Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ejections: Cory Blaser (2, 3)

HP Umpire Cory Blaser ejected Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta and Rockies Manager Jim Tracy for arguing a safe call in the top of the 7th inning of the Brewers-Rockies game. With one out and two on, Brewers batter Mark Kotsay flied out to Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler, Brewers R3 Corey Hart scored on the sacrifice. Replays indicate Iannetta applied the tag to Hart before Hart contacted the plate, the call was incorrect.* At the time of the ejection, the Brewers were leading, 5-3. The Brewers ultimately won the contest, 8-7.

These are Cory Blaser (89)'s second and third ejections of 2011.
Cory Blaser now has -6 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (-2 Previous + 2*[3 AAA - 1 Penalty - 4 Incorrect Call] = -6).
Cory Blaser was not drafted in 2011.
*Quality of Correctness was challenged and confirmed ("Incorrect" ==> "Incorrect").

These are the 120th and 121st ejections of 2011.
This is the 57th player ejection of 2011.
This is the 59th Manager ejection of 2011.
This is Jim Tracy's second ejection of 2011.
Prior to his ejection, Iannetta was 1-1 in the contest.

Wrap: Brewers at Rockies 7/16/11
Video: Iannetta, Tracy are Ejected

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Umpire Odds & Ends: West & Hernandez; Say it Ain't So, Joe

Rumor has it that Umpire Joe West and colleague Angel Hernandez have parted ways as a result of actions taken by none other than MLB's current Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Joe Torre.

Again, this is rumor, speculation, and at this time, completely unsubstantiated. So why even bring it up? If you were watching the Mariners television feed during the bottom of the third inning of tonight's Rangers-Mariners contest (Rangers 5, Mariners 0), you might have heard Mariners broadcasters Dave Sims and Mike Blowers react to a fan's sign that read, Give us Garlic Fries to Chase Away Umpires. This was Sims & Blowers' cue to talk about recent umpiring trends, as they decided to give an example using Joe West and Angel Hernandez, who, tonight, were in Minnesota (Twins 8, Royals 4) and Toronto (Blue Jays 16, Yankees 7), respectively:
Sims: I understand Major League Baseball broke up one umpiring crew, Joe West and Angel Hernandez, that crew was split up.
Blowers: Joe Torre, taking down a lot of notes, and watching and decided to switch things up, too many people getting ejected in their games is what I understand.
Sims: Right you are.
Blowers: Interesting.
Sims: Like to keep the players on the field. And if you're going to run anybody, in terms of managers going out there to defend their players and take the hit if necessary, but people are coming to see the ballplayers, not managers and umpires getting into it.
Blowers: I think one of the things we've seen over the last few years is managers don't even have the chance to get out of the dugout.
Sims: Well, we saw that the other day when Wedge got run.
Blowers: Yeah, he was run before he even left the dugout.
Sims: He had his hands up on the strike him out, throw him out the other day in Anaheim.
Blowers: ...The fuse is getting short.
The Anaheim ejection is a reference to Ejections: Sam Holbrook (1), in which Wedge was ejected arguing a check swing (no swing) call in the bottom of the 3rd inning of July 9's Mariners-Angels game (Angels 9, Mariners 3). As many UEFL'ers have pointed out over the years, leaving a dugout to argue a check swing, like other ball/strike arguments, is grounds for immediate ejection.

Still, as we discussed in Umpire Odds & Ends: All-Star & July Ejections just yesterday, the broadcasting staple of second guessing an umpire, much less umpiring in general, is alive and well. At least for now, speculation as it relates to West/Hernandez remains in the rumor mill. As far as ejections go, Joe West is currently tied for 3rd place with Bob Davidson (5 ejections), while Angel Hernandez is tied for 5th place with Andy Fletcher, Marty Foster, Jim Joyce, Alfonso Marquez, Angel Campos, and Vic Carapazza (4 ejections each).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Umpire Odds & Ends: All-Star & July Ejections

