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May 19, 2014

Pebble Hunting

How to Still Get Ejected

by Sam Miller


I remember last summer, the day after Bob Melvin had been ejected in what would turn out to be an extra-innings loss to the Astros, Melvin talking to the media in the dugout. He was abashed to have been ejected from such a game. I wasn’t trying to get run, he stressed. As opposed to all the other ejections we see.

We know that managers sometimes get tossed deliberately. It’s a strategy. (Or a way to free the afternoon for horse-betting.) It fires up the boys, turns the tide. “When searched at greater depth, the ocean of numbers confirms the Chipper Jones Momentum-Turn Hypothesis,” Sports Illustrated wrote in 2010. “Yes, Cox loses more often when he's thrown out. But when we separate each game into two periods—before the ejection and after—and then average the team's performance in each period over 156 games, we can see the momentum turning. On average, at the moment in the game when Cox is thrown out, his team is losing by a little more than a run. And on average, for the rest of the game, his team outplays the opponent by about a third of run.”*

Getting ejected should be getting harder. Even when a manager is trying to get run, he generally needs a pretense for his untoward behavior—either a call is wrong, or a call might be wrong and the umpire refuses to ask for help or try to get it right. Now the calls get made right. And umpires get help.

And yet: Manager ejections haven’t gone down much. We’re on pace to see 76 this year. There were 87 last year. Considering the pace of ejections—after eight ejections in April (and just one in the first two weeks), we’ve already had 11 in May. It appears that baseball has found its ejection equilibrium. How are managers getting ejected this year? It has taken some creativity.

Rick Renteria, April 8 (Umpire Jeff Nelson): Argued balls and strikes.

John Farrell, April 13 (Umpire Bob Davidson): Farrell, upset that a replay had overturned a call that had previously been in the Red Sox’ favor, snuck down through the dugout tunnel, past the clubhouse, through the subterranean kitchen staging area, up a stairwell to the stadium’s main concourse, into a Red Sox team merchandise store. He bought a Dustin Pedroia shirsey, then hopped down into the stands, walked to the front row near the end of the right-field line, told his drunken buddy Roland to get his camera ready, and then hopped onto the field:

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Related Content:  Managers,  Umpires,  Instant Replay,  Arguments,  Ejections

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (05/19)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Me... (05/16)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Ma... (05/21)
Next Article >>
Working the Count: Don... (05/19)

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