BOSTON – Never. Not once. In the thousands of baseball games I watched in my life before Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday at Fenway Park, this never happened:
With Jake Marisnick attempting to steal second base in the top of the eighth inning, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez fired a throw that tailed away from second baseman Brock Holt and directly into the right shoulder of frequently reviled umpire Joe West.
West, with the reaction time of continental drift, made practically no effort to dodge the baseball and ultimately just kind of leaned into it.
Some current and former Major League Baseball players, many of whom likely have, at best, mixed feelings about Joe West, seemed to find joy in the event.
West’s inability to dodge the ball may have cost the Astros a base, as Vazquez’s throw was likely headed for center field if it didn’t smack the ump in the shoulder. But it did, and now I’ve seen that happen, and if, thousands more baseball games down the road, I see it happen again, I’ll be able to say, “yes, I actually have seen that one before.”