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Joe Maddon says ump Joe West is 'inappropriate'

Apr 22, 2010, 3:46 PM EDT

Veteran umpire Joe West made headlines earlier this month for saying the slow pace of Yankees-Red Sox games were “pathetic” and “embarrassing” and “a disgrace to baseball.”
He’s apparently making it his personal mission to speed games up, but Joe Maddon wasn’t happy about West immediately walking to the mound as soon as the Rays manager stepped onto the field to change pitchers.

I didn’t like that. It’s not the way it should be. It has nothing to do with the pace of the game. That’s inappropriate. A manager should be allowed to go out to the mound, talk to his pitcher and then you make the exchange without the umpire being privy to the conversation.

I didn’t like the idea of being shadowed so quickly when I got out there, and the bad part is I’m going through this exchange with David [Price] coming out of the game, and it’s not good, because David shouldn’t be subject to all that, he really shouldn’t. That should be between David and I, I get it done, and then the umpire comes out and I say I want the next pitcher.

I think most fans would agree with West that the pace of games are too slow, but there are far better ways for him to approach that than what he did to Maddon and ultimately one rogue umpire trying to change things in the one game he’s at each night isn’t going to do much of anything aside from adding to the inconsistencies that help contribute to the slow pace in the first place.
Pitchers like Mark Buehrle are consistently involved in the quickest games and it’s not because the umpire is beating the manager to the mound for pitching changes, it’s because the guy on the mound is delivering the ball within seconds of getting it back from the catcher. Encouraging that and in turn encouraging hitters to remain in the batter’s box is the way to go if West and MLB are truly interested in having an impact.

  1. al - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I say we just have time limits just like time-outs in other sports. If a manager can only visit the mound once an inning before having to take out the pitcher, make the same rule for the catcher! 2 players can’t just decide to hold up a football or basketball game by having an impromptu “conference” without having to use a time-out, it would be so easy to simply give each team a limited number of time-outs, just like EVERY OTHER SPORT! (And tell the pitcher to pitch if Robinson Cano starts walking all the way around the umpire!)

  2. YankeesfanLen - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Has anyone seen “60 Minutes” at 7:00PM after an AFC game on CBS?

  3. Josh in DC - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    No more mound visits. Ever.

  4. Jonny5 - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Joe Maddon is right. And Joe West could help speed up the game more by expanding his strike zone, which seems to me the size of a post card. And Joe Wests neck has a beer belly.

  5. Angelos - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    I’m only really commenting because my captcha is “between smashes.” It must be aware of the Pirates score.
    But yeah, West has obviously taken it upon himself to be a vigilante. Screw him.
    Did he watch that Yanks-As game last night? Very crisp pitching by everyone in the game, not a lot of hits, and it STILL lasted 2:47.
    When the Yanks and Sox are beating the stuffing out of each other, it’s going to take a while. Every game matters, and you do what you’ve gotta do.

  6. Drew - Apr 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Is 2:47 too long now? How long should a baseball game be? Are we expecting them to be 20 minute affairs, and fit them in a half hour time slot? I think of anything under 3 hours as a pretty quick game. Maybe I’m in the minority here, though.

  7. ralphdibny - Apr 22, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    You can’t have time-outs in a sport that isn’t timed.
    Yes, Buehrle is quick. Halladay was quick last night too. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that good pitchers pitch more quickly than bad pitchers do. But baseball wants its offense, and offense takes longer than shutouts. Baseball also wants its commercials, and the more pitching changes a team makes, the more commercials I get to watch.
    I’m sick of baseball people complaining about a situation that they not only don’t want to get rid of, but actively encourage.

  8. smsetnor - Apr 22, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    No one wants long games. I hate it and am completely behind West on this one. No one mentions how many mound visits from the coach and/or catcher had occured before that.

  9. Route36West - Apr 22, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    “Encouraging that and in turn encouraging hitters to remain in the batter’s box is the way to go if West and MLB are truly interested in having an impact.”
    Well West did do that. Upton tried to get a time out and stepped out of the box. He wasnt given the timeout so the pitcher threw the ball and the ump called it a strike.
    Now if that doesnt encourage a batter to stay inside the box nothing will. I like what West has been doing its good for the game. But I also agree he should be calling more strikes if he wants the games to go faster. He umped the Phillies Nationals game last week and this guy called everything a ball for both teams.
    He needs to stop blaming everyone else and take some responsibility while on the other hand continue to make other to responsibility too.

  10. Angelos - Apr 22, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Drew, I didn’t mean to imply that 2:47 was long, but it’s not much less than average, and those pitchers were DEALING.
    Hughes and Sheets barely left the rubber, and Blevins and Ross were no slouches in relief for Oakland.
    The game was flying, and it was still… average.

  11. al - Apr 22, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    I figured someone would make a big deal out of me saying “time-outs!” First of all, I was making a comparison to other sports, and second, if you’ve ever PLAYED baseball in your life, you’d know that “time” does indeed get called very frequently. The issue is limiting mound visits, not semantics.

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