Tuesday, November 5, 2019

2019 UEFL Award for Most Improved - Eddings & Cooper

Doug Eddings & Eric Cooper win the Most Improved Umpire Award for 2019 [2018 Winner: Andy Fletcher].
Voting Results: Eddings (24.3%), Cooper (10%), Angel Hernandez (5%), Bruce Dreckman (5%).

Doug Eddings and Eric Cooper are the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2019 most improved umpires of the year.

Eddings officiated his first career World Series in 2019, completing a very long-term comeback through the postseason to do so. Back in 2005, Eddings officiated his first League Championship Series between the AL's White Sox and Angels, taking the plate for a fateful Game 2 in which a contested uncaught third strike led not only to a Chicago walk-off victory (Chicago won the series in five games), but a rare postgame press conference with plate umpire Eddings and a subsequent mechanics change for signaling an uncaught third strike.

After the 2005 ALCS controversy, Eddings didn't make it back to the postseason for a full nine years, getting a Wild Card Game in 2014. After that, it would be another four seasons before a trip to the 2018 Division Series and, finally, a call to the 2019 Division Series and World Series.

Eddings' Most Improved nod is truly a story of a long-term comeback, or, as baseballfollower wrote, "It is nice to see Doug back in the postseason and experiencing a career renaissance if you will." Added Sportsmania, "Wow the strides Doug has made has been tremendous. He even made the WS, something we did not expect at all would happen this year or ever. He went from a very poor #2 to a really good one and good for him."

If Eddings' story is characterized by a long-term redemption, Cooper's Most Improved selection could be deemed a quick turnaround. In 2018, Cooper was placed on the Disappointing Season slate for "a very rough season," which also saw his streak of seven consecutive postseason appearances come to a close.

Yet in 2019, Coop returned to form (and to the postseason) and put the 2018 season fully behind him. He started early with an assignment to the MLB Japan All-Star Series in November 2018, where he properly officiated a ground rule out (and possibly just as skillfully explained the call to Don Mattingly).

His journey back into October in 2019 marked his 10th Division Series and a true return to form, making Cooper's death less than a month ago all the more tragic: in the span of a season, he had bounced back—and then some—and regained his status as one of MLB's top umpires.

Said BkSl14812, succinctly, "He was really good this season. RIP."

UEFL Awards History, Doug Eddings

UEFL Awards History, Eric Cooper
Disappointing Season: 2018.

Doug Eddings now has 15 points in the UEFL Standings (14 Previous + 1 Award = 15).
Eric Cooper now has 12 points in the UEFL Standings (11 Previous + 1 Award = 12).
The next postseason award, Fill-In Umpire of the Year, will be released later today.


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