Someone needs to be on hand at Major League games to give out-of-line umpires the heave. I have never even thought this before, always thinking that the umpires had to be respected and obeyed without question or else the game is unplayable.
It’s not merely West’s hair trigger. It’s not simply his attention-craving behavior. It’s not just that he seeks confrontations
and visibly puffs up as if he’s getting off on ejecting people. It’s all that and much, much more. He’s awfully thin-skinned for a guy who looks like he actively baits player and managers. There are words to describe that king of behavior, words I can’t use here.
The two balk calls he made on Mark Buehrle mean that pretty much no left-hander–and certainly not either Andy Pettitte or Cole Hamels–can throw to first anymore to hold a runner on. If every other umpire makes the same call, then Buehrle, Pettitte, and Hamels will have to be perfect in every start–as in perfect game perfect–or risk having the opposition steal bases with impunity.
West called two balks on Buehrle
on moves that mirror pretty much every other move to first that I’ve Buehrle make. He ejected Ozzie Guillen following the first balk in the bottom of the second, and then Buehrle himself in the bottom of the third. As a Twins fan, I’ve seen Buehrle a lot over the years and those calls were terrible
For once–and you have no idea how much it hurts my brain and soul to write these words–for once, I agree with Ken Harrelson. (God I feel dirty.)
As a Twins fan I’m not exactly in the habit of defending the White Sox, but West’s behavior was out of line. Whether or not “he’s really had it in for the White Sox” is up for debate, but he clearly went out of his way to call multiple balks against Buehrle–it’s the first time a White Sox pitcher had two balks called since 1993 and Buehrle had a grand total of one balk called against him in the past three seasons–and then changed the entire complexion of the game (and Chicago’s next couple games) by kicking the starting pitcher out of a 0-0 matchup in the third inning.
Joe West needs some counselling or something.
UPDATE 2: Bob Davidson, home plate umpire for Tuesday night’s Red Sox @ Rays game, also displayed hair trigger reflexes (in nuclear strategy talk, it’s called “launch on warning” and it means the Apocalypse is impending). Both Craig Calcaterra
and Jason at “It’s About the Money, Stupid”
call Davidson out of control, providing links to the video and truthful, reasonable observations about (1) how truly terrible that call was, and (2) Davidson’s confrontational and abusive behavior, as he flew immediately into a rage and did most of the cursing and screaming in his, uh, discussions with Carl Crawford and Joe Maddon. Inexcusable.
This is beyond an umpire defending his call. I don’t know what it is, actually, I can’t recall seeing an ump stay in a player’s and a manager’s face like Davidson did. Usually they at least attempt to back up and defuse the situation. Here Davidson seemed like the most hostile guy out of the three of them.
Bob Davidson, the ump in last night’s Rays/Sox game, went so far over the line in his actions, response, demeanor, it should be used as a training video on how NOT to act as a professional umpire.