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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Umpire Joe West Hit By Throw From Red Sox Catcher Christian Vazquez

BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday night was a mostly disappointing affair for Red Sox fans, but there was at least one moment of levity — for everybody except Joe West, that is.

The crew chief was at second base for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. Though manager Alex Cora was ejected earlier in the game for arguing with home plate umpire James Hoye, West had done his job without issue throughout the night. In fact, an out call he made on an Astros would-be base stealer was upheld via replay.

But the veteran umpire had a bit of a low moment in the eighth inning, on another stolen base. Jake Marisnick broke toward second base, Christian Vazquez popped out of his crouch, and Brock Holt covered the second base bag. All standard procedure to that point.

Given this set-up, what sort of punchlines can you come up with for this?

QLE Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:10 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: christian vazquez, hit, joe west

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   1. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5766191)
None? It was a bad throw?
   2. , Posted: October 14, 2018 at 09:46 AM (#5766192)
I asked this in chatter: Shouldn't he have been turning to see the play? He was facing home plate when he got hit. It's almost like he didn't know what was going on at all.
   3. JustMe Posted: October 14, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5766194)
Maybe he was following the ball?
   4. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 14, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5766195)
Maybe he was following the ball?


Yes. The proper mechanic is to let the ball take you to the play. Getting hit in the shoulder is bad, but getting hit in the head is worse, and that's what can happen if you take your eye off the ball.
   5. JustMe Posted: October 14, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5766198)
As a reasonably svelte 36 year old, I would probably have had a similar reaction to having a ball hit at me while standing in the infield.

Not making a joke or insult, bluntly put, Joe West is an elderly, obese man. Are there any guidelines for forced retirement of older or out of shape umpires? Or can they retire as they see fit?

   6. , Posted: October 14, 2018 at 10:13 AM (#5766199)
Yes. The proper mechanic is to let the ball take you to the play. Getting hit in the shoulder is bad, but getting hit in the head is worse, and that's what can happen if you take your eye off the ball.

Cool. Thanks.
   7. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5766205)
Are there any guidelines for forced retirement of older or out of shape umpires?


Seniority is powerful. It's a 2 edged sword. In the conventional market, it protects against favoritism. Not necessarily that the best people can't be recognized and be promoted, there are ways around that in a seniority based system. In the conventional market, it's about managers not being allowed to promote a "suck up," someone willing to cut corners in order to achieve better "numbers", to the detriment of quality, and usually in violation of a collectively bargained contract. That's been my experience in that realm.

In re: the umpires union, it seems like they don't have any objective guidelines used to evaluate competency.

Joe West isn't THAT bad. "Out" or "safe" are pretty easy calls, usually. Balls and strikes area bit tougher. Most of the complaints I hear about him have to do with how he deals with people (players and managers).
   8. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 14, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5766228)
Maybe he was following the ball?

More like the ball was following him, having been captured by the force of West's immense gravitational field.
   9. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5766235)
I played golf with a group of guys who go to FL every winter, and they all belong to the same club down there, and Joe West is part of their group. (About a dozen guys, maybe a little more.) None of these guys were very good players, nor were they terrible. They all said West was the best player in the group, and they all said he's a good guy.
   10. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 14, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5766238)
West had no real option to get out of the way of that throw. As noted in the video and elsewhere, he actually saved the Sox an extra base because that ball was headed into CF if it doesn't hit him.

West's negative reputation as an umpire has always been because of his outsized personality, and his tendency to let him and it become the focus of things, rather than being a shadow behind the game. He's "Cowboy Joe West," the country and western singing umpire. It's his brand. He sells records off of it. He sells umpire school sponsorships off of it. But if you gave me a choice between West and a guy like Angel Hernandez, who is horrible at his job and a petit tyrant in every aspect of his demeanor, I'd take West every day and twice on Sundays.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: October 14, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5766250)
Has anyone listened to his music?
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 14, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5766260)
None of these guys were very good players, nor were they terrible. They all said West was the best player in the group, and they all said he's a good guy.

West was the starting QB at what is now an FCS school (Elon College); I assume he was pretty athletic in his younger days.
   13. bobm Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:05 PM (#5766288)
In re: the umpires union, it seems like they don't have any objective guidelines used to evaluate competency.

As per court filings, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez is suing Major League Baseball on the grounds of racial discrimination. His suit specifically focuses on the league passing him over for promotion to crew chief and not being selected for World Series assignments.

MLB evaluates their umpires in a number of different ways, including “calling balls and strikes behind the plate” as well as “hustle, fraternization, four-umpire mechanics, demeanor, style and form of calls, reactions to developments of plays, situation management, official baseball rules-and-interpretations, and focus.”

