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Saturday, May 06, 2006

N.Y. Post: UNION HEAD: ‘STUPID’ UMP NEARLY PERFECT

Big apple pan Dowdy…I never get enough of this wonderful stuff.

George Steinbrenner will never believe it. Joe Torre isn’t buying it. But according to QuesTec, the system used to evaluate umpires, Adam Dowdy, the fill-in umpire who ejected Torre and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons last Sunday at Yankee Stadium for challenging ball and strike calls, had an almost perfect day.

“Technically speaking, he missed one pitch,” said Mike Port, the head of the umpires. “He called a highly rated game otherwise. I would say he was so accurate on pitches that were close that it was easy to see the difference of opinion. He was accurate, and people interested in good umpiring need to know that.”

According to the machine pitchers loathe, Dowdy missed a 2-0 pitch on Lyle Overbay in the fifth inning. Everything else was good.

“I don’t buy it,” Torre said yesterday.

 

Repoz Posted: May 06, 2006 at 11:57 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Riki Tiki Javy Lopez Posted: May 06, 2006 at 01:37 PM (#2007362)
“I don’t buy it,” Torre said yesterday.

You know what, Joe? Too damn bad. You and Bobby Cox and TLR can all deal with Questec, and know that the playing field, as far as the strike zone goes, has been levelled, and no amount of bullying or bench-baiting from you and your capos is gonna change it.
   2. RJ in TO Posted: May 06, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2007375)
Please keep in mind that it wasn't just Torre that was thrown out. John Gibbons was also tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Given the rarity of both managers being tossed for arguing the same thing, I'm more inclined to believe them than a representative of the umpires union.

As a side question, are Questec results made publicly available, or is this a matter of another umpire just saying that one of his buddies did a good job without having to release any evidence to back his statements up?
   3. Riki Tiki Javy Lopez Posted: May 06, 2006 at 02:54 PM (#2007377)
I will agree that the results should be made available instead of having to take the word of an umpire reviewing another ump.

But, I also think the fact that both managers were tossed means that the ump was being consistent, instead of favoring one manager over another, regardless of tenure or home park. At least, I think that's what I think...
   4. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: May 06, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2007383)
Questec allows the umpire a margin for error. It may be that the umpire called every pitch (bar one) in an acceptable manner according to Questec, but that his strike zone was nevertheless inconsistent. The fact that both managers were tossed is, to me, a pretty good indication that the umpire was doing something wrong. And an inconsitent strike zone is far far worse, at least to my mind, than a strike zone consistently a little too large or small.
   5. CSI:Bedford Falls Posted: May 06, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#2007391)
Now that we have Questec, all we need is FOX to add a flaming blue baseball to the telecasts to make the game more accessible to casual fans. Oh and instant replay challenges. One red flag for the manager, one for each coach on the bases, one for the bullpen catcher, one for my aunt bev sitting in section 7, row 14, seat 6 and one for that Ronnie Woo Woo guy at Wrigley. Honus Wagner would love it.
   6. KronicFatigue Posted: May 06, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2007394)
but the 2nd tossing was a direct result of the first tossing. It happened the very next inning (i think) and his basic argument was "you are allowing what happened last inning to affect your decisions this inning". if last inning never happens, i don't think the 2nd tossing happens either.
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 06, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2007418)
IIRC, Torre wasn't tossed for arguing balls and strikes, he was tossed because someone was arguing balls and strikes, and the umpire decided it was Torre.
   8. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 06, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2007422)
Incidentally, weren't the umpires the ones criticizing Questec a couple of years ago? Amazing how supportive they are of it now...
   9. KronicFatigue Posted: May 06, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2007423)
larry's correct about the torre ejection (or at least that was the story being told by Kay and the rest of YES). a fan behind the dugout was complaining and then the ump looked at torre and said "what?".
   10. susan mullen Posted: May 06, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2007459)
Has someone from mlb designated an umpire to be the arbiter, go-to guy for NY Post reporters in
these matters? Has a review been requested & this is all we get, another umpire?
   11. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 06, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2007483)
I didn't see the Toronto-New York game referred to in this article. However, maybe it was the case that this one umpire, Adam Dowdy, was actually calling pitches above the waist and over the plate a strike.

