Ever since umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected both Jim Edmonds and Tony La Russa in the 2006 LCS Game 4, I have paid special attention to the crews selected for postseason duty.
The good news is that none of the notorious umpires with whom I am familiar are part of the 2009 Cardinals-Dodgers NLDS. The six are crew chief Dana DeMuth, Brian O’Nora, Mike Everitt, Jeff Nelson, Ed Rapuano and Tony Randazzo.
DeMuth is no stranger to Busch Stadium as he was given the honor of serving as home plate umpire for the MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14.
In looking into these umpires further, I ran across a specialized website like no other. “The Left Field Corner” documented every one of the 168 umpire ejections that occurred across MLB this season. Each situation is explained, the umpire call is reviewed, pitch f/x data is included and even video is provided.
Though none of this crew’s ejections were of the Cardinals this season, here are their totals:
O’Nora, Nelson: 2
Randazzo, DeMuth: 0
Most of the tossings were of the garden-variety – balls and strikes, the zone and the like. O’Nora’s ejections were as a result of fisticuffs between Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis and Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello on August 11.
On July 11, Nelson had one of the stranger calls when he waved then-Oakland A’s outfielder Matt Holliday from second to third on a pitched ball. The problem was in that Tampa Bay’s catcher had used his facemask to stop and pick up the baseball. That’s a no-no. Even so, Rays manager Joe Maddon was incensed.
But the oddest umpire play this season anywhere in MLB starred Rapuano. On August 9, he ejected Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino for arguing a ball call to an opposing Florida Marlins hitter. Victorino gestured and yelled in protest from his defensive position way out in center field and was tossed by home plate ump Rapuano.
If you’re interested in fan voting for the best and worst MLB umpires this season, make sure you check out “The Left Field Corner”.
Here’s hoping this is the last time we discuss the NLDS umpires.
For reference, I pulled the official bios of the crew. They follow.
Dana DeMuth – Crew Chief – 32
MLB service time: 25 Years
Became a member of the Major League staff in 1985…has worked the All-Star Game (1990 and 2001), Division Series (1996, 97, 99, 2001, 08), League Championship Series (1991, 95, 2000, 02, 07) and World Series (1993, 98, 2001)…served as crew chief for the National League Division Series between the Brewers and Phillies in 2008…worked the Tokyo round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic…previously umpired in the Arizona Instructional League, California League, Texas League, Pacific Coast League, Colombia Winter League and Dominican Winter League.
Brian O’Nora – 7
MLB service time: 12 Years
Joined the Major League staff in 1999…has worked the Division Series (2004, 06), the 2008 American League Championship Series and the 2000 All-Star Game in Atlanta…worked the Dodgers-Mets Division Series in 2006…attended the Joe Brinkman Umpire School in 1985…previously umpired in the Appalachian League (1985), Midwest League (1986-87), Eastern League (1988-89), Pacific Coast League (1990), American Association (1991), International League, Florida Instructional League (1985-89) and Puerto Rican Winter League (1990-92).
Mike Everitt – 57
MLB service time: 10 Years
Joined the Major League staff in 1999…worked the Division Series (2001, 04-07), League Championship Series (2002-03, 08), the 2007 World Series and the 2006 All-Star Game…officiated the 2008 NLCS…attended the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School (1987)…previously umpired in the Gulf Coast League (1987), Midwest League (1988, 90-91), Eastern League (1992), Texas League (1993-94), Venezuelan Winter League (1994-95) and Pacific Coast League (1995-99)…was the home plate umpire for Kevin Millwood’s no-hitter on April 27, 2003.
Jeff Nelson – 45
MLB service time: 11 Years
Became a member of the Major League staff in 1999…worked the Division Series (2000, 01, 05, 08), the League Championship Series (2002, 04), the 2005 World Series and the 2006 All-Star Game…worked the 2008 National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Cubs…was behind the plate when Mark McGwire hit his 500th career home run…worked the game in which Rickey Henderson collected his 3,000th hit…was an instructor at MLB’s inaugural Umpire Camps (MLBUC.com), held at MLB’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California, in November 2006…attended the Joe Brinkman Umpire School in 1989…previously umpired in the Pioneer League (1989), Arizona Instructional League (1989), Florida State League (1990-91), Eastern League (1992-93), American Association (1997), Pacific Coast League (1994-96, 98), Florida State Instructional League (1990-93) and Arizona Fall League (1996).
Ed Rapuano – 19
MLB service time: 18.5 Years
Became a member of the Major League staff in 1991…has worked the All-Star Game (1995, 2008), Division Series (1997, 98, 2001, 03, 06, 08), League Championship Series (1999, 2000, 02, 04-05) and World Series (2001, 03)…worked the Miami round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic…worked the 1990 Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, NY…attended the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School in 1985…previously umpired in the New York-Penn League (1985), Florida State League (1986-87), Southern League (1988) and Triple-A Alliance (1989).
Tony Randazzo – 59
MLB service time: 9.5 Years
Joined the Major League staff in 1999…worked the 2001 Midsummer Classic and the Division Series in 2004 and 2006…was part of the crew that worked the Twins-A’s Division Series in 2006…previously umpired in the New York-Penn League (1989), Florida State League (1990-91), Texas League (1992-93), Arizona Fall League (1993), American Association (1994-95) and Pacific Coast League (1996-99).