Welcome to Better Know An Umpire, an effort to educate ourselves on the human elements who have ultimate decision-making power over some 2,500 Major League Baseball games a year. (All cumulative statistics are through the 2011 season, unless otherwise stated.)
Name: Vic Carapazza
Uniform number: 85
Height/weight: 6 feet, 180 pounds
First year as MLB umpire: 2010
Total MLB games worked through 2011: 162 (home plate: 39)
Previous experience: Gulf Coast League, Florida State League, Pacific Coast League, Florida, Arizona Fall League, New York-Penn League, Eastern League, International League, Midwest League, Dominican League
Career ejections: 5
No-hitters called: None
Over/under record (2010-2011): 16-21
Hated in: Tampa
Notable alleged blown calls: Cardinals-Rays, July 1, 2011 (see below); Marlins-Cardinals, August 6, 2011.
Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:
Although his sample size is too small to draw conclusions from, in 2010 he showed a hitter-friendly strike zone. Hitters failed to capitalize on it, though, compiling a low 7.78 R/9.
Scouting report from a random blog commenter:
umpire was a prick and then hid behind his "boys" when the shit hit the fan
Average K/9 (2011): 16.0
Average BB/9 (2011): 6.2
Sample PITCHf/x strike zone: July 1, 2011. Four Rays were ejected in this game, including two by Carapazza (manager Joe Maddon and reliever J.P. Howell). Those green squares inside the strike zone probably didn't help.
True fact: Served in the Air Force for four years and worked as a telemarketer before enrolling in umpiring school.
On umpiring: "The only way you thought it would happen is by playing, but to be on the field is a dream come true. ... When I got to umpire school, I loved umpiring. It's the best job in the world. Oh my God, I love it to death."
Strike 3 call:
To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.