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: Laz Diaz
Uniform number: 63
Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 210 pounds
First year as MLB umpire: 1995
Total MLB games worked through 2011: 1,743 (home plate: 442)
Previous experience: International League
Career ejections: 23
No-hitters called: None
Over/under record (1999-2011): 187-198
Hated in: DC, Cleveland
Claim to fame: Diaz was attacked by a drunken fan during a game at US Cellular Field on April 15, 2003. Diaz, who was not hurt, later said, "We spoke about it in the locker room, this is where Tom Gamboa got attacked. We thought nothing was going to happen, but it was a full moon out there." Eric Dybas later pled guilty and got six months in jail.
Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:
He has just 23 ejections in over 1,600 games, a rate less than two-thirds the average. He tallied a mere six ejections from 2007 through 2010. ... Pitchers are happy to have Diaz in charge. His overall 2.45 K/BB ratio is tenth highest. ... There is no question that Diaz has one of the largest strike zones among major league umpires.
Scouting report from SB Nation's Chris Mottram:
Also, Laz Diaz is just fucking awful, if it wasn't already clear.
Average K/9 (2011): 13.8
Average BB/9 (2011): 5.7
True fact: Served in the Marine Corps Reserve for 12 years: "I attribute a lot to the Marine Corps, just the way that they give you the attitude to be your best, to work hard. ... The Marine Corps - boot camp especially - helped me through my umpiring. Discipline, being able to adjust to the situation, being able to endure the comments from the fans and from the players. I heard words from A to Z in boot camp. You have to take it, not being able to respond or lash out. It gives you a tough skin."
Strike 3 call:
To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.