Fans want athletes, coaches and even umpires to be honest with their comments to the media. However, the tricky thing is that raw and un-cut opinions often times have negative consequence.
Joe West, who just umpired his 5,000th career game, felt the brunt of this dichotomy on Tuesday with MLB handing out a three-game suspension for his comments about Rangers third basemen Adrian Beltre in a USA today article published June 20. West was asked who the “biggest complainer” was in his experience behind the plate, and the 64-year-old had no qualms about calling out the newest member of the 3,000-hit club.
“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.”
The World Umpires Association came out in defense of the longtime umpire, whose suspension began with Tuesday’s games.
“Joking interactions between umpires and players are a routine part of the game,” the union said in a statement. “We disagree strongly with the decision to punish Joe West simply for sharing a humorous exchange with a player.”
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