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June 26, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Google and Anti-Umpire Search Suggestions

by Ben Lindbergh

Last night, Bob Davidson screwed up a double switch in the Cardinals-Marlins game, costing the Cardinals Allen Craig for an inning. It was another in a long line of umpire mishaps that will only increase the calls for robot double switchers, though it could've been worse. Davidson admitted that he'd screwed up, and the Cardinals won the game. Dustin Parkes wrote about the incident here. One of the things he wrote was this:

I believe it might be possible to rate the effectiveness of an umpire at his job simply by looking at how well known his name is among casual baseball fans. The more recognizable he is, the less likely it is that he’s a very good umpire. In this sense, I imagine Bob Davidson to be the most appreciable umpire in baseball.

Then he posted this picture of Google's suggested searches when you enter "Bob Davidson is" into the search bar. (Ignore the suggestion about motorcycles and smallest states, unless you live in Rhode Island and are looking for a sweet ride.)

This gave me the completely original idea to do exactly what Dustin did, but for other umpires. So I entered all 98 names on the major-league umpire roster, followed by "is".  As it turns out, Google's suggestion for Davidson wasn't the worst the search engine had in store for an ump:

Well, that's not nice. Granted, it's more an insult to Cuzzi's personality than his abilities as an umpire. If I'd hit "enter," I probably would've just seen a bunch of blog posts that said, "Phil Cuzzi is a douchebag, but man, is he an excellent umpire."

Doug Eddings doesn't even get a "bag" at the end of his insult. Is the insult worse with or without the "bag"? Readers?

The worst part is that "Doug Eddings is a douche" isn't only a search suggestion, it's a website. (There's probably some sort of cause-effect relationship there.) On the plus side, that website hasn't been updated since 2005. Eddings must be much nicer now!

This probably isn't about Bill Miller the umpire. It's probably about this Bill Miller:

Then again, if you actually search​ "Bill Miller is an idiot," the first result is about Bill Miller the umpire being hit by a helmet thrown by Brett Lawrie. And in fairness to Google's search suggestion, I can think of smarter things than standing behind Brett Lawrie while he's holding a bat.

Got it. According to the internet, Joe West is the worst umpire.

Oh man, this is confusing.

False. Tim McClelland is an excellent umpire.

This one is courtesy of Armando Galarraga's internet history:

I have no clever line about C.B. Bucknor, but apparently he's also terrible.

All other umpires: you're good. Carry on.

Look on the bright side: it used to be common for people to shout "Kill the ump!" Now they just sit in the stands and quietly type insults about umpires into search engines. We've become much more mature as a society. Next stop: Starfleet.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

2 comments have been left for this article.

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