Umpires receive any one of three basic ratings in all of these areas: “exceeds standard”, “meets standard”, or “does not meet standard”. The lawsuit claims that “from 2002 to 2010, Mr. Hernandez received multiple ‘exceeds standard’ ratings” and “did not receive a single ‘does not meet standard’ rating during that same time frame.

According to his performance reviews, “Hernandez’ accuracy calling balls and strikes behind the plate increased from 92.19 [percent] in 2002 to 96.88 [percent] in 2016”, adding that “Hernandez’ accuracy was frequently praised by the Office of the Commissioner”.


Link
   14. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:12 PM (#5766292)
West had no real option to get out of the way of that throw.


What does that mean? To me it looks like he's watching the throw the whole time. When a ball is thrown at you and you don't have a glove, most people would take some evasive action; West just should there. Not one effort to duck, shimmy to the side; nothing. It was very strange.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:47 PM (#5766301)
Hugh - yeah he watched it the whole way but it really was in a tough spot. Hitters watch pitches going about as fast the whole way and they get hit, fielders get eaten up by line drives, I don’t think he had anywhere to go. Yeah maybe if he was younger and/or in better shape he could have dodged it but that thing honed in on him like it was laser guided.

Incidentally, he’s got the plate for game 3, Vazquez is getting rung up right?
   16. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5766303)
Umpires receive any one of three basic ratings in all of these areas: “exceeds standard”, “meets standard”, or “does not meet standard”. The lawsuit claims that “from 2002 to 2010, Mr. Hernandez received multiple ‘exceeds standard’ ratings” and “did not receive a single ‘does not meet standard’ rating during that same time frame.


Hernandez misses a lot of calls. I'm usually on the side of the ump. He is awful. I've seen better umpires doing beer league softball games. MLB's eval system needs an overhaul if Hernandez exceeds any standards.
   17. Bhaakon Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:31 PM (#5766322)

I played golf with a group of guys who go to FL every winter, and they all belong to the same club down there, and Joe West is part of their group. (About a dozen guys, maybe a little more.) None of these guys were very good players, nor were they terrible. They all said West was the best player in the group, and they all said he's a good guy.


Angel Hernandez frequents my place of employment when he's in town for a game (which is a few times a year, as I live in a 2-team market), and he's been a perfectly friendly, charming, and gracious person. In fact he's been a memorably nice guy in every interaction I've had with him. It's hard to square with his professional persona, to be honest.

I suspect the human interaction aspect of being a professional official is somewhat harder than fans realize. In a lot of ways you're being paid to be a whipping boy.
   18. Bote Man Posted: October 14, 2018 at 08:03 PM (#5766354)
Joe West probably could've gotten out of the way if not for the inertial mass of his quintuple chins.

I can easily believe that these guys have one persona on the field, which is on the job for them, and a totally different persona in a relaxed recreational environment. Look at Max Scherzer: when he's mowing them down by the 6th or 7th inning he turns into a manimal out there and I wouldn't want any part of him. Otherwise, everyone says he's as jovial, friendly, and generous as you could want. At home/at work.
   19. villageidiom Posted: October 14, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5766407)
Hernandez misses a lot of calls. I'm usually on the side of the ump. He is awful. I've seen better umpires doing beer league softball games. MLB's eval system needs an overhaul if Hernandez exceeds any standards.


Maybe the standards are "don't #### up more than twice a game" and he exceeds it.
   20. Jacob Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:22 AM (#5766551)
But if you gave me a choice between West and a guy like Angel Hernandez, who is horrible at his job and a petit tyrant in every aspect of his demeanor, I'd take West every day and twice on Sundays.


They both suck, but same here. It's a tough job.
   21. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5766772)
What does that mean? To me it looks like he's watching the throw the whole time.


He was, but you set up there assuming the catcher's throw to 2B is going to, you know, go toward second base. That throw had some seriously nasty, unexpected late tail to it. There's no way he's thinking he *could* get hit by it, out of the hand, and then by the time it starts curving over toward him, a good quarter of the way down the basepath toward 1B, and four steps onto the grass... No. He's just stuck there and planted, and there's not a lot to do about it. He's relatively athletic for a geriatric senior umpire. He's not Javy Baez.
   22. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5766977)
I was watching with a casual fan and she thought the catcher might be ejected for hitting him. That was funny. It was an awful throw but someone in shape probably could have gotten out of the way.
   23. Karl from NY Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5766990)
I thought the word on Angel Hernandez is that, despite the demeanor, he's actually pretty good on balls and strikes and calls in the field. Joe West is the one who invents his own reality.
   24. Tin Angel Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5767068)
He was, but you set up there assuming the catcher's throw to 2B is going to, you know, go toward second base. That throw had some seriously nasty, unexpected late tail to it.


