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End of an Era

Joe West’s last game at Fenway Park (reportedly) was a trademark disasterclass

September 27, 2021

Well folks, it’s the end of an era. According to reports on Sunday evening, Joe West—smug-faced lightning rod and all-time MLB record holder for games umpired—is set to hang up the mask at season’s end. We’re letting you know now so you can prep the pinata, order the sheet cake and stock up on fireworks.

West—an umpire known for inserting himself into the game at every available opportunity, even if it meant purposefully riling up players and managers—is not the type to go gentle into that good night, however. It just wouldn’t be right. So on Sunday, in what was reportedly his final game behind the plate at Fenway Park, Joe West put on a Joe West disasterclass for the ages.

It all began with this emphatic punchout in the third inning of an absolutely mammoth AL showdown between the Red Sox and Yankees …

… and continued in the eighth inning when, in a one-run ballgame, West missed this blatant foul-tip third strike from Aaron Judge, who would go on to hit an RBI double later in the at-bat.

Finally in the 9th inning, with Aroldis Chapman in for the save, West decided to stir the pot one final time, calling this dead-center bullseye a ball.

How did it all add up for West at the end of the night? Surprisingly OK, all things considered, which is a pretty good summation of his career.

In other words, if this is the last we see of Joe West at venerable Fenway Park, or as an umpire in baseball’s most hallowed rivalry, it was a fitting end. But don’t celebrate too much. Angel Hernandez isn't going anywhere.