By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday night was a mostly disappointing affair for Red Sox fans, but there was at least one moment of levity — for everybody except Joe West, that is.
The crew chief was at second base for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. Though manager Alex Cora was ejected earlier in the game for arguing with home plate umpire James Hoye, West had done his job without issue throughout the night. In fact, an out call he made on an Astros would-be base stealer was upheld via replay.
But the veteran umpire had a bit of a low moment in the eighth inning, on another stolen base. Jake Marisnick broke toward second base, Christian Vazquez popped out of his crouch, and Brock Holt covered the second base bag. All standard procedure to that point.
But that’s when things went awry. Vazquez’s throw sailed toward the right field side of the base, and it was headed right for West. The umpire found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, and rather than hurting himself trying to make a last-ditch effort to avoid the ball, the 65-year-old simply braced himself for contact and absorbed the throw right on the collarbone.
As cowboys do.
Billy Madison would be proud.
The crowd initially booed, believing that West might have interfered with a throw that might have gotten an out. But replay showed the throw was clearly far off line. If anything, West might have saved the Red Sox from surrendering another base.