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Mark Potash Lays Some Of The Blame At Joe West's Feet

Writing in the Sun Times today, Mark Potash comments on the Ozzie Guillen and Joe West situation. Potash says that while Ozzie and Buehrle were in the wrong for arguing, Joe West is the type of umpire who often creates controversy.

It was Joe West — again. He might have been right to call two balks on Buehrle, that’s his call to make. And he was right to toss Buehrle for throwing his glove in disgust — by rule, that’s an ejectionable offense.

But the guy has a habit of creating and/or exacerbating situations like this. His dismissive hand gestures, his body language, his smirk, and his attitude are more incendiary than any of Guillen’s profanity. He doesn’t get any respect because he doesn’t give any.

Potash writes that though West was to blame for some of the incident, both Guillen and Buehrle should have known that West has a short fuse, and should have avoided antagonizing him as they did.

I tend to agree with Potash on this one. At least, as far as blaming Joe West is concerned. Did Mark Buehrle commit two balks? Perhaps. The balk, like the checked swing, is one of those calls that is not enforced with any uniformity or consistency. It sometimes seems that umpires call these things because they have a grudge against a certain player or team, which is completely inappropriate.

As a general baseball fan, I’d like to watch a baseball game and not recall the names of the umpire crew who were officiating the next day. If I’m reading about the umpires, then, in my opinion they have not been doing their jobs with the neutrality and professionalism that should be expected of them.