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Joe West’s crew strikes again

Aug 6, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Joe West AP

Lost in the dramatic finish of yesterday’s Tigers game was another instance of Joe West being Joe West.

In the second inning, Gerald Laird was called out at first base. Close play. I was in the stands and couldn’t see a replay so I have no idea if it was a good call or not. Doesn’t matter, really. Laird, of course, thought it was a bad call. But he went back to the dugout without much of a fuss.

Once in the dugout, however, he complained about the call. According to this writeup, it was not in any sort of a demonstrative way and not towards the field. Just in general. Then he was ejected by first base umpire Sam Holbrook, who was apparently watching him all the way back.  That brought Jim Leyland out of the dugout to argue with West, who was working the plate. He was tossed too.

Why the umps were paying any attention to what went on in the dugout after the call is a mystery. Just officiate the game, will ya?  If someone acts up on the field, fine, toss them, but the only reason to care about what is said or done in the dugout is umpire ego.

And it’s not meaningless here. Laird was catching the day game after a night game, resting Alex Avila, who is one of the more overworked catchers in the game. But because Holbrook had his ego bruised, a key player from a playoff contender lost one of his rare days off and had to catch nearly four hours on a hot day.

But hey, I guess the umps showed Gerald Laird, right?

(thanks to Allison for the link)

  1. ag4913 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    thumbs up

    • skids003 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Come on Craig, there has to be more to this story than this. Did he yell something out at him or just “talk” about the call to his teammates. Where’s the rest of the story?

      • highump - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        This another classic example of an ump hater, with little to no information about what he is talking about, quick to use anything possible to add to his “case history” of why umps suck.

  2. kiwicricket - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    If Bud had any kind of balls and/or comical output, he’d make West and his crew wear turtlenecks for their next series.

    • deathmonkey41 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      Yeah, like they’d be able to find a turtleneck to fit around that pelican gullet…

  3. willclarkgameface - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Umpires want to be celebrities. They want their own cards. They want to be on Sportscenter. They want a reality show called “Fuck Tards and the Calls They Make: Miami”.

  4. phillieseaglessixersflyers - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    This guy has to be possibly the worst ump, he definitely wants to be in the spotlight but thats not his job. Focus on the game blue!

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 6, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      Love it when we all agree.

  5. mqcarpenter - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    I think this is a reach. We have no idea what laird was saying or doing. If he broke the rules that led to the ejection do be it. That last point is irrelevant. It is not the umpires concern who gets rest. Come on.

    • danrizzle - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      Eh if Laird dropped an f-bomb or something before trotting off the field, sure eject him then. But there’s no reason for the ump to be peering into the dugout looking for excuses to eject somebody. Sure, if he broke the rules then fine, eject him. But what rule could he break from the dugout short of screaming at/mooning the umpire?

      And in that event, sure I agree that the issue of who is and who isn’t rested is unimportant to the decision of whether an ejection is justified, but I think Craig’s point was just to show that ejections are not some harmless thing without consequences.

    • paperlions - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      I am pretty sure you an actually complain as much as you want from the dug out without breaking any rules. Players and coaches are not allowed to leave their positions to argue. That is really the only rule. But umpires are given the discretion to throw out anyone in the park (including any fan or employee) that they want to throw out. That authority is meant to keep the game civil and moving along….it is not the umpires job to actively search for reasons to throw out players/coaches/fans/PA announcers….they are supposed to use the authority when the game can not proceed in an orderly fashion because of repeated interruption….not to placate their own over-inflated egos.

      A manager can carp from the dugout as much as he wants, the umpire is at liberty to ignore him because he isn’t actually doing anything against any rule.

      • CJ - Aug 6, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        PA announcers, you say? Yeah, when that happens, that’ll be all the proof we need that this has gotten way out of hand.

        Oh wait, that’s right, we have all the proof we need that this has gotten way out of hand.

      • paperlions - Aug 6, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        It happened just recently ( and has happened in the minors every few years.

