Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Great 2023 Ejection Drought - Why The Sudden Stop?

Baseball's pace of ejections, a record high for the majority of MLB's 2023 season, has suddenly fallen off a cliff with only one ejection over the past week and a half.

What happened? Have players, coaches and managers across the league simultaneously found peace and tranquility? Have umpires stopped making close calls entirely? Or has there been some sort of league intervention?

2023's ejections count of 217 through the end of August predicted a historic season for heave-ho's in the unified MLB era. A pace set to approach 250 ejections would have placed the 2023 regular season in second place since the AL and NL merger at the turn of the 21st century.

Only 2003 would have had more ejections, with 289 dismissals (next is 2001's count of 243).

Yet at the end of August, ejections stopped, nearly entirely. This harkens back to memories of the 2016 season, which saw a similar ejections decrease over that season's second half after Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo reportedly confronted umpire Jim Joyce after a July 7, 2016 game against New York.

Rizzo was the same Washington GM removed by Joe West in 2020 during a game for misconduct in Atlanta.

MLB's on-field disciplinarian Joe Torre issued a memo to teams after the Rizzo-Joyce incident, warning personnel to stop harassing the umpires. It worked, spurring an average decrease of 50% since the memo's distribution.

We may, or may not, be looking at another sportsmanship-related memorandum in 2023, but if the league did indeed send one out, early returns are proving it very successful.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Ejections in 2023 Have Suddenly Stopped: What caused the ejection drought?


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