Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MLB Umpires...HOLY COW!!

Calling all optometrist in the greater Detroit area: I have found the poster boy for your next marketing campaign, but first lets deal with the fat POS pictured to the right à

What would Harry Carey be saying to describe this past month in Major League Baseball? His Cubs are struggling, but the umpires struggles trumps all. Even with the Cubs limping into the month of June, Harry Carey would be belting out his famous line “Holy Cow” to fans everywhere for the excitement that has happened so early in the baseball season.

Major League Baseball has had three perfect games within a 30 day period. Check that, two perfect games, two one-hitters and a legend deciding to call it quits after 22 years. Umpires rarely self promote, but this year has been a rare exception. Joe West called the Red Sox and Yankees “pathetic and embarrassing” due to the absurd amount of time it takes them to play a game. I guess 34 combined world series championships is now considered "pathetic and embarrassing." West also recently got into an argument with a Chicago White Sox pitcher after calling a balk and soon after anger raged with the manager Ozzie Guillen. West actively seeks out the media for attention and even as has his own publicist…yeah, you heard correctly, I said publicist. He has recently hired a public relations firm out of Tennessee to help get him in the news media. Why would a MLB umpire need to seek publicity? It turns out that West does more than just run his mouth during and after baseball games. He’s a prominent recording artist in the country music world! I use the term prominent very loosely. He has hired the PR firm to help promote his personal brand and use the recognition and publicity he gets on the diamond to help jump start his music career.

A lot of people have said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and I think in West’s case that holds true. He really has nothing to lose. He’s been a MLB umpire since 1976, so it’s safe to say that if negative press forces him to resign, he can then focus on his music career as “Cowboy Bill.” If he left baseball it wouldn’t upset him. He was part of the group who quit in ’99 and wanted more money. MLB basically said “It doesn’t really matter who we have as umpires, our fans aren’t there to see you call balls and strikes.” After the umpires attempt for more money failed miserably West came crawling back in 2002 and has been an umpire ever since.

West’s PR firm probably instructed him to create the controversy on the diamond hoping that it would lead to expanded coverage on ESPN and other sports networks. Mission accomplished. Publicity helps with name recognition and brand reputation, but it's hard to tarnish a brand that no one knows exists, so any media generated with his name mentioned is considered gold in the industry! I would not put it past a PR firm to suggest that West participate in controversial calls on the field to generate media. It's a shady tactic that ruins the reputation of Major League Baseball and also gives other umpires like Jim Joyce around the league a bad name.

Jim Joyce became famous tonight after he missed an obvious out call in the 9th inning to prevent Armando Galarraga from throwing the third perfect game in the last 30 days and the 21st perfect game in MLB history. Joyce stepped up to the plate after the game and admitted he missed it and took responsibility for blowing the call. In his statement he truly believed he got the call right. Joyce refers to it by saying "It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the *bleep* out of it." While in tears Joyce goes on to say, "I just cost that kid a perfect game." He apologized to Galarraga and gave him a genuine hug. With a statement like that, you know he's one of the more reputable umpires in the league and also a fan of the game. He might have made a horrible call that will taint the rest of his career, but the guy showed a lot of class admitting that he altered MLB history. Joyce's intentions are pure and sincere while West just needs to take his homemade rocket to the moon (goodluck getting into it!).

By the way, The Kid decided to call it quits tonight...

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