It's been a while but Joe West, the home plate umpire in yesterday's Giants @ Brewers game (although to be exact, on Mexican heritage day it was the Cerveceros vs Gigantes) had a curious strike zone that benefitted the hometown Milwaukee boys.
I'm on a leisurely walk, listening to Duane Kuiper on KNBR, 680 on your AM dial, describe a Barry Zito pitch as high, when upon further review I saw the pitch cross the batter's belt. I ask you, when was a pitch across the belt high? When the umpire is so fat he has to take the shoe shiner's word for it when he says 'Your shoes are shined, sir.'
Zito kind of looked in as if he couldn't believe his eyes and West glared out at him. That's the thing about Joe West. He has zero tolerance for players who display what he considers to be a bad attitude by showing their outward bad body language in reaction to a Joe West call. When this happens, beware, Joe West will exact revenge. For the rest of the game throw out the rulebook because every call will be left to West's interpretation. It is Joe West's understanding that since a good number of calls he makes are left to his interpretation that any given rule can be overlooked in the case of making his point that a player who tried to show him up must be held accountable for his actions.
As for West's accountability, that's not necessary. Because you see, Joe West is a hypocrite, emphasis on the hippo.
So Zito looks at West wrong and the next thing you know "Munch" Fielder now needs 4 strikes to be out, since one of Zito's gems was purposely missed by West. Next pitch, Fielder deposits in the right-field seats. Score: Gigantes 4 Cerveceros 3.
Zito is removed for Medders and on Medders' first delivery McGehee puts that gift into the left field seats. Gigantes 4 Cerveceros 4.
Game remains tied until the top of the 9th when the Giants score 2 runs. And coming in to pitch the bottom half of the 9th is Brian Help Me Rhonda Wilson. And boy was Wilson a test dummy for the attitude-in-need of adjustment calling balls and strikes. Throughout his entire time on the mound, Wilson got squeezed by West like he was a plastic container of ketchup and West's hamburger was too dry for the fat man to choke down without the condiment.
Wilson didn't show up West but there was a moment when West put both hands on his bulging hips and Wilson did a double-take after a call and from then on it was four strikes yer out. Well, the Brewers/Cerveceros are too good a hitting ball club to let that advantage slip away. They made it work to their advantage and won, when Munch Fielder ripped one down the rightfield line for a game winning RBI. Cerveceros- 7 Gigantes- 6.
Alas, I must mention one more thing before putting to rest this sad ending to a Giants/Gigantes game. When you let an umpire have full control and all the decisions are left to his judgment there will be times when he just misses the call. Leaving ALL calls to an umpire's interpretation can have those moments where the umpire totally misinterprets the call. And that's what happened on this day. More than once West misinterpreted what was and was not a strike and the Brewers/Cerveceros benifitted greatly.