Scout’s Eye: Joe West Suspension Just Plain Stupid

When the powers that be in Major League Baseball decided to suspend senior umpire and legend Joe West, for comments he made about Texas Ranger’s future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre, they showed just how much the game has changed. Love him or hate him, Joe West is an icon in this sport. He was talking about how much fun he was having with Beltre. That special part of communicating through a bit of joking around in general has changed in our society. It is being thought of as harmful to our psyches and has begun to rear it’s ugly head in our national past time. Baseball has always been a fun thing for people in our nation. We use it as a means to forget about our tough days at work and life in general. We can’t afford to loose that fun aspect of the game.

I understand that there has to be a good deal of respect between players and umpires. That being said, it is still a “GAME”. When either an umpire, manager, player, batboy or anyone of the numerous people who work in this game have to scrutinize every word they say, for fear that it will hurt someone’s feelings, we are headed for the dumpster as a sport. The game has changed so much since I played. Today in youth baseball, if anything is said about an opposing player, it is stopped and in some cases that person doing the talking is penalized or tossed from the game. I remember being called “Rag Arm” and other things. I learned to tune them out. I was told to not have “Rabbit Ears.” It was not harmful and I learned to give it back in a fun way as that was always part of the game. There has always been some friendly jockeying with the other team and umpires. I did not end up on the psychiatrist’s couch over any of the joking around that occurred in playing the ga!

Give me a break! Loosen up MLB. I don’t believe America will become any weaker in the world if we have some fun with each other. It’s a baseball “GAME” and no harm is intended. Joe West was just having fun with Beltre who is the most fun loving player in baseball. This is not Roberto Alomar spitting on umpire John Hirchbeck or Mr. Met giving the fans at Citi Field an obscene gesture. This is a knee-jerk reaction by major league baseball that is unwarranted. Lighten up baseball, or run the risk of becoming so serious, that you start loosing fans. You know, the ones who pay all that money to attend a game, the ones who pay your ridiculous salaries.

The whining prima donna big league players can say derogatory things to an umpire on and off the field. They may get a fine for their hurtful words, but not a suspension. The ones who applauded this West suspension should be ashamed of themselves, sorry you got your feeling hurt boys. They need to grow up and be real big leaguers. As far as Major League Baseball is concerned, they should have been this tough during the steroid era that almost destroyed the game, instead of looking the other way. They should have suspended the commissioner Bud Selig for that and his role in ownership collusion. Instead, they gave him more money and put him in the Hall of Fame. Now that suspension I could have dealt with. Suspending Joe West for his laughable comments about Beltre is just plain stupid.

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