I’m not normally one to throw stones at the professional who sidelines in music for the sin of moonlighting. I have my own glass house, it offends my sense of fair play and no matter how many blues lawyers or jam-band dentists the world has to suffer, I know the history of worthwhile music would shrivel badly if you removed its insurance executives or accountants.
But something about Wednesday’s multiple-ejection tantrum at the Indians/White Sox tilt by baseball’s least introverted umpire has me wondering if Cowboy Joe West’s muse isn’t worried a little too much about taking a solo – a time-honored tradition best left on the small and hacky stage, not behind the plate. Would a bit of focus on the job at hand kill anybody?
At Progressive Field, West, whose upper strike zone is harder to find than an army recruiter in a white neighborhood, twice called a balk on LHP Mark Buehrle’s move to first base, having apparently noticed the trademark motion’s rubber-grazing character for the first time in ten seasons. The first balk call brought out Ozzie, who West ejected. The second disgusted the normally level-headed Buehrle so much, he dropped his glove. For that, West sent him following Ozzie into the Cleveland afternoon with no plans.
Today, MLB decided that West needed to lose some weight – in his wallet. Along with Guillen and Buehrle, baseball fined West an undisclosed amount, the petulant authoritarian’s penance no doubt taking a deeper bite compared to either ballplayer’s bankroll. Rolling Wednesday together with West’s quasi-inappropriate excoriation of the Yankees and Bosox pace of game last month, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan could barely contain his glee at West’s comeuppance:
MLB doesn™t have nearly the perception problem with umpires that the NBA does with its referees. It doesn™t want one, either, and so its move to muzzle West is appropriate. The Yankees and Red Sox do push pace-of-play boundaries; they also provide the greatest rivalry in the sport, and fans who appreciate good baseball are willing to sit through extra time as long as the drama remains. West should™ve apologized and moved on. His targeting of Buehrle “ pitchers get called for multiple balks about once a decade “ was the vindictive sort of call that cements his reputation.
Undeterred, West™s diarrhea of the mouth continued. He had CDs and gear to sell, a website to push, a brand to promote. Attached to the latest e-mail from his publicist were 11 pictures, just in case one or two weren™t enough. It also included a funny subject line: œThe Real Joe West.
Like everyone doesn™t already see him for what he is.