Joe West takes center stage in Cubs' win

Most everyone knows a manager or his pitching coach are allowed one mound visit with a pitcher.

If either makes a second visit, that pitcher must be removed.

But in the ninth inning of Monday night’s game in St. Louis, plate umpire Joe West told Cubs catcher Miguel Montero the Cubs would be charged with a mound visit if he went back out to talk to Kyle Hendricks, after Jeremy Hazelbaker’s home run broke up the no-hitter.

The Cubs obviously were stalling to give Aroldis Chapman more time to warm up, and Hendricks was coming out either way. Joe Maddon had tried to get Montero to go back out to the mound, where Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant were still talking to Hendricks, but Montero apparently didn’t notice.

West heard Maddon shouting to Montero, and then told the catcher he’d be charged with a mound visit if he went out. Montero was confused, and went back to the plate.

“I didn’t really understand what he was arguing,” Montero said. “After I went to the mound and went back, (West) tapped me on the shoulder and told me to go out. So I’m walking out, and he said, ‘Hey, if you go out, I’m going to count it as a visit.’ I’m like ‘What’s going on? Is that possible?’

“I don’t even know if that rule exists. I’m like, well, you know what, it doesn’t matter, because he’s coming out of the game anyway. That’s when Joe (Maddon) came out, and after that, I’m not responsible for what happened.”

West insisted the rule does exist, and told me he had done it before to Tony La Russa, charging the Cardinals with a mound visit despite the fact neither La Russa nor a coach visited the mound. La Russa also got a bit upset, West said.

Maddon got into a You Tube-ready argument with West, leading to his ejection. And Maddon still went out to the mound after being ejected, which he admitted was a no-no, but didn’t care because of West’s “inappropriate” actions.

It was a relatively insignificant moment in a 4-1 game, but anytime you have two personalities like Maddon and West butting heads, people are going to pay attention. West, of course, likes to call attention to himself, and is one of the game’s more polarizing umps, as Ozzie Guillen can attest.

After the incident, the reaction on Twitter was priceless. Kerry Wood was referring to West when he tweeted “we all know he sucks.” Wood also retweeted others who were mocking West. Ryan Theriot tweeted that West was “a huge dork.” Chipper Jones tweeted “Joe West just had a Joe West moment.” Jim Duquette said on MLB Radio that West “needs to do something else. Stop being an umpire PLEASE. He’s embarrassing. He just acts like a fool.”

The incident also led to a funny glitch on the MLB Gameday feed, which somehow had Maddon’s ejection mixed up with Hazelbaker’s home run off Hendricks, noting that the exit velocity on the ejection was 101 mph, and the total distance was 380 feet.

That would be the most memorable ejection in major league history.

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