Joe West Says Balk Was Called On Tony Cingrani In Order To Prevent Dodgers From Cheating
MLB umpire Joe West
Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

An old adage that is generally applied to MLB umpires is that if your name is known by players, media and fans alike, it is generally a negative sign. Such could apply to veteran umpire Joe West, though he hardly seems to mind.

Having worked more than 5,000 games in his career, West on several occasions has found himself at the center of a controversial call. Such was the case Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning with Tony Cingrani on the mound. He allowed a one-out single to Derek Dietrich and shortly after was called for a balk.

With J.T. Realmuto now in scoring position, Starlin Castro’s RBI double tied the game with two outs. Cingrani stranded Castro, then shouted in West’s direction as he walked off the field.

Facing plenty of backlash over the sequence, West emphatically stood by his call, via Pedro Moura of The Athletic (warning-explicit language follows):

Multiple angles of Cingrani’s throw, which was more of a harmless throw-over than attempt to pick off Dietrich, didn’t appear to support West’s call. As one would expect, Cingrani voiced his frustration with the ruling after the Dodgers’ loss.

During his postgame interview, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he had not yet seen video of the play and could not offer his assessment.

Los Angeles is among the clubs that have prior history with West. There was a lighthearted moment in June 2016, when Chase Utley arranged for the Dodgers to use West’s country music as their walk-up songs during their first time through the lineup.