      • CJ - Aug 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        still waiting for that sarcasm font…

      • highump - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        A manager can carp as much as he wants? LOL

        Rule 9.02 (a) Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to,
        whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a
        runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to
        any such judgment decisions.

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Bud Selig, is that you? Who taught you how to use the internets?

  6. whodeytn - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I think this is a reach. We have no idea what laird was saying or doing. If he broke the rules that led to the ejection do be it. That last point is irrelevant. It is not the umpires concern who gets rest. Come on.

    If he broke the rules???

    He was in his own dugout yelling about the call. It was not directed towards the ump and he had no reason to stare him down all the way into his own dugout. These umps instigate confrontations just as much if not more than the players do.

  7. darthicarus - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Listening on the radio they had no idea that Laird was ejected or what was going on until Leyland came out & got tossed too. Of course with benefit of replay (strikethrough that for Bud Selig) they would’ve seen that Laird was safe. Glad the team got the win, don’t know if that safe/out call would’ve made a difference but for those in attendance the bottom of the 10th had to be pretty fun to watch so maybe the bad call & ejections were worth it.

  8. cur68 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    After a while it gets old seeing the same guy and the same guy’s boys do the same thing. If these fellas wanted to affect the outcome of the game so much they should have been players, managers or coaches. As it stands, the people I least want to see on a ball field is West or any of the crew working with him. Time to put pen to paper and lodge another official complaint with Bud.

    • phillieseaglessixersflyers - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      Exactly, ppl dont go to games to see umps but dont tell that to Mr West

      • cur68 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        If I were commish instead of Bud, know what I’d do? I’d travel to one of West’s games (in his mind I’m sure he thinks of them as “his games”) and wait for him, or one of his boys, to pull this crap. Then I’d march onto the field, call a meeting and confront the whole passel of idjits right there. If they gave me any crap about reversing the call I’d toss them, en mass right there and call in the replacements. I’d use really big arm movements too. Like just the hugest arm wave you ever saw to indicate that West and his whole crew could get lost. I’d shot putt them outta there. Hell, I might even javelin throw them too. Might even come up with an individual toss move for each one of them . . . probably have to mimic a hammer toss for West, he so fat. They want to be part of The Show? Fine. They’re part of The Show. They’re the part of The Show being invited to waddle their fat butts right the hell out of there.

      • skids003 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        And that’s why you are the Commissioner, thank goodness.

      • cur68 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Or something.

    • mirmz - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Write him a letter; I hear he reads those.

  9. chc4 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    This sounds like more of a Sam Holbrook issue than Joe West. I’m sure Leyland came out guns blazing and wanted to get tossed. The real question is why Holbrook tossed Laird. For once I don’t think we can came West.

    • frank433 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Leyland kept his guns holstered until West pointed at the Tigers dugout towards Verlander (who was tossed by West in a previous game when he was on his way to the bench after a pitching change). Leyland defended his bench then was ejected. That’s when the guns were blazing.

    • highump - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      Saw the replay. The finger point right after the call in Holbrook’s face could have gotten him tossed right there. My guess is Mr. Holbrook regretted not immediately ejecting him, then Mr. Laird made it easy with a post-call dugout tirade. I can’t find a replay showing anything Mr. Laird did in the dugout, so passing judgement on that would be speculation, at best (ahem, Craig, ahem).

  10. Mr. Furious - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    We created this monster. If only we’d bought more copies of West’s country album, perhaps he wouldn’t be so starved for attention.

  11. historiophiliac - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    According to, the call was bad (per video review) and Leyland did say something to the ump but went back to the dugout without incident. But then West decided to warn Verlander — who was in the dugout and not playing that game — because he was yelling from the dugout (and I imagine there were a lot of players who were). Leyland objected to West warning Verlander and told him he should mind the players on the field instead of fussing at guys off the field. That’s what made West toss him. The whole thing stinks and discredits the umps!

