Watching the Chicago White Sox game today, I couldn't help but think Joe West needs to take some time off from baseball.
Mark Buehrle had the start today against the Cleveland Indians and was called twice for a balk by West. Looking at instant replays on both calls, Buehrle clearly did not balk.
Although the calls were debatable, the umpire must make the right call at any point in the game.
After Buehrle was called for the first balk, Ozzie Guillen stormed out of the dugout, arguing with West that Buehrle has used the same pick-off move throughout his entire career. West ejected Guillen from the game.
When Buehrle was called for the second balk, out of pure frustration he dropped his glove to the ground. West immediately ejected Buehrle from the game and said he was trying to show up West.
I'm sure any umpire in the league would have thrown Buehrle out because his actions could have been perceived as showing one up. But you have to think about the situation of the game as well. He was clearly frustrated at balking twice in one game!
Buehrle is known for his great pick-off move to first base and rarely gets called for balking. He has great body control, and according to the instant replays, West blew both calls.
This is the second time this year West has taken the spotlight. The first incident came when he made a comment about the Yankees/Red Sox games lasting too long.
"They're the two clubs that don't try to pick up the pace," said West, chief of the umpiring crew that worked the three-game series in Boston. He was the home plate umpire Sunday. "They're two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?
"It's pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play."
First of all, your job as an umpire isn't to speed up the game. Your job is to make the right calls to the best of your ability.
The aspect that separates baseball from other sports is that there is no time limit. Why take away that uniqueness from the game?
I understand that umpires are humans and that we all make mistakes. But come on Joe, you were out of line in both situations. After making the comments about the pace of the game being too slow, people will be gunning for Joe to mess up again.
If West thinks baseball is too slow right now, maybe he should try another sport. Maybe he needs a job where he can sit, instead of squatting over a catcher for three to four hours.
Take some time off and get your act together.
Whatever the issue is Joe, don't take it out on the players and managers of baseball.
Don't try to change the game to conform to how you think it should be. If you don't like how things work in baseball, take a long walk away from the game and let everyone else play ball.
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