Veteran umpires assigned to Division Series
If experience is the key factor for good umpiring in the postseason, then those chosen for the Division Series have it covered.
The four crew chiefs -- Jerry Crawford, Dana DeMuth, John Hirschbeck and Tim Welke -- have a combined 105 years of Major League umpiring experience. Numerologists might be keen to point out that's exactly how many World Series have been played before this year's Fall Classic. These crew chiefs have worked 23 Division Series, 27 League Championship Series and 15 World Series.
Crawford's crew, which will handle the Yankees-Twins series beginning Wednesday at Target Field in Minneapolis, includes Hunter Wendelstedt, Greg Gibson, Brian O'Nora, regular-season crew chief Gary Darling and Chris Guccione. Guccione is the only one on the crew without any previous postseason experience.
DeMuth and Paul Nauert, Paul Emmel, Mike Winters, regular-season crew chief Jerry Layne and Ed Hickox will be the arbiters for the Braves-Giants series, set to start Thursday in San Francisco. Winters has the most postseason experience in this group, behind DeMuth, with 11 series on his resume.
This will be Hirschbeck's eighth Division Series, and first since 2006. His crew will handle the Reds-Phillies series, which starts Wednesday in Philadelphia. He's joined by Bruce Dreckman, Sam Holbrook, Ed Rapuano, regular-season crew chief Gary Cederstrom and Rob Drake. Drake is making his postseason debut.
Welke has umpired in 16 previous postseason series, and his crew will handle the Rangers-Rays, starting Wednesday in St. Petersburg. His crew includes Jim Wolf, Jerry Meals, Bill Miller, regular-season crew chief Jeff Kellogg and Mike DiMuro. All have had postseason assignments in the past, though DiMuro's came back in the 2000 Division Series. Wolf also only has one series -- a 2007 Division Series -- to his credit.
The umpires for the League Championship Series and the World Series will be announced once assignments have been made.