THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
Cowboy Joe West is a polarizing figure in Major League Baseball. He is one of the longest tenured umpires in the sport and worked his 5,000th game this season. He had a bit part in The Naked Gun when he was one of the umpires ejected from a baseball game by Frank Drebin. He is a country singer when he's not on the diamond. Fans either love him or hate him because of his moral compass. Whereas he feels he is doing what is right in the eyes of the game, others feel he is making the game about him. Somewhere, there is a PhD candidate writing a dissertation about him.
One thing he is not, though, is a target for deadly objects.
At the end of June while in Milwaukee for a series between the Brewers and the Marlins, West was working first base when a baseball was thrown from the stands and hit him in the back of the head. Smartly, West pulled the teams off the field until he felt nobody was in danger of further attack. Brewers security attempted to locate the fan who assaulted West, but were unable to do so immediately.
This incident occurs only months after a Toronto reporter was caught throwing a beer can at an Orioles outfielder during the 2016 AL Wild Card game. That reporter was fired and put on probation, among a list of other penalties.
The fact of the matter is that nobody deserves to be the target of assault, especially over something as trivial as a game. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, especially when it comes to the officiating of Joe West, but nobody has the right to throw a baseball at him with the intent to injure him. It's an absolute shame that someone could be so stupid...or perhaps it's a shame that someone could be so inebriated that such an idea seems logical.
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.