MLB umpire Joe West had to leave Thursday's game between the Washington Nationals and the Toronto Blue Jays. An accident resulted in a bat hitting him on the side of the side and brought the game to a halt. West had to go to the locker room for further treatment due to the bleeding not stopping.
The incident occurred when Blue Jays batter Bo Bichette came to the mound. He swung at a pitch but the bat slipped out of his hand. It flew backward and hit the 67-year-old umpire on the side of the head. Players immediately signaled for trainers to come over and press a towel against his head. While fans expressed concern about the head injury, cameras showed West smiling after the incident.
Umpire Joe West had to exit today's game with a bloody ear after Bo Bichette lost control of his bat and hit him in the side of the head 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Hfd7fcpnIa— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 30, 2020
"I hand it to the batter and catcher for immediately stopping and calling in help," one MLB fan commented after watching the frightening moment. There were several fans that expressed concern after the initial hit and relief after West returned to the game. Although this was not a universal opinion.
As many fans showed after the hit, they dislike West and routinely express the opinion that he "makes bad calls." Critical comments became routine on social media as some Twitter users actually praised Bichette for hitting the umpire. These comments prompted a considerable number of arguments that continued after the game ended.
Following the injury, the game went into a six-minute delay. Action resumed when Vic Carapazza left his spot at second base to take over behind the home plate. The game continued with only three umpires until the third inning.
The veteran umpire actually returned to the game after heading to the locker room with the injury. He received stitches to stop the bleeding and went back to work. However, West served as an umpire from the third base instead of working behind the home plate.
West originally made his MLB debut back in 1976. He later became a full-time staff member in 1978. West entered the 2020 season having worked the second-most regular-season games in MLB history with 5,312. Only Bill Klem sits atop the list with 5,370 regular-season games on his resume. West will have the opportunity to match his peer, provided MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn't cancel the season due to positive COVID-19 tests.