Monday, October 3, 2011

Joe West's Crew, Part 4: Final 2011 Ejection Data

By The Common Man

Joe Mother-effing West
It recently has come to our attention that Joe West… Joe Mother-effing West…is umpiring in the postseason, along with his former partner in crime Angel Hernandez (the two were separated mid-season by Major League Baseball, who was clearly taking the elementary school approach of having two troublemakers sit on opposite sides of the classroom). This realization blew The Common Man’s mind given that just last year West was ranked by players as the 2nd worst umpire in the Majors, and he’s had no shortage of controversial run-ins with players and managers since then. Indeed, as The Common Man pointed out at midseason, Joe West has promoted a culture of confrontation and quick thumbs that was interfering with the integrity of the games in which he was umpiring, changing their course and making West and his crew the central focus.

At mid-season, The Common Man reported that Joe was tied for second (with crew-mate Angel Campos) for most ejections in the Majors, and his crew was lapping the field in terms of the number of players, coaches, fans, and mascots they ejected. Since the regular season is done, and West and Hernandez could play a large role in October’s action, here are the updated and final ejection standings for 2011:

Note: Umpire Crews were divined from this list.

Based on where he was in July, Joe West really toned it down, tossing just two more mangers the entire year (Davey Johnson on August 28 and Charlie Manuel on September 4). His crewmate Angel Campos, with whom Cowboy Joe was tied for second place, also toned it down as well, ejecting just one more player (Ryan Braun on August 19) over the rest of the year. After leaving West’s crew, by the way, Angel Hernandez didn’t eject another person for the rest of the season.

Despite the three-day break for the All Star Game, July proved to be the cruelest month for ejections, with 44 guys getting sent to the showers early, just ahead of August with 40. It’s interesting to note that, as the rest of the umpires in Major League Baseball ramped up their ejections in the heat of the summer, West, Hernandez, and Campos significantly cooled off. Perhaps this is simply a function of their luck evening out, but it could also be a function of Major League Baseball’s efforts to curb their excesses.

Indeed, West’s crew, which was lapping the field in early July for the most ejections in baseball, only tossed seven people over the course of the second half. They were caught and passed by Jerry Layne’s crew in September, and almost caught by Tim Tschida’s crew of umpires as well.

West finishes the season in fourth place on the overall ejections list with seven, thanks to the continued aggressive ejection-ing of Bob Davidson, Rob Drake, and Hunter Wendelstedt, each of whom had eight. For what it’s worth, Drake ranked second in the ESPN poll of MLB players last year of umpires with the quickest thumbs, so this is no surprise. Likewise, Davidson has a long history of confrontational behavior and bad umpiring.

Wendlestedt really came out of the blue, however. At our last check-in, Wendelstedt hadn’t ejected anyone in 2011, but he likes to work in pairs. He was behind the plate when Jered Weaver decided to throw at Alex Avila’s head on July 31, for which he ran both Weaver and Mike Scioscia. On August 8, he tossed Fredi Gonzalez for arguing balls and strikes from the bench in the top half of the 4th, and then Freddie Freeman for arguing a checked swing call in the bottom half. Then on the 22nd, he ejected both Danny Valencia and Ron Gardenhire for arguing balls and strikes. Later in August, Wendelstedt sent Jim Tracy to the showers, and did the same for Joe Maddon in September. All in all, Hunter had a very busy two-month stretch.

It seems like baseball’s got bigger problems with their umpires now than Joe West and his Angels, given that both Wendelstedt and Davidson work for Jerry Layne’s crew. Perhaps whatever measures were taken to reign in West and company would also keep these new problem children in line. For what it’s worth, none of Davidson, Wendelstedt, or Drake has umpired in the postseason this year, and we probably shouldn’t begrudge West’s crew if they’ve taken whatever lessons MLB tried to impart to them to heart.

