Joe West is one of the worst umpires in baseball in terms of getting the calls right but he is absolutely the worst umpire in baseball in terms of temperament. He seems to truly think that he’s as important as the players and that fans are as interested in seeing him officiate as they are in seeing world class athletes compete.
He likewise thinks that, rather than merely call the balls and the strikes, the safes and the outs, that he’s there to police the demeanor of players. Like he did in San Diego last night after Madison Bumgarner walked a guy and, like a lot of pitchers do, yelled out in anger:
There was a BIG element of Bumgarner not liking West’s strike zone to this, I’m sure, but who cares? West is the ump. His strike calls, even if they sucked, were his calls. An umpire with a normal human ego and a lack of personal insecurity would let Bumgarner huff and puff all he wants, secure in the knowledge that his calls weren’t gonna change. If and only if Bumgarner or Bochy or someone stopped the game to argue balls and strikes would he or should he do anything, as such things call for automatic ejections.
But that didn’t happen here. Bumgarner complained, but took the ball back and was ready to pitch. West decided that he needed to show everyone in the ballpark how big a man he was. He needed to stare the pitcher down, stopping the game to do so. Which, considering that speeding up games was Major League Baseball’s number one priority this year and that umpires were tasked to police it, is pretty amazing.
Joe West is an unprofessional clown who is bad at his job to boot. He shouldn’t be umpiring games at all. That Major League Baseball still lets him is a total joke.