This. Love all the "He's too fat!!" arguments. He's about 90-100 feet from home plate on a ball thrown 85+ that tails like a cutter instead of going straight as expected. But everyone here could have magically ducked it with their amazing athleticism from typing on the internet every day.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5767091)

I thought the word on Angel Hernandez is that, despite the demeanor, he's actually pretty good on balls and strikes and calls in the field. Joe West is the one who invents his own reality.



It was the other way around. West has a reputation for being very good on the mechanics of the game (though not this year behind the plate). Hernandez has no demonstrable skills.
   26. Karl from NY Posted: October 15, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5767097)
But everyone here could have magically ducked it with their amazing athleticism from typing on the internet every day.

And his attention would be focused on the base, where the play would be, not on the trajectory of the incoming ball.
   27. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 15, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5767107)

Maybe the standards are "don't #### up more than twice a game" and he exceeds it.


Hard to get rid of a guy like that!
   28. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 06:00 PM (#5767123)
But if you gave me a choice between West and a guy like Angel Hernandez, who is horrible at his job and a petit tyrant in every aspect of his demeanor, I'd take West every day and twice on Sundays.

I agree that I'd prefer the better ump - which is definitely West over Hernandez - but I think West is so, so much more petty and tyrannical than every other ump.

I posted a graph in another thread though - Hernandez is actually significantly better at balls/strikes than West. West is very high on both the calling balls strikes and calling strikes balls lists.
   29. Bug Selig Posted: October 15, 2018 at 07:53 PM (#5767163)
And his attention would be focused on the base, where the play would be, not on the trajectory of the incoming ball.
Except he's clearly not facing second base (yet). #4 touches on the key to this. He's not playing dodgeball, expecting to have to evade a throw. He's prepared to turn his attention to the bag, rotating inward as the ball leads him there. His only interest in the ball is as a timing trigger until it is far too late to do anything but hope it doesn't hurt a lot. I'm all for mocking Joe West, but there's just nothing here.
   30. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 15, 2018 at 08:16 PM (#5767175)
#4 touches on the key to this. He's not playing dodgeball, expecting to have to evade a throw. He's prepared to turn his attention to the bag, rotating inward as the ball leads him there. His only interest in the ball is as a timing trigger until it is far too late to do anything but hope it doesn't hurt a lot. I'm all for mocking Joe West, but there's just nothing here.


That's exactly right. You never take your eye off a batted or thrown ball in the IF until you are absolutely sure you know where it's going. That's not just for safety reasons, but also as a timing mechanism. You don't want to turn to look at the base until you have a good idea of when the throw will arrive. Turning too early and being surprised when the ball enters your field of vision is a good way to blow the call.
   31. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 15, 2018 at 08:32 PM (#5767183)
To me it looks like he's watching the throw the whole time. When a ball is thrown at you and you don't have a glove, most people would take some evasive action;


His job is not to avoid getting hit by a throw. His job is to be in the best possible position to make a call. If he ducks out of the way from every throw that looks like it might hit him, he would be demonstrably worse at his job. He was positioned well out of the way of the path of a throw from home to second and had zero expectation that a throw from a professional would hit him, especially tail into him the way it did.
   32. Cris E Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:05 PM (#5767209)
And he doesn't want to back up into the base path either. The runner was very near him as it was, so his egress paths were limited on top of everything else.
   33. Brian Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5767489)
I wonder if anyone here has had the same experience I have. Over many years of playing baseball/softball I had this happen 3 times: you're on base and a line drive is hit right between your eyes. Each time I froze, limboed backwards and the ball zipped past me. If it's an inch either way you have an angle on it and can easily avoid the ball by moving laterally but when the line drive is perfectly between your eyes the ball looks as big as a beachball right off the bat and you can't move left or right. I wonder if that's what happened to West here. When he picked up sight of the ball was it exactly between his eyes and thus froze him?
   34. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5767532)
I wonder if anyone here has had the same experience I have. Over many years of playing baseball/softball I had this happen 3 times: you're on base and a line drive is hit right between your eyes. Each time I froze, limboed backwards and the ball zipped past me. If it's an inch either way you have an angle on it and can easily avoid the ball by moving laterally but when the line drive is perfectly between your eyes the ball looks as big as a beachball right off the bat and you can't move left or right. I wonder if that's what happened to West here. When he picked up sight of the ball was it exactly between his eyes and thus froze him?


That's possible, but I think there's a simpler explanation. The ball tailed into him. If the ball is straight, it probably doesn't hit him. If it tails away, they have a shot at the runner and West is in the correct position to make the call. If he dives away, he's not. He is paid to be in position to make calls. He can't be diving away every time a ball looks like it might hit him. Nor should he expect thrown balls to hit him. These are the best of the best and as a rule don't make eggregiously poor throws and an umpire can't do his job if he is concerned they will and constantly taking evasive action, which 99.9% of the time will be unnecessary.

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