Ah, yes, the loveable Joe West. When he’s not being extremely argumentative with managers across the Major League’s, he’s apparently being a complete bad ass on the field as the umpire demonstrated Tuesday night.
Handling the first base umpire duties, West probably thought he’d be out of harm’s way since he wasn’t behind the dish. But alas, as if the ball had a tracking device in it, a screaming line drive off the bat of Stephen Vogt struck West directly in the chest and bounded into the field of play.
The ball was originally foul and was dead anyway, but West appeared unfazed by the hit not only delivering the correct foul call but them moments later flexed for all to see.
Now, we’ve seen how Major League Baseball players react after they’ve been hit with a 95-mph fastball and you can be damn sure the ball was traveling at just as high of a speed (if not faster) when it plunked West. I don’t imagine he was wearing much protection on his chest (if any) considering he wasn’t behind home plate, so that appeared to be a rather flush hit.
At the end of the day though, West played it off as cool as he could, never even giving the slightest glimpse of discomfort. Of course, internally he was probably cussing up a storm as his chest throbbed for the next few hours.
Guessing he also woke up to a pretty solid bruise, though, clearly nobody is ever going to question Joe West’s toughness.