Sunday, August 22, 2010

Umpire #22

Blame it on the umpire. Everybody does.

No umpire thinks he's bigger than the game more than country music minedas Joe West. No matter what he thinks, no man is bigger than the game itself.

Can Joe West be impartial? He can, but not consistently. The White Sox usually take the brunt of his ego. Sometimes it seems as if Joe is doing these things deliberately. Maybe he is. Maybe he's not. Only Joe can really know.

The facts are this. Joe West was fined for his actions against the White Sox in a game earlier this season. Despite the warnings of the Royals groundskeepers that heavy rain was expected within fifteen minutes, Joe West decided to start Friday's game. That game lasted less than an inning and both starters were lost.

The opinions are this. Joe West deliberately started a game in which the White Sox were in the playoff hunt, forcing that night's starter to be unavailable for the rest of the series, and further taxing the team by playing three games in the span of 24 hours. This decision was helped by the asinine rules stating that no other game can be played on television against FOX Saturday baseball or against ESPN Sunday night baseball. Anyone who is employed in an on the field role in MLB would know this. In one manner of speaking, Joe West screwed over the White Sox by his actions in this weekend series.

Throw in the facts that all three games went into extra innings and Joe West made a few questionable calls in each game and that starts to look like a grudge is being held against the White Sox. This close to the end of the season, the postponed game could have been held until the end and played only if necessary.

On the other hand, Joe West did make some close calls in favor of the White Sox. A play at second base in the first game of Saturday night's double-header comes to mind. More often than not, Joe West is out for himself first, even if it is at the expense of players. There have been numerous complaints about Joe this season, not just by the White Sox. I think it may be time for Joe West to be shown the door. Let him focus on his country music.

It's not entirely Joe West's fault. Part of the blame lies with exclusive contracts and blackout dates. The entire notion of a network hijacking a time slot, where no other game can be shown is plain ludicrous. I can't see that being good for anyone. The blackouts are just as bad. I can understand a blackout in the case of two different networks showing the same game. It's a bit silly, but I can see that. Personally, I used to enjoy flipping back and forth between WGN and TBS as a kid and getting both sides of a Cubs/Braves game. I'm not the only one who enjoyed that. What possible reason is there to block out a Dodgers/Rockies game in Chicago? Is that game competing with anything in Chicago? No.

All of those complaints and observations are just window dressing. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. All of these games were winnable. Most of the games had already been won. Does the fault lie with the bullpen. Yes, but only a small portion. The real culprit is the offense.

It's a case of "Don't tell me what you hit. Tell me when you hit it" that is the real story of the 2010 White Sox. The numbers in the past five series have been abysmal with runners in scoring position. The hits have been there, just not at the right times. The bullpen does need work and Joe West needs to be shown the door, but if the Sox don't start hitting when it counts, the season is lost.


Section 36 said...

Earlier in the year, Joe West called the Red Sox a disgrace. Maybe he had his Sox confused.

zman40 said...

It is my understanding that the decision on whether to start the game or not lies solely with the home team. But, once the game starts, the decision switches over to the umpires.

I haven't heard or read anything about it, but I would assume that the Royals wanted to start the game, wait out a the delay, and then finish rather than losing the date to an if needed game.

When the postponement was announced, the Royals TV play-by-play man, Ryan Lefebre, was shocked. He kept going on about despite that fact that it has stopped raining and there is no rain between here and the Rockies, the game has been called. He also said that some of the lights went out and the scoreboard went out, so there might be another issue that he wasn't aware of.

I went to gmae one yesterday and would have loved to have stayed for the second game. But if I would have, I would have got home after 4 am. That exclusive Fox deal is bs. Those games should have started by at least 4.

What a strange weekend it was.

Steve Gierman said...

Section 36,
Joe West is just making friends everywhere! LOL

That was my understanding of the rule too, but all that I've been hearing, from many different sources, is that the Joe West took it upon himself to get the game started. It's comforting to hear that there was just as much disbelief on the Royals side about this weekend.

I think we should be past the age of exclusives and blackouts.

Section 36 said...

I heard once that the home team has the say until gametime...not when the game starts. So, once 7:05 (or whatever time the posted start was) rolls around it's in the umpire's hands. If the team wants to call it at 2 in the afternnon, they can. But, at 7:06 they're out of luck.

Steve Gierman said...

Interesting. That may be the missing piece to the puzzle.

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