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MLB’s longest-standing umpire Joe West confirms that he’s umpiring the NL Wild Card game on Wednesday: “We’re not supposed to say, but I am.”
Baseball fans, rejoice: Joe West has gotten everything he’s wanted out of the game and is finally ready to retire.
But before he does, the 68-year-old umpire has one last opportunity to ruin the game — and it’s the St. Louis Cardinals – Los Angeles Dodgers Wild Card match, no less.
West began the 2021 MLB season in the running for the most games ever umpired, a record he broke back in May with No. 5,376. West was behind Bill Klem before breaking the record and has far surpassed it in the four months since.
Despite being abhorred by fans and players alike, West has been a mainstay in major league baseball for over 40 years. West has been on the plate for some of baseball’s greatest moments, including Nolan Ryan’s fifth career no-hitter, Albert Pujols’ 400th career home run, and Felix Hernandez’s perfect no-hitter 2012 game.
Joe West has last hurrah with opportunity to botch NL Wild Card
Despite his lengthy resume, West has been on the wrong side of calls and controversies during the entirety of his historic career. Back in 1983, West got in a shoving match with Joe Torre that resulted in a
Back in 2010, MLB players voted West as the second-worst umpire in baseball and the quickest to order an ejection. In 2006, six percent of players in a Sports Illustrated poll voted West the worst umpire in baseball — but two percent voted him the best.
West even worked in his support for Donald Trump when he ejected Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo from a game last September.
West, who is also a country music singer with multiple albums, has gotten the reputation for making the game about himself.
“Joe has been like that for a lot of years, and he’s always going to be like this,” former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen fumed after West argued a balk call again Mark Buehrle back in 2010. “I’m not going to change it, nobody is going to change it, but sometimes he thinks (bleeping) people pay to watch him (bleeping) umpire.”
Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood made his thoughts on Joe West in the post-season clear back in 2016: enough of the Joe Show.
The curtain will finally close on the Joe Show this week, but Dodgers and Cardinals fans hold out hope that the game won’t be on the wrong side of West’s colorful history of bad calls.