Umpire crew chief West: Call was right, Rays are wrong
Veteran umpire crew chief Joe West told the Times after Tuesday's game that home plate umpire Angel Hernandez was absolutely right in not granting Carlos Pena a timeout, and that the Rays were wrong in saying the call was made due to efforts to speed up games.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was irate at the time when Hernandez declined the request and instead called Pena out when the ensuring pitch was strike three, all with two on and one out in the ninth and the Rays down by two. Speaking in much more polite words afterward, Maddon said he was “kind of annoyed” that the timeout wasn’t permitted and blamed the efforts to quicken the game, of which West has become the leader.
“I’m all for supporting league policy but when it comes to speed-up rules in those kind of situations I think than can basically be thrown in the trash can,'' Maddon said. "It’s inappropriate. There’s no such thing as a speed-up rule at that moment in the game, that was my argument.’’
Added Pena: “(Hernandez)’s a good umpire, I just thought he made a bad decision there. He could have made a better decision, especially in that situation.”
West told the Times the Rays were wrong in their assumptions and Hernandez made the correct call based on Rule 6.02 protecting a pitcher having already started his delivery. And, West noted, that Peña had similarly tried to call timeout earlier in the at-bat and Gregg stopped.
“He umpired by the letter of the law, which you’re supposed to do,” West said. “It’s not just pace of game. … Because it’s part of pace of game, I’m sure it’s magnified in their eyes.”
As for the Rays’ complaints, West said, “(Peña) is right halfway, Angel is a very good umpire. And Joe is just angry because it happened to him. I get that. We understand that. All the calls can’t go their way. That’s why they have us.”
West and Hernandez were gracious hosts, offering a seat on the couch in their dressing room, as well as food and drink. And in the middle of the interview, West took a call from Tommy Lasorda, who was at an establishment in Nashville, put his cell phone on speakerphone and talked to him for about 10 minutes before resuming his explanation of the calls.