Before the Chicago White Sox held on for dear life to defeat the Indians 5-4, the game was already headline-worthy.
In the third inning, White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and manager Ozzie Guillen were ejected from the game after a dustup with veteran umpire Joe West, who was manning first base for the game.
Buehrle was called for two balks in the third inning. Neither of them were balks, based on virtually anyone's understanding of the balk rule. After the first call, Guillen came out to argue and was eventually ejected. Buehrle then got the gate after the second balk, when he flipped his glove to the ground in anger.
Apparently, a mundane act of frustration is now considered to be a blatant show-up of the umpire.
Here is the video, which includes White Sox television voice Hawk Harrelson -- probably my least favorite baseball broadcaster -- speaking the truth.
I don't get the "stick it right up his behind" theory, but Harrelson is right. West was out of line, deserves a suspension (remember, he was fined by baseball for his comments in April about the pace of Yankees-Red Sox games), and was obviously interjecting himself into this otherwise innocent afternoon baseball game.
After the game, Ozzie was, um, not happy.
"Because he's a f---ing a--hole, that's what he is. I just went out to ask him ... I wasn't asking about the balk because you're not allowed, anytime you go out there to ask about balk or whatever. The thing I went out to ask him about was why he was embarrassing Buehrle. I'm not going out to argue about the balk because the rule, but I went out to ask him why he's embarrassing Buehrle and he give me one of this [dismissing him with his hands]. When you're a professional and you have to respect the managers, the way we're supposed to respect the umpires, they are supposed to respect back. Obviously they have more power than we have and we have to wear it every time that happens. That's the reason I got tossed. I don't think he has the right and the power to let people know who is the chief on the field. We know he has to control the game, we know he has to control all the s---, but in the meanwhile, I don't think it was the right thing to do, like we balked him while we were on the field. Joe has been like that for a lot of years, and he's always going to be like this. I'm not going to change it, nobody is going to change it, but sometimes he thinks f---ing people pay to watch him f---ing umpire. He's the type of guy that wants to control the game, it's good for the game, and to me one of the best umpires in the game, no doubt. But in the meanwhile, those years are on his shoulders and kind of heavy and showing people who he is. I deserve respect and the players here deserve respect here, too. When you tell the manager to get the f--- off the field, I don't think that's a good way to handle situations. No matter what you say, what you do, how long you talk here, Major League Baseball doesn't do s--- for anything. I'll be waiting for my fine, get 'em the next day."
"I said why are you embarrassing Buehrle? He said, 'Well Buehrle was doing ...' well, you got two choices, the second choice he has, and he was wrong the first time or the second time, either one was wrong. Because you don't like what Buehrle did the first time you should toss him. You shouldn't embarrass him. That's the way he is."
Did you see the second one that got Buehrle ejected?
"It's not about balk. It's all different. Buehrle has been doing the same stuff, what? Seven years, eight years? All of a sudden [West] just gets up today and says, 'Well, I'm going to call a balk on Buehrle no matter what.' He's got the right, I don't know if it was a balk or not, you couldn't tell. In the meanwhile, I was kind of upset with the reaction. He thinks he's the s--- in the field. People pay to watch f---ing players play, not to see umpires and managers. I don't see any people say, 'I'm going to see Ozzie Guillen manage or Joe West f---ing umpire.'"
Hard to blame him. West's ego is out of control. Obviously, he's a bit set on making a name for himself, and he's done that already. Perhaps he should consider this singing career idea full-time, because he's burning quite a few bridges in baseball right about now.
There is something ironic about Guillen -- as guilty of attention-grabbing behavior as any manager in baseball -- talking about West being out to get noticed. But at least the manager in this case has a job. Guillen's gig there is to take the bullet so Buehrle doesn't get tossed.
West isn't sticking up for wronged umpires around the sport when he acts like an egomaniac. Instead, he's out for himself and only himself.
Guillen may be, too, but at least he has a viable excuse.