Some people look at Joe West and see a problem; an antagonistic child, always looking for a scrap in which to insert himself. A man who wishes to market himself as hard as possible in an industry where he is desired by no one. No opportunity to have his name uttered goes unused by the veteran, who has never spent a day in the game trying to stray from the spotlight. And as many times as we sit here, helplessly typing out our feelings in response to his most recent victimizing of baseball, nothing seems to change.
Also he’s fat.
Last week, Joe was in the center of yet another incident.
In a Phillies-Marlins game in Miami, Hunter Pence doubled off the outfield wall with Ryan Howard on first, putting runners on second and third. Because of some Phillies fan interference, Joe West decided to review the play, then proceeded to call Pence out and send Howard back to first.
The Phillies fan in me was incensed. And since the Phillies fan is most of me, that didn’t leave room for all the rational thinking that everyone else was doing–that this game won’t matter in the long run, that it was early and we could still win anyway (we didn’t), that the Phillies played the game under formal protest (which was rejected), that you can’t blame Joe West for the offense not making a peep, etc.
“To the internet!” I shouted, but it was muffled, as I was lying face down on the living room floor.
Several hours later, when I summoned the will power to roll over to the computer, I let my feelings fly fast and loose. So if you want a more detailed, slightly more upsetting and way pettier depiction of what happened with some personal barbs at the Florida Marlins broadcasting team thrown in, check it out.
What’s important is that the rule said one thing, and Joe West, freight train of incompetence he is, barreled right past it.
“Instant replay applies only to home run calls.”
–That Text Right Up There in the First Line
The issue was that Joe was kind of either ignorant of the rule involving instant replay, or knew the rule and ignored it, because he reviewed a play in which no home run was signaled by any umpire.
It’s not like instant replay is detested by baseball. At least, depending on who you’re referring to when you say “baseball.” I think most everybody is aware that it would be great for the game, if correctly utilized. Of course we’re assuming there will be come concise way to review any important plays, but the point of it is, baseball needs it, because nobody finds the “human element” element as folksy or novel as it is often described.
The people who can change the rules, of course, are crusty old man with saggy faces, all of them stuck behind a schedule of golf outings and colonoscopies. I’m sure they very work very hard. But none of that work has done a lot to fix some of baseball’ most glaring issues.
Enter Joe West.
As a guy who brazenly disrespects players, managers, and by proxy, fans, you wouldn’t think a guy whose interests clearly lie elsewhere would be invested enough to spark change. But Joe, paying no attention to the surgical methods in which instant replay is to be applied, just went ahead and used it anyway. He came to a decision and the game went on.
Was his usage of replay out of ignorance or blatant disregard? We’ll never know. Plus, those are both very poor choices. I’m not saying he’d ever be a hero on purpose.
I’m just saying it was an incident that common sense tells us called for the use of instant replay, but MLB’s rules said that it did not. And Joe did it anyway. Maybe if more umpires followed Joe West’s example, and simply started using instant replay whenever they wanted, we’d see it’s utilization inserted into the game with more frequency. I mean it’s not like any umpire has to be legitimately worried about severe discipline from Major League Baseball.
Then, the powers that be could see it was nothing to be afraid of, and that it might even resolve a few issues, instead of forcing everybody to go home thinking, “Welp, sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes the umpires bend you over the hood of your car and fuck you.”