The COVID-19 pandemic managed to disrupt our world in unusual ways including the blaring silence heard in ballparks across the nation. The echo of the fan-less seats in MLB are proving to be more distracting than the heckles of a crowd due to the fact that every single thing can be heard. Just ask veteran umpire Joe West.
During Sunday’s Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves game, West turned heads when he issued an ejection to Nats general manager Mike Rizzo, who was sitting in a luxury suite in the upper deck of Truist Park, according to multiple outlets including USA Today.
At first, it was thought that West ejected Rizzo for not wearing a mask. Turns out, voices carry in an almost empty venue and West was done with remarks he heard from the GM, the Associated Press reported.
According to multiple sources including CBS, West repeatedly told Rizzo, who was on the third deck, to “get out.”
“I wouldn’t take that from a player. I wouldn’t take that from a manager,” West told AP. “If it was Donald Trump, I’d eject him, too. But I’d still vote for him.”
West said that he could hear all the trash talk the GM was saying.
“He was saying, ‘you’re brutal’ and other things,” West said, according to AP. “We’re in a pandemic situation, you can hear everything.”
Yahoo Sports reported that someone in the Braves dugout pointed out that Rizzo “doesn’t have a mask on,” which are required.
West also caused waves back in July when he made controversial remarks about the coronavirus, the Athletic reported.
“If this game hasn’t gotten to me by now, no virus is going to get me. I’ve weathered a bunch of storms in my life. I’ll weather another one.”
West also said that he didn’t “believe” all the deaths reported were caused by the virus.
“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus,” West said to the Athletic. “I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths. I said, ‘I’m not going to opt out. I’m going to work. And I’m going to work until you take me off the field or I get hurt, whatever. I’m working.”
After West’s COVID remarks, the MLB Umpires Association released a statement, condemning his remarks.
This isn’t the first time officials have experienced the wrath of “silence” in fan-less ballparks during this strange 2020 season. Philadelphia Phillies fans who weren’t even in the park managed to agitate New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone when his team was playing the Phillies in August by using horns. Boone complained to officials, but there was nothing that could be done, McClatchy News previously reported.