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Manny Acta thinks Joe West is the fifth best umpire in baseball

May 14, 2013, 11:33 AM EDT

Joe West AP

Manny Acta works for ESPN now and has a column up about technology and umpiring today. It’s Insider-only, so you can’t read it without a subscription, but most of it is spent talking about how technology has changed how players prepare for games and stuff. That’s all good. And really, if you’re going to have a very recent ex-manager writing columns, his behind-the-scenes insight on that stuff is the way to go.

Manny does lose me a bit when he gets down to ranking what he feels are the best umps in the game, though. No real quibble until he gets to number five:

The top 10

1. Jeff Nelson: He averages 0.00 smiles per game, but no one cares more and works harder than this guy. Solid all around and very consistent.

2. Jim Reynolds: Friendly, but professional with a terrific strike zone and very good on the bases.

3. Tim McClelland: He has ended up in the middle of a number of controversial calls in his carer, but he commands respect and deserves it. He still has one of the best strike zones in the game.

4. Ron Kulpa: He really cares and has a good common sense when handling stuff on the field.

5. Joe West: His “I’m here and I’m in charge attitude” makes him unpopular among players and managers, but you can’t ignore how good he is. He’s the guy you want to have behind the plate during a do-or-die game.

Whoa, Dwayne. I think West is probably the second to the last I’d rather have behind the plate before Angel Hernandez and that’s about it.

I’d be curious to see where other managers rank West. I can’t imagine he’d be anywhere near the top five. I question whether he’d make the top 30.

  1. MyTeamsAllStink - May 14, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Joe west and good should never be in the same paragraph..His umpiring is a joke and his music is just as bad.

    • klbader - May 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      I disagree. Here’s an example of using “Joe West” and “good” in a positive sentence.

      “Everyone agreed that baseball’s decision to fire Joe West was a good one.”

      • gostlcards5 - May 14, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Well done…I would also add:
        “The one and only thing Joe West is good at is being an egocentric asshat.”

        As far as where he ranks on a list of umpires, here is a math problem with the solution:
        – Take the total number of umpires in the league. Subtract 1. (Joe West is tied there, with Angel Hernandez.)

    • skids003 - May 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      I don’t know, but I would have to respect a former manager’s opinion more than an sportswriter’s?

      • raysfan1 - May 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Google Joe West, umpire, and research it for yourself then. If you do, you find any number of controversies involving him–much higher than the average ump–and discover he’s one of the few umps to actually be fined and suspended. After that, it’s possible that you might realize Craig is simply speaking for the majority.

      • blacksables - May 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        And we know the majority is always right.

      • raysfan1 - May 14, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Of course not, but the evidence indicates it is in this case.

  2. baseballicious - May 14, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Many Acta is an unemployed manager. Coincidence?

    • baseballicious - May 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM


    • gigab0t - May 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Came here to say the exact same thing.

    • plmathfoto - May 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Yeah, was gonna say, where does he rank himself among unemployed managers? Or for that matter, unemployed 3rd base coaches (he was one of the worst ever at that as well, always wondered who this guy had pictures of as to why he was employed at all).

      • nbjays - May 14, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        He ranks himself just above Ozzie, and just below Bobby Valentine.

    • faulkner22 - May 14, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      He’s a typical ESPN schill who is clearly trying to use his ESPN post to get another job, just without the cache of Buck.

      I turn BBTN off when he’s on because he’s a usual “I’m not completely out of the game so I won’t throw any hard opinions around”.

      I wish ESPN stopped hiring these guys, or at least make sure they offer some hard takes and opinions before putting them on the air for more than a trial.

  3. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Joe West is never even the 5th best ump at a given game

    • yahmule - May 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Given the number of fans in the stands at any particular game who’ve called games from little to college, this is undoubtedly true.

    • klbader - May 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      I have to assume that the one thumbs down for this comment was actually from Joe West himself. Yet another blown call.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        2 thumbs down now – Mrs. West musta chimed in 😉

  4. drewzducks - May 14, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    To which Joe West responds, “who is Manny Acta ?”.

  5. breastfedted - May 14, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Well as far as sportswriters go, Craig ranks right at the bottom along with Chris Chase

    • yahmule - May 14, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      When it comes to blogger hatred, Craig can’t carry Chase’s jock.

    • raysfan1 - May 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Seriously, if that’s truly your opinion then fine…but why bother reading his stuff? It just makes the rest of us wonder whether you’re a masochist or a troll.

  6. cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I’m on drugs, right? An actual manager of an MLB team said Joe West was good at his job? Gotta be the drugs. How come when I’m h’llucinatin’ & stuff its never about Jessica Alba in my lap, wearing big glasses, and looking like a sexy librarian while attempting to read War & Peace at me but, instead, “Joe West is the 5th best ump in MLB”? Why? I gotta get me some new drugs.

    • gostlcards5 - May 14, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      cur, I thought it was Manny on drugs….but if this is from you, then maybe those drugs are pretty damn good! Although I’m with you, I could be more approving if your hallucinations were better….

  7. caeser12 - May 14, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Joe West has some unflattering pics of Manny Acta.

  8. blantoncollier - May 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    I am not a Joe West fan, he thinks he is bigger than the game. Very 1960s or 70s type of umpire. Reminds me a bit of Ron Lucciano.

    But don’t forget he was in the World Series last fall. But then so was Fieldin Culbreth who was suspended two games for not knowing the rules. And then there was Brain O’Nora fined for not knowing the rules.

  9. historiophiliac - May 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Of course Acta likes West. West likes to dog Tigers players.

  10. deathmonkey41 - May 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    If they were ranked by gullet size, Joe West would be #1.

  11. faulkner22 - May 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Manny Acta also had Carmello ranked ahead of LeBron on his NBA MVP ballot.

    • uwsptke - May 14, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      Come to think of it, he was probably the guy who didn’t vote for Calvin Johnson last year which kept him from being a unanimous All-Pro.

  12. eagles512 - May 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    West is the worst

  13. dowhatifeellike - May 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I remember like a decade ago when McClelland’s crew worked half of the Orioles games. Sure, the team was awful, but you knew there wouldn’t be any unnecessary officiating sideshows.

  14. gostlcards5 - May 14, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    This is one of the times that I would say “Forget drug testing the players….”

    Someone needs to drug test Manny Acta.

  15. mc1439 - May 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Probably one of the reasons among many he doesn’t have a job right now.

  16. schmedley69 - May 14, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Want to see Joe West throw a player down to the ground during a brawl? Fast forward to the 28-minute mark of the video below. I unearthed this gem on YouTube while watching the Phillies hand the underachieving, gritless Braves one of their many, many, many, many post-season defeats in the 1993 NLCS. Joe West was umpiring behind the plate that night, and the announcers showed the clip of West throwing down Dennis Cook during a brawl in 1990 to show that there was bad blood between West and the Phillies. Joe West has been a controversial figure for a very long time. As a special bonus, fast forward to the 26:40 mark to hear Jim Gray refer to Greg Maddux as “Garry Maddox.”

  17. theman1932 - May 15, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Not sure why anyone would listen to Acta. The dude is a joke. He probably thinks that because West blew enough calls to help Acta’s last place teams be competitive in games.

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