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