Open Mouth, Insert Foot – featuring Joe West

by on April 9, 2010   11 Comments

Baseball is a multi-billion dollar revenue machine and until the economic pot-hole in 2009, had seen attendance grow exponentially at all levels from independent baseball to the big leagues.  However, some, like umpire Joe West (pictured throwing out Jerry Manuel, although I like to pretend he is shaking his booty to some hip-hop song) that enjoy the game enough to make his career out of it, but can’t be bothered to hang around and work for four whole hours.  More specifically, hang around and work four whole hours for the one of the best rivalries in all of sports – the Yankees vs. the Red Sox.

“They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And [Tuesday night’s game] still almost went four hours . . . This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.”

Au contraire, Mr. West….

What is really an embarrassment is your waist line.  And your big mouth.  You are an umpire.  An u-m-p-i-r-e.  And despite you and your co-workers trying to get on Sportscenter with your over-the-top dramatizations of strikeout calls or punch outs on the bases – YOU ARE NOT THE SHOW.  And futhermore, even though you are not a professional athlete, you still make your living in sports, and as a visible ambassador of the sport – please, try to look the part.  Seems to me you might need a couple more hours per night to be on your feet and run around a baseball field, not less.

There are no officials from any other sport – whether they run around during the competitive match or not – that are as disgustingly overweight as the average MLB umpire.  As someone who is supposed to have a knowledge of the game, you should at least look like at some point in time you might have been able to play it.  So here you go, Joe, a quick look at your peers across sports – let me know what you think is embarrassing now.

Ed Hochuli – Not only is this dude beyond jacked (and admittedly under my own PED suspicion), he is the classy example of what a sports official should be.  Always in control of the game and yet goes unnoticed.  And when he made a major bone-head mistake for once in his umpteen-year career?  He came out and publicly apologized and disappeared back into the obscurity of officiating where at least part of your job is not being heard or seen.

NBA referee Dick Bavetta turned 70-years old in December, 2009, and has been an NBA official since 1975 (35 years if you’re scoring at home).  Maybe you haven’t heard of him, I hadn’t until I Googled him, which, in my mind, is how I want my official – unnamed and anonymous.  In 2007, Bavetta raced Charles Barkley the race of the basketball court for charity ($75,000) and lost by an eyelash despite a head first dive at the finish that caused him to skin up his knee.  Bavetta’s key to logevity?  Running five to eight miles per day.  I’d be willing to bet Joe West hasn’t run five to eight miles total in the past 20 years.

Random chair umpire in tennis – no idea who it is.  The point is that he is in shape and he sits in a chair all-day, not just four hours, as his job.  In fact, I even tried to find some note-worthy name of a tennis umpire and I can’t find anything.  That is the way it should be.

Author: Aimee Connors
Categories: Major League Baseball (MLB)
Tags: , , , , ,


  1. The best part is that the Chitika advertisement came up with “Foot and Mouth Disease” as the #1 advertisement match. Hysterical.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    April 9, 2010 at 10:15 am

  2. Wrong Manuel…Jerry, not Uncle Charlie, is pictured above. And also, Ed Hochuli is a beast.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    April 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  3. Aye, oops. Good pick up, fixed it.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    April 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  4. I miss Frank Pulley

    Comment by Mac
    April 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  5. But do you agree that both teams do drag out games, and they definitely need to speed things up? I know the MLB talked to the Yankees, Sox, and maybe another team or two before the season about the pace of games, and Papelbon was fined last season for his slow pace. Didn’t know if you disagreed with that, or just how Cowboy Joe said it.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    April 10, 2010 at 12:45 am

  6. I understand the motivation for Bud Selig to ask baseball to speed up the game – he believes that to recruit the younger, basketball/football generation, he has to make the pace of play look like a fast break or hail mary. But frankly, I don’t care if the games last five hours, I love the strategy behind baseball from start to finish. And I don’t think Bud has as much to worry about as local minor league teams sometimes outdraw NBA teams over the course of a season.

    Does that mean it is necessary for Posada to run out to the mound to talk about every 3rd pitch they want to throw? No. But if I’m paying $2,500 of hard earned cash for seats behind home plate at Yankee Stadium (which, I never, in a million years, would) I would be more than just a little irked that baseball suggests I should get less bang for my buck and, worse yet, that the umpires feel like it is necessary to come out in the media and extend the notion that not only can they not be bothered to work for three hours a day, but that teams that drag things out are a “disgrace to baseball.”

    Baseball is about strategy. I don’t really like that the evolution of the game is you have to have one-batter specialists in the bullpen to throw in 90 games and log 40 innings over a season, but it is what it is. Baseball will never make a rule saying that all pitchers have to be in games for a minimum of one inning, because the MLPBA would go nuts with the possibility of injury concerns and 20-run, 80-pitch innings potential. So instead they just sit in their suites and go, “Shoo, shoo, hurry up” without any specific rules to assist umpires except a stop watch – what’s next? A pitch by pitch “shot clock?” It’s silly, if you ask me. If people wanted a faster game, they’d go watch NASCAR – when people stop showing up to watch the Yankees vs. Red Sox, then we can think of a way to make the game better, faster, and more appealing. IMO. So far, so good, though, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of an exit survey at Yankee Stadium where fans were pissed they had to watch four hours of baseball.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    April 10, 2010 at 5:30 am

  7. While I mostly agree with you, I just have to comment on the “…where fans were pissed they had to watch four hours of baseball,” part. With some games, it gets to the point that the game may be four hours long, but you’re only watching two and a half hours of baseball. When Jorge goes to talk to Marte 3 times when he is facing one batter, then goes and talks to Joba 5 times when he’s only pitching 2/3 of an inning, it gets a little ridiculous. I understand the strategy and all, but when it gets to the point where it’s throw a pitch, mound conference, throw a pitch, mound conference, shake off all signs, mound conference, throw a pitch, mound conference, pitching coach visit, throw a pitch, switch pitchers, mound conference…you get the picture, it gets a little out of hand, in my opinion.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    April 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm

  8. No, I agree with you, I even specifically put it in my comment that I didn’t like Jorge having to go out to talk it over every other pitch. But that is a simple fix with an objective rule that says – one visit between catcher/pitcher per at-bat (or inning even) whereas just telling everyone arbitrarily to “hurry up” is lame and unnecessary.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    April 11, 2010 at 12:25 am

  9. My fault, I forgot you did mention that. Personally, I’ve got no problem with West’s comments. Maybe they weren’t necessary, but a reporter stuck a mic in his face, and he gave his opinion.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    April 11, 2010 at 1:37 am

  10. We’ll have to agree to disagree. What fired me up the most about the comments it that Joe feels like he has the ability to qualify what is, or is not, “embarrassing” or a “disgrace to baseball.” His comments go to the heart of what is wrong with the attitudes of umpires in today’s game – playing the role instigator instead of peace keeper, more hot head than cool tempered, and a sound byte rather than no comment. Joe is entitled to his opinion like anyone else, but the only reason there is a mic in his face in the first part is because he is known for being someone who will offer up a gem of controversy on the drop of a hat. What he should have done is said, “no comment,” or more specifically, “no comment, because I am just an umpire – go ask the people who actually play the game, or those who actually make up the rules.”

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    April 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm

  11. The longer the game the happier I am.

    And, mad props for calling out the obesity of the average MLB ump. If those tennis refs, sitting in chairs, can be fit… then so can you!

    Comment by Josh Brown
    April 12, 2010 at 10:34 am

Leave a comment