With yesterday's All-Star game in the books, we reflect on the only three day stretch between the beginning of April and the end of September in which there are no regular season games on the docket. Anonymous asks us the following UEFL-relevant question:
No ejections in this year's game, when was the last All-star game ejection?
The answer to this question produced all sorts of error messages for Microsoft Excel. Why? There simply have not been any MLB All-Star Game ejections since the first Midsummer Classic was played July 6, 1933 (American League 4, National League 2... "Bill of Famers" Klem and McGowan worked 1B and 2B, respectively, alongside HP Umpire Dinneen [another Bill] and 3B Umpire Cy Rigler, we assume Rigler paid the dinner... well... bill). Perhaps we need NBA Coach Red Auerbach to Manage one of the teams (in 1967, Auerbach became the first coach ever to be ejected during an All-Star Game). Is this because everyone is on their best behavior after receiving All-Star honors? Or because, like Dale Scott with his line-up cards, laughter is the best medicine? We'll let you be the judge of that. Close Ball/Strike and Safe/Out calls don't take vacations, but neither does the broadcasting staple of second guessing an umpire (this year, the broadcasters questioned Dan Iassogna and Jerry Layne ruling "swing" on two calls that replay would confirm were correctly judged).

Speaking of second guessing an umpire, there has been a lot of that in the past week. With the much-publicized fact of 26 ejections in the period of July 1 - July 10, 2011, we see a pace that would result in a projected 72 ejections during the month of July 2011 (2.6 ejections/day * 28 playing days = 72.8 ejections). 72 ejections would be more than twice the number of ejections seen in June (n = 34), slightly less than half of those during May (n = 38), and more than three times the number seen in April (n = 21). Surely, we won't see 72 ejections this month... will we?

Consider the fact that eight of these ejections (Ejections: Marty Foster (1, 2, 3, 4) and Ejections: Mike Estabrook (3, 4, 5, 6)) occurred as a result of the Beanball Series in Beantown (Boston coincidentally has seen the most ejections in the Majors for Throwing At and Fighting since HP Umpire Jeff Kellogg ejected three fighters in the Rays-Red Sox Coco Crisp mound charge on June 5, 2008). The Red Sox make their way to Baltimore on July 18, so stay tuned, but even with the elimination of the Throwing At/Fighting ejections in projecting future activity, we are left with 18 non-Beanball ejections through the break, or a projected 58 ejections in July (1.8 per day * 28 playing days = 50.4 + 8 already-occured Beanball ejections = 58). Can this really happen?

Fear not, for ejection obsession tends to lose momentum. Consider June 2008, which featured the Crisp/Shields fight. In the period spanning June 2, 2008 - June 11, 2008, or 10 days, there were 21 ejections. June does not feature an All-Star Break, and accordingly contains 30 playable days, leading to a projected 63 ejections for the month of June 2008, using only the June 2-11, 2008 data. In the end, there were only 42 ejections from June 1, 2008 - June 30, 2008, or 21 less than predicted.

Secondly, the All-Star Break often serves as a time of catharsis. The month of July generally contains 28 playable days, with a three day break. The pre-break portion of July generally contains nine or 10 playable days and the post-break portion of the month contains the remaining 18 or 19 playable days. Roughly splitting July into thirds, we see the pre-break portion of July is the first trimester, and the remaining two trimesters occur post-break. Since 2008, the distribution of ejections in July has occurred thusly: 45 pre-break ejections and 62 post-break ejections, which means for every pre-break ejection (1st Trimester), we can expect approximately 1.3777 post-break ejections (2nd & 3rd Trimesters). In other words, for every 1st Trimester ejection, we would expect 0.688 2nd Trimester ejections and 0.688 3rd Trimester ejections as well.

Using this trend of ejection obsession momentum cessation, we look at the 1st Trimester of July 2011 and see 18 non-Beanball Series ejections. Using the above ratio of 1:1.3777, we would expect July 2011 to produce roughly 42-45 ejections. Of course, this is all speculation using raw data, statistics, and completely untested formulas, but in the sport of sabermetrics, almost anything objective and empirical goes. How many ejections do you think will take place between July 1 and July 31?

