Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Better Know An Umpire: Phil Cuzzi

Illustration for article titled Better Know An Umpire: Phil Cuzzi

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.


Name: Phil Cuzzi

Uniform number: 10

Age: 56

Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 200 pounds

First year as MLB umpire: 1991

Total MLB games worked through 2011: 1,725 (home plate: 444)

Previous experience: New York-Penn League, Carolina League, South Atlantic League, Southern League, Triple-A Alliance, International League, American Association, Florida State League, Eastern League


Career ejections: 61

No-hitters called: One

Over/under record (1999-2011): 163-206

Hated in: Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco

Notable alleged blown calls: Robbing the Giants of a game-winning run in 2010. Cameron Maybin's mysterious three-ball walk last season that led to the only run in a 1-0 game.

Claim to fame: The blown call on Joe Mauer in the 2009 American League playoffs.

Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:

The New Jersey ump has one of the biggest strike zones in the game. ... In 2010, he didn't seem to worry as much about his strike zone, and over one four-game stretch ... he presided over 81 strikeouts in 35 innings, a K/9 of 20.83!


Scouting report from an experienced baseball writer:

Phil Cuzzi is, in my experience, the worst umpire in the majors. Bad at his job, enjoys confrontations, too quick with the hook.


Average K/9 (2010): 14.79

Average BB/9 (2010): 5.41

Sample PITCHf/x strike zone: April 7, 2008. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected for ... well, just look at the red triangles.

Illustration for article titled Better Know An Umpire: Phil Cuzzi

True fact: "Phil Cuzzi was once fired as a minor league umpire, and later appealed to the league president while tending bar at a New Jersey hotel."


On umpiring: "Unless you umpire, you can't possibly understand."

Strike 3 call:


To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.

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