustled into position since I really never had any real training. I was working on instincts alone. My first experiences umpiring were very positive and the $3 a game were icing on the cake. I was still playing two nights a week. With encouragement from the chief umpire, I started umpiring the nights I wasn't playing. I reached the point where I actually enjoyed the umpiring more than playing.

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