Because it’s not fair to talk about the umpires without talking about the players, managers, and coaches they eject, here’s some additional data on players and teams:

As you can see, the Tampa Bay Rays were far and away the most argumentative team in baseball, with 14 on the season. Joe Maddon was tossed six times on his own, while BJ Upton and David Price were run twice each (of only six players were were ejected multiple times). The Nationals and Red Sox finished a distant second, with ten ejections each. Mike Quade, however, was ejected more times than any man in baseball, sent packing by umpires seven times in 2011. Maddon and Ron Gardenhire tied for second with six each. Matt Kemp, meanwhile, led the league in ejections among players with 3. Kemp was ejected more often than Ron Washington, Terry Collins, Bud Black, Manny Acta, Tony LaRussa, and Dusty Baker.


Jason Wojciechowski said...

The Extra Two [Ejections]!

The Common Man said...

Getting tossed out of ballgames is the new inefficiency.

The Baseball Idiot said...

I'm not disagreeing with the issue that some umpires over-eager to eject players.

But maybe the players and managers need to stop acting so childish and making stupid displays at every opportunity.

They know the fanbase is against the umpires, and they take advantage of it.

More players and managers act like prima donna's than umpires. How come they are never held accountable for the actions?

How about a chart of players/managers who instigated ejections with silly arguments and tantrums?

The Common Man said...

Taking your points in order, oh aptly named one:

First, actually The Common Man was relatively surprised to learn that there were only 196 ejections over 2430 games. Seems like maybe your point about players making stupid displays at every opportunity is just a smidge overblown.

What would "taking advantage of it" actually get them? Ejected? Hooray, they deprive their team of their services and talents? That seems like a pretty poor reward...which leads into...

Actually players get suspended and fined all the time when they cross a line with an umpire. Those suspensions and fines tend to be public knowledge. Umpire discipline, on the other hand, is more secretive than choosing the Pope. At least at the end, they tell you when it happens and what the result was.

Finally, since you apparently didn't read through to the end, The Common Man did address the number of ejections for each club, and each manager and player with more than one ejection. To do this, TCM combed through all 2340 box scores, so back the hell off. If you'd like to hunt for video of each ejection (not all of which is readily available) and present your own data, please go ahead. The Common Man would be happy to see it.

The Common Man said...

In retrospect, I may have overreacted to that a smidge.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Joe West also named the 5th best umpire in the same player's poll?

SC Braves said...

How did Tim Tschida’s crew get 23 ejections unless they swapped members mid-year? The link puts Nelson, Foster, and Welke in his crew. Foster had 6 and and Nelson had 4 meaning Tschida and Welke would have to combine for 13 but none of them are on the list for 4 or more ejections.

The Common Man said...

Fair question.

You're right that Foster had six and Nelson had four. However, Mike Estabrook spent all or parts of May, June, and July on this crew during the season, during which time he tallied six ejections. That puts us at 16. Bill Welke had 3 and Tim Tschida had 2. Vic Carapazza and Tim Tichenor, while they were filling in, also ejected one person each.

SC Braves said...

Ah. So I guess the link just had the original crews and you used the box score note as to who was crew chief to compile the ejections and determine the ejections by crew.

The Common Man said...

That is correct, and extremely well put.

SC Braves said...

And I guess while I am beating this horse to there any way to see how many of them were mandatory ejections i.e. a manager getting tossed because of a hit batsmen after warnings have been issued? Because while they are still ejections, they could be more a function of MLB policy than a quick trigger umpire. Based on how the data was gathered (The Common Man checking all this box scores individually) this may not be available, but it may be interesting to see if the umpires with high ejection numbers were getting a 2 for 1 deal a high percentage of times.

Jason Wojciechowski said...

SC Braves, that's an interesting, question, although even "mandatory" ejections are subject to umpire whim -- some umps are much quicker than others to hand out warnings in the first place, and I think we've all seen post-warning HBPs that some might think were unintentional, but the umpire disagreed.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Ha! Clicked the wrong link.

SC Braves said...

I completely agree with you that the ejection of the pitcher after the umpire has issued warnings is up to umpire whim as well as the issuing of warnings. But, I was under the impression that if the pitcher got tossed after warnings were issued, the manager had to as well regardless of the umpire's opinion. And it was the manager ejections I was more curious about because the umpire would get 2 ejections on one whim.