MLB Umpire Joe West is the exact opposite of what I think an umpire should be. He challenges players on calls that are borderline and ejects them when they argue. He sometimes changes the strike zone as he sees fit and is subjective in that choice. He’ll play up a double-standard because of a stupid grudge.
He’s, for the most part, the bad guy in a wrestling match and MLB has let him play that role for a while because it’s brought attention to the game. I can kinda see that, but when you have an umpire who’s doing this sort of thing to draw attention to himself, as West apparently does, it’s annoying. Everyone suffers, from players to managers to franchises to the fans themselves. And why? So we can stir a debate?
This past week, West ejected manager Ozzie Guillen after he argued West over a questionable balk on Mark Buerhle. West called the balk a second time, even more questionable, and after Buerhle threw his glove down on the ground (at no one in particular), West ejected him.
So it’s obvious someone’s got an attitude problem, and it’s not Guillen or Buerhle.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote this today and it is beautiful:
He is a presence in games, and that is the problem. The only place for an umpire is at the bottom of the box score. When one jumps into the game story, he has done one of two things: blown a call or picked a fight with someone. That West specializes in both says everything about him.