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FLUSHING, New York — Any major league sport comes with inherent dangers, and not just to the players.
A first-base umpire with 31 years of experience can attest to that after the New York Mets vs. the Oakland A's game on June 24.
It’s a common enough occurrence for at-bat players to get beaned with pitches or for pitchers to take hit balls to the body. More often than not, they will try and shake it off, even though it’s obvious that the ball left a mark.
So when first-base umpire Joe West was beaned with a barely foul line drive hit by the A’s Steven Vogt, you would expect him to yelp, rub his arm or at least have a grimace on his face. But West’s reaction is quite the opposite.
After West gets hit, he turns toward home plate with a stone-cold expression that would put Clint Eastwood to shame. It seems like he’s staring down Vogt with as much hate as he can muster. But just when you think West is marking Vogt on his blacklist, West flexes his arms in a “macho” display to prove that being hit by a ball going between 90 and 120 miles per hour is like water off a duck’s back.
West can only hold his cold expression for about one more second before he cracks a smile and laughs at his own joke, much to the delight and amazement of the announcers.