May 16, 2023

Disengagement Controversy

Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell ejected in dispute developed over the number of disengagements a pitcher made

Disengagement Controversy

Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell was ejected in the May 6, 203 game against the Giants. The dispute developed over the number of disengagements a pitcher made.

In the top of the fourth inning, with Rowdy Tellez at the plate, Giants starter Alex Cobb threw over to first base twice to check on Willy Adames. Cobb had also stepped off the rubber earlier in the plate appearance when catcher Joey Bart came out for a mound visit.

Under MLB’s new rules for 2023, pitchers are allowed two disengagements per plate appearance with a runner on base. A third step-off is ruled a balk unless a runner is retired.

When Cobb attempted to pick off Adames the second time, first-base umpire Jeremy Riggs held up three fingers to signify three disengagements. But Adames was not awarded second base.

“Their ruling was they took away the disengagement because at some point after the disengagement, they did a mound visit,” Counsell said. “In my eyes, it wasn’t related, and the first-base umpire didn’t see it that way. Apparently one of the umpires did, and that was enough to overturn the disengagement.”

Ruleball Comments

  1. After doing some leg work, I learned that the first step off disengagement was not counted because Bart had called “Time” apparently before he made his mound visit.
  2. If you look at the video, you cannot see Bart calling “Time” (although he might have) and you cannot see the plate umpire, David Rackley, call “Time.” When the umpire calls “Time” that is when it is officially granted and all four umpires should be aware that the ball is dead.
  3. Obviously, Riggs was not aware that “Time” was called prior to the first disengagement.
  4. In my opinion, the “Time Out” was poorly communicated. There is no reason that all four umpires should not have been aware of the “Time Out” that negated the first disengagement.
  5. As we saw in the previous play, this does not meet the standards of major league umpiring. They can do better.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  Angels, D’backs, Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees, Bally Sports, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  



Ref my first question at 4:50 pm. I just received my 2023 ORB. I assume all the new rules came out too late for inclusion in the ORB. So….Does MLB come out with an official, “Memorandum for Record” listing all new rules? It is kind of hard to quote Joe Snuffy’s baseball blog to a coach (I’m an umpire).


Page and paragraph for disengagement rule please?

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