|2011: Two umpires (Davidson/Layne) eject the same manager...|
To figure out why this might be, let us break down the numbers. For accuracy's sake, all following data was gathered through 1,827 games in 2011 and 2012.
By Reason for Ejection
2011: Balls/Strikes (76), Safe/Out (36), Throwing At (18), Balk (7), Fight (6), Int/Obstruct (4), Fair/Foul (1).
2012: Balls/Strikes (67), Safe/Out (30), Fair/Foul (8), Throwing At (7), Balk (5), Fight (1).
Both this season and last, pitch location and check swings provided the bulk of ejections followed by whether a runner was safe or out. Giving credence to the Commissioner's remarks regarding instituting video instant replay review for bullets hit down the first and third base lines, 2012 has seen eight fair/foul ejections whereas 2011 saw just one to this point, or 6.1% (2012) to 0.6% (2011).
By Quality of Correctness
2011: Correct (115), Incorrect (41) // Correct (88), Incorrect (41), Irrecusable (27) = 68.2% Accuracy
2012: Correct (59), Incorrect (50), Irrecusable (22) = 54.1% Accuracy
The fact that 2011 accuracy to this point was 14.4% higher than the 2012 figure, combined with a decrease in ejections in 2012, indicates that players and managers may be choosing their battles more wisely and in turn, may be correct more often. Irrecusable figures in 2011 were appropriately 123% higher than in 2012, which is statistically similar to the increased 2011 ejections compared to 2012 of 156 vs. 131 (119%).
2011: TB 12; BOS 10; HOU 9; WSH 8; CHC, TEX 7; ATL, BAL, DET, KC, LAD, TOR 6 ... CIN 0.
2012: LAD 11; BOS, DET 9; NYM 7; KC, MIL 6; CLE, CWS, TEX, TOR 5 ... WSH 0.
The ejection power players have changed from 2011 to 2012, with the Los Angeles Dodgers rocketing from T-7th to 1st place and the Washington Nationals dropping from 4th to 30th place, the Rays from 1st to having just three to this point in 2012—the only team that appears to have maintained a consistent trend of getting ejected has been the turmoil-plagued Boston Red Sox, whose 10 ejections through 1,827 MLB games in 2011 converted to nine in 2012.
2011: Rob Drake (9), Bob Davidson (7), Mike Estabrook (6), Mike Muchlinski (5), Marty Foster (5).
2012: Darling (6), Tschida (5), Holbrook (5), Foster (5), Reyburn (5), Campos (5), Knight (5).
In 2011, several specific umpires ejected many players each; Drake's nine ejections by Game 1,827 stood until season's end, while Davidson and Wendelstedt tied for second place with eight apiece. Joe West came in fourth with seven heave-hos. This year, however, Davidson went back to uniform #61 and back down to just four ejections. West, meanwhile is at two and Wendelstedt at one, though in 2011, Hunter was helped by a second-half surge that saw him rise from zero to eight in just 2.5 months. Yet in our Game 1,827 leading group, we are seeing more crew chiefs doling out discipline this season than last, indicating some difference in ejection trends regarding MLB umpiring's on-field leadership team.
Temperature & Climate Paradox
According to baseball theory (and proven in criminology), warm weather corresponds to increased ejection activity. Why then, have we seen fewer ejections in 2012—a record warm year—than in 2011—a year whose warmth ranked lower than 2012? According to the NOAA, July of 2012 was associated with a national temperature rank of 118, indicating record levels of warmth, compared to July of 2011, which was associated with a rank of 115. June also was warmer in 2012 (105-94) as were both May (117-28) and April (116-81).