SBD/April 8, 2010/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Umpire Joe West Blasts Yankees, Red Sox Over Slow Pace Of Play

West Calls Yanks, Sox "Pathetic
And Embarrassing" For Slow Play

Umpire Joe West "blasted the Yankees and Red Sox just before" yesterday's game, "accusing the two clubs of being 'pathetic and embarrassing' in dragging the pace of games and refusing to work with umpires," according to Jeff Roberts of the Bergen RECORD. West, who was the home plate umpire for Sunday's game and served as the crew chief for the three-game series that ended yesterday, said, "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." Roberts noted Angel Hernandez, the home plate umpire for Tuesday's game, "denied at least three timeouts" called by Yankees SS Derek Jeter, LF Marcus Thames and Red Sox DH David Ortiz. West: "The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And (Tuesday night's game) still almost went four hours." West said that "special emphasis has not been placed on speeding up games this season," but added that umpires are "evaluated on how quickly the games move." West: "All of baseball looks to these two clubs to pick up the pace. Angel did everything he could. The players aren't working with us. This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball." West conceded that the Yankees and Red Sox "often play high-scoring games and that both teams employ a strategic approach that involves hitters taking pitches," but he said that the strategy "still does not explain the length of games between the archrivals" (Bergen RECORD, 4/8).

COME ON, LET'S GO ALREADY: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said West has a point in criticizing the teams, but "'embarrassing, pathetic, a disgrace to the game' I think is overstating it certainly." Kurkjian: "Let's understand the umpires are in charge of the pace of the game, and they have been charged this year with trying to do a better job of keeping the game moving. There's no doubt about this -- the Yankees-Red Sox games always seem to last more than any other games out there. It's partly because umpires and baseball have allowed these guys to get away with this for so long, stepping out of the box and everything else. But I think this is a sign of things to come. Angel Hernandez or any umpire has every right to deny time to a hitter. You don't get it because you call it, it's up to the umpire to give it to you. I think we're going to see more and more of that this year, and not just in the Yankees-Red Sox games" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/8).

SAYING TOO MUCH? ESPN’s Buster Olney said, “Major League Baseball is certainly not going to be thrilled that Joe West aired these things out. We have not heard from Major League Baseball on this. My guess is he'll kind of get his wrist slapped a little bit. They like to keep that’s stuff in-house in the same way they don't like players and managers criticizing umpires" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/8).

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