Update (8/1/11): Now that July 2011 is in the books, we see the UEFL prediction of 42-45 was quite accurate, as MLB saw 44 ejections from 7/1/11-7/31/11. Chalk up another victory for statistics and the UEFL.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Polls: All-Star Umpires

The UEFL wouldn't be a fantasy league if we didn't get to choose our own All-Stars. This poll will run for a shorter duration of time, but has many more options. What goes into choosing an All-Star Umpire? Is it simply on-field performance as defined by accuracy and correct calls? A superb handling of one specific situation that arises in a game? Is it demeanor? A significantly high or low number of ejections? Now, you decide.

Previous Poll (Best Broadcasters) Results: Our previous poll, Polls: Best Broadcasters, asked who, from an umpire's perspective, are the best broadcasters in Major League Baseball. Combining your votes on the blog and on our Facebook page, we see a strong trend favoring one specific west coaster. (Total Votes: 374):

  • 45% chose Vin Scully (Dodgers) as the best broadcaster in the game. Receiving almost half the vote, Scully wins in runaway and landslide fashion, his story telling and artful fashion clearly having a positive effect on many voters. Scully is also the only broadcaster on the list to routinely work games solo, handling both color commentary and analysis duties. He is also known for routinely offering narratives on umpires, in addition to players and coaches, effectively humanizing the men in blue and reminding the audience that baseball is a sport officiated by people. Scully is in the ASA Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, was named Sportscaster of the Century in 2000, and Top Sportscaster of All-Time in 2009. Scully also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was Scully who called Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965 ("Sandy into his wind-up, here's the pitch... swung on and missed, a perfect game!") Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series walk off home run ("In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened") & Bill Buckner's muffed ground ball in the 1986 World Series ("Behind the bag... it gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!"). In our quote matching game, it was Scully who said, "Well, you make the call. Imagine with the high powered equipment that we have and Tom Hallion only has one shot."
  • 12% chose Chip Caray and Joe Simpson (Braves). Like Brian Runge in umpiring, Chip Caray is a third generation broadcaster, having learned the trade from his grandfather, Harry Caray (Cubs), and father, "Skip" Caray (Braves). His brother, Josh Caray, also broadcasts for the Gwinett Braves. Joe Simpson recovered from being the 3000th strikeout victim of Gaylord Perry to receive "George Sports Broadcaster of the Year" in 1995. Both men have also worked for TBS, which is based in Atlanta, though we're still not sure Chip Caray can pronounce "Petco Park."
  • 12% chose Jon Miller / Duane Kuiper / Mike Krukow (Giants). Miller has been around baseball since the 1970s and is most famous for his work on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball from 1990-2010. He has called historic moments, "Barry Bonds with 756 home runs," and absolute debacles, "that was the worst base running in the history of the game!" Kuiper is half of "Kruk and Kuip," and last played professionally for the Giants in 1985. Like Miller, he is an Emmy Award winner, having received that honor five times. Krukow is also a former Giant (1983-1989) and is one of the more colorful color analysts in the game. Miller, Kuiper, and Krukow can all be heard in baseball video games (Miller in 2k Sports' MLB Games, and Kruk and Kuip in EA's MVP Baseball 2003-2005). In our quote matching game, it was Krukow who said, "Umpires don't get applause and they get dinged like that, I think you need to point out that they're really special at what they do."
