Umpire West Rips Sox/Yanks Rivalry

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We are 3 games into the 2010 major league baseball season and I am already on my second rant this year. If you are a fan of either Joe West or umpires in general, this is not be the post for you. Close your browser and walk away or forever hold your peace. For the sake of my blood pressure, this better not be a sign of long frustrating season. Now, to the matter at hand, our good ‘ole buddy Joe West.

"They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And [Tuesday night’s game] still almost went four hours. All of baseball looks to these two clubs to pick up the pace. Angel [Hernandez] did everything he could. The players aren’t working with us. This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball. – Comments made by umpire Joe West after Tuesday night’s game"

Let me lay it on the line right off the bat. Joe West is an embarrassment to the game of baseball. He has been a major league umpire for 30+ years and in 2009, called is 4000th game. For someone with that much experience, you would think he would be smart enough to shut his mouth, especially when it comes to the highest rated MLB games of the regular season. Does West not realize that the Red Sox and Yankees have two of the most patient lineups in baseball and that’s why they are both so successful?

The part of West’s comments that gets me the most riled up is when he said Red Sox/Yankees games are “embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.” A [bleeping] disgrace to the game? The most hyped and impressive rivalry in nearly any sport is a disgrace to you, Joe? For games in April, a month that usually falls into oblivion for the MLB, we saw three hotly contested, intense and dramatic contests to begin the season. To call those contests embarrassing is not only insulting to the game of baseball, it is insulting to the fans, players and coaches of the sport.

One of the most unique aspects of a professional baseball season that separates itself from all of the other major sports in America, is that there is no time limit. Over the last several years, there have been small rules added in order to ‘enhance the viewer experience’, such as fining a pitcher if he takes too long of a walk around the mound in between pitches, but nothing major. Why doesn’t baseball institute a pitch clock and ruin the game? Just for Red Sox/Yankees games, why doesn’t the umpire have the right to end the game whenever they think the game has gone on too long? You would like that, wouldn’t you Joe?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I think Joe West’s comments are complete and utter crap, and he should be ashamed of himself. For me, this has nothing to do with being a Red Sox fan and everything to do with being a loyal baseball fan. If you can’t appreciate the incredible competition and high level of intensity in an inter-division matchup and appreciate how important every pitch and every at-bat are in the scheme of the game, than you don’t deserve to be associated with professional baseball.

After those comments, I hope Joe West never calls another Red Sox/Yankees game again. If he is embarrassed by two of the best teams in baseball going toe-to-toe, than he should be relegated to lower-tier games that don’t matter. An umpire that appreciates the game of baseball should have that opportunity on the biggest stage, not an umpire who would rather be at Hometown Buffet than at the park.