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.