  • 11% chose Len Kasper and Bob Brenley (Cubs). Not one to hold back on jokes or cheers, Len Kasper joined the Cubs in 2005. A broadcaster by trade, Kasper joined former player and Manager Bob Brenley and the two have been a popular duo ever since. Though Brenley and Kasper are often brutally honest, they tend not to pile on the criticism when it comes to obviously missed calls... or maybe they do...
  • 10% ventured north of the border and chose Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler (Blue Jays). Martinez is also a former player/manager, and only recently joined the Blue Jays. Like many other broadcasters on this list, Martinez' style is fact based, as he often withholds judgement through conclusive replays, though he's been known to call 'em like he sees 'em. Tabler also played ball, and has been with Toronto since 1993. Like Martinez, Table is also known as an even keel broadcaster who stays away from "piling it on." Martinez is another broadcaster who lent his voice to the video game market, in EA Sport's Triple Play 99-2001 games.
  • 7% chose Michael Kay and Ken Singleton (Yankees). One of the more recognizable voices in the game, Kay began his career at WFUV, as did #1 vote getter Vin Scully. Another voice of a video game (Nintendo 64's All-Star Baseball [1999-2001]), Kay is known for his unique home run call and fast paced speech. Singleton is a former player, though he never played for the Yankees, though he did play across the street at Macombs Dam Park as part of the Bronx Federation League. Kay and Singleton gravitate more to the "homer" side of broadcasting, yet remain popular, especially amongst Yankee fans.
  • 6% chose Mario Impemba and Rod Allen (Tigers). Formerly with the Angels, Impemba began his broadcasting career in college and never looked back. He is a Michigan Emmy Award winner and runs the website, Allen, like many analysts, is a former player, last with the Hiroshima Carp in 1991. It was Allen who once charged the mound and somehow ended up in deep Center Field. Like Impemba, he is also a Michigan Emmy Award winner (2006 & 2007) and concentrates more on hitters' swings and stances than on umpiring, maintaining the stance that players need to manage their own shop before criticizing someone else's.
  • 4% chose Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling (Mets). The product of an ambitious Facebook write-in campaign, Cohen has been a broadcaster with the Mets organization since 1989. Cohen has also worked postseason games for ESPN and CBS Radio. Hernandez is a former Mets player, having won the "Mustache Madness" contest on in 2007. Hernandez is a New York Emmy Award winner, as is Ron Darling. Darling is also a former Mets player. This broadcast crew is known for having fun and, yes, for falling asleep at work.
  • 4% chose Thom Brennaman and Chris Welsh (Reds). Brennaman, son of broadcaster Marty, is a play-by-play man by trade, and was the voice of Microsoft Baseball 2001 & All-Star Baseball 2002-2005. A multi-sport broadcaster, Brennaman has been active in football, routinely announcing BCS contests as well as NFL telecasts. Welsh is a former player, ending his career with the Reds in 1986. The crafty left-hander pokes fun at all parties, including himself, during broadcasts, which contributes to an "is he serious or not" perception when it comes to tricky plays and blown calls.
Also receiving votes were: McCarthy/Matthews (PHI, 3%), Brown/Deshaies (HOU, 2%), Uecker (MIL, 2%), McLaughling/Hrabosky (STL, 1%), Kuiper/Fosse (OAK, 1%), and Orsillo/Remy (BOS, 1 vote).

