Friday, April 9, 2010

Country Joe and the Dish: Why umpires should be seen and not heard

Yankee closer Mariano Rivera isn't exactly Chad Ochocinco when it comes to being an outspoken athlete. So it was a big surprise to see Mo criticize umpire Joe West's comments about Yankees-Red Sox games taking too long.

In an interview with the Bergen Record, West whined about the long pace of the games, calling them "pathetic and embarrassing" and "a disgrace to baseball." Why an umpire, who is supposed to be an impartial arbiter, is making such inappropriate comments to the media is beyond me. If West wants the spotlight so badly, why doesn't he just go date Kate Gosselin or something, and keep his thoughts to himself.

And where is Bud Selig on this? At the very least, West ought to be fined for speaking out of turn. His comments were so over the top and inappropriate that even Rivera, one of the most soft-spoken men in baseball, seemed to feel compelled to say something:
“He has a job to do. He should do his job,” Rivera told the New York Post. “We don’t want to play four-hour games but that’s what it takes. We respect and love the fans and do what we have to do and that’s play our game.”

“It’s incredible,” Rivera said. “If he has places to go, let him do something else. What does he want us to do, swing at balls?”
Actually, one New York writer - Wally Matthews (who else?) - wants the Yankees to do just that!

In "Ump should be praised, not punished," his latest column for ESPN NY, Matthews defends West's comments, and criticizes both teams for having hitters who work the count, like Nick Johnson. The DH who won Wednesday's game is just a time-waster, in Wally's eyes, as someone who "seems determined to see at least six pitches each time up." The horror! Matthews opines:
...the GMs of both the Yankees and Red Sox should assume some of the blame for the excessive length of their games, since both specifically and carefully shop for hitters who like to work deep into the counts in an attempt to get the right pitch to hit and in the process wear down pitchers.

Oh please. Is this guy serious? I can see sportswriters complaining about pitchers taking too long to throw the ball, and batters who futz around too much in the batters' box, or the incessant commercial interruptions during Yankees-Red Sox games. But to gripe about hitters working the count is a ridiculous complaint, even for Matthews.

That's not all. Matthews does something I detest from sportswriters, in which he claims he's speaking for everybody else.
Pick it up, will ya, fellas?

That's all Joe West was saying, and deep down, we all know he's right.

For that, he shouldn't be reprimanded. More like rewarded.

1. What do you mean "we," Wally? Got a parrot on your shoulder?

2. Rewarded for what? For West making a spectacle of himself and criticizing MLB's marquee rivalry?

3. Why should an umpire be "rewarded" for such inappropriate behavior? And how can either team expect fair treatment in the future from an ump who has been shown to have such bias against them?

Besides,  if we're going to talk about egregious things in games, I just want to not that I'm still bitter the umpires wouldn't stop the game during the midge infestation in the 2007 ALDS. The fact that the Yanks had to play through that swarm of bugs was more offensive than a season's worth of four-hour Yankees-Red Sox games!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


"Nutball Gazette" said...

Even Curt Schilling told WEst to shut up. And said if he wants Games to move faster West should call a strike once in a while

Uncle Mike said...

On the Yankee side, Mariano Rivera, hardly an outspoken man, told West he was wrong. On the Sox side, Curt Schilling and Dustin Pedroia told West he was wrong.

Face it, when you've got both the Yankees AND the Red Sox against you, that's not a good sign. Aside from Dunkin Donuts and W.B. Mason, the two teams agree on very, very little!

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