Joe West is notorious for having a short temper and having no trouble tossing a player. Even the mild mannered Bob Carpenter had no trouble poking a bit of fun at the big man West, calling him "Heave Ho Joe" on Saturday night's broadcast. While that give me a chuckle, this umpiring crew is nothing to chuckle about.
On Friday night, the 3rd base umpire called Ian Desmond safe on a slide into 3rd base. It looked like Rolen's tag may have knocked Desmond's foot off of the bag, but it's hard to tell. Well the 1st base umpire, Joe West of course, said he had a better angle on the tag. Yes, from across the diamond. When the called was on the opposite side of the bag. West reversed the call, and tossed Desmond when he tried to ask for an explanation.
Then on Saturday, Brandon Phillips was called safe at 3rd due to interference by Desmond. Desmond clearly was running out of the way and Phillips ran into Desmond and pushed Ian out of the way. Another blown call that Riggleman argued and was... anyone.... tossed out. Phillips later came home and bowled over Wil Nieves for a clean play. Except he then came back, retouched the bag, and banged his chest several times. Pudge was fuming from the dugout, but Miguel Batista took care of business Batista slammed Phillips in the hip bone on the first pitch of his next at-bat. Batista then got tossed from the game by... Joe West.
This kind of umpiring has become a serious issue in all of baseball. Umpires used to come into the game, make their calls, and leave. Now, they want to become the headline of the game. Their names are displayed on the scoreboard next to the players. They want to be celebrities, too. West is already well-known across baseball for his comments about the length of Red Sox-Yankees games. Now, he's on a power trip to get his name out there more. Umpires like Joe West are absolutely ruining the game of baseball.
In contrast, there are guys like Jim Joyce. Joyce's name is out there now for blowing the call in Armando Galarraga's 26 out perfect game. Joyce wasn't out there to make a name for himself. He knew he blew the call almost immediately. Whether or not he should have overturned his own call is a totally different topic. Joyce got berated by Tigers Manager Jim Leyland for several minutes. Joyce just sat there and took it. He wasn't macho. He was wrong, and he listened to the manager's frustration in stride and let it go.
Jim Joyce is a class act for how he dealt with a terrible situation. Joe West is everything that's wrong with umpiring in baseball, and Major League Baseball needs to intervene to stop this sort of maverick-y umpiring. It's not what the game is about, and it needs to be stopped immediately.