'Cowboy' Joe West goes looking for trouble again, ejects Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle

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Joe West made headlines last month for complaining about the pace of Yankees-Red Sox games and this afternoon the veteran umpire once again made himself the story by ejecting Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle.
Guillen’s ejection came in the second inning, when he argued West’s balk call against Buehrle. An inning later West called another balk on Buehrle, at which point Buehrle raised his palms in disgust and dropped his glove to the ground.
As soon as West saw any kind of reaction he began moving toward the mound looking for a confrontation and once Buehrle’s glove hit the ground the ejection was immediate.
Buehrle had to be restrained by teammates and White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson spent the next 10 minutes unloading on West, calling him “an absolute disgrace” and “a joke” among many other things. “Joe West wanted to stick it right up his behind and he did,” Harrelson said. “Something’s gotta be done about that. The last couple of years, he’s really had it in for the White Sox.”
As a Twins fan I’m not exactly in the habit of defending the White Sox, but West’s behavior was out of line. Whether or not “he’s really had it in for the White Sox” is up for debate, but he clearly went out of his way to call multiple balks against Buehrle–it’s the first time a White Sox pitcher had two balks called since 1993 and Buehrle had a grand total of one balk called against him in the past three seasons–and then changed the entire complexion of the game (and Chicago’s next couple games) by kicking the starting pitcher out of a 0-0 matchup in the third inning.
On the heels of Bob Davidson’s latest “incident” last night in Tampa Bay, it’s shaping up to be a banner week for out of control umpires.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.