It was more the corner calls they were upset about.
   12. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 06, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2007527)
From what I remember about Questec (and someone correct me if I'm wrong), the umpires are given a margin of error on all sides of the zone. So an umpire can still be said to be doing a good job (or even a perfect job) if he's calling pitches that are just off the plate strikes or calling pitches that are just catching the corner balls.

So it could well be that the Yankees and Blue Jays had perfectly valid complaints that the ump was inconsistent on the corners, and that's not something that would register on Questec as the ump's fault.

(Again, that's what I remember about Questec from when it was all the rage a couple of years ago. If I'm off the beam, someone set me straight.)
   13. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: May 06, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2007550)
Hey, I think there's some margin of error with QuesTec and that the umpire still could have been inconsistent. At least that's what I'm hearing.
   14. Mudpout Posted: May 06, 2006 at 05:58 PM (#2007557)
Not sure if this changes anything, but Mike Port has never been an on-field umpire, he was an executive with a number of clubs, including the Angels and Red Sox, before joining MLB as VP of Umpiring. I'm not sure if he'd be considered 'another umpire', but obviously he's voicing the official view of MLB on this matter from the umpire's view.

I didn't see the game, though, so I'm not sure whether there was any degree of inconsistency in this game. Also, it seems like a bizarre situation in that Torre got flak from an ump for what a fan yelled, setting a tone that probably led to Gibbons arguing.
   15. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 06, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2007600)
What say we just split the difference? Dowdy was "nearly perfect" on ball and strike calls and "stupid" for ejecting the managers.
   16. jmac66 Posted: May 06, 2006 at 06:32 PM (#2007610)
he could have been

1. self-consistent

2. called the rule-book strike zone exactly

and

3. still gotten both teams pissed off

the "accepted" strike zone is from the waist down to about 2-3 inches below the bottom of the knee and includes 3-4 inches off the outside corner

there is variability among umpires, of course, but this is the starting strike zone

if this new kid was calling strikes based on the actual strike zone, both teams would be pissed
   17. Phenomenal Smith Posted: May 06, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2007903)
Mahnken wrote:
It was more the corner calls they were upset about.

It is virtually impossible for QuesTec to get the inside/outside calls incorrect. The high/lo calls are trickier because they require the QT operator to set the strikezone on each at bat.

The system categorizes each call as correct, borderline, or incorrect. So, when the ump union guy says that the ump missed only one call, it could mean that he got only one that waa incorrect. But it would be very surprising if the rest of the calls were correct and that he received none categorized as borderline.
   18. Buzzards Bay Posted: May 06, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2007934)
Fans,Mgrs,coaches and players are all looking for the umpires to make a mistake/be indecisive/or show some type of lack of command,that is the way it goes...being a 'replacement ump' was his calling card entering the game...he was in for a long 9 innings either way....good was bad and bad would have been worse
   19. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: May 06, 2006 at 10:00 PM (#2007938)
As a side question, are Questec results made publicly available, or is this a matter of another umpire just saying that one of his buddies did a good job without having to release any evidence to back his statements up?

As mentioned above, Mike Port is not an umpire. To my knowledge, Questec results are not public.

But it seems to me that the high strike that existed a couple of years ago is disappearing again. I've seen a few dozen pitches that crossed just under the batters' breast-line, which is supposed to be the top of the strike zone, and not one has been called a strike.

