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According to multiple sources, long time MLB umpire Joe West will retire at season’s end and all we can say is THANK YOU JESUS. He’s still somehow assigned big games like last night’s Yankees/Red Sox finale with major American League wildcard implications at stake, and now we know the only way it stops is if he quits.
We finally get our wish.
Joe West on the plate tonight. He plans to retire after the season, so this could well be his last game at Fenway.
West, 68, has been an MLB umpire since 1976. He's the man who called Dave Roberts safe at second in 2004.
"Country Joe" can be combative. But he's a good umpire.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 26, 2021
Pete Abraham, a Red Sox writer, tweeted that Joe West “can be combative. But he’s a good umpire.” Nice gesture trying to keep it classy while ditching the honor I feel with honesty in this moment: Joe West was certified cheeks behind the plate and he often let emotion wreck the entire flow of games. It’s one thing to be bad at something, and then it’s a whole different ballgame when you start throwing players out of games at record paces while you’re at it.
Keep in mind that I said last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game was important, but calls like these went down (although I’m happy they did as a Yankee fan):
Joe West called this a foul ball instead of a foul-tip third strike that was dropped on the transfer.
— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) September 27, 2021
West called this a dropped third strike when Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez was clearly attempting to transfer the ball to his throwing hand. Not an easy job, however calls like these can’t be missed at the highest level of a sport — let alone a major sport like baseball.
Here’s most of the calls (I could get my hands on) West made last night that made our skin itch:
Joe West being Joe West
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) September 27, 2021
Thanks Joe West? guy is blind pic.twitter.com/97JoP9pkOC
— Pinstripe Strong (@PinstripeStrong) September 27, 2021
Umpire Joe West makes an awful strike three call and DJ LeMahieu let him know about it. Even Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez couldn't believe it pic.twitter.com/kl6ZkBeU8t
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) September 26, 2021
All these calls go beyond “human error” — these calls flat out dictated outcome. Whoever gets a bogus call last loses, and yesterday the Red Sox happened to be in the crosshairs of Joe West’s 68-year-old eye sight when it counted most.
It’s probably best that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gets involved and forces umpires to live up to a standard through performance audits on a weekly basis, right? No explanation for veteran umpires to be assigned potential wildcard defining games at season’s end when they officiate games like an emotional teenager.
A 45-year career in the big leagues that saw plenty big moments like Dave Roberts’ stolen base off Mariano Rivera that would eventually break the Red Sox 85-year World Series drought. It’s about time he bared witness to those magical moments from his couch like the rest of us. Cheers.