Umpire Joe West suspended three games for calling Adrian Beltre MLB’s biggest complainer

Joe West worked his first MLB game in 1976. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Joe West said in June that Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was MLB’s biggest complainer. Now the veteran umpire has been given something about which to complain: a three-game suspension for those comments.

As reported Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times’s Bill Shaikin, who cited information from the World Umpires Association, the MLB commissioner’s office gave West the ban for creating an “appearance of lack of impartiality” toward Beltre and the Rangers. The union said that West, who was set to umpire a Dodgers-Diamondbacks series in Phoenix, began serving his suspension Tuesday.

West’s remarks were published by USA Today in a June 20 article pegged to his 5,000th MLB game. The 64-year-old West, who began working major league games in 1976, became just the third umpire to reach that mark, after Bill Klem (5,369; 1905-1941) and Bruce Froemming (5,163; 1971-2007).

Under a section titled “Biggest complainer,” West was quoted as saying, “It’s got to be Adrian Beltre. Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, ‘That ball is outside.’

“I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re

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