The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 11-5 on Friday. It was a terrible game for the Yankees’ bullpen which allowed eight runs and squandered a solid outing by Hiroki Kuroda. Cesar Cabral’s ejection in the eighth for hitting Evan Longoria, James Loney and Wil Meyers consecutively was the cherry on top. But the bullpen’s late-game meltdown wasn’t the worst part.
In the top of the ninth inning with nobody on and one out, home-plate umpire Joe West punched Derek Jeter out looking. Captain Clutch did not argue — that’s what I’m here for.
The Yankees had no shot at a comeback (they had led 5-3 but momentum had totally shifted after the Rays rallied late) and honestly, it wasn’t a bad call by West (that is, he’s made worse, though the pitch might have been a little off the plate inside). Nevertheless, how dare you Joe West?
I don’t care if you wanted to go home and I don’t care if Brandon Gomes located a fastball right where Ryan Hannigan wanted it. At this point in his career, the only way you call a strike on Jeter is if he swings and misses. If he takes the pitch it’s a ball, plain and simple.
He’s currently ninth on the all-time hits list with thirteen All-Star selections, five World Series rings and a Rookie of the Year Award, among numerous other career accomplishments. What’s more amazing is that while playing in the city with the most persistent media presence for the team with the most arduous demand for success, he remains the most well-respected player in the game.
Jeter is not only the face of the Yankees, he’s the face of baseball. After 20 incredible years in the MLB, his strike zone is the size of the barrel on his bat. I’m talking to you now Joe West. Next time Jeter’s in the batter’s box, show some respect.