Picking up the pace of Major League games has been a baseball initiative for about a half-decade. But umpire Joe West believes the game's two most recognizable teams are not cooperating.
West, who served as crew chief for the Yankees-Red Sox season-opening series at Fenway Park, told The Bergen Record of New Jersey that the way the two heated American League East rivals drag out games is "a disgrace to baseball."
"They're the two clubs that don't try to pick up the pace," West told the Record prior to Wednesday's series finale. "They're two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?"
Sunday's Opening Night game between the two clubs lasted three hours and 46 minutes, while Tuesday's game went three hours and 48 minutes. After West's comments, however, Wednesday's game -- a 10-inning affair that saw Paul Schrieber work home plate -- went three hours and 21 minutes.
West worked home plate on Sunday. Then, on Tuesday, it was Angel Hernandez, who, according to the Record, denied timeouts at the batter's box on at least three occasions, to Derek Jeter, Marcus Thames and David Ortiz.
West didn't allow Hernandez to comment, according to the Record, and Yankees players declined to speak on the matter when approached by the publication.
West, who has been umpiring Major League Baseball games since 1976, has called four World Series -- including last year's between the Phillies and Yankees. He is president of the World Umpires Association. West told the Record he understands the Red Sox-Yankees games are frequently high-scoring ones, and lots of batters on both sides are known for taking pitches.
But he doesn't believe that justifies the slower pace of games when the two clubs meet.
"All of baseball looks to these two clubs to pick up the pace," West was quoted as saying. "Angel did everything he could [on Tuesday]. The players aren't working with us."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.