It took all of one game for umpire Joe West to again make headlines for a call that was either “controversial” or just plain “wrong” depending on how charitable you’re feeling.
West wrung up Twins outfielder Torii Hunter on a game-ending strike three call against the Tigers even though replays showed that Hunter appeared to check his swing on the Joe Nathan pitch out of the strike zone. (Click here to view the play and judge for yourself.)
Hunter predictably got very upset, yelling at West after the game was over, and then he said the following to reporters in the clubhouse:
He gave me no explanation. I think he had a dinner reservation or a concert to play in. That was terrible.
It was a bad call in a very important spot, but even as a Twins fan who generally dislikes Joe West’s behavior I’ll say that check swings are hardly cut-and-dried calls and … well, we have a long season of even worse calls–many of them probably by Joe West–ahead of us. Gotta pace ourselves.