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

Getty Images
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?

 

Clayton Kershaw returning to Dodgers on 1-year, $20M deal

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2023 after signing a one-year, $20 million deal.

For the second straight year, the Dodgers didn’t extend a qualifying offer to the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Instead, they gave him additional time to mull his future, and he once again decided to stay with the only franchise he’s ever played for during his 15-year major league career.

The deal includes a $5 million signing bonus payable on June 30, a salary of $15 million and a hotel suite on road trips.

The 34-year-old left-hander was 12-3 with 2.28 ERA in 22 starts last season. He struck out 137 and walked 23. Kershaw made his ninth All-Star team and started the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career at Dodger Stadium.

Last April, he became the franchise’s all-time strikeout leader with 2,697. He reached 2,800 strikeouts in his last start of the regular season on Oct. 5 against Colorado. Kershaw ranks 24th all-time with 2,807.

Kershaw has a career record of 197-87 with a 2.48 ERA. He won his only World Series title in 2020, when the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay during the pandemic-shortened season.