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: Tim Tschida
Uniform number: 4 (crew chief)
Height/weight: 5-foot-9, 180 pounds
First year as MLB umpire: 1985
Total MLB games worked through 2011: 3,253 (home plate: 816)
Previous experience: California League, Southern League, Dominican Winter League, Caribbean World Series, American Association
Career ejections: 79 (led league with 14 in 1998)
No-hitters called: Two
Over/under record (1999-2011): 182-196
Hated in: Boston
Notable alleged blown calls: Braves-Blue Jays, July 19, 1999; Dodgers-Diamondbacks, July 5, 2006
Claim to fame: Ruled Chuck Knoblauch's "phantom tag" on Jose Offerman an out in the 1999 ALCS. (Bitter Red Sox fans who read ESPN.com helped vote it the worst blown call in the history of sports.)
Scouting report from Major League Umpires' Performance, 2007-2010, by Andy Goldblatt:
Prior to 2010, pitchers had reason to doubt that even a shutout was possible when Tschida stood behind the plate. ... In 2010, Tschida climbed aboard the pro-pitcher bandwagon. ... He went from the second-highest R/9 to the fifth lowest. ... Unless Tschida's 2010 results were due to a new philosophy of balls and strikes, look for him to rack up higher BB/9s and R/9s in the next few years.
Scouting report from a random Internet commenter:
There are some really, really bad calls in that chart. I mean, really bad calls. There's squeezing the pitcher, and there's calling an inconsistent zone, but then there's Tschida with about a dozen pitches that he called a ball that went right through the heart of the zone, dead fucking center.
Average K/9 (2010): 14.16
Average BB/9 (2010): 5.6
Sample PITCHf/x strike zone: April 6, 2011. Tschida ejected Nationals reliever Todd Coffey for arguing balls and strikes. (Balls thrown by Washington pitchers are shown as green triangles.)
True fact: Ejected 42-year-old Joe Niekro from a game in 1987. Niekro, suspected of doctoring pitches, was emptying his pockets when a five-inch emory board flew out.
On umpiring: "Getting into a position is a little bit foreign. ... It's a little bit uncomfortable."
Strike 3 call:
To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.