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: Paul Nauert
Uniform number: 39
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 200 pounds
First year as MLB umpire: 1995
Total MLB games worked through 2011: 1,458 (home plate: 372)
Previous experience: Appalachian League, Midwest League, Florida Instructional League, Southern League, International League
Career ejections: 18
No-hitters called: None
Over/under record (1999-2011): 145-166
Hated in: Tampa Bay, Chicago, Seattle
Claim to fame: For his complete and utter denial to accept that MLB had accepted his resignation in 1999, part of a failed move for leverage by the umpire's union. "I don't accept them accepting my resignation," he said. "I plan on being here tomorrow. I'll be here for the game." Nauert did not umpire another game until 2002.
Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:
Nauert's K/BB keeps growing. ... He unquestionably has one of the largest strike zones in the majors. ... Nauert possesses the virtue of patience. His career ejection rate is only 1.3 percent, less than two-thirds the norm.
Scouting report from an angry message board commenter:
Holy shit. I've never seen an ump squeeze a pitcher so bad. My god.
Average K/9 (2011): 14.1
Average BB/9 (2011): 5.6
Sample PITCHf/x strike zone: June 7, 2012. For years, Nauert has been considered to possess one of the largest strike zones in baseball. As Yankees and Rays fans saw last week, that remains the case to this day.
True fact: Is one of the calmest umpires in recent baseball history. Nauert has never ejected more than three people in an entire season, and he didn't eject anyone during the 2011 season.
On umpiring: "You get burned a couple of times and you realize, 'I can't do this.' That's kind of what the minor leagues are for. It is training yourself."
Strike 3 call:
To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.