Author: Craig Calcaterra


Joe West was the worst ball and strike umpire in baseball this year


When I wrote that Joe West post a little while ago I will admit that I was mostly commenting on West’s reputation. He has one, of course, for becoming part of the game and part of the story and generally having a confrontational attitude. There have been incidents in the past, you see.

If you take out those incidents I couldn’t tell you with any degree of certainty if West was truly the worst umpire in baseball. I’ve seen him make bad calls and call entire games with very questionable strike zones, but in all honesty, I would have assumed that, yes, there are worse umps. Seniority is powerful in that world, but you have to have some skills to last that long, right?

Then Rob Neyer tweeted this a few moments ago:

And yep, he’s right. And that’s quite a thing.

So, that leaves a couple of possibilities: (a) seniority, and not merit, is basically the entire basis for getting postseason assignments; or (b) getting a postseason assignment is, secretly, punishment, not reward, and the truly good umpires are off in Cabo or something getting a jump on their vacations, laughing at old Joe West.

Given that Jim Joyce got the World Series last year I’m assuming that second part isn’t true, because he’s aces. But then I’m left with more uncertainty at why the Orioles and the Royals have had Joe West inflicted upon them.

Mike Matheny says Adam Wainwright’s elbow is “perfectly fine”

Adam Wainwright

There was concern yesterday that Adam Wainwright may not be able to go for Game 1 of the NLCS. Those concerns seem to have gone by the wayside today:

That assessment came after Wainwright threw a bullpen session at Busch Stadium today and seemed good to go. He’ll be the NLCS Game 1 starter Saturday against the Giants. Lance Lynn will start Game 2, John Lackey will start Game 3, and Shelby Miller will start Game 4.

A.J. Burnett likely to pitch next year

A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett just suffered through an awful season during which he dropped many comments suggesting that he’ll retire. But it appears now, however, that he’s having a change of heart: Jon Heyman reports that “people close to” A.J. Burnett believe he’ll pitch in 2015.

It’s not like he doesn’t have a guaranteed paycheck. He has a player option worth $12.75 million with the Phillies, so not pitching would be giving money away, really. And while it was not a good season — he posted a 4.59 ERA and a 190/96 K/BB ratio in 213 and two-thirds innings — he’s still a durable innings eater.



The League Championship Series umpires are announced

Image (1) Joe%20West.jpg for post 5143

Hi, everyone. I’m Major League Umpire, Joe West.
source: AP

And I gotta tell ya, I’m thrilled as heck that I get to be the Crew Chief for this year’s ALCS. Joining me on my crew will be Brian Gorman, Marvin Hudson, Dan Iassogna, Ron Kulpa, Tim Timmons and Mark Wegner.

Over in the National League, my good friend Gerry Davis gets the nod as Chief. He’ll have Mark Carlson, Phil Cuzzi, Paul Emmel, Greg Gibson, Bill Miller and Bill Welke on his crew. Umpire Todd Tichenor will assist the designated Replay Officials at the MLB Replay Operations Center in the unlikely event we miss a call!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Hey Joe, why do you get be a crew chief at the LCS every year? Aren’t you . . . controversial?” Well yes, there have been some incidents over the years in which some disgruntled players and managers embarrassed themselves by questioning my authority. But for the most part those guys are sitting home or retired, so there’s no danger of them upstaging me as I bathe in the spotlight this fall. Just put your mind at ease about that.

As for the behind the scenes stuff, just put know that the umpire business is a meritocracy, probably, and that I was chosen because I was the best. Let’s see here in this press release . . . I’m sure it says something about how I’ve consistently graded out as one of the top umpires in all of baseball!

West, who leads all active umpires in years of service . . .

[crumples up paper, chews it and swallows it directly in front of you]

See! Country Joe is the best in the business!