For most Chicago White Sox fans, Joe West's name brings one moment to mind.
"He's becoming a joke to the umpiring profession."
West called a pair of balks on Mark Buehrle during a 2010 game in Cleveland, heaving the left-hander and manager Ozzie Guillén out of the game and sparking a fiery reaction from broadcaster Hawk Harrelson.
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It was hard to think about much else — even with the Oak Ridge Boys and the San Diego Chicken in the building — as the White Sox saluted West on Tuesday night, when he broke baseball's all-time games-umpired record.
And clearly, even West had that decade-old moment on his mind.
Asked about Buehrle after the game, West joked that he assumed the famed South Side southpaw would be in attendance for his big night.
"I thought he was going to be here to throw out the first pitch," West said with a laugh. "I was worried that he might throw the ball to first base."
And for those who might have believed that comment to be a dig at Buehrle — White Sox fans' feelings about West still swing negative, if Tuesday night's persistent booing was any indication — it sounds like the two have long since patched things up.
"Every now and then, I'll get a call from him," West said. "He and Hawk Harrelson are buddies. He always says that I didn't call that balk on Buehrle, I called it on Ozzie. I said, 'Ozzie never pitched, what are you talking about?'"
So now both Harrelson and Buehrle have warmed up to West.
It could be good news for the future relationship between West and Tim Anderson, another White Sox star he's had a run-in with. After getting ejected by West in a 2018 game against the Cubs, Anderson said, "Everybody knows he's terrible."
So maybe there are some phone calls between West and Anderson coming someday soon.
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