A strikezone ‘the size of a thumbtack’
By now everyone’s heard about Joe West.
Thanks, Michael, for shooting me the 411 yesterday.
Joe West, umpire extraordinaire, decided to steal his own headlines yesterday by criticizing both the Red Sox and the Yankees. My favorite part is where he calls the pace “a disgrace to baseball… pathetic and embarrassing.”
I think it’s interesting that his comments came literally hours after some seriously suspect calls by his own, ie: Angel Hernandez. Maybe if Hernandez had… oh, I don’t know… taken more time… we would have had a different ball game Tuesday.
I have a theory that Mr. West has forgotten what we watch baseball to see. Watch him. Watch certain other umpires. Anyone else get the keen idea they think they’re performing for us? That we’re just on pins and needles to see what they, the glorious umps, will do next? Oh, awesome, kids! It’s time for the Joe West show! You know what TV guide would call that show? PATHETIC and EMBARRASSING.
Yes, Stankee-Sox battles tend to swell… but don’t we expect that? We should. This isn’t our first Empire standoff. And look at the commercial breaks! So many of these contests hit national television, and, as Kepner points out, commercial breaks are extended accordingly. That means networks make more money- but it adds to the length of the product.
It’s not that West doesn’t make a good point. Maybe they should be encouraged to move plays faster- but the fact that these comments came from West of all people, and after some exceptionally horrendous umping by Hernandez… I was irked. And I think he could have chosen a few better workds than “pathetic and embarrassing.”
I wasn’t alone. Yankees, players and the fans, seem to have taken particular offense to West’s terminology.
“If he has places to go, let him do something else. What does he want us (the players) to do, swing at balls? … He has a job to do. He should do his job. We don’t want to play four-hour games, but that’s what it takes. We respect and love the fans and do what we have to do, and that’s play our game,” Mariano Rivera said to the New York Post.
Speaking of Rivera- you kids see what he said about Ortiz?
Take Mariano Rivera. The best closer of all-time said the thought of facing Big Papi in the ninth inning of a close game still makes him uncomfortable.
“David’s always dangerous, always dangerous,” Rivera said before recording his second save of the series. “You don’t want to face him in a tough situation.”
Rivera paused and laughed.
“I don’t know what the big deal is,” he said. “It’s two games. It’s ridiculous – for me, anyway.”
Ignore the part where Tomase calls Rivera “the best closer of all-time,” k?
Keep the faith, Boston, Ortiz is going to come back with a vengeance (I hope).
And… there’s always Lowell…
Tonight’s Kansas City match-up brings back the knuckleballer himself. I’m excited to see what Wake’s going to bring to the mound without his catcher…