Umpire Joe West will be working the Red Sox-Royals series that begins Thursday night in Fenway Park, the first time the veteran umpire will be working a Sox game since he called out the Sox and Yankees last month for slow play he termed "pathetic" and "embarrassing."While I thought his initial comments were ridiculous, his second version doesn't sound so bad. At the very least he put some of the blame on himself and the umpires.
"I don't second-guess what I said," West said by telephone from Cleveland, where he worked Wednesday afternoon's White Sox-Indians game (and ejected Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle). "And I don't believe I'm wrong. A lot of people don't believe I'm wrong.
"I kind of expected the firestorm I created. But the interview was taken out of context. The first thing I said was that these were two of our best teams, but the pace that they play the game was pathetic and embarrassing. But everybody, especially the New York media, blew it out of proportion and said I was calling the teams pathetic.
"Some people said I had no right to single them out. I didn't single them out. I said they were both bad."
West was asked if, given his role, he was the wrong person to be critical of the teams.
"The people who say I am not impartial, I am impartial," he said. "I just tell the truth. Who do you want to deliver the message?
"The truth of the matter is, the Red Sox and Yankees are two of the best teams we have. The Dodgers are one of the best teams we have in the National League, and they're pretty slow.
"A few players were upset because they thought I was picking on them. I wasn't picking on them, I want the best product. This isn't theater, it's a baseball game, so let's play it like a baseball game."
The players aren't the only ones responsible for the slow pace, he said. "You have to blame us too," said West, who is the new head of the umpires' union, the World Umpires Association. "We don't tell hitters to get in the box, we don't tell pitchers to throw the ball."
What do you guys think?
As far as yesterday's incident with the White Sox, that was just disgraceful.