You should see a game called by Doug Eddings, who this season has decided that the top of the strike zone is the armpits.
   20. mgl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 01:39 AM (#2008154)
But it seems to me that the high strike that existed a couple of years ago is disappearing again

Yes, by and large the high strike has disappeared. There are still some umps that are calling it, but very few umps call the outside strike anymore, like they did in the 90's (and maybe the 80's as well - I don't remember). My opinion is that the high strike implemented in 01 is disappearing. Some have speculated it is because Sandy Anderson is no longer with MLB. The umpires who are still calling the high strike (and it is usually inconsistent) are counterbalanced by the fact that there is no more strike 6 inches outside. Run scoring and in fact component rates so far this year are almost exactly what they were in 99 and 00.

BTW, I agree with the premise above that the fact that Questec rated Dowdy as "good" is almost meaningless in terms of how he did that day. I assume that Questec only records a "missed call" when it is egregious, which is rare for any umpire. An umpire can easily have a terrible day and still not have an egregiously missed call.
   21.  Hey Gurl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 01:44 AM (#2008167)
That would also help explain why some of the "control pitchers," who have relatively poor stuff but rely on hitting the corners to be successful, are doing so horribly this year. Towers, Radke, Silva, etc.
   22. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: May 07, 2006 at 02:15 AM (#2008214)
That would also help explain why some of the "control pitchers," who have relatively poor stuff but rely on hitting the corners to be successful, are doing so horribly this year. Towers, Radke, Silva, etc.

Yeah, but it doesn't explain the resurgences of Maddux, Glavine, and Mussina. None of those guys are blowing anybody away.
   23. Dash Carlyle Posted: May 07, 2006 at 03:01 AM (#2008282)
I agree with the premise above that the fact that Questec rated Dowdy as "good" is almost meaningless in terms of how he did that day. I assume that Questec only records a "missed call" when it is egregious, which is rare for any umpire. An umpire can easily have a terrible day and still not have an egregiously missed call.

I think this is probably right. I assume it's like the airlines redefining "late" to boost their on-time stats. Give the umps a few inches on either side, and every call is correct.

Also, I thought MLB had dropped Questec (6th graf).
   24. mgl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 03:28 AM (#2008302)
That would also help explain why some of the "control pitchers," who have relatively poor stuff but rely on hitting the corners to be successful, are doing so horribly this year. Towers, Radke, Silva, etc.

I don't know that there is any systematic good or bad performance by "control" pitchers so far this year. In any case, you could make a case for a "control" pitcher benefiting from just about any kind of umpire I suppose. IIRC, at least one study has suggested that no particular class of pitcher is benefited by an umpire with a large or small strike zone. And I don't know what this poster means by "that" in "that would explain..." The strike zone this year appears to be about the same as it was prior to 01 and not a whole lot different than it was last year (the high strike has been gradually disappearing since 01 I think).

And Eddings has long been the umpire with the largest strike zone in baseball.
   25. mgl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 03:35 AM (#2008312)
Also, I thought MLB had dropped Questec (6th graf).

Where does it say or suggest in this arricle that MLB dropped Questec?



You don't have to watch much baseball these days to figure out that contemporary umpires seem incapable of forming a consistent and sensible strike zone. Whether that's because umpires have skills inferior to those of their predecessors or whether the stuff of the modern pitcher is just too nasty to call accurately is immaterial.

I have watched a lot of baseball for 30 years and I don't know that umpiring is any better or worse than it used to be. In fact, I doubt it is any worse or any better. I also don't think that calling balls and strikes is a problem is MLB. I don't know where Dayne is coming from in this article. Bascially the strike zone is the same for most umpires. Some umpires call the high strike and most don't. Obviously there is going to be a lot of discrection on borderline pitches and some pitnes, like the 12-6 curve, as simply hard to call. As well, there are always going to be differences in the skills of the umpires, not to mention that where they are positioned affects the way they call the game. By and large most umpires are consistent. By definition, there can be no "consistency" on borderline pitches. Often when an umpire gets criticized for calling a bad game, it is merely because they happened to get a lot of borderline pitches and one side or the other is going to be unhappy with the call.
   26. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: May 07, 2006 at 04:24 AM (#2008350)
Billy, the article you linked says the umpires dropped their labor grievance against Questec, not that MLB dropped Questec.
   27. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 07, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2008356)
I'm still pissed about the pitch from Ugueth Urbina that was called a strike on Jorge Posada in Game One of the 2003 World Series. Not only was it inside, it was in the left-handed batters box, and to the right of the umpire's head!

