Last Tuesday marked the 5,000th game officiated by long-time Major League umpire Joe West. The 64-year-old started his career 40 years ago. He’s umpired more games than anyone but Hall of Famer Bill Klem (5,375 games) and Bruce Froemming (5,163).
USA Today spotlighted West’s anniversary with an amusing article filled with the long-time umpire’s anecdotes. It was West, Sox fans will recall, who famously ruled Dave Roberts safe when he stole second base during that fateful Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.
To this day, West says, Roberts (who now manages the Dodgers) reminds him that the umpire made him famous to the legions of Red Sox Nation. West also recalls Kevin Millar during that series telling the Yankees, “you better not let us win one.” With the way New York was playing until Game 4, West recalls thinking at the time, “Right, good luck on that one.”
West has umpired two All-Star Games, eight Division Series, nine League Championships, and six World Series. He’s also officiated games for 55 different Hall of Famers who were either players, coaches, or managers. It was West who was behind the plate for Clay Buchholz’s September 1, 2007 no-hitter, in which he became just the third pitcher since 1900 to throw a no-hitter in his first or second career Major League start.
Now some other news and notes for Red Sox fans
- With All-Star Game fan voting almost over (you can vote until Thursday at 11:59 PM Eastern Time), it’s a head-scratcher to find no Red Sox players in contention for starting roles at the Mid-Summer Classic. RSNStats has reported on this before, but Monday’s voting update from MLB showed no real changes in the fate of Sox players. Fans vote on starters. Reserve players and pitchers are selected by players’ ballots and the Office of the Commissioner. The results of the fan vote will be unveiled this Sunday, July 2nd at 7:00 PM (ET) on the “Esurance All-Star Selection Show” on ESPN. The game itself will be played at Marlins Park on July 11th.
- What explains Xander Bogaerts‘ poor showing in All-Star Game fan voting? Bogaerts, with the second-best shortstop OPS (.843) in the American League this season, is a distant fourth in voting (982,987 votes) after Carlos Correa (.898), Francisco Lindor (.787), and Didi Gregorius (.810). Jackie Bradley, whose .850 OPS is 10th-best in the league is not even in the Top 15 of AL outfielders when it comes to fan votes.
- The July 31 trade deadline is approaching and with it tons of speculation as to where the Sox go from here. This week Boston added Jhonny Peralta and Doug Fister but Ryan Hannable at WEEI.com says the club appears to be open to more as the next month goes on. Sox baseball president Dave Dombrowski says the team will not be seeking a No. 1 starter at the deadline but beyond that there are “a lot of ways on which we can improve.”
- The Red Sox signed six more players they selected in this month’s draft. In all, 27 of the 40 players selected have signed contracts including 12 of the club’s top 13 picks. The latest to sign are Brett Netzer (who was picked in the 3rd round), Tyler Esplin (7th round), Andrew Colon (11th round), and Beau Hanna (12th round). Netzer has been assigned to short-season Single-A Lowell. The others will head to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. In addition, Boston signed Angel Gonzalez (19th round) and Luis Torres (34th round), who will both report to the Dominican Summer League Red Sox.