  12. uyf1950 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Why does MLB and the Umpires Union tolerate this stuff from this particular crew?

    • deathmonkey41 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      In my experience, unions protect the inept- it’s the whole “All for one” mantra. It’s one of the reasons they get so much flak from non-union folk.

    • craggt - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Because West is the longest tenured umpire and (I wish I was kidding here) West is the president of the Union.

      • deathmonkey41 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Does he open up union meetings with a song?

      • CJ - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        yes. also, during the meeting, he ejects everyone that disagrees with him. On the rare occurrence that a meeting ends with more than just West still in the room, he taunts the remaining participants mercilessly until they respond, then ejects them too.

  13. eshine76 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    If a player looks at a called 3rd strike that he doesn’t like, briefly questions the ump and then walks off the field, will he get thrown out for smashing a water cooler with his bat?

  14. stairwayto7 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    fire all the umps after the season! Their egos are bigger then thier stomachs!

  15. bigleagues - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I think labeling it as ego is not being specific enough.

    Specifically, I believe it’s insecurity and bravado.

    Why else would an umpire glare at a player all the way back into the dugout and while he’s in the dugout?

    Ya know that kid with the Daytona Cubs who was ejected last week for playing 3 Blind Mice?

    Yeah, well, I got a warning from a AA home plate ump for doing the same thing once. The ball was dead and it was clear to everyone around me that I was doing it for the fans – who reacted with loud cheers and laughter (obviously everyone in the park was thinking the same thing) after a series of poor calls by the umpires.

    In entertaining the fans and enhancing the game experience I did my job that day – if only the umps had been doing the same, they would have never paid any mind to my opportunistic sound quip.

    PS – I was in charge of the game experience at the time and I was in little danger of getting in real trouble . . . however depending on the type of personality that runs the front office – or the league office – an intern could be an entirely different case altogether.

  16. spudatx - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Holbrook is the same egomaniac who tossed Grienke a few weeks ago after two batters. Umpires like this are damaging the game in their pursuit of making it onto TMZ or ESPN or whatever.

  17. delawarephilliesfan - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Here’s a quote for ya:

    said West “just isn’t a professional” ……called West “arrogant” and said, “he’s got this macho thing, he’s got to show everybody that he’s the boss.”

    From this fracas? Last season? 2 years ago? Nope, that was Nick Leyva in 1990 after West ejected Von Hayes from a game. Hayes’ sin? Telling his first base coach (telling his own coach) that Home Plate ump Harry Wendelstedt made a “Horseshit Call” earlier in an at bat in which Hayes ultimately hit a single.

    Google that whole affair, it became so heated that NL President Bill White ultimately threatened to resign over comments Cowboy and Ritchie Phillips made

  18. steve7921 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Good Ole Bud could solve the instant replay issue very easily…hold these umpires accountable just like they do in the NFL. Grade each umpire in each game and at the end of the season, if there grade are below a certain standard…see yaaaaaa!

    Joe West, Sam Holbrook, Angel Hernandez, Bob Davidson…I shouldn’t know their names, maybe thats the standard…if 1,000 fans from around the country know an umpires name, then the ump is fired!!!

    • crackersnap - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      Rumor has it that they already do use the PitchF/X data and video to review umpire information and then grade the umps. My guess is that there is some union prohibition from the use of any word that might be considered even remotely negative.

      • highump - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:36 PM

        You, sir, are more informed than 99% of the baseball population. The umps get graded every game. They are held accountable through fines (common) and even suspensions (rare). Should they trim the old and bring in the new? They are already doing that. Does Holbrook have a quick trigger? Yes. Is West still an excellent umpire? Yes. What the union guarantees is this accountability is kept private. Umpire accountability has been kept private since the dawn of umpire accountability, as the general public is simply to ignorant to need to know about such details.

  19. uwsptke - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    This is the same guy who thought Greinke showed him up after throwing his glove on the ground in anger after failing to cover the bag in time. Tossed him after 4 pitches.

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