Batter up! Umpires do a heck of a lot more than just call balls and strikes. Each one of those calls has an effect on how the end result of a game pans out. Join us today at Bang the Book, as we look at some of the most notable trends involving umpires thus far this season.
We’re going to circle back around to a factor with umps that we have looked at in quite some time this week. Surprisingly, there aren’t as many polarizing home team umpires as there are road team umpires. If we were looking at the profits that road teams have made this year with specific umps, there are five umpires who have netted at least $800 in profits. However, when you look at the home profits for umpires, there is only one, Fieldin Culbreth who has made more than $800 for home teams.
Culbreth has led home teams to a whopping 15-6 record and profits of $805. He has been particularly strong in the event of big time favorites. Granted, we would expect someone to have a good record for home favorites, but Culbreth is a perfect 7-0 this year when calling balls and strikes for a home team that is greater than -160. Why is this so surprising? Last season, big time home favorites of at least -160 margins went just 4-4 when Culbreth was behind the dish.
Paul Nauert has the second best home record this year amongst umpires at +$791. Nauert has made his money when umpiring games with home underdogs. Not only has he picked up a victory with a +180 underdog this year, but he is also 4-1 in games in which home teams are at least +111 underdogs. Nauert, just like Culbreth has led home teams to 15 victories on the season, tied for the most in the game.
The most interesting name when it comes to umpires and analyzing home teams is David Rackley. Rackley has only umpped seven games this season, but home teams are a perfect 7-0 in those games. He has netted home team backers $705 in profits. Rackley only went 4-5 for home teams in 2012 though, and he is a relatively young umpire who isn’t getting all of the time behind the dish that some of these other umps are getting. There is definitely a precedent for backing home teams, especially when they are big home favorites with Rackley behind the dish though, so keep your eyes open for those selective situations for the rest of the year.
The man in the middle of all of this is Chris Conroy. Conroy is another one of these umpires who just refuses to lose for home favorites of massive proportions. He has gone a perfect 5-0 when calling balls and strikes for home teams who are at least -140 favorites this season. Last year, he was behind the plate for a whopping seven games in which home teams were favorites of -180 or greater, and the favorite cashed in six of those games. Conroy is 9-1 all-time in this situation, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on for the rest of 2013.
There are only six other umpires who have netted more than $500 of profits on the season for home teams. In order, they are Clint Fagan (10-3, +$696), Tony Randazzo (13-5, +$687), James Hoye (13-6, +$672), Jerry Layne (10-4, +$672), Lance Barrett (7-1, +$637), and Doug Eddings (14-6, +$593).
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.