Joe West has been an MLB umpire since 1976. He's now entered his fifth decade in the game, which is just astounding.
Clearly impressed by West's impeccable career on the diamond, Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz saw fit to ask West for a photograph ... as he strode to the plate in the sixth inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday night (four innings before the American League prevailed, 2-1, in extras). But he wasn't looking for a selfie, thanks to spot-photographer Yadier Molina behind home plate:
Why not, right?
And kudos to Molina for the expert-level angle at work for the big moment:
And the end result was pretty magnificent, as Cruz proudly displayed during his dugout chat with FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
And later in the evening, it was time for Cruz to present the big reveal on his Instagram page:
As for Molina, he clubbed an opposite-field homer to right-center field in the bottom of the frame, so he had a pretty good night, too.
After the game was over, Cruz explained that this was actually his plan from the very beginning -- kind of:
So why Joe West?
After the photo-op, Cruz slid his phone into his back pocket. Wouldn't that be a distraction? Not so, he explained:
What about sliding into a base? Cruz had that covered as well:
This wasn't the first time Cruz had this idea in an All-Star Game, either. This had been in the works for a while. In fact, Cruz told the Orioles' Jonathan Schoop about his plan, as Schoop told MLB.com's Mandy Bell:
As he explained:
He definitely remembered his phone this time, and as a result we were all treated to some top-tier extracurricular entertainment in the All-Star Game.