Current Poll: Who would be in our All-Star Umpiring Crew? From Barrett to Wolf, we've picked out a field of 35 umpires to choose from. These options are based on UEFL'er feedback, including comments made throughout the past few seasons. These umpires are therefore considered, by many UEFL'ers, to be in the top half of baseball. The only caveat, none of the umpires hired within the past few years (since and including Chris Guccione) are included in the poll; there isn't yet enough feedback regarding these newer umpires to place them ahead of others who were not selected to the list. You are encouraged to choose six umpires whom you'd like to see working together in an All-Star Game. The leading vote getter will be the UEFL HP Umpire, 2nd place receives 1B honors, etc. Don't see your choice? Vote on our Facebook page, where you may write-in your own choice.

Who would be in Your All-Star Umpiring Crew?

Monday, July 11, 2011

UEFL Standings: End of Phase iii

Pursuant to UEFL Rule 8.a., as Phase iii of the 2011 Season draws to a close, here are the league standings through July 10, 2011. You can view the UEFL Roster and Standings at any time via the Roster and Standings page. You can view the UEFL Ejection List at any time via the Ejection List page.

With 1,367 games played and 1,063 games remaining...

1. yawetag (Hernandez/Joyce) - 29
2. BSBALLUMP (Rapuano/Drake) - 22
3. BONZ_kansascity (West/Hernandez) - 21
4. Ring_Tail (Hernandez/Winters) - 19
5. sachmet (West/Bellino) - 18
6. ump_24 (Hernandez/Timmons) - 17
7. 3 Tied (MrBillMueller, mtn335, kickersrule) - 16

Umpire Ejection Leaders
1. Rob Drake - 6
1. Mike Estabrook - 6
3. Bob Davidson - 5
3. Joe West - 5
5. Andy Fletcher - 4
5. Angel Hernandez - 4
5. Marty Foster - 4
5. Jim Joyce - 4
5. Alfonso Marquez - 4
5. Angel Campos - 4
5. Vic Carapazza - 4
12. Tom Hallion - 3
12. Jerry Layne - 3
12. Dana DeMuth - 3
12. Jeff Nelson - 3
12. Marvin Hudson - 3
12. Chris Conroy - 3

Umpire Points
1. Mike Estabrook - 30
2. Rob Drake - 24
3. Angel Hernandez - 16
3. Marty Foster - 16
3. Jim Joyce - 16
3. Alfonso Marquez - 16
7. Chris Conroy - 15
8. Dana DeMuth - 11
8. Jeff Nelson - 11
10. Mike Muchlinski - 10
11. Joe West - 9
12. 7 Tied - 8

1. Mike Estabrook - 100% (6/6)
1. Rob Drake - 100% (6/6)
3. Angel Hernandez - 100% (4/4)
3. Marty Foster - 100% (4/4)
3. Jim Joyce - 100% (4/4)
3. Alfonso Marquez - 100% (4/4)
7. Jeff Nelson - 100% (3/3)
7. Dana DeMuth - 100% (3/3)
7. Chris Conroy - 100% (3/3)
10. Mike DiMuro - 100% (2/2)
10. Adrian Johnson - 100% (2/2)
10. Dan Bellino - 100% (2/2)
10. Marvin Hudson - 100% (2/2)
10. Gary Darling - 100% (2/2)
10. Mike Muchlinski - 100% (2/2)
10. Ron Kulpa - 100% (2/2)
10. Todd Tichenor - 100% (2/2)
10. Tom Hallion - 100% (2/2)
10. Tony Randazzo - 100% (2/2)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ejections: Marty Foster (1, 2, 3, 4)

HP Umpire Marty Foster ejected Red Sox pitcher Kyle Weiland and Red Sox Manager Terry Francona for throwing at Orioles batter Vladimir Guerrero in the top of the 5th inning and Orioles pitcher Michael Gonzalez and Orioles Manager Buck Showalter for throwing at Red Sox batter David Oritz in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Orioles-Red Sox game. Prior to the Weiland and Francona ejections, with none out and one on, Guerrero took a 1-1 fastball for a hit by pitch. Replays indicate Guerrero got hit by the pitch in the hands, the call was correct.* Prior to the Gonzalez and Showalter ejections, with two out and none on, Ortiz took an 0-1 fastball for a ball. Replays indicate the pitch was behind Ortiz's back, the call was correct.* At the time of all four ejections, the Red Sox were leading, 7-6. The Red Sox ultimately won the contest, 8-6.

These are Marty Foster (60)'s first, second, third, and fourth ejections of 2011.
Marty Foster now has 16 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (0 Previous + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] + 2*[2 MLB + 2 Correct Call] = 16)
Marty Foster was not drafted in 2011.
*These call are correct per UEFL Rule 6.b.ii.e.

These are the 116th, 117th, 118th, and 119th ejections of 2011.
These are the 55th and 56th player ejections of 2011.
These are the 57th and 58th Manager ejections of 2011.

Prior to his ejection, Weiland's line was 4 IP+ and 6 ER.
Prior to his ejection, Gonzalez's line was .2 IP and 0 ER.
This is Kyle Weiland's first career ejection and his Major League Baseball debut. He is the first pitcher to be ejected in his ML debut since Nationals pitcher John Lannan was in 2007.
This is Michael Gonzalez's second ejection of 2011.
This is Terry Francona's third ejection of 2011.
This is Buck Showalter's first ejection of 2011.

Wrap: Orioles at Red Sox 7/10/11 Wrap
Video (1): Four more Ejections in Boston