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Confirmed: Joe West is in big trouble

May 28, 2010, 9:04 AM EDT

Joe West.jpgYesterday I presumed, based on some comments from Bob Watson, that umpire Joe West was going to get disciplined over his recent antics.  Last night Jeff Passan of Yahoo! confirmed it. West might even get suspended:

A source said the league plans to suspend or fine West, one of its
most tenured umpires, after he solicited reporters this week to talk
about the controversy he created in April when he called the New York
Yankees and Boston Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” because of their
long game times.

Between West dredging up a subject MLB was peeved he addressed in
public in the first place, and the fallout from his ejections of Chicago
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle on Wednesday,
his behavior reached a tipping point for baseball officials. MLB
reprimanded West during a phone conversation Thursday and will continue
to consult with the World Umpires Assocation – of which West is
president – to determine the severity of his punishment.

I would have hoped that the “tipping point” would have come before the whole deal about West having his publicist solicit the media — he’d already done enough in my mind — but whatever it took Major League Baseball to get on this case, good for them finally getting on it.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  1. Fredo - May 28, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    I agree with Ditka’s Lost Perm – Bob Davidson went waaay over the line in the Sawks-Rays game. His strike zone was a joke to begin with, and then cursing out both player and manager to escalate the situation is grounds for suspension. Couldn’t tell who made contact with who to kick the argument into high gear, but Davidson should have tossed who deserved to be tossed and then resumed the game. As for Joe West, the balk calls were borderline, and Buehrle probably deserved his ejection. But it’s probably the accumulation of issues with West that brought on the reprimand. He needs to be reminded that a good ump is rarely noticed on or off the field.

  2. BIGBRUCE11047 - May 28, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    I feel the calling of a balk on the pitcher is a judgment call and any argument by anybody should be the same as arguing balls and strikes. Mr. West has been an umpire for a long, long time and up until this season they have not had “Instant Replay” to fall back on. These umpires get the calls right close to 98% of the time which is fantastic. Let him do his job and as far as disiplinary action, there shouldn’t be any.

  3. T.J. HOOKER - May 28, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Love the release Quatto quote, I pissed myself laughing when I read that.

  4. Peter - May 28, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    Until you have walked in a mans shoes, don’t critisize. I have umpired at the MLB level and its not easy. Take whatever job you do, slow it down for millions to critisize and let’s see how you take it when a mistake is made. Umpires are expected to be perfect and get better from there. A player fails 3 out of 10 times at the plate and he’s a hall of famer. If an umpire failed that much he would never get out of A ball.

  5. ghostrider - May 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Ozzie wasn’t arguing the balk call because he knew he would get an automatic ejection. He was going out to protect his pitcher and calm him down so he wouldn’t get ejected. West even confirmed that Ozzie came out to protect his pitcher and not argue and he had no problem with that. So why did West eject Ozzie … because he came onto the field? But after Ozzie got ejected he flipped and tossed what looked like his score/lineup card onto the field. West just needs to be fired so he can join the rest of his idiot old school umps.

  6. sheltiegal - May 28, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Never knew the guys name until today, and I’ll likely forget it within the hour. Some publicist!

  7. EY - May 28, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    As a long time referee in multiple sports, I was always taught that the game is not about me, it’s about the players.
    When a referee/umpire thinks he’s the star and the reason people are there, it’s time to walk away…

  8. ColumbusDave - May 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Loved the Total Recall reference. I had a boss once who actually looked like Kuato. “Open your miiiiiiiiiind.”
    Do you think Joe West needs a custom mask to get his chin protector around that massive growth called his neck? That’s really impressive. I particularly like the extra skin fold near his shoulders.
    Joe West’s conduct this season has been less than bright. An umpire should never air greivances outside of the league office. I’d like to see discipline so that he and others stop tampering.

  9. jhmgvkjuy - May 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    It did happen to the White Sox. So I don’t see your point…

  10. mgflolox - May 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    That’s a ridiculous comparison because umps don’t have anyone competing against them trying to prevent them from succeeding at their jobs.

  11. jeff share - May 28, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    I’ve never liked him as an umpire for the way he’s treated and abused players and managers including getting physical with them; I also recall him as one of the original scabs.

  12. Gabby - May 28, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    I’m a Country music fan and a baseball fan. Sorry but West isn’t qualified to be considered a singer or an ump.

  13. john pileggi - May 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    About 30 years ago, MLB experimented with chalk lines on the pitcher’s mound to make more clear certain types of balks. The players went nuts and the lines did not survive the spring training season. As long as there is no objective way to determine a balk, it will be something that umps call at their own peril in terms of inciting conflict. It is a no win; guys like West will call it and then over react to the unhappiness over the discretion, and players will resist attempts to provide some objective standards. I suppose the best that could happen is that umps quit worrying about being “shown up” and just call the game.

  14. TC Bob - May 28, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    I wish Roger Godell was part of baseball this clown would be gone

  15. Bill - May 28, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    A .700 should be in the Hall of Fame.Or is that a guy in your beer league?

  16. YANKEES1996 - May 28, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    He has a publicist?, why? The guy has been a blowhard for years, I can’t believe it has taken this long to discuss suspending him.

  17. The Common Man - May 28, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    With respect, Peter, there are a number of issues here. Only one small part of that issue is that many people outside of and within baseball think West is not good at his job. More important, however, is West’s willingness, and perhaps eagerness, to make himself the center of attention. By hiring a publicist, and by allowing that publicist to promote what cities he will be in as an umpire for anyone who wants to conduct “media interviews and appearances,” he has demonstrated an interest in seeking additional publicity for himself. This throws the whole of his conduct as an umpire under suspicion. As I’m sure you know, an umpire must avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Read this: (; I think it will help clarify the issue.

  18. stackers1 - May 28, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    I realized that this guy was a jerk when Mo Rivera came out & said he should keep quiet & do his job. When Mo speaks (which is not very often), I listen!

  19. willmose - May 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Who said the truth would set you free?

  20. Cary Brus - May 28, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    I am a disciple of old school baseball…….the best umps are not noticed, not talked about. They call the game and keep their egos intact. I hate umpires who think they are part of the game.
    Joe West must go. His toss of Buerhle was ridiculous. It is time his ego was put in check by MLB.
    I am not an Ozzie Guillen fan, by any stretch. But he was absolutely correct: fans don’t pay MLB’s inflated prices to see Joe West. They pay to see Mark Buerhle and MLB PLAYERS.
    Take a hike, Westie.

  21. Dillon - May 29, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    Three umpires need to go-
    -Joe West- thinks people go to games to watch him umpire.
    -Bob Davidson- tirade against Sox and Rays was ridiculous
    -Billy Hahn- remember last year when he was the home plate umpire when the Braves played the Sox and the Marlins? Ejected a total of three players in two games because they “disagreed with the call.”

  22. Nasty Boy - May 29, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    With his chin and neckline , he ought to think about Jenny Craig .

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