Back in June, umpire Joe West celebrated his 5,000th game. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports interviewed him to get his thoughts on all things baseball past and present. One of the subjects was Adrian Beltre. West said, under the header “Biggest complainer:”
It’s got to be Adrian Beltre. Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, “that ball is outside.”
I told him, “You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.”
(West later clarified to USA TODAY Sports that he and Beltre are on friendly terms).
West has been suspended three games for those remarks, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. The union is strongly opposed to the suspension. Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the World Umpires Association said, “Joe West is the most senior umpire in our ranks, having served MLB since 1976, under six different baseball commissioners. Joe has upheld the rules of fair play for more than 5,000 Major League Baseball games, and is on his way to the record for most career games ever worked by an MLB umpire. He should be on the field today.”
While it’s nice to see an umpire actually reprimanded for poor conduct, it would be nicer to see it applied more consistently. Many umpires instigate confrontations with players and coaches, then eject them, and seem to never face consequences for their role in the altercations. West is certainly no stranger to that. It seems like the straw that broke the camel’s back was speaking colorfully to the media.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.
Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.
Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.
After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”
As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.