That's about the worst missed strike call I've ever seen.
   28. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 07, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2008357)
I assume it's like the airlines redefining "late" to boost their on-time stats. Give the umps a few inches on either side, and every call is correct.

Minor point, but the airlines don't determine what an on time arrival is, the DOT does.
   29. Dash Carlyle Posted: May 07, 2006 at 05:27 AM (#2008380)
Billy, the article you linked says the umpires dropped their labor grievance against Questec, not that MLB dropped Questec.

Whoops! I totally misread that. I'm glad they haven't abandoned Questec. Does anyone know if they've expanded beyond the original ten parks?

Minor point, but the airlines don't determine what an on time arrival is, the DOT does.

Sort of. My understanding is that a) the airlines report their on-time figures to the Feds, and b) the airlines decide how long a flight from, say, NYC to San Fran should take, and they've made the expected flight times longer so that very few flights are officially "delayed." Or maybe I'm wrong.
   30.  Hey Gurl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 05:49 AM (#2008393)
Sorry, that was a sloppy post.

When I said "control" pitcher I was speaking of guys who don't strike anyone out, but succeed by not walking batters either. That's the profile I meant.

Here are the pitchers who, from 2003-2005 had a BB/9 below 1.5, and a K/9 below 5.5:

David Wells
Brad Radke
Paul Byrd
Josh Towers
Carlos Silva

From 2003-2005, these 5 pitchers pitched 2403 innings, with an ERA of 4.03.

In 2006, those same five pitchers have pitched 132 innings, with an ERA of 8.53.

This is what I was referring to with my earlier post. I guess I figured that maybe these guys weren't getting the calls that they used to get and it's killed them.

However, after reviewing the numbers, I see that it's probably just one of those small-sample-size flukes.
   31. mgl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 08:02 AM (#2008432)
Corpse, now that you include some data, it is an interesting theory. Let's see how it plays out over the remainder of the season. It would also be nice to "expand" the qualification (BB less than 2 and K/9 less than 6 perhaps) in order to get a more robust sample.
   32. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 07, 2006 at 11:47 AM (#2008443)
It's interesting that the man's name is Corpse, because of the other major point about those five pitchers: three of them are old. Maybe they're just toast. Another one, Towers, was never really any good, and the fifth, Silva, has been doing it with smoke and mirrors.

And Wells's '06 is 4 innings. But obviously, disregarding any of that, the AL is down to about 4.80, and the NL 4.40, which is about where they were in '00, except that both leagues were over 5.00 after a week and a half. I'm hoping that was the fluke.
   33. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 07, 2006 at 11:55 AM (#2008445)
To put it another way, if the last 7 days had been the first 7 days of the season, we'd have seen loads of articles about how "small ball is back," and "steroids testing is a success." Boy, do I miss the '80s. 1989 NL ERA: 3.61! Every run mattered, and the batter actually had to fight off the pitcher, instead of only the other way around. It was a much, much more entertaining game.
   34.  Hey Gurl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2008932)
Josh Towers has a career ERA+ of 100 in 557 IP, and was at 120 last season. Never any good, my ass. He's a fine fifth starter.

Carlos Silva's ERA+ was 128 last year, 112 the year before, and his career is 114 in 563 IP.

Brad Radke is only 33 years old. I doubt he's "toast." Paul Byrd is only 35. He might be "toast," but I doubt it.

Fair point on David Wells.
   35.  Hey Gurl Posted: May 07, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2008980)
I forgot to mention:

If I expand the criteria to 2 BB/9 and 6 K/9, it only adds three pitchers. One of whom, Jon Lieber, has been atrocious. And the other two, Maddux and Buehrle, have been very good.

So who knows.

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