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Controversy in Tampa Bay: Joe West strikes again

May 5, 2011, 9:12 AM EDT

Joe Maddon, Joe West, Angel Hernandez

As mentioned in the recaps this morning, there was some serious controversy brewing in last night’s Jays-Rays game. And wouldn’t you know it, Joe West and his crew were at the middle of it.

Watch the play that sparked it here.  The original call on the field was that Adam Lind — who was pulled off the bag by the throw from third — failed to make the tag on Sam Fuld who was running to first.  Joe West was the first base ump who called Fuld safe. And he was right on the play, it seemed.

But wait: Angel Hernandez — an umpire so bad that he could only be on Joe West’s crew — came over from second base to dispute the matter. Joe West changed his mind and called Fuld out. This brought Joe Maddon from the dugout who was promptly ejected by Joe West.

Blown calls happen because baseball has decided that instant replay is the antichrist, but the ejection was nuts.  In that situation, where the umpire who did the ejecting thought the guy was safe in the first instance and allowed himself to be overruled by a guy much farther from the play, how does he then turn around and eject Maddon for arguing? I don’t care if he used the famous magic words that rhyme with “clock ducker,” it strikes me that a little bit of humility is in order at that point.  But Joe West doesn’t do humility.

Of course after the game West admitted he was wrong on the call, saying “it appears that we may have erred, but we did everything protocol right by the book.”

Screw the protocol. Get the call right.  And even if you don’t, at least appreciate the awkwardness and ambiguity of the situation and refrain from running a guy for not respecting your auth-or-i-tah.

  1. TomTom - May 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Link to video doesn’t link to the play in question, it links to Lind’s homerun.

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - May 5, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      The play in question is the second one on the list, conveniently labeled “Maddon’s ejection.” I know it’s tough to figure out, but I think you can do it.

  2. Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    Quatto is very pleased with this result, and has decided to remain in Joe West’s neck pouch.

  3. easports82 - May 5, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    I’d be curious to hear what other umpires think of these guys. Most of them do their jobs well but get overshadowed by these jokes who are trying to insert themselves into the game and sell books (insert link to last years report of Joe West’s scheduled appearance at a bookstore last year).

    Instant replay and humble umpires: too much to ask for.

  4. The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - May 5, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    I can’t read Maddon’s lips during the exchange, but his entire demeanor seems incredibly calm and restrained up until West throws him out and turns his back on Joe. Seems like Joe just got tired of talking and defaulted to his regular setting as an ass.

    • mox19380 - May 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      yeah i agree Madden as always seemed cool and calm. Joe West has always seemed like a curmudgeon who’d toss someone just because they questioned his call regardless if he said anything out of line. That game as a whole was terribly officiated…. I’m not in favor of replay in baseball but everytime I hear these umps after the game say “we missed that one” in regards to a play that could have changed the outcome of the game I’m swayed a little more in favor of replay

  5. jasoncollette - May 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Joe West/Angel Hernandez were their usual crappy selves but Chad Fairchild was a joke behind home plate last night. shows his zone and his inconsistencies were unbelievable. His final K to Upton is the far left triangle and a clear agenda move by him, which is terribly unprofessional.

    • jasoncollette - May 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      http://goo.gl/ykCCu is that link that isn’t working

  6. missthemexpos - May 5, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    What will happen sooner? Baseball introducing Manager challenges(instant reply) for close calls on the field, or the melting of the final glacier left on planet Earth.

    • easports82 - May 5, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      You don’t need a challenge system. 5th ump in the booth with access to the video and a pager for the chief on the field. Gets the job done with little-to-no impact on the pace of the game. The way they do it with HRs is wrong.

      • clydeserra - May 5, 2011 at 10:26 AM

        right. I don’t want to see four guys jog into the umpires room. a 5th ump somewhere, even the fan cave, could do the trick.

      • missthemexpos - May 5, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        Your idea sounds way too easy, surely a much more complicated system can be devised where fans can go to the concession booth, the washroom, stretch the legs, before resumption of play!

      • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - May 5, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        They’re watching the games anyway, let’s just have the Fan Cave guys be the eye in the sky. At least they’d be good for something.

  7. proudlycanadian - May 5, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Both managers were tossed from the game in the same inning over different calls. There were 3 ejections during the game. This umpiring crew was not very popular last night.

    • easports82 - May 5, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      Gotta go for the hat-trick.

  8. randomdigits - May 5, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    I thought he had it added to his contract that he be referred to only as “Country” or “Cowboy” Joe West? The man has a singing career to promote after all.

    http://www.cowboyjoewest.com/

  9. cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Craptastick officiating wise, that game had it all. That was the worst strike zone (I lost count of how many balls called as strikes and vice versa) the call reversal on the correct call, the tossing of both managers and just the sheer awfulness of watching West waddle around.

    In the end the Jays won and I am happy about that, but I cannot help but think that this afternoons game is going to be all about umpire revenge in all its glory. The debacle starts in 3 hours.

    • indaburg - May 6, 2011 at 12:03 AM

      Agreed with everything you said (except the part about the Jays winning). I am only glad I was watching the Lightning beat up on the Caps. Had I watched the game live, I may have punched the tv.
      The calls today were pretty bad too. I saw Price get some pitches that were clearly off the plate called as strikes. Ridiculous.

  10. mcs7584 - May 5, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    I know umpires work in crews, probably for the sake of travel and scheduling convenience, but I think it’s about time to bust up the crews. No more than two umpires are allowed to be on the same crew for two consecutive series. It’s pretty clear that the umpires on Joe West’s crew aren’t going to police themselves. Maybe some of the other umpires would. If nothing else, it sure would be entertaining to watch the umpires start to argue with themselves trying. I wonder if Joe West would eject another umpire for not agreeing with him?

    • BC - May 5, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Can he eject himself, just for sucking so bad?

  11. BC - May 5, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Can someone just lock Joe West in a bank vault? This guy is an embarrassment.

    • Utley's Hair - May 5, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      I hear there’s a big house in Pakistan that’s available now. West can take his buddies Angel and Bob with him.

  12. catsmeat - May 5, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Angel Hernandez AND Joe West? That’s quite the Axis of Suck right there.

    Bring on the robots.

    • weinerpoop - May 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      Lol, The “Axis of Suck”…nice.

  13. weinerpoop - May 5, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Yeah, wow. I feel kinda dirty just saying this, but Joe West was right in the first place calling Sam Fuld safe. Not an easy call to make in the heat of the moment, but then he goes and @#$%’s everything up by asking the SECOND worst umpire in history for his point of view on the matter. And the call on Upton in the 9th was unreal, that ball was 6 inches off the plate. Just the worst crew in baseball…

    • Utley's Hair - May 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      But he didn’t ASK him. Angel thrust his opinion upon West, who then caved to Hernandez’s wishes, presumably so that Hernandez would shut up and West wouldn’t have to hear him anymore—but that is all speculation on my part.

  14. sanzarq - May 5, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    I don’t understand why the Commissioner’s Office can’t do something about some of these incompetent Prima Donna umpires (everyone knows who the culprits are). The Umpire’s Union can’t possibly be that strong!

  15. tjwilliams - May 5, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    So wait. Wait, wait, wait. If you read the article West says that not only was Fuld safe, but Hernandez TOLD him he was safe and he overturned the call anyway. WTF is wrong with this guy?

    In terms of replay, though, I don’t think it would have made much of a difference in this case. I couldn’t tell if he was safe or not, so I would have deferred to the safe call on the field.

  16. mrnimziki - May 5, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    I really don’t understand how these guys are still up at the ML level. It seems like EVERY year we have numerous stories about how these clowns try to insert themselves into the game. There’s something seriously wrong when you make a call and then somehow let ANGEL HERNANDEZ convince you it was wrong.

  17. ramsyanks - May 5, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    angel hernandez is the worst ump in the game and he keeps his job while a hungry minor league ump gets shut out of a job

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