The MLB Suspended Umpire Joe West For Publicly Calling Adrian Beltre A Complainer...About 50 Days After The Fact
Joe West Interview with USA Today from June 20th:
“It’s got to be Adrian Beltre. Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, “that ball is outside.’
“I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.’’
(West later clarified to USA TODAY Sports that he and Beltre are on friendly terms).
Seeing as a player would almost certainly be fined for criticizing an umpire publicly, I could definitely see the MLB's justification for suspending an umpire for criticizing a player, even if that criticism read as though it were very much tongue-in-cheek. Remaining consistent in disciplining the talent as well as those that are paid to govern the talent in an unbiased fashion is important. I mean, how else would a league give the loose perception that it's tooootally officiated fairly by people that defffffinitely never experience innate human emotions like favoritism or disdain?
Unfortunately, the timing of this punishment makes as much sense as making your sport less entertaining by way of enforcing rules that apparently aren't even important enough to be put in a book. I don't know if the MLB has a super intricate investigation process that's as time-intensive as jailing a white-collar criminal, but a month and a half seems like a hell of a long tome to determine the legitimacy of a word-for-word quote that was published by a relatively trusted news source.
That's why I have no choice but to assume that Joe West is owed a nice steak dinner and approximately three days salary from a colleague whose dumbass ejection may have retroactively changed the tone of a humorous anecdote about Adrian Beltre...
I don't know, maybe I'm off-base here, but it seems much more plausible that Joe West's quote from late June was taken out of context in early August after Gerry Davis' authority complex unjustly had the subject of that quote tossed from a game in late July. I wouldn't consider calling a guy (who is known for his sense of humor) "the worst complainer in the league" in the framework of joke to be some sort of gross misconduct, but it definitely starts to look that way when a person you work closely with acts on that reputation by wildly overreacting to something that almost every player does. Maybe the MLB really wanted to double and triple check to make sure that 'USA Today' heard him right, but - if the calendar is any indication - then Joe West is being suspended for a second hand self-fulfilling prophecy.