Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yanks, Red Sox right to fire back at umpire West

You know you've done something wrong when the great Mariano Rivera criticizes you. Mo is known as a fierce competitor, but a gentle guy who would rather walk on fire than publicly condemn anyone. But the comments by umpire Joe West were so far out of line that he felt compelled to speak up.

Mo stuck up for his hitters taking their time at the plate, suggesting West should do something else if he doesn't like standing behind the plate for the epic games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The incomparable closer also made a good point about the teams loving and respecting their fans so much that they will always do the right thing for them, which suggests that Mo thinks any artificial attempt to quicken the pace of the game would be cheating the fans.

Derek Jeter was his typically restrained self when answering questions about West publicly calling the teams play "pathetic and embarrassing" because of the length of their games. But even he wondered what West would consider the ideal length of time for a baseball game.

Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, known for being quite the talker, hit back hardest at West, saying if the long-time ump doesn't like the pace of the games between the two archrivals, he should get himself reassigned. He also made a point that I completely agree with, that it is flat-out wrong for an umpire to publicly criticize any player or team.

Interestingly, he made another point that I hadn't thought of: that there is so much pressure from fans and the media on the players to win the games that the players naturally try to slow things down so they can make sure they do their best. It's a fascinating insight into the impact the Rivalry has on the players, something that we as fans never really think about.

I fully expected the Yankees and Red Sox to keep quiet, given the potential ramifications from West and his fellow umpires. But the fact that Mo and others are publicly calling him out speaks to how inappropriate his comments were. If West was smart, he would apologize for stepping out of line and put an end to this drama.

Thanks to Netbymatt via Wikipedia for the photo.

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