Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

West crosses foul line with latest comments

Posted by Bill Koch on April 9, 2010

Joe West

We here at Ramble On wanted to wait a couple of days to give Major League Baseball a chance to react to Joe West’s comments regarding the opening Red Sox-Yankees series.

West called the pace of play between the two teams “pathetic and embarrassing,” ripping their respective players for what he feels is a failure to comply with the league’s wishes to speed up the game. Such criticism from someone who is supposed to be a neutral arbitrator shouldn’t be allowed to happen, and we were hoping that MLB commissioner Bud Selig would do something about it – issue a public statement, fine West a few thousand dollars, suspend him for a series or two.

As usual, Selig never fails to disappoint. He and the league have done nothing, so now it’s time for us to turn up the pressure. Like my buddy Lang said, players would be fined by the league if they made such comments about an umpire or his crew. Where is West’s punishment?

West is one of those guys in the umpiring ranks who doesn’t appreciate where he is and how fortunate he is to have his job. He thinks that 20-plus million people tuned into ESPN and NESN on Sunday night to watch him call balls and strikes, not to see two of the best teams in baseball lock up in the first of 18 battles this season. West was one of 22 umpires who joined in a mass resignation in 1999, a collective bargaining ploy while trying to broker a new deal with the league. The fact that West and some of the others were taken back should have left them feeling extremely fortunate, but apparently he’s forgotten how lucky he was.

The fact that West felt like the games were too slow was partly his fault. He and his crew, including fellow malcontents Angel Hernandez and Paul Schreiber, all called dick-tight strike zones in the three games. Boston and New York both have patient hitters who work counts – they’re not swinging at bad pitches. Opening up the zone a little bit would have improved the pace of the game, something that was mandated by MLB earlier this decade when the league decided to call the high strike, but West was never someone who would bow to authority. He’s been there too long and, in what should be an obvious observation based on his latest outburst, feels like he’s above the law.

Don’t expect Selig, who is a gutless figurehead if nothing else, to do anything to rein him in anytime soon – and don’t think that West will change. His poor behavior has been indulged for much too long. It’s now up to the players to get their message across. It would be a shame if Victor Martinez got “crossed up” the next time West works the plate during a Red Sox series and forced MLB’s resident douchebag to absorb a Josh Beckett fastball in his ever-expanding gut. That might be the only way to get West’s attention.

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One Response to “West crosses foul line with latest comments”

  1. Pete said

    Thanks for the reference…. this topic infuriates me. I am a man who some consider to be too honest, speaking my opinion instead of keeping my mouth shut. But this is America, and we have freedom of speech, that is why it drives me crazy any time a player or coach gets fined for speaking to reporters about their opinions on officials. I disagree with the constant fines but if it is going to be zero tolerance policy for players and coaches then West must be punished! Does this fat slob realize the backlash he is going to get the next time he is in Fenway or Yankee Stadium?

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