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Scouting reports on umpires? Why not?

May 11, 2010, 9:22 AM EDT

Every umpire has a reputation, but some teams aren’t content with simply knowing if a guy is a pitchers’ ump or a hitters’ ump. They’re getting detailed with it

Ron Washington flips the pages of his three-ring notebook, filled
with
inside info on the other team’s pitchers and hitters. The Texas manager gets to the back of the black binder, reaches into
the
pocket and pulls out another scouting report–on that night’s home plate
umpire.

It’s a color-coded computer printout showing his strike zone–how he
tends
to call balls and strikes–and whether he usually gives the pitcher a
break if
the ball sails just off the corner of the plate. In this ump’s case, the
calls
on the edges are too inconsistent to be predictable.

“We do have their tendencies in the dugout on the wall. The name of the
umpire and his tendencies, what they call and what part of the zone they
call
strikes,” Washington said.

Any bit of information helps, I suppose, but at some point you have to wonder if hitters are getting too much information. I mean, between knowing what the pitcher’s tendencies are, how the defense is playing you, what sign you have from the third base coach and then actually, you know, watching the pitch as it comes in, whether the ump likes to call outside breaking balls strikes on 3-2 counts approaches overload, doesn’t it?

Either way, I like the fact that Bobby Cox and the Braves don’t compile these things. Not that it wouldn’t help — God knows the Braves could use help with the zone — but because if they did it, they’d probably all read the same: “Has a short fuse; likes to eject the manager.”  “Gets angry easy; prone to ejecting the manager . . .”

  1. Mathew - May 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    You mean they dont already do this? I dont see why they wouldnt. These pitchers make tens of millions of dollars a year. The way an ump calls a game can really effect the outcome.
    Take a guy like Jamie Moyer for example he is a pure junk baller. He needs to know what an ump will call a strike and what he wont. If you watch him pitch you will see how much an ump effects his game. He can go from throwing a complete game shut out to giving up 5 in 3 innings depending on the ump.

  2. Brian - May 11, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    ..and the parade of Braves love on this site keeps marching on.

  3. d - May 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    curt schilling used to keep a detailed log of umps as well as batters. I think it’s been around for awhile.

  4. Joey B - May 11, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    “You mean they dont already do this? I dont see why they wouldnt. These pitchers make tens of millions of dollars a year. The way an ump calls a game can really effect the outcome.”
    I assume it’s being done. Gamblers out in LV were discussing who the HP umpire was 20-30 years ago.

  5. Aarcraft - May 11, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    And the Braves of the late 90’s would also get “consistently calls strikes on pitches 1-2 feet outside.”

  6. Drakos - May 11, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    It might be overload for a hitter but this has got to be good information for the pitcher and catcher doing their planning. If you know that an umpire is going to consistently give you the low and outside strike that’s got to be advantageous.

  7. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - May 11, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Craig makes no secret of his love for the Braves. I have no problem with it unless he gets biased writing about other teams that he doesn’t like. He’s had a few close calls in how he chooses angles to write about, however. So he is on double secret probation.

  8. Craig Calcaterra - May 11, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    I’m just struggling to figure out what in this post makes it part of a “parade of Braves love.” That I was making fun of Bobby Cox for getting ejected all the time?

  9. Joey B - May 11, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    “I’m just struggling to figure out what in this post makes it part of a “parade of Braves love.” That I was making fun of Bobby Cox for getting ejected all the time?”
    Your fault for not posting ‘meant to be funny’ after the remark. Personally, I thought it was one of your funnier remarks, and I’m still getting a laugh out of it.
    But IRT the hitter overload, telling a hitter that tonight’s ump has a high strike zone is hardly overload. And I have to assume that most hitters already know that. Today’s athletes are a lot smarter than a lot of people think.

  10. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - May 11, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    I think he’s referring more to your tendency to interject something about the Braves into a lot of your entries.

  11. Craig Calcaterra - May 11, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Fair enough, but Cox was quoted in that article. It’s not like I just pulled him out of thin air.

  12. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 11, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Wait a second, I’m supposed to actually read this stuff? Who’d have thunk it?

  13. mgflolox - May 11, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    So Craig’s a Braves fan, big deal. I have my favorite team (A’s), other people have their favorites. Aren’t all we supposed to be fans?

  14. Stotts Era - May 11, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    id be willing to bet we have some kind of computerized ump system for balls/strikes in our life time
    if they can track it, why not just call it

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