(Reuters) – The World Umpires Association has hit out at Major League Baseball after umpire Joe West was reportedly suspended for three games due to comments he made about Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.
The 64-year-old’s comments appeared in a USA Today article marking the umpire’s 5,000th game. When asked who was the ‘biggest complainer’ West said it was Beltre.
“Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, ‘That ball is outside,'” West told USA Today.
“I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.’”
Local media quoted the umpires association as saying West’s comments were made in jest and were part and parcel of baseball.
“Joking interactions between umpires and players are a routine part of the game,” the union said in its statement. “We disagree strongly with the decision to punish Joe West simply for sharing a humorous exchange with a player.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)