Yesterday, we had fun recounting the myriad of men, women, children, and small pets that Joe West and his small band of enforcers have run out of Major League games over the course of 2011. And while that’s fun, it’s also decontextualized. It doesn’t tell us whether 17 ejections over the first half of the season is actually a lot, although it seems like a lot of ejections. It doesn’t tell us where West and company rank in the pantheon of modern ejectors.
So, to clear up ambiguities, The Common Man went through every box score from the 2011 season to date and threw all the ejections into a spreadsheet with relevant data. You can see the entire spreadsheet here, but here is a breakdown of the results:
Most Ejections, 2011 (Individual Umps)
Our leader, Rob Drake (who actually served on West’s crew last season), has six ejections, but those numbers are misleading. They are artificially inflated by a June 4 game he worked between Arizona and Washington, where a beanball war erupted. Two pitchers, and both managers were ejected from that contest. You’ll note that West is tied for second in the league with five ejections. Also appearing on the list are his crewmates Angel Campos and Angel Hernandez. So already we can guess that the West crew will be much more prone to ejecting managers and players than others. But how much more?
Most Ejections, 2011 (Umpire Crew, by Crew Chief*)
As you can see, West and company lord it over the rest of the league. No other crew is remotely close to their ejection rate. DeMuth’s crew looks particularly eject-y, in large part because they were working the game we discussed above, where Drake was forced to toss four people. Rapuano’s crew has seen four ejections by Alfonso Marquez, who shows up on the individual list, and the others are spaced out fairly evenly among five other umpires.
*MLB does not seem to have updated its list of umpire crews since last year. Where possible, TCM assumed that a 2010 crew chief retained that title in 2011. When that was not possible (say, when an umpiring crew had no 2010 crew chiefs on its roster), TCM selected the umpire with the most experience and assigned the title to him.
Other interesting revelations from the data:
- There have been 107 total ejections so far in 2011.
- Houston Manager Brad Mills, Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, and Rays Manager Joe Maddon lead all of baseball with four ejections each. Not surprisingly, each of them has been run by Joe West.
- The Rays lead all of baseball with 10 ejections so far, while the Astros and Nationals have 8 ejections each, and the Rangers have 7.
- Two of the Rays' ejections have been David Price in games where he has not even pitched. Talk about a bench jockey!
- Even with the All Star Break, July is shaping up to be the ejectiest month of them all, with 17 guys already tossed in just 6 days. May is currently the most ejecty month, with 37 tosses.
- Overall, 64 of the 107 ejections, or 59.8%, have come in the 7th inning or later. This actually makes a great deal of sense, given that frustration over perceived bad umpiring is bound to build over the course of a game, and the calls toward the end tend to be seen as more important than those at the beginning.
So, what have we learned? That it’s not just a trick of perception. Joe West and his umpires are actually head and shoulders above the rest of the league when it comes to ejections. Their thumbs are the quickest. And this is not an incident that is isolated to Cowboy Joe himself. Rather, three members of his crew rank in the top eight umpires in overall ejections. This is not coincidence. This is a problem that MLB needs to address publicly. And solve now, before the behavior of these umpires becomes more problematic, and their actions affect the course of seasons, not just individual games.
(One final note: In going through 1309 boxscores by hand, it's possible that The Common Man might have missed an ejection or two. If that happened, TCM apologizes. He'll gladly refund your money. The data here should be treated as unofficial, but as close to perfect as TCM could get it.)