Last night, BJ Upton absolutely lost it and was ejected after striking out for the fourth time. It was also the third time he went down looking. Many Rays fans feel Upton’s tirade was justified.

So let’s take a look at the data…

Here is a plot of the pitches from last night that Upton did not swing at…

Of the 17 pitches BJ faced, he swung at seven, and watched the other ten. Of those ten pitches, five were called balls (green squares) and five were called strikes (red squares).

Clearly, two of those red squares are out of the strikezone. The most egregious is the square labeled “1.” This was the final pitch that Upton saw and the one that caused the eruption. Square 2 is the pitch just before that. Close, but defintely off the plate away.

But if we look earlier in the game, this is where we see that Upton might have screwed himself. Square 4 is the final pitch of his second at bat (he struck out swinging in his first at bat). That pitch is down the middle and Upton didn’t swing. And square 3 is the final pitch of the third at bat. It was after that pitch that Upton could be seen complaining to the umpire the first time. It is clearly in the strikezone.

Umpires don’t want players to show them up. And they don’t want players or managers bitching about EVERY call. Upton did both. Most umpires know they miss some calls. But no umpire misses every call or even most calls. And if a player or manager is complaining all the time, it means they are complaining about a lot of calls the umpire got right.

And like it or not, umpires, since the beginning of time, have used ways of getting back at players or managers that do this. That happened to Upton last night.

Upton had every right to be upset about the calls in the final at bat. But he might have hurt himself by complaining about some good calls earlier in the game.

Data via JoeLefkowitz.com

 
 

10 Comments

  1. Andy says:

    “Upton had every right to be upset about the calls in the final at bat. But he might have hurt himself by complaining about some good calls earlier in the game.”

    If you’re saying that his early complaints likely led to his subsequent ejection, I agree, and understand the umps position. But if you’re saying that umps should be able to punish players for complaining by deliberately making bad calls, that’s bs. There really needs to be better oversight and accountability in umpiring.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Definitely the first one. I’m not saying it is right, but we know some umpires are vindictive. And when I say Upton didn’t do himself any favors, I’m just saying he gave the umpire an opportunity to screw Upton. Clearly that strikezone got real wide in the final at bat. So either the ump just completely list his senses or he was out to get BJ.

    • Beth says:

      No, the umps shouldn’t be vindictive. But they are human, and a guy who kvetches at every questionable pitch is less likely to get the benefit of the doubt. Not defending this particular crew (and they really screwed up the Fuld tag). But it seems as though the classic Upton pose has him glaring at the umpire after a called strike 3. And I say this as one who is a BJ fan.

  2. leningan says:

    If my lip-reading abilities are any good, BJ had issues with the last pitch of the third at-bat (square 3) because the ump, “…didn’t call that a strike on anyone else…” and he hadn’t been consistently calling that pitch a strike up to that point in (the game the entire game’s worth of PitchFx data backs this up). From that point on, Fairchild greatly expanded his zone like he was in a rush to get out of there. Anytime both managers are tossed, it is pretty fair to say the ump/crew had an off night. This crew always seems to have it in for us… now Joe West is saying he overruled himself on the Fuld call! Outrageous! What is the protocol for reviewing a crew’s missteps and how does punishment work for these bums?…

  3. Alex says:

    Joe West and Angel Hernandez continue to show they have no business being umpires. One of the worst crews in baseball if not the worst

  4. Don says:

    BJ is a board certified nut…and has set himself up for a lifetime of calls not going his way….Who else gets hurt?.. the Rays as a team..I think the umps have as down as a bunch of cry babies…including Maddon…..
    If you ever read anthing about the NBA scandal..you Know the refs (umps) will get you if they want to!

  5. Carey says:

    Clearly, two of those red squares are out of the strikezone. The most egregious is the square labeled “1.” This was the final pitch that Upton saw and the one that caused the eruption.

    I think that was actually #2. I remember clearly that the last pitch to Upton was off the plate on the inside.

  6. Umpires are obsolete and almost unnecessary in this modern, high tech world. In the NBA, refs had a hard time determinating last second buzzer beating shots so they illuminated the back boards to light up when the clock hit zero. They can use instant replay to make the final determination. Hockey reviews every goal. Football has instant replays and coach challenges.

    Baseball could measure the strike zone of every player in the league according to his size and assigned a code number. When he comes to the plate the code number is entered onto the scoreboard/computer. The balls will have tiny sensors in them which record when the ball enters the strike zone which emanates above home plate. The bases could light up when they are touched by an offensive player and the sensor in the ball could measure when it touches the first baseman’s mitt. Computers will determine which occurred first, tie goes to the runner. Foul balls could easily be determined by the sensor in the ball and embedded in the foul line. Six umpires could be reduced to two on the field and a technician in the booth. Umpires would be needed for tag plays at 2nd, third and home. Instant re-play would be used with coach challenges. Pitchers would be thrilled and hitters would be as well. You would never need to hear the name of an umpire again and it would be impossible for them to “fix” the outcome of a game like in basketball.

Leave a Comment