It had been a while since Joe West made his way into the spotlight, so the umpire decided that the bottom of the ninth in a one-run game was a good time to give his despised brand of officiating a solid boost. Blue Jays closer Ken Giles had just thrown a 97 mph fastball to Brett Gardner well outside of the plate on a 3-1 count, so the Yankees outfielder started to make his trot to first. But ol’ Cowboy Joe didn’t see what everyone else with a functional pair of eyes saw, and ended up calling a strike, much to the dismay of Gardner.
Even more annoying than the fact that West decided to be a patronizing prick to Gardner, asking him to express his displeasure from the batter’s box, is the knowledge that neither the Yankees player, nor manager Aaron Boone, could actually make a show of their respective anger without risking ejection from MLB’s most sensitive umpire not named Angel Hernández. In other words, baseball fans definitely missed out on a more emphatic version of the “fucking savages in the box” rant.
It might be fun for some to make jokes about how West is probably a secret plant for the robot umpire industry at this point in his career, but those kind of thoughts become a lot less humorous once you realize that Cowboy Joe will be umpiring a playoff game soon, and will probably bring his style of shitty calls to a situation that kills a team’s World Series dreams. The only positive takeaway here is that at least this bad call went against the Yankees this time, who’d go on to lose to the Blue Jays, 4-3.