The Oakland A’s lost 1-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. It was an excellent pitching matchup between the two teams, but the game will be overshadowed by the man calling balls and strikes, Joe West.

Why isn’t it that surpising that West is in the middle of a horrific call? He is Major League Baseball’s version of Joey Crawford a colossal waste of space on the diamond and the only reason why he still has a job is because of the umpire union.

What makes West worse is that he think he’s bigger than the game. Can’t question a call by him because he is always right. Don’t bother trying to argue with him the player or manager is likely go be ejected rather quickly.

An illustration of West’s incompetency came on a check swing strike three call that West made on his own on Conor Jackson. The reality is that it was the umpire at first base call, not West’s. Though it looked like Jackson went around, he didn’t he was able to check his swing which was proven on replay and more than likely if there had been an appeal it would have been ruled no swing.

But, worst of all came in the bottom of the ninth inning. Brian Fuentes came in to face the bottom of the Phillies lineup. It looked like Fuentes was going to get off to a quick start as he got ahead of Shane Victorino rather quickly, but he worked the count to 3-2.

The next pitch was ruled ball four, but wait? Should it have been? Absolutely not. It was strike three and West should have called it. The pitch was right above the knees toward the middle of the plate, Fuentes waited for the strike three call, but West wasn’t going to call it.

That of course upset Fuentes and manager Bob Melvin even attempted to see where the pitch was, but didn’t argue too much as he didn’t want to be ejected. Even worse though is the next pitch to the next hitter Raul Ibanez was ruled a strike, the pitch was in the exact location as the one that was called a ball to Victorino.

Fuentes was able to get Ibanez to fly out to left field for the first out of the inning, Domonic Brown hit a sharp single into right field, but Victorino held up at second. Fuentes then got Brian Schneider to ground out sharply to Jackson at first for the second out of the inning.

Pinch hitting for the Phillies was Ben Francisco, Fuentes threw what appeared to be a strike but was ruled a ball. The next pitch was not close, so he was in the drivers seat. Fuentes came back with a decent pitch and Francisco rolled over on it and he even tripped going out of the batter’s box, but it was a high chopper that went over the head of third basemen Scott Sizemore for the game winning hit scoring Victorino and the Phillies took the first game of the three game series 1-0.

Yet, if West had actually made the correct call the game would been going into extra innings. That blown call changed the entire complexion of the inning and too make matters worse is that the Phillies with their explosive offense don’t need any gifts from West, but that’s exactly what he did.

It’s not like West hasn’t made the headlines before he was part of the umpiring group that resigned, yet was somehow hired back by MLB. Last year he questioned the Yankees and Red Sox about the pace of the game the two team’s play, but then again he is right on that one, but he also made two horrendous balk calls on Mark Buehrle who said  ”I think he’s too worried about promoting his CD and I think he likes seeing his name in the papers a little bit too much instead of worrying about the rules.”

Which, just further illustrates the point on the strike three call on Jackson, follow the rules there’s a reason why there’s an appeals process on check swing. Use the umpires at first and third when the call is questionable! This is just another example of a laundry list of calls, proves one thing, West shouldn’t be umpiring in baseball.


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