Monday, November 4, 2019

2019 UEFL Award for Disappointing Season - Rob Drake

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's first Postseason Award is for Most Disappointing Season, which this year goes to Rob Drake (30) [2018 Winner: Eric Cooper].
Voting Results (Top 3): Rob Drake (22.7%), Mike Estabrook (20%), Angel Hernandez (14%).

Award Winner: Rob Drake (30).
Pursuant to UEFL Rule 4-4, the UEFL Postseason Awards begin distribution with Most Disappointing Season, below, and continue with Most Improved, Fill-In, Crew Chief, Honorable, Promising, Ejection(s) of the Year and concluding with Umpire of the Year. 171 total ballots were cast during this year's nominations process.

Rob Drake receives the UEFL's 2019 Most Disappointing Season Award.

Although Drake finished the season with 11 overturned calls via Replay Review (tied for fourth-most amongst MLB/MiLB call-up umpires), his two ejections didn't pertain to ball/strike matters (Shane Carle for intentional HBP on 3/31/19 and Mike Shildt for arguing a refusal to grant "time" on 7/4/19), and he encountered unsportsmanlike non-ejection incidents with the Texas Rangers on July 13 and Dodgers on August 27, these alone may not have contributed to Drake's section for this Award.
Related PostChavez Taunts Ump Drake with Glasses Gesture (7/13/19).
Related PostJustin Turner Bumps Umpire Rob Drake at Game's End (8/27/19).

The Most Disappointing Season lists amongst its criteria, "might have had a regrettable incident(s) occur in-season" and for Drake, although he was not selected to officiate the postseason, a social media post during the World Series may well have led to Drake earning a plurality of ballots for this category.

According to media reports, Drake on or about October 22 tweeted on his since-deleted @thedrake30 Twitter account, "I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020."
Related PostRob Drake's Twitter War, Umpires and Social Media (10/24/19).

Drake's October tweet provoked controversy.
Although Drake enjoys Freedom of Speech rights and the ability to practice politics freely as do all United States citizens, the appearance of potential bias posed by a statement from a should-be-neutral-in-public umpire, not to mention the allusion to, as Drake himself wrote in a subsequent apology, "gun violence" (again, those are Drake's words), prompted an ongoing MLB investigation and some impassioned opinions on the matter, including the rare incident that not only may harm one's own reputation, but also has the propensity to tarnish the entire profession.

For instance, Jim in choosing Drake for Most Disappointing Season wrote, "He had a down year, but what did him in was that tweet. I don't care what your politics are, but he really hurt the entire profession with that tweet and in reading the description of this award for 'regrettable incident,' I think this fits the bill. He made ALL umpires look bad."

Seakrait was more concise: "Drake went from consistently making the playoffs to being outside looking in, and that tweet is just a bad look."

UEFL Awards History, Rob Drake
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2016.

Rob Drake now has 9 points in the UEFL Standings (10 Previous - 1 Award = 9).
The next postseason award, Most Improved Umpire of the Year, will be released Tuesday.


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