Getty Images

Joe West: “Nobody in today’s society wants to say ‘I wasn’t good enough'”

53 Comments

Joe West umpired his 5,000th game last night. For the occasion, Jeff Passan of Yahoo interviewed the Cowboy.

You will not be surprised that he does not care that people generally hate him. You will also not be surprised that he does not admit to being a less-than-great umpire. His view of the world is that people are always looking for someone else to blame when they fail and that the umpire is an easy target:

Baseball is a funny game. It’s typically American. If you don’t succeed it’s someone else’s fault. And the first person you want to look at is the official. Just look at our last election. When Hillary lost, it’s someone else’s fault. The Russians. Wikileaks. It’s the fact you couldn’t stand up and say ‘I lost.’ Nobody in today’s society wants to say ‘I wasn’t good enough.’ Baseball is a game of failures. The last hitter who hit .400 is dead and gone. There isn’t going to be another of those. For anybody to think this is a perfect game, they’re kidding themselves. Let’s be honest: How do you hit a round ball with a cylindrical bat square.”

A lot of people have focused on his Russia/Wikileaks comment, but I don’t care about that. Say what you want about the election, but I tend to agree more with people who favor complex explanations for complex occurrences rather than chalking them up to single factors. My political leanings notwithstanding, it’s rather silly to blame one single factor for Clinton’s loss, especially if that factor does not talk about the candidate, who made a lot of mistakes in an otherwise winnable race. That’s in the past, of course and matters less and less as time goes on.

No, the comment that leaps out at me is the one about people not admitting when they’re not good enough. From Joe West, who is arguably the worst umpire in baseball but believes otherwise because, hey, he’s had the job for a long time. Indeed, most of his career consists of incidents in which he’s blamed other people for controversies which arise due to his shortcomings. He believes that his status and the respect he’s owed because of his status trumps his performance. Joe West is never wrong.

Oh well. He has his moments, I suppose. He once ejected A.J. Pierzynski with some pretty suave style. And he grabbed Jonathan Papelbon by the jersey once to get him off the field, and who among us hasn’t wanted to do that?

 

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.