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West side story

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 27, 2010 07:55 AM

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The umpire that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen called a [expletive deleted, expletive deleted] yesterday is headed to Boston to call this weekend's Royals-Red Sox series which begins tonight at Fenway Park.

ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes reported that the announcement did not come from Major League Baseball, but "a Tennessee-based publicist who lists umpire Joe West as one of his clients and said that West is 'available for media interviews and guest appearances.'"

To summon Guillen, are you [expletive deleted] kidding me?

Following last night's ridiculously-officiated Celtics-Magic game in Orlando, the last thing Boston fans need right now is an umpire who sees himself as bigger than the game. This will be the first time West has called a Red Sox game since criticizing their admittedly tedious showdowns against the Yankees, calling them "an embarrassment to the game."

Which is precisely what West proved himself to be in Chicago yesterday, ejecting Sox starter Mark Buehrle for benignly tossing his glove to the ground. It was an egregious move considering the banality of Buehrle's actions, almost as if West was determined to make himself the story of the game in advance of this weekend's series. That idea is furthered by the fact that his publicist actually put out the word that he'll be in Boston shortly after his "performance" in Chicago.

Edes writes:

West's publicist, Marty Martell, described West as "one of the most unique individuals in the professional sports world" and extolled his talents not only as an umpire but as a "country singer, songwriter and entertainer." Martell is president of a firm that also said that West was available to speak about his comments about the Yankees and Sox and expected that there would be a good deal of media interest. West said Martell "probably shouldn't have" made it public that the crew was coming to town in advance.

West said that his primary motivation in announcing his media availability this weekend was to promote the video musical tribute he recorded to longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who died last month.

West also is publicizing the CD he recorded in 2008, "Diamond Dreams," which includes monologues and songs about baseball written and performed by West. The CD is available at umpirejoewest.com.

You have to go listen to some of these clips. The best that can be said about West's music is that he's a terrible umpire. Think Baz Luhrmann styling to every tired baseball cliché he can summon. Then, imagine it's much worse than that. 

In any case, it will be fascinating to see if any animosity bubbles up on the field of play this weekend. Keep in mind too that in a four-game series West is assured of one night behind the plate. So, that should be fun.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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