In the sixth inning Thursday night, Madison Bumgarner walked San Diego’s Jedd Gyorko, in an at-bat that included two close calls, and barked in frustration. Plate umpire Joe West appeared to take exception, walking to the front of the plate and taking off his mask. What ensued was a lengthy stare-down between pitcher and umpire – ESPN clocked it at just under 18 seconds – before they finally nodded at each other and play resumed. In honor of a priceless few moments, a deeper look at the two non-blinkers (West’s stats represent all pitchers’ numbers with West behind the plate in 2015, courtesy of baseballprospectus.com):
West has worked the second-most postseason games behind fellow current Major League Baseball umpire Gerry Davis, and in 1981 he became the youngest umpire to work a National League Championship Series game, per his MLB.com biography. Bumgarner last fall pitched a record 52 2/3 innings in the postseason and has a career World Series line of 4-0 with a save and a 0.25 ERA.
According to baseball-reference.com, Bumgarner has made six career starts with West as the plate umpire. In those games, Bumgarner is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 14 walks in 39 2/3 innings.
Bumgarner on the stare-down: “Joe was behind the plate? I don’t pay attention to the umpires. I didn’t even realize he was back there.”