In an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports more than a month ago, longtime umpire Joe West named Adrian Beltre the game’s biggest complainer.
Major League Baseball didn’t take kindly to that.
West, who recently umped his 5,000th career game, has been suspended three games by the league for criticizing Beltre publicly.
Nightengale specifically asked West who the biggest complainer in the game is, and this was his answer:
“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.’’
Now, you might think those are dickish words from an umpire who’s been known to occasionally make the game all about himself. That’s somewhat correct. However, West clarified with USA TODAY Sports that he and Beltre are on friendly terms.
I’d normally take any opportunity I can get to bash an umpire – like that other ump who made headlines in another recent Beltre-related incident – but I can’t do that here. West obviously did nothing wrong. This is as lame as a suspension can get.
The umpires’ union reportedly ‘strongly opposes’ the suspension (duh), so we’ll see where this goes.
Until then, #FreeCountryJoe.